Invocation

Om. May no harm be done here, may this desire be motivated by Love, may what is not beneficent wither to obscurity.

 

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Revised

 

The Kaivalya Upanishad With Advaita (Non-Dual) commentary from our understanding.
Updated 24th July 2024

Introduction

 

Kaivalya,  the word itself,  means solitary or alone.
The ultimate understanding of Kaivalya is the reality "I alone am true existence".

The Kaivalya Upanishad is Advaita philosophy. In Sanskrit 'Advaita' means 'not-two', which is also understood as 'non-duality'. The Kaivalya teaches through Ashvalayana's request to be given the full understanding for the realisation of the truth of existence.

A well known saying in non-duality is that the wise see their own  "self"  in all others and see all others as their own  "self".  Which means,  although our physical senses report duality, or report the appearance of many different beings in existence to our brain, the true reality is that the  'many'  are One.

From his own realisation of non-duality,  the wise Rishi,  the sage of the Kaivalya Upanishad knows that  'The Singularity of existence',  'The Absolute Itself',  cannot be fully realised through words or explanation alone.  Ultimately, true Realisation is of the primal singularity of existence.  This existence exists,  as it were, without any beginning,  it is timeless therefore immortal.  This highest Realisation comes through heightened conscious awareness.  This awareness leads to the full conscious realisation that this very consciousness itself is all that can have true existence.  This consciousness that is aware of the same awareness in  'others'  cannot be just one of many seperate consciousnesses.  Consciousness itself has to be the one consciousness of all conscious beings.  The seeing of many other lives being experienced is an illusion,  as in a dream,  within this one consciousness to enable our original desire to experience the fruits of a worldly birth.

The Kaivalya Upanishad teaches a way to gaining the knowledge and understanding that frees the Realised sage to emerge alone from the delusion of duality. Free from its desire, and birth and death, as an eternal unity with the immortal Absolute, the singularity of conscious existence.

Reaching the Truth of the Absolute Self is a solitary,  Kaivalya,  experience.  One has to meditate and enquire within starting from the one Truth that a sentient being can logically know,  "The Consciousness of This Exists".  All else is an assumption of the senses and mind.

In our more introspective or intuitive moments, most of us would admit to the feeling that there is within our-self the seed of a higher purpose in life.  The impulse to seek higher truth is the germination of that seed.  This causes one to turn to a spiritual life.  Whether you are then drawn to philosophy, teacher,  church,  temple,  mosque or synagogue you are being moved to seek the light of truth.  From then on what is needed is the nourishment and nurturing of this seed through to fruition,  through to Kaivalya. 

Lastly,  but of utmost truth and importance, When Considering the terms solitary,  alone,  it should be understood that these are terms of duality.  You can feel alone under the delusion of duality.  This is why the consideration of Absolute aloneness may for some, as they transition to higher awareness cause profound fear or sadness.  But,  after the proper Realisation of the singularity, the oneness of existence, you will never feel or be alone again. aloneness will be seen to not exist.  Once the Absolute,  primal singularity of existence is realised one's existence is known to be Absolutely Complete.

After this Realisation,  aloneness or Solitary or Kaivalya does not exist because they are dualistic terms.
All will be well.

Kenneth Jaques

 

Chapter one

Verse 1

1. Then Ashvalayana addressed the Lord and said: "Teach,  O Lord,  the knowledge of the Absolute,  the highest,  always cultivated by the good,  secret and by which a wise man drives away instantly all the sins and reaches the Absolute higher than the high".

"Then Ashvalayana addressed the Lord and said Teach,  O Lord,  the knowledge of the Absolute,  the high"

What moves Ashvalayana to express his desire for the knowledge of the Absolute is the seed of higher awareness that is maturing.  Kaivalya itself is the fruition of purpose and realisation of life's journey.

"always cultivated by the good"

The Absolute, being all existence of all knowledge,  is also perfect and good. Realising the Absolute, one can discriminate between transient material truth, and eternal truth.
The intuition that this higher truth exists is the rising of wisdom.

"secret"

That described as secret means that knowledge that is subtle and needs to be confirmed from within ones own being,  using ones own intuition, albeit with the help and guidance of a teacher or Guru. This understanding or information also lies hidden within the words of the scriptures, this is to protect those who are not strong or mature enough to just have reality handed to them.

"by which a wise man drives away instantly all the sins"

When the word sin is used,  especially within the Upanishads, its meaning is understood by us to be any action or practice that is undertaken without the purpose of moving towards higher knowledge or the attainment of truth.  There is no big sin or little sin.  A sin is just an action or way that is,  for the moment,  performed in ignorance of our ultimate unity with all.
Needless to say "sins" fall away with the wisdom that comes with truth.  Further,  abiding in the truth the wise person naturally "drives away instantly" all further untruth with its sins.

"and reaches the Absolute higher than the high"

Truth is seen or discriminated through the cleansed intellect, or perhaps intuition, of the heart (not the mind.)  The highest Truth of Non-Duality shines the light that leads to the Realisation of "The Absolute higher than the high".

This is a plea for freedom made by one who is world weary because he has realised that this experience of life does not reflect the highest truth.
It is for our benefit here, that Ashvalayana seeks and receives the Truth that sets us free. Acting as an example for us, Ashvalayana is willing to suffer any trial to attain that truth.

 

2. And to him,  the Lord said,  "Know this knowledge by means of faith,  yoga,  devotion and meditation.  Not by works,  nor by progeny,  nor by wealth,  but by renunciation,  some attained immortality".

the Lord said,  "Know this knowledge by means of faith,  yoga,  devotion and meditation"

This subtle or "secret" higher knowledge, has to be sought with a vision or intuition that is cleansed, sharpened and focused through disciplined practices ("yoga") led by meditation and inner enquiry.
For most, the proccess for the revelation of this knowledge will follow its own time and rhythm. One needs commitment and trust, and the belief in the search. This knowledge has its ways, and it has a path to it that will be found.

"Not by works,  nor by progeny,  nor by wealth"

Our conscious experience of a birth into this material world has resulted in our forgetting of our true non-material eternal being. Our instict or intuition that this higher knowledge exists is correct. But, again, due to our original forgetting we assume that what has been forgotton can be found again in this material realm. We need to understand that higher immortal truth and knowledge cannot be uncovered within this transient material world.
"Not by works...nor by wealth" , ...."nor by progeny",...  The fact of our original forgetting, and our need to remember or re-discover the knowledge of the path back home, is hidden by our material desire for progeny. Children come to satisfy our need for purpose. But, for those with rising wisdom, the need to surrender material family ties becomes felt.   The highest help we can be to the world, is to achieve the realisation of Absolute non-duality.
The meaning here is that the higher Knowledge that transcends this world cannot be uncovered or realised while seeking to flourish within the world.

"but by renunciation,  some attained immortality"

This verse confirms that the unreality of the transient world needs to be renounced.  It is through a yoga of purification and meditation that the real,  the eternal is seen.  It is not by working for wealth,  or through our children, but through the renunciation of this unreality we become open to the higher knowledge that leads to immortality through Self Realisation.

The meaning here is that this knowledge is not obtainable through material or worldly means.  The reality is that the highest Truth transcends this Creation.  One needs to renounce this world to uncover the Truth.

 

3-4. Higher than heaven,  seated in the intellect of the heart That shines which the self-controlled attain.  The Ascetics,  who being of pure minds have well ascertained the reality,  by the knowledge of Vedanta,  and through sannyasa.  In the sphere of creation,  at the time of cosmic dissolution,  they will have achieved liberation.

"Higher than heaven", 

"Heaven"   is a common term used in many traditions. This knowledge that leads to full realisation of the singularity of existence, can be reached in this lifetime. It is known by the wise sages who confirm direct experience of it, that this validation is higher.

"seated in the intellect of the heart"

It is a profound truth of Advaita,  of non-duality,  that higher knowledge can be attained through the intellect of a heart purified through right practices. This heartfelt knowing might also be called intuition.

"That shines which the self-controlled attain"

"That"   which shines is the light of all possible knowledge that forms consciousness.  "That"  is the Absolute. That knowledge which is seen or intuited, is available to all.
The  "self-controlled",   are those who have undergone a discipline of yoga and meditation.  They become more conscious of higher truth.  The existence of this subtle knowledge is seen through the intuition of a cleansed intellect controlled by an "Insightful" heart.  Those who believe the material world to be the   "real world"   rationalise their insightful glimpses away too quickly.

"The Ascetics,  who being of pure minds have well ascertained the reality,  by the knowledge of Vedanta,  and through sannyasa"   (dedicated living practices).

The Ascetics have undertaken the path of the dedicated pupil (sanyasin).  Through contemplation,  meditation and complete disentanglement from the sensual and material world, they have learnt to use the intellect of the heart.   This allows proper discrimination of the truth of the Absolute singularity to be intuitively realised. This truth then becomes the proper guide for the wise, enabling the full realisation of the singularity of existence.

"In the sphere of creation,  at the time of cosmic dissolution,  they will have achieved liberation".

This realised being achieves liberation (realisation of the singularity of existence) in this lifetime, or by the time of the end of the universe,  "Cosmic dissolution".   This is because the truth of non-duality can be intuitively known now, which liberates our true being in this lifetime.

 

5. In a secluded place,  sitting in an easy posture,  pure,  with a neck,  head,  and body erect,  living in the last ashram of the orders of religious life,  having controlled all the senses,  saluting his own teacher with reverence,  meditating within the lotus of the heart on The Absolute,  untainted,  pure,  clear and without sorrow.

"In a secluded place,  sitting in an easy posture,  pure,  with a neck,  head,  and body erect"

"In a secluded place" ,  The ascetic seeks isolation from the world, because the truth that the ascetic seeks is not "out there". The truth is only ever seen here and now. To get ever closer to higher understanding one has to look within.
The ascetic seeking the Absolute alone is most complete within the Solitariness of his own self. 
Here the ascetic is described sitting in a posture that best facilitates meditation.  At this stage the ascetic makes reaching absolute truth his lifes work, no other work will be undertaken.

"living in the last ashram of the orders of religious life having controlled all the senses".

This is the decision of the sage.  "Having controlled all the senses" the sage is free from the delusion of desire. The material world becomes unreal and undesirable to the wise sage seeking higher understanding.

"saluting his own teacher with reverence".

The sage will always be available. His realisation of unity will contain the insight that he is also the teacher and the teacher is also himself.

"meditating within the lotus of the heart on The Absolute".

Here the "lotus of the heart" refers to the pure intellect at the heart of his true being.  It is this intellect that can discern Absolute truth.
It is during meditation that is free from wandering desirous thoughts,  that the higher truth that transcends material Creation is seen, or realised through intuition.
With Realisation comes the understanding of the singularity that alone exists.  That Singularity is seen as "This" alone and all else falls away. 

"untainted,  pure,  clear".

In the course of everyday life one is "tainted" through the perception of duality with its desires and fears.
The sage of this verse,  having Realised the reality of Non-Duality and the consciousness of the Absolute, becomes free, "untainted" and "pure" from the impediments of duality.
The sage so liberated has clarity of perception.  His understanding is "clear".

"without sorrow".

"Sorrow" is a product of attachment and the taints of duality.  It results from the mistaken seeing of some reality in this decaying material Creation.
The Realised sage of this verse is "without sorrow" because due to his clarity of understanding he now sees and renounces this material Creation along with its sorrows or joys as being ultimately unreal and undesirable.

Accordingly the sage renounces the world of the senses without regret or sorrow and through Solitary meditation practice turns to the Absolute within.

 

6. He is the unthinkable,  unmanifest,  of endless forms,  the good,  the peaceful,  Immortal,  the origin of the worlds,  without beginning,  middle,  and end,  the only one,  all-pervading,  Consciousness,  and Bliss,  the formless and the wonderful.

"He is the unthinkable".

The Absolute is all 'This', this very existence, including the experience of "yourself".  Through the delusion of Maya (our dream of a life experience), there is an experience of duality.  Nevertheless, there is but one Consciousness, so 'our' consciousness of being a thinking "self" is in reality a projection within Absolute Consciousness.  This means, that the projected experience of a "self" thinking, cannot logically encompass that "Absolute Self" that projects this very thinking experience.
The Non-Dual Absolute It-Self cannot be examined through it's-own projection of thought experience.  Therefore the Absolute is  "unthinkable".

"unmanifest".

The Absolute is the primal singularity. That is, Absolutely all knowledge is Absolute consciousness.  All that appears to be manifest is a projection of that "unmanifest" knowledge, in consciousness.
The Absolute, being absolutely all knowledge for all time, is greater than all this that appears in 'our' consciousness.  Therefore the Absolute It-self is "unmanifest".

"of endless forms".

This universe consists of name and form only and is made manifest from the endless knowledge that is the Absolute.
The Absolute is infinite knowledge, therefore "of endless forms".

"the good".

The absolute alone exists, so what "IS" is all there is. What "IS" is what is meant to be, it is complete and correct, so therefore good. Apart from the Absolute there is no other existence. If one were to experience 'bad', then that experience was meant to be, so it was correct and good. From this alone, one may intuit how duality cannot be.

"the peaceful".

Because the Absolute is the primal singularity of existence, there literally is not another to cause disturbance.  The absolute itself is unmanifest.  It is the unmoving completeness of truth consciousness and bliss.  "the peaceful".

"Immortal"

The Absolute is immortal due to being without origination,  unborn.  Never changing state, the Absolute is eternal.

"the origin of the worlds"

Being without origination the eternal Absolute is the primal singularity of existence.  From that non-dual singularity all that is apparent now,  the universe with its worlds and so forth,  must have its origin and support within that singularity. 

"without beginning,  middle,  and end"

The Absolute is without origination. It was uncaused therefore timeless,  meaning this One is without dimensions.

"the only one"

Being existence itself, literally means the Absolute alone Exists.  There can be no 'other'.

"all-pervading"

The Absolute  is  all. The Absolute is absolutely all of existence itself. Existence exists, as it were, only because the Absolute 'Is'. Therefore the Absolute is all pervading.

"Consciousness,  and Bliss"

The Absolute is "the origin" of all things. It consists of all knowledge.  The Absolute being absolute knowledge alone is pure Consciousness.  With the harmony of completeness this Consciousness is transcendent Bliss.

"the formless and the wonderful"

Absolute Knowledge and Consciousness is without form.  The wonder of the Absolute is that although it is unknowable the wise can come to know of it.

Acknowledging the unreality of Creation through renunciation the Solitary sage meditates to open the heart and intellect to the indefinable unmanifest Absolute Truth.
To a casual observer the meditating sage might appear to have abandoned life and purpose.  But to the wise he has found,  realised, and now rests in reality alone,  the One immortal unity of Truth Consciousness and Bliss.

 

7. Meditating on the highest Lord,  The Absolute,  and tranquil,  the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all,  the witness of all and is beyond darkness and delusion.

"Meditating on the highest Lord,  The Absolute"

The purpose of meditation is to clear the way for the highest truth to be known. The wise holy man is not concerned about what is nicest or happiest. Whatever the highest truth may reveal, be it desirable or undesirable, the wise man seeks only that revelation as being worthy of his life's work. Any form of qualified truth, other than that bare, pure, highest truth would be seen through his purified intelect to be unreal.
The Fact of the singularity of existence as being the highest has been reported by our wise ancestors and teachers. Nevertheless, this wise holy man seeks to experience this absolute truth for himself, alone.

"tranquil,  the holy man reaches Him who is the source of all,  the witness of all"

Looking back, the sage sees a past life of negotiating a path through the unreal and the untrue.  Here now, he sits in the tranquillity of surrender, with the willingness to face the unknown, with the renunciation of all personal ideas and desires.  Through his self-sacrifice for the love of the truth, the holy man transcends the unreal to reveal the Absolute singularity as being the "source of all",  the (unmoving) "witness of all".

"and is beyond darkness and delusion"

Having once transcended the delusion of duality, the light of Knowledge reveals the undeniable singularity of existence.  Once the light of Truth is seen, the holy one is forever beyond the darkness of ignorance. Knowledge, once seen cannot be unseen or forgotten. The light of Absolute truth is timeless.

Realising that this existence is a singularity, therefore Absolute, makes our own existence one with the Absolute Singularity of existence itself.

 

8. He is God,  He is The Absolute,  He is Heaven,  He is Eternal,  the Supreme,  the Self-luminous,  He alone is All,  He is Breath,  He is Time and Fire,  He is the Moon. 

"He is God"

This singularity is the one highest reality.  Knowing this truth alone the sage sees this truth in all descriptions of divinity.

"He is The Absolute"

The term Absolute describes the highest possible truth,  all possible truth,  all possible truth and untruth,  Absolutely all possible knowledge of all possibilities.

"He is Heaven"

The Absolute being all things and all places encompasses all ideas of the divine.

"He is Eternal"

The Absolute is unborn and uncaused. Being without beginning means it is without ending. The Absolute exists without time.

"the Supreme"

Being the primal singularity of existence itself, there is not the duality of "another" to be more or less superior.

"the Self-luminous"

The Absolute is the source of all knowledge and the support of creation itself.  The sun itself with its luminance is merely a projection of the knowledge of the Absolute. Absolute knowledge lights itself and all things.

"He alone is All"

The Absolute is the primal singularity of existence. Absolute knowledge is the existence principle itself.  Apart from the Absolute, no other "existence" can exist.

"He is Breath"

Breath symbolises life in the scriptures and the Absolute is the life principle.

"He is Time and Fire"

Time symbolises the created universe through the mortality of all things.  Fire symbolises the act of Creation itself.  Both Creation and the created are merely the projection of Absolute Knowledge.

"He is the Moon"

Moon symbolises mind and the Absolute is the intelligence or thinking principle itself.

The sage is no longer sage. The surrender of self is complete,  the acceptance of the Absolute is unconditional.

The Absolute alone is now known and accepted with complete certainty as the one reality.  However the Absolute is experienced,  in whatever shape form or medium,  be it pleasure or pain,  this Absolute reality is no longer questioned or denied.

 

9. He alone is all that was,  and all that will be,  the Eternal.  Knowing Him,  one transcends death.  There is no other way to freedom.

"He alone is all that was,  and all that will be,  the Eternal"

It is the work of the scriptures to establish this fact.  Upon this fact the highest understanding arises.
With the Primal Singularity of existence established, it is empirically observable that nothing new comes into existence, and also, there is no-thing that leaves or goes out of existence (all things merely change name and form) therefore the Absolute is "all that was,  and all that will be" existence is Eternal.

"Knowing Him,  one transcends death"

The term "Knowing Him" means to have Realised the truth of the Absolute.  The wise man that sees this Truth will understand that all that he is,  is but The Absolute Itself alone,  this is the fact of Non-Duality.  Knowing this the Realised sage knows himself to be Eternal ("transcends death"). "transcends death" also has meaning at the death of our material form. Those with the knowledge of the Absolute will desire to return to that singularity of Bliss. Those still under the illusions of duality will still have material desires to fulfil, and will therefore desire a material life experience again.

"There is no other way to freedom"

It is understood by the wise that only the truth,  realised in consciousness,  can lead that consciousness to freedom.  Any understanding,  action or way of life that does not consciously encompass the truth of Non-Duality cannot result in true freedom.  Ignorance is a prison because it maintains the believing in the unreal.  The definition of ignorance here is the forgetting of our true identity with the Non-Dual Absolute,  the Unity of existence.

This means that this Singularity of existence has to be known and Realised.  Only by becoming fully conscious of this reality can one escape the consciousness of duality,  birth and death.

 

10. Seeing the Self in all beings,  and all beings in the Self,  one attains that highest Self.  Not by any other means.

"Seeing the Self in all beings,  and all beings in the Self"

When the Absolute is Realised through intuitive discrimination to be the singularity of all existence, then this Absolute will be seen as also being  your-self  and  my-self.  All beings (selves) are the Absolute (self).

"one attains that highest Self"

Through that realisation of this same self, the sage attains his/her-self knowing of the Absolute non-duality of existence.  That is the meaning of "attains that highest Self".

"Not by any other means"

The Truth of the non-dual Absolute cannot be understood through the senses, nor by deduction or from information, not by any means other than Self Realisation attained through a controlled mind and meditation practices.

The meaning here is that freedom is only attained through Self Realisation.  Realisation brings the recognition that our experience of "others" is an experience of ourselves within "This" absolute singularity of Consciousness.

 

11. Making the Self the lower fire stick and Aum the upper fire stick,  through repeated friction causing the heat of knowledge,  a wise man burns up his bonds.

"Making the Self,   the lower fire stick and Aum ,  the upper fire stick"

AUM represents the sound of the universe being 'spoken' into existence. The 'word' is a common theme in most religions. Here, Aum is the word or the sound of this universe coming into existence. likening the awakening Truth of the non-dual Absolute to one fire stick, and the ignorance of material desire (Aum), to the other fire stick, then the two (truth and untruth) being rubbed against each other in conflict. This results in friction and heat.

"through repeated friction causing the heat of knowledge"

The wise,  having glimpsed the existence of the Absolute,  willingly suffer the experience of fear and heat caused by the friction of increasing knowledge and understanding (immortal truth of the singularity of existence) as it burns away the mortal material untruth of duality.
Significantly, each encountered experience of the heat of truth replacing ignorance, strengthens the courageous and clarifies their will.

"a wise man burns up his bonds"

The renouncing of the practices of untruth with its desire for gain and so forth, is not without its natural fear.  In reaching for the Truth, one has to stand alone.   Gaining the faith to let go of one's long held delusions, gives rise to the heat of battle in overcoming one's uncertainty.  The wise resolve to disregard fear and doubt to gain higher Truth.

 

12. With his self thus deluded by false existence or ignorance,  it is he who identifies himself with the body and does all sorts of things.  In the waking state it is the jiva who attains satisfaction through the varied objects of enjoyment,  such as women,  food and drink.

"With his self thus deluded by false existence or ignorance",

Our experience of having a birth and a life is enabled through the conscious forgetting of our true being. This forgetting, or ignorance,  causes our sensual experiences to be accepted as being true, this is necessary for our life experiences to seem real.  All beings or  "self"'s or "jiva"'s,   through birth, come to suffer this ignorance of duality "false existence".

"it is he who identifies himself with the body and does all sorts of things"

It is he, deluded through duality, who sees separate forms as individual existences.  He regards his own body as being the reality of who he is,  "identifies himself with the body".  Moving as the body and seeing only through his senses he imagines himself as the "doer" and achiever of his own desires.

"In the waking state it is the jiva who attains satisfaction through the varied objects of enjoyment,  such as women,  food and drink".

"The waking state" instead of "awake" means our consciousness of a daily life lived interacting with the material world, looking after its needs.  It is called the waking state, because all the time we are cloaked with the Maya or dream of a life, we cannot be considered to be fully awake.
Pleasure is sought by those deluded by duality. Worldly pleasures are seen as reward for their own efforts. Rewards for work are seen to be the purpose of "their" life.

 

13. In the dream-state that jiva feels pleasure and pain in a sphere of existence created by his own Maya or ignorance.  During the state of deep sleep,  when everything is absorbed (into their causal state),  he is overpowered by tamas or non-manifestation and comes to exist in his form of Bliss.

"In the dream-state that jiva feels pleasure and pain in a sphere of existence created by his own Maya or ignorance".

This consciousness, or jiva or soul, or being (as ourselves), which is limited to a life experience of duality, also dreams. In our dream state we also experience the pleasures and pains as we do in our waking state. It is a natural part of this delusional life we are making for ourselves. Tonight we may dream.

"During the state of deep sleep,  when everything is absorbed (into their causal state)"

During the state of deep sleep the jiva is divested of attributes such as delusion,  ignorance,  individuality,  desires and so forth.  There is no comprehension, no cause of duality.

"he is overpowered by tamas (lethargy) or non-manifestation and comes to exist in his form of Bliss".

This being, in deep sleep, does not think of itself, or others, it just is. Not being this or that, this being has no fear or desire. It just 'is' which resembles true Blissful existence.
The description "his form of bliss" recognises that this bliss is the bliss of ignorance. But, we are to see that the opposite of ignorance, Absolute knowledge, is true Absolute Bliss, because Absolute knowledge removes all causes of delusion and all seeing of duality. The state of all knowing eliminates all desire.

 

14. Again,  through his connection with deeds done in previous births,  that very jiva returns to the dream-state,  or the waking state.  The being who sports in the three cities,  the states of wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep,  from Him has sprung up all diversity.  He is the substratum,  the bliss,  the indivisible Consciousness,  in whom the three cities dissolve themselves.

"Again,  through his connection with deeds done in previous births that very jiva returns to the dream-state,  or the waking state".

This verse refers to rebirth.  due to his failure in his last life experience,  to realise the truth of the Non-Dual Absolute and surrender worldly desire, before reaching the death of his material form.
The meaning is that, due to his consciousness still being deluded through material desire and duality, all his deeds and actions were carried out with the intention of increasing material benefit. He did not desire or seek higher truth or consciousness. He was happy in a waking or dreaming state in a material realm. Therefore, he retained his consciousness limited by desire, which led him back to the means of achieving those material desires.  That means, his limited consciousness of a limited material life led him to experience again a birth  (rebirth)  back into a material creation.

"The being who sports in the three cities,  the states of wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep,  from Him has sprung up all diversity"

This statement is Confirmation that the being who retains desires within the material world, is the being who is reborn to experience a life of Creation "wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep".  (Our lives consist of sleeping, dreaming and waking).
The meaning is that the desires that cause rebirth are the very desires that caused the Creation of the material realm ("all diversity") in order to accommodate our original desire to taste the material fruits of life.

"He is the substratum,  the bliss",

This verse describes the Non-Dual Absolute as being the knowledge that supports, or projects, the desired life experience for this dualistic creation.  This Existence is a singularity. This being who suffers the dreamlike delusion of desire, is nevertheless one with the singularity of conscious existence itself. "He" enables his own desires for rebirth into a material world, because he is also the substratum of existence, as are we all.
Upon realisation of the reality of the Absolute, the realised consciousness attains to the Truth and Bliss of Absolute Consciousness.

"the indivisible Consciousness",

All the descriptions of "states of being" that are used such as waking state or dream state or birth experience and so forth are merely for the convenience of explanation.  In truth all of existence is the One indivisible Non-Dual Consciousness. All experienced divisions or states are Maya. Maya means the dreamlike illusion that gives the experience of many in the one Conscious Singularity of existence.

"in whom the three cities dissolve themselves".

Just as our dream experiences dissolve themselves into our waking consciousness when we wake.  Our experience of a life dissolves itself into Absolute Consciousness, which alone truly exists, when the body dies.

The reference to "previous births" means a recurring life experience.  This repeated experience of birth is due to his "connection with deeds done in previous births",  (life experiences),  without relinquishing desire.  Desires exist only within material Creation. Therefore desires can only be satisfied by material creation.  The meaning here is that when this "jiva" or "soul" or consciousness,  experiences the death of the form, it retains the consciousness of desire. Therefore it returns to the state of experiencing birth, life, and death,  meaning it returns to the "waking state",  which is still a kind of dreaming.
From this very consciousness of desire the appearance of duality and the universe arise,  "sprung up all diversity",  which is maintained so long as desire is maintained.
When this person wakes up from desire and emerges into Absolute Consciousness, this being, with its three states of experience will "dissolve themselves" to unmanifest knowledge which is that indivisible Absolute Consciousness,  just as a dream dissolves itself into the waking consciousness of the being in the morning.

 

15. From This spring up prana vital breath,  mind,  all the organs,  sky,  air,  fire,  water and the earth that supports all.

"From This spring up prana vital breath,  mind,  all the organs"

The whole of this phenomenal universe is a projection ("From This spring up")  of material  ("breath mind and organs")   forming the body through which to experience worldly knowledge.
Breath,  Mind and organs describe the creation of the sentient forms of mankind.
"sky,  air,  fire,  water and the earth that supports all"
Correspondingly sky,  air,  fire and so forth describe the creation of this world to support the reborn man.

As described in the previous verse,  the experience of the states of life,  death and rebirth are caused and maintained by desire. 
When this jiva,  this self,  Realises the reality of the non-dual Absolute, which naturally leads to the falling away of worldly desires, this jiva will reawaken into the Truth and Bliss of Absolute Consciousness alone.

 

16. That which is the Supreme Self,  the soul of all,  the great support of the universe,  subtler than the subtle,  and eternal - that is thyself,  and thou art That.

"That which is the Supreme Self,  the soul of all,  the great support of the universe"

The Absolute is the singularity of existence.  The Absolute, being the totality of existence, is the Self or any other name that may exist.  The created universe is the Absolute.   All beings them-Selves are the Absolute.

"subtler than the subtle,  and eternal - that is thyself,  and thou art That"

The material form of all things and beings is transient and mortal.  All forms arise from the same material and decay back to that material eventually.
That which alone is eternal is the consciousness and knowledge that supports this very existence.  It is subtle because it isn't itself manifest. It is the subtle knowledge that enables manifestation itself, what was once manifest, what is manifest now, and what will be made manifest. All past, present and future exist now in subtle knowledge and Consciousness.
The statement "thou art That" is the closest available description of the subtle unknowable Non-Dual Consciousness upon which we experience this being,  this life.

 

17. "That which manifests the phenomena,  such as the states of wakefulness,  dream and profound sleep,  I am that Absolute" Realizing thus one is liberated from all bonds.

"That which manifests the phenomena,  such as the states of wakefulness,  dream and profound sleep"

That Absolute alone Exists.  Without this Absolute Consciousness there could not be the conscious experience of these different states of dream etc.

"I am that Absolute"

This is the most basic of logical statements but it is still difficult for the mind to encompass.  After realising the reality of existence as being the singularity of all things, then Absolutely all beings must realise themselves as "I am that".

"Realizing thus one is liberated from all bonds"

Our perception of bondage comes from our perception of duality. With the realisation of non-duality, the bondage of ignorance falls away.

There are two fundamental truths which need to be realised from this verse.
One is that all apparent changes of consciousness are not real.  There is only One Consciousness and that is unchanging,  unmoving and Absolute.
The experiences of birth sleeping or waking and so forth are just that,  conscious experiences provided from the absolute knowledge of such possibilities.  Nothing actually happens or changes.
The second fundamental truth here is that you are "That" or "This" Consciousness.  This Solitary Consciousness of Absolute Knowledge is existence Itself.  This material life that you are experiencing is taking place because you desired to flourish materially.  Until you alone Realise this and wake up from this desire into the Truth and Bliss of Absolute Consciousness, you will continue to experience the consciousness of the changing states of a worldly life.

 

18. What constitute the enjoyable,  the enjoyer,  and the enjoyment,  in the three abodes - different from them all am I,  the Witness,  the Pure Consciousness,  the Eternal Good the Sovereign Will.

"What constitute the enjoyable,  the enjoyer,  and the enjoyment,  in the three abodes"

The observer, the observed and the experience are forms of knowledge. Every-thing is timelessly known in the one consciousness of existence. Consciousness is formed of all-knowing. Consciousness Absolute is the unmoving, unchanging witness of all existence.

"different from them all am I,  the Witness"

"different from them all am I" because the Absolute  is   all things at once. It is not any   thing .

"the Pure Consciousness,  the Eternal Good"

Pure because Consciousness is Absolute Knowledge. Nothing else exists. The Absolute is timelessly complete. The "Eternal Good" is all that Exists.  It is "good" because all must conform perfectly to Absolute Knowledge because there is no other form of existence.

"the Sovereign Will"

This statement also confirms the fact of "eternal good" because here "Will" is formed of that very same Absolute Knowledge and there is none higher,  none lower and none other.

19. In me alone is everything born,  in me does everything rest,  and in me is everything dissolved.  I am that One alone without a second.

"In me alone is everything born,  in me does everything rest,  and in me is everything dissolved"

"me alone" refers to Absolute Consciousness.  The meaning is that all experiences of individuals,  groups,  birth,  death and so forth take place "in" the One Consciousness.

"I am that One alone without a second"

This is confirmation of the above meaning which is to say existence is not made up of many forms all joined by one thing to form a contrived unity.  The Truth is literally that Consciousness alone Exists and all apparent diversity is merely an experience within that Singularity of Consciousness and knowledge.

You alone are all.  Kaivalya,  the Solitary realisation of alone is the great responsibility this Upanishad is trying to wake us up to.  You cannot share this responsibility with others because "others" are not the reality of existence.  All perceptions,  thoughts,  ideas and concepts can be allowed to fall away.  Nothing needs to be retained.  When all is gone your infinite being alone remains.  This is not easy to achieve.  Courage and great faith in the truth is needed.

 

20. I am more minute than the minute,  I am likewise the greatest of all,  I am the manifold universe.  I am the Ancient One,  the Consciousness and the Ruler,  I am the Effulgent One,  and the All-good.

"I am more minute than the minute,  I am likewise the greatest of all".

The meaning here is that the Absolute is beyond measure.  Because the Absolute alone "is" the entirety of existence. There is no   other   to be greater or smaller, no duality.   Further,  being the entirety of existence the Absolute is without exterior or interior.

"I am the manifold universe.  I am the Ancient One,  the Consciousness and the Ruler".

It has been explained before that the Absolute is the Universe and all things, and being the eternal Primal unity of existence it is the Ancient One.  Further,  there exists nothing older nor does there exist anything younger than the Absolute.

"I am the Effulgent One,  and the All-good"

Being the source of knowledge of all things the Absolute is the light of all existence.  All conforms perfectly to the one source of knowledge and is therefore all-good.

The meaning here is that because you are the Solitary totality of this very existence you are all labels or all descriptions because you are all there is.  Being this totally adequate completeness alone, it is your Solitary Responsibility to Realise the Truth of This.

 

21. Without arms and legs am I,  of unthinkable power; I see without eyes,  and I hear without ears.  I know all,  and am different from all.  None can know me.  I am always the Intelligence.

"Without arms and legs am I,  of unthinkable power; I see without eyes,  and I hear without ears".

The Absolute is without form or attributes.  The Absolute, being the very act of thinking, is the thinking principle it-self. The Absolute is beyond thought.  Being the sense principle it-self the Absolute is beyond the senses.

"I know all,  and am different from all"

The meaning of the statement "I know all" is that the Absolute is the very Knowledge It-self from which all This is projected.
It follows that, as the Absolute alone is literally all things, then the Absolute is different from all things.

"None can know me.  I am always the Intelligence"

Being the intelligence principle itself, that is the Knower of all knowing, as it were, the Absolute It-self cannot be known.

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22. I alone am taught in the various Vedas,  I am the revealer of the Vedanta or Upanishads,  and I am also the Knower of the Vedas.  For me there is neither merit nor demerit,  I suffer no destruction,  I have no birth,  nor any self-identity with the body and the organs.

"I alone am taught in the various Vedas".

The Vedas symbolise knowledge itself which is the Absolute itself alone.

"I am the revealer of the Vedanta or Upanishads,  and I am also the Knower of the Vedas".

The Absolute is existence as Knowledge.  Knowledge lights and reveals the "Vedanta or Upanishads" and literally all things.

"For me there is neither merit nor demerit".

Because the Absolute is the singularity of existence, there is no other to label or judge  "merit or demerit"

"I suffer no destruction,  I have no birth,  nor any self-identity with the body and the organs".

The Absolute is without origination, unborn, so therefore is immutable and immortal, and is beyond destruction.  Without origination it is without birth or form. It is the formless conscious knowledge that supports all things yet is identified with none.

 

23. For me there is neither earth,  nor water,  nor fire,  nor air,  nor ether.  Thus realizing the observer,  who lies in the cavity of the heart,  who is without parts,  and without a second,  the Witness of all,  beyond both existence and non-existence one attains the Pure Consciousness Itself.

"For me there is neither earth,  nor water,  nor fire,  nor air,  nor ether".

From Absolute knowledge, all the elements and everything else are projected in consciousness. But the Absolute is the knower of the thing, not the thing itself.

"Thus realizing the observer,  who lies in the cavity of the heart,  who is without parts,  and without a second,  the Witness of all"

"The cavity of the heart",  it should be understood,  literally means cavity or void or just space.
The meaning is, all that Exists is the Absolute.
If the Absolute did not exist, there would be no existence.
If there were no existence,  then that cavity, or space, or void could not exist either.
If there were no existence, then even the room, as it were, for space to exist, would not exist.

When the truth of non-duality and the singularity of conscious knowledge is realised, it is felt in the heart of our being. Even the cavity within the heart, because it exists, is Absolute Knowledge, the knower of all.
Whatever or wherever the organ of perception   (here the heart),  may appear to be,  it is manifest within,  as it were,  Absolute Knowledge.  So,  here the  "empty"  cavity of the heart is the absolute and so can be known there.

The Absolute is known within the heart of the intellect of the sage as the subtle "self". This  "self"  provides the light of knowledge that guides the meditating sage to the Realisation of the Absolute Self, the  "Witness of all".

"beyond both existence and non-existence one attains the Pure Consciousness Itself"

The Absolute is the existence principle itself. Therefore it is the existence of existence. 
Realising the Absolute Self thus, the sage Realises Absolute Consciousness, and finds his way to unity as that Consciousness alone.

Although now accepted to be false,  giving up ambition and desire is as if sawing through the very branch that is the sole support between the seeker's reason for being and oblivion below.
The courageous,  desiring that Absolute Truth,  suffer the heat of this fear to surrender themselves to the reality of the Absolute.
That heat caused by the action of the irrepressible working for Truth is real.  It may cause actual distress.  It has an emotional content.  It is a drama.
The experience is of two worlds,  or as Dogen Zenji states in his Genjokoan  "When one side is lit,  the other side is dark".
With the child clinging fearfully to the branch of the tree,  the world he knows,  he is afraid to give up the little security he has even though his father is close with arms outstretched urging the child to let go.  Once the move is made,  and the child is safe in the world of the father's arms, the world of the tree distorted by fear is forgotten.
Before Self Realisation the concept of "I alone Exist" is difficult.  After Self Realisation the understanding that assumes the duality of seperate existences is profoundly felt to be untrue.
The Absolute,  the  primal Consciousness,  the eternal Observer is unmoved throughout this play but the material body and emotions however,  being a prop within the play, can be seen to register all consequences.

 

24. He who studies the satarudriya is made pure as fire,  is purified from the sin of drinking,  purified from the sin of killing a brahmana from deeds done knowingly or unawares. Through this he has his refuge in The Absolute,  the Supreme Self.  One who belongs to the highest order of life should repeat this always or once a day.

"He who studies the satarudriya  (prays or meditates)"

The being of this verse is understood to be an accomplished Meditator who "studies and prays".  He will be a Realised sage.

"is made pure as fire,  is purified from the sin of drinking,  purified from the sin of killing a Brahmana  (priest)  from deeds done knowingly or unawares".

The Realised sage does not commit sins.  All labels themselves are a fundamental error of duality.
The realised sage is purified through his/her realisation of the truth of the Absolute singularity of existence.  All impurity comes from duality arising from the ignorance that is the forgetting of the singularity of the Absolute.

"Through this he has his refuge in The Absolute,  the supreme Self".

The sage having Realised the Absolute will know the Absolute to be the truth of existence. There is no other refuge.  All else will be seen as undesirable, false and transient.

"One who belongs to the highest order of life should repeat this always or once a day"

The meaning here is that the Truth once seen needs to be remembered   lest one is caught by desire. It is the forgetting of the unity of the Absolute that led to that original ignorance and duality.

Such a person leaves behind them all sins just as they leave behind them the false being of ignorance they appeared to be.  This person now resides in higher awareness of the Absolute Self.  As such, each day will be lived according to and within the understanding of this knowledge.
There are subtle entities,  egoism etc.  that have a vested interest in one's subservience.  The unreal is a very real prison.  Choosing the path of truth and suffering any pain in the process leads to greater awareness of the divine.
The only way for the wise is to face the pain of struggle for freedom now or suffer a disturbing dream forever.  Once the Absolute is felt,  true love will lead the way.

 

25. By means of this,  one attains the knowledge that destroys the ocean of samsara or repeated transmigration.  Therefore,  knowing thus one attains the fruit of Kaivalya or liberation,  verily one attains liberation.

"By means of this,  one attains the knowledge that destroys the ocean of samsara or repeated transmigration".

Once the Truth is seen, all untruth evaporates.  The realisation of the truth or knowledge of the Non-Dual unity of existence invalidates the ignorance of duality.  Consciousness of The Absolute leads back home to unity with Absolute Consciousness.

"Therefore,  knowing thus one attains the fruit of Kaivalya or liberation,  verily one attains liberation"

The fruits of Kaivalya are liberation in this lifetime.

As in nature a sick body will raise its temperature to kill off unwanted germs.
So here,  driven by the desire for truth at any cost, the wise struggle against the bonds of delusion. Using the weapons of divine reason and higher knowledge,  has caused the resultant heat to burn away all impediments,  thus clarifying the truth.

Through the attainment of truth,  the seed of Kaivalya is carried to maturation.  Finally free of sins through birth, the sufferer of ignorance and desire,  achieves Absolute Consciousness,  "verily one attains liberation".

 

Here The Kaivalya Upanishad Ends

 

Kaivalya is less to do with being alone than it is to do with Realising ones Solitary responsibility for Realising ones identity within Absolute Consciousness alone.  Being the truth of all alone is the reality,  not even a goal.  Truth alone sets you free.

After Kaivalya,  in the conscious light of Absolute knowledge,  all else is realised to be an illusion.
What remains is Solitary undifferentiated completeness.

"That light is within us.
There is no other help.
That light illumines the direct path,
the straight path. 
There is no need to carry anything. 
But this is subtle knowledge, 
very difficult".
from "The Map of The Journey To God" p38.
Sufi shaikh M.R.Bawa Muhaiyaddeen,  may Allah be pleased with him.

 

Jesus Said,
The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.
Luke 17:20
Neither will they say,  "Look,  here"!  or,  "Look,  there"! 
"for behold,  the Kingdom of God is within you".
Luke 17:21

 

Ohm   peace,   peace,   peace.

 

 

Kenneth Jaques Advaita Vedanta Philosophy Ashram. Original Content Creative Commons Agreement.