Invocation
Om May no harm be done Here, May the vessels of the great Seers continue in Salvation, May these movements be in accord with Divine Will, May this desire be motivated by Love, May what is not beneficent wither to obscurity.  I prostrate.

 

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The Kaivalya Upanishad With Advaita commentary from our understanding.
updated 14th January 2016

Introduction

 

Kaivalya,  the word itself,  means solitary or alone.
The ultimate meaning of Kaivalya is the full understanding of the reality of the words "I Alone am true Existence".

The Kaivalya Upanishad is an advanced philosophy and is in reply to the plea of Ashvalayana,  already advanced in both years and practice.  Ashvalayana askes for the full understanding and realisation of the truth of his non-dual identity with the Absolute Brahman or God. 

It is well known that the wise see their own "self" in all others and see all others as their own "self",  which,  within the apparent duality of creation means all are one.
But,  the Kaivalya Upanishad means us to understand more than just that,  hence the reason for its existence. 

Even with the above knowledge the wise Rishi,  the Sage of the Kaivalya Upanishad also knows that The Singularity of Existence,  The Absolute Itself,  cannot be Realised through that knowledge alone.  Ultimately even any consideration of "all" is a duality that should be negated because true Realisation is of the primal singularity of Existence Alone,  without origination.  True Realisation is not seen through the apparent forms of creation,  as it were.  Divine Realisation arises within the conscious awareness that this very awareness itself is all there is.  Consciousness is not shared by "others".  The seeing of "others" is a lonely delusion of this solitary consciousness. 

The Kaivalya Upanishad talks of the last stage of full realisation,  gaining the knowledge and understanding that completes and frees the Realised to emerge Alone from duality as One,  as The Absolute. 

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

Concerning the completion of our journey,  it also seems propitious to consider this Upanishad to help illuminate the basic motivation and work of all students.  Through grace one may feel troubled,  causing pause for thought,  allowing the insight to arise that something is missing,  that this living is not satisfying our higher purpose.  In our more introspective or intuitive moments most people would admit to the feeling that there is within their self the seed of a higher or a nobility of purpose.  The initial impulse to seek higher truth is the germination of this seed.  This causes one to turn to a spiritual life.  Whether you are then drawn to 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.

Considering the terms solitary,  alone,  Kaivalya.  It must be understood right from the beginning that these terms,  aloneness and so forth are terms of duality in themselves.
Ironically,  these terms are only relevant to the state of duality and forgetting that we are in right now.  You can feel alone now,  this is why the consideration of Absolute Aloneness causes profound fear or sadness.  But,  after the proper Realisation of your Solitary Existence you will never feel or be alone again because aloneness will not exist.
Consider,  fear itself in all its forms only arises within duality.  This is because duality itself only exists through the forgetting of our non-dual identity with or as the Divine Absolute or God.  Once the Absolute,  God,  The primal singularity of Existence is realised the state of one's existence is Absolutely Complete. 

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

Chapter one

Section 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 highest"

When Ashvalayana is moved to sound his desire for knowledge and union with the Absolute it is that seed of Divinity that is maturing.  Kaivalya itself is the fruition of purpose and realisation of life's journey.

"always cultivated by the good".

The knowledge of the Absolute which Ashvalayana desires is that same knowledge that all the good and wise cultivate or nurture from within their being.  The good are the ones that can discriminate between transient material truth and eternal truth.
The intuition that this higher truth exists is the beginning of wisdom.

"secret"

That described as secret means that understanding that is subtle and can only come from within ones own self,  arising from ones own intuition,  albeit helped and guided by the Guru in revealing the subtle meaning within the words of the scriptures. 

"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 might cause forgetting of the Absolute Self or delay ones inevitable attainment of that truth.  There would be no big sin or little sin.  A sin is just an action or way that is,  for the moment,  in ignorance of the Absolute,  God, or Brahman.
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 Buddhi or intellect.  This highest Truth of Non-Duality contains the understanding that the duality of high and low does not exist in reality,  this is indeed 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 you free and as an example he 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"

As stated above,  this subtle or "secret" knowledge,  can only be known and understood by those with faith and love of the truth for truths own sake.  Higher knowledge has to be sought with a vision that is focused through disciplined practices ("yoga") led by meditation and inner enquiry.  This process takes time and dedication and is a path for the devoted only.

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

Very quickly our true purpose in life is covered by the unreal values of the majority which arise through the delusion of duality,  guided by material face values,  which deny the growth of the subtle seed of true purpose,  allowing the false values to delude us into believing our purpose is the material "success" of accumulating worldly knowledge,  wealth fame and power.
It is the delusion of duality that causes the seeing of others as separate existences from ourselves.  Duality is the forgetting of the underlying unity of all existence,  this forgetting gives rise to the fear of inadequacy that causes the need or desire to collect material wealth for protection and status.  It is only through duality that inadequacy can be experienced,  inadequacy imagines the need for work and increase.  The desire for progeny is the desire to thrive with love for material prosperity within this creation that was itself caused through desire.
The meaning here is that the higher Knowledge that transcends this world cannot be seen or achieved while flourishing through material acquisition. 

"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 the achievements of wealth,  work or progeny but through the renunciation of this unreality we achieve 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 reveal 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 and all relative terms refer to this apparent Creation of duality which is transient and mortal.  "That" which "shines" referred to here is the light of Absolute Knowledge which is eternal because it is Primal knowledge and transcends this Creation.  It is immortal therefore "Higher than heaven".

"seated in the intellect of the heart"

This verse contains a profound truth of Advaita,  of non-duality,  The meaning here is that Absolute knowledge is Eternal Existence and is therefore eternally available,  and can be attained through the intellect of the heart or Buddhi purified through right practices.

"That shines which the self-controlled attain"

"That" which shines is the eternal knowledge and Consciousness that is the Absolute Self.  Although this knowledge is available to all and is seen by all it is the "self-controlled",  meaning those having undergone a discipline of yoga and meditation,  that become more conscious of higher truth,  of this subtle knowledge seen through the intuition of the Buddhi,  the more cleansed transcendent intellect controlled by an "Insightful" heart . Those who believe the material world to be the "real world" rationalise this insight away too quickly.

"The Ascetics,  who being of pure minds have well ascertained the Reality,  by the knowledge of Vedanta,  and through sannyasa (Final Ashram practice)".

The Kaivalya Upanishad here describes the Ascetic having undertaken the path of the Sannyasin.  Through contemplation,  meditation and complete disentanglement from the sensual and material world,  the intellect of the heart,  Buddhi,  has been purified enabling proper discrimination for the truth of the "self" to be intuitively seen,  This truth then becomes the proper guide enabling the realisation of the Absolute Self.

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

This verse tells us that this realised being achieves liberation (unity with the Absolute) in this sphere of Creation,  this lifetime or,  by the time of the end of material Creation,  "Cosmic dissolution".

This means it is through the teaching of the sage and meditation practices that one purifies the intellect that can intuitively discriminate higher knowledge to Realise the truth of Existence that liberates one.

 

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"

The ascetic seeking the Absolute Alone is most complete within the Solitariness of his own self. 
Here the ascetic is described in the meditating posture sitting in seclusion.  No other work will be undertaken other than that necessary for the facilitation of meditation.

"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 now free from the delusion of desire so now naturally renounces the material world as unreal and undesirable to the wise man of higher understanding.

"saluting his own teacher with reverence".

The sage will always be available for his teachers and his realisation of unity will contain insight and understanding of how he or she received that truth.

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

Here the "lotus of the heart" refers to the higher intellect or Buddhi.  Buddhi is the subtle quality of being that,  in stillness,  has access to "Absolute Knowledge" through which divine reason and discrimination can reveal the truth of the Absolute Itself.
It is from meditation that is free from Manas,  mind and thinking that this higher truth that transcends material Creation is seen or realised through intuition.
With Realisation comes the awareness of this singularity or Non-Duality.  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" of 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 is a part of this 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 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 in fact "yourself".  You are the Absolute because the Absolute is all this very Existence.  Through the delusion of Maya there is an experience within consciousness of duality and a "self",  nevertheless there is but one Consciousness so the experience in consciousness of a thinking "self" is in reality merely a projection by the Absolute "Self".
This means that the projected experience of a "self" thinking cannot logically encompass that "Absolute Self" that projects that very thinking experience.
Therefore the Non-Dual Absolute ItSelf cannot be truly examined by the duality of thought,  the Absolute is  "unthinkable".

It is for the above reason that any meditation practice that might transcend Creation to experience the Absolute would be effectively delayed so long as it slips into desire and thinking.

"unmanifest".

The Absolute is the "unmanifest" primal singularity that is knowledge and consciousness absolute.  All that is manifest is merely a projection of that "unmanifest" knowledge made manifest in Consciousness.
Therefore all that is manifest is the Absolute but the Absolute is greater than all this that is manifest,  therefore the Absolute Itself is "unmanifest".

"of endless forms".

As stated above all that is manifest,  which is this universe,  is the Absolute itself.  This universe consists of name and form only and is made manifest from the infinite knowledge that is the Absolute.
The Absolute is infinite knowledge therefore "of endless forms".

"the good".

"the good" taken literally assumes the duality of good and bad,  but in reality good and bad do not exist as duality does not exist.
The meaning here is to remind us that the absolute Alone exists so what "IS" is all there is therefore what "IS" is what is meant to be or correct or good or all that can be or simply the Absolute Alone.

"the peaceful".

"peaceful" means free from disturbance.  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 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"

As stated above the Absolute is without origination and immortal,  meaning this One is without dimensions.

"the only one"

Existence being this primal non-dual singularity literally means the Absolute Alone Exists,  the only One,  there is no other.

"all-pervading"

Whatever exists is pervaded completely by Existence.  The Absolute is Existence Alone therefore is all pervading.

"Consciousness,  and Bliss"

The Absolute being "the origin" of all things it consists of all knowledge.  The Absolute being absolute knowledge alone is therefore 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 meditating sage reaches the highest through an open heart Alone.  Such Realised Sages have reported back on the reality of the Absolute but that Absolute itself is unknowable.  The love of an open heart will through grace receive the knowledge of the Absolute but that Absolute will not be found through acquired knowledge or description,  This should be realised.

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

If the Sage were to look back he would see a past life of negotiating a path through the unreal and the untrue.  Here now in the tranquillity of renunciation,  meditating at the feet of the Absolute he has transcended the unreal and has found his way home to the Absolute "source of all,  the (unmoving) witness of all".

"and is beyond darkness and delusion"

Having once transcended the untruth and delusion of duality one will have seen the light of the Knowledge of Non-Duality.  Once the light of Truth is seen this One Alone is forever beyond the darkness of ignorance.

Understanding that the Absolute source of all is a singularity the sage reaches that singularity through Realising his own identity as that Solitary singularity.

 

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 seen as the one highest reality.  Knowing this One Alone the Sage sees this reality in all descriptions.

"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 Truth is naturally eternal by definition.  The Absolute is Truth  (knowledge)  itself.

"the Supreme"

Being the primal singularity,  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 and Absolute knowledge lights itself and all things.

"He alone is All"

The Absolute is the Primal Singularity Alone.  Apart from that Absolute nothing else exists.

"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 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,  whatever the 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"

This statement is the established fact of the scriptures.  Upon this fact is based the highest understanding.
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) 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").

"There is no other way to freedom"

It is immediately 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 leads the consciousness to the repetition of the unreal.  The definition of ignorance here is the forgetting of our true identity with the Non-Dual Absolute or God,  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"

Through the master practice of Meditation,  when the Absolute Self is Realised through perfected discrimination this Self will be seen in and as all beings,  and all beings as the Self. 
This statement is true because as we have been told in verse (9) above "He alone is all that was,  and all that will be,  the Eternal".  The Absolute Self being all beings then all beings are the One Self. 

"one attains that highest Self"

The Sage through his Realisation will have attained higher knowledge of the Non-Dual Absolute.  Through this knowledge the Sage gains higher consciousness of the Absolute Self "attains that highest Self".

"Not by any other means"

This same Truth of the Self cannot be known via the senses or by deduction or from information or by any means other than Self Realisation attained through meditation practices.

The meaning here is that freedom is only attained through Self Realisation.  Realisation encompasses the recognition that all "others" are are but the experience of "This" Solitary 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 (Truth),  the lower fire stick and Aum (desire,  Creation),  the upper fire stick"

Likening the Truth of the Self to one fire stick and the ignorance of material desire (Aum) to the other fire stick and the two being rubbed together to cause friction and heat,  this verse describes the sustained burning away of ignorance as a decision and commitment. 

"through repeated friction causing the heat of knowledge"

The wise Sage,  after having cognised the existence of the Absolute,  he will willingly experience again and again the heat caused by the friction of increasing knowledge and understanding (Truth of the Self),  as it rubes and chaffs against the up to now accepted bonds of ignorance and desire within Creation. 
Significantly each encountered experience of the heat of truth replacing ignorance strengthens the courageous and clarifies 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 in the face of judgements by others based on duality.  Gaining the faith to let go of ones delusions gives rise to the heat of battle in overcoming uncertainty.  The wise will have made a decision to disregard fear and doubt to gain the Truth.

One man cannot serve two masters.  One cannot deny or renounce the untruth of the Created while at the same time having ambitions within Creation. 
The bonds of desire are burnt away by the constant struggle towards the light of the Absolute Self or God.

 

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",

We are born into this life experience with particular propensities for retaining ignorance,  the extent of which depends on the individual ("self or jiva") levels of consciousness.  But all beings of birth suffer the delusion of Maya.  This waking dream is the delusion of duality causing Creation to appear to have real existence,  which further maintains the ignorance which is the forgetting of our true identity with the Non-Dual Absolute.

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

This jiva,  this one deluded through duality 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 is the experience in consciousness of an individual interacting with the material world looking after his needs.  Pleasure is mistakenly seen as gain by those so deluded by duality and the consequent needs of their own individual ego. The desires of the ego covered by ignorance can be limitless,  resulting in seeking sex,  food,  drink,  power and so forth for personal satisfaction and aggrandisement,  the cause for which arises from the ignorance of duality and their need to assert themselves as individuals.

The man that accepts the duality of Creation as Reality and his master,  will see his "self" as his means to satisfy his desires within Creation.

 

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".

The dream state is the experience in consciousness of living within ones own Creation of events and phenomena.  This individual,  this deluded jiva consciousness,  suffers the same results of his delusions in the dream state as he does in the waking state,  due to both states being as a dream,  (as Maya),  all states being merely a projection of a "higher" Consciousness or "state",  as it were.  This is due to the dream state being merely the creation of that same consciousness of a waking state,  limited by the delusion of duality with its resultant desires.

"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.  In deep sleep one seems as that One Alone,  free from desiring and apparently blissful.

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

This apparent bliss is only due to the unawareness and subsequent ignorance of deep sleep,  "his form of bliss".

Only the Absolute Consciousness is true.  All "states" of consciousness are a projection of delusion.  Within this delusion beings "live" their experiences.

 

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 statement refers to the experience of birth  (rebirth)  within consciousness due to failure,  within the life experience,  to realise the truth of the Non-Dual Absolute before experiencing the death of the form.
The meaning is that due to consciousness still being deluded through desire and duality it was lead back to the means of achieving those material desires,  that means within the consciousness of birth  (rebirth)  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 desires is the being who is reborn into the three cities of Creation ("wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep").
The meaning is that the desires that cause rebirth are the very desires that cause the Creation of the material realm ("all diversity") in order to accommodate the desirous being.

"He is the substratum,  the bliss",

This verse confirms the Absolute Self as the substratum for this dualistic creation of the ignorant.  Upon realisation of the reality of the Self this realised consciousness attains 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 alone. All divisions or states are Maya causing that experience in the one existence of Consciousness.

"in whom the three cities dissolve themselves".

Within this false (Maya) creation of duality the "three cities" (the states of wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep) are subsumed once more as indivisible Consciousness of Absolute Knowledge Alone.

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",  which means each life experience,  or life state,  has been "lived" 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" consciousness experiences the death of the form it retains the consciousness of desire therefore it returns to,  or retains the state of experiencing birth life and death,  meaning it returns to the "waking state",  which is still a kind of dreaming,  taking up another form. 
From this very "jiva" consciousness of desire the appearance of duality and the universe arise,  "sprung up all diversity",  which is maintained so long as this Solitary jiva maintains desire. 
"Him" This Solitary "jiva" is One indivisible solitary Consciousness of existence experiencing the Maya of desire and the "three cities" of "wakefulness,  dream and deep sleep".  When this "jiva" wakes up from desire and emerges into Absolute Consciousness the three states will "dissolve themselves" to unmanifest knowledge which is that indivisible Absolute Consciousness,  just as a dream dissolves itself into the waking consciousness of the man arising 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 transient 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 form of the first born or reborn man.
"sky,  air,  fire,  water and the earth that supports all"
Correspondingly sky,  air,  fire and so forth describe this created world that supports the reborn man.

"This" refers to This Solitary jiva or this Solitary Existence or this Solitary indivisible Absolute Consciousness of Knowledge,  they are One Alone and the same.
"From This"  that has desire,  springs up the form of the body and the form of the universe to provide the experience in consciousness of obtaining and experiencing that desire. 

As described in the previous verse,  the Solitary experience of the states of life,  death and rebirth are caused and maintained by desire. 
When this Solitary jiva,  this Solitary self,  Realises the reality of Absolute Self 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 Exists Alone.  The Self is the Absolute.  The Self represents the Created universe,  in particular the One Self represents the Truth of the Non-Duality of all beings themSelves. 

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

The material form of all thing and beings is transient and mortal,  all forms arise from the same material and decay back to that material when finished.
That which is eternal is the subtle consciousness and knowledge that supports this very existence.  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.

It is yourSelf that is the All.  You Alone are Solitarily responsible for Realising the reality of this Self,  and through that Realisation bring about liberation through the cessation of this false creation of ignorance because as stated in this verse,  "You are That" which is unmanifest and eternal. 

 

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 this dream state.  Without this Absolute Consciousness there could not be the conscious experience of these different states.

"I am that Absolute"

This is the most basic of logical statements but it is still difficult for the mind to encompass.  After coming to terms with the reality of Existence being a unity of all things then Consciousness itself becomes Non-Dual then Absolutely all beings must see themselves as "I am that".

"Realizing thus one is liberated from all bonds"

When through proper discrimination the Absolute is perceived and Realised as the One substratum upon which all apparent states or dreams are manifest then one can drive a wedge between the real and the unreal and gain liberation from desire,  the unreal will no longer form any desires or bonds.

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 apparent experience of birth sleeping or waking and so forth are just that,  simply the conscious experience of the knowledge of such change,  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 desire to flourish within this unreal experience.  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 your desires,  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"

If duality were true or possible then an enjoyable thing would have a traceable existence unlinked to anything else in existence.
Likewise the being who is the enjoyer would have a legitimate unique existence independent of any other.
So also would enjoyment itself have to lend itself to the experience of others because having its own existence would mean it was autonomous.

"different from them all am I,  the Witness"

With direct reference to "enjoyment" above this statement confirms that the Non-Dual Absolute Consciousness is That that is not one thing nor the other "different from them all am I" because the Absolute is the Singularity that is the witness and support for all the apparent diversity of creation.

"the Pure Consciousness,  the Eternal Good"

Being pure Consciousness of Absolute Knowledge Alone there is not that duality of another to deny the one intention.  The meaning is that the "Eternal Good" is all that Exists.  It is "good" because all must conform correctly to Absolute Knowledge because there is no other form of Existence.

"the Sovereign Will"

This statement 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.

The three abodes (conscious states) themselves and all that arises within them are the creation of desire and therefore unreal,  this has been explained.
The meaning here is that you Alone really exist,  because you are the Solitary witnessing Consciousness of these experiences. 
Realising the Absolute as "I" all else can be allowed to fall away.  All that You Alone really are,  is the Absolute Alone.  Whatever else comes to mind can be let go of as unreal,  "that" that lets go can be surrendered because this verse tells us that your true being is pure Consciousness,  purely the witness.  By letting go of all concern for doing,  that eternal purity of Consciousness Alone remains.

 

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.

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 Self 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" existence there is not that other to be greater or smaller.  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 to put an end to the Creation of untruth.

 

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.  Being the thinking principle itself the Absolute is beyond thought.  being the sense principle itself 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 from which all is projected.
It follows that as the Absolute 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 the Absolute is always beyond being knowable. 

This is the description of the Absolute Self.  The Absolute is "All This".  The wise and Realised Sages,  understanding that the Self is unknowable and unthinkable,  they surrender their limited idea of an individual self.

 

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".

As the Absolute is the One supreme controller or Will then the Absolute can suffer no labels of division.

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

The Absolute is without origination therefore is immutable and immortal and is beyond destruction.  Without origination it is without birth and being formless it encompasses all things and is identified with none.

There is nothing that is not "I".  Further to this,  but also the significance of this,  Reality itself is a creation of "I"

 

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".

For the Sage at rest meditating in the last ashram of life there is neither home nor away neither becoming nor having become although the knowledge of all these exists.
Likewise with the Truth Consciousness and Bliss of the Absolute there is nothing relevant but all things are known  (are knowledge).

"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 ether.  The meaning is all that Exists is Absolute Consciousness.  Therefore,  Consciousness or Absolute knowledge is Existence itself and relates to no thing.  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 Self 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 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,  likewise with non-existence the Absolute is beyond all such labels.
Realising the Absolute Self thus the Sage Realises Absolute Consciousness and finds his way to unity as that Consciousness Alone.

Through divine discrimination the truth is now heard in the words of the Sages and the scriptures. 
The enlightened seeker,  the one to whom has been revealed the truth of Existence will no longer see Truth in duality.  A sincere attempt,  a decision to attain higher Truth through Self Realisation requires surrendering,  relinquishing dualistic personal beliefs and support.  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 seekers reason for being and oblivion below.  The courageous,  desiring that Truth felt through the love of the Absolute,  suffer the heat of this fear and 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".  The child clinging fearfully to the branch of the tree,  the world he knows,  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 Fathers 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 duality is profoundly alien.
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 registers 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 "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 is purified through the realisation of the Truth of the Absolute.  All impurity comes from duality arising from the ignorance that is the forgetting of the Singularity of the Absolute.
The Realised Sage does not commit a sin.  All labels themselves are a fundamental error of duality.

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

The Sage having Realised the Absolute Self will know that Truth to be the only substance for rest or refuge,  all else will be seen as 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.  It is the forgetting of the unity of the Absolute that lead 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 the higher awareness of the Absolute Self,  as such each day will be lived according to and within the understanding of this knowledge.
Choosing the path of truth,  suffering any pain in the process lead to this greater awareness of the Divine.  One commits completely to that Reality.  The unreal is a very real prison.  There are subtle entities,  egoism etc. that have a vested interest in ones subservience.  The only way for the wise is to face the pain of struggle valiantly for freedom now or suffer a disturbing dream forever.  Once the Absolute is felt true Love will not allow rest.

 

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".

By means of the Truth all untruth is destroyed.  To Realise the Truth or Knowledge of the Non-Dual Unity of Existence is to invalidate past experience and understanding of untruth.  The consciousness limited by desire and duality that would have lead one back into the cycle of rebirth is expanded through the Consciousness of The Absolute which 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 the fruits of the acceptance of the responsibilities of "I Alone Exist".

That heat and pain of struggle is different now.  As in nature a sick body will raise its temperature to kill of microbes.
So here,  this struggle towards awakening assaulting the bonds of delusion with the ammunition of knowledge,  the weapons of will and the desire for truth at any cost,   has caused the resultant heat to burn away all impediments,  thus clarifying the truth.

By means of this truth,  the seed of Kaivalya is carried to maturation.  This divine gift is honoured.  Finally free from any former sins,  debts or charges the sufferer of the ignorance of desire,  creation and birth,  is free to return to Absolute Consciousness Alone, "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 as Absolute Consciousness Alone.  Being Truth Alone is the reality,  not even a goal.  Truth Alone sets you free.

After Kaivalya,  in the light of Absolute knowledge,  all else is seen as 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.