विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि ।
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः ॥ १८ ॥ (5.18)
The sages perceive the same truth in the Brahmana, rich in knowledge and culture, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eating outcast.
विद्या means complete knowledge of the import of the Vedas or knowledge of Brahman. विनय means pridelessness, i.e. modesty.
In a knower of Brahman endued (सम्पन्न) with those two and ब्राह्मणे, in a Brahmana who is modest, who is possessed of the quality of सत्व and is the best among all; so also गवि, in a cow, which is unrefined, possessed of the quality of रजस् and has a middle position; also हस्तिनि, in the elephant; शुनि, in a dog; श्वपाके च, as also in the eater of dog’s meat, who is extremely possessed of the quality of तमस्, and in the lowest of all; पण्डिताः, the learned ones, the men of knowledge; समदर्शिनः, see the same Entity; they are apt to see दर्शिन in all the aforesaid beings the same Entity समम्, Brahman, which is untouched by qualities of सत्व etc. as also the impressions produced by them. As the sun reflected on the waters of Ganga, on a big tank, on wine, or on urine has no contact with their merits or defects, similarly Brahman too, when reflected through the semblance of Consciousness has no touch with the merits or defects of the उपाधि (the limiting adjuncts).
The learned ones who recognise thus, being devoid of likes and dislikes owing to the vision of sameness everywhere, experience जीवन्मुक्ति because of the manifestation of the supreme bliss. This is the idea.
Is it not looking upon beings–whose nature are different according to qualities of सत्व. रजस् and तमस्–as equal prohibited by धर्मशास्त्र?
Commencing with ‘His food should not be eaten’, Gautama Smriti says: सम-असमाभ्याम् विषम-समे पूजात: (गौतम धर्म्सूत्र 17.20).
A sacrificer incurs sin, says Gautama, by not adoring equally one who an equal and by adoring equally one who is not an equal.
As compared with the particular form of adoration that is offered to the persons who are versed in the four vedas and are very righteous in their actions, through the presentation of clothes, ornaments, food etc. if a form of adoration lesser than that is offered to another who is indeed equally versed in the four Vedas and is righteous in behaviour, and similarly, as compared with the forms of adoration that is better than that inferior adoration, and is equal to the best adoration offered to one who is of that kind and unequal and inferior in comparison with the above mentioned Brahmin–who is learned in the Vedas and is of righteous conduct–, then on account of adoring a superior person in an inferior way, and an inferior person in a superior way, the food of the adorer becomes uneatable. This is the meaning.
And the other fault is that the adorer, by not folloowing the adequate decorum, becomes deprived of the wealth and virtue.
Although in the case of ascetics, who do not accept gifts, there naturally exists ‘uneatability of their food’ and ‘paucity of wealth’ on account of absence of cooking and lack of wealth, still, they do incur the fault of ‘loss of virtue’.
And ‘uneatability of food’ referred to in the smriti is used figuratively to indicate the generation of sin on account of unholiness.
And as for the ascetics, since they have austerity itself as their wealth, they do incur the loss of that wealth.
Hence how can the learned ones with the sameness of vision be जीवन्मुक्त? The answer comes next.