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Prelude to Isvara Gita - Part IV: Kaivalya Upanishad

Having seen jnāna-yoga that is the means to meditate on the self, the meditation of the Atharvasiras in which the Pāśupata-Vrata is enjoined to attain dispassion for material objects and discrimination of the self from the body, and the instance of the practice of such upāsana in the kūrma purāṇa, let us look at a couple of Upanishads which focus solely on these topics.
One such Upanishad is the Kaivalya Upanishad. The term “Kaivalya” itself denotes aloofness from prakrti – it refers to the pure state of the liberated self that has no connection with karmas.

This Upanishad, which has “jīvātma-anubhāva” as its’ primary theme, has been wrongly and unjustly interpreted by modern day shaivAdvaitins as pertaining to Shiva. In this context, we find it appropriate to echo the harsh criticism used by Sri Vadiraja Tirtha in his “Prakashika” on Advaitins to condemn these Shaiva friendly interpretations – “akin to a monkey's handling of a necklace of precious gems (markato svakaragata ratnamalaya iva)”.
Interestingly, one of these Shaiva commentators, Alladi Mahadeva Sastry, feels duty-bound to take every reference to “umāsahāyam” or “Siva” as referring to his preferred deity, but when the term “Vāsudeva” occurs in the Amrtabindu Upanishad, it apparently denotes a general meaning! This is not permitted by the Shastras, for there is no instance where Vāsudeva is used in a manner divorced from Nārāyaṇa /Vishnu, whereas there are several instances of terms like “Siva”, “Umāpati” being used to denote objects and entities other than Rudradeva. In contrast, the names – Nārāyaṇa and Vāsudeva – have not been used anywhere to denote any entity other than the highest Brahman in the Vedas and have been identified with the God Vishnu according to the Vishnu Gayatri.
When there is no devotion to Narayana, the Supreme Lord, for these authors who consider lesser gods as supreme, how can one understand the correct meanings of Shastras?
With that out of the way, let us begin the translation. The Ishvara Gita can be considered as the essence of the meanings contained in this Upanishad.
oṃ athāśvalāyano bhagavantaṃ parameṣṭhinamupasametyovāca ।
adhīhi bhagavanbrahmavidyāṃ variṣṭhāṃ sadā sadbhiḥ sevyamānāṃ nigūḍhām ।
yathā'cirātsarvapāpaṃ vyapohya parātparaṃ puruṣaṃ yāti vidvān  (1)
Meaning: Ashvalayana approached Parameshthi (Brahma) and asked him – “Teach me that Brahma-Vidya or science of meditation on the individual self, which is the highest goal, in which the sattvikas always dwell (in meditation), hidden (imperceptible by the senses), by which a knower or meditator drives away all sins quickly and obtains the (experience of the) individual self that dwells in the body, which is higher than prakrti that is distinct from it (parātparaṃ puruṣaṃ).
The theme of the Upanishad is “jnana-yoga” or meditation on the individual self. Paramatma is not the subject matter, rather the goal is to realize and experience the intrinsic bliss of the self.
It is called the highest goal as it is more pleasurable than material objects and is the highest object of attainment among all objects under Bhagavan’s control. It is higher than prakrti, which is distinct from it, hence it is called “parātparaṃ”. It is called “puruṣa” as it dwells in the body.
Ashvalayana approached Brahma in the manner of a sishya and asked him the question. “parameṣṭhin” means “parame sthāne tiṣtati” – One who resides in Satya Loka, the highest abode.
tasmai sa hovāca pitāmahaśca śraddhābhaktidhyānayogādavaihi  na karmaṇā na prajayā dhanena tyāgenaike amṛtatvamānaśuḥ (2)
Meaning: Brahma replied, “Know (the self) by conviction, devotion, meditation and performance of works without attachment to the fruits. Not by activities such as sacrifices, not by offspring, not by wealth, but by renunciation (of all these), the great ones attained the state of experience of the imperishable self.
Śraddhā – Steady conviction in the means practiced to attain the self.
bhakti – Devotion to the Supreme Lord Narayana. As Krishna says in the Gita, one needs to meditate on him to attain the similar state of the individual self. The Lord is the means to attain Atma-anubhava as well.
dhyāna – The path of jnana-yoga which involves meditation on the Lord as enshrined in the Pranava, to attain the self. Even for attaining the bliss of the individual self, the Lord alone is the means. The qualities of the individual self are also meditated upon.
yogā– This means “skill of action”. Performing actions skillfully means not claiming ownership of the fruit, with the constant thought that the self is distinct from the body which is performing these activities.
One should renounce fruits of sacrifices (karmas), offspring and wealth as these are material objects. The Gita makes this clear in the first 6 chapters.
“amṛtatvam” – The state of experience of the bliss of the imperishable self.
pareṇa nākaṃ nihitaṃ guhāyāṃ vibhrājate yadyatayo viśanti vedāntavijñānasuniśrcitārthāḥ saṃnyāsayogādyatayaḥ śuddhasattvāḥ (3)
Meaning: That supreme abode (the individual self) which is beyond prakrti (pareṇa nākaṃ), abiding in the cave of the heart (nihitaṃ guhāyāṃ), shining out (by itself), ie, self-luminous (vibhrājate) – That is entered by those with controlled minds, who have ascertained the goal by the knowledge of the Upanishads (vedāntavijñānasuniśrcitārthāḥ), whose minds have been purified by sannyasa yoga.
“sannyasa yoga” means jnāna-yoga. Renouncing action, meditating on the individual self to obtain its’ vision. The Yogi, having been purified by desireless action (karma yoga), proceeds to this stage where he devotes himself to the meditation on the individual self.
The minds of the aspirants are purified of desire for material objects by constant contemplation on the self.
te brahmalokeṣu parāntakāle parāmṛtāḥ parimucyanti sarve (4)
Meaning:  They (the Jīvās), located in the hearts of all beings (brahmalokeShu), during the time of destruction of the body, ie, death (parāntakāle), all become liberated from the nectar (experience) of material objects (parāmṛtāḥ parimucyanti sarve).
“brahmaloka” refers to the heart.   
“parāmṛtāḥ” – The different kinds of nectar or food (āmṛtāḥ) which signifies experience of material objects that are other than (parāḥ) the individual self, ie, of a different (perishable) nature.
This mantra also proves the plurality of Jīvās by saying “they”. Where it is mentioned in singular, it is only because they belong to a single class of identical Jīvās and not because there is only one entity that exists.
viviktadeśe ca sukhāsanasthaḥ śuciḥ samagrīvaśiraḥśarīraḥ ।
antyāśramasthaḥ sakalendriyāṇi nirudhya bhaktyā svaguruṃ praṇamya (5)   
Meaning:  In a secluded spot (free from people including relatives, preceptors, disciples, etc), seated in a comfortable posture (to facilitate continued meditation), pure (free of insects etc), with an erect neck, head and body, situated in the state of Paramahamsa Sannyasin (antyāśrama), restraining all the senses, with attachment (to the pursuit of the self as an object of attainment), bowing down to one’s preceptor.
These are all to be followed for Jnāna-Yoga and have been described in the Gita.
hṛtpuṇḍarīkaṃ virajaṃ viśuddhaṃ vicintya madhye viśadaṃ viśokam
acintyamavyaktamanantarūpaṃ śivaṃ praśāntamamṛtaṃ brahmayonim (6)
Meaning: In the heart-lotus, devoid of desire (virajaṃ), pure (viśuddhaṃ), who is contemplated upon in the midst of the vaiSvAnara agni (vicintya madhye), shining like a streak of lightening (viśadaṃ), devoid of sorrow (viśokam), who is incomparable (acintyam),  who is unmanifest to the ignorant (avyaktam), who assumes innumerable forms by his will depending on the occasion (anantarūpaṃ), who is agreeable (śivaṃ), who exists solely for his devotees (praśāntam), who is nectarine (amṛtaṃ) and the Cause of the collection of sentients and non-sentients (brahmayonim).
The Lord is to be meditated upon to attain the individual self. This is mentioned in the ākśaropāsaṇa of the Gita. The idea is that, by meditating on the Lord, one obtains the individual self that is divested of prakrti which is similar to the Lord (in being pure, all-pervasive in knowledge and beyond the sway of karma when divested of prakrti).
brahmayonim” – tasmād etat  brahma nāmarūpaṃ annaṃ ca jāyate (~ mundakOpanishad) –  it refers to the collection of sentients and non-sentients according to shrI ranga rAmAnuja muni.
praśāntam” – śāntaḥ - teṣām asti iti śāntaḥ – he exists only for his devotees.
viśadaṃ” – “nIlatoyadamadyasta” as in nārāyaṇa sūkta.
tathādimadhyāntavihīnamekaṃ vibhuṃ cidānandamarūpamadbhutam
umāsahāyaṃ parameśvaraṃ prabhuṃ trilocanaṃ nīlakaṇṭhaṃ praśāntam
dhyātvā munirgacchati bhūtayoniṃ samastasākśiṃ tamasaḥ parastāt (7)
Meaning: Therefore (tathā), meditating on the (aforementioned) Being who is devoid of a beginning, middle and end, who is all-pervading as the protector (vibhuM), who is of the nature of consciousness and bliss (cidānandam), who has a wonderful non-material form of half-man, half lion (arūpam adbhutam), who is always accompanied by shrI mahalakShmi who is his fame (umāsahāyaṃ), the Lord of all (parameśvaraṃ), One who has the power to attract the minds of all towards him by his beauty (prabhuṃ), the three-eyed (trilocanaṃ), the black throated (nīlakaṇṭhaṃ), One who makes the devotee enjoy him alone to the exclusion of all (praśāntam), the wise men reach that (individual self) which is the source of all beings (bhūtayoniṃ), that is the witness residing in all bodies (samastasākśiṃ), that is beyond prakrti (tamasaḥ parastāt).
“bhūtayoniṃ” – “bhUta” refers to embodied beings like man, deva etc. As these are all conditions of the individual self which is the effect, it is called the source or cause of these beings.
“samastasākśiṃ” – The individual self is the witness dwelling in these bodies.
Note that when we say “self”, we mean innumerable selves identical in nature. For eg: “rice” refers to several grains of rice which are identical.
Alternatively, it can also mean the Supreme Abode of Sri Vaikuntha. “bhūtayoniṃ” – "Yoni" means abode. "bhUta" refers to all muktas who have reached the abode. “samastasākśiṃ” – Perceived by all nitya-sUrIs (sadā paṣyanti sūraya:). There is no contradiction, since Jnana-Yogis could progress to Bhakti-Yoga and attain the Lord. Alternatively, while describing the Lord as the means, Paramapada is naturally mentioned.
sa brahmā sa śivaḥ sendraḥ so'kṣaraḥ paramaḥ svarāṭ । sa eva viṣṇuḥ sa prāṇaḥ sa kālo'gniḥ sa candramāḥ  (8)
Meaning: He is Brahma, He is Siva, He is Indra, He is the liberated Jiva (akshara), He is the celebrated Master of Karma. He alone is Vishnu, He is the Vital Breath, He is Time, He is Agni, He is the Moon.
The Upanishad is now teaching that the Lord is sarvāntarātma and everything is his vibhūti on account of being his body. Vishnu is verily the avatāra of Brahman while the rest have Brahman as their innerselves. This teaching is for the Jnāna-Yogi to meditate on the Lord as ensouling everything, including himself, to attain the similar state of the individual self which is the indweller of all the bodies.
Shaiva commentators like Alladi Mahadeva Sastry have rambled on here about how Uma (Parvati) is the cause of Brahma, Vishnu, etc according to this mantra. Such avaidika opinions are errant nonsense and have no place or context in this Upanishad.
sa eva sarvaṃ yadbhūtaṃ yacca bhavyaṃ sanātanam । jñātvā taṃ mṛtyumatyeti nānyaḥ panthā vimuktaye  (9)
Meaning: He alone is all, what has been, (what is) and what is yet to be, the eternal. Knowing him, one surpasses the distress of samsara. There is no other path to liberation (from the distress of samsara).
When it is said he is all that has been and will be, it is also meant that he is all that is presently existing as well. This is on account of his sarvāntaryāmitva, and by having all the entities as his body, he is said to be all using sāmānādhikaraṇya.
The mantra states that the Lord is the sarvāntaryāmin. This is to enable the Yogi seeking the experience of the individual self to realize the similarity between himself and the Lord – by meditating on the Lord who is sarvāntaryāmin, the Yogi attains the self which is also sarvāntaryāmin (abiding in all bodies).
In the experience of the individual self which is attained by such contemplation on the Lord, there is no distress arising from samsAra such as old age, hunger, thirst, etc.
sarvabhūtasthamātmānaṃ sarvabhūtāni cātmani । sampaśyanbrahma paramaṃ yāti nānyena hetunā (10)
Meaning: Seeing the Self abiding in all beings, and seeing all beings in the Self, one attains the individual self that is the highest object of enjoyment.
The previous mantra emphasized on realizing the similarity of the Lord and the individual self. This mantra now emphasizes that the Yogi must realize the similarity of himself with other selves.
Since the individual selves are all identical in nature, the Yogi meditating on the self sees himself in other bodies of man, deva, etc. He does not see them as different from himself. This is not Shankaracharya’s kevala advaita, but a realization of “Advaita” or “sameness/oneness” – he sees everyone equally and the same everywhere. Being identical to others in their essential nature, he sees himself everywhere and considers the pain and pleasures of others as his own. This is the summit of Jnana-Yoga as described by the Gita.
brahma paramaṃ” – The pure state of the individual self which is great on account of all-pervasive knowledge and is the highest of all the objects of enjoyment that are under the dominion of the Lord.
Besides understanding the self in this manner, one should also meditate on the Lord as the means to attain the self and so that is described below.
ātmānamaraṇiṃ kṛtvā praṇavaṃ cottarāraṇim । jñānanirmathanābhyāsātpāpaṃ dahati paṇḍitaḥ (11)
Meaning: Having made the Self the lower arani and Pranava the upper arani, by the practice of the churning of the form of knowledge (ie, meditation), the wise person burns up all sins (obstructing the vision of the self).
A similar mantra exists in the Svetāśvatāra Upanishad. In order to attain the individual self, one should meditate on the Lord through praṇavopāsaṇa. This enables attainment of the self which is similar to the Lord.
The way of perceiving the hidden Lord dwelling within the Jiva through the means of Praṇava is described here. “Atman” in the mantra refers to the Jivatma. The Supreme Atman, who is the indweller of this Jiva, is meditated with the Praṇava. The churning with the Praṇava implies practice of that which is ordained and abstention from those that are prohibited, and practicing the virtues of satya and tapaḥ.
When such meditation is carried out, the Supreme Self indwelling within the Jivatma, is revealed like fire from the aranis, and this destroys sins obstructing the experience of the individual self.
Not only should one meditate on the self as being ensouled by the Lord, but one should also understand the nature of the body to attain dispassion from it. So, the state of the embodied self in the waking and dreaming states is described in the next mantra.
sa eva māyāparimohitātmā śarīramāsthāya karoti sarvam । stryannapānādivicitrabhogaiḥ sa eva jāgratparitṛptimeti (12)
Meaning: He (the individual self) is alone deluded in mind by Prakrti known as Maya, situated in the body, doing all activities (ie, considering himself the doer). He alone, while awake, gains satisfaction in women, food, drink, svarga and other varied types of sense-gratification.
karoti sarvam” means he considers himself the doer, when actually, doership is on account of the triguṇās caused by prakrti.
svapne sa jīvaḥ sukhaduḥkhabhoktā svamāyayā kalpitajīvaloke । suṣuptikāle sakale vilīne tamo'bhibhūtaḥ sukharūpameti  (13)
Meaing: The Jivatma, in dream state, is the enjoyer of pleasure and pain in the dream body assumed by his own will. During Sushupti (dreamless sleep), when everything has disappeared, overwhelmed by darkness, he exists in the form of bliss (ie, he experiences the bliss of Paramatman).
kalpita jīvaloke” – Having assumed a dream body. “loka” means “abode” as in “body” here. “jIvayati iti jIva” – that body which gives life to the jIva in its’ dream state, as it enables the jIva to experience pain and pleasure. The dream objects are created by Ishvara for the jIva to experience based on its’ puNya and pApa.
svamāyayā” – His own will. “māyā” means knowledge and thus it is knowledge which is the basis of will. It means that he makes his actual body and senses non-functional and takes up the dream body.
suṣuptikāle sakale vilīne – When a person is in the form of sushupti, he is without the relationship of karma that results in association with body and others and at that time, he is an asharīra. So, everything such as father, mother etc as well as the worlds, vedas etc have disappeared, for he is not bound by their dictates. The sushupta is not having any Ashraya in them, hence, they are said to have disappeared.
tamo'bhibhūtaḥ - Overwhelmed by darkness, meaning, he does not see a second object as he is cut off from the senses. The sushupta doesn’t see the objects outside and the sense-organs inside. Though he is having the ability to see, he does not see. How can that be so? It is explained below.
During sushupti, the dharma-bhūta-jnāna (attributive knowledge that is used to cognize external objects) is not lost. Rather, the attributive knowledge remains, but there is no second object to be cognized. This is because in this state, he has overpowered his karmas. It is karmas that cause experience of objects. The dharma-bhūta-jnāna is cut off from the sense-organs which are its’ gateways and thus the Jiva does not see anything else.
If it is asked how a Jiva in sushupti can overcome karmas without liberation which alone grants that state, it is answered that during the state of sushupti, the karmas that exist are not tending to yield any results in that state, and so he is said to have crossed them.
In this state of sushupti, the relationship with karmas is absent and so the relationship with the senses is absent. Hence, there is absence of cognition of a second object other than Paramatman. As no object other than Paramatman can be cognized, he abides in the Paramatman who is the supreme bliss, the support of sushupti.
punaśca janmāntarakarmayogātsa eva jīvaḥ svapiti prabuddhaḥ । puratraye krīḍati yaśca jīvastatastu jātaṃ sakalaṃ vicitram । ādhāramānandamakhaṇḍabodhaṃ yasmim̐llayaṃ yāti puratrayaṃ ca (14)
Meaning: Again (repeatedly), by virtue of connection with karmas from prior births, the same jIva dreams or is awake. From the Jiva, who sports in the 3 abodes (jāgrat, svapna and sushupti sthAnas), is born all the diverse entities like man, deva etc. He is the support, of the nature of bliss, who makes everything known by his dharma-bhūta-jnāna and in him alone, the three worlds (puratrayaM) dissolve.
“karma yoga” Association with karmas.
The various forms such as man, deva etc are but effects of the Self which is the cause and so the Universe is said to be born from him.
“Anandam” means he is of the nature of bliss as well as knowledge, since bliss implies knowledge. “akhaṇḍabodhaṃ” signifies he perceives everything by his dharma-bhUta-jnAna.
In him, the entire Universe consisting of the three worlds dissolve, meaning, the subtle state of the Universe is a condition of the Jiva when he is the Cause, and is dependent on him.
etasmājjāyate prāṇo manaḥ sarvendriyāṇi ca । khaṃ vāyurjyotirāpaśca pṛthvī viśvasya dhāriṇī (15)
Meaning: From the Jiva are born the vital breath, mind and all the senses, the ether, air, fire, water and Earth which support all objects of enjoyment.
As the Cause, the Jiva has the unmanifest prakrti as its form. From this Cause, the Jiva which has as its’ form the gross prakrti differentiated into prANa, manas, the panchabhUtAs, etc  is manifested. Thus, everything is born from the Jiva.
viśvasya dhāriṇī” – The term “vishva” refers to all objects of enjoyment experienced by the Jiva.
yatparaṃ brahma sarvātmā viśvasyāyatanaṃ mahat । sūkṣmātsūkṣmataraṃ nityaṃ tattvameva tvameva tat  (16)
Meaning: That which is the individual self, higher than prakrti, is the self of all, the great abode of all beings in the Universe, subtler than the subtle, eternal as it is unchanging in its’ essential nature, that is you alone, you are that.
Note that the self is referred to as singular in the same way as grains of rice are called “rice”. As all selves are identical, it is said to be everywhere dwelling in all bodies in the singular (sarvātmā). It supports all forms of man, deva etc (viśvasyāyatanaṃ). It is all-pervasive in its’ pure state, and is other from prakrti (paraṃ brahma).
The last line is repeated for emphasis, to dispel dehātma bhrama and make clear that one is the self, distinct from the body – “realize you are that self with those characteristics, distinct from the insentient body”.
The Shaiva commentators assume this to be talking about paramātma and think that “tat tvam eva” is a reference to the Chandogya Upanishad’s “tat tvam asi”. This is incorrect, as this particular mantra has no relevance to that Chandogya statement, nor is it talking about paramātma.
jāgratsvapnasuṣuptyādiprapañcaṃ yatprakāśate । tadbrahmāhamiti jñātvā sarvabandhaiḥ pramucyate (17)
Meaning:  That Jiva which illumines the perceptible world composed of the states of waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep and so on by its’ dharma-bhUta-jnAna, knowing that individual self (tadbrahmā) as “I” (distinct from the body), one is liberated from all fetters.
“jāgratsvapnasuṣuptyādi” – The “Adi” at the end signifies that not only are these states belonging to samsAra illumined, but also the illumination of the Supreme Abode upon liberation (turīya sthāna) is by the dharma-bhūta-jnāna, which is carried into liberation.
The next few mantras enjoin how to meditate on the self.
triṣu dhāmasu yadbhogyaṃ bhoktā bhogaśca yadbhavet । tebhyo vilakṣaṇaḥ sākṣī cinmātro'haṃ sadāśivaḥ (18)
Meaning:  Whatever, in the three abodes of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, becomes the object of enjoyment, the enjoyer and the act (instrument) of enjoyment, from them, I am distinct, the witness (as the indweller of all bodies), of the nature of knowledge, eternally auspicious.
The individual self is distinct from the objects of enjoyment and the instrument or act of enjoyment such as the sense-organs or the dream body which are made of prakrti. Since its’ essential nature is different from such enjoyment, it is also said to be distinct from the state of being the enjoyer of such objects.
sadāśivaḥ” – “sadā niravadya” – the self is devoid of the triguṇās and hence is eternally pure.
It is hilarious how biased Shaiva commentators like Alladi Mahadeva Sastry pounce on such adjectives to interpret them as referring to Rudra when such a meaning is non-existent in the present context.
mayyeva sakalaṃ jātaṃ mayi sarvaṃ pratiṣṭhitam । mayi sarvaṃ layaṃ yāti tadbrahmādvayamasmyaham (19)
Meaning: In me all these forms of man, deva etc are born. In me is all this established. In me does all this undergo dissolution. I am that individual self which is all-pervasive in its’ knowledge in the pure state (tadbrahmā), the one without a second, as there is no entity like me.
The various forms such as man, deva etc arise in accordance with the karmas of the selves and so are said to be born from the self. The presence of the self which dwells in all bodies and experiences material objects sustains these bodies. These bodies are also dissolved in the Self, as their destruction occurs when the Self leaves these bodies (hence, their destruction is dependent on the Self).
“advaya” – The self, which is essentially of identical nature in all beings, is incomparable to objects other than it, being unique. This is mentioned in Gita 2.29

aṇoraṇīyānahameva tadvanmahānahaṃ viśvamahaṃ vicitram । purātano'haṃ puruṣo'hamīśo hiraṇmayo'haṃ śivarūpamasmi (20)
Meaning: I am verily subtler than the subtle, I am the great controller of the mind, body and senses, I am “Vishvam” as  I enter into all the worlds (viśvamahaṃ), I am incomparable (vicitram.h), I am ancient being prior to the body (purātano'haṃ), I am “Purusha”, the indweller of the body (puruṣo'ham), I am the ruler of the mind, senses and body, of the form of gold (īśo hiraṇmayo'haṃ), I am of an agreeable nature (śivarūpamasmi).
“hiraṇmayo'haṃ” – “gold” signifies objects of desire. The self is of the nature of bliss and hence a desirable object of attainment.
“śivarūpam” – the self is of the nature of bliss and knowledge, untainted by prakrti and hence is agreeable.
apāṇipādo'hamacintyaśaktiḥ paśyāmyacakṣuḥ sa śṛṇomyakarṇaḥ । ahaṃ vijānāmi viviktarūpo na cāsti vettā mama citsadā'ham (21)
Meaning: Even without legs and hands, I possess incomparable capability (to do those tasks), without eyes I see, without ears, I hear. I know, ie, I perceive all this by my dharma-bhūta-jnāna (ahaṃ vijānāmi), I am of a form free from blemishes of the triguṇās in the liberated state (viviktarūpa). I am not known to anyone. I am of the nature of consciousness.
The jIva can do the tasks of legs, hands, eyes and ears without the actual organs because of its’ all-pervasive dharma-bhūta-jnāna in its’ pure state. It is its’ natural condition. This is as per Gita 13.14 again.
“na cāsti vettā mama” – As the Gita 2.29 says, the jIva is inconceivable to many and wonderful. Some speak of it to another, some hear about it, and even after hearing about it, no-one knows it exactly as it exists.
vedairanekairahameva vedyo vedāntakṛdvedavideva cāham । na puṇyapāpe mama nāsti nāśo na janma dehendriyabuddhirasti (22)
Meaning: I alone am to be known by the knowledge of various beings like man, deva etc. I am the creator of karmas which are the cause of obtaining such bodies (vedāntakṛd) and I am the experiencer of the pain and pleasure that constitute the acquisition of such bodies (vedavid). Punya and Papa are not mine, ie, they do not belong to my essential nature.  I am not subject to birth or death and I do not exist in the body, senses and the mind associated with determining power (ie, I am not dependent on them for my existence).
The śaivādvaitin commentators like Alladi Mahadeva Sastry and Shankarananda have foolishly interpreted “vedāntakṛd” as “maker/author of the Upanishads” – this is impossible as shruti is apāuruśeya. They try to interpret “kṛd” as “Maker” in the sense of “Revealer”, but that is stretching the meaning, for in that case, there is no need to specifically say “he knows the Veda” and “he revealed the Vedānta” when even the Vedas were revealed by him.
“vedairanekairahameva vedyo” – “vedair” refers to several kinds of knowledge of diverse beings such as man, deva etc which are signified by “anekair”. Since the self is identical in all beings, it alone is known by these forms which are its’ effects.
“vedāntakṛt” – Here, “veda” means acquisition or obtaining. “anta” means cause and “krt” means creating or making. The Jiva, by virtue of its’ actions, is the creator of its’ karmas which are the cause of obtaining bodies of man, deva, etc.
vedavid” – Here, “veda” again refers to acquisition or the fruits that are attained by such actions. “vid” refers to knowing in the form of experiencing. The sentient Jiva and not the insentient body is the experiencer.
"buddhi" is the power of the mind to determine and thus denotes the mind in this context as it is closely associated with that power (aprthak-siddhi).
na bhūmirāpo na ca vahnirasti na cānilo me'sti na cāmbaraṃ ca । evaṃ viditvā paramātmarūpaṃ guhāśayaṃ niṣkalamadvitīyam samastasākṣiṃ sadasadvihīnaṃ prayāti śuddhaṃ paramātmarūpam ॥ (23)
Meaning: Neither the Earth, nor the Waters, nor Fire, nor the Wind, nor the Ether are not me, ie, my nature is different to them. Thus knowing (meditating on) the Jivatma which is of the condition of the Supreme Self in relation to the body, mind and senses (paramātmarūpaṃ), abiding in the cave of the heart, without diversity (niṣkalam), which is one without a second, ie, it is incomparable (advitīyam), the witness of all as it is the indweller of all bodies (samastasākṣiṃ), which is neither Sat nor Asat(sadasadvihīnaṃ), one attains the (experience of) pure condition of the  individual self that is superior to prakrti.
“paramātmarūpaṃ” – This doesn’t refer to the Lord. The entities such as body, mind and senses can be referred to as “Atma”. Since the individual self associated with the body is higher than all these, it is called “Paramatma”. “rūpaṃ” means form or condition of being in that state, which is the result of attachment to the Gunas arising from the beginningless conjunction with Prakrti.This is explained by Acharya under Gita 13.23.
niṣkalam” - As it is identical in nature everywhere, there is no diversity. Alternatively, as it is knowledge-bliss everywhere, it has no parts and cannot be divided into organs, etc.
“sadasadvihīnaṃ” - “sat” refers to the condition of effects when the individual self has the form of gods, men, etc. “asat” refers to the condition of cause in the form of not possessing names and forms. The self is not a cause or effect by nature and is thus said to be devoid of both. It becomes a cause or effect on account ofavidya brought on by karmas, which cause association withprakrti. This is explained by bhagavad bhAshyakArar in gita 13.13.
yaḥ śatarūdriyamadhīte so'gnipūto bhavati surāpānātpūto bhavati sa brahmahatyāyāḥ pūto bhavati sa suvarṇasteyātpūto bhavati sa kṛtyākṛtyātpūto bhavati tasmādavimuktamāśrito bhavatyatyāśramī sarvadā sakṛdvā japet  anena jñānamāpnoti saṃsārārṇavanāśanam । tasmādevaṃ viditvainaṃ kaivalyaṃ padamaśnute kaivalyaṃ padamaśnuta iti (24)
Meaning:  He who reflects on (the meaning of) the Shatarudriya, he becomes purified in the mind (so'gnipūto bhavati). He has become purified from the sin of drinking liquor, he has become purified from the sin of brahmahatya, he has become purified from the sin of stealing gold, he has become purified from the sin caused by performance of all activities prohibited by the Veda and the non-performance of activities prescribed by the Veda. He finds refuge in the individual self that is undiminishing in its’ pure state (avimukta). He who is a Paramahamsa Sannyasin (atyāśramī), should always recite it, or atleast once. By this he obtains knowledge of the individual self which destroys the ocean of samsara. Therefore, knowing the self in this manner, he attains the state of experiencing the self divested of prakrti (kaivalyaṃ padam). He (indeed) attains the state of experiencing the self divested of prakrti (kaivalyaṃ padam).
Again, we find the persistent motif of the ṣatarudrīyam in association with meditation on the individual self.
The primary fruit of the ṣatarudrīyam is to curb the mind and senses. As Arjuna asks Krishna in the Gita, it is very difficult to meditate on the Jiva (akshara) as the mind is fickle. So Bhagavan tells him that the way to curb the mind and senses is to meditate on his (bhagavan’s) auspicious body, which will destroy the desire for material objects.
Thus, meditating on the Lord in the manner as praised in the ṣatarudrīyam gives the fruit of indrīya-nigraha or curbing the senses. Therefore, recitation of this portion of the Veda is an anga (accessory) for Jnāna-Yoga or meditation on the self, which requires a steady mind and restrained senses. The reference to this recitation destroying various sins is to highlight the fact that it destroys desire for sense-gratification which causes performance of such sinful actions.
Wherever the ṣatarudrīyam is praised in the śāstra as giving moksha, it is implied that it provides the fruit of indrIya-nigraha, which leads to jīvātma-anubhava and thus kaivalya mukti. This, by itself, proves that the tāmasa purāṇās are wrong in recommending the ṣatarudrīyam as a means to propitiate Shiva.
”avimukta” – The liberated self, which is not deprived of its’ completeness, ie, it is all-pervasive in knowledge and replete with the 8 qualities beginning with apahatapApma in its’ pure state.
kaivalyaṃ padam – The state of experiencing the self which is divested from prakrti. “kaivalyaṃ” refers to the self that is aloof from prakrti in its’ pure state.
And thus, the Upanishad is concluded.