“Tat-Tvam-Asi”~ YOU ARE THAT!!
ChAndogya Upanishad consists of Eight chapters. The first five chapters forms the part of Karma Kanda and Upasana Kanda. Chapter Six, Seven and Eight form the part of Jnana Kanda. Here we will discuss on Chapter Six which contains Sixteen sections. Therefore I will make my blog into three parts. From this chapter Six we learn profound knowledge through dialog between Sage Uddalaka and his son Svetaketu.
The Essence of Self Knowledge:
Svetakutu’s Thirst for Knowledge:
Sage Uddalaka’s son Svetaketu , having gone when 12 years old returned from Gurukul when he was 24 yrs old , having studied all the Vedas.
Invocation of Peace Mantra from Sama Veda:
OM! May these grow vigorous in me; my limbs, speech and vital energies; my eyes and ears; and the strength in all my sense-organs. All is Brahman of the Upanishads; may I never deny Brahman; may Brahman never spurn me; may there be no denial of Brahman; may there be no spurning by Brahman! Delighting in the Atman (Self), all the virtues sung by the Upanishads - may they repose in me, May they repose in me! OM! Peace, peace, peace. Mantra1.1-2
OM! Once upon a time there was one Svetaketu, son of Uddalaka, the grand son of Aruna. Uddalaka said: ‘My son! find a teacher, learn; none of our family has remained a Brahmin in name only.’
At twelve he found his teacher, at twenty-four, having completed the study of Vedas, he returned home, stiff-necked, arrogant, self-willed.
“That through which the unheard becomes heard, the unthought-of becomes thought of, know what is not known?”
Uddalaka said:’ My Son! You think such a lot yourself, but did you ask your teacher about that initiation, which makes a man hear what is not heard, think what is not thought, know what is not known.?’ What is that initiation, Lord? said Svetaketu.
The Teachings begin with Examples of Clay, Gold and Metal:
Product (Effect) is non-different from its material (cause):
Uddalaka said:’ Dear Son! By knowing a lump of clay, you know all things all things are made of clay, they differ from one another as it were in language and in name, having no reality but their clay.
By knowing one nugget of Gold, you know all things made of that Gold. They differ from one another as it were in language and in name, having no reality but their Gold.
All products, being due to words, a mere name:
By knowing one piece of base metal, you know all things made of that metal. They differ from one another as it were in language and in name, having no reality but their metal.
For the like reason, after that initiation, you know everything.
Svetaketu admits Ignorance:
Svetaketu replies:’ Surely my revered teachers did not know that teaching, for if they had known it, why should they have not imparted me that knowledge. However, revered father, please teach it to me.” I will tech it my dear boy,” said the father.
Section-2: Birth of Three Elements:-
My Son! In the beginning, there was “Existence alone”, mere Being, one without a second. Some say there was mere nothing, nothing whatsoever; that everything has come out of nothing.
How could Existence arise from Non-Existence?
But how can that be true, my son,’ said Uddalaka, ‘how could that which is, come from that which is not?’ I put it otherwise, in the beginning there was mere Being, one without a second.
One Becomes Many!
He created light!!!
That Being thought” ” Would that I were many! I will create” He created light. Light thought: ” Would that I were many! I will create!” Light created the waters. When anybody weeps or sweats, the tears and the sweat are created by light.
Those waters thought” Would that we were many! We will create!” They created food. Whenever and whatever it rains, food is abundant. Food is from water!
In another Vedic Text, it has been declared that ‘ From Self was produced Akasa.’ (Taittiriya Upanishad: 2.1.1). From Akasa, Air, and then from Air, Fire’, which is the third product here.
We may consider this way: That Fire as well as Akasa, both are created from same source. The order of sequence in the creation is not what is meant to be asserted here; all that is meant to be asserted is that ” all this is the product of Being (Entity) and hence, all is Being alone, one, without a second’.
Section-3: The Origin of Life:
There are Three classes of creatures: the egg-born, the womb-born, the soil-born.
That Divine Being thought: ” I will go into the three gods-light, water, food. I will give them not only life, but names and shapes.”
The process of Triplication:
‘ He said: ” I will make each of them threefold.” He and life went into three gods, and He gave them names and shapes.
‘You shall hear, my son, how He divides each of the three gods into three, and each of these three into three again.’
These Elements as mentioned here, — Fire, water and Earth, are what we usually known as subtle Elements. They are the pure principles of creation. Later on they get mixed in certain proportions for the manifestation of grosser elements, namely, The Fire, The Water and the Earth that we see with our eyes. So, what the Upanishad speaks of here as Fire, Water and Earth are not the physical Fire, Water and Earth that we see. They are the super physical elements called Tanmatras. These Tanmatras are mixed or blended in certain proportions. This is called Trivritkarana in Sanskrit(This means Triplication- the mixing of three attributes, three substances, in certain proportions.)
Section-4: Essential Truth of the Three Elements:-
In Fire, the Red colour is the form of Fire; that which is white belongs to WATER; that which is black belongs to FOOD. Thus vanishes the quality of Fire from Fire, for, based upon words, all modifications are but name and the Three forms. This alone is the Truth.
Truth about The SUN:
In The SUN, the Red colour is the form of Fire; that which is white belongs to WATER; that which is black belongs to FOOD. Thus vanishes the quality of SUN from SUN, for, based upon words, all modifications are but name and the Three forms. This alone is the Truth.
In The MOON, the Red colour is the form of Fire; that which is white belongs to WATER; that which is black belongs to FOOD. Thus vanishes the quality of MOON from MOON, for, based upon words, all modifications are but name and the Three forms. This alone is the Truth.
In Lightning, the Red colour is the form of Fire; that which is white belongs to WATER; that which is black belongs to FOOD. Thus vanishes the quality of Lightning from it, for, based upon words, all modifications are but name and the Three forms. This alone is the Truth.
Every object in creation has been reduced to its constituents, and it has been discovered that there is nothing in an object except its constituents. This is a law that can apply to every object, whatever its character be. The difference in the contour or the shape of the object is not very important. What is important is the nature of the substance out of which it is formed.
In this manner, Sage Uddalaka directs the attention of Svetaketu on the essence underlying each object in creation. By taking our minds away from the physical or external qualities of name and form, we are guided to focus on the Absolute Existence (SAT) behind all three elements. In this manner we will understand the real meaning of “Tat Tvam Asi” which is ultimate Reality. In this manner the theme of one of the MahaVakyas : “Tat Tvam Asi” in next section.
“Eva Satyam” : Truth alone exists. Finally even the three Elements have to be Transcended and we have to see the Pure Existence alone in everything.
- Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
- THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
- Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
- Commentary of ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
- ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
- EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
- THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
- A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
- Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
- Information available on internet.
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21 thoughts on “Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6”
One from many
Existence from non-existence
This post is very enlightening 👌👌🌹🌹😊
Thank you so much for reading and writing your comments 😊
It was truly a pleasure to read this write up, full of knowledge. It’s so well articulated too!! 😊😊🙏
Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts on this. 😊🙏
Pure Existence works like an electricity which cannot be seen but only institutionalized. The surviving reflected consciousness alone is always experienced, but not the original awareness/consciousness or absolute reality because the medium of transaction is absent for the expression in the experience’r. If existence is dependent on something, then the very existence loses its identity, perhaps reflects through the medium of pure awareness. Hope it makes sense. Thank you so much for your efforts in bringing the sacred, intellectual knowledge to us. Dhanyosmi.
Thank you so much for elaborated comments which has become easy to understand Pure Being alone. Example of electricity is perfect. Reflected consciousness and original, pure awareness and consciousness, both to be understood and realised. That is what ancient sages tried hard through these Upanishads.
You have simplified with the example of electricity.
Thank you so much.
Best wishes 😊🙏❤️
Again a very informative and nice post. The language was very clear and elegant. Thank you so much for sharing this post.😊🙏🏻
Thank you so much for your comments which gives support and encouragement. Best wishes and best regards 😊🙏
I am honouredArun Ji. We always need support and recognition from like minded people. It keeps our moral high. So I wish you always keep writing informative posts and share your knowledge with us.😊😊
Yes. You are true. We need support of each other as moral booster. Take care. Regards.😊🙏
Thank you for sharing Sir, it’s a wonderful and so knowledgeable piece of writing!!
Thank you so much Malvika for reading this Sacred Texts and sharing it through your window. This Upanishad ” Chhandagyo Upanishad is complete in Itself as Veda, since It teaches Karma Kanda, Upasana Kanda and Gyan Kanda. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Together we can grow more. Stay blessed always. Take care.
God bless you. Best wishes. 😊😊