Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6

Introduction: Sixth Chapter:

The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the most largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many verses including some stories as themes to gain Upanishadic knowledge. This Upanishad is placed in the 9th position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads. The name of the Upanishad is derived from the word   “Chanda” (Rhythm~ poetic meter). This Upanishad directly deals with the true nature of Brahman, the Supreme Self, without a second.

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.

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.

Chapter Six contains Sixteen sections. My previous post was on Chapter Six, Section-1 to Section-4(Khanda-1 to Khanda-4). The link is here:  Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6

Here we will see Section-5 to Section-8 to learn profound knowledge through dialog between Sage Uddalaka and his son Svetaketu.

Here in section-8, we will see one of the four MahaVakyas: “Tat-Tvam-Asi” .

The Essence of Self Knowledge:

Section:-5: (Five Mantras).

Mantra-5.1: The Triplication of Food

Food, when eaten, becomes divided into three parts: i} That which is its grossest ingredient becomes the faecal matter. ii) Its middling part becomes flesh and iii) its subtlest part becomes the MIND.

Mantra-5.2: The Triplication of Water.

Water, when drunk, becomes divided into three parts: i) What is its grossest ingredient becomes the Urine; ii) Its middling part becomes blood; iii) Its subtlest part becomes the PRANA.

Mantra-5.3: The Triplication of Fire.

Fire, when consumed, becomes divided into three parts: i) What is grossest ingredient becomes the bones; ii) Its middling part becomes marrow; iii) Its subtlest part becomes Speech.

Mantra-5.4: Summary: The subtlest effects:

Hence, dear boy, MIND is made up of Food; PRANA is made up of Water and SPEECH is made up of Fire.

Mantra-5.5.: Svetaketu wants further elaboration:

Svetaketu asks: ” Revered Sir, wont you again explain it to me”. The father replies “Be it so my boy”.

Section-6: (Six Mantras).

Mantra-6.1: Simile of Curd transforms into Butter

Dear boy, of the CURD, that is being churned, that which is the subtlest part rises upwards, and becomes clarified BUTTER.

From curd to Butter: The Butter is always present in the Curd, but it could not be seen until the process of churning took place. The churning separated the Butter.

Mantra-6.2: Food transforms into Mind

In the same way, dear boy, of the Food that is being eaten, that which is subtlest part rises upwards, and becomes the Mind.

Mantra-6.3: Water transforms into Prana

Dear boy, of the water that is being drunk, that which is the subtlest part rises upwards, and becomes the Prana.

Mantra-6.4: Fire transforms into Speech

Dear boy, of the Fire, that is being burnt, that which is the subtlest part rises upwards, and becomes Speech.

Mantra-6.5: The Subtlest Effects:

Hence, dear boy, Mind is made up of Food; Prana is made up of Water and Speech is made up of Fire.

Mantra-6.6: Svetaketu wants more clarity:

Svetaketu again asks: ” Revered Sir, further explain it to me”. The father replies “Be it so dear boy”.

Section-7: (Six Mantras).

An Experiment on Life:

Mantra-7.1: Svetaketu was instructed to Fast:

Dear boy, man consists of sixteen parts. For fifteen days do not eat. Drink as much as water as you like, for Prana is made up of water. If one does not drink, his Prana is cut off.

Mantra-7.2: The Effect of Fasting:

For fifteen days, Svetaketu did not eat. Then he approached his father, saying: ” Revered Sir, what shall I say?”. “My dear boy, now chant the Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas.” said the father. The boy said: ” They do not at all arise in me, Revered Sir.”

Mantra-7.3a: Simile for loss of Speech:

The father said:” Dear boy, just as, from a large burning Fire, a single ember, the size of a fire fly that is left over, by an amount that is certainly not as great as before, it will now burn.

Mantra-7.3b: Application of the Simile :

Even so, dear boy, of your sixteen parts, only one part is left over now; and by means of that alone, you can not perceive the Vedas. Eat, then you will understand me.”

Mantra-7.4 : Svetaketu eats and recovers his mind:

Svetaketu then ate well, and approached his father again. This time, whatever the father asked him, he answered them all well.

Mantra-7.5a: Simile for recovery of Speech:

The father said:” Dear boy, just as from a large burning Fire, a single ember, the size of a fire fly that is left over, by adding straw to it, it is made to blaze up again; by an amount that is evergreen than before, will it now burn.

Mantra-7.5b: Application of the Simile :

Even so, dear boy, of your sixteen parts, only one part had remained; and that part, being nourished by food, has been made to blaze up once more; and by means of that alone you are now able to know the Vedas!

Mantra-7.6: Conclusion– The Subtlest Effects:

Hence, dear boy, Mind is made up of food; the Prana is made up of Water and Speech is made up of Fire. From his words Svetaketu understood it- Yes he understood it!

Section-8: (Seven Mantras).

Retracing from Effect to Cause:

Adhyaropa or Superimposition: This process takes us downwards from the Cause to its numerous effects. There is another term in Vedanta, known as Apavada or De-superimposition which is reverse to that of Adhyaropa. In this section we will learn the reverse process. We trace our steps upwards from the effects that we know, to the Cause that we do not know

Mantra-8.1: Example-1:Experience of Deep Sleep:

“Sata Saumya tada sampanno bhavati” : One gets absorbed into the true being that one is .

Once the Sage Uddalaka Aruni said to his son Svetaketu: ” Dear boy, know from me the true nature of Sleep. When a man is sleeping, he is said then to be with with ‘Existence’ dear boy. He has become united with It and is resting in his own nature. ” Hence, ” He is sleeping” – thus do people speak of him, for , indeed, he rests in his own nature.

In sleep, you get into yourself, you enter yourself, you become yourself, and know nothing but yourself. This is sleep. You have withdrawn yourself from all outside connections and relationships.

Mantra-8.2: Example-2:Birds Returning to Roost:

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Just as a Bird, tied to a string, after flying in various directions; finding no resting place elsewhere, where it is tied, is where it takes refuge; Even so dear boy, it is with the Mind; after flying in various directions, finding no resting place elsewhere, in Prana alone does it take refuge, for tied to the Prana, dear boy, is the Mind.

Mantra-8.3: Example-3:A message from Hunger:

The nature of hunger and Thirst- know this from me, dear boy. When a man is Hungry, it is said that then Water has led a way what he has eaten. Just as people speak of the leader of cows, the leader of horses, and of men; even so, they speak of Water as the leader of food. A ‘shoot’ is pushed forth from below. One can not know this directly, dear boy; surely there must be some ‘root’ present.

Mantra-8.4: Example-4: The Root and the Shoot:

Where could the root of the Body be apart from food? Even so, dear boy, with Food as the shoot, look for water as the root; with water as the shoot, dear boy, look for fire as the root; and with Fire as the shoot, dear boy, look for Existence as the root. All these creatures, dear boy, have Existence as their root, as their abode, and as their support.

Mantra-8.5: Example-5: A message from Thirst:

Again, when a man is Thirsty, it is said that then Fire has led away what has been drunk. Just as people speak of the leader of cows, the leader of horses, and leader of men; even so they speak of that Fire as the leader of water. A ‘shoot’ is pushed forth from below. One cannot know this directly, dear boy; surely there must be some ‘root’ present.

Mantra-8.6a: Adhyaropa- Tracing the Root:

Where could the root of Food be apart from water? With water as the shoot, dear boy, look for fire as the root; and with Fire as the shoot, dear boy, look for Existence as the root. All these creatures, dear boy, have Existence as their root, have Existence as their abode, and have Existence as their support.

Mantra-8.6b:  The Creation and Dissolution of Man:

How, indeed, dear boy, these three Elements, on reaching man, each one becomes threefold triplicated, that has already been explained to you. Dear boy, at the time of a man’s departure, his speech merges in mind! Mind merges in Prana, Prana in fire, and Fire in the Supreme Deity, Existence.

§: The effect is consumed by the cause and is absorbed into its own Self

By the way of the analysis of the constituents of the individual, it has thus been pointed out by Uddalaka, the sage, that everything in this personality is made up of the essence of the three elements, -Fire, Water and Earth.  And what we call hunger is nothing but the dissolution of the physical food by the element of water and the absorption into the system. What you call Thirst is similarly the absorption of the Water element in the system by the Fire principle within us. The effect is consumed by the cause and is absorbed into its own Self. This process continues until all effects are absorbed into the final Cause of all things, where they abide absolutely and completely.

Mantra-8.7a: Conclusion — “Tat Tvam Asi” ~ Maha Vakya:

That Existence is this same subtle essence. Superimposed on It, is this whole World: Tat Tvam Asi, Svetaketu. That is the Self. That Thou Art, O Svetaketu.

Mantra-8.7b: Svetaketu wants more Clarity:

Svetaketu asks:” Revered Sir, won’t you please explain it further to me?” The father replies: ” Be it so, dear boy.”

Section-9: (Four Mantras).

Photo by Swapnil Sharma on Pexels.com
Photo by David Hablu00fctzel on Pexels.com

Honey from different Trees:

“Tat Tvam Asi” ~ Maha Vakya: This we have first seen in Section Eight. Now from section Nine onwards up to section sixteen we will see same Maha Vakya :”Tat Tvam Asi” eight more times.

Mantra-9.1: Simile: Many Trees, One Honey.

Dear boy, consider this example: Bees procure(dislodge) Honey from different trees, by collecting their juices and reducing then into one essence. Then, these juices have no differentiation, such as ” I am the juice of this tree, I am the juice of that tree.”

Mantra-9.2: Application: Many Creatures, One Existence.

Even so, dear boy, all these creatures, having merged into Existence, do not know, ” We have merger into Existence.

Mantra-9.3: Endless Rebirth for the ignorant.

These creatures that are here(in ignorance), the tiger or lion, the wolf or boar, the worm or flying insect, the gnat or mosquito- whatever they are that they become again.

Mantra-9.4a: Conclusion — “Tat Tvam Asi”

That Existence is this same subtle essence. Superimposed on It, is this whole world.(The whole world has That as its Self, its Essence.) That is the Truth; That is the Self. ” That Thou Art”, O Svetaketu.

Mantra-9.4b: Svetaketu wants more Clarity:

Svetaketu asks:” Revered Sir, won’t you please explain it further to me?” The father replies: ” Be it so, dear boy.”

Section-10: (Four Mantras).

Rivers merge into Ocean:

Mantra-10.1: Simile: Many Rivers, One Ocean.

These rivers, dear boy, flowing to the east are called ‘ Eastern’ rivers and flowing west, ‘western’ rivers. They rise from the Ocean and merge in the ocean, becoming the Ocean once again. There these rivers, as themselves, they do not know “I am this river, I am that river.”

Mantra-10.2: Application: Many forms, One Existence.

Even so, dear boy, all these creatures, having merged into Existence, do not know, ” We have merger into Existence.

Mantra-10.3: Endless Rebirth for the ignorant.

These creatures that are here(in ignorance), the tiger or lion, the wolf or boar, the worm or flying insect, the gnat or mosquito- whatever they are that they become again.

Mantra-10.4a: Conclusion — “Tat Tvam Asi”

That Existence is this same subtle essence. Superimposed on It, is this whole world.(The whole world has That as its Self, its Essence.) That is the Truth; That is the Self. ” That Thou Art”, O Svetaketu.

Mantra-10.4b: Svetaketu wants more Clarity:

Svetaketu asks:” Revered Sir, won’t you please explain it further to me?” The father replies: ” Be it so, dear boy.”

§§: Ultimate cause dissolves in the Absolute:

What is the ultimate cause? The cause ultimate can only be that which is not absorbed into a higher cause. The absorption process ceases when the ultimate cause is reached. The grosser forms get absorbed into the subtler ones, and the subtler ones reach the causal state, the so called ultimate cause from the empirical point of view. This ultimate cause dissolves in the Absolute. There, everything comes to a cessation. The individuality gets dissolved, as it were. It gets tuned up to the ultimate Reality. So, there is an absorption of the grosser element of the earth into the water element, the water element  into the fire element and the fire element into the ultimate Reality which is called Sat, pure Being.

End of section-10 of 6th Chapter of Chhandagyo Upanishad:

“The most familiar form of Energy is the Photon, a massless, irreducible particles of light”.

[pg-339: Death by Black Hole]

Conclusion:-

Chhandagyo Upanishad investigates philosophically the most meaningful and most conceptualised thoughts in Indology such as Cosmology, Metaphysics, Theology, Transcendentalism, Phenomenology, and Epistemology. However the concept of Brahman has undoubtedly been the fundamental element or minor root of the Chhandagyo Upanishad. In this connection, I would request my esteemed readers to read one special post    ” The Divine Art” which is highly conceptual and intellectual. Link is here: ” The Divine Art”

Recommended readings:

  1. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  3. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  4. Commentary of ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  6. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  7. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  8. A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
  9. Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya: 
  10. Information available on internet.

It is my sincere request to the esteemed readers to share their opinion or queries if any. Suggestions to make the site attractive will be highly helpful for me. Readers are requested to read all the posts to have continuation of the topic from the beginning. My mail ID is : arun7663@gmail.com

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Arun Singha

Retired from AIRPORTS AUTHORITY OF INDIA as Dy. General Manager (CNS).BSc(Mathematics Honors). Age 60years. Studying ancient Indian Philosophy along with modern physics and modern Biology. Follow Dr. Bruce H Lipton, Dr. JOE DISPENJA , Gregg Braden and Swami Sarvapriyananda among others. Writing consolidated articles on Upanishads, Advaita Vedanta and other ancient Indian Texts. Wish to work for the society to help people through personal guidance, motivation. Self has work experience of 36 years in the field of Air Navigation Service at different Airports in India. Gained vast experience in handling man and machine. Would like to reach to the people to share my life experiences, how I had overcome great challenges and difficulties at different times and positions.

19 thoughts on “Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6”

  1. Very informative post and easy to understand. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with everyone who like to read about Upnishads. 😊😊🙏🏻🙏🏻

    1. Anita Ji 🙏
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts on the subject.
      Slowly you will get into the Core knowledge of Vedas and that is Vedanta. Vedanta means UPANISHADS.
      Regards 😊🙏

  2. Sir, kindly rectify the typo in the following verse 6.1 – From card to Butter: (*curd). Coming to the inputs on adhyaropa/apavada, It is like playing a game of introspection with art of negation. Such an intriguing process to ponder on the methodologies offered. I believe that there are many contradictory statements in the Upanishads which requires a proper understanding and to establish a definitive path various analogy are laid out. One such thing is called the rope/snake, during adhyaropa it appears to be real but in the ultimate analysis it is proved to be unreal. This is evident from your pictorial image of root and shoot. All attributes like srushti karana, avastha, kosa are seen as superimposition and eventually negated at the end. Vedanta is using these methods not for presenting a system of philosophy but to unfold the vision of ‘sarvatmabhava’. It is beyond intellectual acquaintance with the teachings but more towards the jnana vijnana samhitam. Thank you once again for your points and food for thoughts. 🙏

    1. Vishnupiya,

      Thank you so much for pointing the mistakes in type (Card-Curd… LOL). Thank you so much for your elaboration on the topic which you can do because you know the concept. And this helps me in many respects. I believe that we are all part of one System Admin.

      Human must identify Avidya and Vidya. Vidya is that knowledge, which is experience of the ultimate Reality, Brahman. Therefore, Adi Shankaracharya said, that purpose of the Shastra, the Scriptures is to reveal Brahman by identifying and removing Avidya(ignorance). To reveal the Reality, which is Sat, the aspirant must act herself/himself through negation. Vidya is right understanding which develops when the mind is purified. Mind then becomes pure intellect. Moral impurity blurs our vision, all due to Avidya. Even if by some means we come to the right understanding, we are not able to pursue it so long as the wrong tendencies prevail in us. This I can say from my experiences.

      I realise now that right understanding comes from study of Scriptures and study of Prasthana Traya gave me right understanding. I now believe that Supreme source of knowledge selects you to deliver the right understanding. Supreme source of knowledge Itself Pure Consciousness or Awareness or “Chetan” whatever you name It, Nirguna Brahman, is System admin and selects persons for required training. I believe, I have been chosen by the same system admin after few events/ unpleasant happenings [ in the form of big betrays, which I discard now]. System admin can choose anybody at any age {age is relative: all are of equal ages in the absolute sense. Age of System admin and Its subordinates are same in age: (AGELESS)]

      After right understanding comes Realization. It is purely personal, beyond description. Cannot be said in words. Only realization works finally. Faith, devotion, speculation, belief will not work alone.

      Prakarana Granthas, like “Tattwa Bodha”, Vivek Chudamani”, Panchadasi etc. Helps in building and developing right understanding, which I got through deep studies. I have discounted time. It was like automatically books were in my system, as if my master is delivering. I have studied till mid nights and started from midnights some time.

      As you have pointed that “ Adhyaropa Apavada” is the right approach as shown by Adi Shankaracharya. Brahman cannot be explained other than negation: that is false superimposition and retraction of false superimposition. Therefore, understanding the concept of Brahman, examples such as kshetra-kshetragnya viveka, drig-drashya viveka, drasta-drishya viveka are best. Other texts as you mentioned “ Avastha Traya, Pancha Kosha viveka, Chitra Deepa Viveka are all classic method of explanations.

      Vishnupriya you an enlightened atman(chosen). Continue your study, practice and give it to others. “Learn and teach” is suggested in Taittiriya Upanishad (Siksha Valli).

      Take care. Stay blessed always. Happy New year to you and your family.

      Best Wishes and Greetings!!! 😊🙏

      1. Sir, you have clearly explained about Vidya/Avidya parameters and indeed right about taking scriptures assistance for the righteous knowledge. I believe that it serves as an instrument to keep check on the spiritual growth as far as jnani is open for widening the learning curve. Again it depends on individual prarabhdha to even consider spiritual route. Also avidya cannot coexist as an attribute with a nature utterly incompatible with it. Nor can the Jiva be the locus of Avidya: the existence of the Jiva is due to Avidya. In higher Loka’s the Avidya is said to be apakarsa decreased and hence the ananda that is experienced there is higher. Your points are causing goosebumps and truly delightful to discuss this para Vidya with you. Happy new year to you and your family. Be safe 🙏😌

  3. Yes I believe that spiritual growth depends on prarabdha karma. Because I consider the whole system as an autonomous system, where we are all connected from beginning to end. In this beginning to end journey, we,Jiva take shapes according to prarabdha.
    Vishnupriya, I am always encouraged by you because of your support through these comments which are full of higher (Core) knowledge.
    Stay blessed always.
    Enjoy New year 🎈💐🎊🎁💖👍😀

  4. Ready informative and contain lots of wisdom. What is mind, food, blood matters. I will find time to absorb the essence of all your sharing. In this time, human need to understand and learn it. It is my luck . Thanks for your selflessly sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for this feedback you have given after reading. I am a learner. My whole life has gone for struggling and maintaining family etc etc. Now at the fag end of life, i need some higher knowledge, which will make me happy for the rest of this life. Since, I found immense joy, so i thought of sharing the contents. I write short notes after studying 5-6 books on the subject. Read , understand and then realize.
      Very happy that you have gone through my blogs. It gives me strength when i get feedback.
      Regards🙏😊

      1. Yes, we need ancient wisdom to face the challenging world. So, I wouldn’t lost in the precious life journey. Wish you and your whole family happiness, good health and prosperity, happy new year 2022.

        1. Wish you and your family too a blissful New year-2022.
          We are connected here. Will learn and exchange knowledge.
          Thank you so much. My name is ARUN
          What is your name please?
          Best wishes 🙂🙏

          1. Thank for blessing, my name is Tan, living in Singapore. When I am free , will read your blogs. Wishing you more achievement in life.

  5. Yeah I have gone through.
    Excellent post on higher knowledge. Readers are requested to understand the essence. Share more ☺️
    Stay blessed always 👍😊🙏

    1. Sir, Thank you for leaving your views and truly appreciate it. Let us keep up the discussions and deepen the core Vedanta values. Be safe and take care 😌🙏

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