Course after Death
Introduction: Eighth Chapter:
**This Upanishad directly deals with the true nature of Brahman, the Supreme Self, without a Second.
The essence of the Teaching is: – “Brahma Vidya”
Brahma Vidya: It is the knowledge of the ultimate Truth which results in Self realisation. The knower of this Truth remains untouched by any situation in life.
This chapter is especially intended for those who are unable to grasp the vastness of “Absolute”, the subject like Bhooma Vidya (Infinity), taught in the previous chapter. Though this chapter confines itself to the Heart of an individual, but that does not limit itself to the body of an individual. The heart here mentioned is used as symbol as the center of the pure subjectivity in us and therefore heart refers to consciousness, which is apparently located within the walls of the body, but never limited to physical body.
Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-8A: Section-1 to Section-3 has been published. Here is the link.
A request to my readers: Please read my previous posts on ChAndogya Upanishad, especially 6th & 7th chapter. Links are given below:
- Chapter Six: Section-1 to Section-4(Khanda-1 to Khanda-4). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6
- Chapter Six: Section-5 to Section-8(Khanda-5 to Khanda-8). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6
- Chapter Six: Section-9 to Section-16(Khanda-9 to Khanda-16). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6C of 6[END OF 6TH CHAPTER]
- Chapter-7 : Section-1 to Section-6 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7A
- Chapter-7 : Section-7 to Section-12 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7B
- Chapter-7 : Section-13 to Section-22: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7C
- Chapter-7 : Section-23 to Section-27: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7D[FINAL PART]
This post is part-2[8B] from 8th Chapter of Chandagyo Upanishad. Section-4 to Section-6 will be discussed here.
Section-4 [Three Mantras]: Life Beyond
Mantra-1: This Self is the Bridge[“setu”~wall] which keeps the creatures from breaking in. Day and night do not go near Him, nor age, nor death, nor grief, nor good, nor evil. Sin turns away from Him because Brahman knows no sin.
The bridge is to be considered as Atman that connects one world with another world. It is like an embankment over which days and night can not pass. Time can not touch this Realm. It is beyond Time. This mantra emphasize on the truth that in Atman there is no contact with anything that is phenomenal. Old age, death, sorrows, good, evil nothing can touch Atman. This is the Realm of pure Being. This is world of Brahman which is untouched by every kind of evil. Evil is nothing but the consciousness of Body and Objects. Therefore, Atman is free from every kind of contamination as it is beyond Time and Space.
Mantra-2: This Self is the Bridge. When man crosses that bridge, if blind, he shall see, if sick, he shall be well; if unhappy, he shall be happy. When he crosses that bridge, though it may be night, it shall be day, for “Brahmaloka” is shining always.
This is Brahmaloka: Brahmaloka does not mean some world or Realm comparable with the one in which we are living. Brahman, the Absolute Itself, is called world of Brahman. It is just symbolic way of representing its own Being as the totality of experience. The field of experience is representing “loka”, the Realm. “Sarvam khalu idam Brahma” (सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म तज्जलानिति शान्त उपासीत)- All this is Brahman, everything goes back to Brahman, and everything is sustained by Brahman.
Mantra-3: Brahmaloka is for those that are masters of themselves. They can move anywhere in this world at their pleasure.
In this Mantra, Upanishad is teaching us that through ” Brahmacharya” means continence(self-control), attains the level of Brahman. We have seen in Katha Upanishad about two paths: “Sreyas” and “Preyas”. One who practices Brahmacharya takes the path of “Sreyas”. Thereby one reaches to the state of no limit in respect of powers, capacities, knowledge, and existence.
Section-5 [Four Mantras]: Importance of Brahmacharya:
Mantra-1: That which is known as Sacrifice[yajna] is Brahmacharya. This is because one who knows the Self, attains Brahmaloka through Brahmacharya. Again, that which is known as worship[ista] is Brahmacharya.
The conduct of Brahman is Brahmacharya. To live as Brahman would be Brahmacharya. It is very difficult to conceive this. This is total abstraction of the senses in a sublimation of Consciousness which recognises itself alone, to the exclusion of everything else.
Mantra-2: That which is known as “Sattarayana” [a sacrifice lasting for a long time] is Brahmacharya. Through Brahmacharya, the individual self gets liberated. Then that which is called “mauna”[silence] is Brahmacharya., for through Brahmacharya one realizes the self, and having realized the Self one remains absorbed in the thought of It.
“Sattarayana” is a kind of ritual which is equivalent to practice of continence. It is a particular sacrifice which involves the services of many priests. Upanishad explains by splitting the word “Sattarayana” = sat + trayana: means sat is Being and trayana is the way of freedom or protection from every corners. Similarly, mauna, a vow of silence is also Brahmacharya. Taking a vow of silence, a person contemplates on his identity with Brahman.
Mantra-3: That which is known as “anasakayana” [ the path of fasting] is Brahmacharya, for through Brahmacharya one attains the Self which is immortal. Then that which is called “aranyayana” [life in the forest] is Brahmacharya. Ara means an ocean and nya means an ocean; and these two oceans abide in the region of Brahman. In that third world there, one finds a lake called airammadiya, a delightful tank full of gruel, an aswattha tree from which exudes nectar, and a palace of gold built by Brahma and named Aparajita.
Aranyayana is dwelling in forest which is vanaprastha life. leading this life in austerities with great vows is a path of Brahmacharya for the attainment of Brahman. Whatever be the austerities, self-control is the highest austerity, and nothing is comparable to it. it is said in this Mantra that there are two oceans in the realm of Brahman filled with nectar where this world and that world both come together in a fraternal embrace as if two oceans “Ara” and “Nya” merge into one. They exists in the third world, beyond this world.[Not a physical world though but it is the Spiritual world] It is immortal bliss that one would experience after reaching there. Mantra says that there is an “aswattha” tree (peepul tree), very vast in its expanse from every pore of which nectar exudes. It is the Kalpavriksha, as mentioned in puranas. Kalpavriksha is such kind of tree present there where sitting under the tree whatever you wish is fulfilled immediately. Immortality flows from that tree. It is also mentioned that there is the city of Brahman, where there is a palace named as “prabhuvmitam” built by Brahma himself, which shines like gold. Upanishads describe these mystical experiences of Consciousness are symbolical, which are achieved by constant practice of Brahmacharya.
Mantra-4: When they attain through Brahmacharya, the two oceans “Ara” and “Nya” in Brahmaloka, that Brahmaloka is theirs, and they can then move freely in all the worlds.
Brahmaloka is not a physical region like this Earth. It is a state of being. All these would be in our reach provided we are able to withdraw our senses and mind under control to fix centre of our consciousness in nothing but Brahman. Then we are free, and this freedom is called moksha~ liberation.
Section-6 [Six Mantras]Course after Death:
Mantra-1: Orange, blue, yellow, red, are not less in man’s arteries than in the Sun.
The heart is the place where one meditates on Brahman. The heart is said to be shaped like a lotus bud, and it also has some similarities to the Sun. The sun emits its rays, which spread out in all directions. These veins are filled with a very thin substance. The substance changes its color, and along with it veins also change color. Sun also changes color likewise.
Mantra-2: As a long highway passes between two villages, one at either end, so the Sun’s rays pass between this world and the world beyond. they flow from the Sun, enter into the arteries, flow back from the arteries, enter into the Sun.
We must follow what Upanishad is saying in this Mantra. there is a real live connection between Sun and us here in this Earth. The rays are connection between Sun and this world full of living beings, starting from microbes, algae, trees etc. This connection is not an imagination. It is real and integral connection of Sun with Earth to sustain life on Earth. It is an integral system that involves Sun and its family [all being on earth]
Mantra-3: When man is asleep, enjoying his sleep, he creates no dream; his soul sleeps in the arteries. No evil can touch him, for he is filled with light.
When a person is in deep sleep, he is free from all worries. In deep sleep, mind lies inactive, desires nothing, dreams nothing, and knows nothing. This is his intellectual condition. Because of his union with the Self and his unbroken knowledge of it, he is filled with joy. he knows his joy and his mind is illuminated.
Mantra-4: When a person is dying, those around him ask if he knows them. As long as there is life left in the body, he recognizes them.
At the time of death, mind is compelled by the pranas to withdraw itself into its source, no sensation, no thought, no recognition remains whatsoever. Then what happens to that person?
Mantra-5: But when the life leaves the body, ascending with the Sus’s rays, he meditates on OM and with the speed of thought, goes to the Sun. Sun is the gate of the Heaven, where the wise can pass.
The essence of this mantra is about the journey to Brahmaloka after death of a person. Those who knows the meaning of OM and think on OM, while leaving this body on Earth, enters into Brahmaloka. When the dying person leaves the body, he quickly goes to the Sun, ascending through Sun rays. The time taken to reach the Sun[Brahmaloka] is compared with the time taken by the mind to change from one thought to another thought. It is as fast as that. Please read Section-15 of Chandagyo Upanishad about ” A Sick Man on his death bed”
Mantra-6: In this connection there is a sloka which says: There are a hundred and one arteries leading to the heart; one of them pierces the crown of the head. He who goes upward through it, attains immortality; he who does not, is born again.
Katha Upanishad, Mantra-2.3.16 : One among these hundred and one moves vertically, as it were towards the crown of the head. this is usually called the sushumna-nadi. If our prana and mind can travel through this central nerve current called the sushumna and up through the crown of the head, we attain immortality.
The Upanishad in this section describes that there are psychic nerve centres(chakra) along the region of the spine and also “Nadis”[channels] which start from heart-space and spread all over the body in thousands, like the rays of the Sun. In Deep sleep these rays enter the heart-space, and we experience great serenity in the absence of dream and waking experiences which are the cause of sufferings. Kundalini Yoga describes tis in details.
The link for reading text in Sanskrit is here:- Chandgoya Upanishad
- 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.