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Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-8C

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Introduction: Eighth Chapter:

The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many Mantras(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.

*Self is Atman; Atman is Brahman*

ChAndogya Upanishad consists of Eight chapters. The first five chapters forms the part of Karma Kanda[ rituals] and Upasana Kanda [worship and meditation]. Chapter- 6, 7 and 8 form the part of Jnana Kanda[profound Self-knowledge].

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 Bhoomaa 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 centre 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.

A) Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-8A: Section-1 to Section-3  has been published. Here is the link.

B) Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-8B: Section-4 to Section-6  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:

  1. Chapter Six: Section-1 to Section-4(Khanda-1 to Khanda-4). The link is here:  Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6
  2. Chapter Six: Section-5 to Section-8(Khanda-5 to Khanda-8). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6
  3. 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]
  4. Chapter-7 : Section-1 to Section-6 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7A
  5. Chapter-7 : Section-7 to Section-12 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7B
  6. Chapter-7 : Section-13 to Section-22: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7C
  7. Chapter-7 : Section-23 to Section-27: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7D[FINAL PART]

This post is part-3[8C] from 8th Chapter of ChAndagyo Upanishad. Section-7 to Section-11 will be discussed here. 

Section-7 [Four Mantras]: 

Prajapati’s Instruction to Indra on the Real Self:

In this section we will concentrate on stages of Consciousness. In  Mandukya Upanishad we have seen three conditions of Self waking, dreaming and deep sleep.

On one occasion, Prajapati made an announcement in his celestial assembly hall. The gods and the demons both were present there and both heard the proclamation. He proclaimed the great Truth. The announcement made is as below:

Mantra-1: Prajapati said: ‘The Self is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from sorrow, and free from hunger and thirst. It is the cause of desire for Truth and for commitment to Truth. This Self has to be sought for and thoroughly known. The person who has sought for and known the Self attains all worlds and all desires’.

Mantra-2:  Both the gods and the demons came to know from people what Prajapati had said. They said: ‘ We shall search for the Self, by knowing which we can attain all the worlds and whatever things we desire.’  With this object in view, Indra among the gods and Virochana among the demons went to Prajapati, carrying fuel in their hands. But they did not let each other know their plans.

Mantra-3: Both of them spent 32 years with Prajapati by maintaining Brahmacharins (Austerities). One day Prajapati asked them: ‘For what purpose you are here?’ They replied: “The Self is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from sorrow, and free from hunger and thirst. It is the cause of desire for Truth and for commitment to Truth. This Self has to be sought for and thoroughly known. The person who has sought for and known the Self attains all worlds and all desires-Sir this is you message. We hope to attain that Self and therefore stay.’

Mantra-4: Prajapati said those two: ‘ That which is seen in the eyes is the Self.’ He also said: “This Self is immortal and fearless. It is Brahman.’ Then they asked: ‘Lord, we see something when we look in water and again when we look in a mirror. Which is it?’ Prajapati replied: “The Self is seen in all these’.

Section-8 [Five Mantras]: 

Mantra-1: Prajapati said: ‘Look at yourself in a bowl of water, come again if you do not understand the Self. They looked into the bowl of water. Prajapati said: ‘What did you see there?’ They said: ‘ We saw ourselves, our doubles; even with our hair and nails’.

Mantra-2: Prajapati said: ‘ Shave, put on fine clothes, fine jewels, look into water again.’ They did accordingly. Prajapati said: ‘ what did you see?’

Mantra-3: They said: ‘Lord! We saw ourselves shaven, dressed, adorned. ‘Prajapati said: ‘ That is Self. That is unalarmed, immortal Self.’ They both went away satisfied.

Mantra-4: Seeing them leave, Prajapati said to himself: ‘ They are going  without finding the Self, without knowing the Self. Who follows their philosophy, whether godly or godless perishes. Virochana, the king of the demons, went back to the demons happy in mind and explained to them the Upanishad.

Mantra-5: This is why in this world even today people say, ‘Oh, he is demon,’ if that person is devoid of the feeling of charity, is called godless; for that is the philosophy of godless. When a person dies, they decorate the body with all kinds of offerings, new clothes, and jewellery, for they think that by this, the person will conquer the other world.

In this section the teachings emphasize on the fact that there are some people who pays least importance in self-discipline. Such people are primarily interested in pleasures perceived by senses only. They do not believe in the higher knowledge. They do not care for humanity, charity. No faith in GOD. Busy in doing misdeeds to meet requirements of self only. The body is everything to them. Therefore, they believe in decorating a dead man with the hope that they will be treated same in the next world. This was the practice adopted in ancient Egypt. According to Vedanta philosophy, the Self is not the body. Body decays and perishes, but the Self never. Body must be given due importance such that Prana makes the body animating and body can perform all works that are needed to sustain life.

Section-9 [Three Mantras]: 

Mantra-1: Before reaching to the gods with the Teachings received from Prajapati, Indra thought himself that the reflection is well decorated when the body is decorated. When the body is in fine clothes, the reflection is also in fine clothes. When the body is neat and clean, the Self is also neat and clean. Again, suppose a person is blind, then the Self  is blind. If the body is lame, so will be the Self. If the body is crippled, Self would be crippled. If the body is dead, Self would be dead. But Self is never dead. Therefore, Indra felt inadequacy in the teaching.

Virochana was happy with the teachings. He went back without any doubt and explained everything he understood to the demons. Virochana taught that the Body was the Self, since he understood the teachings according to his own level, his own nature. But Indra was a god with higher intellect and spiritual qualities. Indra remembered what Prajapati said about the Self in the beginning. Prajapati said:The Self is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from sorrow, and free from hunger and thirst. It is the cause of desire for Truth and for commitment to Truth”. Therefore, Indra returned back to Prajapati to learn about True Self.

Mantra-2: Indra went back to Prajapati with folded hands. Prajapati said: Indra! you went away with Virochana, perfectly satisfied. What brings you back? Indra replied: when the body is adorned, so is its reflection. When the body is in fine clothes, the reflection is also in fine clothes. When the body is neat and clean, the Self is also neat and clean. Again, suppose a person is blind, then the Self  is blind. If the body is lame, so will be the Self. If the body is crippled, Self would be crippled. If the body is dead, Self would be dead. Therefore, I do not see good in this.

Mantra-3: Prajapati said: Indra! This bodily Self is like that. Stay for another thirty-two years, I will explain more. Indra stayed for another thirty-two years.

In the next section, Indra is introduced into an experience which is not conditioned by the characters of the physical body.

Section-10 [Four Mantras]: The Self in Dreaming state.

Mantra-1: Prajapati said: ” That which you see in the dreaming state, is the Self. That is Brahman, about which I am going to explain you. That Being which rejoices and is happy in the state of dream is the Self, which is fearless and Immortal. Indra then left satisfied. But even before returning to gods, a doubt arose in his mind. He thought: ” A person may be blind, but when he is dreaming, he is not blind. He may be lame, but when he is dreaming, he is not lame. There may be some defects in his body, but his dream body is not affected by them.

Mantra-2: Self is not killed when the body is killed. He is not crippled when the body is crippled, yet he is killed and chased in dreams. It may seem as if there is something unpleasant. He may even seem to be weeping. I see nothing good in this.

Mantra-3: Indra went back to Prajapati with folded hands. Prajapati said: Indra! you went away with Virochana, perfectly satisfied. What brings you back? Indra replied: “Lord, a person may be blind, but when he is dreaming, he is not blind. He may be lame, but when he is dreaming, he is not lame. There may be some defects in his body, but his dream body is not affected by them.

Mantra-4: Self is not killed when the body is killed. He is not crippled when the body is crippled, yet he is killed and chased in dreams. It may seem as if there is something unpleasant. He may even seem to be weeping. I see nothing good in this. Prajapati said: Indra! This bodily Self is like that. Stay for another thirty-two years, I will explain more. Indra stayed for another thirty-two years.

Section-11 [Three Mantras]:

The Self in Deep sleep:

Mantra-1: Prajapati said: ” When the man is sleeping, at peace with himself, happy, without dream, then that is Self. It is immortal and fearless”.  Indra went away satisfied, but before reaching to the gods, he found inadequacy in teaching. He thought within himself: Man in his sleep does not even recognise that he is Self; neither does he know any other creatures around it. It is like complete annihilation, as it were. How could this be Self? That which does not know its own Self , can not be Self.

Mantra-2: Indra again went back to Prajapati with folded hands.                    Prajapati asked: ‘Indra you went satisfied, what brings you back? Indra replied, “Revered Sir, indeed in deep sleep, this one does not know Himself as “I am He”, neither does he know any creatures. He is lost. I see no good in this.

Mantra-3: Prajapati said; ‘ Indra! you are right; yet where else you can find the Self? Stay for five years more; i will explain more. Indra stayed accordingly. That makes one hundred and one years and so with regard to that people say thus, ” Verily, foe one hundred and one years Indra lived with Prajapati, the disciplined life of a celibate student of sacred knowledge.” Then Prajapati said to him: —

                                                                           …to continue

Next part will be final part : section-12 to section-15 will be published soon.

Conclusion:

One hundred and one years of austerity was performed by Indra in the abode of Prajapati to acquire Supreme knowledge. Even now people say that lord Indra, such a powerful person with such a brilliant intellect, had to live a life of tremendous austerity for 101 years for the sake of this “Brahma Vidya”, knowledge of Atman.

So, one hundred and one years of tapas did Indra perform in the abode of Prajapati for the sake of this Supreme Knowledge. Even now people say: “Indra, such a powerful person with such a brilliant intellect, had to live a life of tremendous austerity for one hundred and one years for the sake of this Atman knowledge!”

Readers are requested to know more on “deep sleep” from my blog post on maNDukya Upanishad. Mantra-2 is most important which is given below:

Mantra 2:  (Mandukya Upanishad): All this is verily Brahman. (ब्रह्मायमात्मा ब्रह्म) ” Ayam atma Brahma” There is nothing that is not Brahman. The Personal Self is the impersonal Brahman. (सोऽयमात्मा चतुष्पात् ) It has four aspects (states), also known as four quarters.

Ayam atma Brahma” is one of the four mahaVakyas from four Vedas. It signifies the realization that who I am really is that same Brahman. The word “chatuShpad” (चतुष्पात् )refers to the four aspects of Consciousness. Three states of Consciousness: 1) Waking[GROSS], 2) Dreaming [SUBTLE] and 3) Deep Sleep [CAUSAL]. Fourth is the Reality which is the Background of all states. Details to be known from the following verses.

The link for reading text in Sanskrit is here:-   Chandgoya Upanishad 

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. ChAndogya Upanishad: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.
  7. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  8. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  9. A-U-M Awakening to Reality: By Dennis Waite***
  10. Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
  11. Information available on internet.

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