Essence of Aitareya Upanishad: Part-A

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Disclaimer:

  • The article is based on my studies, my concept, my thoughts on the subject. It is further supplemented  with my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • ☆ The term “MAN” wherever used in this entire text is intended to consider as “HUMAN” irrespective of gender differences.
  • ♡ Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.
  • Your feedback will be highly appreciated. I am sure that the subject matter is highly logical and does not bring any conflict. Hope you will enjoy reading. Regards. NAMASTE. I can be reached at : arun7663@gmail.com

Introduction:-

Aitareya Upanishad belongs to Aitareya Aranyaka**(Teachings in the forest), part of Rig-Veda, consists of  three Parts. First Part consists of three chapters. Remaining two Parts have one chapter each. according to scholars, Rishi Maheedasa Aitareya composed this Upanishad. The purpose of this Upanishad is to direct the mind towards oneness turning away from ritualistic actions. 

According to Aitareya Upanishad, in the beginning, Atman was the All and it has manifested all this Universe. This is to be understood as total effect which came out of the total Cause. The whole objective Universe is the Effect. Also this is to be understood that the Effect which has come out of Cause is not separated from the Cause.

Aitareya Upanishad emphasize the beliefs, practices of Procreation, sustenance of generations, Birth and rebirth. It teaches about the creation of Universe, creation of beings, the embodied Self, the importance of food, desire in the continuation of the worlds and beings. Upanishad gives idea on transmigration of souls, the nature of Self, the manifestation of Brahman and the path of liberation. My presentation here is on first Part. I have added some figures of creation of Universe according to modern science just to imagine and relate Aitareya Upanishad with physics and philosophy

Atman:

Atman includes everything and everyone. It is the Total of all created beings, and so it is called Brahman. The ultimate in us is Atman. The ultimate in the cosmos is Brahman. Atman is Brahman. There can not be anything other than this Universal Reality.

The first chapter describes the creation. It describes the creation of Universe from Consciousness. 

Story of creation in Aitareya Upanishad says ” When there was nothing other than Consciousness, called Atman, the One and Absolute Consciousness willed to create a world of multiplicity and diversity. Creation is believed to be outcome of Tapah (Fire)

ऐतरेयोपनिषत्

Peace Invocation: Shanti Path: 

वाङ् मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितमाविरावीर्म एधि ॥

वेदस्य म आणीस्थः श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान्
संदधाम्यृतं वदिष्यामि सत्यं वदिष्यामि ॥ तन्मामवतु
तद्वक्तारमवत्ववतु मामवतु वक्तारमवतु वक्तारम् ॥

॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

May Self-luminous Brahman be revealed, Speech merge in Mind; Mind merge in Speech. May they bring me Vedas. May I ponder over the Knowledge day and night, may I never forget it. Truth shall be on my lips, and Truth in my thoughts. May truth protect me; protect my teacher; protect us both.

May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

॥ अथ ऐतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

Verse: 1.1 Before Creation began.

ॐ आत्मा वा इदमेक एवाग्र आसीन्नान्यत्किंचन मिषत्।स ईक्षत लोकान्नु सृजा इति ॥ १॥
" Atma va idam eka evagra as it, nanyat kin cana misat" is the beginning sentence of Aitareya Upanishad.

“In the beginning all this verily was Atman (Absolute Self) only, one and without a second. There was nothing else that winked. He (Atman) willed Himself: “Let Me now create the worlds”.

The Space Time, The Universe(s), the Creatures, the People, everything is a product out of Pure Consciousness for a CAUSE. Pure Consciousness is Atman. 

Atman is identical to Brahman and exists alone as the sole Reality prior to the creation of all names and forms of this Universe(the Virat Form) and also exists after the dissolution as well. { Holographic Universe: Universe is really a hologram}.

The cosmic egg of Vedanta maybe imagined like a point and called as singularity in astrophysics from where this Universe has taken birth.

Astrophysics and Advaita Vedanta agree on certain points. Advaita Vedanta upholds the notion of the pulsating or oscillating Universe. Creation is followed by dissolution and this process will continue infinitely. Science has given the terms as “Big Bang”  for the Creation and “Big Crunch” for the Dissolution of the Universe.

Verse: 1.2 : Creation of World:

He created all these worlds: Ambhah, Mareecheeh, Marah and Aapah. Far beyond is Ambhah, just above the Heaven (Svah) with Heaven acting as it’s support. That of the first is water bearing cloud, that of light, that of earth, that of water. Heaven and beyond Heaven is that of the first water; sky[Mareecheeh] is that of light; this mortal territory is that of Earth(Marah~ plane of death). Under Earth is that of water[Aapah] (representing the nether worlds).

Verse: 1.3: Hiranyagarbha, The Chief Deity:

Brahman thought again: “Here are the worlds just created. Let me create protectors for these worlds.” Then He took a lump of water and gave it form of Purusha( Hiranyagarbha ~Chief Deity of the whole subtle manifestation).

Note: Hiranyagarbha:

Hiranyagarbha Sukta of the Rig Veda(10.121) states that God manifested Himself in the beginning as the Creator of the Universe, encompassing all things, including everything within Himself, the collective totality, as it were, of the whole of creation, animating it as the Supreme Intelligence. Deities fall under Hiranyagarbha. The Deities are in subtle form. The gross creation has not begun yet.

Verse: 1.4: Eight Chief Deities are created.

तमभ्यतपत्तस्याभितप्तस्य मुखं निरभिद्यत यथाऽण्डं
मुखाद्वाग्वाचोऽग्निर्नासिके निरभिद्येतं नासिकाभ्यां प्राणः ॥

प्राणाद्वायुरक्षिणी निरभिद्येतमक्षीभ्यां चक्षुश्चक्षुष
आदित्यः कर्णौ निरभिद्येतां कर्णाभ्यां श्रोत्रं
श्रोत्रद्दिशस्त्वङ्निरभिद्यत त्वचो लोमानि लोमभ्य ओषधिवनस्पतयो
हृदयं निरभिद्यत हृदयान्मनो मनसश्चन्द्रमा नाभिर्निरभिद्यत
नाभ्या अपानोऽपानान्मृत्युः
शिश्नं निरभिद्यत शिश्नाद्रेतो रेतस आपः ॥ ४॥

Eight Chief Deities are: 

1) The Agni Devata: ” A Mouth burst forth from it as cleft, just as an egg cracks; from the mouth proceeded Speech, from Speech emerged Agni, the Fire Deity.

2) The Vayu Devata: Then Hiranyagarbha’s nostrils burst forth; from the nostrils emerged the sense of smell; and from the smell emerged Vayu, the Air Deity.

3) The Aditya Devata: Then the Eye burst open on the lump; from the Eyes, sight merged; and from sight Aditya, the Sun Deity.

 4) The Disha Devata: Then the Ears burst forth; from the Ears proceeded hearing; from hearing Dishah; the Deity of Directions/Space.

5) The Vanaspataya Devata: Then the Skin suddenly appeared; from the Skin came out hair; and from hair, Vanaspatayah, the Deity of “Herbs and Trees”

6) The Chandramaa Devata: Then the Heart sprung up; from the Heart proceeded the mind; from the mind, Chandramaah, the Moon Deity.

7) The Mrityu Devata: Then a Navel burst forth; from the Navel, the Apana or power of excretion; from Apana came Mrityuh, the Lord of Death.

8) The Aapah Devata: Then the Generative Organ burst out; from this Organ the semen or seed; from semen came Aapah, the Water Deity.

Note: We know the five element (five Deities) model of Creation. Here also we see the same five elements, each of which has it’s own Deity. The three additional Deities mentioned are the Sun, the Moon and the Death. All the eight Deities play important role in the Operation of the Universe.

॥ इत्यैतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

End of Chapter 1 of Part-1


॥ अथ ऐतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये द्वितीयः खण्डः ॥

In the previous chapter we have known the Creation of the Organs and their Deities at subtle and macrocosmic (Samasthi) level. In this second chapter, we will discuss the gross and microcosmic level( Vyashti) of the creation. When it was subtle, we called it Hiranyagarbha. Now we will call it Virat with multiple forms. To understand the creation we may refer the Text in “Panchadasi” : Four stages of creation. A conceptual picture is projected below. I have written separate blog on this topic. The link is here: “The Divine Art”

The divine art!!(A concept according to the Text ” “Panchadasi: Sixth Chapter: “Chitra Deepa Prakarana”)

The stages of creation are as below: 4 stages of divine art!

FOUR STAGES OF CREATION IS COMPARED WITH FOUR STAGES OF PAINTING!

Chapter-2:   Abodes for the Deities.

Verse: 2.1-3

When these Deities were created, they went back to water. Then He endowed that being with hunger and thirst. Deities then said ” Please find for us some place where we can live and eat.  He then created a Bull out of the waters. They said: indeed, this is not sufficient.” He then created a horse. They said: No; it is not sufficient.” He then created a man. They said : ” Oh! Well done” Deities were happy since Man is the chief of creatures. He said to the Deities: “Take your places.

Verse: 2.4-5

The Deity of Fire in the character of speech entered in the mouth; The Deity of Air in the character of Scent entered the nose; The Sun-Deity in the character of sight entered the eyes; The Deity of four quarters in the character of hearing entered the ears; vegetation in the character of hair entered the skin; The Moon Deity, in the character of mind entered the Heart; The Deity of death in the character of Apana entered the navel; he Deity of water in the character of seed entered the loins. Hunger and thirst said:” Where is our place?” He said:” Take your place beside all the Deities, for I have made you the partner of all. To whatever Deities man makes oblation, hunger and thirst shall partake.”

॥ इत्यैतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये द्वितीयः खण्डः ॥

End of Chapter 2 of Part-1


॥ अथ ऐतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये तृतीयः खण्डः ॥

Chapter 3 of Part-1:

Verse 3.1-2: Creation of Food

The Creator Said:” Here are the territories and their guardians. I need to create food.

Verse 3.3-10: How to grasp the food?:-

Lord meditated on waters and from waters emerged food. The food so created fled from Man. He tried to grasp with speech but failed. Indeed, were he be able to catch it by speech, then merely by saying food, we would have been satisfied. Then he tried to grasp food with the breath, but he could not. Indeed, were he be able to grasp it merely by smelling food we would have been satisfied. Lord sought to grasp it with the eye. Man was not able to grasp with eye. If indeed, man had grasped with the eye, one would then have been satisfied by merely seeing food. He tried to grasp it with his ears but failed. Had he been succeeded, to to hear it had become satisfaction enough. he then tried to grasp it with his skin but failed. Had he succeeded, to touch it would have been satisfaction enough. He tried to grasp it with mind but failed, had he succeeded, thinking of it had been satisfaction enough. He then tried to grasp it with the downward breath Apana and succeeded. Apana alone receives food. Apana lives on food. 

Since Apana grasps food, retains, consumes, assimilates, rejects, it is called Annayu and therefore Apana is known as Vayu. 

[EACH SYSTEM HAS IT'S OWN GRIP. DIGESTIVE IS BY STOMACH ONLY. SIMILARLY OTHERS. SUCH IS ONE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF HUMAN BODY]

Verse 3.11 Lord’s Regal Entry:

The Creator thought Himself: ” How could all these remain without Me?” Then He said to Himself: “Which way shall I enter into it?” He said to Himself further: ” If Speaking is done by Speech, Smelling is done by nose, seeing is done by eyes, hearing by the ears, touching by the skin, thinking by the mind, eating by the Apana and the emission of semen by the sex organ, then what is there for Me to do?

Verse 3.12: Creator’s Entry into the Body:

Then He split open the suture of the Skull, entered through the gate which is gate of Joy , called ” Vidriti” This is Naandana. He found three place to dwell and three conditions to move: i) Waking, ii) Dreaming and iii) Sleeping.

Important Note:-

Sacchidanand Brahman associated with power of Maya is termed as Ishwara.

Two important verses from Panchadasi, Chapter-6 is given below to understand Ishwara and Jiva in brief. For details, interested readers may read Swami Vidyaranya’s Panchadasi. Also readers may read my Blog : “The Divine Art” which is comprehensive presentation of Chapter Six- ” Chitra Deepa” of Panchadasi.

Maya has created Ishwara and Jiva, represented by the sheath of Bliss and the sheath of Intellect respectively. The whole perceptible world is a creation of Ishwara. [ Panchadasi: Chapter6-Verse212]

From the determination of Ishwara to create, down to His entrance into the created objects, is the creation of Ishwara. From the waking state to ultimate release, the cause of all pleasure and pains, is the creation of Jiva.    [ Panchadasi: Chapter6-Verse213]

Verse 3.13 : “Oh! I have seen this earlier”.

He entered the Body, named it’s various parts, wondered if there could be anything there not Himself. He saw Purusha, the Supreme Brahman; Rejoiced to find there was nothing but Himself.

Verse 3.14: From Idandra to Indra- Knowledge to Ignorance!

Hence He is known by Idandra. He- that sees. This Idandra has since been called Indra (short name-nick name). Even Deities(Devas) are fond of this name ” Indra”  

॥ इत्यैतरेयोपनिषदि प्रथमाध्याये तृतीयः खण्डः ॥

End of Chapter 3 of Part-1

Conclusion:

How did the Creation came up? Creator thought I shall indeed create the worlds. At the end of each Cycle, the totality of living beings at that point of time remains in the form of Vasana in the form of mental impressions. In the beginning of the next cycle, these Vasanas are projected by Isvara according to the quality of their past actions to seek out their fulfilment in the objective world to appear. Although the creation happens by the will of Brahman, Supreme Consciousness, but the resultant product is based on the nature of past actions by the created persons.

References:-

The Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda describes the creation of Universe.

The Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda paints picture of the ideal Primeval Being existing before any phenomenal existence. According to Sukta, that cosmic person is conceived with thousand heads, eyes and feet and filled the Universe and extended beyond it.

The Nasadiya Sukta of Rig Veda:

It is recommended to read the article ” Cosmology in Vedanta” by Swami Tathagatananda.

BIOCENTRISM:-

Interested readers may read the new subject Biocentrism. Name of the book is BIOCENTRISM : How life and Consciousness are the keys to understanding the True nature of the Universe: By Robert Lanza MD with BOB BERMAN. One excerpt from the book is this: “Some of the thrill that came with the announcement that the human genome had been mapped or the idea that we are close to understanding the first second of time after the Big Bang rests in our innate human desire for completeness and totality.                  Page-13 BIOCENTRISM

First Principle of Biocentrism: What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness.

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 Aitareya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Aitareya 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.

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