Essence of Taittiriya Upanishad – Sheeksha Valli : Part-1A

GURUKUL

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, 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.

Introduction:

The Taittiriya Upanishad is a part of the Krishna Yajur Veda and placed in the seventh position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishad. The Upanishad has three Chapters. First chapter of the Upanishad is Sheeksha Valli which gives the essence of the Karma Kanda of the Veda in terms of disciplines, rituals, meditations, values, code of conduct for daily life. Consists of 12 sections, of which the first and the last contain prayers to the deities for the removing of obstacles’ while pursuing spiritual wisdom. In this blog we will discuss Sheeksha Valli. This Upanishad deals with the rituals part(Karma kanda~ Lower Knowledge) and Higher Knowledge part(Gyan Kanda~ Brahma Vidya). Hence it is considered to be a complete Upanishad. In this part we will learn Karma Kanda, the Rituals part.

Sheeksha Valli: Science of Vedic Chanting:

शीक्षावल्ली:

Section-1: Peace Invocation from The Yajur Veda:

May the Sun bless us! May the Night bless us! May the Eye bless us! May Might bless us! May speech bless us! May the All-prevalent bless us! Welcome Spirit! Welcome Life, Face of Spirit! 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.

Section-2: Sheeksha –Vedic Phonetics

We explain what constitutes pronunciation. It comprises letters, accent, quantity, articulation, rhythm and lastly sequence of letters.

Section-3:Third Section : Significance of Combinations

Teaches how to meditate on combination of words. Mere recitation of the Text may focus the mind only on letters. But, through meditation pupil will understand the symbolic significance which will make the mind pure and one pointed.

Prayer by Teacher and Student

May we both attain Fame together. May we both obtain Spiritual pre-eminence.(स॒ह नौ॒ यशः । स॒ह नौ ब्र॑ह्मव॒र्चसम् ।)

Now therefore Meditation (Upasana) on Sandhees:

This chapter deals with the Universe, Light(Luminosity), Vidya(Knowledge of Upanishad), progeny (maintaining family line) , language. (अधिलोकमधिज्यौतिषमधिविद्यमधिप्रज॑मध्या॒त्मम् ।) Adhilokam, Adhijyotisham, Adhividyam, Adhiprajam, Adhyaatmam. These are Maha-Samhitas**, the ” Great Word Junctions (Sandhees)” ***Samhita means conjunction or union.

Meditation-1 :What is this Universe?

Earth below, Heaven above, air between, wind joining them.

Meditation-2 :What is Light(Luminosity)?

Fire on one side, Sun on the other side, water between, lightning joining them.

Meditation-3 :What is Vidya( Knowledge of Upanishad)?

The Teacher on one side, pupil on the other side, knowledge between, discourse joining them.

Meditation-4 :What is progeny (maintaining family line)?

Mother on one side, father on other side, child between, procreation joining them.

Meditation-5 :What is language?

The lower jaw on one side, the upper jaw on the other side, words between, tongue joining them.

Summary of Third Section:

Upon these, anyone who meditates as explained, shall have children, cattle**(wealth), food, knowledge and Heavens. [** In the ancient time cattle was treated as wealth.]

Section-4: Teacher’s Prayer for wisdom and fortune:

Fourth section: For the attainment of knowledge of Brahman, one needs good memory, good health, adequate food and clothing which are basic needs. This section describes the process for attainment.

OM! , Whose form is manifold and Essence of Vedas, revealed in Vedas, revealed in the world, sprung from immortality! Lord, fill me with intelligence, that I may grasp immortality!

Make my body strong, my tongue sweet, my ears keen. You are the Spirit’s armor, hidden by sensuality. Keep me from forgetting.

May spiritual riches come of their own will. May they increase, then send me Spirit itself. May I never lack clothes. cows, food, drink, that I may serve you the better. May pupils come, may pupils gather round, may pupils listen, that I may serve you the better.

May they in peace, control mind and sense, that they may serve you the better. may I become famous, may I become richer than the richest, that I may serve you the better.

Lord! may I enter into you, may you enter into me! May I merge into your thousands of shapes, for my purification.

As water flows downward, as months mingle with the year, Guardian! may pupils come from everywhere, that I may serve you the better. You are the Fold. Take me, Enlighten me.

Summary of the Fourth Section:

This is a need for the teacher to have a sufficient number of students, not only to expand teaching venture, but also to spread the Vedic culture to the world. This Upanishad teaches about Ethical and Moral life with Self control (BrahmaCharya) without which a person can not progress towards Enlightenment.

&& Original Sanskrit sloka is available in the following link: Sanskrit Document

Conclusion:

The first chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad has 12 sections comprising of different meditation(UPASANA) and ethical rules which a disciple should practice in order to purify his or her mind. Meditation is required to focus mind towards the cosmic power or the Supreme Being. This chapter deals with discipline of Sheeksha (academics) which comprises the study of phonetics and pronunciation. It deals with sound, pitch, quantity, force, modulation and combination. Ethical and Moral life with Self control (BrahmaCharya) is very important, without which a person as well as society can not progress towards Enlightenment.

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 Taittiriya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. Taittiriya 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. 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

Essence of MUNDAKA Upanishad: Part-2-A

Disclaimer:

  • The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my concept, my beliefs, 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.

Introduction:

Higher Knowledge: Para Vidya: To be discussed in this Khanda:

The Vedas clearly Speak of two distinct fields of Knowledge: i) The Lower ( Apara Vidya ) and ii) The Higher ( Para Vidya ). In the first Mundaka(Khanda-1 & Khanda-2), we have seen that discussion on the Apara Vidya begins with the Karma Kanda. Those who follow the Karma Kanda Rituals (Agnihotra) are desirous of obtaining pleasures through actions. But this is not our goal. Sage Angria said to Sage Saunaka : ” The Sages studied the Rituals described in the Vedas, went beyond them to the Truth. You may find it better to stay with them; if you seek the reward of your actions, stay with them”

According to First Mundaka, Agnihotra ( fire sacrifice)  is considered to be null and void if even one of the eight given conditions is not full filled.

 

Also it is said that better than Karma Kanda is Upasana Kanda which is the middle path and it prepares for the Gyan Kanda which we will study in the next part, The Second Mundaka, second Khanda and The Third Mundaka. There the spiritual teaching will be taken up in greater depth.

॥ मुण्डकोपनिषत् ॥

Peace Mantra:

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवा भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।     स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवाꣳसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः । 
स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः । 
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु। 

॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

॥ ॐ ब्रह्मणे नमः ॥

॥ द्वितीय मुण्डके प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

Thus Begins the First Section of the Second Canto

Sparks from the Flaming FIRE :

तदेतत् सत्यं
यथा सुदीप्तात् पावकाद्विस्फुलिङ्गाः
      सहस्रशः प्रभवन्ते सरूपाः ।
तथाऽक्षराद्विविधाः सोम्य भावाः
      प्रजायन्ते तत्र चैवापि यन्ति ॥ १॥

दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः पुरुषः स बाह्याभ्यन्तरो ह्यजः ।
अप्राणो ह्यमनाः शुभ्रो ह्यक्षरात् परतः परः ॥ २॥
Spark of the Flaming Fire

2.1.1 तदेतत् सत्यं = Know this Truth from the higher standpoint:

The fire sparks , though of one nature with the fire, leap from it; uncounted beings leap from the Everlasting, but these, my son, merge into it again.

2.1.2 Absolute Nature of Brahman:

The Divine is Shapeless (दिव्यो ह्यमूर्तः ~ Divine formless), Birthless, (ह्यजः ~ ajah), Breathless, Mindless,(अप्राणो ह्यमनाः) above everything, (बाह्याभ्यन्तरो) Outside everything, inside everything. ( शुभ्रो ) Absolutely Pure, verily even from the Indestructible (Causal), higher than Highest means (ह्यक्षरात् परतः परः) transcending even the transcendent Ishwara” means beyond the Causal state.

2.1.3 :Brahman as “Hiranyagarbha” –the Subtle Macrocosm:

 एतस्माज्जायते प्राणो मनः सर्वेन्द्रियाणि च । 
खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवी विश्वस्य धारिणी ॥ ३॥ 

From Him (Brahman) are born the Prana, the Mind, and all the sense organs, the elements, sky, wind, fire, water, and earth which support all creation.

According to Bhasya, the creation of the Subtle Body at Samasthi or microcosmic level is emphasized here. Aim is to show that Prana, mind and all other elements can not co-exist with Brahman. From Brahman, in association with Maya, arises Ishwara, the Creator. From Ishwara, arises the five subtle elements known as Tanmatras. From Tanmatras arise the mind and the pranas, from their Sattvic and Rajasic portions respectively.

2.1.4: Brahman as Virat- the Gross Macrocosmic.

अग्नीर्मूर्धा चक्षुषी चन्द्रसूर्यौ
दिशः श्रोत्रे वाग् विवृताश्च वेदाः ।
वायुः प्राणो हृदयं विश्वमस्य पद्भ्यां
पृथिवी ह्येष सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा ॥ ४॥

HE is the inmost Self of all. Fire His head; Sun and moon, His eyes; the four quarters, His ears; The Vedas when uttered are His voice; Wind, His Breath; The Universe, His Heart; Earth, His Feet. He is indeed the inner Self of all beings. This is the macrocosmic picture of Virat that is Total Gross Universe.

2.1.5: The ” Panchagni” – The Five Fires in the Cosmos:

तस्मादग्निः समिधो यस्य सूर्यः 
    सोमात् पर्जन्य ओषधयः पृथिव्याम् । 
पुमान् रेतः सिञ्चति योषितायां 
    बह्वीः प्रजाः पुरुषात् सम्प्रसूताः ॥ ५॥

Fire is from Him, its fuel Sun, moon from Sun, rain from moon, food from rain, man from food, seed from man; thus all descends from Purusha( Supreme).

From HIM are produced the 1st Fire, whose fuel is SUN. From the MOON comes the Rain Clouds (2nd Fire), from Clouds, the Herbs(3rd Fire) on Earth. From Herbs comes Man(the 4th Fire). His semen is Shed into the Woman (the 5th Fire). In this sequential process , Many living beings from the PURUSHA are produced. This is the “Cycle of Five Fires.” “The Panchagni- Five Cosmic Fires.”

2.1.6: Origin of Karma Kanda Rituals:

तस्मादृचः साम यजूंषि दीक्षा
यज्ञाश्च सर्वे क्रतवो दक्षिणाश्च ।
संवत्सरश्च यजमानश्च लोकाः
सोमो यत्र पवते यत्र सूर्यः ॥ ६॥

From Him come the Hymns of the Rig & Sama Vedas and the Sacrificial formula of the Yajur Veda, used in the preliminary rites. Then come the sacrifice, the sacrificial post, the sacrificial gifts etc, the time of sacrifice, the sponsor of the sacrifice , and the worlds (to be gained by the sacrifice); purified by the Lunar and Solar paths.

2.1.7: Origin of Upasana Kanda Rituals

तस्माच्च देवा बहुधा सम्प्रसूताः 
साध्या मनुष्याः पशवो वयांसि ।
 प्राणापानौ व्रीहियवौ तपश्च 
श्रद्धा सत्यं ब्रह्मचर्यं विधिश्च ॥ ७॥

From Him also Gods of various hierarchies are born. There are the celestials, the men, the animals and the birds. There are the in-breath and out-breath, the corn and barley, and austerity(तपश्च ); there are faith (devotion), truthfulness, sexual abstinence, and all the values of life (श्रद्धा सत्यं ब्रह्मचर्यं विधिश्च ).

2.1.8: “The Secret of Groups of Seven”

सप्त प्राणाः प्रभवन्ति तस्मात्
सप्तार्चिषः समिधः सप्त होमाः ।
सप्त इमे लोका येषु चरन्ति प्राणा
गुहाशया निहिताः सप्त सप्त ॥ ८॥

The Seven Pranas are born from HIM alone. The Seven flames [The Seven Tongues of Fire explained in First Mundaka, 2nd Khanda, Mantra no: 4], the Seven fold fuel, the Seven fold oblations; as also the Seven ” nodal points” or Chakras, where the Pranas are seated (distribution in the Body) in the “cave of the heart” (of all beings) lie all these in groups of Sevens.

2.1.9: Our Physical World:

अतः समुद्रा गिरयश्च सर्वेऽस्मात् 
स्यन्दन्ते सिन्धवः सर्वरूपाः । 
अतश्च सर्वा ओषधयो रसश्च 
येनैष भूतैस्तिष्ठते ह्यन्तरात्मा ॥ ९॥

From HIM arise oceans, rivers, mountains, herbs and their properties. And in the middle of the elements is the innermost Self.

2.1.10: Brahman and Universe is ONE.

पुरुष एवेदं विश्वं कर्म तपो ब्रह्म परामृतम् ।
एतद्यो वेद निहितं गुहायां
सोऽविद्याग्रन्थिं विकिरतीह सोम्य ॥ १०॥

The Purusha alone is this entire Universe– the sacrificial works and austerities. He is The Supreme Consciousness. This highest and immortal Brahman. He who knows this as seated in the cavity of the heart, unties the knot of ignorance even here in this very life, O good-looking son.

॥ इति मुण्डकोपनिषदि द्वितीयमुण्डके प्रथमः खण्डः ॥

Conclusion:

This Universe, including all subjects and all objects, is only a condition supported by the Supreme Consciousness, on the basis of which appearances are experienced by the cognizing individual and without which the Universe has no Reality. In fact, what is real in the Universe is nothing more and nothing less than the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss( Sat-Chit-Ananda). The names and the forms are not existent substances. When the Purusha is known, all is known. In fact there is no such thing as all, except this One Purusha. The Knowledge of the Purusha, therefore, means the absence of Duality which is the same as the destruction of Ignorance and attainment of Immortality and Absoluteness.

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 MundakaUpanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  5. MUNDAKA 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. 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