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




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 removal 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:


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: 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

स॒ह नौ॒ यशः । स॒ह नौ ब्र॑ह्मव॒र्चसम् ।

May we both attain Fame together. May we both obtain Spiritual pre-eminence. 

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:

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 armour, 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 cannot progress towards Enlightenment.

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


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 on 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 cannot 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.

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