Essence of Taittiriya Upanishad – Bhrigu Valli :

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Introduction:

This Part is known as Bhrigu Valli, third chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad. It has Ten Anuvakas ( 10 sections)

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 has been published in two parts. Sheeksha Valli: part-1A and Sheeksha Valli: part-1B.  

Second Chapter ” Brahmananda Valli teaches in details 1) about the five sheaths that surround our true essence, our true nature as described in the traditional Advaita Vedanta which uses a model to illustrate the successive layers of identification which obscure our real nature. and 2)What is Bliss”(True Joy). It has been published in two parts.  Brahmananda Valli: Part 1-A and Brahmananda Valli: Part-1-B

Bhrigu Valli has 10 Anuvaka : Enlightenment of Sage Bhrigu is highlighted in this Text. Bhrigu was the son of sage Varuna.

Peace invocation from Krishna Yajur Veda:

“Bhrigu May He protect us both. May He take pleasure in us both. May we show courage together. May spiritual knowledge shine before us. May we never hate one another. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.”

Anuvaka-1:

3.1 Bhrigu, seeking his father Varuna, said: ” Lord ! Please teach me what is Brahman. Varuna replied: ” Food, Prana, Eyes, Ears, Mind and speech. These are all Brahman” From Brahman, all things are born, by whom they live, towards whom they move, into whom they return. Crave to know that well.
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Anuvaka-2: Bhrigu returns for more:

Bhrigu then meditated with austerity (Tapas is an austerity, an act of purification) and understood that Food is Brahman.
Having known that Bhrigu returned to his father and said: ” Lord ! Please tell me more about Brahman.” Varuna said: ” By deep thinking(Tapas), seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.

Anuvaka-3 : Prana is Brahman.

3.3:Bhrigu meditated and found that Prana is Brahman, because it is from Prana alone that all these things are born, by prana they live and towards prana they move, into prana they return when die.
Having known that Bhrigu returned to his father and said: ” Lord ! Please tell me more about Brahman.” ” Varuna said: ” By deep thinking(Tapas), seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.
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Anuvaka-4: Mind is Brahman.

Bhrigu meditated and understood that Mind is Brahman.  Because it is from Mind alone that all these things are born, by mind they live and continue to live into mind they return when die.
Having known that Bhrigu returned to his father and said: ” Lord ! Please tell me more about Brahman.” ” Varuna said: ” By deep thinking(Tapas), seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.

Anuvaka-5: Knowledge is Brahman.

Bhrigu meditated and understood that Knowledge is Brahman.  Because it is from Knowledge alone that all these things are born, by Knowledge they live and continue to live and into knowledge they return when die.
Having known that Bhrigu returned to his father and said: ” Lord ! Please tell me more about Brahman.” ” Varuna said: ” By deep thinking(Tapas), seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.

Anuvaka-6: Bliss (Ananda) is Brahman.

Bhrigu meditated and understood that Bliss (Ananda) is Brahman.  Because it is from Bliss alone that all these things are born, by Bliss they live and continue to live and into Bliss they return when die.
Having known that Bhrigu returned to his father and said: ” Lord ! Please tell me more about Brahman.” ” Varuna said: ” By deep thinking(Tapas), seek thou to know Brahman. Tapas is Brahman.
The Merit of Tapas: 
He who knows thus become well fixed in Supreme Bless Brahman. He becomes the possessor and eater of Food. He becomes rich in progeny, cattle, and gains the splendour of true Brahmana hood. Indeed he becomes great Spiritual and material prosperity. 

The Tapas ends at Absolute Bliss:

This Knowledge learnt by Bhrigu and taught by his father Varuna, established in the ” Supreme cavity of the Heart”.

The journey that began with food now ends in Supreme Bliss in the ” Supreme cavity of the Heart”. Here the disciple, the seeker becomes One with Brahman. The concept of teaching through conversation emphasize that anyone who follows the same method as Bhrigu, can have same realization what Bhrigu achieved. It is known as famous ” Bhargavi- Varuni Vidya” in Taittiriya Upanishad.

Introduction to Anuvaka 7 to 10:

The path of Self-Realization followed by Bhrigu is considered to be the most direct path, suited for meditation practitioners. But for the aspirants unable to follow are given alternate (indirect) method as described in Anuvaka-7,8,9 and first verse of 10. To prepare the lessor qualified students, for the same attainment of Bhrigu, a practice ” Annam-Annadanam Upasana is prescribed. This is meditation on Food and eater of food. If followed as described, seeker will reach to the same state of bliss, the absolute Bliss. Each Anuvaka is structured in a logical manner. 1. The Vrata (Vow), 2. The Upasana (Meditation) and 3. The Phala (merit gained).

Anuvaka-7: Prana and Body as Food.

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7.1:  Vow-1: Respect Food:

“annam na nindyaat; tat Vratam;” 
The vow here is not to insult food. What that means? That means, rejecting, refusing, criticizing, placing no value on Food. Food ties in well with the Upasana on Prana and Body. Food must be respected and taken in pleasant frame of mind. As such Pranic system works well.

7.2: Upasana-1: Prana and Body- Food for each other:

Prana is food (annam). Body is the eater of the food(annadam). The Body is Prana; Prana is Body. They are food to one another.

7.3: The Merit: Spiritual and material prosperity:

He who knows thus become well fixed in Brahman. He becomes the possessor and eater of Food. He becomes rich, Commands everything, enjoys everything; founds a family, gathers flocks and herds. Gains the splendour of true Brahmana hood.

Anuvaka–8:

8.1: Vow-2  ” Do not reject Food”

“annam na parichaksheet; tat vratam”  Do not reject food.
The Vow here is for not abandoning or wasting food served. In addition, too much fasting in the name of Austerity should also be avoided to fulfil body’s requirement.

8.2: Upasana-2:Water and Light- Food for each other.

Water and Fire–Food for Each Other. Water is food; Light lives on Water. Water is light; Light is Water; they are food for one another.

[Sun and Solar system works for sustaining life in Earth.]

8.3: The Merit: Spiritual and material prosperity:

He who knows thus become well fixed in Brahman. He becomes the possessor and eater of Food. He becomes rich, Commands everything, enjoys everything; founds a family, gathers flocks and herds. Gains the splendour of true Brahmana hood.

Anuvaka-9: Earth and Space- Food for each other.

9.1: Vow-3  “Store Food”

“annam bahu kurvita; tat vratam” : Prepare plenty of Food. Let that be your vow.

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Here the Vow is for arranging plenty of food in store such that one can feed guests, unexpected guests and the needy without any difficulty. This practice is normally followed in most of the homes in India.

9.2: Upasana-3: Earth and Space- Food for each other.

The Earth is Food; Space is eater of Food. Earth is established in Space. Space is established Earth. They are food for one another. [Consider Ecosystem, Water cycles etc.]

9.3: The Merit: Spiritual and material prosperity:

He who knows thus become well fixed in Brahman. He becomes the possessor and eater of Food. He becomes rich, Commands everything, enjoys everything; founds a family, gathers flocks and herds. Gains the splendor of true Brahmana hood.

Interpretation of Anuvaka-7 to 9:

Before proceeding to Anuvaka -10, let us understand the essence from Anuvaka-7 to 9.

The teaching is hidden and something beyond the words. The teaching here is alternate to the model of Five Sheaths, where we have to reach to Brahman after negating all the koshas. Maharshi Bhrigu was a great sage. There are three primary stages of Sadhana covered in Anuvaka-7 to 9.

1.Abiding by the Law of Dharma:

First stage of Sadhana is Vow to eradicate undesirable practices to desirable noble practices. This means replacing unrighteous with righteous qualities. The aspirant has to align with the Laws of Dharma. An attitude must be developed, to respect the food, preserve the food and serve the food to the needy. The main idea is to develop a selflessness combined with benevolent quality.

2.Abiding by the Law of Karma:

There is an action and reaction suggested in this Upasana. It is to be understood that we are eating food and food is eating us. At one moment we are eaters; at another we are eaten! In this mystic manner, the Upasanas draw our attention to the Law of Karma.

Anuvaka--10: The Path of “Dharma & Karma”

10.1: Vow-4 : “Hospitality towards guests.”

न कञ्चन वसतौ प्रत्याचक्षीत । तद्व्रतम् । Do not turn anyone who seeks shelter and lodging. Gather enough food.

10.2-5: Upasana-4: Entertain and honour your guest.

Say to the stranger; “Sir, Food is ready for you”. The food is prepared and served in well manner. He who serves with purity, gets purity in return. He who serves with ignorance, gets ignorance in return.

Upasana upon Body.

He who knows, meditate upon Brahman as the blessedness in speech; as Prana and Apana as acquirer and preserver; as the activity of hands, as the movement of feet, as evacuation of bowels. All these are meditation upon Body. 

Upasana on Nature.

Worship Brahman as nourishment in rain, as power in lightning, as abundance in cattle, as light in stars, offspring, immortality and joy in organs of procreation, as all-filling in space, all containing nature in air. These are meditations on Nature.

Upasana on Supreme. As one thinks, so does one become.

Worship Brahman as the support, be supported. Worship Brahman as the Great and become Great, as mind and become mind. Surrender to Brahman as the sole object of desire, be the goal of all desire. Worship Brahman as the master of all and become master of all. Worship Brahman as the destroyer, your enemies whether in public or in home shall be destroyed. 

“The Reality in the core of man and the Reality in the Sun is one and the same”  

He who knows this, says goodbye to the world, goes beyond AnnaMaya Kosha (Elemental Self), Pranamaya Kosha (Living Self) , ManoMaya Kosha(Thinking Self), VijnaMaya Kosha (Knowing Self )and  AnandaMaya Kosha(Joyous Self).

10.6 Song of Bhrigu:

तत् साम गा॑यन्ना॒स्ते । हा ३ वु॒ हा ३ वु॒ हा ३ वु॑ ॥ ५॥

अ॒हमन्नम॒हमन्नम॒हमन्नम् ।
अ॒हमन्ना॒दोऽ॒३हमन्ना॒दोऽ॒३अहमन्ना॒दः ।
अ॒हꣳश्लोक॒कृद॒हꣳश्लोक॒कृद॒हꣳश्लोक॒कृत् ।
अ॒हमस्मि प्रथमजा ऋता३स्य॒ ।
पूर्वं देवेभ्योऽमृतस्य ना३भा॒इ॒ ।
यो मा ददाति स इदेव मा३अऽवाः॒ ।
अ॒हमन्न॒मन्न॑म॒दन्त॒मा३द्मि॒ ।
अ॒हं विश्वं॒ भुव॑न॒मभ्य॑भ॒वा३म् ।
सुव॒र्न ज्योतीः᳚ । य ए॒वं वेद॑ । इत्यु॑प॒निष॑त् ॥ ६॥
He remains, continuously singing the following song of Joy…… Oh! Oh! Oh!
He moves at will throughout the world, enjoying whatever he will, creating whatever shape he will, praising the Unity of Brahman-miraculous, miraculous, miraculous. I am the food, I am the food, I am the food; I am the eater, I am the eater, I am the eater. I am the link between, I am the link between, I am the link between. I am the first among the eternal and the immortal. I existed before the gods. I am the navel of immortality. Who gives me, protects me. I am food; who refuses to give me, I eat as food. I am this world and I eat this world.  I am self- luminous like the Sun.

Who knows this, knows Brahman.

॥ इति भृगुवल्ली समाप्ता ॥ The End of Bhrigu Valli

Peace invocation from Krishna Yajur Veda:

ॐ स॒ह ना॑ववतु । स॒ह नौ॑ भुनक्तु । स॒ह वी॒र्यं॑ करवावहै ।
ते॒ज॒स्वि ना॒वधी॑तमस्तु॒ मा वि॑द्विषा॒वहै᳚ ।
॥ ॐ शान्तिः॒ शान्तिः॒ शान्तिः॑ ॥

॥ हरिः ॐ ॥

Conclusion:

Above Text reminds the Text in Brahmananda Valli, the second part of Taittiriya Upanishad. In Brahmananda Valli we gain knowledge to cross over the five Koshas (sheathes) during this life and it is Jivanmukti while still living. Also in the above Text, Kramamukti is projected as actions for the Self and for the Mankind through services with purity and selflessness to achieve the desired fruits of actions. He who follows the teaching of Bhrigu, masters the highest Knowledge. After gaining Knowledge he realizes Brahman which is the ultimate Goal.

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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