Essence of Chandogya Upanishad: Part-1A


The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the most largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many 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.
Here we will discuss Four sections of the First Khanda of Chapter-1. Chapter deals with the meditation on OM. The syllable OM is to be known here as Udgitha. Chapter-1 has 13 Sections (Khandas). Udgitha Vidya is the main topic to be understood. 

Udgitha Vidya:

OM! Thus one should meditate on the Udgitha, for, one sings the loud chant with OM! The essence of all things is the Earth. The Essence of Earth is Water. The Essence of Water is Plants(Herbs). The Essence of Herbs is Man. The Essence of the Man is Speech. The Essence of Speech is the Rik (hymn). The Essence of Rik is Sama. The Essence of Sama is Udgitha. This is the best Essence of all Essences, the Highest, the Supreme, the Eighth, the Udgitha. 

 SECTION-1:  “OM iti etat aksharam” 

  1. OM! this Word, the Udgitha, should be adored. OM is Chanted, beginning of prayer. Let us meditate on It.
  2. The Earth constitutes the Essence of all substances; water is the essence of the Earth, and annual herbs of water; man forms the essence of annual herbs, and speech is the essence of Man; Rig is the essence of speech, Sama of the Rig, and of the Sama essence is Udgitha.
  3. The Udgitha is the quintessence of all these essences; it is Supreme, the most adorable, the Eighth. OM is the Self of all.
  4. What Is Rig? What is Sama? What is Udgitha?
  5.  Rig is Speech, Sama is Life, and OM, this letter is the Udgitha. Verily this and that, speech and breath(prana), are couples (Mithuna).
  6. The Couple (Mithuna) unites with the imperishable OM!, as couples uniting together gratify each other’s desires.
  7.  Knowing this He who meditate on the imperishable OM, all desires are fulfilled.
  8.  Verily this is an symbol of certain basic qualities. Whatever is enjoined, OM is surely repeated; hence this is called Prosperity. He verily becomes the gratifier of desires, and promoter of prosperity who, knowing all this, adores the imperishable Udgitha.
  9. Through its greatness and effects is the threefold knowledge maintained; for the worship of this word OM recited, OM exclaimed. OM chanted.
  10. Both, those who are versed in OM, the Self thus described, and those who are not, alike perform ceremonies through this letter. Knowledge and ignorance are unlike each other. The act done with knowledge, with inner awareness and faith, grows in power. That in a word, tells the significance of OM, the indivisible.

SECTION-2: Devas & Asuras:-

“Devas” This word stands for such functioning of the sense organs that are regulated and illuminated. Where as the word ” Asuras” stands opposed to Devas. For asuras, natural functions of the sense organs are of the nature of darkness means ignorance.

Devasurasangrama: Battle between Devas and Asuras. Difference between Dharma and Adharma. What should be done and what should not be done, in accordance with the scriptures. Both Devas and Asuras are born of Prajapati. Prajapati stands for the Personality of the being.


1.The Devas and the Asuras , the offspring of Prajapati, contended. Thereof the Devas collected the Udgitha, saying, hereby we will overcome the Asuras.

2. They (Devas) adored Breath as the Udgitha; the Asuras contaminated it with sin(पाप्मना~ pierced with evil ); hence it smells both foul and aroma, being verily contaminated by Evil.

3. They then adored Speech as the Udgitha; the Asuras contaminated it with sin; hence it expresses both truth and untruth, being verily contaminated by Evil.

4. They then adored Vision as the Udgitha; the Asuras contaminated it with sin; hence it views objects both worthy and not worthy of observation, being verily contaminated by Evil.

5. Next they adored Audition (Ear) as the Udgitha; the Asuras contaminated it with sin; Hence it hears both what are worthy of audition and what are not, being verily contaminated by Evil.

6. Next they adored Mind as the Udgitha; the Asuras contaminated it with sin, and hence it wills both good and evil, being verily contaminated by Evil.

7. Then they adored that which is the Chief vital Air (mukhyah pranah` Supreme prana), as the Udgitha; the Asuras approached it, and were destroyed as an earthen ball hit against an impregnable rock ( In fact they got lost in prana).

8. Thus, verily, as an earthen ball is destroyed when hit against an impregnable rock, so does he perish, who wishes to contaminate with vice. He who knows, Supreme prana is immune to injury like piece of unbreakable stone.

9. Through it (Mouth), man inhales not odours sweet or foul, indeed it has destroyed Evil; hence whatever is drunk or eaten by it supports, through this one nourishes the sense organs sustains. At the last moment, deprived of support, they depart, and that is why one opens Mouth at the time of their death.

10. Angira adored it, the Udgitha, hence verily it is called Angirasa or the essence of all the Angas (organs)

[Note: The word Angiras is derived from anga+rasa ; angirasa is the rasa means essence of the angas : the sense organs: It is the same Supreme Prana. When the Sage Angira worships Supreme prana, he is worshipping himself. Prana is also Brihaspati, because it is the lord of all Speech. Ayasya means that which comes out of the mouth. Angira, Brihaspati and Ayasya are the sages who worshiped Supreme Prana as Udgitha. They in fact worshiped themselves.]

11. Brihaspati adored it, the Udgitha, hence verily it is called Brihaspati; speech is Brihati whereof it is the source (pati).

12. Ayasa also adored it, the Udgitha, hence it is called Ayasya; or that which proceeds from the mouth (Asya).

13. So, did Vaka, son of Dalbha, know it, and glorify it for the gratification of the desires of the sages of Naimisha, for whom he officiated as a chanter of the Sama Veda.

14. He who, knowing it thus, adores this imperishable Udgitha, becomes the solicitor. This is worship. Praising OM has a threefold reward: relating to the Body(Adhyatma), relating to animals (adhibhuta), and relating to the elements(adhidaiva)

SECTION-3: Udgitha relating to the Deities(gods).

  1. Next the worship of Udgitha is connection with gods: One should meditate upon Him who shines as Udgitha. Let him be adored. For rising he sings for the welfare of the creation; rising he dispels the darkness and danger. He, who knows him thus, becomes a destroyer of the fear of darkness and danger.
  2. Verily the Sun and that the Supreme prana are alike; this is warm as well as that; this may be called transitive; that is transitive and re-transitive; therefore let this and that be adored as the Udgitha. This and that are equal.
  3.  Moreover, let Vyana be adored as Udgitha. That function by which breath is respired is Prana, that by which is inspired is Apana, and the interval of the two is Vyana, which is speech. Therefore speech is articulated irrespective of inspiration and expiration. [ according to Sankaracharya prana is breathing out and Apana is breathing in]
  4.  That which is speech is Rig, therefore do (men) articulate the Rig without inspiring or respiring. That which Rig is Sama, hence is it chanted without inspiring or respiring. That which is Sama, is Udgitha, hence is it chanted without reference to inspiration or respiration. [ Note: One sings the Udgitha by suspending both breathing in and breathing out]
  5.  Moreover, all other mighty actions, such as the production of Fire by Friction, running a course, or stringing a strong bow, are performed without reference to inspiration or respiration, therefore is the Vyana worshipped as the Udgitha.
  6. Next verily let the letters of the word Udgitha be adored as the Udgitha. Respiration ” Prana” is “Ut”, for men attain the power of rising from respiration (Life Breath) ; speech ~ vak is “Gi”, for vak and gira, are said to be the synonymous; “tha” is aliment, for verily, everything is supported by food[sthitam].
  7. The Heaven (dyau) is “Ut, the atmosphere[Sky~ antariksha] is “Gi”, and the Earth (prithivi ) is Tha. The Sun Aditya is Ut, the Wind Vayu is Gi, and fire Agni is Tha. The Sama Veda is Ut, the Yajur Veda is Gi and the Rig Veda Tha. For him who, thus knowing, adores the letters of the Udgitha as the Udgitha, speech itself yields its wealth, and the adorer obtains treasure and the power to consume the same.
  8.  Now, then, that which yields desirable objects, will be disclosed. What are worthy of meditation should be thus adored:- the Sama hymn by which the adorer is to glorify should be enquired into. [You sing a particular Sama for a particular thing you wish to get. Sing it always, and remember that it is the source of what you are wishing for.]
  9.  The Rig hymns in which the Sama hymns occur, the Sages, who first promulgated them, and the Devas glorified by those hymns, should also be reflected upon.
  10.   One may use the Gayatri or some other hymn when praying, but one should meditate on it. Again, one may use a number of Sama mantras while praying, but one must meditate on them along with the Deities to whom they are addressed. [Whether you use the Gāyatrī or some other hymn while praying, you should not forget to meditate on that hymn. In fact, whatever mantras you use, you should meditate on them as well as on the deities to whom they are directed.]
  11.  No matter what direction (quarter) one may face while praying, one should meditate on that direction along with the presiding Deities of that direction.
  12. Finally, as a person ends is prayer, he should ask for whatever he desires, making sure, however, that pronunciation is correct. He should also think of himself. Then whatever he desires he has while praying is promptly and surely fulfilled.


  1. OM! this letter should be adored, OM is recited. Recite this syllable as part of  your Upasana. How recite OM is being explained:–                                  
  2. The Devas, dreading death, adopted the threefold knowledge of the Vedas. They shielded themselves with mantras. The mantras are called Chandas, because the Devas shielded (achchhadayan) themselves therein.
  3. As Fishermen look at fish in water,  in the same way, Death could see the Divinities( Rig, Yajur and Sama hymns ),they, apprised of it, forsaking the Vedas, switched over to the recitation of OM.
  4. In reciting the Rig hymns OM is articulated (Swarati), so in the Yajur and Sama, therefore indeed, is this letter, the Udgitha possessing immortality and safety, called Svara: Adopting its support the gods became immortal and secure.[Note: Aksara, OM and Svara are the same. When people recite Vedic mantras, they always start with the aksara OM. By taking refuge in OM, one attains immortality and fearlessness]   
  5. Even now anyone who knows this OM and worships it thus can attain the fearlessness and immortality of OM, which is Aksara, or Svara. By becoming one with OM, person can attain immortality, just the Deities did.

Conclusion: Everything is OM !!!

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. 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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