Essence of Taittiriya Upanishad- Brahmananda Valli-Part-1A


  • 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.

Please read with patience to get the essence !!!


This Part is known as Brahmananda Valli, second chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad. It has nine Anuvaka ( 9 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.  

Our true nature is covered by the sheaths~[SHEATHE means KOSHA in Sanskrit ] known as “panchakosha” The Five Sheaths.

In this section we will discuss 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)

Key Words:
panchakosha, Five sheathes, Brahmananda Valli, “Satyam jnanam anantam Brahman” AnnaMaya Kosha, PranaMaya Kosha, ManoMaya Kosha, VijnaMaya Kosha, AnandaMaya Kosha

” Brahmananda Valli-  “ब्रह्मानन्दवल्ली” : The Bliss that is Brahman”

Peace Mantra

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

Anuvaka 1-2: 

The opening sentence of Taittiriya Upanishad , in “Brahmananda Valli” is “Satyam jnanam anantam Brahman” which literarily means the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.

From this very Self (Brahman), sprang space, from space the wind, from the wind 🌬️ the fire, from the fire 🔥, the water 💦, from the water the earth 🌎, from the earth the herbs, from the herbs food, from food man. Thus man indeed is made up of the sap of food. From food arise the creatures, which so ever live on earth. Through food do they live and to food they return. Of all elements, indeed food is the best. Therefore food is known as best medicine also. He who has no form assumed many forms; He who is infinite appeared finite; He who is everywhere assumed a place; He who is wisdom, caused ignorance; He who is real, caused unreality. It is HE ,who has become everything. It is HE who gives reality to all. Before the universe was created, Brahman existed as unmanifest.

Anuvaka-2-5: Five sheathes (“panchakosha“)

According to Taittiriya Upanishad, our true essence is covered by these sheathes in the same way that a scabbard encloses the blade of sword. Self is hidden behind the mask of the personality. The second chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad “BrahmanandaValli” describes five sheathes (“panchakosha“). Concept of whole of this Five Sheaths model is highly symbolic and metaphorical. Five sheaths are as follows:- 1) AnnaMaya Kosha 2) PranaMaya Kosha 3) ManoMaya Kosha 4) VijnaMaya Kosha 5) AnandaMaya Kosha

The First Layer:  “AnnaMaya Kosha” :

From food (food= anna) arise all the creatures, which live on earth, and through food alone do they live, and finally they return to the food in the end. The first layer, the grossest one with which we first identify ourselves as the body, is made up of food and known as AnnaMaya Kosha” (অন্নময়কোষ). The body takes birth, grows old, dies and decays back into the food from which it was produced. This has nothing to do with the real “Self”. This body alone is not the “Self”.

The Second layer: “PranaMaya Kosha” :

This is vital life force for which the body is animated and actions are performed. This layer is made of “Prana” the breathe which known as “PranaMaya Kosha”(প্রানময়কোষ). We are multi-layered being, composed of physical body, subtle body and causal body . The first mentioned sheath, the AnnaMaya Kosha is permeated by four Koshas. The next layer the Second layer is “PranaMaya Kosha”. The AnnaMaya Kosha is the effect of Prana. PranaMaya Kosha controls AnnaMaya Kosha. But this is not the real Self.

"Prana" is vital energy and invisible to us. It is like Electric Power ,which gives life to the machines and machines run, animates.  Same way this vital energy "Prana" animates us, the live bodies.  It runs the 1st layer the Physical body. This prana is external to further subtler energy which is Mind. The mind is so subtle and transparent, that  mind can reflect consciousness. 

Prana (Breath) is verily the life of beings and hence it is called the Universal life. It is matter of common knowledge that life becomes possible only so long as the vital energy keeps the different organs of the organism alive. ” Though this vital life force makes the body animated and actions are performed but this is not the Real Self. This Prana Maya Kosha separates life from death once the “Prana” leaves the body. This sheath is composed of five Pranas (prana, Udana, vyana, samana, apana). These pranas have their own importance to operate The Body perfectly. Through practice of Pranayama (pranayama is breathing exercise, part of Yoga as described in the ancient texts) , we can transcend to the next layer “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ). But this is not the real Self.

The Third layer: – “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ):

This Self is embodied in the previous one (Prana) which is the mental sheath consisting of the thinking mind.  This MIND (Manas” মন”) and the organs of perception is known as “ManoMaya Kosha”(মনোময়কোষ). This is the sheath which limits us and blocks us to go beyond. This Kosha is powerful, because bondage and liberation depends on the mind. It pervades the PranaMaya Kosha. Basically, this body is consisting of Mind through which we perceive the world via five agents (sense organs).Mind functions in three levels. 1. Conscious mind 2. Subconscious mind 3. Unconscious mind. All the above three minds are subsets of Universal mind. Human being is stuck in this sheath as always people are abducted by the mind (monkey mind). In the Patanjali yoga sutras 1.2 ” yoga is the stilling of modifications of mind’~” “yogas chitta Vritti nirodaha”. When the fluctuations of mind are stilled, our true nature is revealed.  We have then enough clarity to perceive the Self beyond the mind. Through pranayama and pratyahara (mental withdrawal of senses) we can pervade to the next layer. But this is not the real Self.

The Fourth layer:- VijnaMaya Kosha (বিজ্ঞানময় কোষ):

Beyond Mind there are higher levels of mind responsible for discriminations, recognizing the truth and the false, real or unreal. In silence it knows without needing to think. This is intellect (buddhi). This intellectual sheath is known as “VijnaMaya Kosha”.

VijnaMaya Kosha (~Buddhi) Sheath of WISDOM. This is also a part of subtle body. When subtle body is disciplined, the physical body also becomes very healthy and strong. The mind which is ruler of the subtle body gets flattened by worldly affections, attachments, desires etc. Through practice mind comes under control by this sheath. This self is embodied in the previous one that is ManoMaya Kosha. But this is not the real Self.

I AM (the Real Self) the witness of this sheath. Mind is mostly engaged with the first layer which is nothing but the body, the false identity with ego. It has a shape, size, name, fame everything.  Very much visible to Self, to inner Self, outer Self and to others of this samsara (সংসার). • The unwavering peace we seek is realized by experiencing the unlimited and eternal Peace that is our True Identity. Though obscured by ignorance, it exists within us, waiting to be revealed. This experience is enlightenment—Self-realization.{Experience to be gained with the help of 4th layer } • Self-realization can be attained by mastering the mind. Just as only a clean, undistorted mirror can reflect our face as it truly is, only a one-pointed and tranquil mind can part the veils of ignorance to reveal and reflect the Self. The effort to free the mind from the limitations of ignorance is a drama that has been repeated since time immemorial. But if the mind leads one towards the VijnaMaya Kosha by pervading itself, then what will happen?  In silence it knows without needing to think which is intellect (Buddhi~বুদ্ধি).  According to Vedanta, the study of scriptures helps in realization of truth, when one is equipped with necessary fourfold discipline:- 1. Discrimination between real (nitya নিত্য~ eternal) and unreal (anitya অনিত্য~transitory). 2. Renunciation of the unreal (Viraga~বৈরাগ্য) 3. Six fold qualities. 4. Longing for liberation (Moksha ~মোক্ষ প্রাপ্তি to escape from the cycle of births and deaths) The word “Self” is generally meant to “Atman” (soul). But the Sanskrit word is “Atman”, which cannot be translated.  This Atman is Deathless, Birthless, Eternal and Real for every individual.  It is the unchanging reality (sat ~সৎ) behind the changing body, sense organs, mind and ego. It is Spirit, which is pure Consciousness (চিত্) and is unaffected by time-space causality. It is infinite and it is ONE without the second. As the unchanging reality in the individual is known as Atman, same way the unchanging reality in the Universe is known as “BRAHMAN”. Vedanta says This BRAHMAN and ATMAN are one and the same. VijnaMaya Kosha consists of the intellect in conjunction with the five organs of knowledge (জ্ঞানেন্দ্রিয়).

The Fifth layer:-  “AnandaMaya Kosha” :-

This Self is embodied in the previous one. The self-consisting of Bliss and is filled by it. Here is the presence of most profound peace and silence when mind becomes no mind.  This is State of Bliss Let us recall the first sloka (1ST verse) of “Taittiriya Upanishad” second chapter which is known as “Brahmananda Valli”. Quoting the sentence again: —

“Satyam jnanam anantam Brahman” which means “The knower of “BRAHMAN” attains the Supreme”.  BRAHMAN is Truth, knowledge and Infinity, which is our own very Self, the Atman.  Brahman is not an object of knowledge.  It is always witnessing subject. (দ্রষ্টা~The Seer). In the second chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad, there is the definition of “Human JOY”. One unit of Human Joy. Will write that in my next blog very shortly. The Self is infinite. There is in fact no multiplicity or plurality in that ONE, Homogeneous Being, the Supreme Being and the Ultimate. Because of superimposition and our ignorance, we have forgotten our true nature.  It alone exists as the illuminator. This “Atman” the Real “Self” in its glorious existence, reveals its own Sat-Chit nature which is AnandaMaya. That is why this Sheath is referred to “AnandaMaya Kosha”. Actually, this Five Sheath model as mentioned in Taittiriya Upanishad is just an idea for understanding the different levels of the Self. The eternal nature of Self is Bliss only.

 Anuvaka-6: Who goes There- the Ignorant or the Knower?

Now the question arise in the mind of seeker ( ” atha atah anuprashnaah”):  Does the ignorant after living this world reach There or does the knower reach There? There means the AnandaMaya Kosha. The answer is : The Knower reach there. Knower reach Brahman. He who denies Brahman, denies Himself. He who affirms it, affirms Himself.  

Brahman is the very cause of creation:

Brahman thought: I would be many; I will procreate. And in the Heat of His meditation created everything; creating everything He entered into everything; entering into everything He took shape yet remained shapeless; took limits yet remained limitless; made His home, yet remained homeless; created knowledge and ignorance; reality, unreality; became everything; therefore everything is reality. In the beginning there was no creation; then creation came. He created Himself out of Himself. Hence He is called Self-Creator. 


The Five sheaths model: Pancha Kosha Tatwa has been used to simplify the Advaita Vedanta to reach the Goal The Self Realization.

At the end we find Brahman which Rishi is driving us to reach through the process of negation. By negating the koshas from AnnaMaya to AnandaMaya, we enter into limitless realm of Brahman, the ultimate Goal. As each Kosha is Transcended we enter into subtler than the previous one. Finally we get back to beginning of Taittiriya Upanishad book II, sloka 1The knower of Brahman reaches the Supreme”.

According to Vedanta, Brahman is the Truth, the Knowledge and the endless Being. He who knows what is hidden in the cave in the highest heaven, realizes all his desires along with the Omniscient Brahman.

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 :

What is Joy (Part-2)

☆The article is purely based on my studies, my thoughts, my experiences and self realization.
☆I found some link between modern science and statements of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth 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 sacred books/ancient texts translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I am trying to share the subject matter as I understood in very concise form.
You may find it boring or interesting, dull or exciting, but my intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. Please give your suggestions for the shortcomings and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts.  There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed. 
♡ Please share your feedback at — : Regards. Namaste.

Part-1 is summarised in the figure below:

Introduction: In the previous blog ” What is Joy (Part-1)” , we have seen that, according to second part of the scripture ‘Taittiriya Upanishad”, second section “Brahmananda Valli ” beautifully explained what is Joy? At first the definition and one unit of Human Joy has been described. Thereafter in the successive slokas, it has been shown that each time we go to the next higher world(Loka), joy is multiplied by 100. Finally, at the top most Loka, the joy has become 100,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00 units. However, according to Taittiriya Upanishad ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” Now what is that revelation? In Sanskrit, the sentence is : —” श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ –  which means a man well versed in Vedas (Scriptures) has equal Joy. So that is the essence of the sentence. This is our point of discussion here. I will try to project the subject according to Texts followed in Advaita Vedanta. Advaita (NON-DUALISM) is essentially a philosophical framework which make sense of the mysterious Universe. Traditional Advaita takes its authority from the Upanishads. Advaita Vedanta was systemized somewhere around 8th century by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. However essence of teaching originates in the Upanishads which were composed during 5000-6000 BC. No where it is mentioned about any author in the Upanishads and date of origin can not be fixed. Some scholar says Vedic period is 4000-5000 BC. Upanishads are known as Vedanta means essence of Vedas. Teachings of Vedas were transferred orally known as ” Sruti”. The principal book that attempts to explicate the actual philosophy of Upanishad is called ” Brahmasutra” . In the past 100 years, there have been a resurgence of interest in Advaita Vedanta in the West after the discovery of new field of physics known as Quantum Physics. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) toured the world to spread the message of Vedantic truth with the aim of uniting all religions.

Key words: “Brahman” ; ” Brahma sutra”; ” Advaita Vedanta” ; Upanishad;

The word “Brahman” will be used repeatedly. Meaning of Brahman is VAST. This is to be noted here that the word “Brahman” does not refer to any Cast , Creed or Sect. According to Vedanta the word ” Brahman” has been derived from the root word “brh” which means growing or expanding and suffix “man” added to it signifies absence of limitations. In Vedanta, the word Brahman is a neuter gender and hence it is referred as pronoun ” That”. It is very difficult to describe Brahman which is ultimately indefinable, indescribable and utterly beyond all human comprehension. Brahman can not be described through senses alone. Vedanta has however taught us how to realize Brahman which is “Supreme Consciousness”. In this article I will try to explain what I understood after reading different Scriptures. Hope readers will find it interesting and worth reading.

To start with our topic of discussion in part-2 here, we need to know the real meaning of the statement ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” What revelation is that? Revelation is knowing Vedas. Since knowing Vedas is beyond our scope in this space, but we can have some glimpses of famous lines from Vedas. Let us read following paragraphs quoting few lines from different Vedantic Texts

satyam jnanam anantam brahma” : which literarily means ‘the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.” Taittiriya 2.1.1 which is the opening sentence of Taittiriya Upanishad. (This has been explained in my earlier blog ” THE WISDOM OF THE FIVE SHEATHS (FIVE LAYERS~ Pancha Kosha)”

First of all we need to know the true meaning of “Brahman”. From Upanishads we can learn about Brahman. Five great Acharyas have explained about Brahman. One of them, founder of Advaita Vedanta, 8th century scholar, Shri Adi Shankaracharya said: ” there Exists one Absolute Brahman, who is “Sat-Chit-Ananda” and homogeneous in nature .” **** However the origin of entire Vedanta philosophy which is part of the four Vedas are believed to be composed and orally transferred, goes back to 5000 years. The oneness of Soul and GOD, the ultimate Truth is the principal essence of Vedanta philosophy. In the next paragraphs we will see what teachings we receive from Vedas.

There are four great statements (Maha Vakyasgreat sayings), one each taken from four Vedas by ancient scholars. These are most famous mantras and gives the core knowledge of Veda. Traditionally these well known MahaVakyas are pointers for the aspirants seeking liberation from the cycle of births. Four MahaVakyas are as below:

1) ” prajnAnaM brahma ” which means consciousness is Brahman. This has been taken from Rig Veda ( Aitareya Upanishad): The essence is that Brahman is Supreme knowledge. The absolute reality is the essence of what you really are.

2) ” tat-tvam-asi” which means “You are that” which is from Sama Veda (ChAndogya Upanishad).

3) ” ayamAtma brahma” which means This Self is Brahman. It has been selected from Atharva Veda ( maNDukya Upanishad). Atman and Brahman are the same like the waves and the ocean are one.

4) ” aham brahmAsmi” which means “I am Brahman” has been taken from Yajur Veda (bRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad ).  Who I am is that absolute reality.

Now, to understand the subject ,one has to study Vedanta . Vedanta consists of three basic Texts. Together they are referred as ” PRASTHANA TRAYA” , triple canon of Vedanta.

  1. Upanishads ( Shruti Prasthana):
  2. Bhagavad Gita( Smriti Prasthana : Quintessence of the teaching of entire Veda: “samasta-vedanta-sarasangraha-bhutam”).
  3. Brahma Sutra (Nyaya-Prasthana also known as uttarmimamsa sutra).

Those who wish to study the philosophy of Vedanta, may read ” The Ten Principal Upanishads” and the “Brahma Sutra” after reading the “Bhagavad Gita”. In the following paragraphs, I will write brief introduction about Brahma sutra. Rather I will emphasize on Brahma sutra because it is essential to understand the concept of Advaita Vedanta. While explaining Brahma sutra, some references of Upanishads obviously will follow.

There are four chapters in Brahma sutra. First chapter unifies Brahman. Second chapter shows no conflicts between Vedanta and other sastras (sacred texts). The third deals with practice to attain Brahman and the fourth one is result of attaining Brahman which is nothing but fruits of Self realization. The first topic of first chapter of Brahma sutra is “Jijnasadhikaranam” [ Topic-1/first chapter] which means ” The enquiry into Brahman and it’s prerequisites“. The first sentence of this chapter is ” Athato Brahmajijnasa” (Hence thereafter a deliberation on Brahman.1.1.1)

Now the Text is for whom? A little explanation is essential here. The Vedanta is for the person who is competent to understand and study sastras(Scriptures) ,has tranquil mind, with required attributes as described in Vedanta. After attainment of certain preliminary qualifications which are known as four salvations ,one can progress towards the direction of knowing Brahman. Four salvations are:

  1. “Nitya-anitya-vastuveveka” which means discrimination between the eternal and non eternal.
  2. ” IhamutrarthaphalabhogaViraga” : Indifference to the joys in this life or in in Heaven, and of the fruits of one’s action.
  3. ” Shatsampat” : Six fold virtues that are : i) Sama (Control of mind), ii) Dama ( Control of senses),iii) Uparati (Cessation from worldly enjoyments), iv) Titiksha ( Endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold), v) Sraddha (Faith), vi) Samadhana (Deep concentration).
  4. “Mumukshautva” (Desire for liberation).

Even without possessing the knowledge of “Karma Kanda” (Rituals, religious ceremonies), a desire for attaining the knowledge of Brahman( BrahmaGyan) will arise direct from the study of “Srutis”. Therefore, I will recall here the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” which is written in sanskrit as श्रोत्रियस्यचअकामहतस्य “ means well versed in “Srutis”. Hence it implies that the enquiry of Brahman does not depend on the performance of any act but through study of Vedas. That is the essence of the section ” Ananda Valli” of Taittiriya Upanishad.

Why one should enquire Brahman? Why? Most of the religions believe that life in earth or life in heaven are attained on the basis of one’s virtuous deeds(“KARMA”) which is transient. But once you know Brahman, you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality. Knowledge of Brahman destroys ignorance which is the root cause of all sufferings. We will continue our study of Vedanta a little more in the following paragraphs. I admit that this will be lengthy for the readers, but it is essential part of Vedas which needs to be presented.

“Janmadyadhikaranam“: Definition of Brahman[Topic-2/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. First sentence here is ” Janmadyasya yatah” 1.1.2(2) means Brahman is that from which the origin, sustenance and dissolution of this Universe proceed. Brahman is eternally pure, wise and free. He is Omnipotent and Omniscient. One can attain knowledge of brahman through reflection on it’s attributes. Would like to refer here Taittiriya upanishad-iii-1: Conversation between Varuna and his son Bhrigu Varuni on enquiry into Brahman. Bhrigu is asking his father- ” Sir, teach me Brahman”. Varuna said ” that from whence these beings are born, that by which, when born they live, that into which they enter at their death, try to know that“. That is Brahman. Here the point to be noted is that the origin, sustenance and dissolution of the Universe are characteristic of the Universe because of changing (cyclic) in nature. They do not pertain to the eternal unchanging Brahman, yet they indicate Brahman which is the cause of this universe. Sruti has another definition of Brahman. ” Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman” means Truth, knowledge, Infinity is Brahman.

” Sastrayonitvadhikaranam” : Brahman is realisable only through the scriptures [Topic-3/First chapter of Brahma sutra]. “Sastrayonitvat”: 1.1.3(3) means the scripter is the source of right knowledge. The scriptures illumine all things like a search light. Through scripture only we get a comprehensive understanding of the nature of Brahman. Brahman is formless, colourless, attribute less. Hence it can not be grasped by the senses alone. Brahman is ONE, infinite and without second.

Hope readers have found the reason why the sentence ” A man full of revelation, but without desire has equal joy.” is so important which has been repeated many times in the scripture Taittiriya Upanishad. I request to my readers to give me feedback for improving the content. Please send your comments/suggestions for improvement to my email;

“More on part-3 .This is the end of Part-2.”