Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-8A

Introduction: Eighth Chapter:

The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many Mantras(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.

ChAndogya Upanishad consists of Eight chapters. The first five chapters forms the part of Karma Kanda[ rituals] and Upasana Kanda [worship and meditation]. Chapter- 6, 7 and 8 form the part of Jnana Kanda[profound Self-knowledge].

The essence of the Teaching is: – “Brahma Vidya”

Brahma Vidya: It is the knowledge of the ultimate Truth which results in Self realisation. The knower of this Truth remains untouched by any situation in life.

This chapter is especially intended for those who are unable to grasp the vastness of “Absolute”, the subject like Bhooma Vidya (Infinity), taught in the previous chapter. Though this chapter confines itself to the Heart of an individual, but that does not limit itself to the body of an individual. The heart here mentioned is used as symbol as the center of the pure subjectivity in us and therefore heart refers to consciousness, which is apparently located within the walls of the body, but never limited to physical body.

A request to my readers: Please read my previous posts on ChAndogya Upanishad, especially 6th & 7th chapter. Links are given below:

  1. Chapter Six: Section-1 to Section-4(Khanda-1 to Khanda-4). The link is here:  Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6A of 6
  2. Chapter Six: Section-5 to Section-8(Khanda-5 to Khanda-8). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6B of 6
  3. Chapter Six: Section-9 to Section-16(Khanda-9 to Khanda-16). The link is here: Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-6C of 6[END OF 6TH CHAPTER]
  4. Chapter-7 : Section-1 to Section-6 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7A
  5. Chapter-7 : Section-7 to Section-12 has been discussed. The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7B
  6. Chapter-7 : Section-13 to Section-22: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7C
  7. Chapter-7 : Section-23 to Section-27: The link is here:- Essence of ChAndogya Upanishad: Part-7D[FINAL PART]

This post is part-1[8A] of Eighth Chapter of Chandagyo Upanishad. Section-1 to Section-3 discussed here. 

Section-1: [Six Mantras]: The Universal Self within the Heart:

In this section we will learn that there is the City of Brahman ( Brahmapuram), the Absolute, in our own Self.

Mantra-1-2: The Chidaakaash Within:

“Within the City of Brahman, which is the Body, there is the Heart, and within the Heart there is a little house. The house has the shape of a Lotus, and within it dwells that which shines by its own light which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized. What is there in that space? One should know what is there? Why it is so important? We will try to know that from the following Mantras.

** The Body is the abode of Brahman, the Self. In that Body, the core-centre is at Heart. Within heart is a “dahara”, the space, which is not akasha , one of the five basic elements, as we have seen earlier. This akasha is “Chidaakaash”, the space of Consciousness. 

Mantra-3: Heart is emblem of the Cosmic Secret:

Teacher said: “You ask me what is inside this little space. I tell you that everything is inside there.” There is as much in that little space within the heart, as there is in the whole Universe outside. Heaven, Earth, Fire, Wind, Sun, Moon, Lightning, Stars, whatever is and whatever is not, everything is there.

[*** HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE] It is an emblem of the cosmic secret. Whatever is the extent of this vast space that is outside, that is the extent of this little space in our heart also. The whole of the celestial sphere can be found inside this little space. The principles of the five elements, – earth, water, fire, air, and ether- and everything you see or do not see, all are present here in this little space.

Mantra-4-5: Teacher continues:-

What lies in that space, does not decay when the body decays, nor does it fall when the body falls. That space is the home of Brahman. Every desire is there. Self is there, beyond decay and death; sin and sorrow; hunger and thirst; His aim Truth, His will Truth. Man can live in the body as long as he obeys the law, as man may live in a certain farm, in a certain town, in a certain province, or wherever he wishes, if he obeys the law.

** Though old age comes to the body, the lotus of the heart does not grow old. When body dies, it does not die. Brahman exists there. He is untouched by any deed. Does not suffer ageing, free from hunger, grief, and thirst. His desires are right desires, and his desires are fulfilled.

Mantra-6: Swarajyam

As just in this world, the Region won by action perishes, so does perish in the other world, the Region won by righteous deeds. Earthly pleasers exhaust themselves; heavenly pleasures exhaust themselves. Wherever men go without attaining Self or knowing the Truth, they can not move at their pleasure; but after attaining Self and knowing Truth, wherever they go, they move at their pleasure.

** We know all the wealth accumulated by one exhausts or perishes with time. Likewise, heavenly enjoyments which are acquired by the good deeds( through sacrifices etc) also exhausts after certain time. Therefore, who dies without realising the Self, the Truth, can not find eternal happiness wherever he goes. But for those who know the Self can attain eternal happiness wherever he goes , means in whichever Loka he goes.

Section-2 [Ten Mantras]: Different higher worlds

Mantra-1. If a person wants to see someone, say a forefather in the other world, he can see him at once. There is no such thing as other world for a person who has Realised the “Atman”

Mantra-2. If a man wants the company of his fathers, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-3. If  he wants the company of his mothers, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-4. If he wants the company of his brothers, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-5. If he wants the company of his sisters, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-6. If he wants the company of his friends, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-7. If he wants women, all he need to do is to Will it. They will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-8. If he wants perfume or flowers, all he need to do is to Will it. It will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-9. If he wants food and drinks, all he need to do is to Will it. It will appear and make him happy.

Mantra-10. If he wants a thing or a place, all he need to do is to Will it. It will appear and make him happy.

The above 10 mantras in this section emphasize on the subject that everything we can think of, – relatives, friends, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, good things, great things, pleasant things, objects of desire present in this world or in the other world -whatever they be, they do not take time to manifest themselves if the will is exercised in the proper manner. That means the will has to be in tune with the law of Atman. All such desires in our hearts are really distorted forms of the manifestation of Consciousness in some way or the other. There is some defect in the movement of Consciousness when it gets lodged in the body of an individual and imagines that it is somehow or other limited to the extent of that body alone. This type of imagination is falsehood which gets mixed-up with truth and then it becomes difficult for us to know the Reality, The Truth, the Infinite.

Section-3 [Five Mantras]: The Space within the Heart:

Desires are true but covered by falsehood:

त इमे सत्याः कामा अनृतापिधानास्तेषाꣳ सत्यानाꣳ
सतामनृतमपिधानं यो यो ह्यस्येतः प्रैति न तमिह
दर्शनाय लभते ॥ ८.३.१॥

Mantra-1. Those justified desires which are such, remain covered by falsehood. Falsehood is the cover for those existing true desires because whosoever of one’s relatives departs from here, is not available to be seen here again.

Unfailing desires are covered by falsehood. That means desires are indeed true, but they are covered by falsehood. Truth means vision for the things as they are in reality and falsehood means which opposes that reality. In reality things are not disconnected from one another. But for our wrong notions, we see the things different from one another in this Universe. Therefore, what we perceive as different worlds, is not different. It is for the varying consciousness of the limited self; we experience different worlds. What we consider as different “lokas”[realms of being] are actually one and present in our heart. When “jivatma” is imprisoned in a particular body, then due to finite and limited consciousness, it appears that jivatma is different from external world. But truly it is not!

अथ ये चास्येह जीवा ये च प्रेता यच्चान्यदिच्छन्न
लभते सर्वं तदत्र गत्वा विन्दतेऽत्र ह्यस्यैते सत्याः
कामा अनृतापिधानास्तद्यथापि हिरण्यनिधिं निहितमक्षेत्रज्ञा
उपर्युपरि सञ्चरन्तो न विन्देयुरेवमेवेमाः सर्वाः प्रजा
अहरहर्गच्छन्त्य एतं ब्रह्मलोकं न विन्दन्त्यनृतेन हि
प्रत्यूढाः ॥ ८.३.२॥

Wise man sees everything in Self:

Mantra-2. Again, those of his relatives who are still alive and those who are dead, and also those things a person cannot get even if he wishes for them-all these he gets by going within his heart. All true desires of a person are in his heart, though they are hidden. It is like when there is gold hidden some place underground and people who are ignorant of it walk over that spot again and again, knowing nothing about it. Similarly, all these beings go to Brahmaloka every day, and yet they know nothing about it because they are covered by ignorance.

Inside the heart is the whole Universe. When we have susupti, dreamless sleep, we are then one with Brahman and one with the whole world. We are not conscious of it, because of our ignorance.

In this section the Upanishad is teaching us to understand the truth that those people who have passed on from this world, those who are born and those who are not yet born, those who have come and those who have gone to other worlds are in our own hearts. They are not outside somewhere. We carry them in our own hearts, in the space of our Consciousness. It has been said earlier that whatever is outside is also inside.

Self stays in the heart:

Mantra-3. Self stays in the heart; heart, a word that seems to say here it is. Who knows this, daily enjoys the kingdom of Heaven.

Where the Self resides? It is within. Normally people think GOD is above in sky or in temple or somewhere beyond[ In English word, GOD is known as Supreme to the people who believes in GOD]. But the truth is this that in reality, GOD is in our own heart. The heart is the seat of Self-realization. One who knows that, goes daily to the heavenly world in the deep sleep (dreamless sleep). In deep sleep he is with Brahman. that means we go into our own Self. We become one with the Self. This we have seen in Mandukya Upanishad.

Mantra-4. A wise man, leaving his body, joins the flame; is one with His own nature. That nature is Self, fearless immortal Brahman.

Knowledge is associated with light. ” Tamasah ma jyotih gamaya- lead us from darkness to light. Means lead us from darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. Mandukya Upanishad has explained in details that during Awaking condition we are more attached to our body and try to enjoy through our sense organs. That becomes the cause of unhappiness. When we overcome our desires [which are active during awaking condition], we find our true nature. Our true nature is free from fear and full of Bliss.

Mantra-5. Whatever binds mortal and immortal, they call truth. Who knows this, daily enjoys the Kingdom of Heaven.

This Mantra says that Sa, ti, and yam – these are the three syllables which represent Brahman. Sa = Immortal, ti = mortal, yam = controls mortal and immortal. He who knows this enjoys divine bliss everyday in dreamless sleep.

Conclusion:

This chapter states that in this Body is “City of Brahman” and in that city there is a palace shaped like a lotus. In that palace there is a little space within the Heart. It is special because the entire Universe is contained within it. If everything is in man’s body, every being, every desire, what remains when old age comes, when decay begins, when the body falls? What lies in that space, does not decay when the body decays, nor does it fall when the body falls. That space is the home of Brahman, the Supreme. Every desire is there. Self is there, beyond decay and death; sin and sorrow; hunger and thirst. Self stays in heart. Heart, a word that seems to say, “here it is”. Who knows this, daily enjoys the kingdom of Heaven [DEEP SLEEP~ “susupti”].

The link for reading text in Sanskrit is here:-   Chandgoya Upanishad 

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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