Atmic principles, experience, and constant practise
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is affiliated with the White (Sukla) Yajur-veda. Of its six sections, all except the third and fourth describe worship (upasana) associated with ritualistic action (karma). The third and fourth sections deal with the teachings of Yajnavalkya on spiritual truth, which he imparted to Janaka. The grandeur of the intellectual eminence of that sage is impressively evident in this Upanishad, so the sections are referred to as Yajnavalkya Kanda. This part of Brihadaranyaka offers the best guide for aspirants eager to reach the goal of liberation.
The Brihadaranyaka is the last of the famous ten Upanishads. On account of its size, it is named brihath (big); since it is best studied in the silence of the forest (aranya), it is an aranyaka; it instructs in knowledge of Brahman, so it is classed as a Upanishad.
Scholars have designated the first two sections of this text as Madhu Kanda, the next two as Muni Kanda, an...
Many, many ideas take shape in the human heart; they wander to the very ends of the eight directions. Some of these are mutually supporting; some are mutually destructive. But without leaving them free, they must all be canalized and disciplined to subserve some high purpose. Only then can you be established in peace. You must have the cleverness needed for this canalization. It is not merely cleverness in the use of external things; it lies more in the control and subjugation of the mental faculties; this is essential for the blossoming of the Atma.
For understanding the faculties of your own mind, you must move with elders experienced in that line or in the sublimation of the vagaries of the mind.
Until you intelligently fix upon a certain direction for all your thoughts and activities, you will only be building shadowy castles in the air and roaming about in them. Even your senses will be pursuing contradictory paths and distracting your attention to such an extent that you cannot e...
Work, worship, and wisdom
This Upanishad is incorporated in the Sama-veda. It has eight sections. The first five deal with various forms of contemplative worship (upasanas) to approach the Ideal, and the last three explain the manner of acquisition of true knowledge. Purity of consciousness is the essential prerequisite for worship. Single-minded concentration is essential for knowledge of Brahman (Brahma-jnana). These can be obtained by dedicated work (karma) and worship; thus is knowledge of Brahman won. That is why, in the scriptures, work is described first, worship next, and spiritual wisdom (jnana) last.
The first chapter of the Chandogya details the contemplative practices that form part of the Sama-veda.
The second describes the entire ritual of chanting sacred verses. The third presents the contemplation (upasana) of the Sun (Surya) known as Madhu-vidya, the Gayatri contemplation, and the science of devotion. The fourth teaches the science of absorption (Samvarga-vidya) and th...
Spiritual aspirants (sadhakas) all over the world will naturally be engaged in repetition of the name (japa) and meditation, but first one has to be clear about the purpose of repeating the name and meditation. Without this knowledge, people believe them to be related to the objective world, capable of satisfying worldly desires, and hope to demonstrate their value by means of sensory gains! This is a grave error.
Repetition of God’s name and meditation are for acquiring one-pointed attention on the Lord, for casting off sensory attachments, and for attaining the joy derived from the basis of all sensory objects. The mind should not be wandering in all directions, indiscriminately, like the fly. The fly dwells in the sweetmeat shop and runs after the rubbish carts; the fly that has such a mind has to be taught to understand the sweetness of the first place and the impurity of the second place, so that it may not desert the sweetmeat shop and pursue the rubbish cart. When such teachin...
Whom the Gita is for
the objective “remember dharma, practice dharma”
introduction to Arjuna and Krishna
the path of surrender.
To understand the meaning of the Gita, a reverential approach is necessary. You must take up its study in an attitude of submission and expectancy. For the Gita is the “milk” of the Upanishads, drawn by the cowherd Krishna with the help of Arjuna, “the calf”, for all the “dull-witted” to drink and draw sustenance from. Some argue that the Gita as a sacred poem was created later than the Mahabharatha, of which it is a part; but whatever may be said of the composition of the Gita, there is no doubt that the principles and teachings of the Gita are ancient, nay, dateless. In the first three verses of the fourth chapter, reference is made to the Lord instructing the Gita first to Surya (Sun God) and later to Manu (first law-giver), and also to the fact that from Manu it reached King Ikshvaku and the...
Qualities of a wise person
kinds of sacrifice or spiritual offerings
the qualities of guru and disciple.
“Dhananjaya! People are entitled to be called pundits only if they have seen clearly the distinction between action (karma) and non-action. If they have only stuffed in their head what they read in books, they are not pundits. The pundit must have an intellect that grants the vision of the truth. When that vision is gained, all action becomes ineffective and harmless. The fire of wisdom has the power to consume and burn karma.
“Some people say that a wise person (jnani) must perforce suffer the consequences of action in previous births (prarabdha-karma); they cannot be escaped. This conclusion is drawn by other people; it is not the experience of the wise person. The wise person might appear to others to be reaping the fruit of past actions, but the wise person is absolutely unaffected. Whoever is dependent on objects for happiness or pursues sensory pleas...
More on gurus-disciples
Krishna-Arjuna as the supreme guru-disciple pair
acquiring spiritual wisdom through faith and the yogas of action, meditation, and wisdom
Krishna as the one and only substance.
How can such coddled, comfort-loving persons attain liberation? If gurus are not able to secure such disciples, why should the gurus deplore their fate? It is strange that there are gurus who lament when they are not able to attract such disciples! Opium eaters and marijuana smokers are unfit to be gurus. They are cheats. How can those who spend all their energies in securing the wherewithal for their living be gurus? How can those who seek to fulfil their sensual fancies be disciples? These are money gurus, those are pride disciples! To consider such as gurus and disciples is to drag those holy names into the dust of disgrace.
Who, then, is the genuine guru? It is he who teaches the path of destroying delusion (moha). And who is the genuine disciple? It is he who...
Creation is saturated with God
the basis and the based
Om as the lifebreath of the Vedas
merging the mind in Om
all forms of strength should be free from desire and attachment
believe that He is the Cause, that it is all His play.
Krishna continued, “The lower world about which I speak is just a manifestation of My power, My glory, remember. Seen superficially, with the gross vision, the universe might appear as many, but that is wrong.
There is no many at all. The yearning of the inner consciousness (anthah-karana) is toward the One; that is the real vision. When inner vision is saturated with wisdom, creation will be seen as Brahman and as nothing else.
Therefore, the inner consciousness must be educated to interest itself only in wisdom.”
Creation (jagath) is saturated with the Lord of creation. Creation is nothing but the Creator in that form. All this is God (Isavasyam idam sarvam), it is said.
Although there is only One, it appears as ...
four types of devotee and the kinds of train they are on
the wise person experiences “Vasudeva is all this”.
This universe itself is a superstructure, the basis being the Godhead; this is apparent, the other is the real. People ignore the basis and crave for the “based”. They do not stop to inquire how the “based” can exist without a base! This too is an example of faulty vision. When this faulty vision is set right, the author of this universe can be cognized.
This subject was raised by Arjuna before Krishna. He asked, “What exactly is faulty vision? Please tell me in detail, Krishna.” He also sought to know how the fault originates and develops. Now, Arjuna was not just an ordinary individual. He was not one to nod his head, whatever was told him. He was bold enough to stop Krishna in the middle of a sentence if he felt a doubt rising in his mind. He had the courage and the steadfastness needed.
He persisted until he got...
Objective and integral knowledge
introduction to: Brahman, supreme spirit, action, the material creation, tutelary deities, and the Lord of the sacrifice
the meaning of Brahman
Brahman as existence-knowledge-bliss.
“There is nothing to equal wisdom (nahi jnanena sadrisham).” And what is wisdom? That which makes you cross this sea of change (samsara). Of course, wisdom is of two kinds: objective knowledge (vishaya-jnana) and integral spiritual knowledge (a-bheda-jnana).
The first type is knowledge of the world; the second is knowledge of the identity of Brahman and the individual Atma, which is called undifferentiated or integral (a-bheda) wisdom. This wisdom is not a function of the intellect (buddhi); it is a feature of something beyond it, something that witnesses the activities of even the intellect. It destroys the delusion about this constant flux, which is mistaken to be a reality; it removes fear from the heart; it reveals to people the Brahman that ...