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Essence of the Taittiriya Upanishad

by Swami Sivananda

Introduction

This Upanishad Belongs to The Krishna-Yajurveda.

1. The great sage Yajnavalkya quarrelled with his preceptor. He was asked by Vaishampayana, his Guru, to return the Veda which he had studied under him. Yajnavalkya vomited the Yajurveda he had learnt. The other Rishis, the pupils of Vaishampayana, assumed the forms of Tittiris (birds, partridges) and swallowed the Veda thus thrown out or vomited. Therefore it came to be known as Taittiriya-Samhita.

2. This Upanishad is divided into sections called vallis, viz., (1) Siksha-valli or the section on instruction. (2) Brahmananda-valli or the section on Brahma-bliss. (3) Bhrigu-valli or the section on Bhrigu.

3. In the first section the preceptor gives clear instructions to the aspirants on character building. He imparts to them rules of right conduct or right living in order to prepare themselves for the attainment of Brahma-Jnana or the knowledge of the Self.

4. The second section deals with bliss of Brahman. The order of creation is described in this Valli.

5. The third section deals with the story of Bhrigu, son of Varuna, who, under instructions from his father, understood Bliss or Brahman, after undergoing the required penance. In this section the description of the five Kosas or sheaths is clearly given.

Siksha-Valli

6. May the sun (Mitra) be good to us. May Varuna be good to us. May the sun (Aryama) be good to us. May Indra and Brihaspati be good to us. May Vishnu of great strides be good to us. Prostrations to Brahman. Prostrations to thee, O Vayu! Thou, indeed, art the visible Brahman. I shall proclaim Thee visible Brahman. I shall call Thee just. I shall call Thee true. May That protect me. May That protect the teacher. May That protect me. May That protect the teacher.

Om Peace, Peace, Peace!

7. Anuvaka means a sub-division of the Vedas, a section or chapter.

8. The utterance of the peace chant propitiates the Devatas. The spiritual path is rendered smooth through their grace. All obstacles are removed. You will not forget what you have learnt. You will possess good health. You will have good meditation.

9. Vayu is Hiranyagarbha or Cosmic Prana.

10. The repetition of ‘Om-Santi' thrice is to remove the three kinds of obstacles, viz. Adhyatmika (from our self), Adhidaivika (from the heavens) and Adhibhautika (from living beings).

11. Mitra is the presiding deity of the activity of the Prana and the day. Varuna is the presiding deity of the activity of Apana and of the night. Aryama (the sun) is the presiding deity of the eye and of the sun. Indra is the presiding deity of strength and of the hands. Brihaspati is the presiding deity of speech and intellect. Vishnu is the presiding deity of the feet.

The Exhortation

12. Now comes the final instruction which the students in those days received when they completed their studies under the preceptor. Having taught the Vedas the preceptor exhorts the disciple.

13. Speak the truth. Do your duty (righteousness). Never swerve from the study of the Vedas. Do not cut off the thread of the offspring after giving the preceptor the fee he desires. Never swerve away from truth. Never swerve from duty (righteousness). Never neglect your welfare. Never neglect your prosperity. Never neglect the study and the teachings of the Vedas.

14. Never swerve from your duties to the gods and to men. May the mother be thy god (Matrudevo bhava). May the father be thy god (Pitrudevo bhava). May the preceptor be thy god (Acharyadevo bhava). May the guest be thy god (Atithidevo bhava). Let only those actions that are free from blemish be done, and not others. Only those that are good acts to us should be performed by thee, and not others.

15. You should remove the fatigue of Brahmins who are superior, by serving them with seats, etc.

16. Gift should be given with faith; it should never be given without faith. It should be given in plenty, with modesty, with reverence, with sympathy.

17. Now, if there should arise in thee any doubt as regards any action or conduct, thou shouldst act in those matters as do those Brahmins there, who are thoughtful, religious, not cruel, and devoted to Dharma.

18. Now as regards persons accused of sin, do thou deal with them as do the Brahmins there, who are thoughtful, religious, not cruel, and devoted to Dharma.

19. This is the injunction. This is the teaching. This is the secret of the Vedas. This is the word of command. This should be observed. Thus is this to be meditated upon.

Brahmananda-Valli

Om. May That protect us both (teacher and pupil). May That cause us both to enjoy the bliss (of Mukti). May we both exert to find out the true meaning of the scriptures. May our learning be brilliant. May we never quarrel with each other!

Om Peace, Peace, Peace!

20. The knower of Brahman attains the Supreme.

21. Brahman is Truth, Knowledge and Infinity. He who knows it as existing hidden in the heart, realises all his desires instantaneously and without succession, as the omniscient Brahman.

22. From this Atman is Akasa (ether) born; from Akasa, air; from air, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth; from earth, the herbs, plants and vegetables; from herbs, etc., food; from food, man. Thus man is made of the essence of food. The physical embodiment has its parts, such as the head, the right and left parts, the trunk, the support, etc.

23. Brahman is your own very Self or Soul. It cannot be an object of knowledge. It is always the witnessing Subject.

24. To know Brahman is to become identical with Absolute-Consciousness through meditation and Nirvikalpa- Samadhi

The Human Being's Five Sheaths

25. All beings that exist on earth are born of food. Then they live by food: then, again, to food (earth) they go in the end. So, verily food is the eldest of all creatures. Therefore it is called a medicament to all. All those who worship food as Brahman obtain all food. From food all beings are born; having been born, they, grow by food. Food is eaten by beings and also it eats them. Therefore, it is called Anna (food). Other than that (soul) made of the essence of food, there is another self within, formed of Prana. By that this is filled. This Pranamaya is exactly of the form of man (Purusha). Its human form is according to the human form of the former. Of that Prana is the head; Vyana the right wing (side); Apana the left wing (side); the Akasa the trunk (body); the earth, the tail, the support.

26. The Annamaya Kosa is permeated by four Kosas, the Pranamaya and the rest. The Pranamaya Kosa is permeated by three Kosas, the Manomaya by two Kosas and the Vijnanamaya by one Kosa.

27. Through Prana the gods live, and also do men and beasts. Prana is, verily, the life of beings. Therefore it is called the universal life or the life of all. Those who worship Prana attain the whole life duration or the full span of life.

28. Of that former (Annamayatma) this (Prana-mayatma) is the soul. Different from the Pranamaya self made of Prana, there is another self made of mind. With that self made of mind, this (the Pranamaya) is filled. This is also the form of man. Its human form is according to that of the former. Of it Yajus is the head. Rik is the right side (wing). Saman is the left side (wing), injunction (Adesha) is the trunk (body). Atharvangiras is the tail, the support.

29. The Manomaya self is the inner self of the Pranamaya. It permeates the Pranamaya Kosa.

30. Whence all speech turn back with the mind, without reaching, he who knows that, the bliss of Brahman, fears not at any time. This mind is the embodied soul of the former. Of the Pranamaya, this one, namely the Manomaya is the self, having the Pranamaya for its body.

31. Different from that made of mind is another inner soul made of knowledge (Vijnana). By that, this is filled. It also has the shape of man. According to the human shape of that, is the human form of this. Faith is its head. Righteousness (Ritam) is the right side or wing. Truth (Satyam) is the left side or wing. Yoga (concentration, meditation) is the trunk (self). Might (Mahas) is the tail, the support.

32. The Manomaya-Kosa is made up of Vrittis or thoughts. It is subtler than the Pranamaya-Kosa. It controls the Pranamaya-Kosa. So it is the inner self of the Pranamaya-Kosa.

33. Knowledge performs the sacrifice as well as Karma. All the gods worship knowledge as Brahman, the eldest. If a man knows knowledge as Brahman, and if he does not swerve from it, he attains all desires, having abandoned his sins in the body.

34. Of that (the former), this one, verily, is the self. Different from this self, made of knowledge (Vijnanamaya) is another self within, formed of bliss. By that this is filled. It also has the shape of man. According to the human shape of that, is the human form of this. Of it love (Priya) is the head. Joy (Moda) is the right side (wing). Delight (Pramoda) is the left side (wing). Bliss (Ananda) is the trunk (self). Brahman is the tail, the support.

35. Priya is love in looking at a pleasant object. Moda is joy, satisfaction after possessing the object. Pramoda is delight, great satisfaction, the same joy intensified that arises from gratified desires.

36. Birth and death are the attributes of the Annamaya-Kosa.

37. Hunger and thirst are the attributes of Pranamaya-Kosa.

38. Moha (delusion) and Soka (grief) are the attributes of the Manomaya Kosa.

39. The Atman is ever pure and unattached. It is absolutely free from the Shad-Urmis or the six waves of the ocean of Samsara, viz. birth, death, hunger, thirst, delusion and grief.

40. The Annamaya-Kosa constitutes the gross physical body. The Pranamaya, the Manomaya and the Vijnanamaya-Kosas constitute the subtle body or astral body (Linga-Sarira). The Anandamaya-Kosa constitutes the causal body (Karana-Sarira).

41. The three bodies operate during the waking state. The subtle body and the causal body function during the dreaming state. During deep sleep it is the thin veil of Anandamaya-Kosa that separates the individual soul from the Supreme Soul or Brahman. The Anandamaya-Kosa operates during deep sleep.

Origin of Creation

42. If one knows Brahman as non-existent he becomes himself non-existent. If he knows Brahman as existent, then they know him to be existent.

43. Therefore arise the following questions of the pupil: Does he, who knows not, after having departed this world, go there? Or does he, who knows after leaving the world, obtain that?

44. He desired: May I be many, may I be born. He performed Tapas. Having performed Tapas he brought forth all thiswhatever there is. Having brought forth, he entered it; having entered it, he became what is manifest and what is not manifest, defined and undefined, the abode and non-abode, knowledge and ignorance, truth and falsehood, and all this whatsoever is existing. Therefore it is called existence.

45. In the beginning, this was verily, non-existent. From that the existent was born. That created itself by itself. Therefore, it is called self-made. This which was self-madethat is the essence. Having obtained this essence, man becomes blessed, who would have lived and breathed had not the bliss in the cavity of heart existed! This Brahman bestows bliss. When one attains oneness with the Brahman who is invisible, incorporeal, undefined, abodeless, then he becomes free from fear. When, however, one makes even the slightest distinction in Brahman, then there is fear for him. That Brahman itself becomes the source of fear for him who makes a difference. and does not reflect.

Gradation of Bliss

46. Through fear of Him, blows the wind. Through fear of Him rises the sun. Through fear of Him again Indra, fire and Death proceed to their respective duties.

47. Suppose there is a youth, a good youth, well-versed in the scriptures, well disciplined, resolute and very strong. Suppose his is all this earth, full of wealth. This is one unit of human bliss. This is the measure of human bliss.

48. A hundredfold of the human bliss is the unit-measure of the bliss of the human Gandharvas and also is the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

49. A hundredfold of the bliss of the human Gandharvas is the unit-measure of the bliss of celestial Gandharvas, and also is the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

50. A hundredfold of the bliss of celestial Gandharvas is the unit of the bliss of the manes who dwell in the long enduring world, and also is the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

51. A hundredfold of the bliss of the manes who dwell in the long-enduring world, is the unit-measure of the bliss of the Devas born in heaven, and also is the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

52. A hundredfold of the bliss of the Devas born in heaven is the unit-measure of the bliss of the Devas known as Karma-Devas, those who have become Devas by their sacrificial deeds, and also is the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

53. A hundredfold of the bliss of the Devas known as Karma-Devas is the unit-measure of the bliss of the Devas, and also is the bliss of one versed in Vedas, who is free from desires. A hundredfold of the bliss of the Devas is the unit-measure of the bliss of Indra, and also the bliss of one versed in the Vedas, who is free from desires.

54. A hundredfold of the bliss of Indra is the unit-measure of the bliss of Brihaspati, and also is the bliss of one versed in Vedas, who is free from desires.

55. A hundredfold of the bliss of Brihaspati is the unit-measure of the bliss of Prajapati, and also is the bliss of one versed in Vedas, who is free from desires.

56. A hundredfold of the bliss of Prajapati is the unit-measure of the bliss of Brahman, and also is the bliss of one versed in Vedas, who is free from desires.

57. He who is in man (Purusha), and he who is in the sun, are one. He who knows this, having departed from this world, first attains this Atman made of food, next attains this Atman made of Prana, next attains this Atman made of mind, next attains this Atman made of Buddhi, and lastly attains the Atman made of Bliss.

58. He who knows the Bliss of Brahman, from which all words return without reaching it, together with the mind, is not afraid of anything.

59. Such thoughts as these certainly never distress him; Why have I not done what is good? Why have I committed sin?

60. He who knows thus regards both these as the Atman. Verily, both these he regards as the Atman, who knows this.

61. A sage beholds his own Self everywhere. He feels that everything that exists is nothing but his own Self. Therefore, he feels no fear from anything.

62. A knower of Brahman regards that good and bad are but different manifestations of the same Atman. Virtue and vice do not afflict him. They cannot generate subsequent births. He realises that he is non-doer and non-enjoyer. He knows that the Atman is actionless, and that the mind alone is the doer of all actions. He has neither wants, nor egoism, nor desires.

Bhrigu-Valli

63. Bhrigu, the son of Varuna, approached his father, and said: O revered Sir, teach me Brahman.

64. He (Varuna) said this to him (Bhrigu): Food, Prana, the eyes, the ears, the mind and the speech are Brahman.

65. To him he further said: That from which these beings are born; that by which, being born, these beings live; that which, when departing, they enter intothat seek thou to know that is Brahman.

66. He (Bhrigu) performed penance.

67. Having performed penance, he learnt that food is Brahman; because it is from food that all these beings are born; by food, when born, do they live; and, having departed into food, again, they enter.

68. Having known that, he again approached his father Varuna and said; O revered Sir, teach me Brahman.

69. He (Varuna) told him; By penance (Tapas) seek thou to know Brahman. Penance is Brahman.

70. He performed penance.

71. Having performed penance, (Bhrigu) understood that Prana is Brahman; because it is from Prana that all these living beings are born; having been born, they live by Prana; and having departed, into Prana, again, they enter.

72. Having known that, he again approached his father Varuna to know further and said; O revered Sir, teach me Brahman.

73. He (Varuna) told him; By penance (Tapas) seek thou to know Brahman. Penance is Brahman.

74. Bhrigu performed penance, and having performed penance, he came to the conclusion after analysis and deliberation, that Prana (life) is Brahman. But he was not at all satisfied with this conclusion. He thought that this Prana could not be Brahman, because it is non-intelligent, it is an effect, it has a cause, it has a beginning and an end. So he again approached his father to get further light. And his father, again, asked him to know it by penance.

75. Then Bhrigu understood by penance that the mind is Brahman, because it is from mind that all these living beings are born; having been born, they live by the mind; and having departed, into the mind, again, they enter.

76. Having known that, he again approached his father Varuna to know further and said; O revered Sir, teach me Brahman.

77. He (Varuna) told him; By penance seek thou to know Brahman. Penance is Brahman.

78. He performed penance,.

79. Bhrigu thought that mind is only an organ or instrument of cognition, that it has no self-luminosity, has a beginning and end, and therefore it could not be Brahman, the uncaused. So he approached again his father for further enlightenment. Having been asked to do penance, he does it, again.

80. Then he understood that knowledge is Brahman; because it is by knowledge that all these living beings are born; having been born, by knowledge they live; and, having departed, into knowledge, again, they enter.

81. Having known that, he approached his father Varuna to know it further and said; O revered Sir, teach me Brahman.

82. He (Varuna) told him: By penance seek thou to know Brahman. Penance is Brahman.

83. He performed penance, again.

84. Bhrigu found out that his finding could not give him entire satisfaction and that knowledge could not be Brahman. He thought that knowledge is the agent of all the actions of the Jiva and also the enjoyer of the fruits of actions. So he again went to his father for getting further light. And the advice he received was, again, to perform penance.

85. He, then, understood by penance that bliss is Brahman; because from bliss all beings are born; having been born, by bliss they live; and, having departed, into bliss, again, they enter.

86. This is the knowledge learnt by Bhrigu and taught by Varuna. This is established in the supreme ether (heart). He who knows thus becomes one with Brahman. He becomes the possessor of food, and the eater of food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle and in spiritual lustre. He becomes great in fame.

Injunctions Regarding Food

87. Do not speak ill of food. That shall be your vow.

88. Prana (life) is food. The body is the eater of food. The body is fixed in Prana. Prana is fixed in the body. So thus food is fixed in food. He who knows that food is fixed in food becomes well established. He becomes the possessor of food, and the eater of food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle and in spiritual lustre. He becomes great in fame.

Eighth Anuvaka

89. Do not despise food. That is the vow. Water is food. Fire is the food-eater. Fire is fixed in water. Water is fixed in fire. So food is fixed in food. He who knows that food is fixed in food is well established. He becomes rich in food, and becomes eater of food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle and in spiritual lustre. He becomes great in fame.

90. Accumulate plenty of food (for distribution to the poor and the travellers). That is the vow. The earth is the food. Akasa (ether) is the eater of food. In the earth is fixed Akasa. In Akasa is fixed the earth. So food is fixed in food. He who knows that food thus rests in food is well established. He becomes rich in food, and becomes eater of food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle and in spiritual lustre. He becomes great in fame.

91. The earth abides in the ether which is above and below it. The earth is enveloped by ether on all sides. So the earth is food and the ether is the food-eater. The ether is the basis or the container.

92. Without food no meditation is possible. Food should be meditated upon as God or Brahman. It should be adored and glorified.

93. Do not turn away anybody who seeks shelter. This is the vow. Therefore let one acquire much food by any means whatsoever. They say: food is ready. If food is prepared in the best manner, food is given to him (the guest) also in the best manner. If food is prepared in the medium manner, food is given to him also in the medium manner. If food is prepared in the lowest manner, food is also given to him in the lowest manner.

94. He who knows thus obtains similar results.

Meditation on Brahman

95. Brahman resides in speech as preserver, as acquirer and preserver in Prana and Apana, as action in the hands, as motion in the feet, as discharge in the anus. Thus is the meditation of Brahman in respect of man.

96. Now comes the contemplation in reference to the heavens as satisfaction in the rain, as power in the lightning, as fame in cattle, as light in the stars, as offspring, immortality and joy in the generative organ, as all in the Akasa.

97. Let him meditate upon that (Brahman) as support. He becomes well-supported. He will possess all means of living such as food and clothing. Let him meditate upon that as the great. He becomes great. Let him meditate upon that as mind. He becomes thoughtful. Let him meditate upon that as adoration. To him all desires pay homage. Let him meditate upon that as the supreme. He becomes the presence of supremacy. Let him contemplate upon that as the destructive aspect. All those enemies who hate him and the rivals whom he does not like die around him.

98. He who is in man and he who is in the sun both are the same. He who knows thus, departing from this world, and attaining the Annamaya self, then attaining the Pranamaya self, then attaining the Manomaya self, then attaining the Vijnanamaya self, then attaining the Anandamaya self, eating what he likes and assuming forms according to his wishes, travels through the world, and sits singing the following Sama song:

99. O wonderful! I am the food, I am the food, I am the food; I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food. I am the author of fame, I am the author of fame. I am the author of fame. I am the first born of the True. Prior to the gods, I am the centre of all immortality. Whoever gives me, he surely does save. I, the food, eats him who eats food. I have conquered all this world. I am luminous like the sun. He who knows thus attains the aforesaid results. This is the Upanishad.

100. This is the Jivanmukta's song of unity with all. The sage expresses his experience of oneness.


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