Introduction: This Upanishad is an integral part of the Taitareya Aranyaka of the Taitareya branch of the Krishna Yajurveda. Amongst the ten chapters of the Taitareya Aranyaka the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters comprise the Taitareya Upanishad.
AUM SHAM NO MITRAHA SHAM VARUNANA|
SHAM NO MAVATVARYAMA| SHAM NO INDRO BRIHASPATIHI|
SHAM NO VISHNUURU-KLAMAHA|
NAMO BRAHMANE NAMASTE VAAYO|
TWAMEVA PRATYAKSHAM BRAMAASI| TVAMEVA PRATYAKSHAM BRAHMA VADISHYAMI|
RITAM VADISHYAMI| SATYAM VADISHYAMI| TANMAM AVATU|
TADVAKTARA AVATU| AVATU MAAMA| AVATU VAKTARAM|
In the first chapter, the divine Cosmic spirit is praised by recitation of different names of that one force and is prayed by saying that may all the gods that represent the Adhibhautik, Adhyatmik and Adhidaivik be auspicious to all of us, who are also an integral part of that divine Cosmic spirit. May there be no obstacles in our oath towards growth and progress. We prostrate before thy Lord, supreme God who resides within one and all.
RULES FOR RECITATION OF VEDIC INCANTATIONS
Generally speaking, as far as possible every person should try to maintain good diction and pronunciation while reciting every word of the Vedic literature. Less than perfect pronunciation is allowed in the language of common parlance, but the Vedic chants and Mantras have to be recited properly so that they convey the right meaning and hence exert their right influence.
The syllables need to be pronounced properly with proper effort. It is important to know the tone and the amount of time given for the pronunciation also while reciting, the method of singing also needs to be known properly.
THE METHOD OF PROPITIATION/SUPPLICATION
The principal teacher needs to enhance the knowledge of his disciple so that the disciple treads on the path towards self-realization.
May the teacher as well as the pupil become successful, may they both become radiant- in this way we begin the prayer. Now we shall describe the secret of the Samhitas taking into consideration- the people, the worlds, the flames, the knowledge, the subjects and finally the body.
These all cumulatively are referred to as ‘Mahasamhita’. The first Samhita is concerned with the world or the earth. The prior form is earth and the latter form is heaven. The space is the junction between the earth and the heaven. The air is the regulator of all this.
PROPITIATION OF SAMHITA RELATED TO JYOTI
On this earth, the Agni is the prior form of the Samhita related to the Jyoti and the latter form is the Sun which is shining in the Dyuloka. As it is developed from these two, the clouds are the junctions and the ultimate aim of these clouds are the lightning.
PROPITIATION OF SAMHITA RELATED TO VIDYA (KNOWLEDGE)
Through this mantra, the importance of education and knowledge is emphasized. In the Samhita, the Acharya or preceptor is the prior form and the disciple who is curious, devoted and serving is the latter form. The knowledge that is between the teacher and the disciple is the junction. When this junction is exposed, the ultimate aim is the sermon given by the teacher and that being understood by the devoted disciple. That person who realizes this and serves his teacher becomes a scholar unequivocally.
PROPITIATION OF SAMHITA RELATED TO SUBJECTS
In this Samhita, the mother is the prior form and the father is the latter form. The child born from the union of both is the junction. The ultimate aim of this Samhita is begetting a child by having carnal relations according to the scriptures in the appropriate time.
PROPITIATION OF SAMHITA RELATED TO ATMAN (SOUL)
The lower jaw is the prior form of the Samhita while the upper jaw is the latter form. The voice, which emerges between this, is the junction and the aim is the tongue because without a tongue a human cannot speak or read. The speech or voice has tremendous energy. The voice has the energy to accrue in the physical and spiritual growth of every person.
THE BENEFITS OF ALL FIVE TYPES OF PROPITIATIONS
The benefits of the five types of propitiation is as follows- the person who knows all these things begets a child according to his desire, by becoming embellished with knowledge, he becomes radiant, he can attain all types of edible things, food and also different types of animals.
By gaining knowledge of the Samhita related to Loka (world) one acquires a place in the super celestial region, by knowing the Samhita related to Jyoti, one acquires knowledge of different material objects. By knowing the Samhita related to Praja (subjects), he begets children, by knowing the Samhita related to knowledge (Vidya) one acquires knowledge and radiance and by knowing the Samhita of spirituality, one acquires power of speech.
TYPES OF PRAYERS
In this chapter, the method of praying the divine Cosmic spirit is explained so that one can attain self-realization. ‘AUM’ is the name of the supreme God and is the mantra nobler than the mantras mentioned in the Vedas. This divine supreme God is referred to as ‘Indra’ and may that Indra embellish me with knowledge. O Lord! May I preserve your divine form in my heart without any desire as such. May my tongue be very sweet and polite. May I listen to only good words which accrue in the well being of all. O Omkar! You are the treasure of the supreme God. Inspite of this, you are enveloped by the material intellect of humans. O God! Please protect the prayer you have just heard.
O Supreme God, the protector of Agni! Please bless me with all types of things such as food, cows etc. without delay. May all this just grow and prosper. Give me wealth along with all the other animals such as goats, sheep etc.
It is the desire of all the Acharyas that may good, devoted people come to me to acquire knowledge. May all the Brahmacharis be devoid of wickedness and may they all control their senses. May they all have control over their minds.
In this way the preceptor prays to the Supreme God so that it results in the well being of the disciples and so that they can attain all the material and celestial pleasures. The fourth chapter covers the following topics: method of attaining material and celestial pleasures, prayer to the supreme God and method of performing religious sacrifice.
In the fifth chapter, the method of propitiation of the four Vyahritis is mentioned, that is, Bhu, Bhuvaha, Swaha and Maha, its secrets and the fruits. ‘Bhu’, this Vyahriti is Agni but not in the literal sense, Bhuvaha is the Vayu (air), Swaha is the Sun, Maha is the Moon.
These are not only Vyahriti in the systematic manner but also Rigveda, Samveda and Yajurveda. Maha is the Brahma but the Vedas sing the glory of that Brahma only. Here Bhu, Bhuvaha and Swaha represent Prana, Apana and Vyana.
The sixth chapter speaks of the different relations of the topics covered in the previous chapters. There is a place in this heart where that divine Cosmic spirit resides. One can realize Him there itself. One does not need to go anywhere else to realize Him.
This chapter comprises of two parts. The first section is divided into three parts i.e. the material objects such as Loka, Jyoti and Sthool padartha.
The second section is divided into three parts i.e. the important spiritual elements based in the body i.e. prana, kaarana and Dhatu and they are discussed briefly. The method of usage of all this is explained in the concluding chapter. The appropriate usage of all the material and minute objects and their realization can lead to material growth. This is the synopsis of this chapter.
In this chapter the greatness of that ‘Omkar’ (Divine Cosmic spirit) is described so that people have faith and devotion towards the same. So as to say that ‘Omkar’ itself is the supreme God. Before reciting the name of ‘Omkar’ all the devotees say this prayer- ‘Bless me with the intellect to understand the Vedas’.
The ninth chapter instructs that people, who engage in the study and teachings should tread on the path that has been spoken of in the scriptures. This should be understood by even those who give and listen to sermons etc. So that study and teaching are undoubtedly important but the scriptures help to realize our duties and the benefits by working towards our goal assiduously.
Other than this, the things to be followed are good conduct, abstaining from telling lies, to bear the pain to uphold ones dharma, to control the mind and the senses, to perform Yagya, hospitality towards guests, following the conduct of the householder, to practice austerities and penance and self-study.
A sage named Trishanku realized the supreme God and narrated his experiences. This chapter comprises of these narrations. He says that- I have uprooted this world which is nothing but a deadly cycle of life and death. This is my final birth. My glory is like a mountain which is gigantic. I am pure and now immortal.
Important instructions for a householder are mentioned in this chapter. Acharyas after teaching the Vedas, performing the Samavartan Sanskara teach the person to become a householder. They say- Son! Always speak the truth, do not seek recourse to lie even if the situations are adverse, adhere to all the rules coveted to the Varnashrama system. That is self-study, holy baths and supplications, recitation of Gayatri mantra and singing the praises of thy Lord.
Never neglect your duties. As a form of a fee, give wealth to your Guru with love and devotion. Engage in perpetuation of the family through procreation.
O Son! Consider your mother, father, guests as gods and respect them. Do not engage in any act that transgresses the rules. Engage in penance, good conduct, knowledge etc. which is sublime. Serve people, donate benevolently and with respect, give and donate out of pity and compassion.
If you are in a dilemma while performing any of your duties, consult scholars and Brahmins and act according to their instructions. This is the decree of the scriptures.
Gratitude is expressed and the praises are sung of that Divine Cosmic spirit who is the protector of all the energies. May all the gods i.e. Mitra, Varuna who represents the Adhibhautik Adhidaivik and Adhyatmik be auspicious for all of us. Those who are integral parts of that divine Cosmic spirit. May there be no obstacle in our path towards progress. We prostrate before thy Lord, supreme God who dwells within one and all.
AUM SHANTI! SHANTI!! SHANTI!!!
BRAHMANAND VALLI (TAITAREYOPANISHAD)
AUM SAHANA VAVATU | SAHA NAO BHUNAKTU |
SAHA VIRYAM KARVAVAHAI |
TEJASVINA VADHITAMASTU | MA VIDWISHAA VAHAAI |
A knowledgeable person can attain the divine cosmic spirit. That cosmic spirit is always ‘Sat’, is the embodiment of knowledge and is infinite. He resides in the vast expanse of this sky and is also hidden in the inner most recesses of the heart. The person who realizes the divine spirit experiences that are enjoyable.
METHODS TO REALIZE COSMIC SPIRIT
The element space (ether)was the first to take birth from that cosmic soul. From the ether air took birth. From air was produced Agni or fire. From Agni, emerged the element water and from the water, the earth came into existence.
The earth,in her turn, created different herbs, medicines and food grains. The medicines created the normal human diet. This human body which is created because of these medicines is compared to a bird. In this way God resides in the heart of one and all.
In the first incantation of this chapter, the greatness of food is described. All humans are created from food. Food nourishes all human beings and finally a human gets dissoluted into food. The individual soul residing in the bodies does not however dissolute into the food. After death these souls take rebirth in different forms.
The second incantation speaks of the body having breaths (prana). Other than the outer body created by food, there is another minute body within, which is known as ‘pranamaya’ body. This body dwells within the outer body and is all pervading.
The first segment of this chapter speaks of the greatness of the prana (breath). All the gods, humans, animals etc. are sustaining because of prana, without which life is impossible. Prana is the life span of every creature. It is Sarvayusha.
The second segment speaks of the Manomaya purush. He is different from the pranamaya body. Everything finally merges into the Manomaya purusha.
The fourth chapter eulogizes the person who realizes god and who is the Manomaya body. The divine cosmic spirit embodies itself as the highest form of happiness to which even the senses, intellect and Manomaya body cannot impregnate. But this is useful as an aid to realize the divine cosmic reality.
This mind and this speech can definitely help us to attain god and these aids themselves return back after reaching us to the threshold of divinity. After this the devotee attains divinity. A person who realizes all this becomes free from all apprehensions and fears.
The protector of the Vijnamaya body is the individual being. As it is smaller than the Manomaya body and as the soul resides in it, it is referred to as Vijnamaya purush. He resides in the cave known as intellect and as it is one with the intellect it is therefore a living being embellished with those qualities. As he resides in the Manomaya body he is known as purushkara.
The first incantation of this chapter eulogizes the Vijnana atma (soul) and the benefits of propitiating the cosmic soul are described. This fuses with the intellect and due to this the individual being is able to perform good deeds and can expand his virtues. The individual being inspires us to perform all actions. All the senses and the mind serve this Vijnamaya living being in their respective methods. If any devotee construes this Vijnamaya soul to be Brahma and made a mistake in trying to attain it then he would have got emancipated. He would have left all his sins in the body and would have enjoyed divine pleasure. The divine cosmic element is venerable for the Vijnamaya purush.
The second segment of the fifth chapter sees the description of the Anandamaya purush. Another soul which is within the Vijnamaya purush and is merged with it is Anandamaya purush. As this purush is the most sublime and pure it is referred to as ‘Purushottam’. In this chapter the meaning of Vijnamaya and Anandmaya is the ‘living being’ and ‘divine cosmic spirit’ respectively.
The first segment of the sixth chapter speaks about the faith in the cosmic soul and benefits by believing in the same.
A person who does not believe in the very existence of God, himself becomes ‘Asat’ or impure. He does not follow the proper code of conduct. On the contrary, if a person who is in reality unaware of the reality of the cosmic soul, but asserts ‘Definitely Brahma exists’. Such a person is a saint and a knowledgeable person. The first step towards realization is undoubtedly faith in the existence of God.
The second segment of this chapter speaks of the Anandmaya as well as the inner soul of the Anandmaya. The Anandmaya Brahma is the inner soul of all the bodies.
EVOLUTION OF THE NATURE AND UNIVERSE
Before the evolution of the universe the cosmic spirit decided to express him in different forms. According to independent actions of the Jivas, the cosmic spirit created the universe and also the intangible, impalpable and palpable. After this, the divine cosmic soul himself entered this universe. He expressed himself in all the five elements and all the creatures. In this way that cosmic soul assumed that many names, forms and titles as that of the number of things in the universe. That is why the knowledgeable say: ” All that is listenable, perceivable and intelligible is the form of the divine cosmic spirit.
Before evolution, the entire universe was unexpressed. That unexpressed intangible cosmic spirit created this universe. The supreme God created this universe as a form or embodiment of himself that is why he is referred as ‘Sukrut’ (self-made, self-created)
This Sukrut supreme god is the embodiment of happiness and the unredeemed individual soul has attained him and freed him from the shackles of birth and death. Therefore he is the protector of each and everything. One should have indomitable faith in that divine cosmic spirit. The person who realizes this divinity becomes fearless and the person who does not believe gets lost in the vicious cycle of life and death.
The divine cosmic spirit regulates the air the rising and setting of the sun, the functions of fire and above all death. Without this force nothing can be regulated. The embodiment of happiness, the divine cosmic soul can be attained by the human being.
THE CLASSIFICATION OF ANAND
The happiness on the earth for humans is good conduct, good nature, well bred, born in a good clan, healthy, strong, embellished with all good qualities and above all wealth.
HAPPINESS OF THE GANDHARVA LOKA
A person, who does good Karma and attains the Gandharva bhava, his happiness is a hundred times more than what a human on earth enjoys. The people who are attached and know the Vedas can only acquire this happiness.
HAPPINESS OF DEVA GANDHARVA
The happiness of Deva Gandharva is hundred times more than the happiness of a human in Gandharva loka. A person, who is a selfless knower of the Vedas attains this state.
HAPPINESS OF THE PITRU LOKA (ABODE OF DECEASED ANCESTORS)
The happiness of pitru loka is hundred times more than that of the Deva Gandharvaloka. This happiness is attainable by a selfless learner of the Vedas.
HAPPINESS OF DEVALOKA (ABODE OF GODS)
The happiness of Ajaajan loka is hundred times more than that of pitru loka and the happiness of Deva loka is hundred times more than that of the Ajaajan loka. The happiness of ‘Indra’ which is the most sublime form of happiness is hundred times more than that of the Deva loka.
The happiness of Brihaspati (Guru of all gods) is hundred times more than the happiness of Indra and the happiness of Prajapati is hundred times more than the happiness of Brihaspati. The happiness of Brahma is hundred times more than the happiness of Prajapati. The person who knows the Vedas and is detached and desires nothing attains the highest form of happiness or Brahmanand. In this way the happiness of realizing the divine cosmic soul is much higher and greater than the happiness obtained from material and celestial objects.
The ultimate aim of the Shrutis is the realization of the divine cosmic spirit who is the happiness embodied and is all pervasive.
In the first mantra of the ninth chapter, the form of the supreme God is explained and the benefits of their propitiation are also opined.
A person who knows the divine cosmic spirit becomes fearless and does not repent over anything. He transcends all the flaws of the human beings and acquires god-hood. He contemplates over the divine cosmic spirit and protects his soul.
Sage Bhrigu was the son of Varuna. Out of curiosity to realize the cosmic spirit went to his father Varuna and said: O Lord! I want to realize the cosmic spirit. Please explain to me the secret of divinity.
Varuna said: ” O Son! The path towards realization of the cosmic spirit is food, breath, eyes, ears, mind and the speech. The supreme God evinces himself in these forms. Try to understand all those forces and elements from which all creatures take birth, perform all their duties and dissolute at the time of final annihilation. That force itself is Brahma.
Sage Bhrigu realized through penance and by the sermons of his father that ‘food’ is itself ‘Brahma’ because all take birth from food, they are nourished by food and finally dissolute into food i.e. earth. In this way he told his father what he had realized. Listening to his son’s comprehension, Varuna did not utter a word. But with continued insistence by Bhrigu, Varuna said- Try to attain Brahma through penance, penance itself is Brahma.
Sage Bhrigu did penance according to his father’s instructions and inferred that ‘prana’ itself is Brahma. He came back and told his father what he construed. He did not get a reply so he again requested his father for guidance. Varuna said- Try to realize god through penance, penance itself is Brahma.
Bhrigu again did penance and realized that the mind is Brahma. Displeased by this comprehension, Varuna told Bhrigu to do penance. Bhrigu again did penance and realized that happiness itself is Brahma.
In such a manner Bhrigu realized, one by one, the essence of the divine cosmic spirit and all his curiosity ceased to exist.
One, who knows divine cosmic spirit, establishes himself in divinity. He fulfills all his desires or rather transcends all of them. He becomes brilliant and radiant with the effulgence of realization.
A person who even realizes the material aspect of Brahma is bestowed with virtues by contemplation and devotion.
The greatness of service towards a guest is narrated in the tenth chapter. We should never displease or dishonoour a guest. We should respect a guest, talking politely and offering him hospitality in the form of food, water etc. A person is bestowed with everything who serves the guest with devotion and respect.
We should contemplate on the all pervasive form of God. It is the power of God that a blessing can protect us. Desire to attain, acquire things to lead a normal life and the energy of self protection both are fractions of that divinity. The energy to work with hands, to walk is the energy bestowed upon us by God.
THE BENEFITS OF PROPITIATION BY DIFFERENT FEELINGS
A person, who demands respect and honour should firstly respect and propitiate the venerable God. Doing so, he shall definitely become respectable and honourable. A person who wants to fulfill different desires with different aims and methods himself becomes worthy of propitiation. All the desires come into his control. Propitiation of God is finally the worship of one and only one, the cosmic divine spirit.
A person, who is desirous, does not follow this and keeps supplicating the different gods and is always devoid of the real benefit.
CONCLUSION: The Shruti in the concluding Valli (chapter) of the Taitareyopanishad states that the all pervasive, almighty cosmic soul is the only truth which is constant and not prone to changes. He dwells in the inner soul of each and every being. The person who realizes Him is blessed with all the powers. Such a person transcends this ocean of material life and finally gets liberated and speaks the following with a pure heart- It is surprising that, it is only that cosmic soul that is responsible for the union of living beings and material things. I am not separate from that divine spirit. I am the one who has detached himself from all this ephemeral material objects. Before my greatness, this all is absolutely despicable and worthless. All the things which are lustrous are simply a fraction of my radiance. One, who realizes the cosmic spirit, attains this state of consciousness.