Taitreya Upanishad, Class 24


Greetings All,

Chapter 2, Anuvakaha 1, Shloka # 1.

Om, the knower of Brahman attains the Supreme. With reference to that, is the following hymn recited. Brahman is Truth, knowledge and infinity. He who knows It as existing in the cave of the heart in transcendent akasa, realizes all his desires along with omniscient Brahman.

Continuing his teaching of the Upanishad Swamiji summarized last week’s class. He said we are in anuvakaha # 1 of the second chapter. This anuvakaha has a very important sutra that goes as follows:  Brahmavit Apnoti Param. It’s meaning is: A Brahma Gyani attains Param or the highest goal of moksha or poornatvam or self-sufficiency or freedom from wants.

With reference to this sutra, in the same shloka, the Upanishad now says, Brahman is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. The Upanishad has provided a commentary on this Vakyam. It asks three questions:

  • What is Brahman?
  • How to know Brahman?
  • What is Poornatvam?

Upanishad quotes shloka # 2 as answer to these questions.

First question was what is Brahman?

The shloka says, it is Satyam, Gyanam and Anantam. Explanation of each of these words follows.


In the last class we discussed one attribute of Brahman known as Anantam. We also discussed Shankaracharya’s elaborate commentary on this topic as well. Anantam means limitless one or limitlessly big or infinite one. Anything has three limitations. They are:

1) Spatial;

2) Temporal and

3) Attribute or object limitation.

Now, the other two attributes of Brahman, Satyam and Gyanam are explained.


Before discussing satyam some general comments about it may be useful. Every word is used to reveal an object. Thus, when we say chair, we are revealing the object chair. In our shastra’s verbal communication is analyzed. Every word has a main meaning called mukhya artham. The word can also have secondary meaning(s) known as Lakshyartham. The secondary meaning is dependent on the context in which it is used. Thus, there can be many secondary meanings.

Suppose I ask the length of Ganga? You will understand it as the length of the river from Gomukh till its end. Now, suppose I say I took a bath in the Ganga. It does not mean I took a bath all over Ganga. It means I took a bath at a particular place or spot on Ganga. This is known as Eka Deshaha or one part. Thus, sometimes, a word conveys the whole and sometimes a part. If I say, I bought mango, it would mean a whole mango. If I say, I ate a mango; it means I ate only the edible part of the mango. If I ask, what is cost of building the hall, it means the whole hall. If, however, I say, I was sitting in a hall; it means I was only in a part of the hall. I say I saw a movie. The “I” connotes the atma, the indriyas, the body etc. However, in watching the movie only my eye was involved.

Thus, in resolving such a question, usually the primary meaning is applied to see if it fits. If it does not fit a secondary meaning is applied.

When I say, I am happy, it refers to the mind alone where happiness is experienced. It is an ekadesha artha.

When I say, I was born, it refers to body alone, which is born, another ekadesha artha.

This is called Tyaga Lakshana method of analysis.

Coming to Satyam, its primary meaning is, any existent object. Thus, this book is Satyam. This pen is Satyam. A dream object is considered an Asatyam (non-truth), as it does not exist.

Satyam’s primary meaning as Brahman has some problems with it. Any existent object is limited by time and space while the Upanishad calls Brahman as anantam. Thus, Brahman cannot be an existent object. So, we have to use a secondary meaning using Bhaga Tyaga Lakshana. For an existent object, which part should we accept?

Shatras say every object has three parts. They are:

  • Nama
  • Roopa
  • Satta or existence.

Thus, an existent fan has: Nama, Roopa and Satta.

The words anantam requires that we can’t use Nama as it has limitations. Roopam also can’t be used as it too has limitations. That leaves only Satta. The Satta is in every being. All limited and unlimited objects have Satta. So, Satta is a common factor. Therefore, Nama Roopa Rahita Satta is the secondary meaning of Satyam.

This, the existent part that is known as Satta, is Satyam. This existence, Satta, is not a part, product or property of an object.  It is Satta that makes an object existent to begin with. Satta is not limited by boundaries of the object. Even if an object is destroyed, Satta continues to survive; however, it cannot be recognized, as there is no medium to manifest it.

Therefore, the word Satyam means pure, independent and eternal existence. This existence, that is without a Nama and roopa and is an independent entity, is a difficult concept to grasp for many of us. Thus, limitless existence is Brahman. Shankaracharya says everybody is experiencing everything (a man, woman, child, book etc.,) as Brahman. This existence is a noun.


Next topic is Gyanam. Its primary meaning is knowledge.

If so, knowledge of what, are we talking about? It means knowledge of an object. It can be knowledge of a chair or a book.

How does knowledge exist? It exists in our mind as a thought. It is a mental modification also known as vrithihi. Thus, if there is an object in front of me and I do not show any cognition and just stare at it with a blank look; here, one would say, the mind does not have vrithi.

Knowledge in form of thought cannot be Brahman as any particular knowledge is limited. Thus, pot knowledge is limited to pot. Knowledge of physics is limited to physics. It is limited in time and space (location). So knowledge as primary meaning is limited. Therefore, we have to default to secondary meaning(s). Now, according to shastra, knowledge has three parts to it. They are:

  • Nama
  • Roopa
  • Awareness, consciousness, chit or chaitanyam.

Thus, pot knowledge means I am conscious of pot. So, we have to remove Nama and roopa, as both are finite. Only the conscious part is Anantam. In our mind a variety of thoughts appear and disappear. Consciousness, however, remains as is. “I am a conscious being” is there in every thought. This is Anantam. Therefore, Nama Roopa Rahita Chaitanyam is Gyanam. Thus, pure consciousness is without Nama and roopa.

Therefore, Satyam Gyanam Anantam is Brahman.

With respect to Consciousness, it is also not a part, product, or property of a product. It is pure and unlimited. With this, the definition of Brahman is now over.

Second question was, how to know Brahman?

 Although Brahman is all pervading, one has to recognize it in one’s own mind. Thus, to test electricity in a circuit, to see if it is live, we use the tester in only one place.

In whose mind is Brahman recognized? One has to recognize it in his or her, own mind. Brahman is available in Guha or mind.

Where is mind located?

As per scriptures it is located in Hridaya or the physical heart. The shloka calls the inner space of heart as Paramam Vyoman.

Why is heart considered sacred?

Heart is sacred because Brahman resides in it. It is like God in the temple.

Thus: Body> Heart> Akasha> Mind> Brahman.

How to know this Brahman in the mind?

Some people ask, in meditation I have come to the blank state; where do I see Brahman? Brahman is not an object of knowledge. It is the “I”, the subject and never the object.

So, negate every thing we experience, as they are all objects. Once you negate the world, the body and thoughts, whatever is left is Brahman. Unfortunately, we search this residue for Brahman. Shastras say the one left is the witness of the blank mind. So, “I”, the witness consciousness, pervades the blank mind. It is the witness to presence or absence of thought. The word Veda in shloka means Brahman. So, know the Brahman as “I” the witness consciousness.

 The third question was: What do you mean by obtaining the greatest or Poornatvam?

The shloka says: Saha ashnuto sarvan Kaman.

Kama here means worldly happiness such as one’s derived from eating, music etc. Brahma Gyani obtains all possible sense pleasures in the world. He attains all anandas.

How can one obtain all pleasures of the universe, such as say from food? There are after all so many dishes from all parts of the world. The word Saha in shloka means simultaneously. Simultaneously the Gyani gets all the pleasures and not one after another, say the shastras.

How is it possible? Upanishad says it is through Brahmananda that he gets all pleasures. Brahmananda means, infinite ananda. In this infinite ananda all finite sense pleasures are included.

What does this mean?

In Brahmananda he gets all sense pleasures? How do you know that? Once I get Brahmannda, my cravings for sense pleasures go away. I get Tripti that includes all objects. This Poornatvam or freedom from sense pleasures is called Brahman.

Take Away:

  1. Satyam means pure, independent and eternal existence. This existence, that is without a nama and roopa and is an independent entity.
  2. Gyanam is pure consciousness without Nama and roopa.
  3. Once I get Brahmananda, my cravings for sense pleasures go away. This Poornatvam or freedom from sense pleasures is called Brahman.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy