Ch 3, Anuvakaha 6, Shloka # 1:
He knew that Bliss was Brahman, for, from Bliss all these beings are produced, by Bliss do these things live. They go to Bliss on departing and become one with it—this is the knowledge learnt by Bhrgu and taught by Varuna. This is established in the supreme space-in the excellent cavity of the heart. He who knows thus becomes one with Brahman. He becomes the possessor (assimilator) of food and the eater (enjoyer) of it. He becomes great in progeny, cattle and gains the splendor of true brahmana-hood. Indeed, he becomes great through fame and renown.
Continuing his teaching Swamiji said, we have completed first six anuvakahas of Brghuvalli. In these anuvakahas the Upanishad gave a summary of Brahmavidya. Let us remember that Brahmavidya was already discussed as the main topic of Chapter two. Chapter 3 has provided us with a summary of Jivatma- paramatma aikyam, revealed through pancha kosha viveka. Jagat karanam Brahma is Pancha Kosha Vilakshanam atma. This Pancha kosha Vilakshana atma was identified as ananda atma. Here teaching reaches its culmination. This pancha Kosha vichara was named Tapas. Veda Purva Bhaga defines Tapas as austerities. Vedanta, however, does not define Tapas as austerities but as one pointed enquiry into Self. Pancha Kosha viveka enquiry process was discussed in this context. Through the story of a father and son the necessity of a guru was indicated; even Brghu needed a guru. In this portion an important mantra was quoted as Brahma Lakshanam or definition of Brahman as Srishti, sthithi, laya karanam. With this the first part of Brghuvalli is over. Benefits of this Brahma vidya were next provided. Life remains settled. Psychologically one remains in a settled condition, relieved and in lightened condition. Worldly benefits were also mentioned. Now we are entering second part of Brghuvalli in Anuvakaha # 7.
Ch 3, Anuvakaha # 7, Shloka # 1:
Do not blaspheme food; that shall your vow. Prana is food. Body is the eater of food. The body is fixed in prana. The prana is fixed in the body. Thus food is fixed in food. He who knows that food is fixed in food, becomes one with Brahman. He becomes possessed of food and he becomes the eater of the food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle wealth and in splendor of Brahmanhood. He becomes great in fame.
In the following anuvakahas, the Upanishad will prescribe certain meditations to prepare for self-knowledge; certain descriptions are mentioned such as Vrttam; four or five Vrttam’s are suggested. Most of them are connected with annam. Why is so much importance given to annam? Annam is the first stage of Vedantic enquiry. It is the grossest stage and most of our worries and time are spent connected to annamaya in search of security. This is grossest form of “I”. Through this we reach the subtlest “I”. Annam is first rung of this ladder. So to express gratitude to annamyam and annam (essence of annamaya) several Vrthams are given.
A particular meditation group is also prescribed. Intention is to look at whole universe as body of God. This new perspective is that universe is not fragmented, but is one cosmic organism or is Ishwara Shariram. This macro Ishwara is Virat Ishwara. It is a unique teaching by the Upanishad of what god is. In other religions, god is a separate entity who remains away from our world in an unseen place. This is known as Tatastha Ishwara, a god away from world, who is safely ensconced somewhere.
Vedanta says, Ishwara is not away from world; rather he is manifestation of the world. How to manifest this? How can I look at world as one whole principle? Citing example of our body, individual bodies have several parts, organs etc. Why do we look at a bunch of organs as one whole body? There is logic to it. Even though there are several parts to our body, they are all an interconnected whole. Each organ is connected and dependent on other organs, interconnected and interdependent. So, if one organ gets affected, others are also affected, although probably over a period of time. Thus, in diabetes, while pancreas is affected, over time it also affects the feet and the brain. This connection is not physically perceptible. Similarly, whole cosmos is one organic whole. Every part of creation is related to various parts of creation. Environmental balance is affected, related to rainfall especially, when deforestation occurs.
The more we study, the more we see interconnectedness between human beings, animals, plants, rivers etc. Similarly it is with the butterfly effect where the flutter of wings of a butterfly can affect a far away star as well.
Everything is interconnected and in a symbiotic relationship. Upanishad wants to reveal this interconnection. Three pairs of objects are taken and we are asked to meditate on the interdependency of each pair. This interdependency is presented as two types:
1) Annam Annadaha Sambandam;
Here it is consumer and consumed relationship. Thus when we are alive we (body) consume earth or products coming out of earth such as plants. This is the Consumer.
After death the earth consumes our body; so here it is consumed.
So our body is once a consumer and at another time it is consumed.
2) Pratishta Prathishthita sambandam
Mutually supported relationship. Each pair supports each other. Thus, when we are children, our parents support us. When same parents grow old, in their second childhood, it is children’s responsibility to support them. This is mutual support. The same situation plays out in gurukulam. Brahmachari is not charged a fee for his stay in gurukulam. But when Brahmachari leaves and takes up Grahastha ashrama he should support the gurukulam.
Gurukula initially provided support but later it becomes the one that is supported.
In Anuvakaha # 7, this relationship is illustrated via one’s between three pairs respectively.
First pair is Annam and Shariram.
This pair is meditated upon to see relationship in two types mentioned.
In anuvakaha # 8 the pair is Agni and Jalam. In this upasana the two types of relationship are meditated upon.
In anuvakaha # 9 the pair is Prithvi and Akasha. Here again one meditates upon two types of relationship.
By meditating on these three pairs we can see interconnectedness of this universe. Thus, dharma is defined as one that ensures this cosmic balance is not disturbed. We are destroying trees and creating a lung problem for the universe. If I am aware of the cosmic rhythm, I will not perform an apa-shruti. While chanting a mantra if one person chants in a different shruti, it jars. Similarly, adharma is disturbance of cosmic harmony. It’s negative effect won’t be felt immediately, but after decades the problems are felt. Some are even irreversible. Sri Krishna in the Gita talks of this effect as act of an immature and selfish person’s who is not aware of this balance.
This is a beautiful meditation. Daily Sandhya vandanam
too has a portion addressing this. During sandhya vandanam, when we say Tarpayami, it means I am aware of this interconnectedness. These three upsanas together equal the Virat Upsana or Vishwarupa upasana. It is very important to know this before understanding Nirguna Brahman. This is the topic of anuvakaha’s # 7, 8 and 9 respectively.
Explaining anuvakaha # 7 Swamiji said:
The first discipline: When food is given, do not complain about the food. Accept it with satisfaction. Keep in mind that you get what you deserve. This should be taken as a vow, as Annam is Brahman.
The First pair is Pranam and Shariram.
From one angle Shariram consumes Prana Shakti. From another angle this role is reversed where it is consumed, meaning Shariram is consumed. How to assimilate this concept? At time of breathing, the air is taken into body where it is consumed as prana vayu. Here prana is annam.
Another angle is, when you are physically active.
To reduce obesity, one exercises. At that time Prana is activated; then Prana eats body’s own weight. Thus prana eats up body. So, here body is annam and prana is annadam, the first relationship.
Second relationship: Pratishta Prathishthita sambandam: Here body is supported by Prana and Prana is supported by Shariram. How to assimilate this?
Body can’t be alive if not backed by Prana Shakti. Prana is the supporter that keeps body alive.
Another angle: Prana Shakti is capacity to act or it is also Kriya Shakti. Prana, however, can function only in an enclosed body. So, a body is required for Prana to function. After death, Prana is still there but it needs another body for it to act. So, body supports Prana to function.
Can Prana be active without a body? Prana cannot turn even a page without a body. It needs shariram to be alive. This is Pratishta Prathishthita sambandam.
Therefore annam (prana) and anavan (shariram) of the pair are mutually supported. This meditation is to be practiced. What is benefit of this meditation? Whoever benefits on this mutual dependence of prana and shariram will be well supported in his life. Not only will he have good support, he will also get other worldly benefits, namely name, fame, food and health. One vrtham and upasana are now complete.
CH 3, anuvakaha # 8, shloka # 1:
Do not reject food. That is duty. Water is food. Fire is the food eater. Fire is fixed in water, water is in fixed in fire. So food is fixed in food. He who knows that food is fixed in food, gets established in Brahman. He becomes possessor of food and an eater of food. He becomes great in progeny, in cattle and in his spiritual lustre. He becomes great in fame.
Second Vrtham: Don’t waste food on plate. It is disrespect to Annam. Suppose I am full, should I keep eating? Don’t let such a situation develop. Take only what you need to begin with. Suppose server keeps serving despite my protestations? Here again one may cause waste of food; but here the papam belongs to the server. So be careful in eating and serving. Do not waste food is the vratham.
Upasana # 2: The pair is Agni and Jalam.
Water is annam, the consumed. Fire is annada, the consumer.
In role reveral, water is consumer and fire is consumed.
How to assimilate this idea? At internal level, when we drink water it is consumed by Vaishvanara Agni of body or digesting fire.
Another angle is that when we quench fire and a fire hazard occurs, we extinguish fire with water. Here water consumes fire.
- When food is given, do not complain about the food.
- Do not waste food is a vratham.
With Best Wishes,