Taitreya Upanishad, Class 51


Greetings All,

Swamiji said, today I will give you a summary of Brghuvalli. It is the third and final chapter of the Upanishad. Main teaching of Upanishad was in Chapter 2 on the topic of Brahma Vidya.

Chapter 3 deals with certain other but important topics. Chapter 3 begins with the word Brghu, hence the name of the chapter as well. The chapter is in prose form and it is divided into paragraphs known as anuvakahas. There are ten anuvakahas. Topics discussed are: Gyana Sadhanani and Gyana Phalam.

Gyana sadhanani deals with Brahma Gyana sadhanani. Gyana Phalam deals with Brahma Gyana phalam or fruits of this knowledge. For our convenience the chapter can be divided into three topics. They are:

  1. Direct means of Brahma Gyananam or Sakshat Karanani.
  2. Indirect means of Brahma Gyananam also called Sahakari Karanani.
  3. Gyana Phalam or the benefit of this knowledge.

Anuvakaha #1 through # 5:

First topic; Gyana Sakshat Karanani: Is addressed from Anuvakaha #1 through # 5. What is the direct means of Brahma Gyanam? It is enquiry into Brahman or Brahma Vichara. Brahma Vichara is called Tapas in the Upanishad. This enquiry should be done with Guru and Shastra say the Upanishads. Enquiry in Vedanta always includes Guru and Shastra. Both are important. Even if one of them is absent, enquiry will be inadequate. Guru is shown through Guru Shishya teaching between Varuna and Brghu. Their dialogue is the teaching. Importance of Shastra is shown when Varuna gives two clues for this enquiry. They are: 1) Brahma Upalabdi Dwaram and 2) Brahma Lakshanam.

Brahma Upalabdi Dwaram includes factors useful for enquiry such as Pancha Maha Kosha (Annam, Prana, Manaha etc.) Definition of Brahman was given as Brahma Lakshanam. What is the lakshanam? It means Brahman is Jagat Srishti Sthithi Laya Karanam. These two factors indicate the role of shastras.

Keeping Guru and shastra in mind, Brghu conducted his enquiry. His method was Pancha Kosha Viveka. It is one methods of Vichara. This Vichara was discussed in great detail in chapter 2. Its significance is that it takes the intellect of the student from grossest annam to the subtlest ananda. In each anuvakaha, Brghu travels through each kosha and beyond the koshas he discovers ananda.

What is ananda? This, again, was detailed in Chapter 2. It means Chaitanyam. It is not experiential pleasure, which is called ananda maya. This Ananda is the Sat Chit Ananda.

Every thing rises in Chaitanya; rests in it and resolves in it as well.  With this the Vichara is over, from anuvakaha #1 through Anuvakaha # 6. First topic of Chapter 3 is over.

Anuvakaha # 7-# 10:

Second topic, Sahakari Sadhanani: are the indirect factors. They don’t directly produce Brahma Gyanam, just as water is indirectly responsible for the growth of a fruit. It plays a supportive role to the seed, the main cause of the fruit. Vichara can be compared to the seed while other sadhanani assist the Vichara.

What are the other Sadhanani?

They include:

  1. Karma: Karma yoga’s are saha kari Sadhanani. Several disciplines are prescribed under Karma.
  2. Upasanas are meditations.

These two subjects are addressed from anuvakaha # 7 to anuvakaha # 10. In Anuvakaha 10, only first half addresses these topics. So it is three and a half anuvakahas that are involved.

Sahakari Sadhanani:

  1. Karma Yoga. This includes certain Sad Bhavanas and Sad Karmani. Their combination is karma Yoga. It says:
  2. We should have a healthy attitude towards annam.
  3. Never criticize food. Don’t criticize food you are eating or have eaten.
  4. Anna Tyaga Vrajanam. Don’t waste food served to you. It is an indirect form of insult.
  5. Anna Vridhi Karanam. Produce plenty of food.
  6. Anna Danam; Share the food. Producing and sharing are both part of Karma Yoga.
  7. Athiti seva: Service to guest. Athithi seva can be taken as service to humanity or manava seva or manushya yagna. Thus, Upanishad is also hinting at pancha maha yagnas.

All above are under karma yoga, where emphasis is on Service with proper attitude.

Next Sahakara Sadhanani are Upasanani:

Four groups of Upasanas are prescribed. They are:

  1. Virat Upsasana. Here it is meditation on entire creation as body of Lord. In Virat upasana, three pairs of things are taken and meditated upon. They are:

Shariram and Prana.

Agni and Jalam

Prithvi and Akasha.

We are asked to see their interdependence and interconnectedness and thus see the one-ness of cosmos.

Virat: if we see one organ, then we see a cosmic organism, the One Cosmic Being whose many organs that are interconnected. Here Sakama and Nishkama Upasanas are both prescribed. Sakama upasana promotes material growth and brings tangible results. Nishkama Upasana brings internal growth with intangible results.

  1. Second is Adhyatmika Upasanani:  Here God is invoked as various faculties in our own body. They are seen as Brahman. All five Karma Indriyas are taken such as Vak (mouth), Pada (feet); Pani (hands); Payu (rectum) and Upastha (genitals) – for reproduction. Powering each of the Indriyas is Prana Shakti. So meditate on Prana as well. Thus five plus one, we have six indriyani to meditate upon. Here too we should perform Sakama or Nishkama Upasana.
  2. Third factor is Adhidavika upasanani: Here various natural forces are meditated upon. The four forces discussed are: Nakshatra, Vidyut, Vrishti and Pashu.

All four are connected to an agrarian society.  Meditate upon the sun; sun representing the stars. Lightning represents power and energy. Vrishti represents the fulfilling rain. Pashu represents wealth. So, meditate upon each of them as Bhagawan.

  1. The fourth one is Akasha Upasanani: Here the gunas of Akasha are meditated upon. It is closest to Brahman. Akasha, like Brahman, is also infinite, all supporting and unaffected. So, see Ishwara Vibhuti in Akasha. This is a significant meditation as Akasha is closest to Brahman. If we can visualize the subtle Akasha, then our intellect is subtle enough to “perceive” Brahman.

With this all four groups of meditation are over. With this we have prepared our mind to be Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampana. After preparation of mind one should perform the Pancha Kosha Vichara as prescribed in Chapter 2.

Anuvakaha # 10, Shloka # 4 –Shloka # 6

Gyana Phalam:

From Bhatruvyaha in anuvakaha # 10, shloka # 4, till end of Shloka # 6 is Gyana phalam. It says here we obtain Jivan mukti or moksha. Jivan mukti is obtained in this very life. Videha mukti, although not discussed by Upanishad, means the person has no more births. Jivan mukti alone is discussed in four different contexts:

  1. Pancha Kosha abhimana Tyaga: freedom from identification with anatma. Pancha Kosha represents Universe. Once you dis-identify from all Pancha Koshas, you are atma swarupam; your own nature; ananda swarupam and abhaya swarupam. Here one is completely detached from everything in creation. It is also known as Sarvatra Abhimana Rahitaha.
  2. If Gyani is bored with dis-identification, then he can take to abhimana as well. Here he identifies with entire creation. “I am everything” is his perspective when he identifies with creation. It is known as Sahi Tatvam. I am one with Ishwara. Here you identify with everything in Creation.

Note: Partial attachment is what makes you a Samsari.

Individuality rises in me with Raga and Dvesha due to partial identification. Once I give up partial identification I become a free person. It is the partial identity that binds me to my child, my wife, etc (mamakara). Once this is given up he finds the whole creation is his house etc. Nothing binds him. This is called Swatantram. I don’t claim anything as mine. I claim everything as mine. I don’t linger in between.

  1. Anandaha:  I appreciate every event objectively. I appreciate birth; death is not a tragedy; union, separation, growth and decay, all are viewed objectively. There is nothing to complain in creation. Gyani’s Sama Ganam indicates this.

These are Gyana Phalams. With this the Upanishad is over.

Take Away:

Two methods of obtaining Jivan mukti are:

  1. Here one is completely detached (dis-identified) from everything in creation.
  2. Here you identify with everything in Creation.

Sakama Upasana:  Sakama upasana promotes material growth and brings tangible results.

Thus, Gita says, our prayers to God will be answered. We will obtain the material benefits that we sincerely pray for.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy