Chandogya Upanishad (english Translation)

by Swami Lokeswarananda | 165,421 words | ISBN-10: 8185843910 | ISBN-13: 9788185843919

This is the English translation of the Chandogya-upanishad, including a commentary based on Swami Lokeswarananda’s weekly discourses; incorporating extracts from Shankara’s bhasya. The Chandogya Upanishad is a major Hindu philosophical text incorporated in the Sama Veda, and dealing with meditation and Brahman. This edition includes the Sanskrit t...

Verse 2.22.1

विनर्दि साम्नो वृणे पशव्यमित्यग्नेरुद्गीथोऽनिरुक्तः प्रजापतेर्निरुक्तः सोमस्य मृदु श्लक्ष्णं वायोः श्लक्ष्णं बलवदिन्द्रस्य क्रौञ्चं बृहस्पतेरपध्वान्तं वरुणस्य तान्सर्वानेवोपसेवेत वारुणं त्वेव वर्जयेत् ॥ २.२२.१ ॥

vinardi sāmno vṛṇe paśavyamityagnerudgītho'niruktaḥ prajāpaterniruktaḥ somasya mṛdu ślakṣṇaṃ vāyoḥ ślakṣṇaṃ balavadindrasya krauñcaṃ bṛhaspaterapadhvāntaṃ varuṇasya tānsarvānevopaseveta vāruṇaṃ tveva varjayet || 2.22.1 ||

1. The vinardi voice for singing the Sāma is good for animals, and Agni, the god of fire, is its presiding deity. I bear this in mind and pray that I may have this voice. The god Prajāpati presides over the udgītha sung in the anirukta [unclear] voice. The one having Soma as its presiding deity is nirukta [clear]. That of Vāyu, the god of air, is soft and pleasant, and Indra’s is strong. That which has Bṛhaspati as its presiding deity is like the voice of the krauñca bird, and that of Varuṇa is like the sound of a broken metal pot. Cultivate all of these, but avoid the one of Varuṇa.

Word-for-word explanation:

Vinardi, the voice called vinardi, which is deep, like that of a bull; sāmnaḥ, for [singing] the Sāma; vṛṇe iti, I pray for; paśavyam, good for animals; agneḥ, of the god of fire; udgītha aniruktaḥ, the udgītha sung in the anirukta voice, which is not very distinct; prajāpateḥ, of Prajāpati, the Lord of all; niruktaḥ, the voice called nirukta, which is clear; somasya, of the god Soma; mṛdu ślakṣṇam, the voice called ślakṣṇa that is soft and soothing; vāyoḥ, of the god Vāyu, air; ślakṣṇam balavat, the voice called ślakṣṇa that is soothing yet powerful; indrasya, of Indra; krauñcam, the voice called krauñca, which is like that of the krauñca bird; bṛhaspateḥ, of Bṛhaspati; apadhvāntam, the voice called apadhvānta, which sounds like a broken metal pot; varuṇasya, of the god Varuṇa; tān sarvān era upaseveta, practise on all of them; tu eva vāruṇam, except that of Varuṇa; varjayet, one should avoid.

Commentary:

When you sing the udgītha, be careful that you sing it in the right voice. The voice is important because it determines the benefit you derive from your singing. For instance, there is a type of voice that sounds like that of a bull. Agni, fire, is the presiding deity of this voice. If you sing the udgītha in this type of voice, it means you are singing for the good of the animals and you are also praying that you may have that kind of voice.

Similarly, there is a type of voice called anirukta, which has Prajāpati as its presiding deity. Prajāpati, the Lord of all beings, has no form of his own. Similarly, he does not have a distinct voice. This is why it is called anirukta, indistinct. The voice of Soma, the moon, is nirukta, clear; that of Indra is powerful; and that of Bṛhaspati sounds like a krauñca, a bird similar to a crane. Varuṇa’s voice is the worst. It is like the sound of a broken brass vessel. All these voices can be used except that of Varuṇa.