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 6.2.2

कुतस्तु खलु सोम्यैवंस्यादिति होवाच कथमसतः सज्जायेतेति। सत्त्वेव सोम्येदमग्र आसीदेकमेवाद्वितीयम् ॥ ६.२.२ ॥

kutastu khalu somyaivaṃsyāditi hovāca kathamasataḥ sajjāyeteti| sattveva somyedamagra āsīdekamevādvitīyam || 6.2.2 ||

2. The father said: ‘O Somya, what proof is there for this—that from nothing something has emerged? Rather, before this world came into being, O Somya, there was only existence, one without a second’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Somya, O Somya; kutaḥ tu, but what [proof is there]; khalu, indeed; evam syāt, could this be so; iti ha uvāca, he [Āruṇi] said; katham, in what way; asataḥ, from non-existence; sat, existence; jāyata iti, will come; tu, on the other hand; somya, O Somya; idam agre, before this [world]; sat eva āsīt, there


Let us say the world was not here before, but it came into existence at a certain point of time. What does this mean? Does this mean that there was a void and out of that void the world as we now see it emerged?

As has been stated already, the idea of something coming out of nothing is absurd. Yet some Buddhist scholars, who believe that existence comes from non-existence, argue that unless a seed is destroyed, a tree cannot grow from it. So according to them something comes out of nothing. Śaṅkara argues that it is only the form of the seed that is destroyed. The material that makes up the seed goes on to produce the tree. There is no example anywhere of something coming from nothing.

A potter makes pots out of clay. Can he make a pot out of nothing? No. But then the Buddhists argue, can a pot produce another pot? Vedānta says, no, but a pot can change its form. It can become potsherds or it can go back to the form of clay.

Vedānta says, the world always existed, but it did not always exist in the form we see it now. A snake is always a snake, whether it is lying like a long rope or it is coiled up. The world is Sat (Existence), and it is nameless and formless. But how it does come to have names and forms? The answer is that Existence is the only reality, but if it seems to have different names and forms, they are merely superimpositions and are not real.