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 6.12.2

तं होवाच यं वै सोम्यैतमणिमानं न निभालयस एतस्य वै सोम्यैषोऽणिम्न एवं महान्यग्रोधस्तिष्ठति श्रद्धत्स्व सोम्येति ॥ ६.१२.२ ॥

taṃ hovāca yaṃ vai somyaitamaṇimānaṃ na nibhālayasa etasya vai somyaiṣo'ṇimna evaṃ mahānyagrodhastiṣṭhati śraddhatsva somyeti || 6.12.2 ||

2. Uddālaka said: ‘O Somya, the finest part in that seed is not visible to you. But in that finest part lies hidden the huge banyan tree. Have faith in what I say, O Somya’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Tam, to him [his son]; ha uvāca, [Uddālaka] said; somya, O Somya; etam vai aṇimānam, that subtle part; yam na nibhālayase, which you do not see; etasya vai, of this very; aṇimnaḥ, subtle part; somya, O Somya; eṣaḥ mahānyagrodhaḥ, this big banyan tree; tiṣṭhati, exists; śraddhatsva somya iti, have faith [in what I say], O Somya.


A banyan tree is such a huge tree, but its seed is very tiny. If you split open the seed what do you see? Nothing. Yet the essence of that big tree is there in that tiny seed. How do you know? If you put the seed in the ground, very soon a sprout will appear. Then that sprout will grow and gradually become a big tree. Though there seems to be nothing inside the seed, the essence of the tree must be there; otherwise a tree could not grow from it.

Then the father says, ‘Have śraddhā, faith—faith in what I am saying.’ Śaṅkara says that faith makes the mind concentrated. If your mind is restless and always running after sense pleasures, you will never realize the Self. How can a mind that is outgoing and attached to gross external things, see that which is fine? It can’t. In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, Yama said to Naciketā that our senses are all outgoing. The eyes, the ears, the mind—they are all going to the sense objects. We must reverse the process—that is, we must turn the senses inward. But this is very difficult to do if you lack faith.

Sri Ramakrishna used to say that the mind was like a bag of mustard seeds. Suppose there is a leak in a bag of mustard seeds. The mustard seeds will fall out and be scattered all over the place, and it is then very difficult to gather them up again. Similarly, the leak in the bag is like our attachment to sense enjoyments. Once the mind is scattered on external things, it is difficult to bring it back and focus it on the Self.

But if you have faith—faith that the Self is the

Reality—then it becomes easy to concentrate the mind. Once you have control over the mind, you can grasp the subtleties of spiritual truths very quickly. In fact, it is said that the Truth reveals itself to you. This is quite rational. If you really want to know something, your mind will automatically be focussed on it. And if you are not interested, your mind will be elsewhere. You may be sitting in front of the teacher, but if your mind is on a cricket game you will not hear anything the teacher says.