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 7.5.1

चित्तं वाव सं कल्पाद्भूयो यदा वै चेतयतेऽथ संकल्पयतेऽथ मनस्यत्यथ वाचमीरयति तामु नाम्नीरयति नाम्नि मन्त्रा एकं भवन्ति मन्त्रेषु कर्माणि ॥ ७.५.१ ॥

cittaṃ vāva saṃ kalpādbhūyo yadā vai cetayate'tha saṃkalpayate'tha manasyatyatha vācamīrayati tāmu nāmnīrayati nāmni mantrā ekaṃ bhavanti mantreṣu karmāṇi || 7.5.1 ||

1. Intelligence is certainly superior to will-power. A person first comprehends, and then he wills. Next he thinks it over again and again, and then he directs the organ of speech. Finally he makes the organ of speech utter the name. All the mantras then merge in the names, and all the actions merge in the mantras.

Word-for-word explanation:

Cittam vāva saṅkalpāt bhūyaḥ, intelligence is certainly higher than saṅkalpa [will-power]; yadā vai cetayate, when one comprehends; atha saṅkalpayate, then one wills; atha, then; manasyati, he thinks; atha, then; vācam īrayati, he directs the organ of speech; tām u nāmni īrayati, he makes speech utter the name; nāmni, in the names; mantrāḥ, all the mantras; ekam bhavanti, are united; mantreṣu karmāṇi, the actions [are united] in the mantras.


Higher than saṅkalpa is citta. Just as saṅkalpa is part of the mind, so also is citta. Śaṅkara says that here citta means intelligence. It is right understanding of what to do in a present situation in the light of past experience. You have in your mind your past experiences and your future plans, and according to that you weigh the pros and cons of your present condition and decide what to do. Citta is the power to judge what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, and then make a decision promptly and correctly. A person who has this intelligence never does things impulsively.

Saṅkalpa, or will, is good, but suppose you cannot discriminate and you apply your will to a wrong purpose. A foolish person may be very obstinate, but that kind of will-power will eventually land him in trouble. Our will must be guided by our intelligence.

You may have noticed that the order here is from gross to fine. First Sanatkumāra mentions words, which are gross; then the mind, which is finer; then saṅkalpa, which is more fine; and now citta, still finer. He does not reject the gross. The gross level is also truth, but it is a lower truth. Gradually he takes Nārada to the finest, the highest,