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 7.11.2

स यस्तेजो ब्रह्मेत्युपास्ते तेजस्वी वै स तेजस्वतो लोकान्भास्वतोऽपहततमस्कानभिसिध्यति यावत्तेजसो गतं तत्रास्य यथाकामचारो भवति यस्तेजो ब्रह्मेत्युपास्तेऽस्ति भगवस्तेजसो भूय इति तेजसो वाव भूयोऽस्तीति तन्मे भगवान्ब्रवीत्विति ॥ ७.११.२ ॥
॥ इति एकादशः खण्डः ॥

sa yastejo brahmetyupāste tejasvī vai sa tejasvato lokānbhāsvato'pahatatamaskānabhisidhyati yāvattejaso gataṃ tatrāsya yathākāmacāro bhavati yastejo brahmetyupāste'sti bhagavastejaso bhūya iti tejaso vāva bhūyo'stīti tanme bhagavānbravītviti || 7.11.2 ||
|| iti ekādaśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

2. ‘One who worships fire as Brahman becomes bright himself, and he attains worlds that are bright, shining, and without a hint of darkness. One who worships fire as Brahman can do what he pleases within the range of fire.’ Nārada asked, ‘Sir, is there anything higher than tejas?’ ‘Of course there is something higher than tejas,’ replied Sanatkumāra. Nārada then said, ‘Sir, please explain that to me’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Saḥ yaḥ, he who; tejaḥ brahma iti upāste, worships fire as Brahman; saḥ vai tejasi, he becomes energetic and bright; abhisidhyati, [and] attains; tejasvataḥ bhāsvataḥ lokān, worlds that are bright and shining; apahatatamaskān, and without a hint of darkness; yāvat tejasaḥ gatam, as far as tejas goes; tatra, that far; asya yathā-kāmacāraḥ bhavati, as he wishes he can go; yaḥ tejaḥ brahma iti upāste, he who worships fire as Brahman; bhagavaḥ, sir; tejasaḥ bhūyaḥ aṣṭi iti, is there anything higher than tejas; tejasaḥ vāva bhūyaḥ asti iti, there is certainly something higher


From ancient times there has been the practice of worshipping fire in different cultures all over the world. In India during the Vedic period people performed sacrifices to fire and always kept their fire burning. But among the religions of the world now, the Parsees are especially known for their worship of fire.

The Upaniṣad says that if you worship fire you become like fire—radiant, bright, strong, and shining. That is the Hindu idea. You choose some model, called an iṣṭa. My iṣṭa is my desired state of excellence. Suppose I choose Buddha as my iṣṭa. If I worship him and meditate on him, slowly my character will be changed and I will be transformed.

But fire does not just give radiance. Fire, or light, is also a symbol of knowledge as well as a symbol of purity. Fire is said to burn away all impurities. When you meditate on fire as a symbol of knowledge, you meditate on all that is good, bright, and radiant.

Slowly we are approaching Brahman. We are going to the source. Suppose we want to walk from Calcutta to Gangotri, the source of the Ganga. How do we do it? We follow the course of the river. Gradually, step by step, we leave Calcutta behind and go further and further north, until at last we find ourselves at Gangotri. In the same way, Sanatkumāra is taking Nārada step by step to the knowledge of the Self.