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 7.15.1

प्राणो वा आशाया भूयान्यथा वा अरा नाभौ समर्पिता एवमस्मिन्प्राणे सर्वंसमर्पितं प्राणः प्राणेन याति प्राणः प्राणं ददाति प्राणाय ददाति प्राणो ह पिता प्राणो माता प्राणो भ्राता प्राणः स्वसा प्राण आचार्यः प्राणो ब्राह्मणः ॥ ७.१५.१ ॥

prāṇo vā āśāyā bhūyānyathā vā arā nābhau samarpitā evamasminprāṇe sarvaṃsamarpitaṃ prāṇaḥ prāṇena yāti prāṇaḥ prāṇaṃ dadāti prāṇāya dadāti prāṇo ha pitā prāṇo mātā prāṇo bhrātā prāṇaḥ svasā prāṇa ācāryaḥ prāṇo brāhmaṇaḥ || 7.15.1 ||

1. Prāṇa [the vital force] is certainly superior to hope. Just as spokes on a wheel are attached to the hub, similarly everything rests on prāṇa. Prāṇa works through its own power [i.e., prāṇa is the means as well as the end]. Prāṇa gives prāṇa to prāṇa, and prāṇa directs prāṇa to prāṇa. Prāṇa is the father, prāṇa is the mother, prāṇa is the brother, prāṇa is the sister, prāṇa is the teacher, and prāṇa is the brāhmin.

Word-for-word explanation:

Prāṇaḥ vāva āśāyāḥ bhūyān, prāṇa [the vital force] is certainly superior to hope; yathā vai arāḥ, just as the spokes; nābhau samarpitāḥ, are attached to the hub; evam, in the same way; asmin prāṇe, on this prāṇa; sarvarn, all this; samarpitam, are resting; prāṇaḥ prāṇena yāti, prāṇa works by its own power; prāṇaḥ prāṇam dadāti, prāṇa gives prāṇa; prāṇāya, to prāṇa; dadāti, [and again] gives; prāṇaḥ ha pitā, prāṇa is the father; prāṇaḥ mātā, prāṇa is the mother;


Prāṇa, the vital force, is superior to hope. Suppose you are dead. Can hope do anything for you then? You must have life. If you are not living then there can be no hope, no memory—nothing.

The Upaniṣad says that prāṇa is the resting place of everything. It is like a wheel with its spokes. All the spokes are fixed on the hub of the wheel. Similarly, my mind and my organs are all fixed on prāṇa. My eyes are very powerful, but if I am dead they may still be intact but they cannot see.

Prāṇa functions on the individual level in you, in me, in plants and insects and animals. But we represent only a small portion of this life force, because prāṇa also functions on the cosmic level. On the cosmic level prāṇa is Hiraṇyagarbha, the first manifestation of Brahman. The whole cosmos is governed and activated by prāṇa. Brahman is beyond thought and

If I stop breathing my body and organs can no longer function, and eventually they disintegrate. Similarly, if the cosmic life force withdraws itself from this universe, everything comes to a halt. The sun does not shine; the air does not blow. The whole life process comes to a standstill.

We see so many beings around us. Someone is your mother, someone your father, someone your brother, someone your sister, but they are all prāṇa. Prāṇa is in the form of your mother. Prāṇa is in the form of your father, or your sister, or your teacher, and so on. Our family, society, the entire humanity, all living beings—all are prāṇa in different forms. Prāṇa takes various forms and then assumes different relationships.