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 7.19.1

यदा वै श्रद्दधात्यथ मनुते नाश्रद्दधन्मनुते श्रद्दधदेव मनुते श्रद्धा त्वेव विजिज्ञासितव्येति श्रद्धां भगवो विजिज्ञास इति ॥ ७.१९.१ ॥
॥ इति एकोनविंशतितमः खण्डः ॥

yadā vai śraddadhātyatha manute nāśraddadhanmanute śraddadhadeva manute śraddhā tveva vijijñāsitavyeti śraddhāṃ bhagavo vijijñāsa iti || 7.19.1 ||
|| iti ekonaviṃśatitamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

1. Sanatkumāra said: ‘When a person has respect [for what he hears], then he gives due thought to it. Without this respect he attaches ho importance to what he hears. One thinks deeply over something that one respects. But one must try to attain this respect.’ Nārada replied, ‘Sir, I want to have this respect’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Yadā vai śraddadhāti, when a person has respect [for something or someone—or faith in something or someone]; atha manute, then he thinks deeply [of that thing or person]; aśraddadhat, if there is no respect; na manute, he does not think deeply; śraddadhat eva manute, one thinks deeply when one has respect; śraddhā tu eva vijijñāsitavya iti, but one must try to have this respect; śraddhām bhagavaḥ vijijñāse iti, sir, I want to have this respect. Iti ekonaviṃśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ, here ends the nineteenth section.


Reflecting is good, but one should do it with śraddhā, faith. Śraddhā also means respect. For instance, if my guru tells me something, I know it must be true because I know he will never mislead me.

When you go to a guru you should have faith in what he says. Then later you will get the confirmation of what he has taught you from within, and at that point your own mind becomes the guru. But to begin with you must have respect for what the guru says.

This does not mean, however, that you cannot ask him questions. You have every right to have things clarified. But if you say, ‘Well, after all, this person knows nothing; he is just trying to fool me,’ and so on, then you will never get anywhere. Rather, one must listen with an open mind, thinking, ‘This person is held in high respect, so I will listen and I will study.’

Ramakrishna, for instance, made many statements which some of his disciples, such as Swami Vivekananda, had difficulty accepting, so they would question him and argue. And Ramakrishna would welcome their questions and arguments. Others would protest and say, ‘When Ramakrishna has said something, why not accept it?’ But Ramakrishna would reply, ‘No, let them question.’ It was because their enquiry was done with śraddhā, respect, and with a keen desire to know.

Suppose you don’t have śraddhā. Then you would not care. You would not even give a moment’s thought to finding out the Truth. Only when you have śraddhā can you go on thinking and reflecting on it.