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 7.23.1

यो वै भूमा तत्सुखं नाल्पे सुखमस्ति भूमैव सुखं भूमा त्वेव विजिज्ञासितव्य इति भूमानं भगवो विजिज्ञास इति ॥ ७.२३.१ ॥
॥ इति त्रयोविंशः खण्डः ॥

yo vai bhūmā tatsukhaṃ nālpe sukhamasti bhūmaiva sukhaṃ bhūmā tveva vijijñāsitavya iti bhūmānaṃ bhagavo vijijñāsa iti || 7.23.1 ||
|| iti trayoviṃśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

1. Sanatkumāra said: ‘That which is infinite is the source of happiness. There is no happiness in the finite. Happiness is only in the infinite. But one must try to understand what the infinite is.’ Nārada replied, ‘Sir, I want to clearly understand the infinite’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Yaḥ vai bhūmā, that which is infinite [lit., big, or the biggest]; tat sukham, that is happiness; na alpe sukham asti, there is no happiness in the finite [small]; bhūmā eva sukham, happiness is only in the infinite; bhūmā tu eva vijijñāsitavyaḥ iti, but one must try to understand the true nature of the infinite; bhūmānam bhagavaḥ vijijñāse iti, sir, I want to understand the true nature of the infinite. Iti trayoviṃśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ, here ends the twenty-third section.


If you attain bhūmā, then you have real happiness. What is bhūmā? It is Brahman. It is the biggest. It is infinite. Something is infinite when it is without any limitations in terms of time and space. Even our own lives are limited. We were born at a certain point in time and we shall live for a certain span of time. It may be for a hundred years or it may be less, but the body will not last forever.

Then why should we bother about God or Brahman or something that is said to be infinite? Because we want to be happy. Perhaps you are very fond of sweets and enjoy eating them. But when you have finished eating them your joy is gone. Moreover, if you eat too many then you become sick and are miserable. Only in the infinite is there real joy, real happiness, real peace—peace that is constant, always there, and never disturbed. As Sanatkumāra says, ‘Na alpe sukham asti—there is no happiness in that which is small, limited, or short-lived.’

Śaṅkara says, anything that is finite causes tṛṣṇā, thirst—that is, it increases your desire for more. Whatever you get, you desire still more. Suppose you possess the whole world; even then you would not be happy. Therefore that which is finite is duḥkhabījam—the seed of unhappiness.

As long as you are confined to the limited world of sense experience you can never be happy. You have to go beyond sense experience. When you attain the state of bhūmā you feel you have got everything you have ever wanted. As the Gītā says (VI.22): ‘Attaining that, one does not regard anything to be higher.’

Section Twenty-four