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 7.24.1

यत्र नान्यत्पश्यति नान्यच्छृणोति नान्यद्विजानाति स भूमाथ यत्रान्यत्पश्यत्यन्यच्छृणोत्यन्यद्विजानाति तदल्पं यो वै भूमा तदमृतमथ यदल्पं तन्मर्त्य्ं स भगवः कस्मिन्प्रतिष्ठित इति स्वे महिम्नि यदि वा न महिम्नीति ॥ ७.२४.१ ॥

yatra nānyatpaśyati nānyacchṛṇoti nānyadvijānāti sa bhūmātha yatrānyatpaśyatyanyacchṛṇotyanyadvijānāti tadalpaṃ yo vai bhūmā tadamṛtamatha yadalpaṃ tanmartyṃ sa bhagavaḥ kasminpratiṣṭhita iti sve mahimni yadi vā na mahimnīti || 7.24.1 ||

1. Sanatkumāra said: ‘Bhūmā [the infinite] is that in which one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, and knows [i.e., finds] nothing else. But alpa [the finite] is that in which one sees something else, hears something else, and knows something else. That which is infinite is immortal, and that which is finite is mortal.’ Nārada asked, ‘Sir, what does bhūmā rest on?’ Sanatkumāra replied, ‘It rests on its own power—or not even on that power [i.e., it depends on nothing else]’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Yatra, where; na anyat paśyati, one sees nothing else; na anyat śṛṇoti, hears nothing else; na anyat vijānāti, knows nothing about other things; saḥ bhūmā, that is bhūmā [the infinite]; atha, but; yatra, where; anyat paśyati, one sees something else; anyat śṛṇoti, hears something else; anyat vijānāti, knows of something else; tat alpam, that is small [finite]; yaḥ vai bhūmā, that which is infinite; tat amṛtam, that is immortal; atha, but; yat alpam, that which is finite; tat martyam, that is mortal; bhagavaḥ, sir; kasmin saḥ pratiṣṭhitaḥ iti, on what does that [bhūmā] rest; sve mahimni, on its own power; yadi vā na mahimni iti, or not even on that power.

Commentary:

At the level of bhūmā, the infinite, there is only bhūmā—nothing but bhūmā. And when you attain that level, you see nothing but bhūmā. If you see anything else, then you know at once it is alpa, finite.

Suppose you are alone in a room with a hundred mirrors. What will you see? Only yourself—the same self multiplied a hundred times. But if you attain the state of bhūmā, or Brahman, this is just the experience you will have. You will see yourself everywhere—the same Self in all beings.

We talk of love and compassion, but how can there be love unless there is a feeling of oneness? When you have this feeling of oneness, then if someone is in pain, you are also in pain. True love is possible only when we realize that ‘you’ and ‘I are one and the same. This is the supreme experience.

Once at Dakshineswar two boatmen were having a quarrel and one of them started beating the other. Ramakrishna saw it from a distance and felt as if he were being beaten. Even the marks of the beating were seen on his body. Another day he saw someone walking on some grass, and he felt that the person was stepping on him.

When Ramakrishna had throat cancer he could hardly eat a thing. One day some of his disciples went to him and begged him to ask Mother Kali to cure him. Ramakrishna replied that he could not ask such a thing from her, that he depended totally on her will. But the disciples would not let him alone. They pleaded again and again: ‘Do it for our sake.’ They could not bear to see him suffer.

Finally Ramakrishna agreed to say something to the Mother. When the disciples came back to him later to ask if he had talked to the Mother, Ramakrishna said, ‘I told Mother that I could not eat because of the pain in my throat, and I asked her to allow me to eat something.’ ‘What did she say?’ they asked. Ramakrishna replied: ‘She showed me all of you, and then she said, “But you are eating through so many mouths.” I was ashamed and could not utter another word.’

There is a story about Ganesh and his mother Parvati. Once when Ganesh was playing with a cat, he became very rough and beat it. Later, when he went to his mother, he noticed wounds all over her body. Ganesh was alarmed and asked, ‘Who has beaten you, Mother?’ Parvati replied: ‘Son, you have done this. You beat the cat, but I am also in the cat. If you hurt the cat you hurt me too.’

The Vedāntic idea is that the same Self is everywhere. It is the same consciousness. In some cases that consciousness is more manifest, and in other cases it is less, but it is the same Self permeating everything. From a tiny atom to the whole cosmos, it is all one. The difference is only in the degree of manifestation.

Where there is duality there is conflict, so we must beware of the finite. We must beware of limiting ourselves to our own body. That is the small ‘I’. The body will die, and you think you will die. But if you are one with bhūmā, you are immortal.

Nārada is a very intelligent person. He asks: ‘There is this bhūmā. But who or what supports it?’ Sanatkumāra replies: ‘Bhūmā is self-sufficient. It supports itself. In fact, there is nothing besides bhūmā to speak of supporting or not supporting. There is just one. If there are two things, then only does the question of supporting arise.’