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 7.25.1

स एवाधस्तात्स उपरिष्टात्स पश्चात्स पुरस्तात्स दक्षिणतः स उत्तरतः स एवेदं सर्वमित्यथातोऽहंकारादेश एवाहमेवाधस्तादहमुपरिष्टादहं पश्चादहं पुरस्तादहं दक्षिणतोऽहमुत्तरतोऽहमेवेदं सर्वमिति ॥ ७.२५.१ ॥

sa evādhastātsa upariṣṭātsa paścātsa purastātsa dakṣiṇataḥ sa uttarataḥ sa evedaṃ sarvamityathāto'haṃkārādeśa evāhamevādhastādahamupariṣṭādahaṃ paścādahaṃ purastādahaṃ dakṣiṇato'hamuttarato'hamevedaṃ sarvamiti || 7.25.1 ||

1. That bhūmā is below; it is above; it is behind; it is in front; it is to the right; it is to the left. All this is bhūmā. Now, as regards one’s own identity: I am below; I am above; I am behind; I am in front; I am to the right; I am to the left. I am all this.

Word-for-word explanation:

Saḥ, that [bhūmā]; eva adhastāt, is down below; saḥ upariṣṭāt, that is up above; saḥ paścāt, that is behind; saḥ purastāt, that is in front; saḥ dakṣiṇataḥ, that is to the right; saḥ uttarataḥ, that is to the left; saḥ eva idam sarvam iti, it is truly all this; atha ataḥ, next; ahaṅkāra ādeśaḥ eva, the instruction regarding one’s own identity; aham eva adhastāt, I am down below; aham upariṣṭāt, I am up above; aham paścāt, I am behind; aham purastāt, I am in front; aham dakṣiṇataḥ, I am to the right; aham uttarataḥ, I am to the left; aham eva idam sarvam iti, I am truly all this.

Commentary:

Our Self is the Self of all. Our Self is in the sky, in the air, in the water, in the tiny insect, and in the biggest animal. It is all-embracing, everywhere, in every being, in everything. It is Existence itself.

Imagine that the whole cosmos is a vast ocean, and in that ocean there are waves. Some of the waves are huge and some of them are very small, maybe only ripples. But it is the same water. Similarly, there is one Existence, but we see diversity. This diversity, however, is only in name and form. It is not real. Underlying the diversity is one Existence, and that Existence is our own Self.

This is not just an intellectual theory. There are great saints who have actually experienced this. They say, suppose you throw a stone into the middle of a lake. Immediately the water surrounding the spot where you have thrown the stone becomes disturbed.

Then gradually you discover that the entire mass of water is disturbed. Similarly, if someone is in pain somewhere, then you also are in pain.

You may have noticed that if you play a stringed instrument in a room where there are other stringed instruments, you will find that sounds are coming from the other instruments. The sound vibration from one will affect the others.

Swami Vivekananda had many such experiences. Once one of his brother disciples found him pacing back and forth outside his room at midnight. The brother disciple asked Swamiji why he was not sleeping, and Swamiji replied that he had suddenly woken up with the feeling that something terrible had just happened, that a great calamity had just happened somewhere. The next day when the newspaper arrived people found that there had been a terrible volcanic eruption that night in a certain place, and many people had died.

A great person has that kind of sensitivity, because he feels that there is just one heart, one mind, one consciousness. What you think, he thinks. If you are suffering, he can at once see it when he looks at you.

You may ask, ‘Is it possible for me to identify myself with everything?’ The scriptures say, ‘Yes, it is possible.’ Now you think of yourself as small, as alpa. You think you are an individual and separate from others. But when you identify yourself with the cosmos, you become bhūmā, infinite.

Swamiji once said, suppose you are a small drop of water in a cloud in the sky. Then one day it rains. You start falling towards the ocean, and you cry, ‘Oh, I am lost, I am lost!’ But what happens when you reach the ocean? You are no longer a tiny drop. You are one with the vast ocean.

It is the sense of separateness that makes us feel we are small. Then we become jealous of each other or afraid of others, and because of this we are unhappy. Vedānta says, when you have the feeling that you are one with the whole cosmos, that you alone exist, then you will be happy. It is all a question of how you think of yourself. The Upaniṣad says here to think: ‘I am below. I am above. I am everywhere. I am everything.’

Many people have a hint of this experience at some time or other in their life. For instance, you may have seen someone in terrible pain. Maybe you didn’t even know the person, yet at the very sight of that person’s suffering, you felt that you were suffering. Though physically you were not affected, still you felt the pain. A human being’s development towards this sense of oneness is the sign of real progress.

This is not to deny differences among us, however. Of course there are differences. Differences are accepted. They are natural. We would not like uniformity. But the differences are only minor details. Now we may think, ‘I am short and that person is tall.’ But when we begin to look at things as a whole, then we shall see that we are everywhere. Then we will think: ‘Sometimes I am tall, and sometimes I am short.’ Instead of thinking, ‘Some people are very bright and others are dull,’ we will think: ‘The bright person is me, and the dull person is also me. All are me in different forms.’

As long as you think you are separate from others, you will sometimes be good to others and sometimes be very selfish and not care about others. And even when you do something for others, you will do it only out of a temporary sense of pity. But when you feel your identity with others you never lose that feeling of oneness, and then there is never any room for selfishness.

“Aham eva idam sarvam”—I am all this. Idam means ‘this.’ It is this physical world, this empirical world. It is all that you see and feel. It is the world of sense experience. We think we know this world, but in reality we do not. You may say something is hard, but to me it may be soft. You may say something looks red, but I may see it as orange. This is the nature of this world. No two people have the same experience of it. Yet, the Upaniṣad says, behind this world of sense experience is bhūmā. It is the same Self everywhere, in different forms and with different names.