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 8.5.2

अथ यदनाशकायनमित्याचक्षते ब्रह्मचर्यमेव तदेष ह्यात्मा न नश्यति यं ब्रह्मचर्येणानुविन्दतेऽथ यदरण्यायनमित्याचक्षते ब्रह्मचर्यमेव तदरश्च ह वै ण्यश्चार्णवौ ब्रह्मलोके तृतीयस्यामितो दिवि तदैरं मदीयं सरस्तदश्वत्थः सोमसवनस्तदपराजिता पूर्ब्रह्मणः प्रभुविमितं हिरण्मयम् ॥ ८.५.३ ॥

atha yadanāśakāyanamityācakṣate brahmacaryameva tadeṣa hyātmā na naśyati yaṃ brahmacaryeṇānuvindate'tha yadaraṇyāyanamityācakṣate brahmacaryameva tadaraśca ha vai ṇyaścārṇavau brahmaloke tṛtīyasyāmito divi tadairaṃ madīyaṃ sarastadaśvatthaḥ somasavanastadaparājitā pūrbrahmaṇaḥ prabhuvimitaṃ hiraṇmayam || 8.5.3 ||

2. Then, that which is known as ‘Sattrāyaṇa’ [a sacrifice lasting a long time] is brahmacarya, for it is through brahmacarya that the individual self gets liberated [attains union with the Cosmic Self]. Then, that which is called ‘mauna’ [silence] is brahmacarya, for through brahmacarya one realizes the Self, and having realized the Self one remains absorbed in the thought of it.

Word-for-word explanation:

Atha, then; yat sattrāyaṇam iti ācakṣate, that which is called a ‘Sattrāyaṇa’ [a long sacrifice]; tat brahmacaryam eva, that is brahmacarya; hi, for; brahmacaryeṇa eva, through brahmacarya; sataḥ, from Sat [i.e., the Cosmic Self]; ātmanaḥ trāṇam vindate, the individual self attains its liberation [union with the Cosmic Self]; atha, then; yat maunam iti ācakṣate, that which is called ‘mauna’ [silence]; tat brahmacaryam eva, that is brahmacarya; hi, for; ātmānam anuvidya, knowing the Self; brahmacaryeṇa eva, through brahmacarya; manute, one remains absorbed in thinking.

Commentary:

There is a particular sacrifice called Sattrāyaṇa, which involves the services of many priests. It is a big affair. The Upaniṣad says it is considered brahmacarya to perform this Sattrāyaṇa sacrifice because through Existence (sat) a person gets protection (trāṇa) for oneself (ātmana). You always feel you are protected by Sat, so you are sure of yourself. In the same way, when you are practising brahmacarya, you know nothing is going to sway you from the vow you have taken.

As the Gītā says, the self is your own friend and it is also your own enemy. By practising brahmacarya you will gradually become stronger, and as you grow

Mauna, a vow of silence, is also a form of brahmacarya. We all know that when we are doing something serious we like to be quiet. We don’t like to talk much, nor do we like our mind to be restless. We want to be able to fix our mind on what we are doing. Similarly, brahmacarya means that our mind is fixed on Brahman. We are in touch with Brahman, always reminding ourselves that we are not this body and not this mind. We are the Self. We are Brahman. So taking a vow of silence (mauna) means that a person contemplates, or meditates, (manute) on his identity with Brahman.

Śaṅkara says that this meditation on Brahman comes after seeking the help of the scriptures and the teacher. Both are necessary. The scriptures give you guidelines, but the teacher takes you by the hand and leads you to the goal.