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 8.8.4

तस्मादप्यद्येहाददानमश्रद्दधानमयजमानमाहुरासुरो बतेत्यसुराणां ह्येषोपनिषत्प्रेतस्य शरीरं भिक्षया वसनेनालंकारेणेति संस्कुर्वन्त्येतेन ह्यमुं लोकं जेष्यन्तो मन्यन्ते ॥ ८.८.५ ॥
॥ इति अष्टमः खण्डः ॥

tasmādapyadyehādadānamaśraddadhānamayajamānamāhurāsuro batetyasurāṇāṃ hyeṣopaniṣatpretasya śarīraṃ bhikṣayā vasanenālaṃkāreṇeti saṃskurvantyetena hyamuṃ lokaṃ jeṣyanto manyante || 8.8.5 ||
|| iti aṣṭamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

4. Seeing them leave, Prajāpati said to himself: ‘They are going without realizing or knowing anything about the Self. Anyone among them, whether a god or a demon, who will understand the teaching this way [thinking the body to be the Self] will be lost.’ Virocana, the king of the demons, went back to the demons happy in mind and explained to them the upaniṣad:

Word-for-word explanation:

Tau ha anu-īkṣya, having observed them; prajāpatiḥ uvāca, Prajāpati said; anupalabhya ātmānam, without realizing the Self; ananuvidya, without knowing; vrajatah, they have left; yatare, whoever among these two [gods or demons]; etat upaniṣadaḥ bhaviṣyanti, will understand this teaching this way; devāḥasurāḥ, whether gods or demons; te parābhaviṣyanti iti, they will be destroyed; saḥ ha virocanaḥ, that Virocana; śāntahṛdayaḥ eva, with a happy mind; asurān jagāma, went to the demons; tebhyaḥ, to them; etām upaniṣadam ha provāca, explained the meaning of this upaniṣad; ātmā eva ha iha mahayyaḥ, the body is an object of worship in this world; ātmā paricaryaḥ, the body should be well taken care of; ātmānam eva iha mahayan, by treating the body with due respect in this world; ātmānam paricaran, by taking good care of it; ubhau lokau, both worlds; imam ca amum ca, this and the other; āpnoti iti, one attains.


‘The body is the Self, and in this world it should be worshipped and taken care of. If the body is worshipped and well taken care of in this world, one attains both this world and the next.’

Prajāpati deplored the fact that they had left without asking for clarification. He was their teacher and well-wisher, and he was also their grandfather. He said: ‘Poor children, they have gone away without knowing anything. They should have asked me, “When the body changes, does that mean the Self also changes?” But they did not ask any questions. Because they do not understand, they will fall away from the right path.’

Virocana went back to the demons and said: ‘I have got the answer. The body is the Self.’ Nourish this body, and look after it; eat, drink, and be merry; enjoy yourselves—this is the aim of life for a demon, that is, for a materialist. That which is gross, which can be perceived by the sense organs, that is the reality. And that which cannot be perceived is not real. This is the doctrine that Virocana preached.

The Upaniṣad uses the word upaniṣad to refer to what Virocana taught the demons, but it uses the word ironically. The word upaniṣad means niḥśeṣa—that is to say, it ‘totally destroys’ your ignorance. An Upaniṣad is supposed to give you Self-knowledge. But Virocana took the teaching to mean that the body was the Self. He thought that by worshipping and taking care of the body one would gain not only this world, but the other world also.