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 8.9.1

अथ हेन्द्रोऽप्राप्यैव देवानेतद्भयं ददर्श यथैव खल्वयमस्मिञ्छरीरे साध्वलंकृते साध्वलंकृतो भवति सुवसने सुवसनः परिष्कृते परिष्कृत एवमेवायमस्मिन्नन्धेऽन्धो भवति स्रामे स्रामः परिवृक्णे परिवृक्णोऽस्यैव शरीरस्य नाशमन्वेष नश्यति नाहमत्र भोग्यं पश्यामीति ॥ ८.९.१ ॥

atha hendro'prāpyaiva devānetadbhayaṃ dadarśa yathaiva khalvayamasmiñcharīre sādhvalaṃkṛte sādhvalaṃkṛto bhavati suvasane suvasanaḥ pariṣkṛte pariṣkṛta evamevāyamasminnandhe'ndho bhavati srāme srāmaḥ parivṛkṇe parivṛkṇo'syaiva śarīrasya nāśamanveṣa naśyati nāhamatra bhogyaṃ paśyāmīti || 8.9.1 ||

1. But even before Indra returned to the gods, a doubt arose in his mind: ‘When the body is well decorated, the reflection is also well decorated. When the body is in fine clothes, the reflection is also in fine clothes. When the body is neat and clean, the reflection is also neat and clean. Again, suppose a person is blind. Then the reflection will show a blind body. Or if the body is lame, the reflection will show a lame body. Or if the body is hurt in some way, the reflection will show the same. Then again, if the body is destroyed, the reflection is gone. I don’t see that anything good will come from this’.

Word-for-word explanation:

Atha, but; indraḥ, Indra, the king of the gods; ha aprāpya eva, even before getting back; devān, to the gods; etat bhayam dadarśa, saw this fear [i.e., doubt]; yathā eva, just as; asmin śarīre sādhu-alaṅkṛte, with this body being well decorated; khalu ayam, this [reflection of the body]; sādhu-alaṅkṛtah bhavati, is also well decorated; suvasane suvasanaḥ, when the body is in fine clothes, the reflection is wearing fine clothes; pariṣkṛte pariṣkṛtaḥ, when the body is neat and clean, the reflection is neat and clean; evam eva, like this; asmin andhe, if [the body] is blind; ayam andhaḥ bhavati, this [reflection] is of a blind person; srāme srāmaḥ, if the body is lame, the reflection is of a lame person; parivṛkṇe parivṛkṇaḥ, if the body is hurt, the reflection is of an injured body; asya śarīrasya eva nāśam anu, on the body’s destruction; eṣaḥ naśyati, this [reflection] is destroyed; aham atra bhogyam na paśyāmi iti, I see nothing good in this.


Virocana was happy. He had no more doubts or questions. He liked the idea of the body being the Self. But what about Indra? Indra was a higher being. He was a god and was endowed with some spiritual qualities. Whereas Virocana thought Prajāpati was saying the body was the Self, Indra thought he was saying the reflection was the Self.

Indra also left Prajāpati and started to go back home, but then he was struck by a doubt: ‘How can that reflection be my Self? It can’t be. When I first looked at the reflection in the water it looked one way. Then when I put on fine clothes it looked another way. Suppose I lose a limb. The reflection will show that there is a limb missing. Whatever change there is in the body will show on the reflection. And if the body perishes, the reflection will be gone. But Prajāpati himself spoke of the Self as something constant, free from all defects, and immortal. It is something that does not change. What did Prajāpati mean when he said, “This is the Self”? Surely the