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 8.14.1

आकाशो वै नाम नामरूपयोर्निर्वहिता ते यदन्तरा तद्ब्रह्म तदमृतं स आत्मा प्रजापतेः सभां वेश्म प्रपद्ये यशोऽहं भवामि ब्राह्मणानां यशो राज्ञां यशोविशां यशोऽहमनुप्रापत्सि स हाहं यशसां यशः श्येतमदत्कमदत्कं श्येतं लिन्दु माभिगां लिन्दु माभिगाम् ॥ ८.१४.१ ॥
॥ इति चतुर्दशः खण्डः ॥

ākāśo vai nāma nāmarūpayornirvahitā te yadantarā tadbrahma tadamṛtaṃ sa ātmā prajāpateḥ sabhāṃ veśma prapadye yaśo'haṃ bhavāmi brāhmaṇānāṃ yaśo rājñāṃ yaśoviśāṃ yaśo'hamanuprāpatsi sa hāhaṃ yaśasāṃ yaśaḥ śyetamadatkamadatkaṃ śyetaṃ lindu mābhigāṃ lindu mābhigām || 8.14.1 ||
|| iti caturdaśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

1. That which is described as space manifests names and forms. These names and forms are within Brahman. Brahman is immortal; it is the Self. May I attend the court of Prajāpati. May I attain the fame of a brāhmin, and also of a prince and a merchant. I wish to have real fame. I want to be famous among all famous people. May I not have to be born again and have a body covered with blood and dirt, which is toothless and at the same time always wanting to eat.

Word-for-word explanation:

Ākāśaḥ vai nāma, that which is described as ‘space’; nāmarūpayoḥ nirvahitā, is manifest through names and forms; te, those [names and forms]; yat antarā, are within that; tat brahma, that is Brahman; tat amṛtam, that [Brahman] is immortal; saḥ ātmā, it is the Self [the inmost being in everyone]; prapadye, may I be able to enter; sabhām veśma, the court; prajāpateḥ, of Prajāpati; aham bhavāmi yaśaḥ brāhmaṇānām, may I attain the fame of a brāhmin; yāśaḥ rājñām, the fame of a prince; yaśaḥ viśam, the fame of a merchant; aham yaśaḥ anuprāpatsi, I wish to have real fame; saḥ ha aham yaśasām yaśaḥ, I want to be famous among all famous people; mā abhigām, may I not be born again; śyetam adatkam adatkam śyetam lindu, so that I may not have a body covered with blood and dirt, and which is toothless yet always wanting to eat. Iti caturdaśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ, here ends the fourteenth section.

Commentary:

How do we meditate on the infinite? One way is to think of ākāśa, space. Sri Ramakrishna used to advise this also. If we can think we are one with the infinite, then slowly the consciousness that we are the body, that we are limited and bound, will go.

We must not make the mistake of thinking that Brahman and ākāśa are the same, however. They are by no means synonymous. Ākāśa is matter, and Brahman is not. Brahman is pure consciousness. But often we find that, just to give us some idea of what Brahman is like, ākāśa is used as an example. This is because we cannot see it or feel it, yet we know it is everywhere.

How do we identify something or someone? Only by mentioning its name and form. If we take away the names and forms, there is just one vast Existence. I am Existence. You are Existence. Everything is Existence, Sat. And this Sat is one and undivided. But as soon as we give something a form and a name, it becomes individualized. Then one individual becomes separate from another. The Upaniṣad says, that in which all these names and forms exist, and which is unattached and unaffected by them, is Brahman.