Chandogya Upanishad (Shankara Bhashya)

by Ganganatha Jha | 1942 | 149,749 words | ISBN-10: 8170842840 | ISBN-13: 9788170842842

This is the English translation of the Chandogya Upanishad, an ancient philosophical text originally written in Sanksrit and dating to at least the 8th century BCE. Having eight chapters (adhyayas) and many sub-sections (khandas), this text is counted among the largest of it's kind. The Chandogya Upanishad, being connected to the Samaveda, represen...

Section 1.13 (thirteenth khaṇḍa) (four texts)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

Meditation upon the Factors or divisions (of Sāma) which has been dealt with so far is related to the constituent parts of the Sāma mantra-text; hence, the text is next going to expound those other meditations, in their connected form, which relate to the other kind of Sāma-factors which appear in the form of the Stobha syllables [i.e. the additional syllables that are added to the verbal texts of the Mantra-text sung, on account of the exigencies of the musical tune, such syllables being in such forms as , hā-ū and the like which have no meaning at all and are yet necessary for the musical tune]; and this is expounded at this stage because this is also connected with the constituent parts of the Sāma (when sung).

Upaniṣad text:

This world verily is the syllable Hā-ū; Air is the syllable Hā-ī, the Moon is the syllable Atha; the Self is the syllable Iha; Fire is the syllable I.—(1)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

This world verily is the syllable Hā-ū, which is the Stobha well known as used in the singing of the Rathantara Sāma; and it has been declared in a Vedic text that ‘This (world) is Rathantara’; and on account of this common relationship between this world and the Rathantara Sāma, this Stobha, the syllable Hā-ū, should be meditated upon as this world.—Air is the syllable Hā-ī;—the Stobha Hā-ī is well-known as used in the singing of the Vāmadevya-Sāma; and the connection between Air and Water is the source of the Vāmadevya-Sama; and on account of this common relationship, one should meditate upon the syllable; Hā-ī as Air.—The Moon is the syllable Atha;— hence one should meditate upon the syllable Atha as the Moon; the Moon, being not self, rests (Sthita) upon food; hence, on account of the letter tha being common (to the syllable Atha and Sthita),—and also because of the letter a being common (to the syllable tha and the term ‘anātmā’, not-self).—The self is the syllable Iha;—i.e. the stobha ‘iha’; the self, is regarded as perceptible, and so is the Stobha ‘iha’; and it is on account of this similarity (that the syllable ‘iha’ should be meditated upon as the self).—Fire is the syllable ī; as a matter of fact, all the Sāma-Chants related to Fire always end in the vowel ‘ī’; hence on the ground of this similarity (the syllable [?] [ī?] should be meditated upon as fire).—(1)

Upaniṣad text:

The Suri is the syllable ‘ū’; Invocation is the syllable ‘e’; the Viśvedevas are the syllable 'O-ho-yi'; Prajāpati is the syllable ‘hiṃ’; Breath is ‘Svara’; food is ‘’; ‘Vāk’ is Virāṭ.—(2)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

The Sun is the syllable ‘ū’; they sing to the Sun when he is on high, uccaiḥ—, and the stobha is ‘ū’ and in the Sāma of which the Sun is the deity, the Stobha used is ‘ū’; hence the Sun is the syllable ‘ū’.—Invocation,— calling—is the stobha in the forming of the syllable ‘e’; because of the similarity based upon the fact that when calling another person, they use the term ‘ehi’ (Come) (which begins with the letter ‘e’),—The Viśvedevas are the syllable ‘Oho-i’; because this Stobha is found in the Sāma connected with the Viśvedevas.—Prajāpati is the syllable ‘hiṃ’;— because. Prajāpati cannot be described, and the syllable ‘him’ also is indistinct.—Breath is ‘svara’, i.e. the Stobha ‘svara’; because of the similarity that Breath is the cause of svara (accent).—Food is ‘yā’;—the Stobha ‘yā’ is food; because it is by means of food that one goes along (yāti) whereby there is similarity (between the stobha ‘yā’ and food).—‘Vāk’—which is a stobha—is Virāṭ; ‘Virāṭ’ may be taken as standing for food or as a particular Deity; and this is ‘Vāk’, because this Stobha (‘Vāk’) is found in the Vairāja—Sāma.—(2)

Upaniṣad text:

Undefined is the thirteenth stobha, the indefinite syllable ‘Huṃ’.—(3)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

Undefined,—being indistinct, it cannot be determined whether it is this or that; hence also it is indefinite,—i.e. having its exact form assumed (according to circumstances).—Which is this stobha?—It is the thirteenth stobha, the syllable ‘him’. The sense is that this is indistinct, and hence its peculiar character has not been defined, and in this undefined form it is to be meditated upon.—(3)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

The text next describes the result following from the said meditation on the Stobha-syllables.—

Upaniṣad text:

If one know this esoteric doctrine of the Sāmas—for him speech itself milks the milk of speech; and he who knows this esoteric doctrine of the Sāmas becomes rich in food and eater of food—yea, one who knows this.—(4)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

Speech itself etc. etc.—This has been already explained (under 1.3.7).—One who knows this above-described secret doctrine,—philosophy—of the Sāmas—relating to the stobha-syllables forming part of the Sāma-chant,— to such a one accrues the said result?—Such is the meaning of the text.—The repetition of the phrase ‘one who knows this’ is meant to indicate the end of the Discourse,—or the end of the treatment of the subject of meditation upon the constituents of Sāma.—(4)

End of Section (13) of Discourse I.

End of Discourse I.

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