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 7.14 (fourteenth khaṇḍa) (one text)

Upaniṣad text:

That which is named ‘Ākāśa’ is the revealer of Name and Form; and that inside which these two lie is Brahman; that is the Immortal; That is the Self.—‘I enter the Assembly House of Prajāpati;—I am the glory of Brāhmaṇas, the glory of Kṣattriyas, the glory of Vaiśyas;—I wish to attain that glory; I am the glory of glories. May I never go to that which is Red and Toothless, though devouring and slippery—yea, may I never go to it.’—(1)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

The text beginning with the words ‘that which is Ākāśa etc., etc.’ is for the purpose of providing a definition of Brahman for purposes of meditation,—that which is named Ākāśa,—i.e. the Self well-known as such in Vedic Texts; so named because of His being like Ākāśa, incorporeal and extremely subtile—this Ākāśa is the revealer—maintainer, differentiator—of Name and Form—both these subsisting in His own Self and serving as the Seed of the Universe, and standing to Brahman in the same relationship as Foam does to Water.

That—Bṛahaman—inside,—within—which these two lie,—or, that which lies within Name and Form, and which is not touched by Name and Form,—is Brahman entirely different from Name and Form, untouched by Name and Form, and yet the Revealer of both these,—such is Brahman. This is what has been expounded in the Maitreyī-Brāhmaṇa. And in all these accounts of Brahman, Pure Consciousness is the common element running through all, it is understood that Brahman is of the nature of Pure Consciousness; and it is thus that all the accounts become reconciled.

“In what way is this nature of Brahman understood?” That is the Self;—this term ‘Self’ stands for the Personified Consciousness (Soul) of all creatures which Self-cognisable and is well-known as such; and it is in this form (of Soul) that, It is to be understood as being the Self, the Brahman, without Body and all-pervading, like Ākāśa.

That Se [Self?] is Brahman, immortal,—not subject to death. What follows after this is a Mantra-text.—Prajāpati is the four-faced Deity;—His Assembly House—the Royal Hall,—I enter—go into.—Further, I am the glory,—i.e. the Self named ‘glory’—of Brāhmaṇas; Brāhmaṇas alone particularly meditate upon the Self, hence I am the glory of Brāhmaṇas;—so also of Kṣattriyas and Vaiśyas.— these also are entitled to meditate upon, hence I am the Self of those men also. I wish to attain that Glory. I am the glory—the Self—of glories—i.e. of the Selves that have to be associated with, and characterised by, the body, the sense-organs, mind and intellect.

“Why do I enter the House?”—

Śyeta is Red,—in colour, like the ripe plum, ruddy,—and ‘adatka’ is toothless,—without teeth,—and yet, again adatka is devouring,—this refers to the female organ, which devours i.e. destroys, those who are addicted thereto, by depriving them of Energy, Strength, Virility, Understanding and Merit,—this that is red and sljppery—may I never go to.

The repetition is meant to indicate that which is mentioned as a source of great Evil.—(1)

End of Section (14) of Discourse VIII.

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