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 7.15 (fifteenth khaṇḍa) (one text)

Upaniṣad text:

Brahmā expounded this to Prajāpati, Prajāpati to Manu and Manu to the People. Having read the Veda at the Teacher’s house according to the prescribed rule,—during the time left after performing his duties to the Teacher,—having obtained his discharge and settled in his Household,—studying the Veda in a clean spot,—having brought on righteous persons,—and having withdrawn all his sense-organs into the Self,—never causing pain to any living beings, except in places specially ordained,—one who behaves thus throughout life reaches the Region of Brahman and does not return,—yea, does not return.—(1)

Commentary (Śaṅkara Bhāṣya):

This—Philosophy of the Self—along with its auxiliaries, in the shape of ‘the syllable Om’ along with the Meditations—and the Treatise dealing with these subjects, consisting of eight! Discourses,—BrahmāHiraṇyagarbha or the Supreme God Himself, through Hiraṇyagarbha,—expounded to Prajāpati—to Kāśyapa;—this Kāśyapa expounded it to his Son, Manu,—and Manu expounded it to the people. Such is the Philosophy of the Upaniṣads which is still understood to be the Essence of the Veda, handed down through the said tradition.

“In the last three Discourses beginning with the Sixth, (i.e. in Discourses VI, VII, VIII), the Science of the Self has been revealed, and it is understood to be fruitful;—so that there is no useful purpose served by Actions (Sacrifices) prescribed in the scriptures.” There being a possibility of such an idea being entertained, the Teacher,—with a view to refute this uselessness of Actions,—proceeds to describe the usefulness of Actions as performed by the learned and wise, which bring about very excellent results:—

(1) Having read the Veda at the Teacher’s House,—i.e. read the Vedic text along with its meaning,—according to the prescribed rule,—carefully following the rules laid down in the Smṛtis;—inasmuch as for the person who is going to enter the Household, it is necessary to act up to all the rules prescribed in the Smṛtis, the text lays special stress upon one of these, the attendance upon the Teacher,—during the time that is left—unspecified after performing all that is due to the Teacher,—during such time (not specified), having read the Veda; the sense is that it is only when the Veda is read in this manner, strictly in accordance with these rules,—not otherwise—that it brings about its fruit in the shape of Action and Knowledge;—

(2) Having obtained his discharge,—after having completed the Inquiry into Duty and returned from the Teacher’s House;—

(3) Taking a wife according to law, and settled in the Household,—i.e. duly carrying on the Duties of the Householder; and in order to emphasise the all-importance of Vedic Study among all the duties of the Householder, it is added—studying the Veda in a clean spot,—secluded and free from unclean things, seated in the prescribed manner;—learning the compulsory portion of the Ṛk and other Vedas, and also as much more as he can;—

(4) Having brought up righteous persons—equipping his sons and pupils with right—conduct training them to a righteous life:—

(5) Having withdrawn—drawn away—all his sense-organs into the Self,—into the Brahman in the Heart—away from the apprehending of their objects;—and having renounced all actions;—

(6) Not causing pain to living beings,—moving and unmoving;—as there is some sort of pain inflicted in the begging for food and considering about (which are prescribed for the renun-ciate also),—the text adds the qualifying clause ‘except in places specially ordained’; the term ‘tīrtha’ stands for that which is sanctioned by the scriptures; and these are excepted;—This is a duty common to men in all stages of life; some people go even so far as to assert that the ‘Hiṃsā’ done at sanctioned places is not Hiṃsā at all;—

(7) One who does all this while Settled in the Household, the man who thus becomes entitled (to further progress) throughout life,—as long as he lives and behaves thus—reaches the Region of Brahman, on the death of the Body;—and he does not return,—for taking up another Body; this clause denies the Rebirth which might be considered likely. What is meant is that having, through the Path of light and the rest, having reached the created region of the created (and hence comparatively ephemeral) Brahman— the Man stays in that Region as long as that Region itself lasts, and before that—till then (i.e. till Final Dissolution—says Ānandagiri)—he does not return (to life).

The repetition is meant to indicate the end of the treatise on the PHILOSOPHY of the UPANIṢADS.—(1)

End of Section (15) of Discourse VIII.

End of Discourse VIII.

End of Chāndogya Upaniṣad

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