Kena upanishad (Madhva commentary)

by Srisa Chandra Vasu | 1909 | 11,760 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165

This is Mantra 2.5 of the Kena-upanishad (Kenopanishad), the English translation and commentary of Madhva (Madhvacharya) called the Bhasya. The Kena Upanishad deals with topics such as Brahman and Atman (soul) and also discusses the symbolic representation of the Gods as forces of nature. It is an important text in the Vedanta schools of Hindu philsophy. This is Mantra 5 of section 2 called ‘Dvitiya-Khanda’.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Kena-upaniṣad mantra 2.5:

&न्ब्स्प्;इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति न चेदिहावेदीन्महती विनष्टिः ।
भूतेषु भूतेषु विचित्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ ५ ॥

 iha cedavedīdatha satyamasti na cedihāvedīnmahatī vinaṣṭiḥ |
bhūteṣu bhūteṣu vicitya dhīrāḥ pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti || 5 ||

iha—here, (in this body) or here when one has the good fortune of getting a true Guru like Brahmā; cet—if; avedīt—knew; if persons like you—O Śiva! know Brahman; atha—then; satyam—true, the Supreme end, the Brahm[?]; well, good; The salvation, mokṣa; asti—is, happens through the instruction imparted by a Sad Guru; na—not; cet—if; iha—here; avedit—knew; mahatī—great, long; giving rise to three sorts of pains. vinaṣṭiḥ—calamity, loss; destruction (new births and deaths): the region of the asuras, the blinding darkness; bhūteṣu bhūteṣu—in all things, in every life; the first bhūteṣu means “in all beings—” the other bhūteṣu means “among the beings who have reached the status of Sad Gurus”; vicitya—having realised or known, having thought or seen, discovered (one self in all lives); having selected by discrimination the Sad Guru suited to one; dhīrāḥ—the wise, the thoughtful; pretya—departing; pra = thorough and itya = knowledge, pretya: having obtained thorough knowledge; asmāt—from this; lokāt—world or “loka” may mean “the teacher”, “the seer”, “through whom one gets sight” (look); amṛtāḥ—immortal; bhavanti—become.

5. If he knows Him here, then there is good for him. If he knows Him not here, then there is great loss. The wise knowing Him in all beings, going out of this world, after getting full knowledge from Guru, become immortal.


Admitted that Brahma-jñāna [jñānam] is the means of getting mukti, but where is the hurry of getting this jñāna? The life is eternal, and some day or other every jīva will attain this perfection: so there is no need of exerting in the present. This danger of laziness must be guarded against: and the present verse gives a warning. Strive to attain the Divine Wisdom—the Brahma-Jñāna—the theosophia, in this very life. When one has reached the presence of a True Teacher, like Brahmā, he should not procrastinate. It is a great good fortune to get a Sad Guru and when a guru is got, the man must be unlucky if he fails to learn wisdom from him. For if he gets such knowledge, then there is satya [satyam] or good for him, i.e., he gets mukti. For knowledge obtained from the instructions given by a Sad Guru alone leads to salvation. If, however, he fails to take advantage of such a Sad Guru, and does not understand from him the true nature of Brahman, then there is great “calamity”—namely, going to utter darkness-called also the darkness where the asuras dwell. For this is the law, that the person who hears the gospel and rejects it, is himself rejected—for when the Perfect Teacher comes to a man and the latter rejects him, he does so at his own peril. Thus there is a great danger in disobeying the instructions given by a Sad Guru. Therefore, the thoughtful man should select, from among all beings and among all teachers professing to be Sad Gurus, the True Teacher, and having so selected with discrimination, stick to him with faith, believing “Through the kindness of this teacher I shall know Brahman and by his instructions and help I shall reach Him.” Then having thoroughly learned from such a teacher the nature of Brahman, and having realised Him, he attains immortality, on throwing off his last body.

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