Tejobindu Upanishad of Krishna-yajurveda

by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1914 | 10,374 words

This is the English translation of the Tejobindu Upanishad (belonging to the Krishna-Yajurveda): a minor Sanskrit treatise selected amongst a collection 108 extant upanishads, dating to at least the 1st millennium BC. The Tejobindu-upanishad teaches the difficulties of dhyana (meditation) and discusses the fifteen limbs (anga) of yoga, briefly def...

The Sage named Nidāgha addressed the venerable Ṛbhu: "O Lord please explain to me the discrimination of Ātmā from non-Ātmā." The Sage replied thus:

"The furthest limit of all vāk (speech) is Brahman; the furthest limit to all thoughts is the Guru.[1] That which is of the nature of all causes and effects but yet without them, that which is without saṅkalpa, of the nature of all bliss and the auspicious, that which is the great one of the nature of bliss, that which illuminates all luminaries and that which is full of the bliss of nāda (spiritual sound), without any enjoyment and contemplation and beyond nādas and kalās (parts)—that is Ātmā, that is the 'I', the indestructible. Being devoid of all the difference of Ātmā and non-Ātmā, of heterogeneity and homogeneity, and of quiescence and non-quiescence—that is the one Jyotis at the end of nāda. Being remote from the conception of Mahā-vakyārtha (i.e., the meaning of Maha-vākyas) as well of 'I am Brahman,' being devoid of or without the conception of the word and the meaning, and being devoid of the conception of the destructible and indestructible—that is the one Jyotis at the end of nāda. Being without the conception 'I am the partless non-dual essence' or 'I am the blissful,' and being of the nature of the one beyond all—that is one Jyotis at the end of nāda. He who is devoid of the significance of Ātmā (viz. motion) and devoid of Saccidānanda—he is alone Ātmā, the eternal. He who is undefinable and unreachable by the words of the Vedas, who has neither externals nor internals, and whose symbol is either the universe or Brahman—he is undoubtedly Ātmā. He who has no body, nor is a Jīva made up of the elements and their compounds, who has neither form nor name, neither the enjoyable nor the enjoyer, neither Sat nor asat, neither preservation nor regeneration, neither guṇa nor non-guṇa—that is undoubtedly my Ātmā. He who has neither the described nor description, neither śravaṇa nor manana, neither Guru nor disciple, neither the world of the Devas nor the Devas nor Asuras, neither duty nor non-duty, neither the immaculate nor non-immaculate, neither time nor non-time, neither certainty nor doubt, neither mantra nor non-mantra, neither science nor non-science, neither the seer nor the sight which is subtle, nor the nectar of time—that is Ātmā. Rest assured that not-Ātmā is a misnomer. There is no manas as not-Ātmā. There is no world as not-Ātma. Owing to the absence of all saṅkalpas and to the giving up of all actions, Brahman alone remains, and there is no not-Ātmā. Being devoid of the three bodies, the three periods of time, the three guṇas of Jīva, the three pains and the three worlds, and following the saying 'All is Brahman,' know that there is nothing to be known through the absence of citta; there is no old age through the absence of body; no motion through the absence of legs; no action through the absence of hands; no death through the absence of creatures; no happiness through the absence of buddhi; no virtue, no purity, no fear, no repetition of mantras, no Guru nor disciple. There is no second in the absence of one. Where there is not the second, there is not the first. Where there is truth alone, there is no non-truth possible; where there is non-truth alone, there is no truth possible. If you regard a thing auspicious as inauspicious, then auspiciousness is desired (as separate) from inauspiciousness. If you regard fear as non-fear, then fear will arise out of non-fear. If bondage should become emancipation, then in the absence of bondage will be no emancipation. If birth should imply death, then in the absence of birth, there is no death. If 'thou' should imply 'I,' then in the absence of 'thou' there is no 'I'. If 'this' should be 'that,' 'this' does not exist in the absence of 'that'. If being should imply non-being, then non-being will imply being. If an effect implies a cause, then in the absence of effect, there is no cause. If duality implies non-duality, then in the absence of duality, there is no non-duality. If there should be the seen, then there is the eye (or sight); in the absence of the seen, there is no eye. In the absence of the interior, there is no exterior. If there should be fullness, then non-fullness is possible. Therefore (all) this exists nowhere. Neither you nor I, nor this nor these exist. There exists no (object of) comparison in the true one. There is no simile in the unborn. There is (in it) no mind to think. I am the supreme Brahman. This world is Brahman only. Thou and I are Brahman only. I am Cinmātra simply, and there is no not-Ātmā. Rest assured of it. This universe is not (really at all). This universe is not (really) at all. It was nowhere produced and stays nowhere. Some say that citta is the universe. Not at all. It exists not. Neither the universe nor citta nor ahaṅkāra nor Jīva exists (really). Neither the creation of Māyā nor Māyā itself exists (really). Fear does not (really) exist. Actor, action, hearing, thinking, the two samādhis, the measurer, the measure, ajñāna and aviveka—none of these exists (truly) anywhere. Therefore the four moving[2] considerations and the three kinds of relationship exist not. There is no Gaṅgā, no Gaya, no Setu (bridge), no elements or anything else, no earth, water, fire, vāyu, and ākas anywhere, no Devas, no guardians of the four quarters, no Vedas, no Guru, no distance, no proximity, no time, no middle, no non-duality, no truth, no untruth, no bondage, no emancipation, no Sat, no asat, no happiness, etc., no class, no motion, no caste, and no worldly business. All is Brahman only and nothing else—all is Brahman only and nothing else. There exists then nothing (or statement) as that 'consciousness alone is'; there is (then) no saying such as 'Chit is I'. The statement 'I am Brahman' does not exist (then); nor does exist (then) the statement: 'I am the eternally pure'. Whatever is uttered by the mouth, whatever is thought by manas, whatever is determined by buddhi, whatever is cognized by citta—all these do not exist. There is no Yogin or yoga then. All are and are not. Neither day nor night, neither bathing nor contemplating, neither delusion nor non-delusion—all these do not exist then. Know that is no not-Ātmā.

The Vedas, Sciences, Purāṇas, effect and cause, Īśvara and the world and the elements and mankind—all these are unreal. There is no doubt of it. Bondage, salvation, happiness, relatives, meditation, citta, the Devas, the demons, the secondary and the primary, the high and the low—all these are unreal. There is no doubt of it. Whatever is uttered by the mouth, whatever is willed by saṅkalpa, whatever is thought by manas—all these are unreal. Whatever is determined by the buddhi, whatever is cognized by citta, whatever is discussed by the religious books, whatever is seen by the eye and heard by the ears, and whatever exists as Sat, as also the ear, the eye, and the limbs—all these are unreal. Whatever is described as such and such, whatever is thought as so-and-so, all the existing thoughts such as 'thou art I', 'that is this,' and 'He is I,' and whatever happens in mokṣa, as also all saṅkalpas, delusion, illusory attribution, mysteries and all the diversities of enjoyment and sin—all these do not exist. So is also not-Ātmā. Mine and thine, my and thy, for me and for thee, by me and by thee—all these are unreal. (The statement) that Viṣṇu is the preserver, Brahmā is the creator, Rudra is the destroyer—know that these undoubtedly are false. Bathing, utterings of mantras, japas (religious austerities) homa (sacrifice), study of the Vedas, worship of the Devas, mantra, tantra, association with the good, the unfolding of the faults of guṇas, the working of the internal organ, the result of avidyā, and the many crores of mundane eggs—all these are unreal. Whatever is spoken of as true according to the verdict of all teachers, whatever is seen in this world and whatever exists—all these are unreal. Whatever is uttered by words, whatever is ascertained, spoken, enjoyed, given or done by anyone, whatever action is done, good or bad, whatever is done as truth—know all these to be unreal. Thou alone art the transcendental Ātmā and the supreme Guru of the form of ākāś, which is devoid of fitness (for it) and of the nature of all creatures. Thou art Brahman; thou art time; and thou art Brahman, that is ever and imponderable. Thou art everywhere, of all forms, and full of consciousness. Thou art the truth. Thou art one that has mastered the siddhis, and thou art the ancient, the emancipated, emancipation, the nectar of bliss, the God, the quiescent, the diseaseless, Brahman the full, and greater than the great. Thou art impartial, Sat and the ancient knowledge, recognised by the words 'Truth, etc'. Thou art devoid of all parts. Thou art the ever-existing—thou appearest as Brahmā, Rudra, Indra, etc.—thou art above the illusion of the universe—thou shinest in all elements—thou art without saṅkalpa in all—thou art known by means of the underlying meaning of all scriptures; thou art ever content and ever happily seated (in thyself); thou art without motion; etc. In all things, thou art without any characteristics; in all things thou art contemplated by Viṣṇu and other Devas at all times; thou hast the nature of Chit, thou art Cinmātrā unchecked, thou stayest in Ātmā itself, thou art void of everything and without gums, thou art bliss, the great, the one secondless, the state of Sat and asat, the knower, the known, the seer, the nature of Saccidānanda, the lord of Devas, the all-pervading, the deathless, the moving, the motionless, the all and the non-all with quiescence and non-quiescence, Sat alone, Sat commonly (found in all), of the form of Nitya-Siddha (the unconditioned developed one), and yet devoid of all siddhis. There is not an atom which thou dost not penetrate; but yet thou art without it. Thou art devoid of existence and non-existence as also the aim and object aimed at. Thou art changeless, decayless, beyond all nādas, without kāla or kāṣṭa (divisions of time) and without Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva. Thou lookest into the nature of each and art above the nature of each. Thou art immersed in the bliss of Self. Thou art the monarch of the kingdom of Self, and yet without the conception of Self. Thou art of the nature of fullness and incompleteness. There is nothing that thou seest which is not in thyself. Thou dost not stir out of thy nature. Thou attest according to the nature of each. Thou art nothing but the nature of each. Have no doubt 'thou art I'.

"This universe and everything in it, whether the seer or the seen, resembles the horns of a hare (or are illusory). Earth, water, agni, vāyu, ākāś, manas, buddhi, ahaṅkāra, tejas, the worlds and the sphere of the universe, destruction, birth, truth, virtue, vice, gain, desires, passion, anger, greed, the object of meditation, wisdom, guru, disciple, limitation, the beginning and end, auspiciousness, the past, present, and future, the aim and the object of aim, mental restraint, inquiry, contentment, enjoyer, enjoyment, etc., the eight parts of yoga, yama, etc., the going and coming (of life), the beginning, middle and end, that which can be taken and rejected, Hari, Śiva, the organs, manas, the three states, the twenty-four tattvas, the four means, one of the same class or different classes, Bhūḥ and other worlds, all the castes and orders of life with the rules laid down for each, mantras and tantras, science and nescience, all the Vedas, the inert and the non-inert, bondage and salvation, spiritual wisdom and non-wisdom, the enlightened and the non-enlightened, duality and non-duality, the conclusion of all Vedāntas and Śāstras, the theory of the existence of all souls and that of one soul only, whatever is thought by citta, whatever is willed by saṅkalpa, whatever is determined by buddhi, whatever one hears and sees, whatever the guru instructs, whatever is sensed by all the organs, whatever is discussed in mīmāmsā, whatever is ascertained by nyāya (philosophy) and by the great ones who have reached the other side of the Vedas, the saying 'Śiva destroys the world, Viṣṇu protects it, and Brahma creates it', whatever is found in the purāṇas, whatever is ascertained by the Vedas, and is the signification of all the Vedas—all these resemble the horns of a hare. The conception 'I am the body' is spoken of as the internal organ; the conception 'I am the body' is spoken of as the great mundane existence; the conception 'I am the body' constitutes the whole universe. The conception 'I am the body' is spoken of as the knot of the heart, as non-wisdom, as the state of asat, as nescience, as the dual, as the true Jīva and as with parts, is certainly the great sin, and is the disease generated by the fault of thirst after desires. That which is saṅkalpa, the three pains, passion, anger, bondage, all the miseries, all the faults and the various forms of time—know these to be the result of manas. Manas alone is the whole world, the ever-deluding, the mundane existence, the three worlds, the great pains, the old age and others, death and the great sin, the saṅkalpa, the Jīva, the citta, the ahaṅkāra, the bondage, the internal organ and earth, water, agni, vāyū, and ākāś. Sound, touch, form, taste, and odour, the five sheaths, the waking, the, dreaming, and dreamless sleeping states, the guardians of the eight quarters, Vasus, Rudras, Ādityas, the seen, the inert, the pairs and non-wisdom—all these are the products of manas. Rest assured that there is no reality in all that is saṅkalpa. The whole world, the guru, disciple, etc., do not exist, yea, do not exist. Thus ends the fifth chapter of this Upaniṣad."

Footnotes and references:


Herein is given the hint as to the difference of functions between an Ishta-devatā and a Guru.


The four moving considerations (of vedānta) are subject (Brahman), object, relationship, and the qualified person.

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