Taittiriya Upanishad

by A. Mahadeva Sastri | 1903 | 206,351 words | ISBN-10: 8185208115

The Taittiriya Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads, part of the Yajur Veda. It says that the highest goal is to know the Brahman, for that is truth. It is divided into three sections, 1) the Siksha Valli, 2) the Brahmananda Valli and 3) the Bhrigu Valli. 1) The Siksha Valli deals with the discipline of Shiksha (which is ...

Chapter I - The Peace-chant

A peace-chant was recited (in Śikṣāvallī, Anuvāka I) with a view to remove obstacles in the way of the (lower) wisdom therein taught. And here again the peace-chant is recited for removal of obstacles in the way of the Brahma-Vidyā which is going to be taught.



शं नो मित्रः शं वरुणः । शं नो भवत्वर्यमा । शं न इन्द्रो बृहस्पतिः । शं नो विष्णुरुरुक्रमः । नमो ब्रह्मणे । नमस्ते वायो । त्वमेव प्रत्यक्षं ब्रह्मासि । त्वामेव प्रत्यक्षं ब्रह्मावादिषम् । ऋतमवादिषम् । सत्यमवादिषम् । तन्मामावीत् । तद्वक्तारमावीत् । आवीन्माम् । आवीद्वक्तारम् । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥ १ ॥

śaṃ no mitraḥ śaṃ varuṇaḥ | śaṃ no bhavatvaryamā | śaṃ na indro bṛhaspatiḥ | śaṃ no viṣṇururukramaḥ | namo brahmaṇe | namaste vāyo | tvameva pratyakṣaṃ brahmāsi | tvāmeva pratyakṣaṃ brahmāvādiṣam | ṛtamavādiṣam | satyamavādiṣam | tanmāmāvīt | tadvaktāramāvīt | āvīnmām | āvīdvaktāram | oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ || 1 ||

[1] Om. May Mitra be propitious to us, and Varuṇa propitious be; may Aryaman propitious be to us; propitious be Indra and Bṛhaspati to us; to us propitious may Viṣṇu of vast extent be. Bow to Brahman! Bow to Thee, Vāyu! Thou art indeed Brahman perceptible. Thee indeed have I declared Brahman perceptible. The right have I declared; and I have declared the true. That has protected me, That has protected the teacher; aye, That has protected me, That has protected the teacher. Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!


Prayer for mutual good-feeling between Master and disciple.

सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै । ओं शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

saha nāvavatu | saha nau bhunaktu | saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai | tejasvi nāvadhītamastu | mā vidviṣāvahai | oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||

May Brahman protect us both!
May He give us both to enjoy!
Efficiency may we both attain!
Effective may our study prove!
Hate may we not (each other) at all!
Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!

May Brahman protect us both together, both the teacher and the pupil! May Brahman give us both to enjoy! May we achieve efficiency for wisdom; and may we, thus efficient, pursue our study effectively, ī. e. may the study enable us to understand what is taught! May we not hate each other at all! On the occasion of instruction, enmity may arise from some unworthy act which the pupil or the teacher may have done unawares. It is to prevent this that the benediction is uttered: May we never have occasion to cheṛṣ mutual hatred!

The peace-chant is read here with a view to remo/e all ill-feeling which, in the intercourse between the master and the pupil, may have arisen from an unworthy act. The knowledge imparted by the master cannot bear fruit unless the mind (antaḥ-karaṇa) of the master is pacified; for, the master is not different from Īśvara.—(S)

The meaning of the word “peace” uttered thrice here has been already explained.[2]

This peace-chant serves also to remove obstacles in the way of the knowledge which is going to be imparted. It is indeed to be wished that knowledge of the Self may be attained without let or hindrance; there lies the source of the highest good.

This peace-chant is intended to remove all obstacles in the way of Brahma-vidyā which is going to be taught.—As to what has been already taught, no peace-chant is here necessary, as the Śruti says “That has protected me,” thus shewing that the knowledge already imparted has produced its effect without any obstacle.—Indeed in the sequel, the Upaniṣad will teach the inherent identity of the Self and Brahman, a knowledge of which will devour all ignorance. Freedom from kāma (desire) accrues only from the knowledge of That which being unknown, kāma (desire), with all its train, comes into being.—(S)

In the Sāṃhitī-Upaniṣad was clearly expounded the means to Brahma-vidyā. In the Vāruṇī-Upaniṣad the real nature of Brahman will clearly be explained.

First the śruti gives a mantra intended for recitation, and which will prevent the rise of all mutual enmity between the master and the pupil, so that there may reign perfect mutual amity between them.


Master and disciple.

The disciple for whom the teaching herein embodied is intended is one who has conceived a taste for knowledge as a result of the performance, in this birth or in the past births, of the nitya and naimittika (obligatory and occasional) works enjoined in the ritualistic section; whose mind has been turned inward and has attained one-pointedness by the practice of contemplation taught in various forms in the Sāṃhitī-Upaniṣad; who has clearly seen the impermanency of all the worlds that can be earned by kāmya (desire-prompted) works, and who has, therefore, grown disgusted with them; who, having concluded that mokṣa cannot be attained by works, approaches the Guru for the sake of the knowledge of Brahman’s real nature, which alone can lead to mokṣa. And the Guru is one who has studied the Vedas, who has mastered the whole of the Vedic teaching and is therefore competent to instruct; whose mind, being ever devoted to Brahman, is never engrossed in external things. Accordingly the Ātharvaṇikas say:

“Having surveyed the worlds that deeds (done for reward) build up, he who loves God unto renunciation should betake himself. The uncreate is not by the create fto be obtained). To find out that, he verily should to a teacher go—versed in the law, who takes his final stand on God—fuel in hand.”[3]

And the Kaṭhas, too, read as follows:

“Of Him the speaker is a wonder, and able is he who attains (HimJ; a wonder is he who knows (Him) taught by an adept.”[4]

Here, though the Guru has achieved all aspirations and has nothing more to achieve, yet the disciple prays, in this mantra, for the welfare of both.

May Brahman whom I can know after securing the grace of the master (āchārya) protect both me and the Guru! May Brahman so guard us both at the time of instruction that the Guru may teach me with full energy and at the same time I may grasp the teaching with full comprehension and without doubts!—-Thus the disciple first prays for Brahman’s providential care in the matter of ultimate result, namely, that his grasp of the teaching may be such as to dispel all his avidyā and that the master may be pleased on seeing this cessation of avidyā. To attain this end,—the disciple prays,—may we both so co-operate as to infuse into the knowledge a power to produce the desired effect! Then the disciple prays for the means by which this can be effected: May all the texts which we, the Guru and the disciple, have been studying together, prove effective by way of illumining the teaching therein embodied! May we not cheṛṣ mutual hatred! The disciple may be displeased that the Guru has not properly explained, and the Guru may grow displeased with the disciple for want of ardent devotion; may there be no occasion for this kind of displeasure!

Footnotes and references:


Sāyaṇa has construed this anuvāka as a supplement to the teaching imparted in the Śikṣāvallī. But according to Śaṅkarāchārya, it forms a prelude to what follows here in the Brahmavallī.


Vide page 28.


Muṇḍ. Up. 1-2-12.


Kaṭh. Up. 2-7.

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