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 III - Some Minor Contemplations

Contemplation of food as Brahman.

Brahma-vidyā is easy of acquisition for the aspirant of the highest grade, i.e., for him who is endued with one-pointed mind. But, with reference to him whose mind wavers, cheṛṣing a desire for worldly ends, the śruti, by way of prescribing the means of obtaining those ends, enjoins certain contemplations which conduce to the acquisition of one-pointedness of mind.

Food being the first gateway to the knowledge of Brahman, the śruti enjoins the contemplation of Brahman through the symbol of food.

He who contemplates food as Brahman becomes steady without the wavering of the mind. He will, moreover, possess plenty of food and will be able to eat it, free from all sickness. He will be blest with off-spring, sons, grandsons, etc.; he will acquire cattle, horses etc.; he will acquire spiritual lustre through constant study of the Vedas and other scriptures; he will be famous in all these respects. Because one attains to Brahma-vidyā through the gateway of food by making it an object of constant contemplation, therefore the devotee should never condemn food as though it were his Guru. This refraining from condemning food should be made a vow by this devotee; it should be accomplished as a matter of necessity. If this vow be transgressed, the contemplation will be so far defective.

 

Contemplation of life and body.

With a view to enjoin another contemplation, the śruti proceeds to shew the object which should be contemplated:

प्राणो वा अन्नम् । शरीरमन्नादम् । प्राणे शरीरं प्रतिष्ठितम् । शरीरे प्राणः प्रतिष्ठितः । तदेतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ २ ॥

prāṇo vā annam | śarīramannādam | prāṇe śarīraṃ pratiṣṭhitam | śarīre prāṇaḥ pratiṣṭhitaḥ | tadetadannamanne pratiṣṭhitam || 2 ||

2. Life, verily, is food, the body the eater of food. In life the body is set; life is set in the body. Thus food is set in food.

Having taught that the direct means to the knowledge of the One is the constant meditation of the Reality underlying the entities denoted by “That” and “thou,” and having also treated of the result of the knowledge in the concluding words of the section, the śruti now proceeds to prescribe the contemplation of Prāṇa etc., as an indirect means to Brahmajñāna, for the benefit of those who, not being fully developed, are unable to carry on the process of investigation described above.—(A).

Life (prāṇa) is food because it exists within the body; and whatever is set within another forms the food of that other. And life, too, is also set within the body. Therefore life is food, and the body the food-enter. And, vice versa, the body is food, and life the food-eater.—Why? Because the body is set in life; the existence of the body being dependent on life. Wherefore, both these, the body and life, are food as well as the food-eater. Because each is set in the other, therefore each of them is food; and because each of them is the support of the other, therefore each of them is the food-eater.

Just as the food that has been eaten lies within the body, so prāṇa dwells within the body and is therefore regarded as food. By reason of containing the life-food which lies within it, the body is regarded as the eater. Just as a pillar within the house supports the house, so life, dwelling within the body, supports the body, and therefore the body is said to be set in prāṇa. That life is the support of the body is declared in the dialogue of the vital principles:

“It is I who by this very quintuple division of myself together keep and hold this bundle up.”[1]

And it is quite evident that the body is the supporter of life. The devotee should constantly contemplate that life and the body are each other’s support. Moreover, it has been said before that, as dwelling within the body, prāṇa is food. And the body is food because it is evolved from food; so that, both of them being food, and both of them being the support of each other, it should also be contemplated that food itself is set in food.

Having thus treated of the thing to be contemplated,Āhe śruti proceeds to enjoin the contemplation thereof.

स य एतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितं वेद प्रतितिष्ठति । अन्नवानन्नादो भवति । महान्भवति प्रजया पशुभिर्ब्रह्मवर्चसेन । महान् कीर्त्या ॥ ३ ॥
                      ॥ इति सप्तमोऽनुवाकः ॥

sa ya etadannamanne pratiṣṭhitaṃ veda pratitiṣṭhati | annavānannādo bhavati | mahānbhavati prajayā paśubhirbrahmavarcasena | mahān kīrtyā || 3 ||
                      || iti saptamo'nuvākaḥ ||

3. Whoso knows that thus food is set in food, he is settled; possessor of food and food-eater he becomes. Great he becomes by progeny, by cattle, by spiritual lustre; great by fame.

 

                       ॥ अथाष्टमो'नुवाकः ॥
अन्नं न परिचक्षीत । तद् व्रतम् ॥ १ ॥ 

                       || athāṣṭamo'nuvākaḥ ||
annaṃ na paricakṣīta | tad vratam || 1 ||

 

[Anuvaka VIII.]

1. He shall not abandon food; that his vow.

This vow is enjoined on him who contemplates life and the body as taught above.—(S & A).

That his vow: This, as before, is intended to extol food: when thus one does not abandon food, without making any such distinction as good food and bad food, food becomes exalted. The same interpretation should be put on the succeeding passages also, beginning with “Water verily is food.”

 

Contemplation of water and fire.

Now the śruti proceeds to treat of yet another thing to be contemplated:

आपो वा अन्नम् । ज्योतिरन्नादम् । अप्सु ज्योतिः प्रतिष्ठितम् । ज्योतिष्यापः प्रतिष्ठिताः । तदेतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ २ ॥

āpo vā annam | jyotirannādam | apsu jyotiḥ pratiṣṭhitam | jyotiṣyāpaḥ pratiṣṭhitāḥ | tadetadannamanne pratiṣṭhitam || 2 ||

2. Water verily is food, fire the food-eater. In water is fire set; water is set in fire. Thus food is set in food,

As the water that is drunk is digested by the degestive fire in the stomach, water is regarded as food, and fire as the food-eater. As the lightning is present in the rainwater and as perspiration occurs when the body is heated, water and fire are regarded as each other’s support. For the same reason they are each other’s food:

The śruti proceeds to enjoin contemplation.

 

स य एतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितं वेद प्रतितिष्ठति । अन्नवानन्नादो भवति । महान्भवति प्रजया पशुभिर्ब्रह्मवर्चसेन । महान् कीर्त्या ॥ ३ ॥
                          ॥ इत्यष्टमोऽनुवाकः ॥

sa ya etadannamanne pratiṣṭhitaṃ veda pratitiṣṭhati | annavānannādo bhavati | mahānbhavati prajayā paśubhirbrahmavarcasena | mahān kīrtyā || 3 ||
                          || ityaṣṭamo'nuvākaḥ ||

3. Whoso knows that thus food is set in food, he is settled; possessor of food and food-eater he becomes. Great he becomes by progeny, by cattle, by spiritual lustre; great by fame.

 

अन्नं बहु कुर्वीत । तद्व्रतम् ॥ १ ॥

annaṃ bahu kurvīta | tadvratam || 1 ||

 

[Anuvaka IX.]

1. He shall make food plentiful; that his vow.

He who contemplates water and fire as food and food-eater shall make it his vow to earn plenty of food.

It has been formerly enjoined that the food which comes to hand at the dinner-time should not be abandoned on the ground that it is not good, while here the śruti enjoins that one should earn plenty of food to give it to travellers.

 

Contemplation of Earth and Ether.

The śruti proceeds to treat of yet another thing to be contemplated:

पृथिवी वा अन्नम् । आकाशोऽन्नादः । पृथिव्यामाकाशः प्रतिष्ठितः । आकाशे पृथिवी प्रतिष्ठिता । तदेतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ २ ॥

pṛthivī vā annam | ākāśo'nnādaḥ | pṛthivyāmākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhitaḥ | ākāśe pṛthivī pratiṣṭhitā | tadetadannamanne pratiṣṭhitam || 2 ||

2. Earth verily is food, ether the food-eater. In earth is ether set; earth is set in ether. Thus food is set in food.

As the earth abides in the ether which lies both above and below it, the earth is food and the ether is the food-eater. Since, in the view of the uneducated, the ether lies upon the earth, they are related as container and contained. But from the stand-point of the educated, the ether is the basis or container. The devotee should thus contemplate them as each other’s food.

The śruti proceeds to enjoin contemplation:

स य एतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितं वेद प्रतितिष्ठति । अन्नवानन्नादो भवति । महान्भवति प्रजया पशुभिर्ब्रह्मवर्चसेन । महान्कीर्त्या ॥ ३ ॥
                     ॥ इति नवमोऽनुवाकः ॥

sa ya etadannamanne pratiṣṭhitaṃ veda pratitiṣṭhati | annavānannādo bhavati | mahānbhavati prajayā paśubhirbrahmavarcasena | mahāṅkīrtyā || 3 ||
                     || iti navamo'nuvākaḥ ||

3. Whoso knows that thus food is set in food, he is settled; possessor of food and food-eater he becomes. Great he becomes by progeny, by cattle, by spiritual lustre; great by fame.

 

                     ॥ अथ दशमोऽनुवाकः ॥
न कं चन वसतौ प्रत्याचक्षीत । तद् व्रतम् ॥ १ ॥

                     || atha daśamo'nuvākaḥ ||
na kaṃ cana vasatau pratyācakṣīta | tad vratam || 1 ||

 

[Anuvaka X.]

1. None, as to lodging, he shall turn away: that his vow.

He who contemplates earth and ether shall not turn away any one who comes to him for lodging.

तस्माद्यया कया च विधया बह्वन्नं प्राप्नुयात् ॥ २ ॥

tasmādyayā kayā ca vidhayā bahvannaṃ prāpnuyāt || 2 ||

2. Therefore, by whatever means, he should earn much food.

When lodging is given, food should necessarily be given; therefore he shall earn plenty of food, by every means.

When lodging is given to a traveller, food also must be given to him; otherwise sin will accrue, as is taught in the śruti. The śruti says that an inhospitable person is debarred from all good both here and hereafter:

“Hopes, expectations, communion with saints, pleasant words, sacrifice and public charity, sons, cattle, all are taken from the fool in whose abode a brahman fasting rests.”[2]

Therefore, with a view to give food, he should earn plenty by any of the following means: officiating as a priest at another’s sacrifice, teaching scriptures to others, receiving gifts.

The śruti quotes the custom of the wise:

अराध्यस्मा अन्नमित्याचक्षते ॥ ३ ॥

arādhyasmā annamityācakṣate || 3 ||

3. Food is prepared for him,—they say.

When a man comes seeking for food, the wise, possessing plenty of food, say that food is prepared for him: they do not turn him away telling him that there is no food. For this reason also he shall earn plenty of food.

The śruti, moreover, speaks of the meritoriousness of the act of giving food.

एतद्वै मुखतोऽनं राद्धम् । मुखतोऽस्मा अन्नं राध्यते । एतद्वै मध्यतोऽनं राद्धम् । मध्यतोऽस्मा अन्नं राध्यते । एदद्वा अन्ततोऽन्नं राद्धम् । अन्ततोऽस्मा अन्नं राध्यते ॥ ४ ॥

etadvai mukhato'naṃ rāddham | mukhato'smā annaṃ rādhyate | etadvai madhyato'naṃ rāddham | madhyato'smā annaṃ rādhyate | edadvā antato'nnaṃ rāddham | antato'smā annaṃ rādhyate || 4 ||

4. This food, verily, being prepared at the highest, at the highest is food ready for him. This food, verily, being prepared at the middle, at the middle is food ready for him. This food, verily, being prepared at the lowest, at the lowest is food ready for him,—(for him) who thus knows.

In whatever manner and at whatever period of time a person gives food, in the self-same manner and at the self-same period of time does it accrue back to him. The śruti shows how this is the case. If food is prepared and given to the needy guest at the prime of life, or in the best fashion, i. e., with greatest respect, the giver will reap this fruit: at the prime of life, and in the best fashion, does the food accrue to him, just as he has given food. Similarly, if he gives food at the middle age and with moderate respect, or if he gives food late in life and in the lowest fashion, ī. e., with least respect, nay with disrespect, at the selfsame age and in the self-same way does food accrue to him. Whoever knows the merit of food as described above, and knows also the fruit accruing from the gift of food, to him accrues fruit from gift of food as described above.

To shew that the earning of much food leads to great results, the śruti teaches that superior gifts produce superior results. The food that has been earned is best given when given at the best of places (i. e., at a sacred piece of land or body of water), at the best of times (i. e., at the time of solar solstices, on new-moon days, etc.), to the best person (i.e., a chance guest who is engaged in the study of the Vedas and other scriptures and in the observance of their precepts), in the best fashion (i. e., with due devotion, homage and respect), and by the best giver (i. e., by him in whom sattva or the principle of goodness predominates). This sāttvic gift has been thus described by the Lord;

“That gift which is given—knowing it to be a duty to. give—to one who does no service, in place and in time, and to a worthy person, that gift is held Sāttvic.”[3]

If a person knows what sāttvic gift is and acts accordingly, to him in a future birth food accrues in the best way. The two succeeding sentences should be interpreted as referring to the rājasic and tāmasic gifts. These have also been described by the Lord as follows:

“And that gift which is given with a view to a return of the good, or looking for the fruit, or reluctantly, that gift is held to be Rājasic.”

“The gift that is given at a wrong place or time, to unworthy persons, without respect or with insult, that is declared to beTāmasic.”[4]

The passages speaking of the fruits of the three kinds of gift should also be interpreted accordingly. As incidentally connected with the vow which forms part of the contemplation taught above, the truth that the fruit of a gift will be in accordance with the nature of the gift has been here taught.

 

Contemplation of Brahman in man.

Now the śruti proceeds to teach how Brahman should be contemplated:

क्षेम इति वाचि । योगक्षेम इति प्राणापानयोः । कर्मेति हस्तयोः । गतिरिति पादयोः । विमुक्तिरिति पायौ । इति मानुषीसमाज्ञाः ॥ ५ ॥ 

kṣema iti vāci | yogakṣema iti prāṇāpānayoḥ | karmeti hastayoḥ | gatiriti pādayoḥ | vimuktiriti pāyau | iti mānuṣīsamājñāḥ || 5 ||

5. As safety in speech, as gain and safety in prāṇa and apāna, as action in the hands, as motion in the feet, as discharge in the anus: such are contemplations in man.

Safety means preservation of what has been acquired. The devotee should contemplate that Brahman dwells in speech as safety. As speech is conducive to safety, safety lies in speech.—(S).

Gain means acquisition of what has been not already acquired. Though gain and safety occur when prāṇa and apāna are strong, still they are not altogether due to them. On the other hand, they are due to Brahman. Therefore it should be contemplated that Brahman dwells in prāṇa and apāna as gain and safety. So, too, in the other cases that follow, Brahman Himself should be contemplated in such and such a form. Action being brought about by Brahman, it should be contemplated that Brahman dwells in the hands in the form of action. Similarly, Brahman should be contemplated as motion in the feet, as discharge in the anus. Such are the contemplations of Brahman in reference to human personality.

Because these are the contemplations of Viṣṇu in man, therefore the wise always call them samājñās or perfect knowledge, highest contemplations relating to man.—(S).

Speech, prana, &c., are symbols through which Brahman should be contemplated. Action: activities such as sacrificial rituals, fighting, &c. Brahman should be contemplated as sacrificial ritual in the brāhmaṇa’s hands, as fighting in the warrior’s hands. These are the contemplations that can be practised through parts of human body. These upāsanas are termed samājñās, because these activities are constantly carried on and all around.—The plural “contemplations” shows that these contemplations are independent of each other.

 

Contemplation of Brahman in the Cosmic Being.

अथ दैवीः । तृप्तिरिति वृष्टौ । बलमिति विद्युति । यश इति पशुषु । ज्योतिरिति नक्षत्रेषु । प्रजातिरमृतमानन्द इत्युपस्थे । सर्वमित्याकाशे ॥ ६ ॥

atha daivīḥ | tṛptiriti vṛṣṭau | balamiti vidyuti | yaśa iti paśuṣu | jyotiriti nakṣatreṣu | prajātiramṛtamānanda ityupasthe | sarvamityākāśe || 6 ||

6. Next as to those referring to Devas: as satisfaction in the rain, as strength in the lightning, as fame in cattle, as light in the stars, as procreation, the immortal, and joy in the generative organ, as all in the ākāsa.

Next follow contemplations (of Brahman) in Devas. As rain conduces to satisfaction through food, etc., it should be contemplated that Brahman Himself dwells in the rain in the form of satisfaction. Similarly in other cases, too, Brahman should be contemplated in such and such a form. He should be contemplated as strength in the lightning, as fame in cattle, as procreation, the immortal, and joy in the generative organ.[5] As the generative organ conduces to all these—to the attainment of immortality by way of leading to a discharge from debts through a son,—Brahman should be regarded as dwelling in it in those forms. All things are set in the ākāśa: and therefore, all things that exist in ākāśa should be contemplated as Brahman.

He who contemplates Brahman as the all in ākāśa, becomes one with all.—(S).

Having treated of contemplations of Brahman in parts of human body, the śruti proceeds to treat of those relating to parts of the body of the Deva or Cosmic Being. Rain, lightning, etc., here refer to the Devatās or Intelligences who identify themselves with them. Procreation, sexual enjoyment, and sexual intercourse are effected through the organ of generation as the Kauṣītakins have taught......In the whole universe comprising matter and material objects, Brahman abides as the Devatā or Intelligence who identifies himself with ākāśa.

 

Contemplation of Brahman in some special aspects.

We should understand that the fruits of the contemplations here taught, commencing with the contemplation of speech, are in accordance with the upāsana. The śruti teaches that in whatever form a man worships Him, he becomes that very thing. With this view the śruti proceeds to treat of some contemplations along with their fruits:

तत्प्रतिष्ठेत्युपासीत । प्रतिष्ठावान् भवति । तन्मह इत्युपासीत । महान्भवति । तन्मन इत्युपासीत । मानवान्भवति । तन्नम इत्युपासीत । नम्यन्तेऽस्मै कामाः । तद्ब्रह्मेत्युपासीत । ब्रह्मवान्भवति । तद्ब्रह्मणः परिमर इत्युपासीत । पर्येणं म्रियन्ते द्विषन्तः सपत्नाः । परि येऽप्रिया भ्रातृव्याः ॥ ७ ॥

tatpratiṣṭhetyupāsīta | pratiṣṭhāvān bhavati | tanmaha ityupāsīta | mahānbhavati | tanmana ityupāsīta | mānavānbhavati | tannama ityupāsīta | namyante'smai kāmāḥ | tadbrahmetyupāsīta | brahmavānbhavati | tadbrahmaṇaḥ parimara ityupāsīta | paryeṇaṃ mriyante dviṣantaḥ sapatnāḥ | pari ye'priyā bhrātṛvyāḥ || 7 ||

7. Let him contemplate That as support, he becomes well-supported. Let him contemplate That as great, he becomes great. Let him contemplate That as thought, he becomes thoughtful. Let him contemplate That as homage, to him desires pay homage. Let him contemplate That as the Supreme[6], possessed of supremacy[7] he becomes. Let him contemplate That as Brahman’s destructive agent, around him die his hateful rivals, and those rivals whom he does not like.

The ākāśa too is Brahman.—Let a man contemplate Brahman as the support of all; and by contemplating Brahman as the support of all, the devotee will have full support. Similarly, in the preceding contemplations, whatever fruit[8] is dependent on a thing,[9] that fruit is Brahman; and by the contemplation of Brahman as such, the devotee attains that fruit. The śruti too says elsewhere: “In whatever form one worships Him, he becomes that very thing.” If a man contemplates Brahman with the attribute of greatness, he becomes great. If a man contemplates Brahman as manas or thought, he becomes capable of thinking. If one should contemplate Brahman with the attribute of homage, all objects of desire bend low before the devotee. Brahman’s destructive power is that in which the five Devatās—Rain, Lightning, Moon, Sun and Fire—meet their end. Brahman’s destructive agent is Vāyu, as the śruti has elsewhere taught.[10] Vāyu is one with ākāśa, and ākāśa is therefore Brahman's destructive agent. If a man should contemplate ākāśa in its embodiment of Vāyu, as Brahman’s destructive agent, such of his rivals as hate him—the rivals are thus qualified because among rivals some hate, while others do not—die all around him, as also those rivals whom he hates though they do not hate him.

He becomes well supported: He will possess all means of living, such as food and clothing. Great: by wealth. Homage: on subduing others.
 

Taittiriya 1
 

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Pi as. Up. 2-3.

[2]:

Kaṭha. Up. 1–8.

[3]:

Bhag. Gītā. XVIII. 20.

[4]:

Ibid. XVIII. 21-22.

[5]:

This member should rather go along with the contemplations of Brahman in man in the preceding article.—(A).

[6]:

Sāyāṇa interprets Brahman as Veda.

[7]:

He becomes the Virāj, who commands ail gross objects of pleasure.—(A). According to Sāyaṇa, he will have a perfect Command over Veda.

[8]:

Such as safety.—(A).

[9]:

Such as speech.—(A).

[10]:

“Vāyu is the end of all.” (Chhā. Up. 4-3-1.)

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