Volume – I
Smt. Divyajnana Sarojini Varadarajan has been a ken sudent of Vedanta for several years. As a disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, she attended the Vedanta courses conducted at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Coimbatore. She has been listening to my classes also directly or through audio recordings. She has the habit of taking notes and sharing them with other seekers. She has already published Mundakopanisad and Kathopanisad along with the bhasyam based on my Mundakopanisad and Kathopanisad bhasyam classes. I am happy to know that she is getting the Tatittiriya upanisad published along with the bhasyam in two volumes based on Pujya Swamij's and my Tatittiriya bhasyam classes.
I congratulate Smt. Sarojini Varadarjan for her great effort. May this book reach the hands of many deserving students of Vedanta.
Om sri gurubhyo namak
By the grace of two great gurus, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati and Sri Paramarthananda Swamiji, this challenging commentary of the Taittiriya upanisad has been attempted at. The truth of one's own true nature is unfolded by them with so much clarity in their teaching of this upanisad, that bound by gratitude to them, this attempt to reach their teaching to others has been made through this book.
Brahman is the true nature of you, me and everyone and every other thing in the creation. However one does not know it, nor is it easy to know it. Means of knowledge like perception etc, nor logic can prove it. So how does one come to the above conclusion? Because the Veda, through its teaching makes us know it. The Veda in its karmakanda portion gives one the means of gaining so many desirable things in this world including svarga, thus making one temporarily happy. Now the very same Veda says in its last part, in the jnanakanda or the upanisads, that it is time now to learn the truth, to know one's real nature which will give one absolute and permanent happiness, unlike the impermanent flashes of happiness one has been having through the experience of gaining the desired objects, only soon to be followed by sorrow when it is lost, or to be followed by fear that the happiness might be short lived, or that what is gained might get lost. Great will it not be, if one can gain happiness, without the above problems! And that is not impossible.
The Veda with compassion, understanding that we, who are submerged in the worldly benefits and craving for success and happiness, are not able to see the truth, comes to our help. Like a mother, who lovingly and carefully catching hold of the child's hand, helps the child to put the first step and then gradually helps the child to walk to the destination, and observes the child face glow with happiness; in the same manner Veda takes us to our destination of absolute and permanent happiness called moksa, step by step, through its teaching of dharma, karma, and upasanas in its first chapter, and thus prepares the mind and kindles in one, the desire, as well as the confidence to know one's true nature, which is none other than atma or Brahman.
The Taittirrya upanisad thus having prepared the candidate for brahmajfianam in the first chapter known as siksavalll. in the second chapter known as brahmanandavalli, it not only gives the indirect definition of Brahman, but the direct definition of Brahman as satyam jnanam anantarn brahma and makes us recognise the satyarn jfianam anantam brahma is non- different from one's atma. Once one comes to know it, one feels achieved, fearless and utterly satisfied, in short complete, and absolutely happy. However this being a very subtle subject matter, it needs a lot of explanation, before it gets clarified in one's gross mind. So Sankaracarya writes a voluminous commentary. Though the upanisad itself is not a very big one, it becomes thus voluminous.
The Taittiriya upanisad has three chapters, which are being made into two volumes. This first volume covers the first chapter of the Taittirtya upanisad, called siksavalli and the fist anuvaka of brahmanandavalli which expounds profoundly what is satyam jnanamanantam brahma.
Sankaracarya's introductory bhasyam to this upanisad, known as Sambandha-bhasyam, as it is of great importance and equally difficult to understand, a very elaborate introduction for it has been given. And then, each anuvaka is started, with a preliminary introduction, so that one has an idea of the subject matter that is going to be explained or discussed by the upanisad in that section. Thereafter this upanisad being in prose form, and not in a mantra form, if the anuvaka is too big, one paragraph at a time is taken and given the transliteration, anvaya, word by word meaning and the summary of that paragraph, as given by Sri Pararnarthananda Swamiji. It is followed by Sankaracarya's commentary, again only for that paragraph. In the commentary, word-to-word translation has been given, to make the commentary reader easy. While explaining the meaning of the bhashya words, the Sanskrit words are given in the bracket after their english translation. In order to closely convey the specific Sanskrit words for the english translation, the compound words have been split and the appropriate word shown in bracket for the english translation. While doing so, the Sanskrit words are not shown as they will appear in vigraha, resolution. Since the purpose is to communicate, compromise of grammar rules have been done. I hope the readers will understand the intent and bear with it.
Besides Sankaracarya's commentary, as still lot of explanation and notes are needed to understand the subtle teaching of this upanisad, certain explanations are added in the bhasyam, in the form of notes and also in the form of bracketed explanation.
The cover of the book has also a message to convey. It is a visualisation of Brahman as onkara pervading the whole universe in the form of parka bhutas. In the first book Mundakopanisad, the all pervasiveness of onkara in the first visible panca bhuta, agni was subtly pictured and in the second book kathopanisad the all pervasiveness of onkara in the second visible pafica bhuta, water was illustrated. Now in this first volume of Taittiriya upanisad the all pervasiveness of onkara in the third visible panca bhuta, earth has been visualised. My first and foremost thanks goes to my gurus, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati and Sri Paramarthananda Swamiji, for opening my eyes to the one and only truth. I thank for the encouragement given by Swami Saksakrtananda Saraswati in all ways possible and to Swami Sankarananda Saraswati, Br. Pranipata Chaitanya and last but not least to my enthusiastic readers who have been asking, when and what the next book will be. My thanks also to Ms. Ambika for helping me in the final stages of formating the book and specially for giving a beautiful form to my visualisation of the cover.
I dedicate this book to all who supported me and encouraged me in this endeavor of mine, and in particular to my grandfather who blessed me with the name, Divyajnana devi at my birth.
The Taittiriya upanisad belongs to Krsna-Yajur'Veda. Taittirrya has got three portions, Taittirrya sarhhita, Taittirrya brahmana and Taittirrya aranyaka, all of which are fortunately available today. In Taittiriya aranyakam there are ten chapters, among which the first six deal with upasana and the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth chapters, form the Taittiriya upanisad. These seventh, eighth and ninth chapters are known as Siksavalll, Brahmavalli, and Bhrguvalli respectively of the Taittirrya upanisad. The tenth and last chapter is Narayanavalli, or otherwise called Mahanarayanopansad, which is usually not included in Taittiriya upanisad, but is treated as a separate upanisad. Taittiriya upanisad is a prose work.
This upanisad has a prime place in vedanta sastra as it explains three important factors in its three chapters known as vallls.
1. The first factor is that, in its first valli known as stksavallt the upanisad prepares one's mind to be able to grasp the truth that the upanisad is going to unfold larer on. Ignorance of the fact is the basis for committing a mistake, but a confused mind will not have the clarity to understand a fact as a fact. In this context, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati says every person has an idea of himself, mostly an erroneous one and he does not bother to inquire into it with the help of a proper guru and sastra. Without the explanation of the sastra by a guru, it cannot be properly understood. Otherwise the sastra can be quoted out of context and misunderstood. If one wants to learn about the one and only truth, Brahman, one should have certain knowledge of Sanskrit words, their direct and indirect meaning and Sanskrit grammar. And then one should prepare one's mind with sadhana catustaya sampatti through upasanas and through leading a value based life. Usually upanisads do not bother to prepare the mind, as they take it for granted that when one comes to the learning of brahmajnanam in the upanisads, that one would have been mentally prepared and capable of understanding it, because the jnanakanda of the upanisads comes only after karmakanda and upasanakanda of the Veda are completed, which are supposed to prepare the mind for jnanakanda.
But in addition to what has gone before, the Taittiriya upanisad however itself takes upon the task of preparing the student. Since the revelation of truth is through words, the upanisad first makes sure that one has a correct understanding of the Sanskrit words and their pronounciation, by giving the right factors necessary for it in the first chapter, Siksavalli. This valli not only prepares us language wise, but also prepares our minds to receive brahmavidya by giving us various values, prayers, and meditations (upasanas) that are preparatory steps for gaining the knowledge of Brahman. That is why this valli, even though it does not talk about brahmavidya, is considered as a very important valli for the students of vedanta.
2. The second and most important factor is that the upanisad in its second valli, known as Brahmavalli or Brahmanandavalli, gives the laksanam of Brahman. In fact this upanisad gives both the svarupa laksana as well as the tatastha-laksana of Brahman. Laksana is that by which something is pointed out or defined. Among the two Iaksanas, the svarupa-Iaksana gives the unique nature or exclusive characteristics of the object, which no other object has, thereby distinguishing it from everything else. It excludes everything else and only reveal what is indicated or targeted. On the other hand tatasthalaksana does not reveal the nature of an object, but is still is able to distinguish the object. Thus svarupalaksana defines Brahman directly by giving the very nature of Brahman, while tatasthalaksana defines Brahman indirectly or by implication. Tatasthalaksana is an incidental definition. It is not the nature of Brahman, but is useful to define it. Both the laksanas of Brahman are given in this second chapter, where Brahman is revealed directly by svarupalaksana as 'sat yam jnanam anantam brahma', the knowledge of which leads one to absolute happiness, moksa, thus freeing the person from the age old strong shackles of sarnsara. It also reveals Brahman indirectly by incidentally giving the tatasthalaksana of Brahman, which is being the cause of the world. If it is said Brahman is the cause of the universe and if the causal status is found in Brahman, then the defining laksana becomes svarupalaksana. But the causal status is not found in Brahman, yet, without undergoing any change, Brahman is present in every object of the world as its cause. In other words the cause is found in the effect, but the effect is not found in the cause. The cause pervades the effect. How this is possible is going to be explained in this valli.
3. Lastly in the last valli, known as Bhrguvalli, the whole teaching is summed up, by pointing out the greatness of the teaching.
Thus this upanisad is supposed to be the most complete upanisad, because in other upanisads Brahman is revealed by implication, but here he is revealed straight- away through words. Vyasa in his analytical book on vedanta sastra, a book to be reckoned with, known as Brahrnasutras, has taken this upanisad for analysis in both the first and second sutras that introduce the definition of Brahman. Sankaracarya also pays special attention in writing his commentary of this upanisad. Therefore Sankaracarya' s bhasyam of this upanisad is also considered to be very significant. Sankaracarya does not write dhyana slokas for all of his commentaries. But for this upanisad he writes three dhyana slokas indicating that he considers this a very significant upanisad. Besides being a prayer these three slokas, capture the very subject matter of the upanisad by bringing in both svarupa laksanam as well as the tatasthalaksanam of Brahman.
Om eri gurubhyo namali
Again by the grace of two great gurus, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati and Sri Paramarthananda Swarniji, this challenging commentary of the Taittinya upanisad has been completed.
This second part of Taittiriya upanisad has two vallis or chapters known as Brahmanandavalli and Bhrguvalli. Brahmanandavalli is the second valli of the Taittirrya upanisad and Bhrguvallt, the third. Brahmanandavalli unfolds six important topics, thus covering the whole teaching. Among them, the first was the definition of Brahman and the second topic was the benefit one would get by knowing Brahman. This was already dealt with in the first volume of the Taittirrya upanisad. In this second volume, the rest of the four topics are talked about. Among the four, the first topic is the pafica kosa viveka, which is a means to know Brahman, the second is proof of Brahman's existence, the third is topic of oneness between Brahman and oneself and consequently, the fourth and the final topic is that Brahman's ananda svarupa is one's own anand a svarupa, one's own nature.
The upanisad calls this svarupa ananda as brahmananda to distinguish it from what is generally known in the world as ananda. The upanisad calls this generally known ananda as visayananda, because it is I as though' gained through the objects of the world. Just as Brahman is satyam and the world mithya, brahmananda is sat yam and visayananda is mithya. The upanisad explains all this.
What a person always wants is happiness. One tries to gain it through family, power, money, fame, name, etc. That is why it is called visayananda as it is gained only when certain desired objects are gained. One may gain it with lot of effort, wasting many years of this human life, which according to sastra, is very precious and one rarely gets it with a lot of pUDya. And how long does that happiness last? It is very temporary for the objects are also very temporary. Sometimes the happiness does not even last that much time as the gained objects exist, because those very objects may have stopped giving happiness or because one is worried of losing them, and therefore anxiety creeps in negating the happiness. In such a frame of mind one would go to any extent and even resort to means that are not in keeping with dharma and there starts one's downfall for adharma cannot give happiness.
On the other hand, the one who knows that not only Brahman is there, but it is oneself, and that one has to make an I as though' inward journey mentally to understand that, gains all the ananda in the world, eventhough he may not have any worldly means for gaining ananda. This is brahmananda. The upanisad says infact there is no happiness called visayananda. Brahmananda only is experienced now and then, without oneself knowing it, when one's mind is clear, but it is mistaken as visayananda, the happiness got through objects. When one gets the desired object one's mind is clear for sometime and at that time, without realising one enjoys brahmananda. But soon the mind gets clouded and the happiness is gone. A jnaru's mind, on the other hand, always being clear, he enjoys brahmananda all the time. Thus happiness is so near, it being one's own nature, yet so far, because one does not bother to understand the truth which is staring at one's face. The upanisad is so compassionate that not only it tells the truth, but helps us further in grasping the truth by indirectly telling us through the story of Bhrgu and his father Varuna that we should take the help of a guru who will make us understand the entire teaching of the upanisads, without leaving any thing out, as a father would teach his son.
And having said that, the upanisad in its Bhrguvalli even gives upasanas to prepare the mind, for those who are not able to understand the teaching. It tells indirectly how it is never too late to gain brahmajfianam. It also again gives the means to brahmajnanam, among which tapah and faith in srutis are the most important ones.However well a guru teaches, one's mind must have space to receive the teaching. It should not be crowded with undesirable things like anger, raga-dvesas. jealousy etc. For that only upasanas are given. And one should also have focussed mind, which alone is called tapah. Thus the upanisad gives every help needed to get at one's own anarid a. And the great gurus, Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati and Sri Paramarthananda Swamiji have used all their teaching skills, to see that we do not miss even a little bit of the truth. And so when their teaching of this upanisad ends, as the upanisad remarks one would feel like exclaiming 11 Aho, how lucky I am"!
As for the layout of the book it is the same as in the first volume. Each anuvaka is started, with a preliminary introduction, so that one has an idea of the subject matter that is going to be explained or discussed by the upanisad in that section. Thereafter, one part of the anuvaka at a time is taken and given the transliteration, anvaya, word by word meaning and the summary of it, as given by Sri Pararnarthananda Swamiji. It is followed by Sankaracarya's commentary, again for that part of the anuvaka only. In the commentary, word-to-word translation has been given, to make the commentary easier to understand. While explaining the meaning of the bhashya words, the Sanskrit words are given in transliteration in the brackets after their English translation. In order to closely convey the specific Sanskrit words for the English translation, the compound words have been split and the appropriate word shown in brackets for the English translation. While doing so, the Sanskrit words are not shown as they will appear in vigraha, resolution. Since the purpose is to communicate, compromises of grammar rules have been done. I'hope the readers will understand the intent and bear with it.
Besides Sankaracaryas commentary, as still lot of explanation and notes are needed to understand the subtle commentary of his, certain explanations are added in the bhasyam, in the form of notes and also in the form of bracketed explanations, based on the explanations given by Pujy a Swamiji Dayarianda Saraswati and Sri Param ar thariand a Swamiji. As for the cover of this volume it is a visualisation of Brahman as onkara pervading the third visible panca bhuta, earth in the form of plant food, called annam by the upanisad.
My pranams to Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati and Sri Paramarthanand a Swamiji for this great teaching, and to Swami Saksakrtananda Saraswati for encouraging me in all possible ways to pen this, sorry to soft copy this book. And last but not least thanks to my enthusiastic readers who have been asking, when the second part of the Taittiriya will be out. My thanks also to Ms. Ambika for helping me in the final stages of formatting the book and specially for giving a beautiful form to my visualisation of the cover. I dedicate this book to all those who supported me and encouraged me in this endeavour of mine and hope that they also come. To share this great happiness known as brahmananda.
In the first volume of the Taittirlya upanisad, we saw the definition of Brahman as satyam jnanam anantam. And the result of this knowledge was also given as, the one who knows it, will be Brahman and will gain all his desires simultaneously. It was also said that Brahman can be recognised in one's own mind as it is manifest there as one's own atma. Now the question is how does one recognise Brahman in the mind? As explained in the first volume the mind has to be prepared, first by karma and then by upasanas. Once the buddhi is thus purified, the guru will impart the brahmajfianam given in the upanisad step by step.
The first step, which is about, what Brahman actually is, was clearly defined in the first anuvaka of this Brahmanandavalli as satyarh jnanam anantarh brahma. But that Brahman was paroksam brahma, as though separate from you. Whereas now we are in the next step, talking about aparoksam brahma, the brahmatma, which is not at a distance from you, but which is your own atma. Thus we come to the tatasthalaksanarn, the indirect definition of Brahman as the direct definition of Brahman satyam jrianam anantam will not clearly point out this fact. That is why in the beginning of Taittirrya upanisad vol. 1 itself, it was mentioned that this upanisad clearly presents both the direct as well as the indirect definitions of Brahman.
What is the tatasthalaksanam of Brahman? The tatasthalaksanam of Brahman is, that it is the cause by which all the living beings are born, sustained and resolved into. Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati says this tatasthalaksanam of Brahman is important because then only, one comes to understand what is sat yam and what is mithya. Then only the knowledge of the brahmatma makes one sarvatma, because there is nothing other than the Brahman. Sarvatmakatvam, 'I am all that is here', can be understood only when one understands all that is here, is not separate from oneself, and yet one is independent of all of them. This position must be clear. Therefore a method is followed by the sruti. The upanisad introduces that method in this valli, which is an inward journey from galaxies, to the earth, then to plants and food till it lands in the human body. The food eaten is assimilated and modified into a body.
So body is born of assimilated annam not directly, but indirectly through the parent bodies which are the essence of annam (annarasamayah). Then the upanisad continues its inward journey through the body. As part of this journey, the upanisad says the human body, which being born of annam, which is therefore known as annamaya, is the atma, the '1'. Then the vision is shifted from annamaya, the universal mistake, to pranamaya and then from pranamaya to manomaya and then from manomaya to vijfianamaya and from vinianamaya to ananadamaya, Thus having shifted the 'I' sense from each of these, through the negation of their being atma and resolving them into the cause, the upanisad lands the 'I' sense in the innermost brahmatma. Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati says thus one is taken through the teaching further interior, going through five levels of experience, where the mistake of it being atma is committed. And at every level sastra makes the correction.
Pujya Swamiji says this whole process is to accommodate individuality connected to the total and at the same time clear the confusion. Each level being introduced and resolved into its cause is indeed introduction to tatasthalaksanam of Brahman. Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati says one level of understanding in brahmavidya is, that karyam is non-separate from karanam. So the whole prakriya of karana-karya here is only to swallow the karya, as it is non-separate from karanam. Thus by stages you get to brahmatma, which being karanam is satyam. Karyam being mithya, it has no independent existence. Thus finally one arrives in oneself as satyarh jnanam anantarh karanarn brahma, which alone is mukhyatma. This is the essence of the inward journey, which starts with this second anuvakaof this valli and continues to be the content of the following three anuvakas, This is nirgunabrahma jnanam, which takes one from anatma to atma.
Along with this inward journey through the physical body of a human being, a paksi kalpana, a bird imagery is also given. What does the sruti mean by this? Pujya Swamiji says it is quite evident that the sruti wants to take one to the innermost, antaratma, the brahmatma, and at the same time give a chance for upasana as well, at this level of brahmajnanam also. Hence the imageryis given, so that one could stop the journey at anyone level and do sagunabrahma upasana if one desired it. But it would no longer be nirgunabrahma jnanam. If one should ask why the upanisad gives this parallel teaching of sagunabrahma upasana and nirgunabrahma jnanam, the answer is it is due to the compassion of the upanisad. For the well prepared mind the upanisad thinks the nirgunabrahma jnanam should no longer be delayed. But at the same time it does not want to ignore the not so well prepared mind in spite of all the preparing of the mind done in the first chapter of this upanisad, the siksavalli. Sruti is like a loving intelligent mother, who knows the different capacities of her different children and keeps them happy by encouraging them to do what they are capable, so that they do not get frustrated. It is therefore that sagunabrahma upasana is given at every level also. Thus the upanisad gives each one what they desire and what they are capable of.
As for brahmajnanam, once the journey is over and one comes to know that brahmatma, the creator of the whole universe is non-separate from oneself; the teaching also comes to an end. The sravanam part is over. But the student might have some doubts. So later on, two questions are asked here, namely whether after death, does a wise man reach Brahman or not, and after death does an ignorant man reach Brahman or not? These questions arise because the student has not yet got the clear vision that Brahman is not something to be reached, but only has to be known, as it already exists as one's own self. This might lead to another incidental question of Brahman's existence itself. Since brahmatma is notavailable, for the sense organs, one might have the basic doubt how can one be sure Brahman exists even though the sastra says so. Sometimes there are no answers to such questions except that one should have faith in the sastra. But the sastra in all its benevolence taking the help of logic, which we are all used to, proves the existence of Brahman. In this context three very important topics are discussed, namely Brahman's entry into the created world, known as "anupravesa sruti'. an analysis of brahrnananda known as "anandamimamsa' and an analysis of the cause of fear and security known as 'bhaya-abhaya hetutva rrumamsa'. This is the mananam part. Thus this Taittirrya upanisad is a complete upanisad as it prepares one for the teaching, then gives the teaching in the form of sravanam giving both the definitions of Brahman, direct as well as indirect, and if still doubts exist clears them patiently and thoroughly, which alone is known as mananam.
Brahma Sutras (79)
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