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Dasho Upanishad - The Ten Up Ani Shads

Dasho Upanishad - The Ten Up Ani Shads

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Published by Nitin Jain
Dasho Upanishad - The Ten Up Ani Shads
Dasho Upanishad - The Ten Up Ani Shads

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Published by: Nitin Jain on May 12, 2009
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06/29/2010

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19
Om, Sri Gurubhyo Namaha
UpanishadsUpanishadsUpanishadsUpanishadsUpanishads
DR. S. YEGNASUBRAMANIAN
The term 
upa ( 
near
 ) ni ( 
down)
shada-
(sit)means to sit by the side. The knowledge thatwas imparted by the teacher by keeping thestudent closely by his side, is dealt with in theUpanishads. This implies that the subject thatis taught is of the nature of a secret personaladvice that could be imparted only to theeligible (
adhikaari
), who is conditioned toabsorb the teaching! It also means, thatknowledge that makes one reach near
 Brahman
similar to the term 
upanayana
 (leading to the
 Paramaatman
). The upanishads give the spiritualvision and philosophical arguments and containthe ultimate message and purpose of the Vedas.They are known as
vedanta
. The term 
anta
means end. Upanishads are the end of theVedas in two senses: 1. Physical location of theUpanishads in the scriptures - first
Samhita
, then
 Braahmana
, followed by
 Aaranyaka
, at theconcluding portion of which is the upanishads;2. The ultimate goal or aim of the Vedas iscontained in the Upanishads beyond which thereis nothing more to go further!Upanishads expound the direct method of realization through
 jnaana maarga
(the pathof knowledge), the
abhedha
(non-duality) of theSupreme Being and the Jiva. Even thoughUpanishads contain information about rituals(yajnas), worship of deities etc., the focus ison the philosophical analysis and deals with astate of free mind with all its attachments(bondage) removed. The karma kaanda portionof the scriptures conditions the mind to developan internal discipline at the summit of whichexperience, analysis of the non-duality of the
 Jiva
(soul) and
 Brahman
becomes clearer! At thisstage (of removal from all physical bondage),one gets initiated to the 
mahaa vaakhyas
 (thegreat sayings) ! If one meditates intensely onthese, scholars say, that the non-duality couldbe actually experienced. Four
mahaa vaakhyas
are considered most important and arecontained in four upanishads. They are:1.
 prajnaanam brahma
(
 p[_;n b[; 
) - the actualexperience alone is
 Brahman
- AitareyaUpanishad : Rig Veda.2.
aham brhamaasmi
(
ah b[;iSm 
) - I am
 Brahman
- Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad: SuklaYajur Veda. The fourth chapter of TaittiriyaUpanishad of Krishna Yajur Veda has a slightlydifferent
mahaa vaakhya
-
ahamasmibrahmaahamasmi
(
ah aiSm b[;;hmiSm 
)3.
tat tvam asi
(
 ttß Tv ais 
) - that you are -Chaandogya Upanishad: Saama Veda.4.
ayamaatmaa brahma
(
aym;Tm; b;[
) - the
 Atman
(soul) is
 Brahman
- MaandukyaUpanishad : Atharva Veda.As one would understand, these areinstructions which can be given only to aspiritual aspirant who is highly qualified(
adhikaari
) to receive them, and so are treatedlike a
rahasya
(secret) !
 
20
There are several upanishads ( over twohundreds!) and Sri Adi Sankara chose to writecommentaries (
bhaashya
) upon ten of them,known as
dasopanishad 
s. Sri Ramanuja andSri Madhva also wrote commentaries on thesame ten upanishads. Whereas Adi Sankarahighlighted the non-dual (
advaita
) philosophy propounded in them, Sri Ramanuja emphasised
visishta-advaita
(qualified non-dual) and SriMadhva, the
dvaita
(dual) philosophies. Theten upanishads are given in the sloka :
 ERx kenkq;p[Ãn mu<@ m;<@UKy twiÆ;rI . Aetreyc z;;NdoGy b[hd;r<ykdx; ..
They are
 Isa, kena, kathaa, praSna,muNda, maandukya, taittariya, aitarEya,chaandogya and brahadaaranyaka Upanishad 
s.Adi Sankaras commentary is written in thesame order as above.
1. Isaavaasya (
 ER x;v;Sy  ER x;v;Sy   ER x;v;Sy  ER x;v;Sy   ER x;v;Sy 
) or Isa Upanishad
It is placed at the end of Sukla YajurVedas
Samhita
portion. It begins with thewords 
 Isaa vaasyam
 and hence the name. Theupanishad begins by saying that
 Iswara
 pervades the whole cosmic makeup and oneshould attain the state of realization of this
 paramaatma tattva
 by dedicating ones fruitof all
karma
s to That Divinity alone !
 ERx;v;SyimdsvR yiTkc jgTy; jgtß . tenTyKten &ujIq; m;gO/kSy iSv?dnmß ..
2. Kenopanishad
 kenopin-;tß  kenopin-;tß  kenopin-;tß  kenopin-;tß  kenopin-;tß 
This Upanishad starts with the word
kena
 and so the name. It is also called
talavakaara upanishad 
since it appears in thetalavakaara
braahmaNa
of the
 Jaimini saakha
of Saama veda. This describes how the MotherHerself enlightened Indra with divine wisdomto understand the nature of 
 paramaatman
. Itis glorified with a saying search for whateveris lost in
 Kena
! The Upanishad starts with aset of questions, Willed by whom does thedirected mind go towards its object? Beingdirected by whom does the vital force that precedes all, proceed (towards its duty)? Bywhom is this speech willed that people utter?Who is the effulgent being who directs the eyesand the ears? . The Upanishad proceeds todeclare that It (
 Brahman
) is known to him towhom It is unknown; he does not know towhom It is known. It is unknown to those whoknow well, and known to those who do notknow - an intense and minute analysis!
3. Kathopanishad
 k#opin-;tß  k#opin-;tß  k#opin-;tß  k#opin-;tß  k#opin-;tß 
This upanishad occurs in the kathakaSaakha of Krishana Yajur Veda. It containsthe dialog between the Lord of Death andNachiketas, a young boy who demanded toknow the answer for the question, whathappens to the soul after death? Although itbegins with a story, it expounds a great truththat the
 Atma
is different from the body andall afflictions of the body (like anger, hatred,likes, passion, etc.) and so one should trainthe mind to view the body as an external objectto
 Atman
.
4-6 Prasna (
 p[ p[ p[ p[ p[à n  n  n  n  n 
) Mundaka (
 mu<@  mu<@  mu<@  mu<@  mu<@ 
) andMaandukya (
 m;<@UKy  m;<@UKy  m;<@UKy  m;<@UKy  m;<@UKy 
) Upanishads
These three belong to Atharva Veda.Prasnopanishad deals with the analysis of sixquestions (
 praSna
means question)and theyare: 1. How creation began ? 2. Devas are
 
21
whom? 3. How body and life are connected?4. What are three states - wakefulness, dreamand deep sleep? 5. What is the benefit of worshipping the
 Pranava
? 6. What is therelation between
 Purusha
and
 Jiva
?Mundaka Upanishad is believed to befollowed by Sannyaasins with detacheddisposition of the phenomenal world. The term
mundaka
means fully shaven-head ortonsure. The upanishad deals with 
aksharabrahman
 which may mean either as the onewhich is free from dissolution (decay) or assyllable. The imagery of the
 Jivaatma
and
 Paramaatma
as two birds perched on the treeof 
sareera
(body) where the
 Jiva
bird eats thefruits of action and the
 paramaatma
birdremains a mere witness, is given in thisUpanishad the motto of India, Truth alonetriumphs is also derived from this upanishad!
 sTymev jyte n;nOt sTyen pNq; ivtto devy;n
The smallest of all upanishads is Maandukyaupanishad (contains only twelve mantras!).Manduka (
 m<@uk 
) means frog. As a frog can leapfrom the first to the fourth step of a stairs withouthaving to climb each stair, this upanishad givesthe way to transcend the three stages of awakening (
 jaagrati
), dream (
swapna
), and sleep(
susupti
) and reach the fourth stage of 
turiya
through the worship of 
 Pranava.
7. Taittiriya (
 twi  twi  twi  twi  twiÆ  ;rIy  ;rIy  ;rIy  ;rIy  ;rIy 
) upanishad
This belongs to the Krishna Yajur Veda.This has three chapters: Seekshaa valli dealswith aspects of studies and teaching, various
upaasana
s including that of 
 pranava, aavahantihoma
mantras, fundamental duties and valuesetc. The famous statements that mother,father, teacher and guest are personificationsof divinities occur in this chapter.
 m;tO devo &v. iptO devo &v.a;c;yR devo &v. aitiq devo &v .
The second chapter, brahmaananda valli,deals with an unique analysis of five sheaths -
 panca kosa
s namely,
annamaya
(food),
 praanamaya
(life),
mano maya
(mind),
vijnaana maya
(knowledge) and
aananda maya
(bliss) sheaths.The popular inquiry of bliss in an ascendingorder culminating with 
brahmaananda
isexpounded at the end of this chapter.The third chapter, brighu valli, is theteaching (
upadesa
) of Varuna to his son Brighuwhere he enables his son to go through anintense enquiry of the Self through the stagesof the
 panca kosa
s, and the son finally achievesthe results. The value of food - do not abusefood, grow more food; do not waste food- isgiven in detail. The chapter ends with the proclamation that the Realized
Jiva
thinks thathe alone is the food, the one who eats it, theone who generated link between the food andthe eater. He sings in bliss where himself anddivinity are One.
8. Aitareya (
 Atrey  Atrey  Atrey  Atrey  Atrey 
) Upanishad
This is placed at the end of the AitareyaAranyaka of Rig veda and is so called becauseit came through the revelation of the rishiAitareya. This expounds the cycle of life anddeath according to ones own merits (
 punya
)and demerits (
 paapa
) and how freedom from

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