Chandogya Upanishad part 2

The Best Quotes

Beyond the Name

 Om. Narada approached Sanatkumara as a pupil and said: "Venerable Sir, please teach me." Sanatkumara said to him: "Please tell me what you already know. Then I shall tell you what is beyond."

Narada said: "Venerable Sir, I know the Rig—Veda, the Yajur—Veda, the Sama—Veda, the Atharva—Veda as the fourth Veda, the epics (Puranas) and ancient lore (Itihasa) as the fifth, the Veda of the Vedas (i.e. grammar), the rules of the sacrifices by which the Manes are gratified, the science of numbers, the science of portents, the science of time, logic, ethics, etymology, Brahma—vidya (i.e. the science of pronunciation, ceremonials, prosody, etc.), the science of elemental spirits, the science of weapons, astronomy, the science of serpents and the fine arts. All this I know, venerable Sir.

"But, venerable Sir, with all this I know words only; I do not know the Self. I have heard from men like you that he who knows the Self overcomes sorrow. I am one afflicted with sorrow. Do you, venerable Sir, help me to cross over to the other side of sorrow." Sanatkumara said to him: "Whatever you have read is only a name.

"Verily, a name is the Rig—Veda; so also are the Yajur— Veda, the Sama—Veda, the Atharva—Veda as the fourth Veda, the epics and the ancient lore as the fifth, the Veda of the Vedas, the rules of the sacrifices by which the Manes are gratified, the science of numbers, the science of portents, the science of time, logic, ethics, etymology, Brahma—vidya, the science of elemental spirits, the science of weapons, astronomy, the science of serpents and the fine arts. "Meditate on the name.

"He who meditates on a name as Brahman can, of his own free will, reach as far as the name reaches—he who meditates on a name as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than a name?" "Of course there is something greater than a name." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:1:1-5)

Brahman is Mind

 "The mind is, verily, greater than speech. Just as the closed fist holds two amalakas, or two plums, or two aksha fruits, so does the mind hold speech and a name. For when a man thinks in his mind that he would read the sacred hymns, then he reads them. When he thinks in his mind that he would perform actions, then he performs them. When he thinks in his mind that he would have sons and cattle, then he desires them. When he thinks in his mind that he would have this world and the other, then he desires them. Mind, indeed, is the self; mind is the world; mind is Brahman. "Meditate on the mind.

"He who meditates on mind as Brahman can, of his own free will, reach as far as mind reaches—he who meditates on mind as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than mind?" "Of course there is something greater than mind." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:5:1-3)

Consideration

"Consideration (Chitta) is, verily, greater than will. For when a man considers, then he wills, then he thinks in his mind, then he utters speech, then he engages speech in the recitation of a name. The sacred hymns are included in a name and all sacrifices are included in the sacred hymns.

"Consideration is, indeed, the goal of all these beginning with mind and ending in sacrifice; from consideration they arise and in consideration they all abide. Therefore if a person is without consideration, even though he possesses much knowledge, people say of him that he is nothing and whatever he knows is useless; for if he were really learned, he would not be so inconsiderate. But if a person is considerate, though he knows but little, to him people are eager to listen. Consideration, indeed, is the goal of all these; consideration is the self; consideration is the support. Meditate on consideration.

"He who meditates on consideration as Brahman, he, being permanent, firm and undistressed, obtains the worlds which are permanent, firm and undistressed; he can, of his own free win, reach as far as consideration reaches—he who meditates on consideration as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than consideration?" "Of course there is something greater than consideration." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:5:1-3)

Meditation as Brahman

"Meditation (Dhyana) is, verily, greater than consideration. Earth meditates, as it were. The mid—region meditates, as it were. Heaven meditates, as it were. The waters meditate, as it were. The mountains meditate, as it were. The gods meditate, as it were. Men meditate, as it were. Therefore he who, among men, attains greatness here on earth seems to have obtained a share of meditation. Thus while small people are quarrelsome, abusive and slandering, great men appear to have obtained a share of meditation. Meditate on meditation.

"He who meditates on meditation as Brahman, can, of his own free will, reach as far as meditation reaches—he who meditates on meditation as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than meditation?" "Of course there is something greater than meditation." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:6:1-2)

Understanding

"Understanding is, verily, greater than meditation. Understanding makes one understand the Rig—Veda, the Yajur—Veda, the Sama—Veda, the Atharva—Veda as the fourth, the epics and the ancient lore as the fifth, the Veda of the Vedas, the rules of sacrifices by which the Manes are gratified, the science of numbers, the science of portents, the science of time, logic, ethics, etymology, Brahma—vidya, the science of elemental spirits, the science of weapons, astronomy, the science of serpents and the fine arts; heaven, earth, air, water, fire, gods, men, cattle, birds, herbs, trees; animals, together with worms, flies and ants; and also righteousness and unrighteousness, the true and the false, the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant, food and taste, this world and yonder world. Meditate on understanding.

"He who meditates on understanding as Brahman attains the worlds of understanding and knowledge and can, of his own free will, reach as far as understanding reaches—he who meditates on understanding as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than understanding?" "Of course there is something greater than understanding." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:7:1-2)

Akasha

"The akasa is, verily, greater than fire. For in the akasa exist both the sun and the moon, lightning, stars and fire. It is through the akasa that a person calls another; it is through the akasa that the other hears; it is through the akasa that the person hears back. In the akasa we rejoice when we are together and in the akasa we rejoice not when we are separated. In the akasa everything is born and toward the akasa all things grow. Meditate upon the akasa.

"He who meditates on the akasa as Brahman obtains the worlds extending far and wide, luminous, free from pain and spacious; he can, of his own free will, reach as far as the akasa reaches— he who meditates on the akasa as Brahman." Narada said: "Venerable Sir, is there anything greater than the akasa?" "Of course there is something greater than the akasa." "Please tell that to me, venerable Sir." (7:12-1-2)

The Prana as Brahman

"The prana is, verily, greater than hope. As the spokes of a wheel are fastened to the nave, so are all these beginning with the name and ending with hope fastened to the prana. The prana moves by the prana. The prana gives the prana to the prana. The prana is the father, the prana is the mother, the prana is the brother, the prana is the sister, the prana is the teacher, the prana is the brahmin. (7:15:1)

The Infinite is Bliss

"The infinite is bliss. There is no bliss in anything finite. Only the Infinite is bliss. One must desire to understand the Infinite." "Venerable Sir, I desire to understand the Infinite." (7:23:1)

"Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else—that is the Infinite. Where one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else—that is the finite. The Infinite is immortal, the finite mortal." "Venerable Sir, in what does the Infinite find Its support?" "In Its own greatness—or not even in greatness."

"Here on earth people describe cows and horses, elephants and gold, slaves and wives, fields and houses, as ‘greatness.’ I do not mean this," he said, "for in such cases one thing finds its support in another. But what I say is: (7:24:1-2))

"That infinite, indeed, is below. It is above. It is behind. It is before. It is to the south. It is to the north. The Infinite, indeed, is all this. "Next follows the instruction about the Infinite with reference to ‘I’: I, indeed, am below. I am above. I am behind. I am before. I am to the south. I am to the north. I am, indeed, all this.

"Next follows the instruction about the Infinite with reference to the Self: The Self indeed, is below. It is above. It is behind. It is before. It is to the south. It is to the north. The Self, indeed, is all this. "Verily, he who sees this, reflects on this and understands this delights in the Self sports with the Self, rejoices in the Self revels in the Self. Even while living in the body he becomes a self—ruler. He wields unlimited freedom in all the worlds. ‘‘But those who think differently from this have others for their rulers they live in perishable worlds. They have no freedom in all the worlds." (7:25:1-2)

Self—knowledge

"For him who sees this, reflects on this and understands this, the prana springs from the Self, hope springs from the Self, memory springs from the Self, the akasa springs from the Self, fire springs from the Self; water springs from the Self; appearance and disappearance spring from the Self, food springs from the Self, strength springs from the Self; understanding springs from the Self, meditation springs from the Self, consideration springs from the Self, will springs from the Self; mind springs from the Self speech springs from the Self, the name springs from the Self the sacred hymns spring from the Self the sacrifices spring from the Self—ay, all this springs from the Self."

"On this there is the following verse: "‘The knower of Truth does not see death or disease or sorrow. The knower of Truth sees everything and obtains everything everywhere.’ "He (the knower) is one before the creation, becomes three, becomes five, becomes seven, becomes nine; then again he is called eleven, one hundred and ten and one thousand and twenty. "Now is described the discipline for inner purification by which Self—Knowledge is attained: When the food is pure, the mind becomes pure. When the mind is pure the memory becomes firm. When the memory is firm all ties are loosened." The venerable Sanatkumara showed Narada, after his blemishes had been wiped out, the other side of darkness. They call Sanatkumara Skanda, yea, Skanda they call him. (7:26:1-2)

Self-Realization

"And just as, here on earth, whatever is earned through work perishes, so does the next world, won by virtuous deeds, perish. Those who depart hence without having realized the Self and these true desires—for them there is no freedom in all the worlds. But those who depart hence after having realized the Self and these true desires—for them there is freedom in all the worlds. (8:1:6)

"Those of his fellows who belong to him here and those who are dead and whatever else there is which he wishes for and does not obtain—he finds all that by going in there (i.e. into his own Self). For there, indeed, lie those true desires of his, covered by what is false. "As people who do not know the spot where a treasure of gold has been hidden somewhere in the earth, walk over it again and again without finding it, so all these creatures day after day go into the World of Brahman and yet do not find it, because they are carried away by untruth. (8:3:2)

The Self

"O Indra, this body is mortal, always held by death. It is the abode of the Self which is immortal and incorporeal. The embodied self is the victim of pleasure and pain. So long as one is identified with the body, there is no cessation of pleasure and pain. But neither pleasure nor pain touches one who is not identified with the body.

"The wind is without body; the cloud, lightning and thunder are without body. Now, as these, arising from yonder akasa and reaching the highest light, appear in their own forms, "So does this serene Being, arising from this body and reaching the Highest Light, appear in His own form. In that state He is the Highest Person. There He moves about, laughing, playing, rejoicing—be it with women, chariots, or relatives, never thinking of the body into which he was born. "As an animal is attached to a cart, so is the prana (i.e. the conscious self) attached to the body.

"When the person in the eye resides in the body, he resides where the organ of sight has entered into the akasa (i.e. the pupil of the eye); the eye is the instrument of seeing. He who is aware of the thought: ‘Let me smell this,’ he is the Self; the nose is the instrument of smelling. He who is aware of the thought: ‘Let me speak,’ he is the Self; the tongue is the instrument of speaking. He who is aware of the thought: ‘Let me hear,’ he is the Self; the ear is the instrument of hearing.

"He who is aware of the thought: ‘Let me think this,’ he is the Self; the mind is his divine eye. He, the Self sees all these desires in the World of Brahman through the divine eye, the mind and rejoices.

"The gods meditate on that Self. Therefore all worlds belong to them and all desires. He who knows that Self and understands It obtains all worlds and all desires." Thus said Prajapati, yea, thus said Prajapati. (8:12:1-6)

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* Excerpts translated by Swami Nikhilananda