Taittiriya Upanishad

Belonging as it does to the School of Krishna Yajur Veda, the last part of Taittiriya Brahmana is the Aranyaka comprising Siksha Valli, Ananda Valli and Bhrugu Valli. The Upanishad’s Unique Invocations are to Surya, Varuna, Indra Brihaspati Vishnu and Praana or the Vaayu whithout whom Life is non existent and unreal: Harih Om, Sham no Mitrah sham Varunah sham na Indro Brihaspatih, sham no Vishnururkramah, namo Brahmane namaste Vaayo twameva pratyaksham Brahmaami, twameva pratyaksham Brahma vadishyaami Rutam vadishyaami Satyam vadishyaami, tanmaavatu, tad vaktaaramavatu, avatu maam avatu vaktaaram, Om Shanti Shanti Shantih// May Mitra bless us, Varuna bless us, Aryamaan bless us, Indra and Brihaspati bless us; may Vishnu possessed of enormous strides identify us with His lotus feet! May Mitra / Aryamaan during the day and Varuna in the night protect our Individual Selves to smoothen exhaling and inhalinig of praana the vital energy to energise to work and rest in the days and nights! May Vaayu the Prathyksha Brahma being the ready proof and evidence of Brahman as existence is negated otherwise in the absence of ‘Praana’ safeguard, nourish and sustain our limbs andsenses and presence for long; let peace prevail for ever! In the ‘Siksha Valli’ portion, the Upanishad teaches the Science of Shiksha or Rudiments of Six Vedangas viz. Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukti, Chhandas and Jyotisha about Recitation, Accent and Clarity of Language. Then the profile of Meditation of five kinds of Loka Vigjnaana or Worldly Knowledge is provided viz. ‘adhilokam’ in referene to Tri Lokas, ‘adhi jyautisham’ about the degree of splendour of the the Tri Lokas; ‘adhividyam’ or the intimate knowledge each of the Tri Lokas and their binding spirit; ‘adhiprajam’ or about the spiritual patterns of the inhabitants of the lokas, ‘adhyatmikam’ or inner psychological based features. Normally Adhibhoutikam or physical pluses and minuses- Adhyatmikam – Adhi Daivikam or God made aberrations like floods or earth quakes are mentioned.The outstanding linkages of Vaayu connecting Lokas and Beings, Water connecting Agni and Suryas, and Knowledge connecting Guru-Shishyas and blood relationship of Parents and Progeny is discussed further.The purport of Celestial Symbols of ‘Bhurbhuvatsavah mahah’is explained. That Meditation and Sacrifices to Paramatma and Antaratma have five fold factors in common viz. divine-natural-physical-human and moral have been vividly explained too. The Divine aspects include Earth and Sky; Fire-Air-Sun-Moon and Stars besides Virat Swarupa responsible for Srishti of Beings; the Natural aspects of Adhi Daivika-Bhoutika-Aatmika are as illustrated already; physical and human factors or Pancha Praanas, Pancha Jnaanendriyas, Pancha Karmindriyas or body parts and sensory organs and senses. Then follows the discussion on OM the truly symbolic Paramatma; the concepts of Swaadhyaya- Pravachana-Adhyapana or Self Recitation-Teaching; Dama or Self Control of body and senses; austerities including Sacrifices besides Aththi Seva / Service to Guests and ‘Dharmaacharana’ or Observing Regulations of Virtue and Justice. Hence the UniqueTeachings: Satyam vada, Dharmam chara, Swadhyaanmaapramadah Acharyaaya priyam dhanamaahritya prajaatantum maa vyavachetseeh, Satyaam na pramaditavyam, kushalam pramaditavyam, Dharmaaan na pramaditavyam, bhutayai pramaditavyam, swaaddhyaya pravachinaabhyaam na pravachinaabhyaam na pramaditavyam, Deva Pitru karmaabhyam na pramaditavyam/ After teaching Vedas, the Preceptor imparts a set of duties to utter Truth always and practise righteousness; he exhorts not to neglect Swadhyaya or constant study, not to earn illegally but to help the public as possible; not to hurt the Beings, not to neglect duties to Devas like Agni karyas, worships, vratas, charities, yatra darshanas, and above all self control and peservation of Internal Peace. Having discussed the paramountcy of ‘Anna’ or Food and ‘Praana’ or Vital Energy and of ‘Manas’ or Mind and depth of Understanding which are indeed the essential inputs to access Mahat / Bliss, ‘Ananda Valli’ of the Upanishad highlights that significance of Vigjnaana or High Quality Knowledge; it enables performing yagjnas and duties as per teachings; consant worship to Devas, Prajapati and Hiranyagarbha; gradual evaporation of human sins, and discovery of Inner Self. Human body is a complex penomenon of Pancha koshas or Five Sheaths viz. Annamaya, Praanamaya, Manomaya, Vijnaanamaya and Anandamaya; once the cycle from food to energy to mind to vijnaana is in place, the resultant Ananda or ecstacy is such that even a drop of it is stated keep the entire Universe ticking as degrees of that drop of Bliss to various Beings including humanity as also to Celestial Entities. In reference to Devas, that mere drop controls and regulates the ‘Srishti’ and thus it is out of reverence and the awe of Brahman the Supreme most and Unknown that Wind blows perpetually, Sun rises and sets as per the prescribed timings; so do attend to their duties unfalingly by Agni, Indra and Yama the Lord of Death. Now Brahman bestows to all, human or celestial alike. Karma Devas say EightVasus, Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adithyas , Indra and Prajapati too enjoy the bliss as per their own degrees of hierarchy. That is how even Hiranya garbha secures as per the ascending order! Granting that the Supreme Brahman is bliss, the belief that Brahman and one’s own Conscience of Individuals is just the same is hard to digest due to the blanket of ignorance and the ‘parama rahasyam’ of Upanishads or the essence of Teaching is of Unity of the Supreme and Self! Maharshi Bhrigu approached Varuna Deva to define Brahman in the ‘Bhruguvalli’ of Taittiriya Upanishad. As Varuna asked the Maharshi to deeply concentrate and introspect and in a step-by-analysis made by Bhrigu, the latter identified over intervals of deep ‘tapasya’ that food, praana, mind, and intense knowledge were finally declared Bliss as Brahman: Anando Brahmeti.From Bliss is originated Creation, Sustenance and Merger.Be it a cosmic view or microcosmic one, the aspact of food occupies in the scheme of priorities. Indeed from food to praana to material wealth to knowledge to mind to Spiritual Awakening to Bliss the zenith and Brahman as reflected in the Self!

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in