The Upanishad (Post – II; Ch1:6 to Ch2:3)…by Reader

Chapter 1

Article 6

The imperishable nature of Life is eclipsed by the triad of Identity, Form and Karma. Identity is created by expressions, as in speech. Vision is the source of Form and the body is the source of Karma.

Here, I feel, Karma is used to mean activity or action as in effort or conduct, not Karma as in duty.

This chapter ends with:

Praano vaa amritam, naama ruupe satyam; taabhyaam ayam praanaas channah |

… … … Life (Self) is Imperishable; Identity and Form are True (Real); the twain veil the Self |


Chapter II

Article 1

This article is a conversation between a learned (!) Brahmin, named Gaargya and a Kshatriya named Ajaat Shatru. You’ll find the reason for the exclamation mark as you read further.

Gaargya: I will tell you what is Brahma!

Ajaata Shatru: I’ll give you a thousand cows for your offer!

Gaargya: The purusha in the Sun is Brahma! Meditate on the Sun as Brahma!

Ajaata Shatru: Speak not of the Sun! I meditate on him as the Lord of all things mortal.

Gaargya: The purusha in the Moon is the Brahma! Meditate on the Moon as Brahma!

Ajaata Shatru: Speak not of the Moon! I meditate on him as the source of health and longevity!

This goes on with everything that Gaargya calls Brahma – Lightening, Air, Fire, Water, reflection in the mirror, Sound, the person (purusha) in the 8 directions, Shadows and finally the Self.

Gaargya: The purusha in the Self is the Brahma! Meditate on the Self as Brahma!

Ajaata Shatru: Speak not of the Self! I meditate on the Self as one self-possessed!

At this Gaargya becomes silent.

Ajaata Shatru then takes Gaargya by the hand and says, “Come, I’ll make you know what is Brahma!”

They come to a man who is fast asleep. They try to wake him up by calling various names. The person does not wake up. Finally, Ajaat Shatru shakes him with his hand and the man wakes up.

And then Ajaat Shatru explains the nature of Brahma to Gaargya beginning with a question:

Where is the intelligence of a person when he is fast asleep? Did it go anywhere and return or was it always there? When this person was asleep his senses were at rest – all except the intelligence of his breath which is governed by his heart. When the breath is restrained, speech, sight, ears and the mind are restrained.

Like woven threads of a spider’s web, this soul (Aatma) moves in the life (Praana) of each breath, in all beings, in all divinities and the universe. Tesaam esa satyam – this is the reality that exists in all the realities. This is Brahma.


Article 2

This article is about Life that is embodied.

There are two experiences of the body. One that is sensed by the ears, eyes, nose and the mouth. The other that is subtle and experienced only in pain. Food binds the subtle with the gross body.

In the Rig Veda, as also later in the Katha Upanishad, these subtle and gross senses are considered hostile because they hinder the perception of the Self. Together they are called Vrittra. In the Rig Veda, Vrittra is defeated by the Vajra of Indra. For me this is another indicator that all the powerful divine forces exist within oneself.

There are seven natural elements that keep the subtle body alive. Rudra, Parjanya, Aditya, Agni, Indra, Prithvi and Diauh – Energy, Water, Sunlight, Fire, Matter, Earth and Space.

Notice one thing in all this. Speech is excluded from all bodily features. Speech is called the eighth seer that communicates with Brahma. The mouth is one of the seven seers yet it is not the source of speech.

To add a footnote to that I would say speech is not a sense organ. It is an expression. I hold that as the difference between appeal and dignity. If speech is an appeal, listening is dignity. One does not impress the other.


Article 3

About the two appearances of reality

Reality appears in two ways. One with forms and features, one that is formless and featureless. One that is perishable and one that is imperishable. One that is still and one that is in perpetual motion. One that is true and one that is an illusion.

With reference to the Self:

… athaata aadeshah na iti na iti, na hy etasmaad iti…

Awareness of this Self occurs in an instant and the only words that describe the Self are Not This, Not This, None of these…


To be continued…


89 Responses to “The Upanishad (Post – II; Ch1:6 to Ch2:3)…by Reader”

  1. Thank you Sharmila,

    Notice that this, the original work, is simple and straight forward. Subsequent rituals and customs have added so much that the real messages have got obscured.

    For instance, in Article two, skin is not considered a gross sense organ. It is subtle and experienced only in pain. Yet, the five senses that we count today are – hearing, taste, smell, sight and touch.

    Now if we accept that touch is a subtle sense, then all physical contact gives an experience of subtle existents, not gross.

    Sadly, the scriptures do not explain this and every commenter draws his/her opinions. For instance, Shankara ascribes divine motives, S. Radhakrishnan is pragmatic, Vivekanada is highly rebellious!

    Hence, my opinion is, every one should read it and derive his/her own meanings.

    In my case, as I experience new events, I draw a deeper meaning each time I read it.

    Perhaps at some point of time in future, I’ll reach a stage where I’ll agree with Shankara, Radhakrishnan, Vivekanada, Paramhansa or Tagore.

    Till then, the journey continues…

    • Reader,
      Can you describe about beliefs of those three or may be more names you mentioned….!?

      • Shankaracharya is the oldest among the three. The one who revived the Vedic culture. His translations and commentaries are the most revered. His take is very mystic for my taste.

        Vivekananda was a rebel. A very disciplined and an aggressive preacher.

        S. Radhakrishnan is moderate. Translations are often literal and prgmatic with cross references to other texts including Plato, Bible etc.

      • Reader,
        Not about them but the way they actually differ…. just words like mystic,rebelious or moderate don’t give an exact idea…any examples…if you please…!

  2. Reader,
    That’s the beauty of these scriptures….They say ‘ not this…not this…’ never said ‘what is…’ and at the end in Rig Veda they said…who knows…’ lol….how many really have courage to go through those thousands of pages to learn and know “who knows…!”
    Nothing easy….probably that’s the reason it didn’t become a book on a shelf in every household….

    • MonaLisa,

      Each Vedic book draws a line on where to begin and where to stop.

      Science and astronomy are covered by other works of Shukracharya, Bharadwaj, Aryabhatta etc. For instance, Bharadwaj’s verse are referred in the Veda but not his work on metallurgy and 3 dimensional mathematics.

      Similarly, in medicine and surgery. Shiva cut off his son’s head and replaced it with an elephants head. He did the same to many others.

      Cloning seems to have been common. Saraswati and Brahma (of Puri) created so many new animals and plants.

      Dharma, Adhyaatma (spiritualism) only refers to the scientific works. These are recorded separately. There are over 4300 books in all covering all the subjects.

    • About Not this and what is…

      You don’t have to read these books to discover what is…

      For me it only saves time in setting parameters…

  3. Reader – Talking of speech, is this why mantras are meant to be the way one communicates with Brahma? I have read that mantras resonate with the universe and cause the same universal energy around us when they are uttered.

    • Sharmila,

      You are right about the mantras. Some very important effects of speech are to be noted:

      The pooja form, the narrative, conversational and Japa.

      First and foremost an understanding is required that all the divine forces that are described in the Vedas exist in our bodies. They are harmonized by the mind.

      Speech expresses and steers them. This is critical.

      Brahma, the Life, exists in us. Thats why we are called alive. Speech communicates with Brahma.

      Communication is different from telling. Communication is a two way process. The right speech makes us glow with joy, inadequate words may leave us groping for more.

      There are some rules made for Japa. Some are not advisable for men, some are not advised for women.

      Like, the Gayatri mantra was not advised for young women because the rhythm, when repeated as per the rules, stirs a harmonal imbalance.

      They must have tested these before making the rules.

      The universal energy, The Brahma, is the only synchronous vibration that is common to all. When individuals acquire that they react in various ways.

      Some go into a trance, some simply smile and move on, some take up transcendental meditation and so on…

      Mantras are also equations. In the days that some mantras were written, math did not have a script, i.e. numbers were not written in figures.

      For instance, in the BA Upanishad, Yadnyavalkya tells a woman questioner that 3200 times the spherical volume in space traced by Sun in a day is the size of the universe. But it is said in words not numbers.

      Some Mantras like the Mrityunjay (Atharva) are curative in nature. It kills all the vrittra in our body.

      Many people are scared to test it on themselves. They would rather have these tested on white rats in a lab before trying it on humans.

      So be it…

      • An example of this universal symphony is your experience in Tirupathi…

      • That is so true Reader. Coincidently, Tirumala was on my thoughts now too!

      • Thanks for this most useful info on Mantras. May need to know more about it, will surely come up with a lot of Qs..

      • Sharmila,

        Here is a clue that I often use:

        A shloka may sometimes mean nothing, but a mantra is always a formula, an equation, a technique or a method. So, if you find any text that is called a mantra (mostly in Yaju, Atharva) there is always some useful content that needs further deciphering…

      • This for MonaLisa, (Most likely to ask..)

        An example of a mantra that is not advised for men:

        O’ Lord, send thy angel to bear me a handsome son; for this shall I refrain from Soma.

      • Reader,
        Whatever we speak or think …remains in the universe….nothing is ever destroyed …it remains and comes back in its due course…how does that happen…?!!
        Is universe like a bubble….that nothing goes out of it…or is that it….nothing beyond this universe…!?

      • MonaLisa,

        I have thw works of Shankara and Radhakrishnan. Vivekanand is easy to get. Shall prepare a comparative chart of the three soonest.

      • MonaLisa,

        In most of the yantras like Shri yantra, Ganpati yantra, the Universe is shown as a complex of cones and spheres. The Universe as a bubble could be possible. But do you really think it has a memory. I don’t know. I am not sure. Very difficult establish that.

  4. Reader,

    These seven elements seem a little different from the Panchabuthas… Why is ‘air’ not one of the elements?
    Is Indra ‘matter’ in this context?
    How do the senses hinder the perception of the Self?

    Thank you.


  5. Aish,

    The seven elements are those that keep the subtle body alive. Subtle body parts are those that are felt only in pain, like say the stomach, intestine, spinal cord, bones, lungs, muscles, tissues etc.

    Rudra, Parjanya, Aditya, Agni, Indra, Prithvi and Diauh – Energy, Water, Sunlight, Fire, Matter, Earth and Space.

    In Ayurvedic medicine, these are divided into 3 basic elements: Vaatt, Pitta and Kuffa.

    The 5 elements Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Space are consitutents of both the subtle and gross body parts. However, Air becomes a compounded part of other elements in the subtle parts. Hence during treatment, say for kuffa, there is no separate treatment for purifying the vayu parts. It is part of Pranaayama and blood purifying (Raktha dosh).

    Unlike Air, Space, Sunlight, Earth act independently and are prescribed separately.

    Senses hinder perception of the Self. Here the Self is the identityHence, Krishna makes a point in the Samkhya Yoga. Withdraw the senses like a tortoise withdraws itself and let your mind work on itself. Let the senses do their business, leave them alone.

    Yada samharate cayam, kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah
    Indriyanindriyarthebhyas, tasya prajna pratisthita

    … … … As the tortoise withdraws itself in a shell
    … … … Still the senses and their meanings reside in the Intelligence

    • And, Aish, please don’t thank me. Thank those who have done the hard work for us.

      This is only the beginning. If Sharmila lets me post all that I have, there will be a thousand pages and more of very refined and tested literature!!!!

      So, thanks to Sharmila!

    • Correction:

      Yada samharate cayam, kurmo ‘nganiva sarvasah
      Indriyanindriyarthebhyas, tasya prajna pratisthita

      … … … As the tortoise withdraws itself in a shell
      … … … Let the senses and their meanings reside in the Intelligence

    • Reader,

      Its sad that despite living in Kerala, and coming from a family of Ayurveda doctors (my great grandfather, maternal uncles, and several others), my knowledge of Ayurveda is limited. I associate Vata with rheumatic disorders, Pitta with jaundice, and Kapha with phlegm…thats it!:P

      The Sanskrit verse above further emphasizes a point that you made in one of your earlier comments,
      ‘No matter what you come up with, you’ll find it addressed by Krishna.’

      So true.

      • Aish,

        It’s an ocean of literature. Perceptions, ethics, virtues, values, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy, physical sciences, astronomy, astrology….

        I haven’t scratched the surface in my learning…

        Kerala is the birthplace of Ayruveda.. many of the original research books are in Malayalam.

    • Blood purifying – Raktha ‘moksha’ – one of the Panchakarmas.
      (Not dosh)

      • Aish,

        Tell tell. I really need to know to more about the panchakarma.

        Rakhta dosh, I think, is a malady.

      • Reader,

        That was posed as a question. You had mentioned blood purification in a comment above with raktha dosh in parenthesis. I havent heard of ‘raktha + dosh’ – is rakht also a dosh along with vata, pitta, and kapha?

        I have heard of raktha moksha though. For more on Panchakarmas, pl come to Trivandrum…:)

      • AIsh,

        Rakhta is blood. Dosh is malady. So, any defect in the blood is called Rakhta dosh. It can be caused by Vaat or pitta. There are many herbal medicines for that. The generic name for them is ‘Rakhta-doshaantak’, mostly to bring the Hb count etc to normal.

        Vist to TVM will give me moksha? I thought Kailash was closer to Vaikunth.

      • Moksha may involve sticking hungry leeches on you. That may speeden your trip to Kailas – you wont even need airline tickets!


      • Moksha means liberation, na? If a bite a leech will it get liberated?

      • I mean if I bite one, will it get moksha?

      • It will…you are too generous, Reader…:)

        I am couriering a batch rightaway…

      • Make sure they speak Marathi or Kannada. I am a veggie…

      • They writhe once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no’…in rapid succession…

      • Aish,

        Moksha, as I understand it, is not the same thing as Mrityu. Mrityu is just kicking the bucket, with or without a writhing leech.

        Moksha is the soul released from further functions.

      • Aish,

        Ayurveda of Dosh, Dhatu and Mala

        I am not an Ayurvedic doctor – no good at micro level

      • Thanks Reader…

  6. I had an interesting discussion with a marxist friend last Friday. Here are some of his notions that we discussed and agreed to disagree:

    1. Every pious person is a potential extremist/ fanatic.

    2. All aethists are rational.

    3. Corporal punishments are justified to prevent militancy.

    4. Human Rights are ‘decided’ by other humans, they are not birth-rights.


    I thought the chap was bullish. I told him, ” If you bull-doze your ideas this way your stock would crash soon; Even dictators need to come to power before they kill their benefactors; So go slow – Envy is a parasite. You cannot hate the good for being good. Try something else…”

    We are close friends. He is a hard core believer in the writings of Karl Marx and Lenin but not of anthroplogical literature. We dropped the discussion after the soup and starters. He continued to brood on it for some more time, while I was enjoying the music and ambience in the roof-top restaurant…

    After all, what are friends for? 🙂

    • This believer thing is another stolen concept. I know a lot of people who were born after the Apollo mission to the moon and are now ready to be convinced that it was a hoax. The US spacecraft landed in Sahara etc…

      A few generations from now people will call Dolly, the clone sheep, a hoax. All sorts of rationale will be presented for lack of evidences. But does that matter?

      Once, the new world trade center memorial is built, someone in the 10th generation from now will prove that the two buildings never existed! There are no fossils in the foundations! Carbon dating will show that the plot was occupied by a dinosaur of mexican origin from 2001 to 2003.

      Never know…

      • Time does make a difference and as you rightly point out memories are short.

      • Reader,
        If not a hoax then there must have been a biggest celebration at largest scale on completing 40 yrs. to landing on the Moon…
        Twin Towers will exist in pics. …if not destroyed all of them…so hopefully question of their existence won’t arise in future…

      • Children these days don’t believe half the things that parents tell them about the past, unless its cynical or lousy. I can’t believe that one of my ancestors was decorated by a Moghul Emperor… that was only a few generations ago…

  7. Bits and pieces:

    Vasishtha, younger brother of Agasthya, was the kula guru of Dashrath, Shri Rama’s father and the King of Ayodhya. Vasishtha’s son is Shakti. Shakti’s son is Paraashar; Paraashar’s son is Veda Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharat. Ramayan and Mahabharat are only 4 generations apart…

  8. When was it written first?

  9. Lol…Reader,
    May be some men should try that Mantra….to see if it comes true…!

    • Might risk excess release of feminine hormones… causing transvestite syndromes…

      • Reader,
        Mantra chanting affect endocrines secretion is an amazing thing…would love to know about mantra and its effect on each gland individually…or let me know where can I find about it.

      • Shall definitely refer you to the books.

  10. Reader,
    Mantra,Tantra and Yantra are very interesting subjects….would love to know more about those…or if you can suggest some books…

    • I don’t study Tantra. There are many books. I can’t say which one is authentic or scientific.

      • Reader,
        I didn’t ask just about Tantra….you left Mantra and Yantra out..

      • Mantra, as I said earlier is a formula, an equation or a method or a technique described in words. Yantra is a physical model of the mantra or any instrument, mechanism. I’ll try find some examples for you. Books a-plenty. Shall refer soonest.

  11. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Reader…thank you. Very illuminating and interesting

  12. Lakshmi Jag Says:


    And it is so right when they say the mouth is not the source of is the mind and thought

  13. Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Sharmila, Lakshmi,

    Know what, I think I am walking into an objectivist’s house of mirrors. I like theory, I read theory. I don’t learn the practice from books. I do my own tests on stuff that I find interesting.

    So any discussion is likely to end with a reference to some literature or who knows…

    You’ll have to bear with my limitations… I am only a bhakta of Ganpati…

    • Reader,

      You can stop me when my questions get tiresome.

      I was being difficult…Luciferish…or as Sharmila said, rombo too much…

      Didnt mean to.


      • Aish,

        Tiresome? Whoever said that? All I meant was that there will always be a point after which I’ll be unable to add any value to my previous answers.

        I think there was a spelling mistake in Sharmila’s reply to you. It is spelt Rambo, not Rombo. Stallone told me…

      • lol..i was JOKING Aish..;)

      • Sharmila,

        Please see mail. Dispatch from 2:3 onwards.

      • Infact Aish I was amused at only the “simbly” south terminology..enjoy yours and MonaLisa’s questions immensely.

      • Reader,

        This was my ‘discussion’ with an Ayurveda doc over the phone today about ‘raktadosha’.

        “Doc, could you tell me what ‘raktadosha’ is?”

        “What ‘dosa’?? Hahahaha…hooo…hahahaha…ho-ho-ho…aiyyo…aiyyo!”

        End of discussion.



        Every comment of yours is valuable.

        (The leeches nod their heads in affirmative)


      • Sharmila,

        Sorry for the delay in replying.

        I had gone to the temble with my aund and unggle to bray.


        P.S. Saw your pic today. You are beautiful.

      • HA HA!.. Ungle and Aunty is it my dear Mallu Kutty..thanks Aish, you are generous with your is but an optical illusion..:)

      • Aishwarya,

        I still do not get your reference to leeches.

        I thought a leech is a parasite, an insect that sucks blood. What has that got to do with this discussion? Why should a leech be nodding in approval or disapproval of what we are discussing?

        Who is a leech here, if you are trying to say someone is?

      • Reader,

        Jalouka prayoga (leech therapy) is an Anushastra prayoga used in Raktamokshan, one of the Panchakarmas.

        That was why I mentioned leeches under raktamoksha in my comments above. No other reason.


      • Oh Okay. That wasn’t too clear.

        I couldn’t tell that rakhta moksha was connected to leeches. But seems like witchcraft.

        Are you sure its a medical procedure?

      • It is, but not common.

        I havent used it. So no comments.

  14. Sharmila,

    How come Aishwarya got to see your photograph and we didn’t?

    That’s unfair…

    • Supershamz?… you need to change the name… you are not a sham… you are just super…

      Let me check this out…. back in a moment…

  15. I am a shamster in many ways 🙂

    • No you are not.

      Are you able to sleep peacefully in your office chair during working hours?

      Do you delegate all your work?

      Do you call a meeting when you have nothing to do?

      If the answers to above are ‘No’ then you are not a sham.. ask me… 🙂

  16. MonaLisa,

    See how difficult it is to get authentic information: Here is the answer to your question about when was Rama born:

    The story of Shri Ram’s life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the Ramayana, which was written after Shri Ram was crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Maharishi Valmiki has made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Shri Ram indicating the location of planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and the other stars (nakshatras).

    By entering the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life of Shri Ram as given in the Valmiki Ramayan in the software named “Planetarium” corresponding exact dates of these events according to the English calendar can be known.

    Mr Pushkar Bhatnagar of the Indian Revenue Service acquired this software from the US. It is used to predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from earth.

    He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions narrated by Maharishi Valmiki and obtained very interesting and convincing results, which determine the important dates starting from the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.

    Maharishi Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand sarga 19 and shloka eight and nine (1/18/8,9) that Shri Ram was born on ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) were: i) Sun in Aries; ii) Saturn in Libra; iii) Jupiter in Cancer; iv) Venus in Pisces; v) Mars in Capricorn; vi) Lunar month of Chaitra; vii) Ninth day after no moon; viii) Lagna as Cancer (cancer was rising in the east); ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pllux star); x) Day time (around noon).

    This data is fed into the software. The results show that this was exactly the location of planets/stars in the noon of January 10, 5114 BC. Thus Shri Ramwas born on January 10, 5114 BC (7121 years back).

    As per the lunar calendar it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 noon. This is the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India .

    Source: Saroj Bala, The Pioneer; is in IRS, Commisioner of Income Tax posted at Delhi .

    • Reader,
      Thank you…thank you….!
      Its so amazing they matched it with time, date and found out exact era and made it official and authentic.
      Their existence would be no more questionable this way.
      So Vashishtha, Valmiki and Vishvamitra were born in same era..?

      • Absolutely true. Valmiki was only a literateur and a poet.

        Vasishtha and Vishwamitra were gurus to Rama.

        Vasishtha is the first “Jew-like” guru in the Vedic scriptures. I’ll tell you all about him later if we discuss anthropology.

        His brother Agasthya had married a non-aryan called Lobha Mudra. Vasishtha got Rama’s father Dashratha to pass a law forbidding marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans. This was not acceptable to Vishwamitra either as he had married a dasyu from down South.

        Parashurama alerted Vasishtha about a plot to assassinate him. Vasishtha fled to the other side of Saraswati river. Mahisha Sura killed Parashurama’s father while pursuing Vasishtha and Parashurama.

        Finally when Agasthya’s army caught up with Vasishtha, it was too late. Vasishtha commited suicide before the army could catch him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: