Chandogya Upanishad:

The Chanters' Teaching:

Book VII Part I


VII.l

1. OM. Narada came to Sanatkumara saying, 'Teach me, blessed one’.

Sanatkumara said to him, 'Come to me with what you know, and I will tell you of something higher than that.'

He said,

2. 'Blessed one, I know the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvan which is the fourth, Here the Atharvaveda seems closer to being regarded as the official fourth Veda and history and legend the fifth: I know the Veda of Vedas,Grammar, without which the Vedas themselves cannot be understood. the ancestral rites, Pitrya, rites for the ancestors (pitrs) arithmetic,Rasi, here probably in the sense of 'amounts', 'calculations'. portents,Daiva, literally 'that which is of the gods', but generally in the sense of 'fate' or 'fortune'. treasure-finding, Nidhi, 'that which is put away', 'treasure' disputation, Vakovskya, 'dialogue', apparently contracted from vakopavakya, 'speech and reply', no doubt implying skill in debates like this onethe single way, Ekayana, the one way [to live], ethics the knowledge of the gods,Devavidya, said to mean etymology, also essential for the understanding of the Vedas the knowledge of priesthood, Brahmavidya: here in the sense of 'knowledge proper to Brahmanas' rather than 'knowledge of the supreme reality' the knowledge of ghosts,Or perhaps 'knowledge of the elements', or 'knowledge of beings' (bhutavidya). However exorcism seems an appropriate skill, not covered elsewhere in the list the knowledge of royalty,Ksatriyas, said to be a synonym for 'archery', though no doubt it could cover other forms of knowledge appropriate to Ksatriyas. Perhaps placed here in the list (rather than where one would expect it, after brahmavidya) because it rhymes with the following item. the knowledge of the constellations, Naksatravidya, the science of the lunar mansions, an early form of astrology and the knowledge of the divine people who are serpents. Sarpadevajanavidya. Or, 'serpents and (other) divine people'. Gonda notes that in Vedic literature devajana seems to be euphemistic — 'not infrequently found in passages that refer to serpents or serpent demons'. The vidya is presumably power over such beings, and access to the knowledge that they possess.

3. 'But I am a knower of the mantras, not a knower of the self. I have heard from folk like yourself, blessed one, that "the knower of self crosses beyond sorrow". I am sorrowful, blessed one. Blessed one, take me across to the other shore of sorrow.'

Sanatkumara said to him, 'All this that you have learned is name.

4. "The Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvan which is the fourth, and history and legend the fifth; the Veda of Vedas, the ancestral rites, arithmetic, portents, treasure-finding, disputation, the single way, the knowledge of the gods, the knowledge of priesthood, the knowledge of ghosts, the knowledge of royalty, the knowledge of the constellations, and the knowledge of the divine people who are serpents, are name. All this is name. Worship name.

5. 'The one who worships name as brahman wins freedom to move as far as name can go—the one who worships name as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than name?'

'There is something greater than name.'

Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.2

1. 'Speech is greater than name. Speech makes known the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvan which is the fourth, and history and legend the fifth; the Veda of Vedas, the ancestral rites, arithmetic, portents, treasure-finding, disputation, the single way, the knowledge of the gods, the knowledge of priesthood, the knowledge of ghosts, the knowledge of royalty, the knowledge of the constellations, the knowledge of the divine people who are serpents, sky, earth, air, space, water, heat, gods, human beings, domestic animals, birds, grass and trees, and wild animals, all the way down to worms, flying things and ants; right (dharma) and wrong (adharma), truth and falsehood, good and bad, attractive and unattractive. If there had been no speech, then right and wrong, truth and falsehood, good and bad, attractive and unattractive would not have been made known. Speech makes known all this. Worship speech.

2. "The one who worships speech as brahman wins freedom to move as far as speech can go—the one who worships speech as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than speech?'

'There is something greater than speech.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.3

1. 'Mind is greater than speech. Just as a fist encloses two myrobalans or two jujubes or two terminalia seeds, mind encloses both speech and name. When one thinks with the mind, "Let me recite mantras," one chants; when one thinks, "Let me perform actions (karman)", one performs actions; when one thinks, "Let me wish for sons and animals", one wishes for sons and animals; when one thinks, "Let me wish for this world and that one", one wishes for this world and that one. Mind is the self; mind is the world; mind is brahman. Worship mind.

2. 'The one who worships mind as brahman wins freedom to move as far as mind can go—the one who worships mind as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than mind?'

'There is something greater than mind.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.4

1. 'Will (samkalpa) 187 The key words in this chapter are derived from the verb kip-, to shape [something] in accordance with . . ., to make suitable. Will (samkalpa) is the faculty that shapes the intentions and fits them for action greater than mind. When one wills (samkalpayate), one thinks; then one utters speech—one utters it as names. In name the mantras become one, and in the mantras actions become one.

2. 'These have will as their sole end, will as their self, and are established on will. Sky and earth have been formed (sam-kip-); air and space have been formed; the waters and heat have been formed, and rain is formed according to their will (samklpti). Food is formed according to the will of rain. The breaths are formed according to the will of food. The mantras are formed according to the will of the breaths. Actions are formed according to the will of the mantras. The world is formed according to the will of the actions. Everything is formed according to the will of the world. This is will. Worship will.

3. 'The one who worships will as brahman wins worlds that are fitting (kipta): being constant, he wins constant worlds; being established, established worlds; being sorrowless, sorrowless worlds. He wins freedom to move as far as will can go—the one who worships will as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than will?'

'There is something greater than will.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.5

1. 'Intelligence The key words here are derived from the verb cit-, to think of, to perceive. Citta here is a more purposeful kind of mental activity than the manas is greater than will. When one reflects, one wills; then one thinks; then one utters speech—one utters it as names. In name the mantras become one, and in the mantras actions become one.

2. 'These have intelligence as their sole end, intelligence as their self, and are established on intelligence. So even if someone knows much, but is without intelligence, folk say of him, "He is nobody. Nayam asti, 'he is not'; or perhaps (with vidvan understood), 'he does not know' If he had learned, or knew, he would not be without intelligence like this". But if someone knows little, but has intelligence, folk wish to hear him. Intelligence is the sole end of these; intelligence is their self; intelligence is their basis. Worship intelligence.

3. 'The one who worships intelligence as brahman wins worlds that are longed for (citta): being constant, he wins constant worlds; being established, established worlds; being sorrowless, sorrowless worlds. He wins freedom to move as far as intelligence can go—the one who worships intelligence as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than intelligence?'

'There is something greater than intelligence.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.6

1. 'Meditation Dhyana, from dhyai-, to think, to contemplate, here as a spiritual practice bringing great karmic rewards
is greater than intelligence. Earth seems to meditate. Sky seems to meditate. The waters seems to meditate. The mountains seem to meditate. Gods and human beings seem to meditate. So those amongst human beings who achieve greatness here seem to share in the reward of meditation. Those who are small are quarrelsome, spiteful, slanderous: those who are powerful seem to share in the reward of meditation. Worship meditation.

2. 'The one who worships meditation as brahman wins freedom to move as far as meditation can go—the one who worships meditation as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than meditation?' 'There is something greater than meditation.' 'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII. 7

1. 'Understanding Vijnana, knowledge or understanding is greater than meditation. By understanding one knows the Rgveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, the Atharvan which is the fourth, and history and legend the fifth; the Veda of Vedas, the ancestral rites, arithmetic, portents, treasure-finding, disputation, the single way, the knowledge of the gods, the knowledge of priesthood, the knowledge of ghosts, the knowledge of royalty, the knowledge of the constellations, the knowledge of the divine people who are serpents, sky, earth, air, space, water, heat, gods, human beings, domestic animals, birds, grass and trees, and wild animals, all the way down to worms, flying things and ants; right and wrong, truth and falsehood, good and bad, attractive and unattractive, food, flavour, this world, and that world. One knows them through understanding. Worship understanding.

2. 'The one who worships understanding as brahman attains worlds full of understanding, full of knowledge. He wins freedom to move as far as understanding can go—the one who worships understanding as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than understanding?'

'There is something greater than understanding.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.8

1. 'Strength is greater than understanding. One man with strength causes a hundred with understanding to tremble. When one becomes strong one can stand up; standing up, one can go about; going about, one can pay attention; 192 Upa-sad- generally means 'to serve', 'to attend upon', but here seems to be used in a wider sense paying attention, one can see, can hear, can think, can be aware, can do, can understand. Through strength, the earth stands; through strength, middle-air stands; through strength, the sky stands; through strength, the mountains stand; through strength, gods and human beings stand; through strength, domestic animals, birds, grass and trees, and wild animals, all the way down to worms, flying things and ants stand; through strength, the worlds stand. Worship strength.

2. 'The one who worships strength as brahman wins freedom to move as far as strength can go—the one who worships strength as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than strength?' 'There is something greater than strength.' 'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.9

1. 'Food is greater than strength. So if one does not eat for ten nights, Fewer than the fifteen nights even if one lives one cannot see, cannot hear, cannot think, cannot be aware, cannot do, cannot understand. But with the coming of food one can see, can hear, can think, can be aware, can do, can understand. Worship food.

2. 'The one who worships food as brahman achieves worlds full of food and full of drink. He wins freedom to move as far as food can go—the one who worships food as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than food?'

'There is something greater than food.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.10

1. 'The waters are greater than food. So when there is not a good rainfall, living things Pranah, instead of the expected praninah: cp. the usage of pana in Pali suffer, thinking, "Food will be short". When there is a good rainfall, living things are happy, thinking, "Food will be plentiful". All these are the waters, shaped: earth, middle-air, sky, mountains, gods and human beings, domestic animals, birds, grass and trees, and wild animals, all the way down to worms, flying things and ants. All these are the waters, shaped. Worship the waters.

2. 'The one who worships the waters (apah) as brahman obtains (ap-) all desires and becomes contented. He wins freedom to move as far as the waters can go—the one who worships the waters as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than the waters?'

'There is something greater than the waters.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.ll

1. 'Heat (tejas) is greater than the waters. By seizing hold of the air, it heats up middle-air. Then folk say, "It is burning! It is boiling! It is going to rain!" It first foreshows and then creates the waters. It travels along as claps of thunder, with flashes of lightning going upward and across. Then folk say, 'It lightens! It thunders! It is going to rain!' It first foreshows and then creates the waters. Worship heat.

2. 'The one who worships heat as brahman, bright (tejasvin), achieves bright worlds, blazing (tejasvat), free from darkness. He wins freedom to move as far as heat can go—the one who worships heat as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than heat?'

'There is something greater than heat.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.12

1. 'Space is greater than heat. In it are both the sun and the moon, lightning, the constellations, and fire. Through space one calls, through space one hears, through space one replies; in space one takes pleasure, in space one does not take pleasure, in space one is bom, into space one grows. Worship space.

2. 'The one who worships space as brahman achieves spadous worlds, clear, unobstructed, with plenty of room to move. He wins freedom to move as far as space can go—the one who worships space as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than space?'

'There is something greater than space.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'

VII.13

1. 'Memory is greater Bhuyas, neuter, rather than the expected bhuyan, agreeing with smarah (masculine than space. So even if many people were to sit together who did not remember, they would not hear anyone, think of anyone, or know anyone. When they remembered, then they would hear, would think, would know. By memory one knows one's sons; by memory one knows one's animals. Worship memory.

2. 'The one who worships memory as brahman wins freedom to move as far as memory can go—the one who worships memory as brahman.'

'Blessed one, is there anything greater than memory?'

'There is something greater than memory.'

'Tell me about it, blessed one.'




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