Upanishads

May 18, 2009

posted by Meredith Kooi

What follows is an excerpt from The Upanishads:  The Wisdom of the Hindu Mystics translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester

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IX

CHANDOGYA

BRAHMAN is all.  From Brahman come appearances, sensations, desires, deeds.  But all these are merely name and form.  To know Brahman one must experience the identity between him and the Self, or Brahman dwelling within the lotus of the heart.  Only by so doing can man escape from sorrow and death and become one with the subtle essence beyond all knowledge.

May quietness descend upon my limbs,

My speech, my breath, my eyes, my ears;

May all me senses wax clear and strong.

May Brahman show himself unto me.

May I never deny Brahman, nor Brahman me.

I with him and he with me—may we abide always together.

May there be revealed to me,

Who am devoted to Brahman,

The holy truth of the Upanishads.

OM…Peace—peace—peace.

…Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart, and within the heart there is a little house.  This house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized.

What then is that which, dwelling within this little house, this lotus of the heart, is to be sough after, inquired about, and realized?

As large as the universe outside, even so large is the universe within the lotus of the heart.  Within it are heaven and earth, the sun, the moon, the lightning, and all the stars.  What is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm.

All things that exist, all beings and all desires, are in the city of Brahman; what then becomes of them when old age approaches and the body dissolves in death?

Though old age comes to the body, the lotus of the heart does not grow old.  At death of the body, it does not die.  The lotus of the heart, where Brahman exists in all his glory—that, and not the body, is the true city of Brahman.  Brahman, dwelling therein, is untouched by any deed, ageless, deathless, free from grief, free from hunger and from thirst.  His desires are right desires, and his desires are fulfilled.  As here on earth all the wealth that one earns is but transitory, so likewise transitory are the heavenly enjoyments acquired by the performance of sacrifices.  Therefore those who die without having realized the Self and its right desires find no permanent happiness in any world to which they go; while those who have realized the Self and its right desires find permanent happiness everywhere.

If the sage desires to see his fathers of the spirit-world, lo, his fathers come to meet him.  In their company he is happy.

And if he desires to see his mothers of the spirit-world, lo, his mothers come to meet him.  In their company he is happy.

And if he desires to see his brothers of the spirit-world, lo, his brothers come to meet him.  In their company he is happy.

And if he desires to see his sisters of the spirit-world, lo, his sisters come to meet him.  In their company he is happy.

And if he desires to see his friends of the spirit-world, lo, his friends come to meet him.  In their company he is happy.

And if he desires heavenly perfumes and garlands, lo, heavenly perfumes and garlands come to him.  In their possession he is happy.

And if he desires heavenly food and drink, lo, heavenly food and drink come to him.  In their possession he is happy.

And if he desires heavenly song and music, lo, heavenly song and music come to him.  In their possession he is happy.

Indeed, whatsoever such a knower of Brahman may desire, straightaway it is his; and having obtained it, he is exalted of me.  The fulfillment of right desires is within reach of everyone, but a veil of illusion obstructs the ignorant.  That is why, though they desire to see their dead, their beloved, they cannot see them.

Do we wish for our beloved, among the living or among the dead, or is there aught else for which we long, yet, for all our longing, do not obtain?  lo, all shall be ours if we but dive deep within, even to the lotus of the heart, where dwells the Lord.  Yea, the object of every right desire is within our reach, though unseen, concealed by a veil of illusion.  As one not knowing that a golden treasure lies buried beneath his feet, may walk over it again and again, yet never find it, so all beings live every moment in the city of Brahman, yet never find him, because of the veil of illusion by which he is concealed.

The Self resides within the lotus of the heart.  Knowing this, devoted to the Self, the sage enters daily that holy sanctuary.

Absorbed in the Self, the sage is freed from identity with the body and lives in blissful consciousness.  The Self is the immortal, the fearless; the Self is Brahman.  This Brahman is eternal Truth.

The Self within the heart is like a boundary which divides the world from THAT.  Day and night cross not that boundary, nor old age, nor death; neither grief not pleasure, neither good nor evil deeds.  All evil shuns THAT.  For THAT is free from impurity:  by impurity can it never be touched.

Wherefore he who has crossed that boundary, and has realized the Self, if he is blind, ceases to be blind; if he is wounded, ceases to be wounded; if he is afflicted, ceases to be afflicted.  When that boundary is crossed, night becomes day; for the world of Brahman is light itself.  And that world of Brahman is reached by those who practice continence.  For the knower of eternal truth knows it through continence.  And what is known through worship, that also is continence.  For a man worships the Lord by continence, and thus attains him.

What is salvation is really continence.  For through continence man is freed from ignorance.  And what is known as the vow of silence, that too is continence.  For a man through continence realizes the Self and lives in quiet contemplation.

What people call dwelling in the forest, that is continence.

In the world of Brahman there is a lake whose waters are like nectar, and whosoever tastes thereof is straightaway drunk with joy; and beside that lake is a tree which yields the juice of immortality.  Into this world they cannot enter who do not practice continence.

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