The Truths contained in Upanishads!
Study the Upanishads which contain treasures of wisdom!
The Upanishads are treasure chest of wisdom! Though there were many Upanishads previously, only ten gains prominence and suited to the present mind set of people of Kaliyuga. In this age, the intellect has become blunt and our understanding is very much limited. Hence Adhi Sankara, the famous preceptor who lived several hundred years ago in Kerala state, has collated and explained the meanings of ten important Upanishads.
What are the upanishads? How they are important? The Vedas actually guide the human race about correct ways of living in this mortal world, whereas the Upanishads are quintessence of Brahma Jnana or Advaita knowledge! All Upanishads finally deal only about the immortal Atma within, but they begin with duties, worship and finally wisdom.
I would like to narrate some stories contained in one Upanishad. This particular Upanishad narrates the story of one “Nachiketa”, son of a ritualist “Gauthama”. The father is a strict ritualist and one day he was performing a ‘yagna’ (fire ritual). At the conclusion of the special yagna, the organizer has to give in charities many riches, cows and other essentials to the Brahmins. This ritualistic father gave away cows, which are aged and which cannot yield even a drop of milk to the Pundits there!. The son Nachiketas was a good natured boy. He knew that his father is inviting grief on him by giving away useless cows. It is a sin. Hence Nachiketas went to his father and pestered him, “To whom you are going to gift me? The father got angry and said, “I will gift you to Yama, the god of death!
He has not realized that the boy was serious. Nachiketas asked his father to offer him to Yama, with the appropriate chants and rituals. The father was unable to take back his words and hence he offered him to Yama by appropriate chants! Thus the boy, Nachiketas was able to ascend to the place of Yama’s kingdom. Unfortunately, Yama was away on some errand and he returned only after three days. He saw the boy was waiting for him for three days. Yama told him, I will give you three promises to you and you can choose them. First, Nachiketas asked Yama that on his return to earth, his father should welcome in an unruffled mood forgetting the anger. Secondly he asked Yama few clarifications on Atma, the all-pervading thing. He also asked him, ‘how there is no hunger or thirst or any such pain for the denizens of heaven? Yama clarified the reasons for the absence of hunger and thirst for the occupants of heaven. He clarified that it is due to lot of merits, people ascend the heaven and once their merit is enjoyed, they have to go back to earth! At last, Nachiketas asked about after death state and the qualities of Atma or Brahma jnana, the important knowledge about Atma!
Initially, Yama was not intent to clarify about Atma, since it was a secret knowledge, only a very few are eligible to know about Atma. Instead he offered him riches, palaces, and all enjoyments on earth! But Nachiketas persisted and told him that the pleasures you offer are ephemeral in nature. Even after enjoying them for many years, one will not become satisfied. Ultimate bliss lies only in the knowledge of Brahman or Atma. Hence teach me the highest! Thus Yama enlightened the boy, the highest Brahma Jnana! Instantly, the boy became a realized one but he returned to his father as per his requests to Yama!
Hence, all the Upanishads talk only about Atma and the ways to attain it by relinquishing the attachment to the temporary body/mind complex.
The biggest Upanishad is known as “Brihadaranya Upanishad” which contains many gems of knowledge. In the Upanishad, many queries posed to Yajnavalya, the preceptor of emperor Janaka, was answered with clarity and understanding. In fact, two ladies asked pertinent questions about the creation of cosmos, the imminence of Atma in the entire creation! Yajnavalkya answered them in this pattern. “In reality, there is no creation at all, it is only the reflection of Self on the mind, gives a false vision of the universe. It is like the ‘snake’ seen on coir during twilight hours. There is only coir and there is no snake at all. Those who visualize the snake are deluded. In a similar pattern, the world is viewed where there is only Self. The self is all pervasive and it is like the sky which is also in a pot. When the pot is broken, the sky inside the pot and the sky outside become one.
The pot or body is an apparent separation. As the sun when reflected on moving water seems to be broken in the waves, we judge things. But the sun is never affected in any manner. Only the reflection seems to be agitated! In the dream state, all experiences are not different from the dreamer. Without a dreamer, how a dream can happen? Hence everything is within the imagination of the mind and not real. As the mind is capable to conjure many visions in dreams, it is equally capable to conjure the vision of the perceived universe as outside or external to the individual. Without the perceiver, how the world can exist? Hence all such assumptions are due to ignorance and ignorance is the cause of creation!
Instead of reading trash novels and useless newspapers, we must pursue those books which contain the treasures of ancient wisdom, which will lead us to emancipation from this mundane existence!