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May 31, 2008

Go Bananas?


Never, put bananas in the refrigerator!!!

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again .

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit.

It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassiu! m and ma gnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine, 'eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth. Amazing fruit.

Know what you eat?

You are what you eat, so eat well. A stupendous insight of civilizations past has now been confirmed by today's investigative, nutritional sciences. They have shown that what was once called 'The Doctri NE of Signatures' was astoundingly correct. It now contends that every whole food has a pattern that resembles a body organ or physiological function and that this pattern acts as a signal or sign as to the benefit the food provides the eater. Here is just a short list of examples of Whole Food Signatures.

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carro! ts greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cor! tex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmi tters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just! like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? .... It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemica l cons tituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterilit y, and guess what they resemble?.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries

Grapefruits, Oranges, and O there C itrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes

May 30, 2008

4 Aims of HumanLife

Purusharthas or the Four aims of Human Life

Purusha means either God or a human being. Artha means an object or objective. "Purusharthas" means objectives of a human being. Purusha does not mean male in the physical sense, but any soul in its differentiated aspect. So the purusharthas are applicable to both men and women equally.

The purusharthas serve as pointers in the life of a human being. They are based on the vision of God which is evident in the creation He manifested and which can be followed by man to be part of that vision and in harmony with His aims. His worlds are established on the principles of dharma. They are filled with the abundance of material and spiritual beings and energies, who seek fulfillment by achieving their desires and liberation. Since man is God in his microcosmic aspect, he too should emulate God and manifest the same reality in his own little world. He should pursue the same aims, experience life in its fullness and be an instrument of God by serving the purpose for which he has been created. The four chief aims or purusharthas are:

1. Dharma (righteousness),

2. Artha (wealth),

3. Kama (desire) and

4. Moksha (salvation or liberation).

The rationale behind these purusharthas becomes clear when we consider the basic tenets of Hinduism. Man is an aspect of God. He is God's objective reality in creation. He exists in relationship with God like a reflection in the mirror that is somewhat different yet inseparable and somewhat similar. Veiled in him is the true self by the influence and involvement of Prakriti or primordial nature. The purpose of his life upon earth is to follow the law (dharma) of God and achieve salvation (moksha) or freedom from his false self (ahamkara) by leading a balanced life in which both material comforts and human passions have their own place and legitimacy.

Man cannot simply take birth on earth and start working for his salvation right away by means of just dharma alone. If that is so man would never realize why he would have to seek liberation in the first place. As he passes through the rigors of life and experiences the problem of human suffering, he learns to appreciate the value of liberation. He becomes sincere in his quest for salvation. So we have the four goals, instead of just one, whose pursuit provides us with an opportunity to learn important lessons and move forward on the spiritual path. What the purusharthas characterize is not a life of self-negation, but of balance, complexity, richness, opportunities and moderation in a cosmic drama of immense proportions in which man ultimately envisions and experiences his true grandeur and fulfills the very purpose of his creation.

Every individual in Hindu society is expected to achieve these four objectives with detachment, without any expectation and as a sacrificial offering to God in the ritual of human life. They have to be pursued selflessly for a higher and greater cause. Depending upon the attitude and the manner in which we pursue them, they either set us free or entangle us deeper with the allurements of human life.


The first of the goals is dharma, a word which is difficult to translate in English. Since the same word is used in many eastern religions, it means many things to many people and eludes a true definition. It has been variously translated as duty, faith, religion, righteousness, sacred law, justice, ethics, morality and so on. According to one school of Hinduism, dharma is an obligatory duty as prescribed by the Vedas to be performed by an individual in accordance with the rules prescribed for the caste to which he or she belongs. God is an upholder of dharma because he performs His duties even though they are not obligatory and He is without desire or preference.

There is no word in Latin or English that can truly explain the complex meaning of dharma. Its first letter "dha" is also the first letter of dharitri, the earth, which is suggestive of its connection with the earth or earthly life. In a wider sense, dharma is the secret glue, the binding force, which upholds and regulates this entire creation just as the gravitational force controls and holds the entire material universe as one piece. It is the divine constitution that defines our roles and responsibilities, our social and moral order, our purpose and goals and the rewards and punishments that are appropriate for our actions. It is the law of God that is sacred, inviolable and pervasive. It is responsible for order, regularity, harmony, control, predictability and accountability. According to Manusmriti, dharma is four footed in the Krita age and loses one leg in each successive age. Thus in the fourth and last age of Kali, it becomes crippled and rests upon just one leg.

Dharma exists in all planes, in all aspects and at all levels of creation. In the context of human life, dharma consists of all that an individual undertakes in harmony with divine injunctions and his own sense of morality and justice. However to comprehend the true nature of dharma is not an easy task. The world is enveloped in illusion as our human minds are. What we see in the world and learn from it may not be true and reliable. What we consider as right and wrong or dharma and adharma may not stand the test of truth. Hence to practice dharma we are advised to rely upon the scriptures and follow the injunctions contained there in.

The sources of dharma are the Vedas, the Vedangas, the Sutra literature of which the most important are the Dharmashastras, and scriptures such as the Bhagavadgita. In ancient India dharmashastras (law books) played an important role in guiding people on the path of dharma. It is however difficult to say how far they are relevant in the present age. One should also remember that dharma should not be viewed as end in itself but the means to a still higher end, liberation.


Artha means wealth. Hinduism recognizes the importance of material wealth for the overall happiness and well being of an individual. A house holder requires wealth, because he has to perform many duties to uphold dharma and take care of the needs of his family and society. A person should not seek wealth for wealth sake but to uphold dharma and help the members of his family and society achieve their goals. Hinduism therefore rightly places material wealth as the second most important objective in human life. While dharma and moksha are meant for oneself, wealth and sex are to be pursued for the sake of others. Lord Vishnu is the best role model for any householder. He leads a luxurious life, served by the goddess of wealth herself, but
is very dutiful, helpful, responsive and righteous. So was Lord Krishna while he was in human form. He lived a very luxurious life, but was righteous, detached and balanced.

Hinduism advocates austerity, simplicity and detachment, but does not glorify poverty. Wealth is not an impediment to self-realization, but attachment to wealth is. Desire for wealth is different from greed for wealth. Selfless desire for wealth is preferable to selfish desire for wealth. Money and wealth are a form of divine energy. God is abundance. He is endowed with eight kinds of wealth. But as Sri Aurobindo pointed out we have negative attitude mostly about wealth because hostile and negative forces want us believe so and thereby prevent its use for righteous reasons.

Seeking wealth through human actions is not discouraged in Hinduism. The vedic hymns are mostly invocations addressed to gods and goddesses by men desiring wealth and prosperity. However they also emphasize the need for right intention, right means and moderation in the pursuit of wealth. Aiming for wealth is a virtue, but greed is not. Amassing wealth for the family and for the welfare of oneself is not sinful, but taking what does not belong to one is. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism benefited greatly in the past by the individual contribution of rich merchants, their wives and children.

Poverty has become a grotesque reality in present day Hindu society and erroneously considered by many as a virtue. This is a Christian influence. Hindus have become so poverty conscious that if a saint or a sage leads a comfortable life, they scoff at him, saying that he is not a true yogi. They have to remind themselves of the simple fact that none of the Hindu gods and goddesses are really poor. While they always help the poor and the needy, none of them glorify poverty as a virtue. According to Hinduism all experiences are self created and provide an opportunity to learn. So is poverty and so is wealth. Renunciation does not mean to leave aside wealth or denounce the wealthy. It means detachment from wealth. To become indifferent to the comforts and discomforts of life caused by wealth.

Hinduism advocates moderation and balance in the pursuit of material and spiritual goals. Some Hindus think otherwise, ignoring the fact that what is applicable to an ascetic does not apply to a householder. Swami Vivekananda rightly said that religion was not for the empty stomachs. When a person is beset with survival problems, he would hardly find any solace in religion. Soothing words would not comfort a hungry soul as much as a morsel of food.


Kama in a broader sense means desire and in a narrow sense sexual desire. Both Hinduism and Buddhism consider desire as the root cause of human suffering. According to the Bhagavadgita, desire leads delusion and bondage to the cycle of births and deaths. The way out of suffering is to become detached from the sense objects through such practices as yoga and meditation and perform desireless actions as a sacrificial offerings to God with a sense of duty, accepting God as the doer and without hankering after the fruit of one's actions. According to Manusmriti man performs sacrifices because of the desire for rewards, with the expectation that his actions will bear fruit. Not a single act of him here on earth appears ever to be done by a man free from desire. So he who performs his prescribed duties out of desire in the right manner will obtain the fulfillment of all the desires and reach the deathless state or even beyhond1. As we can see the right way to fulfill one's desire is by performing one's obligatory duties in the right manner but not by neglecting them so that the way of the dharma also becomes the way of fulfillment of desires.

Hinduism differs from other religions in its interpretation and approach to the subject of sex. Sex can be either a means to liberation and happiness in life or a great hindrance and cause of suffering depending upon how we approach it. In any case ultimately one has to overcome it to achieve salvation. It can be done either by abstaining from it or by indulging in it. The former is the way of the Vedanta and the latter the way of the Tantras. One is the way of suppression and
the other the way of expression through detachment and understanding in which sexual energy is sublimated and transformed into a higher form of energy. It is just the way you learn to handle fire. In both cases the difficulties are way too many and so are the risks. Sexual desire is the ultimate of all desires and unless it is overcome one is not free from the taints of maya.

In Hinduism there is permission for sexual activity up to a limit, so long as it is not in conflict with the principles of dharma and used for the purposes of procreation, perpetuation of family and social order, within the boundaries established by tradition, social norms and scriptures. Sexual activity is part of obligatory duty and not to be misused for enjoyment as it would lead to attachment, delusion and one's downfall. Sexual relationship outside marriage is not permitted except in special circumstances as laid down in the Dharmashastras. Marriage is a sacred institution in which both the husband and wife join their energies and destinies to promote each other's liberation by performing their respective obligatory duties, which only married couple can perform. Through the bonds of marriage they also bind their respective karmas.

While the law books draw a clear demarcation between legitimate and illegitimate sex, sex by itself is not considered unclean or sinful. Sexual desire is an important and legitimate aspect of manava dharma (human obligations) and is created by nature to perpetuate life in the material plane. Creation itself is a continuation of the union between Purusha and Prakriti, the male and female aspects of the manifest universe, which is symbolically represented in the form of Sivalinga. Creation ends when this union ends. Sexual desire is also the last stronghold of Prakriti
and the final refuge of our attachment with samsara. It is the most difficult spiritual obstacle to be overcome. In most people it perpetuates the delusion of the mind and serves as an important
force of Prakriti by which she maintains her stranglehold upon them and keeps them bound to the cycle of births and deaths.

The ambivalent attitude of Hinduism on the subject of sex is rooted in its historical growth during which it assimilated divergent traditions and practices of which some were derived from ancient fertility cults. It becomes evident as we go through the scriptures and find in them various stories related to the libidinous activities of various gods and goddesses. While on the one hand we have an established school of opinion that considers celibacy as a great virtue and a necessary condition for liberation, on the other we have stories from the Hindu Puranas which depict the sexual exploits of gods and goddesses and the odd situations that develop out of them.

Some of the stories give us an impression that the gods are oversexed beings who cannot control themselves from temptation in the company of beautiful women. Besides sensuous gods, there are celestial nymphs of indescribable beauty who add passion and drama to Hindu mythology through their activities. At times they descend to earth to disturb and distract the minds of ascetic people who are absorbed in deep meditation. Even Siva, Vishnu and Krishna are not above reproach. Many divinities and legendary heroes, including Bharata the founder of the Indian race are born out of illegitimate sexual conduct. Scholars however tend to consider these stories of sexual union to be symbolic in nature and not to be taken literally.

Whatever may be the truth, sex constituted an important aspect of Hindu society from ancient times. The Dharmashastras prescribed a definite code of conduct to safeguard the social and moral order. Married women were not allowed to meet men in private when they were not accompanied by their husbands or, in their absence, any other male member of their families. Women whose husbands died were allowed to beget children through their brother-in-laws (Gautama 18.4). A marriageable maiden who was not given in marriage had the freedom to choose her sexual partners after giving up the ornaments she received from her family and parents (Gautama 18.20). To avoid misuse of this provision, the scriptures recommended that girls should be married before they reached puberty. Adultery was a punishable offence while killing an unchaste woman or a prostitute was not (Gautama 22.26&27). Mental attitude, the state of mind and the dominant quality of Prakriti at the time of sexual union were considered important because they impacted the children who were born out of such unions. Polygamy was an accepted social norm. It bred intrigue and jealousy among women who shared a common husband. Women were sold and brought in the market place. While sex with unmarried maidens
was a lesser taboo, adultery was a punishable offence. More so if it happened between a lower caste male and higher caste female.

According to Hinduism, sex in an important aspect of human life, but lust is not. Lust is one of the chief enemies of man. It is a demonic quality, just as greed and pride are, and one of the biggest hurdles on the spiritual path. All lustful activity would result in sin with unhappy consequences for all those involved in it directly or indirectly. Even gods are not spared from the consequences of lustful sex. However, prostitutes and pleasure girls added color and zest to ancient Hindu society. Some of them were highly skilled in the art and science of sex. They were patronized and frequented by men of repute. They employed various tricks to attract men and keep them under their charm. Prostitution is still a rampant problem in India and one of the chief concerns of women activists and welfare organizations.l

One of the notable developments within Hinduism during the post Mauryan period was the rise of tantrism which upheld sexual activity and considered it to be an expression of the divine. The Tantrics indulged in various kinds of esoteric sexual rites to experience the blissful nature of God. They believed in the possibility of sublimating sexual energy through austerities and penances to transcend one's lower nature and achieve higher states of consciousness. They practiced various breathing and yoga techniques to prolong their sexual prowess so that they could experiences higher states of blissful consciousness during sexual union practiced with detachment. These sects continue to remain on the fringes of society attracting ridicule and criticism and largely unknown and misunderstood by the general public. For the vast majority of Hindus, sex is a taboo unless it is in tune with the social, moral and religious laws.


The pursuit of dharma regulates the life of a human being and keeps him on the righteous path. The pursuit of artha and kama enrich his experience and impart to him valuable lesson. The pursuit of moksha or salvation liberates him and lead him to the world Brahman. The pursuit of dharma usually begins in the early age when one is initiated into religious studies. The pursuit of artha and kama begins in most cases after one becomes a householder. The pursuit of moksha however is the most important of all aims and can begin at any time. The other aims are preparatory for this final aim. However, in most cases, though not correctly, moksha becomes an important pursuit in the old age during vanaprastha or the age of retirement. Moksha is both a purushartha and a paramartha (transcendental aim), which is important not only for men but alsi for the divine beings.

Moksha actually means absence of moha or delusion. Delusion is caused by the inter play of the triple gunas, the activity of the senses, attachment with and desire for sense objects. A person achieves liberation when he increases the quality of sattva, suppressing rajas and tamas and overcomes his desire for sense objects by detachment, self control, surrender to god and offering
of one's actions to God. There are many paths to salvation and all of them lead to God. The main paths are the path of knowledge, of action, of devotion and of renunciation. Each path has its own
advantages and disadvantages. whatever may be the path, the help and guidance of a guru is indispensable to one's spiritual journey. A guru is God in human form whose his chief purpose is to remove the darkness hidden in the hearts and minds of his disciples and help them find their true selves.

The purpose of purusharthas is to ensure that people would not neglect their obligatory duties in their deluded state by becoming obsessed with particular desires that may lead to moral and social decadence and destruction of family values. The four Purusharthas are responsible for balance in human life. They make life a rewarding and enriching experience. They cater to the spiritual and material aspirations of human beings and lead them in the right direction on the path of liberation. The exemplify the very functioning of God who, without any particular aim or desire, detached, seeks to establish these four aims in the entire manifest creation through his trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha and Himself as the highest and supreme aim of all. Thus by worshipping Brahma we can gain the knowledge of dharma and perform our obligatory duties with precision and perfection. By worshipping Vishnu we can gain material and spiritual wealth and work for the welfare of our families and society. By worshipping Siva we can seek the fulfillment of our desires and overcome our delusion and finally by pursuing Brahman, or any of these gods as Brahman, we can achieve liberation by becoming Brahman Himself.

Righteousness (Dharma)

Righteousness (Dharma)

य उद्धरेत्‍करं राजा प्रजा धर्मेष्‍वशिक्षयन्‌ ।
प्रजानां शमलं भुङ्‌क्‍ते भगं च स्‍वं जहाति स: ।। - श्रीमद्‌भागवत ४.२१.२४

Meaning: (King Pruthu told his royal assembly) The king who levies taxes on his subjects without teaching them about Righteousness (Dharma) has to suffer for their sins and loses his opulence. - Shrimadbhagvat 4.21.24

By making unrighteous people follow Righteousness the king should bring them under the purview of morals and rules. Manu says that Righteousness is the monarch even of kings and the code of punishment by kings has been created to protect it. Righteousness followed in the Mahabharat is based on intellectual analysis. Ritualistic worship (karmakand) advocated by the holy texts - the Shrutis and Smrutis is accorded a secondary status in the Mahabharat.

A. Rule of Righteousness: ‘Mere preaching does not change a person. To turn man towards Righteousness either the incentive of rewards or the fear of punishment is necessary. Religious scriptures or the Purans describe the benefits of various religious rites. Hence people are seen following the righteous path in order to gain these rewards. However preaching or explaining the benefits of following Righteousness does not have any effect whatsoever on people with immoral tendencies. Such people have to be punished and brought to the righteous path. Since the rule of Righteousness cannot be established without punishment and rewards, the following three constituents of Righteousness prove essential.

  • 1. Decisions about Righteousness and unrighteousness: In this it is decided whether an act is righteous or unrighteous and specific punishment is meted out for a particular unrighteous act and a specific reward is awarded for a particular righteous act.

  • 2. Decisions about punishment and rewards: This is called justice in other words. Here it is decided that a particular person who has performed a particular righteous or unrighteous act should receive a particular reward or punishment.

  • 3. The administration: Arresting and punishing the unrighteous and rewarding the righteous are functions executed by the administration (government).

All these constituents instead of being under the purview of an individual should be controlled by different people or organisations because when only one person, organisation or class controls it, it generates terror among the people. This is well illustrated by the story of King Ven from the holy text, Bhagvat. Ven undertook the responsibility of both, the administration as well as deciding about Righteousness (Dharma) and unrighteousness, upon himself. This led to the development of fear and unrest among his subjects. The sages then united, slew King Ven and instated the crown prince Pruthu as the king.’(3)

Both the wealthy as well as the poor have the right to make spiritual progress. Hence, at one juncture Manu has stated that a king should make a rich man who does not give donations to do so and a poor man who does not undertake austerities to undertake them by suitably punishing him.

Punishing evildoers and Righteousness and unrighteousness

‘Koutilya has clearly preached that so long as one is powerful harbouring an ideal of fighting righteously does not cause any harm; however if one is weak then one should unhesitantly employ all means in confirmity with the scriptures or otherwise, to emerge victorious even if it proves to be an unrighteous fight. (Koutilya Arthashastra 10.3). Shukracharya too has propagated the same view (Shukraniti 1.350).’(2)

  • 1. यो यथा वर्तते यस्‍मिंस्‍तस्‍मिन्‍नेव प्रवर्तयन्‌ ।
    नाधर्मं समवाप्‍नोति नचाश्रेयश्च विन्‍दति ।। - महाभारत ५.१७८.५३

    Meaning: Behaviour with someone in the same way as he behaves is not unrighteous and does not cause any untoward result. - Mahabharat 5.178.53

  • 2. यस्‍मिन्‍यथा वर्तते यो मनुष्‍यस्‍तस्‍मिंस्‍तथा वर्तितव्‍यं स धर्म: ।
    मायाचारो मायया वर्तितव्‍य: साध्‍वाचार: साधुना प्रत्‍युपेय: ।। - महाभारत ५.३७.७

    Meaning: One should behave with someone in the same way as he behaves. This itself is Righteousness (Dharma). One should behave craftily with the deceitful and righteously with the straightforward. - Mahabharat 5.37.7

  • 3. स चेन्‍निकृत्‍या युध्‍येत निकृत्‍या प्रतियोधयेत्‌ ।
    अथ चेद्धर्मतो युध्‍येद्धर्मेणैव निवारयेत्‌ ।। - महाभारत १२.९५.९

    Meaning: If the opposite party fights deceitfully then one should also do so. On the contrary if it fights righteously then one should also combat it righteously. - Mahabharat 12.95.9

  • 4. मायावी मायया वध्‍य: सत्‍यमेतद्युधिष्‍ठिर ।। - महाभारत ९.३१.७

    Meaning: (Shrikrushna says) O Yudhishthir, it is the truth that a deceitful man should be annihilated deceitfully. - Mahabharat 9.31.7

  • 5. मायया निर्जिता देवैरसुरा इति न: श्रुतम्‌ ।। - महाभारत ९.५८.५

    Meaning: (Shrikrushna preaches to Arjun) I have heard that the deities triumphed over the demons using unrighteous means. - Mahabharat 9.58.5

  • 6. निकृत्‍या निकृतिप्रज्ञा हन्‍तव्‍या इति निश्चय: ।
    न हि नैकृतिकं हत्‍वा निकृत्‍या पापमुच्‍यते ।। - महाभारत ३.५२.२२

    Meaning: There is a doctrine which says that a deceitful enemy should be slain by unrighteous means. This does not amount to sin. - Mahabharat 3.52.22

  • 7. भीमसेनस्‍तु धर्मेण युध्‍यमानो न जेष्‍यति ।
    अन्‍यायेन तु युध्‍यन्‍वै हन्‍यादेव सुयोधनम्‌ ।। - महाभारत ९.५८.४

    Meaning: (Shrikrushna tells Arjun) If Bhimsen fights righteously then he will not emerge victorious; but if he fights unjustly then he will definitely slay Suyodhan. - Mahabharat 9.58.4

  • 8. पूर्वापकारिणं हत्‍वा न ह्यधर्मेण युज्‍यते ।। - रामायण २.९६.२४

    Meaning: If the one who has acted unrighteously first is slain then it does not amount to unrighteousness. - Ramayan 2.96.24

  • 9. नाधर्मो विद्यते कश्चिच्‍छत्रून्‍हत्‍वाततायिन: ।
    अधर्म्‍यमयशस्‍यं च शात्रवाणां प्रयाचनम्‌ ।। - महाभारत ५.३.२१

    Meaning: No sin arises out of killing a terrorising enemy; on the contrary pleading before it, is unrighteous and a stigma on one’s reputation. - Mahabharat 5.3.21


[The Upanishad teaches the reconciliation, by the perception of essential Unity, of the apparently incompatible opposites, God and the World, Renunciation and Enjoyment, Action and internal Freedom, the One and the Many, Being and its Becomings, the passive divine Impersonality and the active divine Personality, the Knowledge and the Ignorance, the Becoming and the Not-Becoming, life on earth and beyond and the supreme immortality. The world is a dwelling-place for the informing and governing Spirit.]

Verse 1: World as habitation of the Lord

īşhāvāasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyām jagat;

tena tyaktena bhunjīthā ma grdhaĥ kasya sviddhanam.

All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion.

By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy, lust not after any man's possession.

The universe is a movement of the Spirit. It is a continuous unrolling of the Spirit in myriad forms which are so many currents of the Great Movement. Each form is a front, a shaping of the general stream in an individualized unit. Each one has the Whole behind, sustaining it, and thus constitutes a universe in itself. Wherefore this movement? It is meant, says the Upanishad, for the dwelling of the Spirit who has originated and cast out this extension. All is to provide a fitting abode for the Lord of All. This world is a manifestation of God for his enjoyment. He has created it out of himself in joy and takes up his dwelling in it for a yet fuller joy. And this enjoyment implies, necessarily, enjoyment by all by the many who constitute His manifestation. Yet, joy and happiness are not the normal feature of the world. In fact, the opposite seems to be the rule. Why? It is because the many, the individuals move and act in complete ignorance of their true nature, their identity with the One Spirit informing and basing them, and through It with all the rest. Each looks upon himself as distinct and different from the other and his outlook is governed by this sense of separativity, the ego which gives birth to Desire to affirm himself against others, snatch enjoyment for himself at the cost of others. This effort leads to friction, conflict and suffering. Man is lost in activity in this vain pursuit of happiness. True enjoyment comes naturally with the renunciation of this vitiating desire, the desire for separate self-affirmation and self-aggrandizement. This is followed by an inner recognition and realization of the truth of the identity of oneself with the soul within who is always the Lord and its unity with the Soul of All who is same in each.

Thus, we learn that the world is a movement of God; it has a purpose which is to provide a habitation for God for His enjoyment. The individual is a living term and front of this manifestation and should share in this enjoyment; but his ignorance of his true nature shuts him from this happiness and gives rise to the ego-sense of a separate self-living and its consequent struggle and strife. This principle of Desire should be, put behind if one is to participate in the Lord's enjoyment. The individual must become aware of his soul, the true source of enjoyment and identity himself with this Lord of his individualised universe.

But to realize this identity with the soul within does not mean that he should withdraw from the life without, the activity of the body and mind. On the contrary he must work.

Vāsyam is here rendered in the sense of 'to be inhabited', 'dwelt in'-root vas to dwell. Acharya Shankara explains it to mean 'to be clothed', 'to be enveloped'. “Look not at this unreal world but at the reality of the pure Brahman by which it shall be covered; our sense of the world must disappear into the perception of the enveloping Reality.” While this may suit an adwaitic standpoint, Sri Aurobindo points out, it goes counter to the general spirit of the Upanishad which at every step reconciles the apparent Opposites in manifestation.

Verse 2: Doing work

kurvanneveha karmāņi jijīvishet shatam samāĥ;

evam tvayi na anyatheto asti na karma lipyate nare.

Doing verily, works in this world one should wish to live a hundred years.

Thus it is in thee and not otherwise than this; action cleaves not to a man.

He must, indeed, eva, do works. [The stress of the word eva in kurvanneva gives the force, "doing works, indeed, and not refraining from them."]

No man can desist from activity; even what is called inactivity is a kind of action and has its own results. Even as the Lord has projected this world as the means of a certain fulfillment, the individual too has a self-fulfillment to achieve and he is to participate in this activity to that end. One should live the full span of life, says the text, doing one's part; the previous verse has laid down the right mode of action and life, viz., to renounce desire and participate in this Manifestation which is meant for the enjoyment of the one Lord of All, in All. Thus done, no action can bind the doer with the motivating desire, the executing energies or with the ensuing chain of consequences. That is the true law of living. For those who follow this Law there is joy and felicity.

But for those who in their ignorance and egoism choose to ignore the truth and persist in their own false and egocentred way of life the future is different.

Sri Aurobindo notes how unnatural is the interpretation by Acharya Shankara of the word karmāņi in two different ways in the same verse. In the first line karmāņi is taken to mean sacrifices and other religious acts which are expected to be performed by the ignorant for reaping fruits from good actions and averting the results of the evil; in the second line the word is taken as the opposite, evil deeds. The Acharya says that for those who do not aim at the realisation of ātman and are content with the normal human life, naramātrābhimāni, doing the rituals is the only way of escaping the taint of evil deeds.

Verse 3: Sunless worlds

asūryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasāvŗtāĥ;

tāmste pretyābhigachchhanti ye ke cha ātmahano janāĥ.

Sunless are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom whereto all they in their passing hence resort who are slayers of their souls.

There are other worlds besides this material one in which we live. And when the physical body dies, the being of man goes to and through these other worlds of varying substances, of different kinds, obscure and illumined. The kind of world to which one is drawn depends upon the tendencies formed and the equipment wrought during life in body on the earth. They who have risen above the life of the senses, of preoccupation with bodily wants and pleasures, and have strived and achieved a progressive synthesis in themselves of higher knowledge, purity and luminous dynamism and peace - in a word, developed a soul-life - are naturally gravitated to like worlds of light and joy. But those who have refused to listen to the call of the soul and have forced it to slog in the quagmires of inertia and falsehood or hover round and round in the blind circle of desire and passion, pleasure and pain - these, says the Upanishad, have to pass to worlds which are sunless, [Of the two readings asooryā, sunless and asuryā, titanic, undivine, Sri Aurobindo chooses the former in the light of the last four verses of the text. The prayer to the sun in those verses "refers back in thought to the sunless worlds and their blind gloom, which are recalled in the ninth and twelfth verses. The sun and his rays are intimately connected in other Upanishads also with the worlds of Light and their natural opposite is the dark and sunless, not the Titanic worlds." In Rig Veda 5.32.6 Vritra, the enemy of the devās is referred to as thriving in "sunless darkness."] bereft of the light of the Sun of spiritual truth, worlds of Darkness.

If so, is movement, Eternal movement, the sole truth? Is it not rather that the Truth in the final sense lies in Stability, in Immutability? The Upanishad affirms both as truths of the Brahman, the Supreme Reality; both are poises, of IT; each is relative to the other.

Verses 4 and 5: Brahman, Oneness of God and the world

anejad ekam manaso javīyo nainad deva āpnuvan pūrvam arşhat;

tad dhāvato anyānatyeti tişhţhat tasminn apo mātarishvā dadhāti.

One unmoving that is swifter than Mind, That the Gods reach not, for it progresses ever in front.

That, standing, passes beyond others as they run. In That the Master of Life establishes the Waters.

tat ejati tannaijati tad dūre tadvantike,

tadantarasya sarvasya tadu sarvasyāsya bāhyataĥ.

That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near;

That is within all this and That also is outside all this.

Brahman is beyond space, Time and Causality. Movement and quiescence, duration and eternity, action and inaction, are not terms in which It can be described or contained. In itself it is indescribable. But turned towards manifestation, it is poised in the two statuses, the stable and the motional; Space, Time, Causality are terms of its manifestation, its own self-extension. It contains all these as their continent and yet transcends them. Moveless, it contains and holds beyond all movement. The Gods, the Powers it puts forth to work out its self-expression cannot, naturally, surpass it; it is always vaster than its own emanations.

The Brahman extends itself variously, not singly in one form. Its consciousness expresses and forms itself in several gradations, organizes itself around several principles, each active in the forefront on its level. These extensions, Sri Aurobindo points out, are in the ancient system septuple, known by the vyahrtis Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahas, Jana, Tapas and Satya which in modern language are the principles, and planes based on them, of Matter, Life, Mind, Idea, Bliss, Consciousness and Force, and Existence. Thus does the text say that in His own extension as the Mother of things, - Earth, the physical matter, [see note on the meaning of apas below] He, the Brahman as the Life-Force wakes and spreads Himself, i.e. enlivening all that He enters into and sets aflow the Waters which, in the Vedic system, represent currents of conscious being. "The Waters, otherwise called the seven streams or the seven fostering Cows, are the Vedic symbol for the seven cosmic principles and their activities, three inferior, the physical, vital and mental, four superior, the divine Truth, the divine Bliss, and divine Will and Consciousness, and the divine Being. On this conception also is founded the ancient idea of the seven worlds in each of which the seven principles are separately active by their various harmonies.

Thus it is He that is the origin, the end and the container of the things; creating. He indwells the forms of his manifestation, enjoys variously His thousand abodes. He is the One, the same everywhere. And if each individual formation behaves and acts as if it is a separate entity, different from others, it is because it is clouded in its outer consciousness, it has temporarily lost touch with the unifying knowledge and consciousness at its back—that which sustains it as well as it does all the rest in a common extension. The moment one realises this truth effectively and gets aware of the one Self in all and as the All, gets the right perspective of the union of all in the One Self, the sense of separativity loses its validity and with it goes the need to affirm oneself at the cost of others, the sense of opposition from other forms.

Note on apas in the verse 4:

"Apas, as it is accentuated in the version of the White Yajurveda, can mean only ‘waters’. If this accentuation is disregarded, we may take it as the singular apas, work, action. Shankara however, renders it by the plural, works. The difficulty only arises because the true Vedic sense of the word had been forgotten and it came to be taken as referring to the fourth of the five elemental states of Matter, the liquid. Such a reference would be entirely irrelevant in the context."

Verses 6 and 7: Self realization

yastu sarvāņi bhūtāni ātmani evānupashyati,

sarvabhūteşhu chātmānam tato na vijugupsate.

But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught.

yasmin sarvāņi bhūtāni ātmaivabhūt vijānataĥ,

tatra ko mohaĥ kaĥ shoka ekatvam anupashyataĥ.

He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness?

For Such a one [who sees everywhere the self] there is no Conflict and Sorrow for "all grief is born of the shrinking of the ego from the contacts of existence, its sense of fear, weakness, dislike, etc., and this is born from the delusion of separate existence, the sense of being my separate ego exposed to all these contacts of so much that is not myself; Get rid of this, see oneness everywhere, be the One manifesting Himself in all creatures; ego will disappear; desire born of the sense of not being this, not having that, will disappear; the free inalienable delight of the One in His own existence will take the place of desire and its satisfactions and dissatisfactions." (Sri Aurobindo)

That is not all. The truth of Brahman in manifestation is not confined to the subjective projection as the Self of all things. It is not merely an impersonal Being in which the becoming takes place. Brahman is also He, the Person who originates, inhabits and governs the Universe.

Verse 8: The Lord

sa paryagāch chhukram akāyam avraņam asnāviram shuddham apāpaviddham,

kavir manīşhī paribhūĥ swayambhūĥ yāthātathyato arthān vyadadhāch chhashvatībhyaĥ samābhyaĥ.

It is He that has gone abroad—That which is bright, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil.

The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existence has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal.

In his going abroad, i.e. in his self-extension there are, it should be noted, two aspects: one, I an Infinite Immutability and the other, Mutation, a working out of possibilities in Time, Space and Causality. The Upanishad speaks of the former—the Pure Immutable as the bright, self-luminous without a shadow, bodiless, unlimited by form and division, without scar of imperfection and sinews, flawless, unaffected by the play of clashing circumstances and not subject to the currents and cross currents of diminution and increase, Pure and unpierced by evil, i.e. not contaminated by Ignorance and its issue, the wrong, the crooked as opposed to what is normally right and straight. The same Absolute is spoken of in the other aspect successively, as the Kavi, the Seer, who before he proceeds to manifest sees in his luminous vision the Truth the Principles of things that are to manifest, then, as the Manishi, Thinker, who Conceives and thinks out the processes in the evolution of the possibilities, the Paribhu, He who eventuates becomes everywhere, in Space and Time as impelled by the Manishi. It is all, it must be noted, a one becoming of the Self-existent Purusha who moves into these, three poises, seeing, conceiving and fixing things in accord with the Truth which is being expressed, the eternal Truth which forms and. governs the nature of earth formation as its innate Law.

Thus the Movement has its truth as much as the Stability; multiplicity is as real as unity. Both are twin ends of the one pole of Reality in manifestation and should be comprehended as such. To ignore or deny one and accept and pursue only the other is to shut oneself from the full reality of things. To accept the truth of both in a large vision and seek to realize it in one's own life is the path of wisdom.

Verses 9, 10 and 11: Knowledge and Ignorance (avidya)

andham tamaĥ pravishanti ye avidyām upāsate,

tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u vidyāyān ratāĥ.

Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance,

they as if into a greater darkness enter who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone.

anyadevāhur vidyayā anyadāhur avidyaya,

iti shushruma dhīrāņām ye nastadvimchachakşhire.

Other, verily, it is said, is that which comes by the Knowledge, other that which comes by the Ignorance;

this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding.

vidyām cha avidyām yastad vedobhayan saha,

avidyayā mŗthyum tīrtvā vidyayāmŗtamashnute.

He who knows That as both in one, the Knowledge and the Ignorance,

by the Ignorance crosses beyond death and by the Knowledge enjoys Immortality.

Knowledge, vidyā Sri Aurobindo explains, is the consciousness, the effective awareness of the Unity of things the Oneness of all. Ignorance, avidyā is the consciousness of multiplicity. Those who are aware of only the multiplicity of forms and not their reconciling oneness and live in line with that understanding are closed to the light of true knowledge and sink into obscurity. But those who look only at the Unity of' things, the sheer oneness alone, denying the fact of the Many, withdraw themselves gradually from the scene of life-activity and merge into a state of non-being, a state of consciousness where everything is, as if, iva, a, blank of still greater darkness. [This sense of iva in verse 9 seems to be left out in the commentary of Shankara; there it is explained as eva, verily. The point is that this state attained by the pursuit of sheer unity alone is so void, that its emptiness resembles—though, be it noted, it is not the same—in its benumbing blankness, the darkness of Ignorance raised to a degree]

"Those who are devoted entirely to the principle of indiscriminate Unity and seek to put away from them the integrality of the Brahman, also put away from them knowledge and completeness and enter as if into a greater darkness. They enter into some special state and accept it for the whole, mistaking exclusion in consciousness for transcendence in consciousness. They ignore by choice of knowledge, as the others are ignorant by compulsion of error. Knowing all to transcend all is the right path of Vidya. Although a higher state than the other, this supreme Night is termed a greater darkness, because the lower is one of chaos from which reconstitution is always possible, the higher is a conception of Void or Asat, an attachment to non-existence of Self from which it is more difficult to return to fulfillment of Self".

But rightly pursued and realized, the results of Knowledge and Ignorance, says the Upanishad, are different. They are both related to each other. Multiplicity is supported and sustained by the underlying Unity and Unity is realized in its full potential, only vis-a-vis the multiplicity. The Many, the manifestation in diversity provides the field for the soul to live and row in the experience of a multitudinous becoming—in all its richness—and arrive progressively at a point where the impact of multiplicity begins to be informed and regulated by the consciousness of the governing Unity—Vidya. When one realizes this Knowledge, not only in the mind but in other parts of the being, specially related to life-activity, the knot of Ignorance, the sense of separativity is lost and the range of one's conscious-ness begins to transcend the barriers of the normal human existence—physical and other,—in a word, it partakes of immortality. This is the truth seen by the ancients, the dhiras who saw 'steadfast in the gaze of their thought' and revealed widely, comprehensively, to the seers of the Upanishad, vichachakşhire.

So also, birth and non-birth, acceptance of manifestation and withdrawal from manifestation, are truths which yield their full value only when taken together and lead to disastrous results if followed exclusively.

Verses 12, 13 and 14: Birth and Non Birth

andham tamaĥ pravishanti ye asambhuutim upāsate,

tato bhūya eva te tamo ya u sambhūtyām ratāĥ.

Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Non-Birth,

they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Birth alone.

anya devāhuĥ sambhavād anyadāhur asambhavāt,

iti shushruma dhīrāņām ye nastad vimchachakşhire.

Other, verily, it is said, is that which comes by the birth, other that which comes by the Non-Birth;

this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding.

sambhūtim cha vināsham cha yastad vedobhayan saha,

vināshena mŗthyum tīrtvā sambhūtyā amŗtam ashnute.

He who knows That as both in one, the Birth and the dissolution of Birth,

by the dissolution crosses beyond death and by the Birth enjoys Immortality.

Sambhūti and Asambhūti, Birth and Non-Birth, Sri Aurobindo clarifies, are not so much conditions of the body as states of the soul. One who chooses the state of Non-Birth rejects Birth and the line of manifestation and prepares himself to withdraw into a non-being, goes to a Nihil, a Void where all is blank. But he who is content to remain in the Birth alone, in the field of multiplicity and movement, without realizing the saving truth of freedom and transcendence from Birth, goes under in an abysm of darkness. Both Birth and Non-Birth are facts of Existence, and both are to be integrated in oneself.

The lynch-pin that holds together the continually changing movements and experiences in the normal life of the individual is the ego-sense. When that is dissolved the main prop of the life in ignorance is destroyed, vināsha.

It does not mean the, end of the body; the physical frame can very well continue after the death of the ego. The seeker breaks the bonds imposed by the self-limiting ego, the subjection to incapacity, limitation and desire which are the agents of death. And once he realizes this freedom, the seeker after the integral truth of manifestation accepts the Birth: the soul chooses to participate in the general manifestation in order to more fully enjoy its freedom. As Sri Aurobindo says, "it is enjoyed by a free and divine becoming in the universe and not outside the universe; for there it is always possessed, but here in the material it is to be worked out and enjoyed by the divine Inhabitant under circumstances that are in appearance the most opposite to its terms, in the of life the individual and in the multiple life of the universe."

Thus "Through Avidya. the Multiplicity, lies our path out of the transitional egoistic self-expression in which death and suffering predominate; through Vidya consenting with Avidya by the perfect sense of oneness even in that multiplicity, we enjoy integrally the immortality and the beatitude. By attaining to the Unborn beyond all becoming we are liberated from this lower birth and death; by accepting the Becoming freely as the Divine, we invade mortality with the immortal beatitude and become luminous centres of its conscious self-expression in humanity." [Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Vol. 1, ch. V].

This is the thought-movement in the Upanishad so far. The opening lines lay it down that this universe of movement is governed by the One inhabiting Spirit. The object of this manifestation is enjoyment and right living consisting in one's full participation in this enjoyment which is truly possible only when there is an inner renunciation of Desire. This done, activity ceases to bind the doer who is one in soul with the Lord of All. Those who do not follow this rightful course of life not only miss enjoyment here on earth, but go to worlds of darkness after death. The multiple Movement and the One Stability, are the same Brahman in different poises. Brahman the Reality is both and beyond both. Man realizes his unity with the rest of his fellow-beings only in proportion as he gains his identity with this cosmic and transcendental Self who is extended as and in all. In this unity are true harmony and happiness achieved displacing the elements of friction, grief, and illusion which are the results of a false sense of separativity born of ego. Life is a manifestation of God. The universe is really an unfoldment of the Spirit; it is the Supreme who has gone abroad and "has unrolled the universe in His three modes as All-Seer of the Truth of things, Thinker-out of their possibilities, Realiser of their actualities. He has determined all things sovereignly in their own nature, development and goal from years sempiternal." Vidya and Avidya, consciousness of the inherent unity and the consciousness of the phenomenal multiplicity, are twin powers of this Manifestation, each complementary—and not contradictory to the other and when a right use is made of both, they carry the individual on their wings towards a supreme fulfillment. So also are Birth and Non-Birth; they are not opposite and irreconcilable; they are two states of the being, each necessary to the completeness of the other and a realization of both the states is indispensable, if the object of Manifestation, Immortality, is to be achieved.

To fulfill this aim, to arrive at this Goal of Beatitude with all the opulence of Knowledge, Power and Joy that go with it, the Upanishad invokes the aid of the Gods, the famed guardians of Immortality. It proceeds to call Surya, the God of Illumination and Agni, the Lord of divine Will and Action.

Verses 15 and 16: The worlds - Surya

hiraņmayena pātreņa satyasyāpihitam mukham,

tat tvam pūşhann apāvŗņu satyadharmāya dŗşhţaye.

The face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid; that do thou remove, O Fosterer, for the law of the Truth, for sight.

pūşhannekarşhe yama sūrya prājāpatya vhyūha rashmīn samūha tejo,

yat te rūpam kalyāņatamam tat te pashyāmi yo asāvasau puruşhaĥ so aham asmi.

O Fosterer, O sole Seer, O Ordainer, O illumining Sun, O power of the Father of creatures, marshal thy rays, draw together thy light;

the Lustre which is thy most blessed form of all, that in Thee I behold. The Purusha there and there, He am I

“In the inner sense of the Veda, Surya, the Sun-God, represents the divine Illumination of the Kavi which exceeds mind and forms the pure self-luminous Truth of things. His principal power is self-revelatory knowledge, termed in the Veda ‘Sight’. His realm is described as the Truth, the Law, the Vast. He is the Fosterer or Increaser, for he enlarges and opens man’s dark and limited being into a luminous and infinite consciousness. He is the sole Seer, Seer of Oneness and Knower of the Self, and leads him to the highest Sight. He is Yama, Controller or Ordainer, for he governs man’s action and manifested being by the direct Law of the Truth, satyadharma, and therefore by the right principle of our nature, yathatathyatah, a luminous power proceeding from the Father of all existence, he reveals in himself the divine Purusha of whom all beings are the manifestations. His rays are the thoughts that proceed luminously from the Truth, the Vast, but become deflected and distorted, broken up and disordered in the reflecting and dividing principle, Mind. They form there the golden lid which covers the face of the Truth. The Seer prays to Surya to cast them into right order and relation and then draw them together into the unity of relation and draw them together into the unity of revealed truth. The result of this inner process is the perception of the oneness of all beings in the divine Soul of this Universe”. “This is Surya’s goodliest form of all. For it is the supreme Light, the supreme Will, the supreme Delight of existence. This is the Lord, the Purusha, the self-conscient Being. When we have this vision, there is the integral self-knowledge, the Upanishad, so’ham. The Purusha there and there He am I .”

[Sri Aurobindo: Īşha Upanishad, Verse 15 and Section VII. This verse is one of the most typical in the Upanishadic literature bringing out the close relation that exists between the Upanishads and the Veda. As noted earlier, the sages of the Upanishads always quote from the more ancient scripture in support, justification or in clinching a line of thought they develop. The present verse is not only an instance to the point but much more valuable for the transparency with which it enables one to see how the thought development has taken place, how the Upanishads make explicit what was implicit in the Veda. The original Rik reads:

“There is a Truth covered by a Truth where they unyoke the horses of the Sun; the ten hundreds stood together, there was That One; I saw the greatest (best, most glorious) of the embodied gods.”

Compare this with the two verses of the Isha, under discussion. Drawing attention to this, Sir Aurobindo writes: “….mark how the seer of the Upanishad translates this thought or this mystic experience into his own later style, keeping the central symbol of the Sun but without any secrecy in the sense.. The golden lid (of the Upanishad) is meant to be the same as the inferior covering truth, ŗtam, spoken of in the Vedic verse; the ‘best of the bodies of the Gods’ is equivalent to the ‘fairest form of the Sun’, it is the supreme Light which is other and greater than all outer light; the great formula of the Upanishad, ‘He am I’ corresponds to that One, tad ekam, of the Rig Vedic verse; the 'standing together of the ten hundreds’ (the rays of the Sun, says Sayana, and that is evidently the meaning) is reproduced in the prayer to the Sun ‘to marshal and mass his rays’ so that the supreme from may be seen. The Sun in both the passages as constantly in the Veda and frequently in the Upanishad, is the Godhead of the supreme Truth and Knowledge and his rays are the light emanating from that supreme Truth and Knowledge. It is clear from this instance—and there are others—that the seer of the Upanishad had a truer sense of the meaning of the ancient Veda than the mediaeval ritualistic commentator with his gigantic learning, much truer than the modern and very different mind of the European scholars.” (Hymns to the Mystic Fire, Pp. XVIII-XIX)

In his Commentary on the Rig Veda, Sir Kapāli Sāstriar has gone into this interesting parallel in greater detail and has shown how close is the thought of the Upanishad to the spirit of the Vedic mantra. He also points out other instances, e.g., R.V. I.25.3 in the Samhita which contain the seeds of the perception that found its full unveiled expression in this verse of the Īşha Upanishad.

Verses 17 and 18: Action and the Divine Will (Agni)

vāyuranilam amŗtam athedam bhasmāntam sharīram,

om krato smara kŗtam smara krato smara kŗtam smara.

The Breath of things is an immortal Life, but of this body ashes are the end.

OM! O Will, remember, that which was done, remember! O Will, remember, that which was done, remember.

agne naya supathā rāye asmān vishvāni deva vayunāni vidvān,

yuyodhyasmaj juhurāņameno bhūyişhţhām te namauktim vidhema.

O God Agni, knowing all things that are manifested, lead us by the good path to the felicity;

remove from us the devious attraction of sin. To thee completest speech of sub-mission we would dispose.

Through the grace and the intervention of Sūrya the mind of man grows into illumination. But Knowledge is not all. There has to be a corresponding upliftment and enlargement of the faculties of action. They too should be liberated from the limitations under which they labour. But the body, the physical frame of man is circumscribed on all sides and subject to the conditions of birth and death over which, he has little control. However, there is, says the seer, a power active in the body, the dynamism of life-energy which is the effective source and executor of all action and that in its true nature—which is revealed in the light of the Surya, the Lord of illumination,—is immortal. To manifest this Life-principle more and more and enable it to speed into its own untrammelled course of conquest and progress, the God of Life, Vāyu (Mātarishwan in an earlier verse) is remembered in prayer.

Normal human activity, however, proceeds under the drive and impulsion of Prakriti, Nature, which is shot through and through with Ignorance and revolves round the fulcrum of the ego. Man is a slave of this activity, he is rushed into it and becomes the creature instead of its master he is meant to be. It is only in proportion as he awakens to the liberating knowledge and releases himself from the hold of the lower ignorant nature that he is in a position to disengage himself from this thralldom and assume his rightful place. He begins to see that behind all action there is a secret Will leading things to a destined goal. Whatever may be the apparent motives and circumstances which govern activities there is at their base a secret Will and Power whose origin is deeper than the surface nature. This is the kratu, the Divine Will which is called Agni in the Veda—the Will which motivates and executes, with its dynamic power, in the universe as well as in the individual. "He is the divine force which manifests first in matter as heat and light and material energy and then, taking different forms in the other principles of man's consciousness, leads him by a progressive manifestation upwards to the Truth and Bliss." One has to realise this truth in one's own being; gain oneness with this secret spring of Movement if one hopes to acquire control and direction over all one's activities. The seer calls upon, this God Agni to come into his own, retain the thread of continuity in the actions put forth in this life-time and before, and relate them in the walking consciousness also in the right sequence, so that the control ensuing from a conscious coordination of doings may perfect itself. This the Agni can do, because being at the fount of manifestation on earth, he knows; he knows the truth of all that is born, jaatavedas, the Intention governing all activities; and knowing, he also sees the direct way in which things lead to their fulfillment.

Amidst the maze of ways and byways with which course of man's life is strewn, he knows which is the straight Path. Caught up in the web of ignorance and false-hood, impelled by the goad of conflicting desires and passions, man turns and deflects, loses sight of the good and the obvious direction. This is pull of sin which man suffers and which keeps him away from the natural, the straight course.

As Sri Aurobindo states: "Sin, in the conception of the Veda, from which this verse is taken bodily, is that which excites and hurries the faculties into deviation from the good path. There is a straight road or road of naturally increasing light and truth, rjuh pantha, rtasya pantha, leading over infinite levels and towards infinite vistas, vitāni, pŗşţhāni, by which the law of our nature should normally take us towards our fulfillment. Sin compels it instead to travel with stumblings amid uneven and limited tracts and along crooked windings duritāni, vŗjināni.

The seer invokes the aid of Agni to pass beyond the range of this sin and to that end offers “completest submission and the self-surrender of all the faculties of the lower egoistic human nature to the divine Will-force, Agni, so that, free from internal opposition, it may lead the soul of man through the truth towards a felicity full of the spiritual riches, rāye." ( Sir Aurobindo)

It hardly needs to be pointed out that these four crowning verses are not the last prayer of a dying man* as taken by some, but powerful invocations from the seeker who has by dint of lifelong effort arrived at a crucial stage when the intervention from the very Gods alone can enable him to surmount the last barriers, uplift him and open still higher vistas of Light and Power leading to the final goal of Immortality while living on earth for a full span of life, for a hundred years, Satam samāĥ.

*Who is preparing, to shed the body to dissolve into the material elements, and to merge the breath in the primary Prāņa, summoning up the accumulated puNya of rituals performed during his life, and with speech-which is all that is left to him at that moment as means of worship—pleads to God Agni to lead him by the bright path—the devayāna—to his destination in the Brahmaloka.

OM in Upanishads

OM in Taittirīya

OM is the Eternal, Om is all this universe. Om is the syllable of assent: saying OM! let us hear then begin the recitation with Om. With OM they sing the hymns of the Sama; with OM SHOM they pronounce the Shāstra. With OM the priest officiating at the sacrifice says the response. With OM Brahma begins creation (or, With OM the chief priest gives sanction). With OM one sanctions the burnt offering. With OM the Brahmin ere he expound the knowledge, cries "May I attain the Eternal." The Eternal verily he attains.

OM in Chhāndogya

om iti etad akşharam udgītam upāsītā;

om iti hy udgāyati tasyopa vyākhyānam. (1.1.1)

OM is the syllable (the Imperishable One); one should follow after it as the upward Song (movement) for with OM one sings (goes) upwards; of which this is the analytical explanation.

So, literally translated in its double meaning, both its exoteric, physical and symbolic sense and its esoteric symbolized reality, runs the initial sentence of the Upanishad. These opening lines or passages of the Vedanta are always of great importance; they are always so designed as to suggest or even sum up, if not all that comes afterwards, yet the central and pervading idea of the Upanishad. The īshā vāsyam of the Vājasaneyi, the keneşhitam ... manas of the Talavakāra, the Sacrificial Horse of the Bŗhadāraņyaka, the solitary ātman with its hint of the future world vibrations in the Aitareya are of this type. The Chhāndogya, we see from its first and introductory sentence, is to be a work on the right and perfect way of devoting oneself to the Brahman; the spirit, the methods, the formulae are to be given to us. Its subject is the Brahman, but the Brahman as symbolized in the OM, the sacred syllable of the Veda; not, therefore, the pure state of the Universal Existence only, but that Existence in all its parts, the waking world and the dream self and the sleeping, the manifest, half-manifest and hidden, Bhūloka, Bhuvar and Swar,—the right means to win all of them, enjoy all of them, transcend all of them, is the subject of the Chhāndogya. OM is the symbol and the thing symbolized. It is the symbol, akşharam; the syllable in which all sound of speech is brought back to its wide, pure indeterminate state; it is the symbolised, akşharam, the changeless, undiminishing, unincreasing, unappearing, undying Reality which shows itself to experience in all this change, increase, diminution, appearance, departure which in a particular sum and harmony of them we call the world, just as OM, the pure eternal sound-basis of speech shows itself to the ear in the variations and combinations of impure sound which in a particular sum and harmony of them we call the Veda. We are to follow after this OM with all our souls, upāsita,—to apply ourselves to it and devote ourselves to its knowledge and possession, but always to OM as the Udgītha. Again in this word we have the symbolic sense and the truth symbolized expressed, as in akşharam and OM, in a single vocable with a double function and significance.

The Sanskrit has always been a language in which one word is naturally capable of several meanings and therefore carries with it a number of varied associations. It lends itself, therefore, with peculiar ease and naturalness to the figure called shleşha or embrace, the marriage of different meanings in a single form of words. Paronomasia in English is mere punning, a tour de force, an incongruity, a grotesque and artificial play of humour. Paronomasia, shleşha in Sanskrit, though in form precisely the same thing, is not punning, not incongruous but easily appropriate, not incongruous or artificial, but natural and often inevitable, not used for intellectual horseplay, but with a serious, often a high and worthy purpose. It has been abused by rhetorical writers; yet great and noble poetical effects have been obtained by its aid, as, for instance, when the same form of words has been used to convey open blame and cover secret praise. Nevertheless in classical Sanskrit, the language has become a little too rigid for the perfect use of the figure; it is too literary, too minutely grammatised; it has lost the memory of its origins. A sense of cleverness and artifice suggests itself to us because meanings known to be distinct and widely separate are brought together in a single activity of the word which usually suggests them only in different contexts. But in the Vedic shleşha we have no sense of cleverness or artifice, because the writers themselves had none. The language was still near to its origins and had, not perhaps an intellectual, but still an instinctive memory of them. With less grammatical and as little etymological knowledge as Panini and the other classical grammarians, the rishis had better possession of the soul of Sanskrit speech. The different meanings of a word, though distinct, were not yet entirely separate; many links yet survived between them which were afterwards lost; the gradations of sense remained, the hint of the word's history, the shading off from one sense to another. Ardha now means half and it means nothing else. To the Vedic man it carried other associations. Derived from the root ŗdh which meant originally to go and join, then to add to increase, to prosper, it bore the sense of place of destination, the person to whom I direct myself, or simply place; also increase, addition, a part added and so simply a part or half. To have used it in any other sense than "place of destination" or as at once "half, part" and "a place of destination" would not be a violence to the Vedic mind, but a natural association of ideas. So when they spoke of the higher worlds of Sachchidananda as Parārdha, they meant at once the higher half of man's inner existence and the param dhāma or high seat of Vişhņu in other worlds and, in addition, thought of that high seat as the destination of our upward movement. All this rose at once to their mind when the word was uttered, naturally, easily and, by long association, inevitably.

OM is a word in instance. When the word was spoken as a solemn affirmation, everyone thought of the Praņava in the Veda, but no one could listen to the word OM without thinking also of the Brahman in Its triple manifestation and in Its transcendent being. The word, akşharam, meaning both syllable and unshifting, when coupled with OM, is a word in instance; "OM the syllable" meant also, inevitably, to the Vedic mind "Brahman, who changes not nor perishes". The words udgītha and udgāyati are words in instance. In classical Sanskrit the prepositional prefix to the verb was dead and bore only a conventional significance or had no force at all; udgāyati or pragāyati is not very different from the simple gāyati; all mean merely sing or chant. But in Veda the preposition is still living and join its verb or separates itself as it pleases; therefore it keeps its full meaning always. In Vedanta the power of separation is lost, but the separate force remains. Again the roots gi and gā in classical Sanskrit mean to sing and have resigned the sense of going to their kinsman gam; but in Vedic times, the sense of going was still active and common. They meant also to express, to possess to hold; but these meanings once common to the family are now entrusted to particular members of it, gir, for expression, gŗh for holding. Gāthā, gīthā, gāna, gāyati, gātā, gātu, meant to the vedic mind both going and singing, meant ascending as well as upward the voice or the soul in song. When the Vedic singer said ud gāyāmi, the physical idea was that perhaps, of the song rising upward, but he had also the psychical idea of the soul rising up in song to the gods and fulfill idea of the soul rising upward, but he had also the psychical idea of the soul rising up in song to the gods and fulfilling in its meeting with them and entering into them its expressed aspiration. To show that this idea is not a modern etymological fancy of my own, it is sufficient to cite the evidence of the Chhāndogya Upanishad itself in this very chapter where Baka Dalbhya is spoken of as the Udgata of the Naimishiyas who obtained their desires for them by the Vedic chant, ebhyah āgāyati kāmān; so, adds the Upanishad, shall everyone be a "singer to" and a "bringrer to" of desires, āgātā kāmānām, who with this knowledge follows after OM, the Brahman, as the Udgitha.

This then is the meaning of the Upanishad that OM, the syllable, technically called the Udgītha, is to be meditated on as a symbol of the fourfold Brahman with two objects, the "singing to" of one's desires and aspirations in the triple manifestation and the spiritual ascension into the Brahman Itself so as to meet and enter into heaven after heaven and even into Its transcendent felicity. For, it says with the syllable OM one begins the chant of the Sāmaveda, or in the esoteric sense, by means of the meditation on OM one makes this soul- ascension and becomes master of all the soul desires. It is in this aspect and to this end that the Upanishad will expound OM. To explain Brahman in Its nature and workings, to teach the right worship and meditation on Brahman, to establish what are the different means of attainment of results and the formulae of the mediation and worship, is its purpose. All this work of explanation has to be done in reference to Veda and Vedic sacrifice and ritual of which OM is the substance. In a certain sense, therefore, the Upanishad in an explanation of the purpose and symbology of Vedic formulate and ritual; it sums up the results of the long travail of seeking by which the first founders and pioneers of Vedantism in an age when the secret and true senses of Veda had been largely submerged in the ceremonialism and formalism of the close of the Dwapara Yuga, attempted to recover their lost heritage partly by reference to the adepts who still remained in possession of it, partly by the traditions of the great seekers of the past Yuga, Janaka, Yājňavalkya, Kŗşhņa and others, partly by their own illuminations and spiritual experience. The Chhāndogya Upanishad is thus the summary history of one of the greatest and most interesting ages of human thought. (SA)

OM in Māndūkya

  1. OM is this imperishable word, OM is the Universe, and this is the exposition of OM. The past, the present and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, is OM. Likewise all else that may exist beyond the bounds of Time, that too is OM.
  2. All this Universe is the Eternal Brahman, this Self is the Eternal, and the Self is fourfold.
  3. Now this the Self, as to the imperishable Word, is OM: and as to the letters, His parts are the letters and the letters are His parts, namely, AUM.
  4. The Waker, Vaishvānara, the Universal Male, he is A, the first letter, because of Initiality and Pervasiveness: he that knows Him for such pervades and attains all his desires: he becomes the source and first.
  5. The Dreamer, Taijasa, the Inhabitant in Luminous Mind, He is U, the second letter, because of Advance and Centrality: he that knows Him for such, advances the bounds of his knowledge and rises above difference: nor of his seed is any born that knows not the eternal.
  6. The Sleeper, Prajna, the Lord of Wisdom, He is M, the third letter, because of Measure and Finality: he that knows Him for such measures with himself the Universe and becomes the departure into the Eternal.
  7. Letterless is the fourth, the Incommunicable, the end of phenomena, the good, the One than whom there is no other: thus is OM. He that knows is the self and enters by hi self into the Self, he that knows, he that knows.