Indra returned to Prajapati for another five years and then learned: “This body is mortal, always gripped by death, but within it dwells the immortal Self. This Self, when associated in our consciousness with the body, is subject to pleasure and pain; and so long as this association continues, freedom from pleasure and pain can no man find. But as this association ceases, there cease also the pleasure and pain. Rising above physical consciousness, knowing the Self to be distinct from the senses and the mind – knowing it in its true light – one rejoices and is free.”
The gods, the luminous ones, meditate on the Self, and by so doing obtain all the worlds and all desires. In like manner, whosoever among mortals knows the Self, meditates upon it and realises it – he too obtains all the worlds and all desires.
This completes our look at Chandogya Upanishad.
Prajapati tells Indra: “That which moves about in dreams, enjoying sensuous delights and clothed in glory, that is the Self. That is immortal, that is fearless, and that is Brahman.”
Pleased with what he had heard, Indra again departed. But before he had reached the other gods, he realised the uselessness of this knowledge also. “True it is,” he thought to himself, “that this Self is not blind when the body is blind, nor lame when the body is lame or hurt. But even in dreams it is conscious of many sufferings. So in this doctrine I can see no good.”
So he went back to Prajapati for further instruction. After thirty-two more years, Prajapati said: “When a man is sound asleep, free from dreams, and at perfect rest – that is the Self. The Self is immortal and fearless, and it is Brahman.”
Indra went away, but realised that even this knowledge was useless. “In reality,” thought he, “one does not know oneself as this or that while asleep. One is not conscious, in fact, of any existence at all. The state of one in deep sleep is next to annihilation. I can see no good in this knowledge either.”
Will Indra ever get to the bottom of this question??
Continuing the story of Chandogya Upanishad: ‘Now Virochana, satisfied for his part that he had found out the Self, returned to the demons and began to teach them that the body alone is to be worshipped, that the body alone is to be served, and that he who worships the body and serves the body gains both worlds, this and the next. Such doctrine is, in very truth, the doctrine of the demons!
But Indra, on his way back to the gods, realised the uselessness of this knowledge. “As this Self,” he reasoned, “seems to be well adorned when the body is well adorned, well dressed when the body is well dressed, so will it be blind when the body is blind, lame when the body is lame, deformed when the body is deformed. When the body dies, this same Self will also die! In such knowledge I can see no good.”
So he returned to Prajapati and asked for further instruction. Prajapati required him to live with him for another thirty-two years.’
It was said of old: “The Self, which is free from impurities, from old age and death, from grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and resolves nothing but what it ought to resolve, is to be sought after, is to be inquired about, is to be realised. He who learns about the Self and realises it obtains all the worlds and all desires.”
This is our mission. Yoga is a journey of SELF-discovery…
“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 the lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realised.
What then is that which, dwelling within this little house, this lotus of the heart, is to be sought after, inquired about and realised?
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 the 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.”
“The light that shines above the heavens and above this world, the light that shines in the highest world, beyond which there are no others – that is the light that shines in the heart of men…
The Self, who is to be realised by the purified mind and the illumined consciousness, whose form is light, whose thoughts are true; who, like the ether, remains pure and unattached; from whom proceeds all works, all desires, all odours, all tastes; who pervades all, who is beyond the senses, and in whom there is fullness of joy forever – he is my very Self, dwelling within the lotus of my heart.”
Try reading that out loud! It’s gorgeous. I had a glitch on my computer, and had to write the last part again. I was glad! Love ‘the fullness of joy’…
“The Self, who is to be realised by the purified mind and the illumined consciousness, whose form is light, whose thoughts are true; who, like the ether, remains pure and unattached; from whom proceeds all works, all desires, all odours, all tastes; who pervades all, who is beyond the senses, and in whom there is fullness of joy forever – he is my very Self, dwelling within the lotus of the heart.
Smaller than a grain of rice is the Self; smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed, yea, smaller even than the kernel of a canary seed. Yet again is that Self, within the lotus of my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the heavens, yea, greater than all the worlds.”
This, from Chandogya Upanishad, is such a wonderful description of Atman, the divine individual spark, and Brahman, the Supreme Being.
“May quietness descend upon my limbs, my speech, my breath, my eyes, my ears; may all my 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.”
So we continue to digest bite-sized chunks of the yogic wisdom. This was from Chandogya Upanishad, which is one of my favourites.
This is the upanishad that we featured at our annual retreat this year. My daughter and two granddaughters helped to dramatise it on the Saturday evening. It’s one of my favourites. It begins with these words: “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.”
Our annual weekend retreat begins today. One lady said: “It is more of an advance than a retreat!”
On the Saturday evening, we are doing an enactment of Chandogya Upanishad. Taking part in the drama are my daughter, my two granddaughters, me and our friend, Andy. He plays Prajapati, the renowned teacher.
Our theme for the weekend is ‘The Lotus Flower’. In Chandogya Upanishad it says: ” 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 realised.”