Indra gets the message

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.

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The lotus of the heart

“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.

Aitareya Upanishad

We are told: “Before creation, all that existed was the Self, the Self alone. Nothing else was. Then the Self thought: “Let me send forth the worlds.”

He sent forth these worlds: Ambhas, the highest world, above the sky and upheld by it; Marichi, the sky; Mara, the mortal world, the earth; and Apa, the world beneath the earth.

He thought: “Behold the worlds. Let me now send forth their guardians.” Then he sent forth their guardians.

He thought: “Behold these worlds and the guardians of these worlds. Let me send forth food for these guardians.” Then he sent forth food for them.

He thought: “How shall their be guardians and I have no part in them? If, without me, speech is uttered, breath is drawn, eye sees, ear hears, skin feels, mind thinks, sex organs procreate, then what am I?”

He thought: “Let me enter the guardians.” Whereupon, opening the centre of their skulls, he entered. the door by which he entered is called the door of bliss.”

The final question

Lastly, Sukesa asked the sage: ” Where is the Self?”

The sage replied: “My child, within this body dwells the Self, from whom sprang the sixteen parts of the universe; and in this manner they came into being:’If, creating, I enter my creation,’the Self reflected, ‘what is there to bind me to it; what is there to go out, to stay within it when I stay?’ Pondering thus, and in answer to his thought, he made Prana; and from Prana he made desire; and from desire he made ether, air, fire, water, earth, the senses, the mind, and food; and from food he made vigour, penance, the Vedas, the sacrificial rites, and all the worlds. Thereafter, in the worlds, he created names. And the number of the elements he thus created was sixteen. As the flowing rivers, whose destination is the sea, having reached it disappear in it, losing their names and forms, and men speak only of the sea; so these sixteen parts created from his own being by the Self, the Eternal Seer, having returned to him from whom they came, disappear in him, their destination, losing their names and forms, and people speak only of the Self. Then for man the sixteen parts are no more, and he attains immortality.

Thus it was said of old: ‘The sixteen parts are spokes projecting from the Self, who is the hub of the wheel. The Self is the goal of knowledge. Know him and go beyond death.’ ” The disciples in Prasna upanishad understood, and the story concludes with ‘OM…peace – peace – peace.’