The first volume of ‘Principal Upanisads’ published by The Dvaita Vedanta Study and Research Foundation covers eight Upanisads. This second volume contains Chandogya and Brihadaranya. Among the ten Upanisads these two are the largest and the most important. The famous passage ‘Tat tvam asi occurs in Chandogya and the passage ‘Aham Brahma asmi’ occurs in Brihadaranya. The entire Upanisadic Philosophy centres round these two passages. Modern readers of Upanisads are familiar with Sri Shankara’s interpretation of these passages. However, Sri Madhvacharya differs from him and explains that these do not support the concept of Nirguna Brahman and Advaita but describe Gunapurna Brahman. Keeping this central point in mind the crucial passages of these two Upanisads are explained in Sri Madhvacharya’s Bhasya.
Prof. K.T. Pandurangi has translated the two Upanisads included in this volume according to Sri Madhvacharya’s Bhasya and Sri Raghavendratirtha’s Khandartha. He has added detailed notes giving the Sanskrit extracts to support the points brought out by him. The Philosophical and the theological doctrines enshrined in these Upanisads are clearly, stated. At the commencement of this volume the essay ‘Essentials of Upanisads’ is added. This gives a comprehensive picture of the Upanisadic doctrine. We thank Prof. Pandurangi for preparing the translation. It is hoped that this volume will be useful for the Research scholars and the students of Vedanta Philosophy. We thank Raghavendra Enterprises for neatly printing the book within a short time.
I am happy to present the second volume of ‘Principal Upanisads’. This contains two major Upanisads viz. Chandogya and Brihadaranya.
In this volume also the method followed in the first volume is followed. First a simple translation of the Upanisadic passages is given. Then, explanatory notes are added. Extracts from Bhasya and Sri Raghavendra tirtha’s Khandartha are given to substantiate the translation. In the case of Chandogya, the extracts from Sri Vedestirtha’s commentary and in the case of Brihadaranya extracts from Sri Raghuttama tirtha’s commendatory viz. Bhavabodha are also given. The requirements of both the scholars and the average reader are kept in mind.
Sri Madhvacharya explains the adhidaiva, adhibhuta and adhyatma meaning of Upanisadic passages. In addition, he explains adhi Visnu meaning. He obtains this meaning by parama mukhya vritti. While explaining the adhi Visnu meaning he states the Vyuha forms of Visnu conveyed in the respective passages. In fact this is the primary meaning according to Sri Madhvacharya. He also states the abhimani deities of various dhibhuta and adhyatma aspects. While translating such passages, their litaral meaning is not given but the meaning conveying as Vyuha forms and abhimani devatas is given. The literal meaning of these passages, is not intended in the context. The names of Vyuha forms and abhimani devatas are given on the basis of Sri Raghavendra tirtha’s Khandartha.
Upanisads are not isolated Texts. These respresent a tradition. The Bhsayakara gives an exposition of this tradition by introducing the Vyuha forms and abhimani deities, If one sticks to mere literal translation, then, this tradition will be lost. Therefore, this interpretation is incorporated in the translation and the extracts from the Bhasya and Khandartha giving these details are given in the notes.
The Chandogya Upanisad is rich both in its philosophical content and the theological content. It begins with Uidgithopasana Udgitha is one of the five samans. The Supreme God conveyed by ‘Om’, has to be meditated upon as present in Udgitha. The first five chapters of Chandogya describe a number of Upasanas viz., Samopasana, Madhuvidya, Samvargavidya, Pranavidya, Panchagnividya and Vaisvanara Vidya.
The meaning and the significance of Gayatri are explained. The whole of a person’s life is conceived as a sacrifice i.e., Purusayajna.
The importance of Mukhyaprapa is explained more than once. The episodes of Satyakama Jabala, Upakosala, and Janasruti occur in these chapters. The ethical virtues like Truthfulness non-violence, alms-giving, asceticism are recommended. Chandogya mentions the five great sins viz., Brahmahatya, Surapana etc., and exhorts to avoid these.
The passage ‘Sarvam khalu, idam Brahma tajjalan iti santa upasita’ has a reference to ‘Nasadiya hymn’ of Rgveda and brings out the central point made in that hymn viz., the supreme God alone functions in pralaya water. It further brings out his two characteristics viz. He is all pervasive (Idam) and he has all attributes (sarvam). Thus, this passage informs us that the supreme God is all-pervasive and possesses all attributes. He alone functions in pralaya water during pralaya.
The 6th, 7th and 8th chapters of Chandogya are philosophically rich. The sixth chapter that domains the famous passage ‘atat tvam asi’ is the heart of Chandogya. This phrase does not talk of the identity between Brahman and Eva. It actually mentions their difference, and mentions the fact that the Eva is entirely dependent upon him and similar to him (atat, tadadhina, tatsadrisa). The nine Illustrations given in this context make it clear.
The ‘Ekavijnanena sarvavijnana’ postulation and the three illustrations given in that context also do not support brahmaparinamavada or brahinavivartavada, and do not support Jiva-Brahma identity. A perusal of the translation and notes of the relevant passages given in this volume will give the reader the correct import of these passages according to Sri Madhvachairya’s Bhasya. To go into the full details of the interpretational niceties is outside the scope of this brief introduction.
The seventh chapter discusses Bhumopasana and the eighth chapter discusses Daharavidya. The episodes of Sanatkumara and Narada, Indra and Virochana occur in these chapters.
Two passages in these viz., (ii) Ya esa samprasado param jyotirupasampadya etc., (ii) Asariram vava santam priyapriye na sprisatah, have rich philosophical implications. The first passage informs us that the liberated Jiva attains the most luminous supreme God. He does not become identical with him but attains him. The second passage informs us that the pleasure and pain affect only so long as there is a body. The liberated casts off the body. Therefore, he is not affected by the prakrita pleasure and pain. God is never affected by these, The liberated enjoys the aprakrita bliss. The above brief sketch of the contents of Chandogya will give an idea of the philosophical richness of Chandogya. I hope this will induce the readers to go through the entire Upanisad.
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