The _BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD_ (Sanskrit:
Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat) is one of the Principal
one of the oldest Upanishadic scriptures of
Hinduism . A key
scripture to various schools of
Hinduism , the _Brihadaranyaka
Upanisad_ is tenth in the
The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ is estimated to have been composed
about 700 BCE, excluding some parts estimated to have been composed
after the _
Chandogya Upanishad _. The
The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ is a treatise on Ātman (Soul, Self),
includes passages on metaphysics , ethics and a yearning for knowledge
that influenced various
* 1 Chronology * 2 Etymology and structure
* 3 Content
* 3.1 First chapter * 3.2 Second chapter * 3.3 Third chapter * 3.4 Fourth chapter * 3.5 Fifth and sixth chapters
* 4 Discussion
* 5 Popular mantras
* 5.1 Pavamāna Mantra
* 6 Editions * 7 Translations * 8 In literature * 9 References * 10 External links
The chronology of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_, like other Upanishads, is uncertain and contested. The chronology is difficult to resolve because all opinions rest on scanty evidence, an analysis of archaism, style and repetitions across texts, driven by assumptions about likely evolution of ideas, and on presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies. Patrick Olivelle states, "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents (early Upanishads) that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards".
The chronology and authorship of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_, along with _Chandogya_ and _Kaushitaki Upanishads_ , is further complicated because they are compiled anthologies of literature that must have existed as independent texts before they became part of these Upanishads.
The exact year, and even the century of the Upanishad composition is unknown. Scholars have offered different estimates ranging from 900 BCE to 600 BCE, all preceding Buddhism. _Brihadaranyaka_ is one of the oldest Upanishads, along with that of _Jaiminiya Upanishad_ and _Chandogya Upanishads_. The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ was in all likelihood composed in the earlier part of 1st millennium BCE, around 700 BCE, give or take a century or so, according to Patrick Olivelle. It is likely that the text was a living document and some verses were edited over a period of time before the 6th century BCE.
ETYMOLOGY AND STRUCTURE
The title _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ literally means "great
wilderness or forest Upaniṣhad". It is credited to ancient sage
The first and second chapters of the Upanishad's _Madhu kānda_
consists of six brahmanams each, with varying number of hymns per
brahmanam. The first chapter of the Upanishad's _
The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ starts by stating one of many Vedic
theories of creation of the universe. It asserts that there was
nothing before the universe started, then
The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ starts the second chapter as a conversation between Ajatashatru and _Balaki Gargya_ on theory of dreams, positing that human beings see dreams entirely unto themselves because mind draws, in itself, the powers of sensory organs, which it releases in the waking state. It then asserts that this empirical fact about dreams suggests that human mind has the power to perceive the world as it is, as well as fabricate the world as it wants to perceive it. Mind is a means, prone to flaws. The struggle man faces, asserts Brihadaranyaka in brahmana 3, is in his attempt to realize the "true reality behind perceived reality". That is Atman-Brahman, inherently and blissfully existent, yet unknowable because it has no qualities, no characteristics, it is "neti, neti" (literally, "not that, not that").
In fourth brahmana, the
Upanishad presents a dialogue between a
husband and wife, as
The fifth brahmana of the second chapter introduces the _Madhu theory_, thus giving this section of the Upanishad the ancient name _Madhu Khanda_. The _Madhu theory_ is one of the foundational principles of Vedanta schools of Hinduism, as well as other āstika schools of Indian philosophies. _Madhu_ literally means "honey", or the composite fruit of numerous actions on the field of flowers. In the _Madhu theory_, notes Paul Deussen , the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad asserts that "Atman exists" (soul exists), that all organic beings (plants, animals, human beings and gods) are wandering souls yet One with each other and the Brahman (Cosmic Soul); it further asserts that inorganic nature (fire, air, earth, water, space) is the field where the beings act, and where their numerous actions create fruits that they separately and together experience. The Upanishad then states that everything is connected, beings affect each other, organic beings affect the inorganic nature, inorganic nature affects the organic beings, one is the "honey" (result, fruit, food) of the other, everyone and everything is mutually dependent, nourishing and nurturing each other, all because it came from one Brahman, because it is all one Brahman, because all existence is blissful oneness. This theory appears in various early and middle Upanishads, and parallels Immanuel Kant 's doctrine of "the affinity of phenomena" built on "the synthetic unity of apperception ".
The last brahmanam of the Upanishad's first section is a _Vamsa_ (generational line of teachers) with the names of 57 Vedic scholars who are credited to have taught the _Madhu Khanda_ from one generation to the next.
The third chapter is a metaphysical dialogue between ten ancient
sages, on the nature of Reality, Atman and Mukti .
Paul Deussen calls
the presentation of ancient scholar
The fourth brahmana of the third chapter asserts, "it is your soul which is inside all", all souls are one, immanent and transcendent. The fifth brahmana states that profound knowledge requires that one give up showing off one's erudition, then adopt childlike curiosity and simplicity, followed by becoming silent, meditating and observant (_muni_), thus beginning the journey towards profound knowledge, understanding the soul of things where there is freedom from frustration and sorrow. In the sixth and eighth brahmana of the third chapter in Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad is the dialogue between Gargi Vachaknavi – the female Vedic sage, and Yajñavalka, on the nature of universe.
The seventh brahmana discusses how and why the soul interconnects and
has the oneness through all organic beings, all inorganic nature, all
of universe. It asserts that the soul is the inner controller of
beings, conflated with the interaction of nature, psyche and senses,
often without the knowledge of beings. It is the soul, nevertheless,
that is the true and essence, states the Upanishad. The ninth
brahmana, the longest of the third chapter, introduces the "neti,
neti" principle that is discussed later, along with the analogical
equivalence of physical features of a man and those of a tree, with
the root of a man being his soul. The last hymns of chapter 3 in
Upanishad also attest to the prevalent practice of the
renouncing ascetic life by the time Brihadaranyaka
composed in Vedic age of India, and it is these ascetic circles that
are credited for major movements such as
When one tears out the tree from its roots, the tree can grow no more, out of which root the man grows forth, when he is struck down by death? He, who is born, is not born, Who is supposed to beget him anew? (...) Brahman is bliss, Brahman is knowledge, It is the highest good of one who gives charity , and also of one who stands away (renounces) and knows it. — Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3:9
The fourth chapter of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ starts as a dialogue between King Janaka and Yajnavalka. It explores various aspects of the "Soul exists" theory, its phenomenal manifestations, and its philosophical implications on soteriology . The Upanishad, in the first brahmanam of fourth chapter, states that the soul manifests in human life in six forms: _Prajna_ (consciousness), _Priyam_ (love and the will to live), _Satyam_ (reverence for truth, reality), _Ananta_ (endlessness, curiosity for the eternal), _Ananda_ (bliss, contentness), and _Sthiti_ (the state of enduring steadfastness, calm perseverance).
In the second brahmanam, the Upanishad explores the question, "what happens to soul after one dies?", and provides the root of two themes that play central role in later schools of Hinduism: one, of the concept of soul as individual souls (dualism), and second of the concept of soul being One and Eternal neither comes nor goes anywhere, because it is everywhere and everyone in Oneness (non-dualism). This chapter discusses the widely cited "neti, neti" (नेति नेति, "not this, not this") principle towards one's journey to understanding soul. The second brahmanam concludes that soul exists is self-evident, soul is blissfully free, soul is eternally invulnerable, and soul is indescribable knowledge.
The hymn 4.2.4 of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ is one of many instances
in the ancient
The third brahmanam of the fourth chapter discusses the premises of moksha (liberation, freedom, emancipation, self-realization), and provides some of the most studied hymns of Brihadaranyaka. Paul Deussen calls it, "unique in its richness and warmth of presentation", with profoundness that retains its full worth in modern times. Max Muller translates it as follows,
But when he fancies that he is, as it were, a god, or that he is, as it were, a king, or "I am this altogether," that is his highest world, This indeed is his (true) form, free from desires, free from evil, free from fear.
Now as a man, when embraced by a beloved wife, knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within, thus this person, when embraced by the _Prajna_ (conscious, aware) Self, knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within. This indeed is his (true) form, in which his wishes are fulfilled, in which the Self only is his wish, in which no other wish is left, he is free from any sorrow.
Then a father is not a father, a mother not a mother,
the worlds not worlds, the gods not gods, the
The fourth brahmanam continues to build the thematic description of
Brahman (Self, Soul) and the state of self-realization as
Max Muller and Paul Deussen, in their respective translations, describe the Upanishad's view of "Soul, Self" and "free, liberated state of existence" as, " is imperishable, for he cannot perish; he is unattached, for he does not attach himself; unfettered, he does not suffer, he does not fail. He is beyond good and evil, and neither what he has done, nor what he has omitted to do, affects him. (...) He therefore who knows it , becomes quiet, subdued, satisfied, patient, and collected. He sees self in Self, sees all as Self. Evil does not overcome him, he overcomes all evil. Evil does not burn him, he burns all evil. Free from evil, free from spots, free from doubt, he became Atman-Brâhmana; this is the Brahma-world, O King, thus spoke Yagnavalkya."
The last brahmanam of the Upanishad's second section is another _Vamsa_ (generational line of teachers) with the names of 59 Vedic scholars who are credited to have taught the hymns of _Muni Khanda_ from one generation to the next, before its became part of Brihadaranyaka.
FIFTH AND SIXTH CHAPTERS
The fifth and sixth chapters of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ are known as _Khila Khanda_, which literally means "supplementary section, or appendix". Each brahmanam in the supplement is small except the fourteenth. This section, suggests Paul Deussen, was likely written later to clarify and add ideas considered important in that later age.
Some brahmanams in the last section of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_, such as the second and third brahmanam in fifth chapter, append ethical theories, while fourth brahmanam in the fifth chapter asserts that "empirical reality and truth is Brahman". In the fourth brahmanam of sixth chapter, sexual rituals between a husband and wife are described to conceive and celebrate the birth of a child.
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One of the earliest formulation of the
Now as a man is like this or like that, according as he acts and according as he behaves, so will he be; a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad; he became pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds;
And here they say that a person consists of desires, and as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; _and whatever deed he does, that he will reap._ — Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Hymns 4.4.5-4.4.6
The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ includes hymns on virtues and ethics. In verse 5.2.3, for example, it recommends three virtues: self-restraint (दमः, Damah ), charity (दानं, Daanam ), and compassion for all life (दया, Daya ).
तदेतत्त्रयँ शिक्षेद् दमं दानं दयामिति Learn three cardinal virtues – temperance, charity and compassion for all life. — Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, V.ii.3,
The first ethical precept of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ became the
Yamas in various schools of Hinduism. In
Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): restraint from initiating
violence, harm, injury to other living beings by actions, words or in
The verses in the Upanishad contain theories pertaining to psychology and human motivations. Verse 1.4.17 describes the desire for progeny as the desire to be born again. The Upanishad states a behavioral theory, linking action to nature, suggesting that behavioral habits makes a man,
According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action. — Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5
Ancient and medieval Indian scholars have referred to _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ as a foundation to discuss psychological theories, the nature of psyche, and how body, mind and soul interact. For example, Adi Shankara in his commentary on the _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ explains the relation between consciousness, the mind and the body.
Mind creates desire, asserts _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_, with its basis in pleasure. Eye is the cause of material wealth, because it is through sight that wealth is created states the Upanishad, while ears are spiritual wealth, because it is through listening that knowledge is shared. The Upanishad suggests in the dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi , husband and wife, that one does not love an object for the sake of the object but for the sake of the subject, the Self (the soul of the other person).
Verse 1.3.28 acknowledges that metaphysical statements in Upanishads
are meant to guide the reader from unreality to reality. The
metaphysics of _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ is non-dualism (
For instance, in verse 2.4.13
"From infinite or fullness, we can get only fullness or infinite". The above verse describes the nature of the Absolute or Brahman which is infinite or full, i.e., it contains everything. Upanishadic metaphysics is further elucidated in the Madhu-vidya (honey doctrine), where the essence of every object is described to be same to the essence of every other object. The _Brihadaranyaka Upanishad_ looks at reality as being indescribable and its nature to be infinite and consciousness-bliss. The cosmic energy is thought to integrate in the microcosm and in the macrocosm integrate the individual to the universe.
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The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad has attracted secondary literature and commentaries (_bhasya _) from many scholars. In these secondary texts, the same passages have been interpreted in different ways by the various sub-schools of Vedanta such as nondualistic Advaita (monism), dualistic Dvaita (theism) and qualified nondualistic Vishistadvaita .
असतो मा सद्गमय । Asatō mā sadgamaya तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । tamasō mā jyōtirgamaya मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । mr̥tyōrmā amr̥taṁ gamaya ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥ Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ - _Br̥hadāraṇyakopaniṣat_ 1.3.28
From untruth lead us to Truth. From darkness lead us to Light. From death lead us to Immortality. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
* Albrecht Weber, _The Çatapatha-Brāhmaṇa in the
Mādhyandina-Çākhā, with extracts from the commentaries of
Sāyaṇa, Harisvāmin and Dvivedānga_, Berlin 1849, reprint
* Robert Hume, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Oxford University Press
* Max Muller, The
Upanishads - includes Brihadaranyaka, The Sacred
Books of the East - Volume 15, Oxford University Press
* Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (1994) . _The Principal
New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India. ISBN 81-7223-124-5 .
Swami Madhavananda , Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
* Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Translations by Johnston, Nikhilānanda,
* The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (with the Commentary of
T. S. Eliot
* ^ Jonardon Ganeri (2007). _The Concealed Art of the Soul:
Theories of Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and
Epistemology_. Oxford University Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN
Patrick Olivelle (1998). _Upaniṣads_. Oxford University
Press. pp. xxxvi–xxxvii. ISBN 978-0-19-283576-5 .
* ^ Eugene F. Gorski (2008). _Theology of Religions: A Sourcebook
for Interreligious Study_. Paulist. pp. 103 note 15. ISBN
978-0-8091-4533-1 . , Quote: "It is therefore one of the oldest texts
Upanishad corpus, possibly dating to as early as the ninth
Paul Deussen , The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Motilal
Banarsidass (2011 Edition), ISBN 978-8120816206 , page 23
* ^ Paul Deussen, Sixty
Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal
Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691 , pages 556-557
* ^ Olivelle, Patrick . _Upaniṣhads._ Oxford University Press,
1998, pages 3–4
* ^ Jones, Constance (2007). _Encyclopedia of Hinduism_. New York:
Infobase Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 0816073368 .
* ^ Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad with Adi Shankara\'s commentary Swami
* ^ Brihadaranyaka Upanisad with the commentary of Madhvacharya,
Translated by Rai Bahadur Sriśa Chandra Vasu (1933),
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