Kena Upanishad

Kena Upanishad

Kena Upanishad on the Limits of Knowledge

There is an interesting, and rather cryptic verse in the second chapter of the Kena Upanishad, which goes like this.

3. yasyamatam tasya matam matam yasya na veda sah avijnatam vijanatam vijnatam avijanatam.

To whomsoever it is unknown, to him it is known. To whomsoever it is known, he does not know. It is unknown to those who know it and known to those who do not know.

What does this mean? How can you know something you do not know and how can you do not know what you know? This is the paradox of knowing the Self, not knowing the known and knowing the unknown. The reference here is to the Self (Atman) or the Supreme Self (Brahman), which is perceptually and intellectually the unknowable. The verse alludes to the difficulty in understanding transcendental states of existence. The Self cannot be experienced by the mind. Hence, mentally you cannot know or be aware of the Self. Yet, you can experience the Self as Self and become aware of it, by being one with the Self, in a state of non-duality. However, since you do not keep that state when you are awake, you will never be aware of it in a wakeful state.

Let us take the analogy of an ant and a human being. For the ant you do not exist, even though you exist. It is because the ant cannot comprehend the immensity of you. Even if you stand before it, it cannot fathom your existence entirely. It may have a vague feeling of something big standing near by, but it does not know you as other people know you. To know anything, you need knowledge, matching intelligence and the ability to comprehend and identify what has been perceived. With the Self, none of these is possible mentally, the instrument upon which we depend normally to experience things and make sense of them.

This verse presents that difficulty and the near impossibility of knowing something which you are not in your waking physical state. We cannot say that we do no know our inner Selves at all. Everyday, when we fall asleep and enter into a dreamless state, we experience the Self. In that non-dual state we know the Self, but when we wake up do not know or remember what happened in our deep sleep. Therefore, as this verse rightly declares, although we think we do not know the Self, we know it unconsciously.

The Self is also experienced in a state of self-absorption, in deeper states of samyama (an advanced state of concentrated meditation), when there is no duality and distinction between the knower and the known and when our minds and senses are fully withdrawn. Thus, when, there is an awareness of the knower it is unknown and when the knower is absent it is known. Hence, it is unknown to those whose mind and senses are active and who experience duality but it is known to those whose mind and senses are asleep and who enter into a state of unity without the distinction between the knower and the known.

In short, we are speaking here about knowing the unknown or even the unknowable. Since we oscillate between wakefulness and deep sleep on a regular basis, in our wakeful state we are consciously unconscious of the Self, but in deep sleep we are unconsciously conscious of it. Yet we are never sure whether we know it at all, because our experience of the transcendental Self is always indeterminate and beyond our minds and senses.


The Kena is one of the principal Upanishads (#2 in the Muktikā canon) and is attached to the Sāma Veda. It is a mix of prose and poetry and modern scholarship believes the prose portion to be much older than the poetry portion – well before the time of Pāṇini (

Upanishad authors had a penchant for deliberate mystification and poetic embellishment – both of which, undermine their usefulness, unfortunately. The Kena differentiates itself a little in this regard by making some direct and very thought provoking statements.

na tatra chakShurgachChati na vAggachChati na manaH |
na vidmo na vijAnImo yathaitadanushiShyAt || 1.3 ||

anyadeva tadviditAdatho aviditAdadhi |
iti shushruma pUrveShAM ye nastad.hvyAchachakShire || 1.4 ||

Here is a simple, mostly literal translation of these verses –

The eye does not go there nor speech nor the mind.
We do not know we do not understand how one can teach this.

It is different from the known it is also different from the unknown.
This is how we heard it from the ancients who taught us.

  • It is clear that the author is mostly repeating what he heard from his teachers and in the spirit of candor, admits to his perplexity.
  • The mind does not go there. if it is beyond the mind, it is the same as saying it does not exist. But that is not entirely correct as there is no such thing as non-existence (because non-existence is predicated on the mind too). So, we cannot say it exists, but we cannot say it does not exist either. It follows therefore, that speech does not go there, as it is inexpressible. Kena 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 reiterate the futility of dealing with something that is neither in the realm of existence or non-existence.
  • It is different from the known. This would usually mean unknown – something that is not known at the moment, but could be known elsewhere or become known in future. To eliminate this possibility, it is explicitly called out that it is also above the unknown – meaning, it can never become known. in short, it is not known and can never be known.

Putting it all together, we have something that is beyond the mind, can never be known and therefore, cannot be expressed or taught (The more famous Brhadāraṇyaka Upanishad essentially seeks to say the same with its neti neti approach). There is nothing that one can think or do. The essence is Zen-like – there is no path nothing to learn nothing to discover. It should be noted that long before the time of the Zen, the no-path idea is to be found in the Katha Upanishad ( nAyamAtmA pravachanena labhyo na medhayA na bahunA shrutena yamevaiSha vR^iNute tena labhyaH ), but as is the case with the Upanishads, these ideas tend to get lost amidst the poetry.

Rightfully, the Upanishad should end at 1.4 as anything else can only be repetition or contradiction. Of course, it does not happen that way, but the Kena is still my #1 Upanishad.

The Science of Kena Upanishad

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In this article, which is the fifth in the series ‘The Science of Upaniṣads’, we propose to study Kena (केन) Upaniṣad. This is very small in size, but, content-wise amazingly terse and succinct. Also called Talavakāra Upaniṣad, it belongs to Talavakāra Brāhmaṇa and contains four parts, of which we concentrate on the first two parts, since it is in them the rational thoughts on the nature of Brahman are expounded.

The other two parts are fable-like in nature depicting the already stated ideas in mythological terms with some elucidation on the modes of meditation upon Brahman. Verses in the Upaniṣad are identified by part number and verse number accordingly, the second verse of part 1 is indicated by the figure ‘1.2’.

The Upaniṣad draws its name from its opening word ‘kena’, which means ‘by whom’ or ‘by what’. Obviously, the first verse is a question the whole Upaniṣad rests on that question. We may therefore study the first verse in detail we shall study the other verses also in depth, considering their terse nature as mentioned above. Now let us see the first verse, below:

केनेषितं पतति प्रेषितं मनः केन प्राणः प्रथमः प्रैति युक्तः
केनेषितां वाचमिमां वदन्ति चक्षुः श्रोत्रं क उ देवो युनक्ति || 1.1 ||

keneṣitaṃ patati preṣitaṃ manaḥ kena prāṇaḥ prathamaḥ praiti yuktaḥ
keneṣitāṃ vācamimāṃ vadanti cakṣuḥ śrotraṃ ka u devo yunakti (1.1)

Word meaning: kena= by whom iṣitaṃ= tossed, animated patati= alight on, come down on preṣitaṃ= urged, commanded, ordered, impelled manaḥ= manas, mind prāṇaḥ= vital force, Prāṇa prathamaḥ= chief, first praiti= arrive at, come forth yukta= connected established vācamimāṃ vadanti= (men) utter this voice cakṣuḥ= eyes śrotraṃ= ears ka= who u= indeed devaḥ= the effulgent one yunakti= enjoins, directs, sets to work, brings together.

Verse meaning: Who urges and animates the mind to alight on (objects)? Who causes (urges and animates) the Prāṇa to come forth and get established (in the body) for the first time? Who causes (men) to utter this voice? Which effulgent one directs the eyes and ears (to work)?

The question is prima facie oriented towards the principle that sustains the phenomenal world. It recognises the view that material world is dependent on something beyond it. What is that ‘something’? This precisely is the enquiry here. Is the enquiry being made for a non-existent thing, as the materialists would allege? No, not at all the world experience suggests that matter cannot exist on its own. All material substances disintegrate in due course into their original substance they behave in accordance with some pre-set pattern and rule and have no escape therefrom. They are unable to control or dictate mental activities had it been otherwise, the same material circumstances would have created the same thoughts and opinion in all people alike conversely, all people would have drawn the same lesson from same experience. But, we know that this is not the case. Therefore, matter does not dictate, but is dictated. Who dictates matter? Theologians say that God created all and He controls everything. It is this claim which attracts the aversion of materialists no person with a rational mind can adjust to this claim. The Upaniṣads come up with a rational way out, from these divergent claims they synthesise these two views in an amazingly logical way and reveal the ultimate postulations on existence. The ceaseless changes in the material world constitute becoming and unbecoming of material objects these objects are once projected from some fundamental substances and then after elapse of certain span of time, merge back into the same substances. These fundamental substances are atoms which are only energy drops. We know that energy can neither be produced, nor be destroyed. So, it should come from an eternal source. But, energy is not all there is life and consciousness in the world. Material energy cannot produce these two a conglomeration of atoms cannot induce life and consciousness they too should, therefore, come from an existing source, since nothing can be produced from where it does not exist. The Upaniṣadic synthesis takes place here it unifies these two sources in a single entity called Ātmā. If these were entirely different and totally unrelated between each other, any attempt to establish a connection between the two would have ended in infinite regression for, if we introduce a third one for the purpose, another would have been necessary to connect this third to the existing other two, and so on.

So, the question asked is a valid and sustainable one. Further, both the above-said streams are incorporated therein this is evident from the simultaneous use of the two verbs, namely, ‘urge’ and ‘animate’. Puruṣa is the agent of urging and Prakṛti is the agent of animating together they are known as Brahma. Puruṣa is Ātmā itself and Prakṛti or Māyā (illusion) is his power and instrument for varied appearance. (Puruṣa is always mentioned in masculine gender and Prakṛti in feminine Brahma takes neuter gender, being neither masculine nor feminine Ātmā is genderless, but is mentioned in either masculine or neuter for convenience). The question asked in the verse is evidently an enquiry into the nature of Brahma, though it does not use the word Brahma. It only seeks to know the entity which inspires the mind to think, causes Prāṇa to enter the body for the first time, makes speech possible and makes the eyes and ears function. In the answer we find that the energy behind all these is Brahma we also find therein a detailed discussion about the true nature of Brahma. Let us move on to the answer.

श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनसो मनो यत्
वाचोह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणः
चक्षुषश्चक्षुरतिमुच्य धीराः
प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति || 1.2 ||

śrotrasya śrotraṃ manaso mano yat
vācoha vācaṃ sa u prāṇasya prāṇaḥ
cakṣuratimucya dhīrāḥ
pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti (1.2)

Word meaning: śrotrasya śrotraṃ= ear of the ear manaso mano= mind of the mind yat= which vācoha vācaṃ= speech of the speech sa= he (here Brahma is considered a Deva, hence the masculine gender) prāṇasya prāṇaḥ= prāṇa of the prāṇa cakṣuṣaścakṣuḥ= eye of the eyes atimucya= having given up, having transcended dhīrāḥ= the wise pretya= departed asmāt lokāt= from this world amṛtā= immortal bhavanti= become.

Verse meaning: ‘It is he who is the ear of the ear, mind of the mind, speech of the speech, Prāṇa of the Prāṇa and eye of the eyes having transcended the senses, the wise get departed from this world and become immortal’.

The ‘ear of the ear, mind of the mind,’ etc indicates the energy that enables the ear to hear, enables the mind to think, etc. We have seen in ‘The Science of Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad’ (verse 3.7.23) that ‘Ātmā is not seen, heard, thought or known but he is the seer, hearer, thinker and knower there is no other seer, hearer, thinker or knower. He is the immortal inner controller’. The same idea is expressed here. Similarly in ‘The Science of Kaṭha Upanishad’ (verse 3.15), we have seen that by realising Ātmā which is beyond ear, speech, etc one becomes immortal. In order to be immortal, one should cease to be carried away by sensory experiences. The expression ‘get departed from the world’ precisely means this. It does not mean ‘after he leaves the body’ for, after leaving the body, everyone is Ātmā only and therefore immortal. We have already discussed this idea in the previous articles.

In the next six verses the nature of Brahma is discussed. Verse 1.3 says that Brahma is beyond the reach of eyes, speech and mind we don’t know it we don’t know how to teach about it, either. Brahma is different from what is known by the senses and also beyond what remains to be known by them. Excerpts from verse 1.3 may be seen below:

‘न तत्र चक्षुर्गच्छति न वाग्गच्छति नो मनो, न विद्मो न विजानीमो यथैतदनुशिष्यात्
अन्यदेव तद्विदितात् अथो अविदितादधि …… || 1.3 ||

na tatra cakṣurgacchati na vāggacchati no mano na vidmo na vijānīmo yathaitadanuśiṣyāt anyadeva tadviditāt atho aviditādadhi …… (1.3)

In verses 1.4 to 1.8, this idea is further expanded. All these verses speak of the same idea, successively changing the object of comparison, the objects being speech, mind, eyes, ears and Prāṇa. Being a representative verse, 1.4 is quoted below:

यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते || 1.4 ||

yadvācānabhyuditaṃ yena vāgabhyudyate
tadeva brahma tvaṃ viddhi nedaṃ yadidamupāsate (1.4)

Word meaning: yat= what, which vācā= by speech anabhyuditaṃ= cannot be expressed yena= by which vāk= speech abhyudyade= is expressed tat= that eva= alone, only tvaṃ= you viddhi= know nedaṃ – na idaṃ=not this yat= which idaṃ= here upāsate= worship.

Verse meaning: ‘That, which cannot be expressed by speech, but, that by which speech is expressed — that alone is Brahma, you know. Brahma is not the entity which the people worship here (for favours)’

From verses 1.5 to 1.8 we see thus: ‘Brahma is that which cannot be comprehended by Manas, but, by which Manas comprehends it is that which cannot be seen by eyes, but, by which eyes see it is that which cannot be heard by ears, but, by which ears hear it is that which cannot be smelt by breath, but, by which breath smells. It is definitely not that which people worship here’. The idea of unreachability by senses is present in many other Upaniṣads also, like Bṛhadāraṇyaka 3.7.23, Kaṭha 6.9, Īśa 4, etc.

Further, please note the assertion that the Ruler of this world is not what the people worship here. It is stated that this Ruler is beyond the reach of our senses and those who get relieved from the infatuation of sensual experiences, enter a state of immortality. As against this, the people usually worship certain entities that are visible to them and pray for sensual pleasures and worldly gains by this practice they are actually going away from the real Ruler. Since, only the Ruler can grant wishes, the prayers to entities other than Ruler are futile. Life is not to be wasted on such futile exercises it is for moving closer to the real Ruler and ultimately embracing his principle of purity of existence, by elimination of all Kāma within. This is the message here, and with this the first part comes to an end.

In the second part, the ideas introduced in the first part are further pursued into definite conclusions. What is asserted in the first part is that the ruling principle in all is beyond the senses the second part follows it up by declaring that, those who claim it as easily known, do know only its physical aspect. See the first verse of the second part:

यदि मन्यसे सुवेदेति दभ्रमेवापि
नूनं त्वं वेत्थ ब्रह्मणो रूपम्
यदस्य त्वं यदस्य देवेष्वथ नु
मीमांस्यमेव ते मन्ये विदितम् || 2.1 ||

yadi manyase suvedeti dabhramevāpi
nūnaṃ tvaṃ vettha brahmaṇo rūpam
yadasya tvaṃ yadasya deveṣvatha nu
mīmāṃsyameva te manye viditam (2.1)

Word meaning: yadi= if manyase= you think suvedeti – suveda + iti= that it is easily known dabhramevāpi – debhram + eva + api = though a little, the least nūnaṃ= surely tvaṃ= you vettha= know brahmaṇo= of Brahma rūpam= form yat= what asya= of it tvam= you deveṣu= in devas (in senses – deva here means sense) atha= now nu= surely mīmāṃsyam eva = has to be reflected upon te= they manye= I think viditam= understood.

Verse meaning: ‘If you think the least that Brahma is easily known, you know only its form. What of it (the real Brahma) are you? What of it is (perceived) in the senses? These are now to be surely reflected upon I think, you have understood (what I now said)’.

In verse 2.3.1 of Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad it is declared that Brahma has two forms, namely, mortal and immortal, perceptible and imperceptible, etc. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad declares that those who know Brahma become Brahma (3.2.9). Similar declarations are there in Taittirīya (2.1) and Kaṭha (4.15) Upaniṣads also. In 4.4.7 of Bṛhadāraṇyaka and 6.14 of Kaṭha it is stated that Brahma is attained by those who eliminate all the Kāma from heart eliminating Kāma is obviously a very difficult thing to accomplish, which indicates the difficulty in knowing the immortal Brahma. That which can be easily known is only its perceptible, mortal form which is physical in nature. It is these facts that the assertion in the first line of the verse brings to light.

The reference to ‘form’ in this verse is to be understood as physical form. This physical form is conveyed to us by the senses. Knowing Brahma does not consist in this alone the immortal and imperceptible form also has to be known. Then only we realise our real essence (ahaṃ brahmāsmi – Bṛhadāraṇyaka – 1.4.10). The question ‘what of it are you?’ refers to this fact. The phrase ‘mīmāṃsyameva te’ means that these two, the physical part and the imperceptible essence, are to be reflected upon.

Since the scriptural position is that the one who knows Brahma becomes the very Brahma, the statement “I know Brahma” cannot exist for, in this statement there is an implication that the knower and the known are separate. So, those who really know Brahma do not utter such a statement. That is why verse 2.1 observes that a person making such a claim knows only the (physical) form of Brahma.

In the next two verses, 2.2 and 2.3, the difficulty in knowing the ultimate cause is further explained. It is asserted that this is neither easily known, nor perceived (by the senses). See verse 2.2 below:

नाहं मन्ये सुवेदेति नो न वेदेति वेद च
यो नस्तद्वेद तद्वेद नो न वेदेति वेद च || 2.2 ||

nāhaṃ manye suvedeti no na vedeti veda ca
yo nastadveda tadveda no na vedeti veda ca (2.2)

Word meaning: na= not ahaṃ= I no – naḥ= to us, among us veda= know, perceive yo= yaḥ= who tat= that. (For meaning of other words, see verse 2.1 above).

Verse meaning: I don’t think (nāhaṃ manye) that it is easily known (suvedeti) further, I know this too (veda ca) that we don’t perceive it (no na vedeti). Whoever among us knows it (yo nastadveda), knows also that it is not easily known (the second ‘tadveda’ in the second line indicates the expression ‘na suveda iti’ of the first line) he also knows that we don’t perceive it (no na vedeti veda ca).

In this verse, the word ‘veda’ is used in two senses, namely ‘know’ and ‘perceive’. To understand the purport of the verse, we have to distinguish between these two senses with reference to the philosophical context obtainable from the Upaniṣadic declarations on Ultimate Principle, consistently appearing elsewhere also. These declarations unanimously uphold that the Ultimate Principle is not easily known and is not perceived by the senses. What we find here is precisely a reaffirmation of these declarations.

Now we shall see the next verse:

यस्यामतं तस्य मतं मतं यस्य न वेद सः
अविज्ञातं विजानतां विज्ञातं अविजानताम् || 2.3 ||

yasyāmataṃ tasya mataṃ mataṃ yasya na veda saḥ
avijñātaṃ vijānatāṃ vijñātaṃ avijānatām (2.3)

Word meaning: yasya= to whom amatam= imperceptible tasya= to him matam= known veda= know avijñātaṃ= not known vijānatāṃ= to those who think to apprehend it vijñātaṃ= known avijānatām= to those who do not think to apprehend it.

Verse meaning: ‘To whom it is imperceptible, to him it is known. To whom it is perceptible, he does not know it. (Further,) it is not known to those who think it to be apprehended and is known to those who do not think so’. The implication is that those who consider this ultimate principle to be perceivable by the senses do not know it it is those others who actually know it.

The next verse says about how the ultimate principle is actually known. In Māṇḍūkya (माण्डूक्य) Upaniṣad, it is declared that this principle has a four-pronged projection, namely, the waking, dreaming, sleeping and transcendent states of consciousness. In the waking state, our senses are active in the process of cognition in the dreaming state, the senses are shut down and the Manas builds up cognition through a process of jigsaw puzzle, using whatever information is already available in the Chitta in the sleeping state (ie. deep sleep state) there is no cognition about any specific thing, but only the consciousness of ‘I am’. In the transcendent state, there is no differentiation of any kind and all cognitions merge into pure consciousness only unqualified bliss is the experience at this state this state is the ultimate principle called Ātmā. If one is able to discern the Ātmā in all these four states of consciousness, he is said to really know Ātmā.Gīta verses 6.29, 6.30 and 6.31 describe this vision of unity, wherein the principle of Ātmā alone is cognised among the vast diversity of phenomenal expression. Such a visionary is not subdued by dualities like pleasure-pain, hate-love, etc. (Īśa 6 and 7). This is the idea we find in the next verse let us see how the verse delivers it:

प्रतिबोधविदितं मतं अमृतत्वं हि विन्दते
आत्मना विन्दते वीर्यं विद्यया विन्दतेഽमृतम् || 2.4 ||

pratibodhaviditaṃ mataṃ amṛtatvaṃ hi vindate
ātmanā vindate vīryaṃ vidyayā vindateഽmṛtam (2.4)

Word meaning: pratibodha= in each state of consciousness (bodha – consciousness) vidita= known matam= known, understood amṛtatvaṃ= immortality hi= indeed, surely vindate= knows, attains, acquires ātmanā= by own being vīryaṃ= strength, power vidyayā= by knowledge amṛtam= immortality.

Verse meaning: The ultimate principle is known (viditam) in each state of consciousness (pratibodha). When it is known (matam) thus, immortality is surely attained (amṛtatvaṃ hi vindate). Strength (vīryaṃ) (for knowing it) is acquired (vindate) by own being (ātmanā). On knowing it (vidyayā) immortality (amṛtam) is attained (vindate).

We have seen above what the phrase ‘pratibodha viditam’ implies. What is left to be explained is ‘ātmanā vindate vīryaṃ’. Its explanation is already given in the verse as ‘strength is acquired by own being’. In our study of the ‘Science of Kaṭha Upaniṣad’ we saw that one can attain immortality when all the Kāma within are eliminated (Kaṭha 6.14, 6.15). The same idea can be seen in Bṛhadāraṇyaka 4.4.7. How can this be done? First, by restraining the mind and the senses from pursuing the objects of desires, which is a strenuous process called Yoga expounded by the Great Ṛṣi Patañjali in his Yogasūtra (this Yoga has only a very little connection with what we now practise as Yogāsana) secondly, by performance of Karma in the light of such restraint. So, this is how the strength for attaining immortality is acquired the entire process is dependent on the body and mind of the person. The phrase ‘own being’ in this verse indicates exactly the combine of body and mind instrumental in gaining the strength in this manner. Together with thus gaining strength, the person acquires knowledge also, uplifting himself to the ultimate goal of attaining immortality. The processes of gaining strength and acquiring knowledge proceed simultaneously they are mentioned here separately for the purpose of differentiating their distinct identities.

Cumulatively, this verse stresses the importance of ‘vision of unity in diversity’, as the path leading to immortality to develop such a vision, the physical body is prescribed as a tool.

Next is the last verse of Part 2. It says that by knowing Brahma one becomes Satyam if not, he is ruined. It also says that by recognising Brahma in every being, one transcends this world and attains immortality. The verse reads thus:

इह चेदवेदीत् अथ सत्यमस्ति न चेदिहावेदीत् महती विनष्टिः
भूतेषु भूतेषु विचित्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति || 2.5 ||

iha cedavedīt atha satyamasti na cedihāvedīt mahatī vinaṣṭiḥ
bhūteṣu bhūteṣu vicitya dhīrāḥ pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti (2.5)

Word meaning: iha= here cet= if avedīt= knows satyam= satyam (it is not ‘truth’ as conventionally understood it has got definite philosophical meaning) na= not mahatī= grave vinaṣṭiḥ= ruin, loss bhūteṣu= in beings vicitya= having discerned dhīrāḥ= the wise pretya= having departed, getting detached asmāt lokāt= from this world amṛtā= immortal bhavanti= become

Verse meaning: ‘If one knows (that ultimate principle) here itself, he becomes ‘satyam’ if not, he faces grave ruin. Having discerned (the principle) in every being, the wise get detached from this world and become immortal’.

The meaning is very clear, except a little clarification wanting on the word ‘satyam’. In the study of Bṛhadāraṇyaka (5.5.1) and Chāndogya (8.3.5) Upaniṣads we have discussed in detail about ‘Satyam’. It is ‘Asat’ supported by ‘Sat’. Brahma is ‘Satyam’ (Chāndogya 8.3.4). Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad says in verse 3.2.9 that one who knows Brahma becomes Brahma itself that means he becomes ‘Satyam’. This very fact is stated here also, in ‘cedavedīt atha satyamasti’. Further, Bṛhadāraṇyaka verse 3.8.10 says that one who fails to know the Imperishable Entity becomes a Kṛpaṇa (worthless person). This degeneration is what is stated here as grave ruin.

Again, verse 7 of Īśa Upaniṣad says that one who sees Ātmā in all beings gets rid of all pain and grief. And, Gīta verse 6.30 declares that the one, who sees Ātmā in all and all in Ātmā, becomes immortal. The implication of the second line of the above verse is the same.

Parts 3 and 4 of this Upaniṣad are, as already stated, only mythological illustrations of the contents of the other parts. So, we leave them without any discussion.

Before winding up our discussion, let us have a recount of the message that the Upaniṣad has given us. It has revealed that there exists a transcendent entity that urges and activates the senses in their functions and also sustains life those who transcend the limits of the senses attain immortality. This entity is known as Brahma which is not reached by the senses. Brahma is very difficult to be attained. It is attainable through the consciousness within those who so attain it become ‘Satyam’ and others are ruined. This, in short, is the message of Kena Upaniṣad.

History Of Yoga In The Upanishads

Yoga is one of the most ancient forms of mystic and human development practice which has originated in India. This practice had been found to be of great reverence in form of a holistic pattern of moral, mental and physical development. Ancient Hindu texts of Yoga called the HathaYogaPradipka, asserts that Lord Shiva as the first teacher of Yoga while the Bhagavad Gita, another sacred text of Hindus, asserts Lord Krishna as a teacher of Yoga. Yoga has been handed down from ancient times in India since the time of Vedas. A great sage Maharishi Patanjali systemized all Yoga practices with the advent of their Yoga sutras. Many sages have contributed greatly to the development of this field using their knowledge, into practices and treatises.

Study of this ancient technique can be divided into three main categories

  • Pre-Patanjali Period (before 500bc)
  • Patanjali Period (500bc to 800ac)
  • Post-Patanjali Period(after 800ac)

Pre-Patanjali period before 500 BC provides source of few Yoga scriptures up to 4500 BC. The main sources of Yoga at this time are given as Vedas, Upanishads, Buddhism, Jainism, Panini, Epics and Puranas. Study Yoga in India as in the Upanishads has a different meaning from the other scriptures of pre-Patanjaliperiod. The Upanishads are secret teaching or esoteric doctrine, which is a strong proponent of the spiritual philosophy of the Vedas. The Upanishads are of the following categories associated with three Vedas Rig, Sama and Yajur.

Associated Upanishads to Rig Veda are Aitareya and Kausitaki Upanishads.
Sama Veda is associated with Chandogya and Kena Upanishads.
Yajur Veda (black) is associated with Taittiriya, Mahanarayana, Katha, Svetasvatara and Maitri Upanishad.
Yajur Veda (white) is associated with Bhradaranyaka and Isha Upanishad.
Added to this list are Prasna, Mundaka and Mandukya Upanishad.

This list of the major Upanishads provides a clear glimpse of the Yoga treatise and summaries from the Upanishads provide the necessary guidelines in study Yoga in India. There are further smaller treatises totaling more than 200 in number which are minor Upanishads. Atharva Veda also provides guidance to further Yoga study within which thirty nineUpanishads have been found. All these Upanishads are based on the Yoga sutra itself. Yoga sutra itself presents Vitarka which is reflection, contemplative inquiry, logic and reasoning as well as comprehensive perception. This Yoga system is mature and is as old as Vedas itself, Upanishads provide a reasonable inquiry into Yoga beliefs, customs, practices as well as meditation. Upon careful examination, one would come to recognize profound psychic and psycho-cosmological inquiry underlying these Vedic hymns. A great insight is a fact that Yogais a heritage of and practical significance in the day to day lives of Hindus by being a medium of instruction, religion, gospel and spiritual path to salvation.


Now, we discuss to the concluding part of the Veda namely ‘the Upanishads. The Upanishads come towards the end of the Aranyakas. If the Samhita is likened to a tree, the Brahmanas are its flowers and the Aranyakas are its fruit yet not ripened, the Upanishads are the ripe fruits.

1. Nature of Upanishads

The Vedas are generally considered to have two portions viz., Karma-Kanda (portion dealing with action or rituals) and Jnana-Kanda (portion dealing with knowledge). The Samhita and the Brahmanas represent mainly theKarma-Kanda or the ritual portion, while the Upanishads chiefly represent the Jnana-Kanda or the knowledge portion. The Upanishads, however, are included in the Shruti. They are at present, the most popular and extensively read Vedic texts.

The Upanishads are often called ‘Vedanta‘. Literally, Vedanta means the end of Veda, Vedasya antah, the conclusion (Anta) as well as the goal (Anta) of the Vedas. Chronologically they came at the end of the Vedic period. As Upanishads contain difficult discussions of ultimate philosophical problems, they were taught to the pupils at about the end of their course. The chief reason why the Upanishads are called the ‘end of the Veda’ is that they represent the central aim of the Veda and contain the highest and ultimate goal of the Veda as they deal with Moksha or Supreme Bliss.

2. Meaning of the word ‘Upanishad’

The word ‘Upanishad’ has been derived from the root Sad (to sit), to which are added two prefixes: Upa and Ni. The prefix Upa denotes nearness and Ni totality. Thus, this word means ‘sitting near by devotedly’. This no doubt refers to the pupil’s sitting down near his teacher at the time of instruction. The word in course of time gathered round it the sense of secret teaching or secret doctrine (Rahasya) which was imparted at such sittings. Upanishads are frequently spoken of as Rahasya (secret) or Guhya (mystery) also. We find in Upanishads, that due to secrecy and mystery of the teachings, a teacher refuses to impart instruction to a pupil who has not proved his worthiness to receive the instruction. Through another definition, the word primarily signifies knowledge, yet by implication it also refers to the book that contains that knowledge.

3. Number of the Upanishads

There is a good deal of speculation concerning the number of Upanishads. Traditionally, the old Upanishads had their place in the Brahmanas and Aranyakas. There is only one instance of a Samhita containing Upanishad – the Vajasaneyi Samhita comprises the Ishavasya Upanishad forming the 40th Book.

In later times, the Upanishads obtained a more independent position but still they professed to belong more particularly to one or the other of the four Vedas.

It is difficult to ascertain the exact number that should be regarded as authentic Upanishads. A religious system is considered valid in India only when it is supported by Shruti, hence the founders of religious sects have sometimes written books and called them Upanishads in order to give their views scriptural authority. The AllahUpanishad, for instance was composed in the sixteenth century, at the time of emperor Akbar.

Different estimates of their number have been given by scholars and they have been put by some scholars at as many as 200.

One hundred and eight Upanishads are enumerated in the Muktikopanishad and a popular edition contains them. However, among these Upanishads, ten Upanishads, the names of which have been mentioned in the Muktikopanishad, are considered the most important Upanishads from the point of view of Vedantic Philosophy.

Ten Principal Upanishads known as ‘Dashopanishad’ are :Isha, Kena, Katha , Prashna , Munda , Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka.

Besides, Shvetashvatara, Kaushitaki and Maitrayaniya Upanishads are often listed in old Upanishads.

4. Division of the Upanishads

According to the Muktikopanishad 108 Upanishads are divided according to four Vedas are as follows:

  1. 10 Upanishads from the Rigveda
  2. 19 Upanishads from the Shukla-Yajurveda
  3. 32 Upanishads from the Krishna-Yajurveda
  4. 16 Upanishads from the Samaveda and
  5. 31 Upanishads from the Atharvaveda.

The Principal thirteen Upanishads, related to the Vedas are:
(A) Upanishads of the Rigveda :

(B) Upanishads of the Shukla-Yajurveda:

(C) Upanishads of the Krishna-Yajurveda:

  1. (5) Taittiriya Upanishad,
  2. (6) Katha Upanishad,
  3. (7) Shvetashvatara Upanishad,
  4. (8) Maitrayaniya Upanishad

(D) Upanishads of the Samaveda:

(E) Upanishads of the Atharvaveda:

5. Major Theme of the Upanishads

The Upanishads are religious and philosophical treatises. They constitute the last phase of the Vedic revelation. They represent the knowledge of Brahman (Brahma-Vidya). What is this world? Who am I? What becomes of me after death? – Such questions are asked and answered in these Upanishads. The essential theme of the Upanshads is the nature of the world and God. Already in the hymns of the Rigveda, we notice here and there a shift of emphasis from the innumerable gods to the one Infinite as in the famous passage. ‘Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti ‘. This becomes more pronounced in the Upanishads and is very well illustrated here. The doctrine of true knowledge and salvation are major subjects of the Upanishadic philosophy. These treatises mark the culmination of the earlier line of investigation into the nature of ultimate reality.

In the Upanishads, we get an intelligible body of verified and verifiable spiritual insights mixed with a mass of myths and legends and cosmological speculations relating to the nature and origin of universe. Besides, Brahman and His creation, are also discussed in these texts.. The principal contents of the Upanishads are philosophical speculations. The spirit of their contents is anti-ritualistic. Although the subject-matter of most of the Upanishads is almost the same, yet each Upanishad has its own unique idea or ideas and its own method of enquiry.

6. Importance of the Upanishads

(1) The Upanishads occupy a unique place in the development of Indian philosophical thought. They contain the highest authority on which the various systems of philosophy in India rest. So Vedanta Philosophy is directly related to the Upanishads. Not only the Vedanta philosopher professes his faith in the ends and objects of the Veda, but the Sankhya, the Vaisheshika, the Nyaya and Yoga philosophers, all pretend to find in the Upanishads some warranty for their tenets.

(2) The Upanishads are associated with the Vedas and make the entire range of Vedic knowledge as complete. ‘The Upanishads generally mention the Vedas and their study with respect. Certain verses from the Vedas, such as the Gayatri, form the subject of meditation here.

(3) Brahmavidya or the knowledge of Brahman, the Supreme Reality is the great kingdom of the principal Upanishads. They give importance to ‘Knowledge’ alone. Any one having knowledge may be Guru or Acarya. Even kings approached to them for the attainment of knowledge. The story of Satyakama Jabala, who though unable to give his father’s name, was yet initiated into spiritual life, shows this fact. In the Chandogya Upanishad (4.1-3) Raikva a Brahmana not by caste but by his knowledge, instructed king Janashruti. In the same Upanishad (5.3), the king Pravahana instructed the Brahmana Gautama in the new doctrine of transmigration. This story together with the one in which king Ashvapati kaikeya instructed five Brahmanas in the doctrine of Atman (Chan. Up. 5.11) shows that for Upanishads knowledgeable person is the most important and not the Brahmana, Kshatriya or anyone else.

(4) Each of the Vedas has many Mahavakyas or great sayings. But four Mahavakyas found in the Upanishads related to four Vedas are very important, thought-provoking and powerful. These spell out the non-duality of the Jiva and the Brahman-Prajnanam Brahma- –RigvedaAham Brahmasm – YajurvedaTattvamasi –- SamvedaAyamatma Brahma –Aharvaveda

Kena Upanishad – Who moves this universe?

The Upanishads are an acknowledgement of the systematic and relentless pursuit of truth. They embrace the realization that in order to know the truth, we have to understand both the medium of knowing and the identity of the knower.

This acknowledgement turns mere knowing into realization and objective science into mystical awareness.

The literal meaning of Kena is – by whom? “By whose mere presence does that desire arise that moves this universe”?

What is the nature of Brahman?

The message of the Kena is that it is through brahman that all action – including that of the mind – is possible. We may think that all action is being performed by us through our sense organs or our indriyas, it is not so. The sense organs are under the control of the mind, which is under the control of Brahman. So, the Kena implores us to use our mind to meditate on the Brahman.

Sometimes (and particularly in times of extreme troubles), we are not sure whether our prayers to God are being heard or not. The Kena reminds us that it is Brahman himself that provides us the power to pray – so, we need not be concerned! It is not possible for the one who is giving us the power to pray to ignore our prayers.

We are not the doers of our actions – we are the instruments through which the energy of Brahman is manifested. Yes, the victory of good over evil is guaranteed – but not by the doer. Mahatma Gandhi said – “….we need to make ourselves zero…” – and let Brahman be in control of our lives. That indeed is the path to eternal peace, knowledge and realization.

What is spiritual wisdom?

Meditation, control of the senses and passions, and service to all – these three constitute the body of spiritual wisdom the scriptures are its limbs and truth is its heart.

Those who realize Brahman shall conquer all evil and enter the supreme state. Those who meditate upon him will be dear to all.

The light of Brahman flashes in lightning,

The light of Brahman flashes in our eyes.

It is the power of Brahman that makes the mind to think, desire and will.

So use this mind to meditate on Brahman!

What is the nature of the Self?

That which makes the tongue speak, but cannot be spoken

That which makes the eyes see, but cannot be seen

That which makes the ears hear, but cannot be heard

That which makes the mind think, but cannot be thought of

That which makes you draw breath, but cannot be drawn by your breath –

That is the nature of the Self. It is not someone other than you.

How does one know the Self?

Those who say they know the Self really do not know it. The Self cannot be known by the intellect because it is beyond the duality of the knower and the known.

What is the goal of life?

The shining goal of life is to know the Self. The Self is beyond the body and beyond birth and death. When one sees the Self in all, he goes beyond death.

Conclusion of the Kena Upanishad

The Upanishad concludes with this prayer which teaches the ideal relationship between the guru (teacher) and the shishya (student).

AUM sah nAvavatu sah nau bhunaktu, sah vIryaM karvAvahai
tejasvi nAvadhItamastu, mA vidviShAvahai.

ॐ सह नाववतु सह नौ भुनक्तु, सह वीर्यं कर्वावहै. तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु, मा विद्विषावहै..

This mantra states that the transference of mental, spiritual and intellectual energies from the teacher to the student can be achieved through a mutually nourishing relationship which is based on (mutual) respect, joy (of giving and receiving), and absence of malice or negative thoughts.

Contemplation upon Brahman

The following statements about Brahman reveal a few important truths about him as found in the Upanishads. They are as good as those found in any Upanishad. They are good for contemplation. Study them. Contemplate upon them to known Brahman and develop a deeper understanding of his true significance. You can use them to contemplate upon Brahman and develop an understanding of his true significance.

1. Brahman is the Reality. He is the Absolute Truth. All else is unreal and mere illusion, a mere shadow that disappears when the Sun shines.

2. Brahman is constant and fixed. He is unchangeable, immutable, permanent , incorruptible and inexhaustible. All else is transient, fleeting and changing. Since He is the only fixed factor in an every changing impermanent world, the seers advise us to make Him the center of our lives and activities

3. Brahman is eternal and timeless. Since He is the Absolute, Time does not exist in Him. The Past present and future flow in Him simultaneously. The Master of Time and Knower of all events, past., present and future, He creates Time as a part of His play and subjects us all to the motions of Time.

4. Brahman is the Creator of all. The world is his projection. He descends into the material universe and subjects Himself to the laws of nature.

5. Brahman is the sacred OM. The sound (nada) of the verbal (akshara) form of Brahman is the sacred syllable Aum.

6. Brahman is beyond the senses, but is the mover and enjoyer of senses.

7. Brahman is the first principle. He is the Ancient. No one truly knows Him for He is without a beginning and without an end.

8. Brahman is pure love. He is described as Lord of Love.

9. Brahman is immortal. He in fact is the creator of death and the wheel of life.

10. Brahman is the law giver and law maker. He maintain Dharma and Rita (harmony). But He Himself is not subject to any laws.

11. Brahman exists in all and all exists in Him. Yet He is beyond all and different from all.

12. Brahman is Supreme Bliss. Pure Delight, which is the delight of pure love.

13. Brahman is the eternal soul, the Atman, the indweller of mortal bodies, the silent witness, the enjoyer of life and the power behind all the movements of life breath.

14. Brahman is above all Gods. None could ever approach Him closely except Indra.

15. Brahman is duality personified from the rationale point of view. But strangely in Him all conflicts and contradictions resolve themselves into perfect harmony.

16. Brahman is unified awareness, the eternal indivisible One where there is no enjoyer and the enjoyed, the knower and the known.

17. Brahman is radiance, effulgence and brilliance of thousands of suns. He is the wielder of pure energy and possessor of pure consciousness.

18. Brahman is pure and untainted. He is without desires, without attachment, without vibration, complete, fulfilled, self-satisfied and self- absorbed.

19. Brahman is without sleep. He is the lord and dispeller of darkness and the witness, who remains awaken when we are all asleep.

20. Brahman is the source of all knowledge. He is pure intelligence and knower of all that is, that was and that which is yet to come.

21. Brahman is the Self of all. He is the ultimate truth which every human being realizes at the end of his spiritual journey. (Isa Upanishad)

Uma Instructs the Gods (Kena Upanishad)

Brahman, according to the story, obtained a victory for the gods and by that victory of Brahman the gods became elated. They said to themselves: “Verily, this victory is ours verily, this glory is ours only.”

Brahman, to be sure, understood it all and appeared before them. But they did not know who that adorable Spirit was.

They said to Agni (Fire): “O Agni! Find out who this great Spirit is.” “Yes,” he said, and hastened to It. Brahman asked him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am known as Agni I am also called Jataveda.” Brahman said: “What power is in you, who are so well known?” Fire replied: “I can burn all-whatever there is on earth.” Brahman put a straw before him and said: “Burn this.” He rushed toward it with all his ardour but could not burn it. Then he returned from the Spirit and said to the gods: “I could not find out who this Spirit is,”

Then they said to Vayu (Air): “O Vayu! Find out who this great Spirit is.” “Yes,” he said, and hastened to It. Brahman asked him: “Who are you?” He replied “I am known as Vayu I am also called Matarisva.” Brahman said: “What power is in you, who are so well known?” Vayu replied: “I can carry off all-whatever there is on earth.” Brahman put a straw before him and said: “Carry this.” He rushed toward it with all his ardour but could not move it. Then he returned from the Spirit and said to the gods: “I could not find out who this Spirit is,”

Then the gods said to Indra: “O Maghavan! Find out who this great Spirit is.” “Yes,” he said and hastened to It. But the Spirit disappeared from him. Then Indra beheld in that very region of the sky a Woman highly adorned. She was Uma, the daughter of the Himalayas. He approached Her and said: “Who is this great Spirit?”

She replied: “It is, indeed, Brahman. Through the victory of Brahman alone have you attained glory.” After that Indra understood that It was Brahman.

Since they approached very near Brahman and were the first to know that It was Brahman, these devas, namely, Agni, Vayu, and Indra, excelled the other gods.

Since Indra approached Brahman nearest, and since he was the first to know that It was Brahman, Indra excelled the other gods.

This is the instruction about Brahman with regard to the gods: It is like a flash of lightning It is like a wink of the eye.

Now the instruction about Brahman with regard to the individual self: The mind, as it were, goes to Brahman. The seeker, by means of the mind, communes with It intimately again and again. This should be the volition of his mind.

That Brahman is called Tadvana, the Adorable of all It should be worshipped by the name of Tadvana. All creatures desire him who worships Brahman thus.

The disciple said “Teach me, sir, the Upanishad.” The preceptor replied: “I have already told you the Upanishad. I have certainly told you the Upanishad about Brahman.”

Austerities, self-restraint, and sacrificial rites are Its feet, and the Vedas are all Its limbs. Truth is Its abode.

He who thus knows this Upanishad shakes off all sins and becomes firmly established in the infinite and the highest Heaven, yea, the highest Heaven.

Twelve Essential Upanishads (Two Volumes): Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Svetasvatara and Gopalatapani Upanishads with Original Sanskrit Text, Transliteration, Translation and Purport

After the Krurkshetra- battle when Sri Yudhistira alongwith his brothers and Sri Krishna went to Sri Bhishma to get his guidance and advice Sri Bhishma said: "I deem that all your miseries are Providential. How strange that danger befall even where king Yudhistira, the son of Dharma is the ruler where are present Bhima armed with the mace and Arjuna holding the invincible Gandiva and above all where the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Himself is the Friend and Well-wisher ! None, indeed, can know the purpose of the Mission of Sri Krishna for which He takes His devotees as instruments even great seers get bewildered in their seeking to find it out". So, for a self-surrendered aspirant, it is certain, that all that happens is brought by Providence.

My Divine Master Nityaleelapravista Sri Srima Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Goswami Maharaj, was the dearest disciple (Guru-prestha) of Om Vishnupad Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, the illustrious Founder of Sri Chaitanya Math and its branches Sri Gaudiya Maths. They both are eternally related in relation to their servitor-ship in that plane of transcendence as Vimalamanjari and Nayanamanimanjari respectively in their roles of service to the Two Moiety-Counter-Wholes Sri Radha Krishna. I am the most unworthy disciple of my Guru Maharaj, but his grace and affection towards me was abounding. I could not realise earlier why he used to say ofter, 'burn always in labyrinth of fire of sufferings which brings the clue for perennial happiness'. But after his demise which took place in September 1976 when as it is usual in such cases viz after the demise of the Mahapurushas a section of the so-called followers become blinded to their self-enjoying propensities and aggrandisement like asuras with their power-mongering sordidness the same history repeated itself at which the mighty mission of my Guru Maharaj faced the greatest of dangers and the ship of my life was tossing in the hurricane on the bed of high seas. As good luck could have it, I have the guiding principle of my life in the very benediction of my Divine Master:- 'My advice to you, even though if there is crash of thunderbolt on your head or the Pralaya of the whole world takes place before your eyes yet knowing all these as the Will of Sri Krishna be calm and unperturbed'.

At such a condition of my life I envisaged a Divine Hand. The way how I got the inspiration for translating the Upanishads is a Divine Mystery which I first felt not proper from my part to disclose as it might be bringing spiritual conceit but subsequently I realise that it would be an act of impeity to my Divine Master which might stand as an obstacle on the path of my spiritual progress and therefore without any sense of shame I record the fact: While I was at Sridham Mayapur, one day, my Divine Master in a daydream appeared before me and instructed me: 'this is the time for you to penitrate upon the sophisticated philosophy of the Upanishads and get all the essential Upanishads translated into English in accordance with the Achintya-bheda-abheda-Philosophy of Bhagavan Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and you will be marvelled to get light at times, from Srimad Bhagavatam so that the book will be read with great interest and delight by the loving devotees of the Lord' further he guided me by giving a wonderful explanation of the first Shloka of the Isha Upanishad and also instructed me how I have to explain them.

Thereupon under the benediction of my Divine Master, this most humble self started the work during the Urjjva Vrata corresponding to Oct.-Nov.'77.

As per the chronological order that I recorded in the very beginning of my work that 'Isha' is the first and 'Brihadaranyaka' is the last among the eleven essential Upanishads and accordingly therefore, I followed my order of translating in that chronological way starting from 'Isha' and ending with 'Brihadaranyaka' Upanishad. I felt extremely delighted while I was translating Isha, Kena, Katha, Shvetavatara, Mundaka, Itariya etc. and when I touched 'Chandogya' I felt much strain. As I was proceeding, my brain was terribly affected even I has to go for some Aurvedic treatment, But when I passed over the profane and reached to the Transcendent, particularly when I could have a vision of Sri Krishna's Esoteric Pastimes blossomed forth in it, it carried me to the greatest delight. Finally when I took up 'Brihadaranyaka' I was put in the midst of the ocean and I was almost puzzled and practically became half-mad, yet my tenacity didn't permit me to stop. Above all it was the God's Providence that I have to complete the work so, soon here too I could have a wonderful flash or Divine light within which (Jyotir-abhyantare rupam atulam shyamasundaram) the merrily dancing Honey-moon Sports of Rasaraja with Mahabhava, the Two Moiety-Wholes, Sri Radha and Sri Krishna I could notice. Particularly the most synonymous mantras such as Ch. Up. I. 6.5-7 III. 17. 6-7 VII. 25.2 and Brih. Up. II. 3.6 IV. 2. 2-3 and Tail. Up. II. 4-5 and such many others- where I was puzzled to get synthitical reconciliation but finally I could be enlightened with their most esoteric meanings by the direct inspiration and guidance from my Divine Master which was the Supreme gain of My delight.

I thought that with this Brihadaranyaka I would be completing my task on Upanishads but the concluding chapter of the 'Brihadaranyaka' Upanishad is so profane that I felt a void in my heart on completing the work with this ! I was mentally perturbed feeling like a fish out of water, when in a dream my Divine Master consoled me behesting : 'How do you think that with this your Upanishadic task is completed ? There is a purpose of creating this void in your mind-see, generally the scholars in the chronological order take up 'Brihadaranyaka' Upanishad as the first in the order whereas in your order you maintain the 'Brihad-aranyaka as the eleventh and last in the order which is also recognised by all the great Acharyas. But how could you stop your task with this? The void is created to look forward to the fully bloossomed aspect of (Leela Svayamvara Rasam labhate jayasrih) that Transcendental Dalliance of Sri Krishna(Rasaraja) with Sri Radha (Mahabhava) 'Chandogya's atmarati-atmacrida-atmamithuna-atam-nanda' statement is most honoured in the glorious Gopalatapani Upanishad. As among all the Shastras Sirmad Bhagavatam is the most delightful one to the Paramabhagavata devotees so also among the all Upanishads Sri Gopalatapani is the most favourite one to the Vaishnavas and to the Gaudiya-Vaishnavas in particular. Therefore you should soon look upto that and make the completion of your present task with that. Your unquenching thirst will soon be fully saturated with the drink of that Divine Nectarine Bliss'. Further instruction he gave, 'although you have translated the 'Brihadaranyaka' as teh tenth in order'.

So forthwith, by his behest I took up the 'Gopalatapani' Upanishad and now I feel my cup is full with abounding Bliss.

A dwarf makes a high jump to catch the moon, so it may be impracticable for a poor soul as am I, but as it were, whose grace makes a dumb converted into a bard, a lame duck to climb a high mountain-at the lotus feet of that my Divine Master I find my sole solace. During those days of turmoil when my life was at a peril I found, above all, the merciful hands of my Divine Master, who ever guides me in my walk of life.

I had practically very little hope that the entire work could be published in book form as it required a large amount which was not possible at present, to spend by our mission, so we started to get that printed serially in 'The Gaudiya', our English monthly organ. Sri Chapalakanta Bhattacharjee, the former Editor of the 'Anandabazar Patrika' (the most renowned daily of Bengal) and also was former Member of Parliament as well as a Member of Sanskrit Board of Govt. of India, appreciating the work gave a recommandation letter to the Sanskrit Dept., Govt. of India for a substantial financial grant. Govt. of India (Sanskrit Dept.) anyhow gave a grant of Rs. 8,000/- only, besides we got the paper at concessional rate that is generally provided for the printing of religious books. It is once again the Providence of God that T.T.D. (Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam) has kindly agreed to give a grant of Rs. 5,000/- for each volume for bringing out all the twelve essential Upanishads into a book form in four volumes. Apart from this my god-brothers such as Tridandiswami Sri B. P. Sadhu Maharaj and Sripad Nityananda Brahmachari encouraged me in all respects, but for whom even the benediction that I received from my Gurudeva would not be flowing so aboundingly upto me. It is they too who equally share the joy. My another god- brother Sripad Narasimha Brahmachari took great pains to go through the proofs. And Sriman Lalita Krishna Brahmachari most enthusiastically typed the entire matter which spread over a thousand a pages.

How adequately can I express my heartfelt thanks to Porf. Dr. R. N. Sampath, Head of the Dept. of Sanskrit, Madras Presidency College, who took such a pain to go through the entire manuscripts and made the necessary corrections of my English Language. I should be also thankful to the management of the Rathnam Press for their kind co-operation in getting this book printed. I should be thankful to 'Gopi' who gives the cover page designs for all our books.

I have got no literary competency nor have I any good disposition. It is the Grace and Grace alone which worked in me to render this service. This is the task undertaken for the sole delight of my Divine Master and for the Vaishnavas who are Gunagrahis as well as Saragrahis. Therefore my omissions and commissions they would be over-looking.

For composing this entire Volume in our Math computer Sri Bhakti Swarup Sannyasi Maharaj gave his great labour and Dr. Debaprasad Mukopadhyay, the Head Master of our Thakur Bhakti Vinode Institute very carefully went through the proofs. Therefore they will be the recipient of God's Blessings.

In the introduction of the 1st Vol. of this edition in Page 2. line 6 after Sri Ramanuja Sri Madhvacharya will be added.

Watch the video: Kena Upanishad