Self-Study Upanishads - 7
Before we leave, let’s meet some of the locals on this Island.
In the Chandogya Upanishad, we meet several people,
Satyakama Jabala, who asks who is father is, and his mother replies she does not know, and he honestly takes this to a teacher, who sees in him the qualities of the higher class and accepts him as a student
Narada, who is an old sage, going to a young child for wisdom
Sveteketu, a young boy, who after being taught, returns home arrogant to his father, who says, “Did you learn that by which all else is known?” And he responds, no, obviously they didn’t know that, please teach it to me.” His father expounds on Tat Tvam Asi.
Indra, lord of Gods, and Vairochana, Lord of Demons, who go to Prajapati. After 19 years, the first lesson is, The self is seen in the reflection. The Lord of demons leaves, thinking, how easy, all we have to do is worship the body. But Indra reflects, realizes that if the body were lame, the Self would be lame, etc, and returns for a total of 101 years and receives the complete teaching.
In the Katha Upanishad, we have the story of a young boy, Nachiketa, who sees his father offering the worst, keeping the best for himself. When he confronts his father, his father says, Go to Hell. In order to keep his father’s word, he goes to the Land of Death, where Lord Yama receives him. He asks for three boons, the third is, what happens after death. Yama tries to talk him out of it, then teaches him the knowledge of the Self.
So the last thing to consider is, why take this trip at all? Why read the Upanishads? When I went to the Big Island, as transformative as it was, I realized I didn’t want to live there. It was too remote, to energizing. But returning, I have never forgotten the sights, sounds and smells of the place, and carry it with me. In the same way, I don’t make the Upanishads my home. It is not my daily reading. Yet having visiting the teachings, they have never left me, and no matter how crazy the world or my life appears to be at times, I always know, deep down, there is another truth, Brahman. Or as the Upanishad says in the following passage: I am Shiva.
Kaivalya Upanishad (Pg 210)
“In the three states of consciousness, whatever appears as the enjoyer or the object of enjoyment, I am the witness thereof, separate from all. I am pure consciousness. I am the eternal Shiva.
“I am subtler than the subtlest; I am greater than the greatest; I am the Eternal Being. I am the manifold universe. I am the Lord of the golden effulgence. I am Shiva.
“I am without hands or feet. My divine powers none can conceive. I see, though without eyes. I hear, though without ears. I know all but none knows me. I am infinite wisdom. I am the One to be known through the scriptures. I am the knower of all scriptures. Merit or demerit does not affect me. I was not born; I have neither body nor senses nor mind. I, the Supreme Self, dwell in the lotus of the heart. I am pure. I am One without a Second.
“I am Shiva.”
This was a very brief overview of the Upanishads. I invite you to explore it more for yourself and see what happens to your mind and meditation as you do. Thank you for reading.
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