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Taittiriyopanishad Bhashya

Taittiriyopanishad Bhashya of Acharya Madhwa is published in kannada & Sanskrit PDF format

(Extracts from article of Prof. K.T.Pandurangi)

Taittiriyopanishad belongs to Krishna Yajurveda. It forms 7th, 8th and 9th Chapters of Taittiriya Aranyaka. Narayana Upanishad is the 10th Chapter of this Aranyaka.

In the first section, first Varna, Swara etc., matters connected with siksha or vedic phonetics are mentioned. The Upanishad does not mention these merely from grammatical point of view. Their spiritual significance is more relevant to the Upanishad message. These Varna ,Svara etc., convey God. These are the names of God. He is present in Varna, Svara etc. He is conveyed by them and these are his names. Then the Upanishad proceeds to describe five samhitas in respect of five adhikaranas viz. Adhilokha, Adijjyotisha etc. Here again it is not mere enumeration of lokas, different aspect of jyotis etc., but it is an exposition of the presence of five forms of God i.e, Narayana ,Vasudeva,Samkarshana etc. Even mere enumeration of adhilokha ,adijyotisha etc given here makes a fascinating presentation of the cosmos. The realization of the vyuha forms of God in these makes it a rich spiritual presentation.

The prayer i.e., Yachchandasam etc for the necessary intellectual ability to acquire spiritual knowledge, to get appropriate disciples, to enable to employ the toungue, ear etc for the recitation and listening of the glory of God etc is a beautiful prayer given after describing Samhitas.Let my toungue be sweet, let my ears listen to great things, let my knowledge be protected from evil people etc are the point in this prayer that especially deserve our attention. The appeal for good students is very touching. Students with good conduct, good temper, intelligent and representing many gotras or families devoted for learning are asked for. Like water flowing in a natural way, let the wtudents flow to me. Like the months rolling over the years, let the students roll to me is the prayer of a good teacher. He wants to establish a reputation by teaching such students.

Significance of Vyahritis and Omkara
Then, there is an exposition of vyahritis i.e., bhu bhuvaha, swa, and maha. The vyuha forms of God i.e., aniruddha, pradyumna etc present in vyahritis are explained. ‘Om’ kara conveys God. Vyahritis further explain his forms. Gayatri is an exposition of vyahritis .Purushasukta explains Gayatri. The three vedas explain Purushasukta. Thus, from ‘Om’ kara to three play an important role. Therefore, the meaning of vyahritis Vedas, the entire sacred lore teaches God. In this, vyahritis and their special significance in conveying the vyuha forms of God is brought out here. The significance of ‘Om” kara as conveying gunapurna Brahma is especially brought out in the message ‘O iti Brahma’ . It is also stated that this ‘Om’ not only conveys moola roopa of God but it conveys all his incarnations. This is stated in ‘Om iti idaM sarvaM’ . Thus this passage ‘Om iti ‘ , brahma “‘Om iti idaM sarvaM’ brings out two iomportant points. viz.,
1.Om conveys gunapoorna Brahman.
2. It conveys him so in all his incarnations also, ie., to say, he is not only gunapoorna in his moola roopa but all his incarnations are also gunapoorna.This meaning of this passage perfectly suits its context, since, it is a context of the exposition of the various forms of God in vyahritis and the prayer offered to get knowledge, good students etc. There is no room for any kind of identity between ‘Om’ kara and other entities here.

The Upanishad also brings out the importance of rita, satya, dama, sama23 etc. All these are quiet essential. But swadyaya and pravachana are must. By swadyaya and pravachana all these could be acheived. This is especially stressed here.

Instructions to the students
The most instructive part of the first valli of Taittiriya is the section giving instructions to the students after completing their education. These instructions commencing with ‘satyam vada, dharmam chara’ etc contain very valuable guidelines that are relevant even today. The first and the foremost thing in life is to be honest. This honesty has to be translated in good conduct. The prosperity in life both worldly and other worldy has to be kept in mind. Teaching and study must be continued. Parents ,teachers and guests have to be attended upon. Charity commensurate with one’s wealth must be practised with conviction, with a sense of social involvement, and with an enlightened attitude in life. In case of any doubt, in respect of either a specific action or a code of conduct, one has seek guidance from the wise and learned. Elders should be followed only when they are right. These are the instructions that have force of commandment . This is the essence of vedic teaching. One should follow these. These guidelines have such a universal application that these are valid even today and can be applied in all societies. With these the first section closes.

Definition of Brahman
The second sectionknown as Brahmavalli gives the definition of Brahman in the famous passage “satyaM j~jAnaM anaMtaM brahma”. Each expression here brings out an important charecteristic of Brahman. Infact more than one definition is implied by each expression. Satyam conveys creation, sustenance, regulation and destruction. j~janaM conveys Gods knowledge of all in a general way as well as in all details. anaMta conveys the fact of his being limitless in respect of space,time and attributes. Thus the entire concept of Brahman is presented here.

Then, from the passage ‘AtmanaH AkAsha samboota’ etc the process of creation is explained. In this connection an important point to be noted is, God not only initiates the creation but intervenes at each step of creation24. He creates the first step,enters into it, then creates the next step, enters into it and so on. Therefore, the expressions AkAsha ,vAyu etc do not merely refer to the elements AkAsha,vAyu etc. but these refer to Brahman. It is he who really leads the whole process of creation. From AkAsha to purusha it is his creative activity. These terms refers to him and the elements AkAsha etc also.

Annamaya etc five forms of God
These five viz., annamaya,pranamaya etc described here are intended to bring out the implications of the definitions given in ‘satyam,j~jAnaM’ etc more fully.annamaya etc do not merely refer to koshas. These convey Brahman. It is not only AnaMdamaya that conveys Brahman but all the five viz. annamaya,pranamaya etc convey Brahman. This is fully explained in a AnaMdamayaadikaraNa of Brahmasutras.

The interpretation that the first four describe koshas and it is only the last viz. AnaMdamaya that conveys Brahman is not correct. Nor to take AnaMdamaya also as a kosha and to take puchchabrahman as Brahman is the correct approach. In the context of giving the exposition of the concept of Brahman and explaining its definition given in the passage “satyaM j~jAnaM anaMta’ , to describe merely the koshas of jeevas is not relevant ot context. To treat four as koshas and fifth only as Brahman is also not convincing. Giving up the positin of AnaMdamaya being Brahman and resorting to pucchchabrahma idea is still worse. Therefore, the whole approach has to be different. Here is the context of explaining the clauses of the definition i.e. “satyaM j~jAnaM’ etc. This is done by explaining the five forms of Brahman i.e., annamaya etc . Therefore, all the five convey Brahman.

There will be no difficulty in understanding ‘brahmapuchchaM’ if anaMdamaya is taken to convey Brahma as there is no difference between avayava and avayavi in case of Brahman.

Another point to be noted here is, the passage ‘ yatO vAcO nivartanE’ etc does not state that Brahman is totally beyond words. It only states that it being infinite cannot be completely comprehended.

Brigu discovers God
The third valli called Briguvalli describes the eight forms of God. the AnaMdamaya etc five mentioned earlier, are repeated and three more viz., chakshurmaya, stotramaya and vangamaya are added. Here, Brigu approaches Varuna for instructions and Varuna guides him to discover Brahmanm stepm bym step.m Brighu undertakes penance at each step at the instructions of varuna and realizes anna,prana, etc. eight forms of God, step by step. Certain Upasanas such as kShEma , yOgakShEma etc and tripti, bala , yashas etc are explained. The way in which chaturmukha Brahma realizes annamaya etc forms, attains liberation and enjoys the liberated state are described.

The passage ‘”satyaM j~jAnaM anaMtaM’ that gives the definition of Brahman, the five forms of the God via., annamaya,pranamaya etc and the exposition of the process of creation are the important topics of Taittiriya. The very first two adhikaranas and AnaMdamayaadikaarana of Brahmasutras derive their subject matter from Taittiriya. Thus, this upanishad makes important contributions to Vedanta philosophy.

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