Taittiriya Upanishad- Petal 9

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CHAPTER 3 – BHRIGU VALLI

SECTION 1 – BHRIGU UNDERTAKES INVESTIGATION OF BRAHMAN

THE PEACE CHANT

aum saha navavatu . saha nau bhunaktu . saha viryam karavavahai .

tejasvi navadhitamastu ma vidvishavahai .

aum shantih shantih shantih ..

Om. May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the Truth! May we cherish no ill—feeling toward each other!
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
Harih Om.

MANTRA

bhrigurvai varunih . varunam pitaramupasasara .
adhihi bhagavo brahmeti . tasma etatprovacha .
annam pranam chaxuh shrotram mano vachamiti .
ta{\m+} hovacha . yato va imani bhutani jayante .
yena jatani jivanti .
yatprayantyabhisa.nvishanti . tadvijij~nasasva . tad.h brahmeti .
sa tapo.atapyata . sa tapastaptva .. 1..

Bhrigu, the son of Varuna, approached his father Varuna and said: "Venerable Sir, teach me about Brahman." To him, the son, he said this: "Food, the vital breath, the eye, the ear, the mind, speech." To him he said further: "That from which these beings are born, That by which, when born, they live, That into which they enter, they merge—seek to know That. That is Brahman." He performed austerities. Having performed austerities—

Bhrigu Valli of the Taittiriya Upanishad explains the knowledge of the Brahman through a dialogue between a teacher and the student. In this section of the Upanishad the teacher has asked his disciple to concentrate all his energies towards the inquiry of various sheaths that are present. Such an inquiry in turn may lead to the discovery of the Brahman. The student is carefully guided by the guru in every stage so that he is able to go beyond all the Kosas and is competent to reach the transcendental state or gets unified with the Atman.

Bhrigu Valli opens with Bhrigu approaching his father and teacher Varuna to seek knowledge about the Brahman. In order to answer the query of Bhrigu, Varuna said that the food or body, the world of matter, the vital force (prana), the eyes, ears, the mind and the speech all arise from the Brahman and that all these together constitute the Reality which should be sought after by him.

On hearing this Bhrigu said that he is eager to learn the nature of the Brahman from whom all these were born, due to which all these are sustained and unto which all these get merged. The inert body and the organs cannot function without Consciousness, which is the witness of their activity. Thus from the activities of the body and the senses, one can infer the existence of Brahman or Consciousness. Therefore, the teacher asks the pupil to know Brahman through food, the vital breath etc. 

Bhrigu was keen to know more about the Supreme Being and the ultimate reality of life for which he underwent all the necessary disciplines. The implication is that he withdrew his mind from all the outer objects and concentrated it on what his father taught.

iti prathamo.anuvakah ..

End of Section 1 - Chapter 3

SECTION 2 –THE BODY AS BRAHMAN

annam brahmeti vyajanat.h . annad.hdhyeva khalvimani
bhutani jayante . annena jatani jivanti .
annam prayantyabhisa.nvishantiti . tadvij~naya .
punareva varunam pitaramupasasara . adhihi bhagavo brahmeti .
ta{\m+} hovacha . tapasa brahma vijij~nasasva . tapo brahmeti .
sa tapo.atapyata . sa tapastaptva .. 1..

He realised that food is Brahman; for from food, verily, are these beings born; by food, when born, do they live; into food do they enter, do they merge. Having realized this, he approached his father again and said: "Venerable Sir, teach me Brahman." To him, the son, he said this: "Seek to know Brahman by means of austerities. For austerities are the means of knowing Brahman." He practiced austerities. Having practiced austerities—

In the second section Bhrigu, the son of Varuna is able to realize food as Brahman because he understands that it is from food that all beings are born, again it is with the help of food that living beings subsist and ultimately it is again food into which all beings are merged. But still his mind was not satisfied with this conclusion because food or matter has both origin and end and hence it cannot be Brahman which is eternal. So Bhrigu returned to his father and asked him more about the Supreme Being. His father advised him that concentration will take him towards the knowledge of the Brahman.

It will be observed in the Bhrigu Valli that Bhrigu achieves satisfaction for some time after contemplating but contemplation of the mind had sharpened his intellect and as a result his mind was filled with doubts and he turns to his teacher Varuna again and again.

iti dvitiyo.anuvakah ..

End of Section 2 - Chapter 3

SECTION 3 – THE PRANA AS BRAHMAN

prano brahmeti vyajanat.h .
pranad.hdhyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante .
pranena jatani jivanti . pranam prayantyabhisa.nvishantiti .
tadvij~naya . punareva varunam pitaramupasasara .
adhihi bhagavo brahmeti . ta{\m+} hovacha .
tapasa brahma vijij~nasasva . tapo brahmeti .
sa tapo.atapyata . sa tapastaptva .. 1..

He realized that the prana is Brahman; for from the prana, verily, are these beings born; by the prana, when born, do they live; into the prana do they enter, do they merge. Having realized this, he approached his father again and said: "Venerable Sir, teach me Brahman." To him, the son, he said this: "Seek to know Brahman by means of austerities. For austerities are the means of knowing Brahman." He practiced austerities. Having practiced austerities—

In this third section Bhrigu had understood the vital force or the prana as the Brahman. He understood prana as Brahman because with the help of concentration he had realized that from the vital force all living beings are born, they live with the help of the prana and ultimately they are unified with the prana. But still Bhrigu felt that Prana or vital breath is non-intelligent and therefore cannot be Brahman and that he had a lot more to learn about the Brahman. So he approached his father once again and Varuna advised him to think more deeply on the subject.

iti tritiyo.anuvakah ..

End of Section 3 - Chapter 3

SECTION 4 – THE MIND AS BRAHMAN

mano brahmeti vyajanat.h . manaso hyeva khalvimani
bhutani jayante . manasa jatani jivanti .
manah prayantyabhisa.nvishantiti . tadvij~naya .
punareva varunam pitaramupasasara . adhihi bhagavo brahmeti .
ta{\m+} hovacha . tapasa brahma vijij~nasasva . tapo brahmeti .
sa tapo.atapyata . sa tapastaptva .. 1..

He realized that the mind is Brahman; for from the mind, verily, are these beings born; by the mind, when born, do they live; into the mind, at the time of dissolution, do they enter, do they merge. Having realized this, he approached his father again and said: "Venerable Sir, teach me Brahman." To him, the son, he said this: "Seek to know Brahman by means of austerities; for austerities are Brahman." He practiced austerities. Having practiced austerities—

In the next stage Bhrigu knew mind as the manifestation of the Brahman yet his curiosity was not satisfied and hence he started meditating deeply. He realized that the mind is the source of all creations. It is mind which maintains the continuity of existence and again it is mind which is able to exist independently even when it gets divorced from life.  But Bhrigu again had a doubt that since mind creates hesitation and uncertainty and as it is another organ like eye, ear etc. it cannot be Brahman. When he told his father about this conclusion, he asked him to again think over the matter.

iti chaturtho.anuvakah ..

End of Section 4 - Chapter 3