Taittiriya Upanishad- Petal 4




sa ya esho.antarahridaya akashah . tasminnayam purusho manomayah .
amrito hiranmayah . antarena taluke . ya esha stana ivavalambate .
sendrayonih . yatrasau keshanto vivartate . vyapohya shirshakapale .
bhurityagnau pratitishthati .
bhuva iti vayau .. 1..

There is a space within the heart; in it lies the Person consisting of mind, immortal and luminous. The Sushumna passes through the piece of flesh which hangs down like a nipple between the two palates and ends where the skull splits and the roots of hair lie apart. That Sushumna is the path for the realisation of Indra. The souls of the aspirants, passing through the Sushumna, rests in fire, represented by the vyahriti Bhuh; he rests in the air, represented by the vyahriti Bhuvah.

This is one of the highly cryptic sections of the Upanishad and it is not easy to deduce its meaning directly. It is said that even the Acharyas could not give us a ready explanation of these mantras without supplementing them with their own words and ideas.  With this setting let us try to understand this mantra as much as we can.

This mantra is about meditation on  Saguna Brahman which is in continuation of what was said in the previous section. In Vedanta the heart is considered as the abode of the Lord. It is stated to contain within it space which is to be meditated upon as luminous and as a symbol of Brahman. Brahman is called Purusha because He dwells in the body and also pervades in the universe. He is Consciousness and can be realized by purified minds alone. Sushumna nerve which goes upward from the heart to the centre of the skull is considered the doorway to realization. It is the path by which the aspirant attains the goal without coming back to the world of rebirth.

Such an illumined soul, after coming out of the body, becomes established in fire represented by the vyahriti Bhuh, which is as it were a limb of Brahman. Similarly he is established in the air which is another limb of Brahman represented by vyahriti Bhuvah.


suvarityaditye . maha iti brahmani . apnoti svarajyam.h .
apnoti manasaspatim.h . vak.hpatishchaxushpatih .
shrotrapatirvij~nanapatih . etattato bhavati . akashashariram brahma .
satyatma pranaramam mana anandam.h .
shantisamriddhamamritam.h .
iti prachinayogyopassva .. 2..

He rests in the sun, represented by the vyahriti Suvah; he rests in Brahman, represented by the vyahriti Mahah. He attains self-rule. He attains the lordship of the mind; he attains the lordship of speech; he attains the lordship of sight; he attains the lordship of hearing; he attains the lordship of intelligence. Furthermore, he becomes this: he becomes Brahman, whose body is space, whose nature is true, who delights in life and rejoices in the mind, who abounds in peace, who is immortal. Thus do thou, O Prachinayogya, contemplate.

By the comprehension of the three vyahritis, Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvah, the illumined person becomes established in fire, the air, and the sun. That is, he obtains the powers of these divinities. Having thus purified his heart he contemplates the fourth vyahriti, Mahah, and becomes Brahman endowed with attributes (Saguna) and not the Pure Spirit (Nirguna Brahman). He obtains the following attributes of Brahman viz.,

He becomes the Lord of all the other divinities such as fire, air etc. who offer him tributes.  Because he is identified with all, he thinks through the minds of all beings; likewise he controls the speech, eyes, ears and intelligence of all beings. He attains the position of Virat. With the destruction of avidya which creates the illusion of individuality, he attains Brahman. Like the akasa he becomes formless. He manifests himself through both gross and subtle matter. He rejoices in all the activities of the prana or life i.e., he derives the same joy in being born, in living, and in dying. He does not derive happiness from sense-objects but only from the contemplation of Brahman. He is free from mental distractions. His mind is immersed in the Bliss of Brahman.

The fifth and sixth sections describe Brahman or the Cosmic Person through the symbol of vyahritis. His middle part (Atman) is represented by Mahah. His feet are represented by Bhuh, his arms by Bhuvah, and his  head by Suvah. The result of contemplating Him in this way is the attainment of self-rule and peace.

iti shashtho.anuvakah .

End of Section 6 - Chapter 1



prithivyantarixam dyaurdisho.avantaradishah .
agnirvayuradityashchandrama naxatrani .
apa oshadhayo vanaspataya akasha atma . ityadhibhutam.h .
athadhyatmam.h . prano vyano.apana udanah samanah .
chaxuh shrotram mano vak.h tvak.h .
charma ma{\m+}sa{\m+}  snavasthi majja .
etadadhividhaya rishiravochat.h . pa~nktam va ida{\m+}  sarvam.h .
pa~nktenaiva pa~nkta{\m+}  sprinotiti .. 1..

1.Earth, 2. the mid-region, 3. heaven, 4. the quarters and 5. the intermediate quarters. 1. Agni (fire), 2. Vayu (air), 3. Aditya (sun), 4. Chandrama (moon) and 5. the Nakshatras (stars). 1. Water, 2. herbs, 3. tree, 4. space and 5. the body. So much with reference to material objects.

Now with reference to the body: 1. The prana, 2. vyana, 3. apana, 4. udana and 5. samana; 1. the eye, 2. the ear, 3. the mind 4. speech and 5. touch; 1. the skin, 2. flesh, 3. muscle, 4. bone and 5. marrow.

Having thus ordained, a rishi said: "Whatever exists is fivefold." Through the fivefold one becomes united with the fivefold material object.

We may call this mantra as the Rule of Five. A Vedic Metre consisting of five padas of five syllables each is called pankti. The sage attempts here to teach a new method of meditation to the students by drawing their attention to the fact that the world outside as well as the world within are both arranged in groups of five. Further, the sacrifice consisting of five factors viz., the sacrificer, his wife, his son, contemplation and the materials used in the sacrifice is also pankta. He shows that the world of matter (adhiloka), the world of elements (adhidaivika), the world of nature (adhibhautika), and the world of the within (adhyatmika) are all constituted in themselves with a plurality that can be classified in five groups. The idea behind this is to enable the students to meditate upon the oneness which is within and without one’s body.

The previous two sections have taught the student how to contemplate Brahman through the symbol of vyahritis. The present section teaches the contemplation of Brahman through the symbol of pankta which is a form of sacrifice to bring about identity with Brahman based on the common feature of five.

The sets of five described in the first paragraph of the mantra refer to the external objects. The sets of five described in the second paragraph of the mantra refer to the internal objects i.e. to those in the body. The former should be meditated upon as identical with the latter. The two together constitute the whole universe which is a manifestation of Brahman.

This idea of the oneness of the within and without is clearly and repeatedly brought out in all our sacred literature especially in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

iti saptamo.anuvakah ..

End of Section 7 - Chapter 1

We shall take up Section 8 of Chapter 1 next time.


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