Taittiriya Upanishad- Petal 1A Bird's Eye View


Taittiriya Upanishad consists of three Chapters viz., 1.Siksha Valli   2. Brahmananda Valli and 3.Bhrigu Valli. These chapters are further divided into anuvakas or sections each of which contain one or more mantras or verses dealing with different topics. The detailed structure of this Upanishad is given in the following tables. Each chapter is called valli indicating a stage in the development of one's maturity, or spiritual growth. Each anuvaka or section in each valli is a lesson meaning a step in one's progress in Vedic education. The entire Upanishad has a total of 31 such short lessons as shown below.

An aerial-view of each section under each chapter of the Upanishad is given hereunder to facilitate an easy grasp of the subject.

1. Siksha Valli:
* The first chapter, dealing with Siksha or pronunciation, consists of twelve sections of which the first and the last contain prayers to the deities for the removing of obstacles while pursuing spiritual wisdom.
* The second section: It deals with the science of pronunciation. Though the meaning of the text of the Upanishad is most important, yet the text must be chanted correctly in order to obtain its precise meaning as incorrect chanting leads to undesirable consequences.
* The third section: It teaches how to meditate on the combination of the words. A mere recitation of the text may focus the mind only on the letters of the text. Through meditation the pupil will understand its symbolic significance; this understanding makes the mind pure and one-pointed. Meditation produces appropriate results in this world and the next.
* The fourth section: For the attainment of the Knowledge of Brahman, one needs a good memory, sound health and adequate food and clothing. This section describes the rituals for their attainment.
* The fifth section: It teaches the meditation on Brahman through the three vyahritis or mystical utterances, which are the symbols of the three subordinate divinities.
* The sixth section: It describes the heart as the dwelling-place of Brahman and also the Sushumna Nadi, through which lies the path for the attainment of Saguna Brahman. The result of such attainment is the enjoyment of self-rule and peace.
* The seventh section: It teaches meditation through the symbol of the panktas or fivefold sets of objects. These objects are both in the outside world and in the body. The two should be contemplated as identical with each other. Together they constitute the universe, which is a manifestation of Brahman. This and the previous sections describe meditation on Brahman through concrete symbols for inferior students.
* The eighth section: It teaches meditation for superior students through the symbol AUM. This symbol used in Vedic Sacrifices as a sign of compliance makes them fruitful.
* The ninth section: It emphasizes the performance of various duties. A student may attain Knowledge of Brahman by meditating on AUM but must not, on that account, neglect the study of the scriptures and compliance with his various other social duties.
* The tenth section: It contains a statement by an illumined sage describing his spiritual experiences. This should be used as a Mantra for daily recitation by a seeker of Self-Knowledge for acquiring purity, making progress and finally attaining the knowledge of Brahman.
* The eleventh section: During a student’s stage, a person acquires theoretical knowledge of the scriptures but in order to obtain direct knowledge of Brahman such theoretical knowledge has to be put in practice through the discharge of duties and obligations according to one’s Dharma. This section contains a detailed and unique exhortation by the teacher to the students returning home after the completion of their studies to embrace the householder’s life which is the proper place for the discharge of worldly duties.
* The twelfth section contains the peace chant at the end of the 1st Chapter, Siksha Valli.

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