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Aithareya Upanishad

Om van me manasi pratishthita mano me vaci pratisthitamaviravirma edhi vedasya ma anisthah srutam me ma prahasih anenadhitenahoratra nsandadhamritam vadisyami satyam vadisyami tanmamatatu tadvaktaramavatu avatu mamavatu vaktaram-avatu vaktaram aum santih santih santih harih om

Chapter One 1.1.1 Atma va idameka evagra asit nanyat kincana misat sa iksata lokan nu srija iti

This verse gives a graphic description of the scenario at the beginning of creation or manifestation. It also emphasizes that out of the un manifested the manifestation took place!

In the beginning only Atman existed, nothing else. Not even that winked! Here the pada or word mishad meaning that winked is used to emphasize attribute less state of existence. It would be interesting to recall an English usage pin drop silence in this context. This attribute less Brahman made a sankalpa let me create and the manifestation began.

Refer to Srimad bagavat Gita:Chap.10 ver.8 aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava-samanvitah

I am the source of all. Everything emerges from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts. Here the pada Pravartate is significant because it signifies that all possibilities existed and now they emerge out of Brahman. Refer to the well-known hymn, The Venkatesa Suprabatha that starts with the phrase Poorva Sandhya Pravarthate that means that twilight emerges out of darkness. It is already there, and due to the earths rotation we come to realize the twilight!

Refer to Srimad bagavat Gita:Chap.11 ver.20.

dyav a-prithivyor idam antaram hi vyaptam tvayaikena disas ca sarvah drishtvadbhutam rupam ugram tavedam loka-trayam pravyathitam mahatman

Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed!

Refer Prasna Upanishad 3.3.

tmna esha prno jyate | Yataish purushe chayaitasminnetad tatam manokrtenytyasminchsarire ||

Atma is the origin, out of that prana emerges

1.1.2 sa imamllokan-asrijata ambho maricirmaramapah ado-ambhah parena divam dyauh pratistha-anttariksham maricayah prithivi maro ya adhastatta apah ||

In the ascending order the manifestation takes place, Ambha Marichi, Marah,and Apah. Ambha here means water bearing (not in the literal sense). Supported by heavens, next to evolve is Marichi or Antariksham or space in its diverse forms, then Marah where the process of Vinasam or perpetual change takes place. Lastly Apah or water in literal sense evolves. The reverse order will be involution at the time of dissolution

1.1.3 sa ikshateme nu loka lokapalan tu srja iti so 'adbhya eva purusham samuddhrtyamurcchayat ||

As the process of manifestation reached a second stage, the Super consciousness thought controlling or protecting need to be in place, thus evolved forms from water. Here Adbhya means water bearing not mere water. Even water has evolved out of this. This is the very beginning of manifestation; it has not become self-sustaining. 1.1.4 tamabhyatapat tasyabhitaptasya mukham nirabhidyata yathandam mukhadyak vaco 'gnih nasike nirabhidyetam nasikabhyam pranah pranad-vayug aksini nirabhidyetam aksibhyam caksiscaksisa adityah karnau nirabhidyetam karnabhyam srotam srotrad disah tvag nirabhidyata tvaco lomanyo lomabhya osadhivanaspatayah hrdayam nirabhidyata hrdayanmano manasascascacanddramah nabhirnabhidyata nabhya apanah apananmrtyah sisnam nirabhidyata sisnad retah retasa apah

As the Super consciousness was involved in the thought process, and had manifested as a form, the mouth portion (an approximate location) of that form parted like the egg that would crack to give birth to the new born! And the Indriya, the sense organ namely the Mouth evolved and from the mouth the Speech emerged! And from the speech the Fire emerged! Similarly the Nostrils evolved and from it sense of Smell, and from the sense of smell the Vayu emerged. The region of two eyes parted from that the Eyes evolved and emerged the sense of Sight and from it emerged the Sun! Then the area of two ears parted the Ears evolved and from it the sense of Hearing and from it, the Directions emerged. The region of skin parted and there evolved the Skin and out of it the sense of Touch and from that the Herbs and trees (flora). From the region of the heart the Heart evolved and from it the Mind emerged and from the mind the Moon emerged. The region of navel parted and from that evolved the organ of ejection (apana) and from it emerged Death! The region of Procreative organ parted and out of it evolved the Procreative organ and from that emerged Water.

Now we have seen the emergence of senses and their Lords out of Virat purusha the manifested Brahman! The point to be noted here is that out of water bearing form the Virat purusha emerged and manifestation took place, and finally water emerged out of manifestation! This full cycle sets the clock of manifestation ticking! In the following verses we shall see how the manifestation is going to be self sustaining, that means replenishing. This activity will call for food to be consumed and digested! That turns into energy and renew growth of new components in place of old ones.

Chapter 1. 2.

1.2.1 ta eta devatah srishta asmin mahatyarnave prapatamstama-sanaya pipasabhyam anvavarjjat

ta enamabruvannayatanam nah prajanihi yasmin pratisthita annamadameti ||

The controlling forces or deities thus evolved due to their cross influence among themselves were not aware of their origin! Or their real identity. Hence they presumed a separate identity! This is due to the interaction of Manas the product of heart. At once they were subjected to hunger and thirst two new sensations. Here these two connote desire. All pleaded with Virat Purusha that they be provided with an abode and also food to consume and an environment to operate!

1.2.2 tabhyo gamanayat ta abruvan na vai no 'yam alamiti tabhyo-asvamanayat ta abruvan-na vai no 'yamlamiti

Thus having been pleaded, the Virat purusha brought forth (from the water) the form of a cow, having observed that form they said that they are not satisfied with that form. Having thus said they rejected. Then He brought forth the form of a horse that was also rejected as above. Please note that these forms were rejected because they did not have the potential to accommodate all the deities including Manas and Chandra.

1.2.3 tabhyah purusamanayat ta abravan asukrtam vateti puruso vava sukrta to abravit yathayatanam pravisateti ||

Then the Virat Purusha brought forth the human form, they expressed their satisfaction and uttered well made, having understood that the human form as their abode they called this form as embodiment of virtue, as god Himself, as Viratpurusha Himself. Having observed their reaction, Virat Purusha asked these deities to enter their respective abodes, as they knew their respective form in the abode.

1.2.4 agnirvag bhutva mukham pravisat vayuh prano bhutva nasike pravisat adityascaksurbhutva aksini pravisad disah srotram bhutva jarnau pravisan ausadhivanaspatayo-lomani bhutva tvadham pravisan chandrama mano bhurva hrdayam pravisad mrtyarapano bhutva nabhim pravisad

apo reto bhutva sisnam pravisan

Fire entered the mouth, here you would be surprised to note that certain usages in English are so apt to represent their closeness to these ideas expressed here. For example Fiery speech! Etc. Air entered the nostrils assuming the form of smell, Sun entered the eyes, taking upon the sense of sight. Directions entered the ears, herbs and trees entered the skin, Moon entered the mind! Death entered the navel, and Water entered the reproductive organ in the form of semen.

1.2.5 tamasanaya-pipase abrutatmavabhyamabhi-prajanihiti sa te abravidetassveva vam devatasvabhajamyetasu bhaginyau karomiti tasmad yasyai kasyai ca devatayai havir-grihyate bhaginyavevesyamasanaya-pipase bhavatah

This verse takes up the mutual interaction between the deities that are primary cause of creation having emerged from Virat Purusha and assuming separate identity having Manas as an operational field is dealt with. Desire and Hunger came into being due to their interaction and claimed that they be given an abode to operate too in the Human form! Virat Purusha told them that the deities themselves will be their abode and they would share their portion of consumption with Hunger and Thirst. Here we must understand that Hunger and Thirst are not to be taken as mere hunger for food and thirst for water. These are desires and passions. This arragement also will ensure perpetual multiplication and growth! Now you will observe a clear pattern. What ever is created is to undergo a constant change and consumed and digested and new ones to be created by interaction of these deities through Manas! What ever is offered as oblations to these organs of perception, they are taken up by these deities and are also shared by the Hunger and Thirst! When ever the interactive medium of Mind is absent then these do not perpetuate and result in pure consciousness!

Refer Srimad Bagavat Gita Chapter 4 Verse 26.

srotradinindriyany anye samyamagnisu juhvati shabdadin visayan anya indriyagnisu juhvati

Some sadaks sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of mental control, and others sacrifice the objects of the senses in the fire of the senses. Here the fire is the will power or aspiration to realisation. You may observe a word Samya is used to denote consumption. You would also be surprised to note that there are usages such as He was consumed by his passion

Aithareya Upanishad


sa iksateme nu lokasca lokapalasca, annamebhyah srija iti

The senses and their deities have come into being. Let me create food for them. So thought the Lord.


so 'po 'bhyatapat tabhyoabhitaptabhyo murtirajayata ya vai sa murtirajayatannam vai tad

He meditated upon water and then emerged various forms of chetana and achetana the sentient and non sentient beings. Here we can note one peculiar aspect of creation. Each being evolved into its own higher form or multiplied its race! This vertical expansion took place. Horizontal expansion took place from the Supreme thought force or knowledge! We come to know from various Puranas like Agni Purana, that different species emerged from Seers who were pure knowledge embodiments.


tadenad sristam parag-tyajighamsat tadvaca ajighriksat tan-nasaknodvaca grihitum sa yad-hainad-vacagrihai-shyad-abhivyahritya haivannamatrapsyat

Forms that came into existence turned back and attempted to go beyond the scope of the human form that has become the abode of deities, senses, and desires. The human form tried to grasp them through his speech (an organ of perception) but could not succeed. Had he succeeded, he would have become contended just by speaking about it!


tadprabebajighriksat tannasaknot pranena grihitum sa yadhainat pranenagrahaisyadabhipranya haivannam trapsyat The human form tried to grasp the food through smell, but could not succeed, had he succeeded he would have been contended merely smelling the food.


tac caksusta ajighriksat tan nasaknoccaksusa grihitum sa yad hainaccaksisagrahaisyad dristva haivannamatra psipat

The human form tried to grasp food by eyes, could not succeed, had he succeeded, he would have been contended by just looking at the food!


tad-shortrenagighriksat tannasaknoc-cotreba grihitum sa yad-hainah-srotrenagrahaisyaca-srutva haivannamatrapsyat

He tried grasping through ears, could not succeed, had he succeeded, he would have been contended by just hearing about food!


tatvaca-ajighriksat tannasaknot tvaca grihitum sa yad-hainat tvaca grahaisyatspristva haivann-amatrapsyat

He tried grasping food through his sense of touch, could not succeeded, had he succeeded, he would have become contended by just touching food!


tanmnasa-ajighriksat tannasaknot-manasa grihitum sa yad-hainanmanasagrahaisyat

He tried grasping food through his mind, could not succeed, had he succeeded, he would have become contended by just thinking about it.


tannasanotsisnena grihitum sa yad-hainat-sisnenagrahaisyad visrijya haivannamatrapsyat

He tried grasping food through procreative organ, could not succeed, had he succeeded, he would have become contended by merely ejecting food.


tadapanenajighrisat tadavayat saiso 'nnasya graho yadvayuannayurva esa yadvayuh

He finally tried grasping food through the Apana one of the vital airs that digests food! He succeeded. This vital energy is depended upon the food for its very sustenance. So he understood.

1.3.11 sa iksata katham nvidam madrite syadutu sa iksata katarena prapadya iti sa iksata yadi vacabhivyahritam

yadi pranenabhipranitam yadi caksisa dristam yadi srotrena srntam, yadi tvaca spristam yadi manasa dhyatam yady apanenabhyapanitam yadi sisnena visristamatha

ko 'ham iti

The Lord thought, How can this being live without my pure self? Again he thought through what should I enter this gross physical body? And he continued to think, If speech is the talking, nostrils breath, eyes see, ears hear, skin feels, mind thinks, apana digests, regenerative organ ejects then what am I to do?

1.3.12 sa etam eva simanam vidaryaitaya dvara prapadyata saisa vidritirnam dvastadetannandanam tasya traya avasathastrayah svapnah ayamavasatho 'yamavasatho 'yamavasatheti

Then the Lord entered through an opening or cleft at the skull at Brahma randra and that is known as Vidriti the origin of bliss or delight or Ananda. Lord dwells in three places within that of waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. He declares that This is the abode, this is the abode, This is the abode.

This verse is very important from the Vedanta point of view. That is Supreme consciousness having created or manifested in stages through the Virat Purusha as all forms and finally a human form too, and having infused with life and set the whole manifestation into motion and ensured perpetual nature, wanted to put a stamp of his own pure presence in its original nature as Omnipotent, thereby logically concluding the whole exercise of rediscovering himself out of His manifestation. Otherwise this backward integration would be impossible. That is why discovering through sadana the presence of Pure Self becomes the ultimate goal of every sadak. And upon apprehending the ultimate Ananda is realized. It would be appropriate to refer to an Upanishad belonging to Atharva Veda called Nrsimha Tapaniya Upanishad available in two parts, that expounds the secret behind the pranava, the Sudharsana Chakra, and explains how to meditate upon Brahman and attain that state of consciousness. To an uninitiated, certain portions of this Upanishad are forbidden to be explained, but we shall look at the other portions.

Pranava is said to represent the four states of consciousness as we have seen above the three states namely waking state, dream state, the deep sleep state and a state of consciousness that is beyond. The first quarter as we can call it represents Go the light or knowledge or Sarasvati

the goddess of Knowledge, Savitri and Vaisvanara and this is the waking state of consciousness. Sun is the presiding deity of this plane of consciousness. The region of its influence is the seven parts namely, celestial region, the Sun, Air, Ether, Water, Earth, and Avahaniya fire. And this plane has 19 faces and they are 5 organs of perception, 5 organs of action, 5 vital airs, and 5 inner senses.

The Second quarter is called Taijasa the dreaming state consciousness turned inwards but carrying latent experiences of the waking state of consciousness described above.

The Third quarter is called Deep sleep state. In this there is no remnants of latent experience, this is called Prajya where the above two states have merged loosing their individual identities.

This is the state of consciousness that one can hope to reach through thorough meditation and variably called realization to a certain extant and there are two states of consciousness that are outside the purview of this state too.

These states are the real eternal states of consciousness that which eludes even the highly evolved celestials!

You may refer to our 6th issue for details of how these states of consciousness interact with each other.

1.3.13 sa jato bhutany abhivyai-ksat kimihanyam vavadisaditi, sa etam eva purusam brahma tatamamapasya-didamadarsam iti

Thus having manifested he entered every being of his manifestation, in his pure form too. Thus manifested Purusha identified himself in the form as the Purusha the creator. This realization comes about through the third eye, because the other physical eyes are to perceive the ordinary forms only they are incapable of apprehending the pure form of self within! On realization he declares This I have seen.

There is a great secret that is hidden in this verse. Earlier we have seen that the Lord thought, having infused life into the form, how shall I enter? Then he decides to enter through the Vidriti. Having entered, he dwells in three abodes. This is the secret, he operates at three different levels, one at the gross physical level called waking state, the other at a subtle level called dreaming state, the third at deep sleep level. Only at the deep sleep level there comes awareness of the pure self and not on other two states of consciousness! At the waking state all the activities take place with an assumption of false identity without awareness of the pure self. Hence the limitations imposed by the organs of perception play an

important role in determining the intellectual conclusions reached at this stage! The seers called it Idanra later came to be truncated as Indra. Thus Indra is the divine consciousness within this mortal frame. A sadak has to transcend the three stages and from being at the third stage apprehend the further stages. The three stages are divine consciousness within called first is Indra, the second called Virat Purusha, the third called pure spark of eternal Brahman! One who reaches the third state is called Prajyan! This state is called Achara and the other two are Chara. 1.3.14 tasmadidandro-nama idandro ha vai nama tamidandram santam-indra ityacaksate paroksena paroksapriyaiva hi devah paroksapriya iva hi devah

They called him idandra, verily he was called idandra who came to be called as Indra by those whose consciousness was turned outwards, and was praised as a Deva.

Chapter 2 2.1.1 puruse ha va ayamadito garbho bhavati yadetadretah tad etad sarvebhyo '...gebhyastejah sambhutamatmanyevatmanam vibharti tad yada striyam sinchati-athaitadjanayati tadasya prathamam janma

Purusha, enters the its gross form through repeated births in the form of an embryo. In the previous birth it left its form with unfulfilled desires, now through the semen of male, bonding with that of a women (another manifested form of himself) in the womb during ovulation. This is called the first birth (of the present cycle). This verse emphasizes the sustained activity of multiplicity. The Purusha who bears the pure divine within endowed with This potentiality to replicate sustains perpetuity. Recall the fourth verse of Chapter 1 that states water enters retas ensuring the continuity of procreative process!


tat striya atmabhuyam gacchati yatha svamangam tatha tasmadenam na hinasti sasyaitamatmanamatra gatam bhavayati

Retas having been shed into the womb of women, does not hurt and he nurtures his self, so embedded into her! Modern technology of cloning so vividly spelt here! The verse states that she nourishes as she nourishes her won limb!


sa bhavayitri bhavayitavya bhavati tam stri garbham vibharti so 'gra eva kumaram janmano 'gre adhibhavayati sa yat kumaram janmano 'gre 'dhibhavayaryarmanameva tad bhavayatyesam lokanam santatya evam santata hime lokastadasya dvitiyam janma

The one who nourishes, the mother will have to be nourished. The wife of the manifested self bears the embryo and the father yet another manifested self protects his won manifestation the child after birth! This process of protection is for continuity of manifestation. The physical birth of the child is called the second birth! First birth being, the formation of embryo.


so 'syayamatma punyebhyah karmabhyah pratidhiyate athasyayamitara atma krtakrtyah vayogatah praiti sa itah prayanneva punarjayate tadasya tritiyam janma The son having been born substitutes the role of his father, capable of sustaining the manifestation as his father did, is also endowed with the pure spark of the Divine within himself. He is capable of rediscovering his origin that is eternal! and is capable of pursuing his swadharma. The earlier manifested form the father or the mother sheds its mortal coil and proceeds to take another birth, and this is called the third birth!


taduktamrisninah-garbhe nu sannanvesa mavedamaham devanam janimani visva satam ma pura ayasiraraksannadhah syeno javasa niradiyamiti garbha eva etat-shayano vamadeva-evamvuvaca


sa evam vidvanasmah sarira-bhedadurdhvam utcramya-musmin svarge loke sarvan kamanaptva-amrtahsamabhavat samabhavat

A sadak having known his real identity with eternal consciousness does not suffer the pangs of death while shedding his mortal coil. This is due to his knowledge of manifestation and he abides in that supreme consciousness and enjoys the state of bliss, a state of immortality. This state is attained through the knowledge of eternal unity and unchanging nature of Brahman that supports all manifestation and other related activities.

3.1.1 ko 'yamatmeti vayamupasmahe katarah satma yena va rupam pasyati yena ca sabdam srinoti yena va gandhanajighrati yena va vacam vyakaroti yena va svadu casvaduca vijanati

This verse spell out the primary objective of a sadak who is attempting to rediscover this identity with the eternal self by turning his attention within! And begins with a question what is it that we worship as Self? Is it that we see? or that which we hear with? Smell, speak, taste?

These questions are essential as they are primary steps of self enquiry that serve as stepping stones of change of consciousness. The journey begins from gross material consciousness dominated by the physical world and the vital world that are governed by instincts and emotions towards divine consciousness.

Only through sustained contemplation one begins to unravel the mystery of expanding consciousness.


yadetaddhrdayam manascaited sanjnanam vijnanam prajnanam medha dristirdhritirmatirmanisa jutih smritih samkalpah craturasuh kamo vasa iti

sarvanyevaitani prajnanasya namadheyani bhavanti

Is it the spiritual heart?( Here the physical organ is not mentioned because mind is mentioned next.),is it the knowledge, or pure conscious state called Pragjyana, or the intellect, or apprehension, abidance, perception through organs, process of thinking, mental suffering, memory, ascertainment, resolution, life activities, hankering, passion, and such others?

All these are its shades! But not that!

3.1.3 esha brahmaisha indra esha prajapatirete sarve devemani ca panca mahabhutani prithivi vayurakasa apo-joytim-shityetanimani ca ksudramisraniva bijani itaranmi cetarani ca andajani ca jarujani ca svedajanicodbhijjani ca asva gavah pusu sa hastino yadkincedam prani jangamanca patatrica yaccha sthavaram sarvam tat prajnanetram prajnane pratisthitam prajnanetro lokah prajna pratistha prajnanam brahma

This Supreme consciousness is known as Brahma, Indra, Prajapati, all lesser Gods, Fire, Elements, together with all small creatures, the seeds, and others and others, those born of eggs, born of wombs, born of moisture, born of earth, horses, cattle, humans, elephants, and whatever living creatures moving on feet, flying, the motionless. All these are one and existing in consciousness that is the same Brahman! (It is the Brahman that creates, sustains and finally dissolves).

Refer to Bagavat Gita Verse 4. Chapter 7.

bhumir apo nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakritir astadha

Bagavat Gita Verse 5 Chapter 7.

apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jaga

Bagavat Gita Verse 6 Chapter 7.

etad-yonini bhutani sarvanity upadharaya aham krtsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayas tatha

All the above verses clearly state that manifestaion takes place upon the unmanifested Brahman. The manifested part is created sustained and finally absorbed by Brahman itself. All are its own manifestation only.

Refer Mundakopanishad 1.7

Yathornan`abhi: srjate grhnate cha yatha prtivyamoshadhaya: sambhavanti | Yatha sata: purushaat kesalom`ani tadha aksharat sambhavatiha visvam ||

As the spider spews out its saliva making thread and then absorbs it back, as plants grow upon earth, as hairs grow upon the body, the universe emerges from the imperishable!

This is the depiction of Para and Apara prakrti. The phenomenal universe manifests upon the unmanifest. Process of involution is highlighted by the example of spiders web. The example of vegetation and the human hair are given to emphasise the perishable nature. The ever changing upon the unchanging! 3.1.4

sa etena prajnenatmana asman-lokadutcramya amusmin svarge loke sarvan kamanaptva amrtah samabhavat samabhavat aum

The sadhaka has apprehended Brahman by identifying himself with Supreme consciousness by ascending higher realms, having attained the resultant benefits in the heavens, had strived to go further not attaching much importance to these attainments, has no ego left. Understanding both the phenomenal universe as well as its unmanifested substratum the Brahman he has surpassed death and become immortal! Ohm!

Thus ends the Upanishad