I am happy to present the first volume of the Principal Upanisads translated according to Sri Madhvacharya’s Bhasya. This volume contains the translation of eight Upanisads. The remaining two viz. Chandogya and Brhadaranya will from the second volume.
There are many translations of the Upanisads. In the recent past Upanisads have been translated into English, Germany, French and other European languages by modern scholars. In India also there are a few English translations. Among these Dr. Radhakrishnan’s translation is the most prominent and popular. Most of then follow Advaita tradition. Therefore, there has been the need of a translation that followed Sri Madhvacharya’s Dvaita tradition. To meet such a need individual Upanisads were translated by me. These were published in separate volume by S.M.S.O. Sabha. These are out of stock. Now, these are being published in two volumes. This is the first volume.
In this volume the Text of the Upanisads is translated in simple English closely following the Bhasya of Sri Madhvacharya and the commentaries on it. Detailed notes are added. The translation and notes given in the earlier notes are added. The translation and notes given in the earlier edition ate touched here and there to make the points more clear. In the notes some extracts from the Bhasya and the commentaries are added to provide further material for research.
A special feature of Sri Madhva’s interpretation is that it has a theistic dimension. Adhibuta, adhidaiva and adhyatma levels of Upanisads are well known. But Sri Madhva goes still deep and brings out the adhivisnu level of meaning. For this purpose, the very adhibhuta and adhidaiva terms are interpreted to reveal the adhivisnu meaning. To obtain this meaning he works out appropriate etymology. These terms are translated keeping this in mind. The notes make these meanings more clear. He brings out the philosophical implications very clearly in respect of key passages. In many cases he points out the link between certain Vedic hymns and the Upanisadic statements. All these points are fully brought out in the essay ‘Essentials of Upanisads’ added to this volume.
It is hoped that this volume will be helpful to the research scholars and the students of Vedanta philosophy.
I am happy to present the second volume of ‘Principal Upanisads’. This contains two major Upanisads viz. Chandogya and Brihadaranya.
In this volume also the method followed in the first volume is followed. First a simple translation of the Upanisadic passages is given. Then, explanatory notes are added. Extracts from Bhasya and Sri Raghavendra tirtha’s Khandartha are given to substantiate the translation. In the case of Chandogya, the extracts from Sri Vedestirtha’s commentary and in the case of Brihadaranya extracts from Sri Raghuttama tirtha’s commendatory viz. Bhavabodha are also given. The requirements of both the scholars and the average reader are kept in mind.
Sri Madhvacharya explains the adhidaiva, adhibhuta and adhyatma meaning of Upanisadic passages. In addition, he explains adhi Visnu meaning. He obtains this meaning by parama mukhya vritti. While explaining the adhi Visnu meaning he states the Vyuha forms of Visnu conveyed in the respective passages. In fact this is the primary meaning according to Sri Madhvacharya. He also states the abhimani deities of various dhibhuta and adhyatma aspects. While translating such passages, their litaral meaning is not given but the meaning conveying as Vyuha forms and abhimani devatas is given. The literal meaning of these passages, is not intended in the context. The names of Vyuha forms and abhimani devatas are given on the basis of Sri Raghavendra tirtha’s Khandartha.
Upanisads are not isolated Texts. These respresent a tradition. The Bhsayakara gives an exposition of this tradition by introducing the Vyuha forms and abhimani deities, If one sticks to mere literal translation, then, this tradition will be lost. Therefore, this interpretation is incorporated in the translation and the extracts from the Bhasya and Khandartha giving these details are given in the notes.
The Chandogya Upanisad is rich both in its philosophical content and the theological content. It begins with Uidgithopasana Udgitha is one of the five samans. The Supreme God conveyed by ‘Om’, has to be meditated upon as present in Udgitha. The first five chapters of Chandogya describe a number of Upasanas viz., Samopasana, Madhuvidya, Samvargavidya, Pranavidya, Panchagnividya and Vaisvanara Vidya.
The meaning and the significance of Gayatri are explained. The whole of a person’s life is conceived as a sacrifice i.e., Purusayajna.
The importance of Mukhyaprapa is explained more than once. The episodes of Satyakama Jabala, Upakosala, and Janasruti occur in these chapters. The ethical virtues like Truthfulness non-violence, alms-giving, asceticism are recommended. Chandogya mentions the five great sins viz., Brahmahatya, Surapana etc., and exhorts to avoid these.
The passage ‘Sarvam khalu, idam Brahma tajjalan iti santa upasita’ has a reference to ‘Nasadiya hymn’ of Rgveda and brings out the central point made in that hymn viz., the supreme God alone functions in pralaya water. It further brings out his two characteristics viz. He is all pervasive (Idam) and he has all attributes (sarvam). Thus, this passage informs us that the supreme God is all-pervasive and possesses all attributes. He alone functions in pralaya water during pralaya.
The 6th, 7th and 8th chapters of Chandogya are philosophically rich. The sixth chapter that domains the famous passage ‘atat tvam asi’ is the heart of Chandogya. This phrase does not talk of the identity between Brahman and Eva. It actually mentions their difference, and mentions the fact that the Eva is entirely dependent upon him and similar to him (atat, tadadhina, tatsadrisa). The nine Illustrations given in this context make it clear.
The ‘Ekavijnanena sarvavijnana’ postulation and the three illustrations given in that context also do not support brahmaparinamavada or brahinavivartavada, and do not support Jiva-Brahma identity. A perusal of the translation and notes of the relevant passages given in this volume will give the reader the correct import of these passages according to Sri Madhvachairya’s Bhasya. To go into the full details of the interpretational niceties is outside the scope of this brief introduction.
The seventh chapter discusses Bhumopasana and the eighth chapter discusses Daharavidya. The episodes of Sanatkumara and Narada, Indra and Virochana occur in these chapters.
Two passages in these viz., (ii) Ya esa samprasado param jyotirupasampadya etc., (ii) Asariram vava santam priyapriye na sprisatah, have rich philosophical implications. The first passage informs us that the liberated Jiva attains the most luminous supreme God. He does not become identical with him but attains him. The second passage informs us that the pleasure and pain affect only so long as there is a body. The liberated casts off the body. Therefore, he is not affected by the prakrita pleasure and pain. God is never affected by these, The liberated enjoys the aprakrita bliss. The above brief sketch of the contents of Chandogya will give an idea of the philosophical richness of Chandogya. I hope this will induce the readers to go through the entire Upanisad.
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