This edition of the Taittiriya Upanisad has been thoroughly revised by the author himself In the matter of printing, in order to help the reader, more space is given between the translation of the text and the translation of the bhasya. In the references, where only the figures without the name of any book occur, they refer to passages in this particular Upanisad.
In the PREFACE to the previous edition of this Upanisad, it was mentioned as the ‘eighth and the last to be published in the current series’. However, this is not ‘the last’, as one more important Upanisad, the Chandogya Upanisad, has been translated by the author, and published by us in 1983, making it the ninth in this series.
The Taittiriya Upanisad is the eighth and the last to be published in the current series, each Upanisad being separately issued in its entirety in book form, from the author’s highly appreciated and avidly read Eight Upanisads, published by us in two volumes.
In the translation of the commentary, the words quoted from the text by Sankaracarya are given in italics. These are followed by commas and the English equivalents. Informative explanatory foot—notes have been added wherever necessary.
The Taittiriya Upanisad belongs to the Yajur-Veda. This Veda has been handed down to us, generation alter generation, in two recensions: the Taittiriya and the Vajasaneyi. The Taittiriya recension is the older and more important of the two. It contains a Samhita, a Brahmana, and an Aranyaka. The seventh, eighth, and ninth chapters of the Taittiriya Aranyaka constitute this Upanisad; and they are respectively known under the titles Siksavalli, Anandavalli, and Bhrguvalli. This Upanisad is very popular among those who learn Vedic chanting in the strictly traditional manner, followed by the Mahanarayana Upanisad, which is the concluding chapter of the Taittiriya Aranyaka.
Tradition has it that Acarya Sankara wrote his commentary first on this Upanisad. He defines the word ‘Upanisad in his introduction to this commentary as `learning to acquisition of the knowledge of Brahman? The first chapter, Siksavalli, concludes with an exhortation by the Vedic teacher to his students, on the eve of their returning home as snatakas after the completion of their studies, comparable to a Convocation Address of modern times, instructing them how to conduct themselves in the world. The second chapter, Anandavalli, opens with a profound declaration: ‘He who realizes Brahman attains the Supreme .... Brahman is truth, knowledge, and infinite. This key statement reveals in a flash, with aphoristic brevity, the quintessence of the entire philosophy of the Upanisads. Further, it proclaims that this supreme Reality is the origin, ground, and goal of the world of experience, thus establishing the fundamental identity of this intimate world with the ultimate Reality.
A gradation of higher and higher stages of happiness and bliss is presented towards the end of this chapter, taking a worthy human being—‘a noble youth, in the prime of his age, most swift and ‘alert, perfectly whole and re- solute, most vigorous in health, laden with all riches, and of good learning’— as the basic unit in this calculus. The acme is reached in Brahman, the source of Bliss, beyond which there is nothing higher to aspire after. The third chapter, Bhrguvalli, unfolds a touching scene, in which the son Bhrgu approaches the father Varuna time and again in quest of truth and Knowledge. The father, with all the paternal care, love, and understanding, leads the son step by step through a thoroughgoing study of the human personality, which, according to this Upanisad, is made up of five sheaths (kosas) -- the material, the vital, the psychical, the intellectual, and the intuitive—in the innermost core of which resides the Self of man, the Atman, the source of all Bliss; nay, it is Bliss itself. The Bliss of Brahman- Atman is perceivable on the perfection of desirelessness (akamahata). It is enjoyed and experienced by one who realizes Brahman. That is the only real Bliss from which all this bliss that we experience in the world ‘has separated like spray from the sea and with which it gets united again? That is the uniqueness of this Upanisad. It shines in a class by itself.
It is our pleasure and privilege to offer this edition of the Taittiriya Upanisad to all seekers after Truth (Satyam) Knowledge fnanam) Infinity (Anantam), which is the nature and essence of the supreme Reality described so impressively in it.
Of Related Interest:
Life of Shankaracharya - The Adventures of a Poet Philosopher
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