Tuesday, July 21, 2015



Dr. DurgaprasadaRao Chilakamarthi


                   The Taittiriyopanishad forms part of the Taittiriyaranyaka of the Black Yajurveda. The first chapter Sikshavalli is sometimes referred to as the Samhitopanishad and the latter two chapters together are called  Varuni upanishad.

                   Sankaracharya wrote a commentary on the Taittiriyopanishad. This Upanishad has a speciality in that. Sureswaracharya, the disciple of Sankara, wrote Vartikas on this Upanishad basing  on the Bhashya of Sankara. His work is known as Taittriyopanishadbhashyavartikam.

                   Ramarayakavi's Vedantamukthavali embodies the essence of  the Taittiriyopanishad in Sardula metre and follows in the lines of Sankara.

A verse of Ramaraya from the Taittiriyopanishad is given here for its sheer beauty.
सत्यं त्वं वद धर्ममाचर कृधां मा च प्रमादं क्वचित्
कर्तव्यं गुरवस्त्वयाप्यतिथय: पूज्या: परं मातर: |
निन्द्यं  मा कुरु कर्म पूजय  धिया श्रेष्ठान् ह्रिया श्रद्धया
भीत्या तत्पदवीमनुव्रज गुरु: शिष्यं प्रशिक्षे दिशि ||

 (This sloka's injunction encompasses all the age-old virtues - truth, charity, devotion to one's duty, obeisance to teachers and parents and all such noble duties.)


                   This Upanishad belongs to the Rigveda and is known as Atmashatka since it runs into six chapters. This Upanishad  describes the Brahman as Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer, the  universal Three-in-One. It also describes the plight of the jiva during his foetal stage in the mother's womb. This ordeal generates in the human kind a sense of distress followed by frustration and vairagya. As a natural follow-up, the Upanishad enjoins man to plead with Brahman for liberating him  from the painful cycle of births and deaths. We have an ennobling commentary on this Upanishad by Sankara.

Here is a wonderful sloka of Ramaraya from this Upanishad..

जीवस्सन् पुरुषो यथाsविशदिदं सा ब्रह्म रन्ध्रात्मना
ख्याता मूर्ध्नि शिशोश्च दृश्यत इयं तन्नन्दनं देहिन: |
भित्वैनामनया प्रयाति पुरुषो य: प्राप्य स ब्रह्मण:
स्थानं सद्भुवि जन्मने ननु पुनर्नावर्तते मुच्यते ||   
(When Almighty enters the body through a queer entrance on the head (Brahma randhra), the product is known as Jiva. If and when the entrant exits through the same route, Jiva ceases to exist; in other words, there will be no trauma of births and deaths.)


                   The Chandogyopanishad is one of the oldest Upanishads. It is also one of the most authoritative Upanishads belonging to Samaveda. The most significant feature of this Upanishad is the oneness of the Jiva and Brahman (Tattvamasi) meaning"Thou art that".
                   We note that Swetaketu's getting formal education,  prevalent at that time,was inadequate. In fathoming the depths of Atmajnana he was enlightened by his father who filled    the gap with the terse statement 'Tattvamasi',  The supreme knowledge he imparted to Swetaketu is summed up in Chandogyopanishad.  Sankaracharya wrote a commentary on this Upanishad. His commentary is known as Chandogyopanishadbhashyam.
Bellamkonda Ramarayakavi wrote Vedantamukthavali in which the         purport of Chandogyopanishad is explained in Sardula metre.

A beautiful sloka of  Ramaraya.runs:
स्वर्णस्य प्रतिबोधनेन सकलं केयूरहारादिकं
सौवर्णं विदितं भवेद्धि विकृतं मिथ्यैव तद्धेतु सत् |
विज्ञानादसितायसस्य सकलं कार्ष्णायसं वैकृतं
विज्ञातं हि भवेच्च तत्र विकृतं मिथ्यैव सत्यं स्वयम्
 (Just as we can know the nature of gold ornaments if we know about the metal gold and of black iron materials from a knowledge of the basic black iron, one can know all the manifestations of Atman if Atman as it is,  is realized. The hidden idea is, that changes such as from the metal  gold to jewellery  and so on are just a myth.)


                   This Upanishad belongs to the Vajasaneyi School of the Yajurveda. This is perhaps older than the oldest Upanishads we have pointed out earlier. Moreover, this Upanishad is found in two recensions the Kanva and the Madhyandina. It contains the highest teachings about Brahman as the one without a second.  Sankaracharya wrote a commentary on this Upanishad.        Bellamkonda Ramarayakavi's commentary is in poetry form and gives the gist of the Brihadaranyakopanishad. Here is a stanza composed by Ramaraya which describes the nature of Brahman:

ऐतत्तत्पदमक्षरं यदतमो स्थूलं न सूक्ष्मं च न
ह्रस्वं नायतमप्यभूतमगुणं न ज्योथिरच्छायकम् |
अप्राणं सदमात्रमन्तरहितं सङ्गातिगं नेन्द्रियं
न स्वान्तं  न सुखं निरन्तरमगं चाबोध्यमेकं बृहत् ||       

(Atman is so subtle that it is devoid of almost all usual physical attributes such as size, shape, weight, senses and bodily tissues and is not dominated by anything, but it is Omnipresent and is just one and one only.)

 From each Upanishad, only one sloka is taken here. Rest of the slokas can be viewed by going through the original text. Ramaraya’s contribution to the Upanishads is considered to be unique. His command over Sardula metre is unsurpassable.  His contribution to Advaita Vedanta in general and Upanishads in particular is not only luminous but also  voluminous.              


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