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Home >> Seeker’s Solace  >> Know thyself: Keeping the mind open
 

Know thyself: Keeping the mind open

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Keno Upanishad is one of the great Upanishads, which originates from Sama Veda. Keno means ‘Who,’ so it’s basically the ‘Who’ Upanishad.

The good thing about Upanishads is that they don’t tell you to do this or do that, or wear this or wear that, or live this way or that way. The Upanishads always begin with an enquiry, to find out. You know, enquiry stops the moment you accept something straight away. And, enquiry also stops when you reject something straight away.

Note the second part, especially if you reject something, there is no enquiry anymore; you are finished with it. So, according to Vedanta, to enquire is to keep your mind open, totally unprejudiced, and to slowly explore the issue.

So the Keno Upanishad also begins with the basic question.

Kenesitam patati presitam manah kena pranah prathamah praiti yuktah.

Kenesitam vacam ima vadanti caksuh srotra ka udevo yunakti.

How beautiful it can be! Sanskrit in itself is quite beautiful to chant. Let me translate this to the best of my ability.

Kenesitam patati presitam manah

Who is it behind the thinking capacity of the mind? Or, who is it that thinks, when I say I think? Who is it? What is that entity which is thinking made up of? We know different entities think of the same object or the same problem and arrive at different conclusions. So, the question asked by the Rishis is, who is it that is thinking? Find that out first. What is the situation you are in? Who are you? Who is thinking? What are you made of?

Kenesitam patati presitam manah kena pranah prathamah praiti yuktah.

What is the first stirring of life? How does the first stirring of life or the Prana take place? Where does it all begin? Doesn’t it begin with desire? Doesn’t it begin with the sperm seeking an egg? Doesn’t it begin with a desire for union?

Here, the Vedanta declares that this attitude–this basic instinct to unite–comes from the fact that we have separated from unity and have now become dual. Therefore, there is a built-in instinct to unite, a powerful built-in desire, which makes one unite, out of which begins the first stirring of life or Prana. You can see it in yourself, or you can see it in a worm, or you can see it in the amoeba, or you can see it in everything.

Kenesitam patati presitam manah kena pranah prathamah praiti yuktah.

Kenesitam vacam ima vadanti caksuh srotra ka udevo yunakti.

Who is it that speaks? Who is behind the words that are uttered? Who is it that gives meaning to Vac–the word, the spoken word?

 

 

 

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