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Home >> Seeker’s Solace  >> Know Thyself: The power of questioning

Know Thyself: The power of questioning


Now, we have generally come to an understanding of the reality. It is more of a theoretical understanding of the reality behind the illusionary perceptions we have.

I will now refer to a proper Upanishad and see line-by-line how the Upanishad, or how the great Rishis, the teachers of the Upanishads handle this question of self-discovery. It is about self-realisation and the knowledge of the self, which is also the knowledge of the consciousness, which is all pervading.

I will first deal with the Prasna Upanishad. It is not a very popular Upanishad. However, it should be, because the word Prasna means question. So, it is the supreme questioning. It is an Upanishad that questions and does not accept automatically the answer but questions the answers before accepting.

This should be the hallmark of all enquiries. One should not believe because somebody said so, but should keep questioning, asking. All great things have been achieved by asking and questioning, not otherwise!

The Prasna Upanishad belongs to the Atharva Veda. It (the Upanishad) has six sections.

These are six questions put to a great Rishi by his disciples who wanted to know the nature of the ultimate cause, and what is the sound called OM? The OM that we all chant; and the relationship of the Supreme Being to the world and so on.

At the beginning of every Upanishad, there is an invocation and the invocation is a prayer to the gods to maintain everything in order–body and the mind–so that one may examine the universal questions and go deep into the understanding of Truth.

One should not believe because somebody said so, but should keep questioning, asking. All great things have been achieved by asking and questioning, not otherwise!

Invocation for the Prasna Upanishad goes thus:

Om Bhadram Karnebhih Shrunuyaama Devaah

Bhadram Pashyemaa kshabhir yajatraah

Sthirair angais tushtuvaamsas tanoobhih

Vyashema Devahitam Yadaayuh

Which means–OM, may we, O Gods, hear what is auspicious with our ears. He who is worthy of worship; May we see with our eyes what is auspicious. May we enjoy the life allotted to us by the Gods, offering praise with our strong bodies and limbs!

Swasti Na Indro Vridhashravaah

Swasti Nah Pooshaa Vishwavedaah

Swasti Nas taarkshyo Arishtanemih

Swasti No Brihaspatir Dadhaatu

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

Which means–May Indra of increasing glory bestow prosperity on us! May Pushana, the knower of all, bestow prosperity on us! May Trakshya of unobstructed path bestow prosperity on us! May Brihaspati bestow prosperity on us! OM peace, peace, peace!


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