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Home >> Spiritual Leaders  >> Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: Learning and igniting the mind
 
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Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: Learning and igniting the mind

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We had a general discussion on the meaning of the Upanishadic inquiry and its relevance to modern times. Fundamentally, the Upanishads deal with the meaning of life. What is the meaning of life? Where are we going? And so on.

If you think about finding in the Upanishads some tips on how to make money or gain fame, you are looking in the wrong place. But then, if you seek to know the basis of the energy of the mind or the root of consciousness or realise or find out who you are, or what your true identity is, then you are in the right place.

Very often, we lead a long life. We are born, we get married or remain single, get a job, have children, grow old, get sick, die without knowing actually who we are and what our identity is. Upanishads deal with this question and they are all based on dialogue. The teacher does not give a readymade answer. The teacher says, “Now this is the guide to find your answer; go and meditate on it.” So, the disciple goes, meditates and comes back to say, “This is what I have found, but I don’t think it is the answer in its entirety,” and so it continues till he arrives at the ultimate truth with the Teacher’s help.

So, we start now with one of the early Upanishads—the Keno Upanishad, which occurs in the Sama VedaSama Veda is the third of the four Vedas and is very important Veda. All the Sama Veda is sung, Sama gayanti. It’s not chanted, it’s sung. So, it deals also with music.

So, unless one is healthy and vigorous, one cannot study the Upanishads. They are not something to be studied by people with dissipated energies.


Now, this particular Upanishad, the Keno Upanishad, forms a part of the Talavakara Brahmana of the Sama Veda. It has four short sections of which the first two are in verse form and the other two are in prose form. I’m not going to deal with it in the classical pandit manner—sloka by sloka—but select a few slokas and then try to understand what they mean.

Now, before it starts, there is a beautiful invocation. Now the invocation, as you will see, very clearly shows that the Upanishads are not concerned only with what is beyond this world, but also (with) what is available and what is present in this world. It’s a prayer that asks:

Om apyayantu mamangani vakpranascaksuh

Srotramatho balamindriyani ca sarvani

This means—”My eyes, my limbs, my ears, my breath, and my speech, may they grow stronger and the vitality in my senses, may it grow more vigorous, may my energy be equal in all my senses.” So, unless one is healthy and vigorous, one cannot study the Upanishads. They are not something to be studied by people with dissipated energies. The invocation itself says, “May my limbs grow strong; may my mind become strong.”

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