Contemplation on the Supreme Bliss
‘सैषाऽऽनन्दस्य मीमांसा भवति’ – ‘Saishã’’nandasya meemãnsã bhavati’ – ‘Let us now contemplate on the supreme bliss’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8). With these words a meaningful attempt has then been made to measure the bliss of Paramãtmã by using a scale in which a human’s bliss is counted as ‘one bliss’.
Explaining a human’s bliss, the Upanishad says: ‘युवा स्यात् साघु युवाध्यायकः। आशिष्ठो दृढिष्ठो बलिष्ठः। तस्येयं पृथिवी सर्वा वित्तस्य पूर्णा स्यात्। स एको मानुष आनन्दः।’ – ‘Yuvã syãt sãdhu yuvãdhyãyakaha; ãshishtho balishthaha; tasyeyam pruthivee sarvã vittasya purnã syãt; sa eko mãnusha ãnandaha.’ – ‘If one were of a young age, well-natured, intelligent enough to teach, hopeful, optimistic, not pessimistic, healthy enough to eat and digest everything, strong-bodied as well as strong-willed; not only that, if the whole Earth were filled with wealth and that wealth were all his, i.e., if he were the emperor of the entire world; all this together in one person would be a human’s one bliss.’ Thereafter, it says, ‘ते ये शतं मानुषा आनन्दाः। स एको मनुष्यगन्घर्वाणाम् आनन्दः।’ – ‘Te ye shatam mãnushã ãnandãhã; sa eko manushyagandharvãnãm ãnandaha’ – ‘A hundred such human’s blisses are equal to a manushyagandharva’s one bliss’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8). After manushya-gandharvas come deva-gandharvas, then pitrus, then devas such as Ãjãnaja, then karma-devas, then other devas, then Indra, then Bruhsaspati, and Prajãpati. The ‘one bliss’ of each being is a hundred times greater than the one preceding.
Finally, it says, ‘ते ये शतं प्रजापतेरानन्दाः। स एको ब्रह्मण आनन्दः।’ – ‘Te ye shatam Prajãpaterãnandãhã, sa eko Brahmana ãnandaha’ – ‘A hundred such Prajãpati’s blisses together are Aksharbrahman’s one bliss’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8). In reality ‘anantam Brahma’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/1) represents the infinite qualities and powers of Aksharbrahman; therefore, its bliss is also infinite. But to show the superiority of Paramãtmã’s greatness, this has been defined as Aksharbrahman’s one bliss just to help give a comparison.
Thus, showing each entity’s bliss to be a hundred times greater than the preceding, from humans all the way to Aksharbrahman, it makes a conclusion on the bliss of Paramãtmã, saying: ‘यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते। अप्राप्य मनसा सह’ – ‘Yato vãcho nivartante, aprãpya manasã saha’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/9). The bliss of Paramãtmã is indescribable, words fall short, even the mind is insufficient, that is to say that the bliss of Paramãtmã is unlimited; completely unlimited; completely and totally unlimited. No one can estimate it. He continuously and effortlessly (sahaj) experiences this infinite (ananta) bliss. He is anantãnanda, sahajãnanda.
In this way, the second valli simply describes the blissful form of and the infinite divine bliss (ãnanda) of Paramãtmã and thus this valli of the Taittireeya Upanishad is called the ‘Ãnandavalli’.
The capabilities of that supremely blissful Paramãtmã has also been described here.
The Creator of All
‘सोऽकामयत। बहु स्यां प्रजायेय। स तपस्तस्तप्त्वा। इदं सर्वमसृजत। तत्सृष्ट्वा। तदेवानुप्राविशत्।’ – ‘So’kãmayata; bahu syãm prajãyeya; sa tapastastaptvã; idam sarvamasrujata; tatsrushtvã; tadevãnuprãvishat’ – ‘That supremely blissful Paramãtmã resolved to make creation. According to that resolve, he created all of this, and he permeated that creation, i.e., he dwells as the controller and supporter’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/6). Thus, the ever blissful Paramãtmã is the creator, controller and supporter of the entire creation. Moreover, ‘भीषास्माद् वातः पवते। भीषादेति सूर्यः। भीषास्माद् अग्निश्र्चेन्द्रश्र्च। मृत्युर्घावति पञ्चम इति’ – ‘Bheeshãsmãd vãtaha pavate; bheeshãdeti sooryaha; bheeshãsmãd agnishchendrashcha; mrutyurdhãvati panchama iti’ – ‘It is due to the fear of that blissful Paramãtmã that the wind blows, the sun rises, and the devas, such as Agni and Indra, obey commands. It is by his command that even death remains active’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8). Having said this, the authority of Paramãtmã is then established.
The Fruit: Attainment of Blissfulness
In this way, the Ãnandavalli commences with ‘Brahmavid ãpnoti Param’ – ‘One who knows Brahman, i.e., becomes brahmarup, attains Parabrahman’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/1), and describes the form of Aksharbrahman so that it may be easily known. Thereafter, the form of Paramãtmã, which is attained by a devotee who becomes brahmarup, realizing the form of Brahman, is also described as blissful. Now, to conclude, the fruit attained by one who understands these precepts truly is then shown: ‘स य एवं वित्’ – ‘Sa ya evam vit’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8), one who truly understand the aforesaid precepts himself becomes brahmarup and ‘आनन्दमयम् आत्मानम् उपसंक्रामति’ – ‘Ãnandamayam ãtmãnam upasankrãmati’ – ‘Attains the ever blissful Paramãtmã and experiences supreme bliss’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 2/8).
Thus, we have now seen the essence of the Ãnandavalli in the Taittireeya Upanishad. Now let us see the essence of the third, ‘Bhruguvalli’.
With the words ‘अघीहि भगवः’ – ‘Adheehi bhagavaha’ – ‘Please teach me adhyãtmavidyã’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 3/1). Bhrugu becomes his father’s, Varuna Rishi’s, disciple. Pleased, his father teaches his son and disciple adhyãtmajnãn. Bhrugu is the listener to this part of the Taittireeya Upanishad, therefore it is called the Bhruguvalli. Furthermore, his father, Varuna, is giving him this knowledge, therefore ‘सैषा भार्गवी वारुणी विद्या’ – ‘Saishã Bhãrgavee Vãrunee vidyã’ – ‘This vidyã is also known as Bhãrgavee-vidyã and Vãrunee-vidyã’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 3/1).
The Blissful All-doer of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution
Preceding this, in the Ãnandavalli, Paramãtmã was described as blissful and it informed us that the creator of the world is this same blissful Paramãtmã. Here, in the Bhruguvalli, the same precept is given, but in a slightly different way. At the start of the valli, Varuna tells Bhrugu: ‘यतो वा इमानि भूतानि जायन्ते। येन जातानि जीवन्ति। यत्प्रयन्त्यभिसंविशन्ति। तद्विजिज्ञासस्व’ – ‘Yato vã imãni bhootani jãyante, yena jãtãni jeevanti, yatprayantyabhisanvishanti; tadvijignãsasva’ – ‘You should know him due to whom all creatures are produced, due to whom everything is alive and sustained, and in whom everything is engulfed at dissolution’ (Taittireeya Upanishad: 3/6). Saying this, he then himself says who this is: ‘आनन्दाद्ध्येव खल्विमानि भूतानि जायन्ते। आनन्देन जातानि जीवन्ति। आनन्दं प्रयन्त्यभिसंविशन्तीति’ – ‘Ãnandãddhyeva khalvimãni bhootani jãyante; ãnandena jãtãni jeevanti; ãnandam prayantyabhisanvishanteeti’ – ‘Indeed, it is due to the ever blissful Paramãtmã that everything is produced, it is due to the ever blissful Paramãtmã that everything is alive and sustained, and dissolution also takes place due to this ever blissful Paramãtmã.’ That is, the ever blissful Paramãtmã is the all-doer of creation, sustenance and dissolution (Taittireeya Upanishad: 3/6).
Thus, the main subject of the Bhruguvalli is the ever blissful Paramãtmã.
In this way, we have discussed the essence of the Taittireeya Upanishad in short. We can at least see that our Vedic educational system is not limited to mundane knowledge. Adhyãtmavidyã, brahmavidyã, is combined into every field of education. And any education that includes brahmavidyã is, of course, beneficial for all, all-liberating and entirely blissful. Indeed, this Taittireeya Upanishad which is found in the Yajurveda is a wonderful example of this.
Sadhu Bhadreshdas, Ph. D., D.Litt.
Translated by: Sadhu Paramvivekdas