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Svetasvatara Upanishad Quotes and Teachings

Svetasvatara Upanishad belongs to the Krishna-Yajurveda. It gets its name from Svetasvatara Rishi who taught the truth contained in it to his disciples. Below are some of the important teachings and quotes from the Svetasvatara Upanishad.

Svetasvatara Upanishad Quotes

What is perishable is the pradhana (primary matter). What is immortal and imperishable is Hara (Brahman). Over both the perishable and the soul the One rules. By meditating on That, by uniting with That, bye reflecting on That more and more, there is complete cessation from the illusion of the world. (I.10)

That eternal which rests in the self should be known. Truly there is nothing beyond this to be known. The individual soul, prakrti and the Supreme Lord Ishavara are all forms of Brahman. (I.12)

Svetasvatara Upanishad on How to Begin the Practice Yoga and the Initial Experiences

Holding the body steady with the three (upper parts – chest, neck and head) erect, causing the senses and the mind to enter into the heart, the wise man should cross by the boat of Brahman all the streams which cause fear.

Repressing his breathings here (in the body), let him who has controlled all movements, breathe through his nostrils, with diminished breath; let the wise man restrain his mind vigilantly as (he would) a chariot yoked with vicious horses.

In a level clean place, free from pebbles, fire and gravel, favorable to thought by the sound of water and other features, not offensive to the eye, in a hidden retreat protected from the wind, let him practice yoga.

Initial Experiences

Fog, smoke, sun, wind, fire, fireflies, lightning, crystal moon, these are the preliminary forms which produce the manifestation of Brahman in Yoga.

When the fivefold quality of Yoga is produced, as earth, water, fire, air and ether arise, then there is no longer sickness, no old age, no death to him who has obtained a body made of the fire of Yoga.
Lightness, healthiness, steadiness, clearness of complexion, pleasantness of voice, sweetness of odor, and slight excretions, these, they say are the first results of the progress of yoga.

Svetasvatara Upanishad, Chapter II – Verses (8 – 13)
(Source: The Ten Principal Upanishads by S. Radhakrishnan)

Teachings from Svetasvatara Upanishad – How to do meditation?

Find a quiet retreat for the practice of yoga,
Sheltered from the wind, level and clean,
Free from rubbish, smoldering fires, and ugliness,
And where the sound of waters and the beauty of the place
Help thought and contemplation.

With upright body, head and neck
Lead the mind and its powers into thy heart;
And the Om of Brahman will then be thy boat
With which to cross the rivers of fear.

And when the body is in silent steadiness,
Breathe rhythmically through the nostrils
With a peaceful ebbing and flowing of breath.
The chariot of the mind is drawn by wild horses,
And those wild horses have to be tamed.

When the yogi has full power over his body
Composed of the elements earth, water, fire, air and ether,
Then he obtains a new body of spiritual fire
Which is beyond illness, old age, and death.

Then the soul of man becomes a lamp by which he finds
The Truth of Brahman.
Then he sees God, pure, never-born, everlasting;
And when he sees God,
He is free from all bondage.

Teachings from Svetasvatara Upanishad 

The one affluent divinity is hidden in all beings. He is all- pervading and is the inner-self of all creatures. He presides over all actions and all beings reside in him. He is the inner-witness. He endows all with consciousness and he is nirguna or free from the three gunas.

Prakriti is perishable. Hara, the Lord, is immortal and imperishable. The non-dual Supreme Self rules both prakriti and the individual soul. Through constant meditation on Him, by union with Him, by the knowledge of identity with Him, one attains, in the end, cessation of the illusion of phenomena.

The visible form of fire, while it lies latent in its source, the firewood, is not perceived; yet there is no destruction of its subtle form. That very fire can be brought out again by means of persistent rubbing of the wood, its source. In like manner, Atman, which exists in two states, like fire, can be grasped in this very body by means of Om.