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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.

May He, who created the gods and supports them; who witnessed the birth of the cosmic soul; who confers bliss and wisdom on the devoted, destroying their sins and sorrows, and punishing all breaches of law; - may He, the great seer and the lord of all, endow us with good thoughts! (IV.12)

He who at the beginning of creation projected Brahma (Universal Consciousness),who delivered the Vedas unto him, who constitutes the supreme bridge of immortality, who is partless, free from actions, tranquil, faultless, taintless, and resembles the fire that has consumed its fuel – seeking liberation I go for refuge to that Effulgent One, whose light turns the understanding towards the Atman. (VI.18-19)

May He, who created the gods and supports them; who witnessed the birth of the cosmic soul; who confers bliss and wisdom on the devoted, destroying their sins and sorrows, and punishing all breaches of law; – may He, the great seer and the lord of all, endow us with good thoughts! (Chapter IV, Verse 12)

He who at the beginning of creation projected Brahma (Universal Consciousness), who delivered the Vedas unto him, who constitutes the supreme bridge of immortality, who is partless, free from actions, tranquil, faultless, taintless, and resembles the fire that has consumed its fuel – seeking liberation I go for refuge to that Effulgent One, whose light turns the understanding towards the Atman. (Chapter VI, Verse 18 – 19)

The body of the individual self depends on food and drink for its birth and growth. Similarly, his thinking (sankalpa), physical contact (sparsha), and looking (drishti) at things produce his attachment (moha). This attachment determines his behavior, and his behavior ultimately results in his assumption of various forms. (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 5, 11)

There is nothing higher than or different from Him. Nothing is greater or minuter than Him. Seated in His own glory He stands like a tree, one without a second and immovable. By that Purusha (Supreme Being) the whole universe is filled (pervaded). (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3, 9)

In this vast wheel of Brahman, which creates all things and in which all things rest, the living being flutters about, thinking – my silent self and the world are two different things. But in truth they are not different. Some wise people see them as one, and those people rest in evenness. They gain eternal happiness.

Just as a mirror shines bright once it has been cleaned of dust, so those who have seen the Self shine in mind and body. They are always and forever filled with happiness.

Only by knowing the Self does on become immortal. There is no other path.

I have known that Great Being [that Cosmic Self]. It is beyond ignorance, and it is self-luminous like the sun. If a spiritual seeker knows that Self, he [automatically] goes beyond death. There is no other way of reaching the goal.

I know this Self, which never ages, which is eternal, and is also the Self of all. It is all-pervasive, everywhere, and in every being. Those who know Brahman [the Self] declare that it is without birth [and also without death]. They [the knowers of God] say it is eternal.— Shvetashvatara Upanishad, III.8, 21

Retire to a solitary place, such as a mountain cave or sacred spot. The place must be protected from the wind and rain, and it must have a smooth, clean floor, free from pebbles and dust. It must not be damp, and it must be free from disturbing noises. It must be pleasing to the eye and quieting to the mind. Seated there, practice meditation and other spiritual exercises. Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 2:10

As you become absorbed in meditation, you will realize that the Self is separate from the body and for this reason will not be affected by disease, old age, or death.

The one absolute, impersonal Existence, together with his inscrutable Maya, appears as the divine Lord, the personal God, endowed with manifold glories. By this divine power he holds dominion over all the worlds. At the periods of creation and dissolution of the universe, he alone exists. Those who realize him become immortal. (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:1)

The Lord is One without a second. Within man he dwells, and within all other beings. He projects the universe, maintains it, and withdraws it into himself. (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:2)

O Lord, clothed in thy most holy form, which calm and blissful, and which destroys all evil and ignorance, look upon us and make us glad. (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:5)

Though he fills the universe, he transcends it. He is untouched by its sorrow. He has no form. Those who know him become immortal. Others remain in the depths of misery. (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:8–10)

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.