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Lessons From The Upanishads

A collection of valuable lessons from the Upanishads.

The stream of tendencies flowing through good and evil channels is to be directed by self-effort along the good path. When it has entered the evil path, it is to be turned towards the good path. (Muktikopanishad, II.V. 6)

The heavens are His head; the sun and moon, His eyes; the quarters, His ears; the revealed Vedas, His speech; the wind is His breath; the universe, His heart. From His feet is produced the earth. He is indeed the inner Self of all beings.’ (Mundaka Upanishad 2:1:4 – describes the cosmic man)

He has turned his eyes inward (aavritta chakshu), his vision takes a U-turn because he wants to attain immortality. – The mind of a seeker in Katha Upanishad.

May the Lord, who is one and undivided, but who by virtue of His multiple powers creates these endless, diversities in the beginning without any definite end in view and who destroys the universe in the end, endow us with wholesome intelligence.  (Shvetashvatara Upanishad ch. IV. 1)

Through knowledge is attained immortality. (Kena Upanishad)

By truth is laid the path called Devayana. (Mundaka Upanishad)

Then, that which one contemplates is celibacy, because it is through celibacy itself that, after learning about the Self one contemplates it. (Chandogya Upanishad)

They heard that Prajapati, the Creator, had spoken of the Self, which has no sin, no decrepitude, no death, no sorrow, no hunger, no thirst; which unfailingly fulfills all desires; and which is of infallible will. This Self had to be known. He who, after knowing the Self, realized It, would attain all the worlds and the fruits of all desires. (Chandogya Upanishad)

One should wake up the mind merged in sleep; one should bring the dispersed mind into tranquility again; one should know when the mind is tinged with desire; one should not disturb the mind established in equipoise. One should not enjoy happiness in that state; but one should become unattached through discernment. When the mind established in steadiness wants to issue out, one should concentrate it with diligence. (Mandukya Upanishad Karika, 3.44–5)

Taking hold of the bow, the great weapon familiar in the Upanishads, one should fix on it an arrow sharpened with meditation. Drawing the string, O good-looking one, hit that very target that is the Imperishable with the mind absorbed in Its thought.  (Mundaka Upanishad, 2.2.3)

As oil in the sesame seed, butter in the curd, water in the stream, fire in the arani wood, so is the Atman in one’s self to be discovered by one who realizes it through truth and tapasya. (Brahma Upanishad, 17)

Like butter hidden in milk, pure consciousness resides in every being. It ought to be constantly churned out by the churning rod of the mind. (Amritabindu Upanishad, 20)

Just as a disc covered with mud shines as full of light when washed well, similarly the embodied being, seeing the reality that the Atman is, becomes non-dual, self-fulfilled, and free from sorrow.  (Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 2.14)

He by whom the space between heaven and earth, as well as heaven and earth, are enveloped; he because of whom the sun burns with heat and gives light; and he whom the sages bind in the space within their hearts (through meditation), in that Imperishable one all creatures abide. (Mahanarayana Upanishad, 1.3)

When all the desires cease which were cherished in his heart, then the mortal becomes immortal, then he obtains here Brahman. When all the bonds of the heart are broken in this life, then the mortal becomes immortal; this alone is the instruction of all the Vedas.

He who sees the universe in himself and himself in the universe is the Sage.

As the sun who enlightens everything has nothing whatever to do with the numerous ills the eye may perceive, so the inner self of all, ever one, has no connection whatever with the joys and sorrows of the world, being ever beyond them.

As the one fire pervading the universe appears in so many forms in the variety of objects, so the inner self of all, ever one, appears to take on so many forms, but is ever beyond them.

This body is mortal always gripped by death but within it dwells the immortal Self…

There is only one means to control one’s mind, that is to destroy thoughts as soon as they arise…

When all the desires that surge in the heart are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.

When all the knots that strangle the heart are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal…

When, to a man who understands, the Self has become all things, what sorrow, what trouble can there be to him who once beheld that oneness…