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Amritananda Upanishad – Information – Basic Teachings

Amritananda Upanishad is one of the minor Upanishads. It consists of 38 verses and is part of Krishna Yajurveda. It explains the realization of Brahman through the practice of Yoga. It argues that an aspirant has three-fold path before him – attentive listening, reflection and meditation (sravana, manana and nididhyasana). The three fold path lead him to the realization of the Supreme Self (Brahman). Yoga helps one to concentrate and meditate on Brahman intensely. Thus the Upanishad is described as Yoga Upanishad.

Amritananda Upanishad sets forth the effects of pranayama, one of the eight limbs of Yoga, in a typical Upanishadic simile – just as the impurities of mineral ore are burnt away by the blower, so also the results of misdeeds committed by the organs of sense are consumed by pranayama.

It is suggested that while performing pranayama one should first take a long breath, recite the Gayatri mantra thrice, with the pranava (om) chanted at the beginning. Pranayama should be accompanied by recaka (exhalation), paraka (inhalation) and kumbhaka (retention of breath).

Dharana is performed by merging the mind into one’s own self and by becoming absorbed in the contemplation of the Supreme Self. Living in conformity with the spiritual knowledge texts is called tarka. When one having merged himself into the Supreme Self, looks upon himself as the self, that state is known as Samadhi.

The yogi is ordained to shun fear, anger, and sloth. Sleep, vigil, food and fasting should be kept within limits. When a yogi controls the vital airs (prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana) and leads them to the “lotus of the thousand petals” (called region of the sahasrara), he goes into Samadhi and reaches the Supreme Self.