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Teachings On Freedom And Divine Joy From Upanishads

The Aitareya Upanishad records the experience of the rishi Vamadeva, while still in the womb: ‘Even while lying in the womb, I came to know of the birth of all the gods. A hundred iron citadels held me down. Then, like a hawk, I forced my way through by dint of knowledge of the Self.’

Of the person who has obtained freedom from the shackles of the body and mind the Taittiriya
Upanishad announces: ‘He attains self-rule. He attains the lordship of the mind; he attains the lordship of speech; he attains the lordship of sight; he attains the lordship of hearing; he attains the
lordship of intelligence. Furthermore, he becomes Brahman, whose body is space (akasha), whose nature is true, who delights in life (prana) and rejoices in the mind, who abounds in peace, who is

‘He who knows the Bliss that is Brahman,’ the Upanishad further announces, ‘is not afraid of any-
thing whatsoever.’ For, ‘One becomes fearless on obtaining lodgment in that invisible, incorporeal, indefinable, fearless, supportless support of all.’ ‘Such a person does not distress oneself with
such thoughts as: “Why did I not do what is good? Why did I do what is evil?” For, whosoever knows
this (Bliss that is Brahman) regards both (good and evil) as Atman, and cherishes both as Atman.’
This apparently antimonial position is the result of the perception of unity and a deep identity with
all Creation: ‘The sage Vamadeva, having realized this [Self ] as That (Brahman), came to know: “I
was Manu and the sun.” And to this day, whoever in a like manner knows the Self as “I am Brahman”, becomes all this (universe).’

That this experience should be remarkably exhilarating can be well imagined. And the Taittiriya Upanishad confirms this: ‘How wonderful! How wonderful! How wonderful! I am the food. I am
the food. I am the food! I am the eater of food. I am the eater of food. I am the eater of food! I am the maker of their unity. I am the maker of their unity. I am the maker of their unity!’