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Upanishadic Truths Are Timeless

The nature of the ultimate Truth that, though invisible to the gross eye, is the substrate of the phenomenal world — its source, support, and ultimate end — knowing which everything else is known. And the crux of this remarkable teaching is that this entity called 'sat' animates all existence as its inner Self, it is the Truth that resides in all beings as the Atman. We are this sat in our innermost being. Wholeness and fulfilment is attained when we understand this teaching.

It might be questioned if the narrative in Upanishads have the same relevance today as it had in days of yore. It certainly has. The Upanishadic truths are timeless. Self-knowledge is coveted by all people, at all time, and in all climes. The unifying knowledge that this represents is sought after even by physicists, though only on the material plane. For a total realization of this Being, complete destruction of the limiting ego is as essential as is sraddha. Mere listening does not provide knowledge. It has to be acquired, and the Upanishads mention sravana or hearing, manana, and nididhyasana as means for this acquisition.

A whole series of doubts arise in our mind. This indicates that we had undertaken manana. And
that we could master this knowledge shows that we have perfected nididhyasana (mediation) as well. Viewed from the psychological standpoint, sravana, manana, and nididhyasana involve knowing acceptance of the counter-intuitive nature of the instructions of the guru, adjusting one’s thought and behaviour to this newly acquired truth, and finally blending or merging one’s being in the ultimate Truth or pure Being. Passing through this entire process is essential for the acquisition of knowledge.

Uddalaka in Chandogya Upanishad is an ideal teacher. He patiently set about instructing his pupil in accordance with his mental make-up and inclination. The simple practical examples that he offers can be comprehended by virtually anyone. If we too purge ourselves of egotism and arrogance as Swetaketu did in Chandogya Upanishad, seek instructions from a competent guru in all humility and with a concentrated mind, and then reflect deeply and meditate intensely on the instructions
received, we too shall attain to wholeness and fulfilment.

SourceExcerpts from article titled ‘Tat-tvam-asi Shwetaketu’ by Swami Alokananda published in the September 2008 edition of Prabuddha Bharata Magazine.