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KENA UPANISHAD

Kena Upanishad forms the ninth chapter of Talavakara branch of Samaveda.


The word Kena means "by whom" and is the first word in a series of questions asking by whom is the mind projected, by whom does breathing go forth, by whom is speech impelled? What god is behind the eye and ear? The answer to these questions points to a mystical self that is beyond the mind and senses but is that God by which the mind and senses operate.

Those who think they know it well know it only slightly. What relates to oneself and the gods needs to be investigated. Beyond thought it is not known by those who think they know it. Beyond understanding it is not known by those who think they understand it, but by those who realize they do not understand it. It is correctly known by an awakening, for the one who knows it finds immortality. It can only be known by the soul. If one does not know it, it is a great loss. The wise see it in all beings and upon leaving this world become immortal.

This mystical Spirit (Brahman) is shown to transcend the Vedic gods of fire (Agni), wind (Vayu), and even powerful Indra, who being above the other gods at least came nearest to it, realizing that it was Brahman.

The Kena Upanishad concludes that austerity, restraint, and work are the foundation of the mystical doctrine; the Vedas are its limbs, and truth is its home. The one who knows it strikes off evil and becomes established in the most excellent, infinite, heavenly world.

English translation is presented here for each sloka in sanskrit.
INVOCATION


OM, May He protect us both. May He cause us to enjoy. May we both work together. May we both exert together. Never do we misunderstand each other.
OM, peace be with us, peace be with us, peace be with us.

May my limbs, speech, prana (vital air), eye, ear, strength of all my senses grow vigorous. All is Brahman of the upanishads. May I never deny Brahman.
May the Brahman never spurn me. May there be no denial of Brahman. May there be no denial of Brahman in me. Let all Dharmas (duties) described in Upanishads repose in me. May they repose in me. May they repose in me.
OM, peace, peace, peace.

CHAPTER - 1

Question:


By whom willed and directed does the mind light upon its objects? By whom Pran (vital air) proceed to function? By whose will do these (people) talk? Which Deva (divine power) directs the eyes and ears?

Answer:
It is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speeech of the speech, also the life of the life and the eye of the eye. By abandoning them and rising above those worlds of senses, the wise become immortal.

The eye does not go there, the speech does not go there, nor the mind.We do not know it, we do not know how we can instruct about it.
It is distinct from the known and from the unknown. We heard from our ancestors who taught us about it.

It is that which is not revealed by speech, but which reveals speech. Know that THAT alone is Brahman, not this that is worshipped here.

That which is not felt by the mind, but they say the mind feels because of it. Know that THAT alone is Brahman, not this that is worshipped here.

That which is not seen by the eye, but by which the eyes are able to see. Know that THAT alone is Brahman, not this that is worshipped here.

That which is not heard by the ears, but by which the ears are able to hear. Know that THAT alone is Brahman, not this that is worshipped here.

That which is not breathed by breath, but by which the breath breathes. Know that THAT alone is Brahman, not this that is worshipped here.


CHAPTER - 2


If you think you have known Brahman well, you have certainly known very little the form of Brahman. That which is you is also in Devas (divine power). So I think what is known to you is to be ascertained.

I do not think I know it well; not that I do not know is also known to me. Who amongst us knows it that it is known and it is not known knows it.

He who comprehends it not understands it and he who feels he has comprehended it understands it not. To the masters it is unknown, to the ignorant it is known.

Indeed he who understands it tgrough intuition attains immortality. He attains strength through Atman and immortality through Vidya (knowledge).

If he knows it is here he gains Satyam (truth); if he knows it not here, great is the destruction. The wise who see it in all beings and rise above this world become immortal.


CHAPTER - 3


Once Brahman won a victory for gods. Though the victory was due to Brahman, the gods became elated by it. They thought, "This victory is ours alone and its glory is ours."

Knowing their vanity, Brahman appeared before them. They did not understand who that Yaksha (Spirit) was.

They said to Agni, "O Jatved (all-knower), find out who that Yaksha is." He said yes.

He hastened to him. Yaksha asked him, "Who are you ?" Agni replied, "I am Agni, the Jatveda."

Yaksha asked him, "What power resides in you?" Agni replied, "I can burn everything that is on this earth."

Yaksha placed a blade of grass before him, saying, "Burn it." Agni dashed to it with all his power, but he could not burn it. He immediately returned to gods saying, "I could not find who that Yaksa was."

They then asked Vayu (wind), "O Vayu, find out who that Yaksha is." He agreed.

Vayu hastened to him. Yaksha asked him, "Who are you?" Vayu replied, " I am Vayu, Matarishwa."

"What power resides in you?", asked Yaksha. Vayu said, " I can blow away everything that is on this earth."

Yaksha placed a blade of grass before him, saying, "Blow it away." Vayu approached it with all his power but could not move it. So he returned to the gods saying, "I could not find out who that Yaksha was."

Then the gods said to Indra, "O Maghvan, find out who that Yaksha is." He said yes and hastened to him but Yaksha disappeared.

In that very spot he saw a charming woman, Uma, the daughter of Himvan (Himalaya). He asked her who that Yaksha was.


CHAPTER - 4


She said, "Brahman. In that victory through Brahman, you gained greatnes." He alone understood that Yaksha was Brahman.

So these gods (Agni, Vayu, Indra) excel other gods, for they approached the Yaksha nearest and were the first to know him as Brahman.

And indeed Indra excels other gods for he approached Yaksha nearest and was the first to know him as Brahman.

This is the illustration. He shines like a lightning. He disappears within the twinkling of an eye. This is cosmic power.

One thinks of this Brahman going to the mind and by this the mind wills again and again.

That Brahman is known as Tadvanam, one who is to be worshipped. All beings love him, who know it thus.

Sir, tell us the knowledge of Upanishad.
The knowledge of Upanishad has been said to you. We have imparted that knowledge (of Brahman) to you thus.

Tapa (austerity), Dama (restraint) and Karma (work) are the foundations of it. Vedas are its limbs and truth is its abode.

He who knows it (Brahman) thus destroys sin and is established in the limitless, highest, blissful world. Yes, he is established in Brahman.
OM, peace, peace, peace.




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