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Pashupatabrahma Upanishad


Pashupatabrahma Upanishad is otherwise called Pasupathbrahmopanishad. Also, it is the seventy-seventh Upanishad of Muktika Upanishad order and is found attached to Atharva Veda.

It has two sections namely Poorva Khanda and Uttara Khanda. Poorva Khanda contains 32 verses mainly dealing with Hamsa Vidya.

Uttara Khanda contains 46 verses mainly dealing with Para-Vidya, the philosophy of Atman and Paramatman. (Note: Poorva Khanda means the initial Section and Uttara Khanda means the final section).

Pashupatabrahma Upanishad: Poorva Khanda

When Svayambhu (who originates on his own) Brahman was with desires, he became the creator. Then Kamesvara and Vaisravana came into being. Vaisravana belonged to the class of Rishis called Valakhilya who were of the size of the thumb.

Vaisravana asked Brahman seven questions.

Seven Questions

  • What is the Vidya (philosophy and practice) of the Worlds?
  • Who is the deity?
  • Who is the deity for the Jagrat (waking state) and Turya [the fourth state beyond Jagrat, Swapna (dream), and Susupti (deep sleep)]?
  • Who controls all these?
  • How long is the time duration?
  • Who controls the shining of the Sun, Moon, and other planetary bodies?
  • Who belongs to the vastness of the sky?

The Seven Answers

Lord Brahman answers the questions.

Matruka Vidya is the Vidya of the world which is of two types with two letters and with three letters.

Omkara of four Matra is the deity. It is my (Brahman) own Atman.

I (Brahman) am the Ruler of the three worlds.

All duration of time like Yugas, days, nights, and the like are in my control.

The radiance of the Sun, moon, planets, and stars is in my control only.

The vastness of the sky is my form of three powers (Sakthi) of illusion. (Iccha Sakthi, Kriya Sakthi, and Jnana Sakthi).

Three Gunas and the Lords

Nothing beyond that is mine. Lord Rudra has the illusory characteristics of Tamas. Besides, Lord Vishnu has the illusory characteristics of Sattva and Lord Brahman has the illusory characteristics of Rajas. Also, Lord Indra and others possess the characteristics of Tamas and Rajas. No one has the characteristics of pure Sattva. No one has calm characteristics and a very simple form.

Lord Pasupati is the performer of all Yagas (sacrifices) and Lord Rudra is the deity of sacrifices. Likewise, Lord Vishnu is the protector who removes the defects. Lord Indra is the Conductor. Lord Brahman is the Witness. Brahman is Maheswara.

Hamsa and Soham

The application of the mind in the sounds of Hamsa, Soham, and Hamsa is the performance of mental sacrifices. The Jiva becomes transformed by this.

Hamsa has the form of Paramatman. Hamsa goes on moving in and out. Having gone inside and finding not enough space inside, Hamsa takes the form of Suparna.

Brahma Sutra is the thread of 96 Tattvas. (Sutra=thread. Tattva = principle). Brahma Sutra is one bundle of consciousness which consists of Jagrat (waking), Swapna (dream), Susupti (deep sleep), Turya (the fourth state), Turyaturya (the mingled state of Turya and Non-Turya), and Avikalpa (objectless consciousness).

Nine Truths

It contains nine truths. Also, it consists of three coils of three threads each. Likewise, it indicates the three-fold fires of three Lords. It indicates three time durations (Present, Past, and Future) fastened by the knot of consciousness. It is fastened by the knot of Para-Brahman.

The common feature of the Yagnya is the shining external in the case of external Yagnya and internal in the case of internal Yagnyas.

Note: The Brahma Sutra is compared with the Yagnya Sutra that is worn by Brahmins at the time of performing Yagnyas. External Yagnya refers to the sacrifice performed by Brahmins and the internal sacrifice is the performance of the Hamsa. While performing the internal Hamsa Yagnya, the Brahma Sutra should be worn like the wearing of Yagnya Sutra in external rites. This is the underlying point here.

Internal Sacrifice

Hamsa is the index of the internal sacrifice that leads to Brahman.

In the external sacrifices, sacrificial rites are done by Brahmins who wear the thread that forms the Upavita. The sacrificial threads are worn only by those who are permitted by the scriptures. Likewise, the Brahma Sutra (Hamsa) also is worn by those who are permitted to perform the internal rites. The Brahma Yajna (the internal sacrifice) is related Yajna Sutra (here Hamsa) that leads to Brahman. This is the correct way to attain liberation.

The act of merging the Atman with the Paramatman is a mental sacrifice. For this, Hamsa is the Yajna-Sutra.

The Pranava is the sacrificial thread. One who engages himself in the observance of Brahma Yajna is the Brahmin. Those who engaged themselves in the path of Brahman are Gods.

Hamsa is indicated by the observance of internal rites or sacrifices. There is no difference between Pranava and Hamsa.

There are three approaches to Hamsa. The present, past, and future are the three letters (AUM). The maintenance of the three fires is the internal rite. The application of mind to Hamsa or Pranava with the characteristics of the three fires is the internal sacrifice.

The form of consciousness is the form of Turya, the fourth state of Consciousness. Hamsa radiates like the internal Sun. The sacrifice is instrumental to the attainment of Brahman. For those who meditate on Brahman through Pranava, there is the knowledge that only the Brahman exists.

How Many are the Hamsa Threads and What is the Extent?

Now the Sage Vaisravana asked Svayambhu (Brahman).

“How many are the Hamsa threads?”

“What is the extent?”

Ninety-six beams of the Sun reside in the heart. The exhalations issued through nostrils are of the length of six Angulas, through the Cit-Sutra (heart) are of ten Angulas and by the Pranava are of eighty Angulas (totaling ninety-six).

The Paramatman in the form of Hamsa moves from the right arm to the left hip internally and externally like the sacrificial thread. It is a secret that you cannot find anywhere. He knows this reaps the fruit of immortality. Hamsa does not manifest on its own. Liberation is possible only to those who meditate on Hamsa-Pranava and Hamsa as the same.

Just knowing even the nine threads, one can attain Brahman. The Intern Sun is known to all. Having known the Sun that shines internally and addressing prayers to the internal Sun, the men and Gods have recourse to the supreme truth.

The Vajapeya Sacrifice is the killer of a sacrificial animal (false knowledge). Lord Indra is the conductor of the sacrificial rite.

The Dharma Sacrifice leads to Non-violence. Paramahamsa is the conductor of the rite. Pasupati who is the Paramatman himself is the deity.

The scriptures of Brahman constitute the Brahma Sacrifice. The Brahmins equipped with Vedas and Vedangas take part in them.

Asva-Medha Sacrifice is the most popular of the sacrifices. Those who are in Brahmacarya and gain the favor of the kings doing the sacrifice take part in the sacrifice.

The liberation is possible only to those who are on the path of Brahma Sacrifice as above.

Pashupatabrahma Upanishad: Uttara Khanda

Hamsa which is in the form of a cluster of letters is God. The knowledge that God is Paramatman leads to one Brahmahood. This is the procedure to attain Paramatman. Mere talk makes no avail.   

The light of the knowledge of Brahman is the twilight, the meeting point of darkness and daylight. (Note: the meeting point of inner radiance and outer darkness of Illusion).

The enlightened spends his time there. When Hamsa meets his own God (Atman), how can be any progeny there, arising out of the philosophy of Atman?    

Hamsa known as Pranava Natha (the lord of Pranava) is the bestower of knowledge. The internal consciousness is the hidden stalk of the lotus of knowledge. The form of the union of Lord Siva and Sakthi is the form of the consciousness of bliss.   

Nada, Bindu, and Kala are the outcomes of the actions of the waking world. Also, the three bodies (gross, subtle, and casual), the three tufts on the crest, and the five external elements in their varied forms are the outcomes. Hamsa which is in the form of the internal consciousness of all beings manifests externally as Brahman. Scriptures are evidence.   

Hamsarka Pranava Dhyana

Hamsarka Pranava Dhyana is the meditation upon Brahman as indicated by Brahman alone which is evidenced by scriptures. He who has resorted to this meditation engrosses in the ocean of wisdom. He reaches the other shore of the ocean.    

Functions of the Mind and Senses

Lord Siva known as Pashupati is the eternal witness of everything.    

According to his directions, the mind of all goes towards the functions. The Prana moves towards the intended course. The organ of speech performs its functions. Eyes see. Ears hear. Other sense organs perform their functions continuously by his directions.   

The directions are not naturally inclined but happen out of the illusion.   

While Pashupati enters the ears and Siva gives the capacity to hear. Parameswara entering the mind gives the mind the capacity to function and regulates its functions. He alone is the knowledge and ignorance. Isvara regulates the other functions of the senses and their motor actions.

The eyes, speech, mind, and other functions of senses and their motor actions do not resort to the self-radiant Paramatman. Brahman keeps himself beyond their range and shines internally which is not subject to any logical reasoning and testimony. The real knower knows this.    

Reality and Maya

The innermost Atman is radiant whereas the Maya (Illusion) is darkness. Hence, the Atman is free from Maya. The existence and non-existence of Maya is the conception of the mind and not real. In reality, it does not exist at all.    

Truth alone exists. The misconception is only due to the improper perception of light. The no-dual light alone exists. Non-duality is mentioned here because of the inadequate perception of light. Light alone exists always.    

Silence alone is the right attitude in case of controversies regarding this. This knowledge will manifest on its own. For him, no humans. No Brahman. Not for any other beings. For him, no castes. For him, no Asramas (stages of life). No Dharma (righteous paths) and Adharma (immoral ways). For him, neither prescription nor prohibition. As long as Brahman is revealed unto him, so long imbalances like misery and the like won’t appear.     

Paramatman or Brahman

The knower of Paramatman sees the forms of Jiva and others not as mere forms but as the forms of consciousness being the substance of Brahman alone. For him, even the concept of Dharma (virtuous acts) and Dharmin (who is doing Dharma) is cut asunder.     

For him, there could not be any differences and non-differences and distinctions between them, because he sees everything as Paramatman only. Beyond Atman (Self), only his own Atman exists (non-dual nature of Paramatman).    

Brahman alone exists in substances and non-substances. For him, what else is there to take or renounce? It is the same type as the consciousness which is beyond the range of speech and mind, which cannot be visible, which cannot be perceivable, and which has no form or lineage.   

Also, it is beyond the range of eye, ear, and significance. It has no hands or feet. Moreover, it is eternal and omnipotent. It transcends all. Besides, it is the subtlest of the subtle. Also, it is imperishable and immortal. It is Brahman alone. Likewise, it is the supreme bliss of Brahman which is an affront to it, behind it, on the sides to it.

Para Vidya

When one sees his own Atman as such, he gets liberation. Also, he does not have liberation in the sense that liberation comes only to those who are under bondage.  

This is the process of attaining Para-Vidya. It is attainable by utilizing truthfulness, austerity, penance, and adhering to the codes of conduct like Brahmacarya (celibacy) as laid down in the Upanishad.   

Moreover, it is possible for those who get their imperfections to fade away and not for those immersed in the illusion. They see their bodies in the form of the self-radiant highest truth.   

For him, who has grown to be a full yogi and attained the wisdom of the highest truth, there exists nothing to resort to. Likewise, the glorious knower of Supreme Atman or Brahman does not move anywhere as like ethereal sky does not move. 

Prohibition of Food    

The heart (mind) becomes pure by avoiding the prohibited food. By doing so, the clarity of mind comes on its own. With a clear mind, one achieves wisdom. The knots open on their own.

The prohibition of food applies only to the mortals devoid of the knowledge of Brahman. Not to him who knows Brahman. Not to him who has the wisdom of knowing everything as Atman. “I am the food as well as the eater” is the knowledge of Brahman. He swallows everything as Brahman.      

The world, by being in the form of Brahman, becomes worthy of being eaten up. When it becomes worthy of being eaten up, it shines as the character of Atman. Brahman is eternal in the character of Atman.     

Hence, everything becomes worthy of being eaten. When the world is in a noticeable form, it becomes worthy of being eaten. The luster of Atman when it resembles any form measurable becomes worthy of being eaten. It is nothing but Atman eats its form on its own accord.

Nothing Beyond Brahman

There exists nothing beyond Atman fit to be eaten up. Any form of existence is Brahman only.

The quality of being is in existence.  Existence is Brahman only. Nothing exists beyond Brahman. The existence of Maya is not real.    

Maya is the creation of Atman itself when it betakes to meditation and shines in the form of a witness being affected by the knowledge of Brahman. The yogi endowed with the knowledge of Brahman always sees everything in the world as nothing apart from Brahman.

Thus ends Pasupathabrahma Upanishad

Om Tat Sat

Ref: Sanskrit Text Reference

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