Chāndogya Upaniṣad

fig_treehuggerOne of my favorite Hindu teachings is from the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. This teaching is written as a short story, or dialogue between a teacher and his student. The student is curious about the nature of Brahman and Ātman. The idea of Brahman and Ātman resonates strongly with me because as a child, my mother explained “god” as “something that connects everything.”

In the story, the student asks his teacher, “What is Ātman?” His teacher then asks him to bring a fig, to break the fig in half, and asks him what he sees. The student says that he sees seeds. His teacher asks him to break a seed in half and tell him what he sees inside. The student replies “nothing.” To which his teacher replies, “That finest essence, this whole world has that as its self. That is Reality. That is Ātman.”

The teacher then tells his student to place some salt in water that night, then the next day he asks him to bring the salt that he placed in the water. But the student could not find it. The teacher asks the student to take a sip, and asks how it tastes. The student replies, “Salty.” The teacher replies, “Verily, although you do not perceive it being here, it is here. The whole world has that as its self. That is Reality. That is Ātman. That you are.” In Sanskrit – “Tat Tvam Asi.”

[Translation taken from A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Chalres A. Moore]

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1 thought on “Chāndogya Upaniṣad

  1. some of my fav verses also. Thank you for sharing!

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