| Share
 

I. The Khândogya-Upanishad

THE Khândogya-upanishad belongs to the Sâma-veda. Together with the Brihad-âranyaka, which belongs to the Yagur-veda, it has contributed the most important materials to what may be called the orthodox philosophy of India, the Vedânta[47], i.e. the end, the purpose, the highest object of the Veda. It consists of eight adhyâyas or lectures, and formed part of a Khândogya-brâhmana, in which it was preceded by two other adhyâyas. While MSS. of the Khândogya-upanishad and its commentary are frequent, no MSS. of the whole Brâhmana has been met with in Europe. Several scholars had actually doubted its existence, but Rajendralal Mitra[48], in the Introduction to his translation of the Khândogya-upanishad, states that in India “MSS. of the work are easily available, though as yet he has seen no commentary attached to the Brâhmana portion of any one of them.” “According to general acceptation,” he adds, “the work embraces ten chapters, of which the first two are reckoned to be the Brâhmana, and the rest is known under the name of Khândogya-upanishad. In their arrangement and style the two portions differ greatly, and judged by them they appear to be productions of very different ages, though both are evidently relics of pretty remote antiquity. Of the two chapters of the Khândogya-brâhmana[49], the first includes eight sûktas (hymns) on the ceremony of marriage, and the rites necessary to be observed at the birth of a child. The first sûktas is intended to be recited when offering an oblation to Agni on the occasion of a marriage, and its object is to pray for prosperity in behalf of the married couple. The second prays for long life, kind relatives, and a numerous progeny. The third is the marriage pledge by which the contracting parties bind themselves to each other. Its spirit may be guessed from a single verse. In talking of the unanimity with which they will dwell, the bridegroom addresses his bride, "That heart of thine shall be mine, and this heart of mine shall be thine[50]." The fourth and the fifth invoke Agni, Vâyu, Kandramas, and Sûrya to bless the couple and ensure healthful progeny. The sixth is a mantra for offering an oblation on the birth of a child; and the seventh and the eighth are prayers for its being healthy, wealthy, and powerful, not weak, poor, or mute, and to ensure a profusion of wealth and milch-cows. The first sûkta of the second chapter is addressed to the Earth, Agni, and Indra, with a prayer for wealth, health, and prosperity; the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth are mantras for offering oblations to cattle, the manes, Sûrya, and divers minor deities. The seventh is a curse upon worms, insects, flies, and other nuisances, and the last, the concluding mantra of the marriage ceremony, in which a general blessing is invoked for all concerned.

After this statement there can be but little doubt that this Upanishad originally formed part of a Brâhmana. This may have been called either by a general name, the Brâhmana of the Khandogas, the followers of the Sâma-veda, or, on account of the prominent place occupied in it by the Upanishad, the Upanishad-brâhmana[51]. In that case it would be one of the eight Brâhmanas of the Sâma-veda, enumerated by Kumârila Bhatta and others[52], and called simply Upanishad, scil. Brâhmana.

The text of the Upanishad with the commentary of Sankara and the gloss of Ânandagiri has been published in the Bibliotheca Indica. The edition can only claim the character of a manuscript, and of a manuscript not always very correctly read.

A translation of the Upanishad was published, likewise in the Bibliotheca Indica, by Rajendralal Mitra.

It is one of the Upanishads that was translated into Persian under the auspices of Dârâ Shukoh[53], and from Persian into French by Anquetil Duperron, in his Oupnekhat, i.e. Secreturn Tegendum. Portions of it were translated into English by Colebrooke in his Miscellaneous Essays, into Latin and German by F. W. Windischmann, in his Sankara, seu de theologumenis Vedanticorum. (Bonn, 1833), and in a work published by his father, K. J. H. Windischmann, Die Philosophie im Fortgang der Weltgeschichte (Bonn, 1827-34). Professor A. Weber has treated of this Upanishad in his Indische Studien I, 254; likewise M. P. Regnaud in his Matériaux pour servir à l'histoire dc la philosophie de I'Inde (Paris, 1876) and Mr. Gough in several articles on the Philosophy of the Upanishads, in the Calcutta Review, No. CXXXI.

I have consulted my predecessors whenever there was a serious difficulty to solve in the translation of these ancient texts. These difficulties are very numerous, as those know best who have attempted to give complete translations of these ancient texts. It will be seen that my translation differs sometimes very considerably from those of my predecessors. Though I have but seldom entered into any controversy with them, they may rest assured that I have not deviated from them without careful reflection.



[47] Vedânta, as a technical term, did not mean originally the last portions of the Veda, or chapters placed, as it were, at the end of a volume of Vedic literature, but the end, i.e. the object, the highest purpose of the Veda. There are, of course, passages, like the one in the Taittirîya-âranyaka (ed. Rajendralal Mitra, p. 820), which have been misunderstood both by native and European scholars, and where vedânta means simply the end of the Veda:—yo vedâdau svarah prokto vedânte ka pratishthitah, “the Om which is pronounced at the beginning of the Veda, and has its place also at the end of the Veda.” Here vedânta stands simply in opposition to vedâdau, and it is impossible to translate it, as Sayana does, by Vedânta or Upanishad. Vedânta, in the sense of philosophy, occurs in the Taittirîya-âranyaka (p. 817), in a verse of the Narâyanîya-upanishad, repeated in the Mundaka-upanishad III, 2, 6, and elsewhere, vedântavigñânasuniskitârâh, “those who have well understood the object of the knowledge arising from the Vedânta,” not “from the last books of the Veda;” and Svetâsvatara-up. VI, 2 2, vedânte paramam guhyam, “the highest mystery in the Vedânta.” Afterwards it is used in the plural also, e. g. Kshurikopanishad, 10 (Bibl. Ind. p. 210), pundarîketi vedânteshu nigadyate, “it is called pundarika in the Vedintas,” i.e. in the Khândogya and other Upanishads, as the commentator says, but not in the last books of each Veda. A curious passage is found in the Gautama-sûtras XIX, 12, where a distinction seems to be made between Upanishad and Vedânta. Sacred Books, vol. ii, p. 272.

[48] Khândogya-upanishad, translated by Rajendralal Mitra, Calcutta, 1862, Introduction, p. 17.

[49] It begins, Om, deva savitah, pra Suva yagñam pra suva yagñapatim bhagâya. The second begins, yah prâkyâm disi sarparâga esha te balih.

[50] Yad etad dhridayam tava tad astu hridayam mama, Yad idam hridayam mama tad astu hridayam tava.

[51] The same name seems, however, to be given to the adhyâya of the Talavakâra-brâhmana, which contains the Kena-upanishad.

[52] M. M., History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 348. Most valuable information on the literature of the Sâma-veda may be found in Dr. Burnell's editions of the smaller Brâhmanas of that Veda.

[53] M. M., History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 325.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring