Author: Ganesh Vidyalankar
Publisher: Isha Music
ISBN/UPC (if available): IM/CD/34
The Brihadaranyak Upanishad is a part of the Shukla (White) Yajurveda. It is possibly the most voluminous of all the Upanishads. The name literally translates to large-forest-book (brahad – large, aranyak – forest book).
This Upanishad contains six chapters divided into three sections (Kaands):
- Madhu Kaand (Chapters one and two)
- Yagyavalkya Kaand (Chapters three and four)
- Khila Kaand (Chapters five and six)
The Madhu Kaand explains the teachings of the basic identity of the individual and the self. This is the section that describes in great detail the sacrificial horse used in the Ashvamedha Yagya.
Yagyavalkya Kaand, also known as the Muni Kaand, provides the philosophical justification of the teaching, it is in the form of a dialog between Yagyavalkya and other philosophers, when asked to describe the Divine, Yagyavalkya replies “neti, neti” (not this, not that). In other words, human vocabulary is insufficient for an apt description of God. This Kaand also includes a famous dialog between Yagyavalkya and his wife Maitreyi on the Absolute Self.
The Khila Kaand discusses various methods of upasana (worship), corresponding to the three states to the path of self-realization: sharavan (listening to the guru’s teachings), mannan (reflection on the learned material in order to produce intellectual conviction) and
Nididyhasana (contemplative meditation).
The Upanishad concludes by stating the three virtues one should practice: daan (giving), dayaa (compassion) and daman (self-restraint).
‘Recitation of selected verses from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, set to instrumental music based on Raaga Yaman.’
Pt. Ganesh Vidyalankar