Commentary By Sri Chinmoy

(These are taken from ‘Vedas, Upanishads & Bhagavad Gita’ by Sri Chinmoy 1996.)
Purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyat
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

Infinity is that. Infinity is this.
From Infinity, Infinity has come into existence.
From Infinity, when Infinity is taken away, Infinity remains.

(Invocation from the Isa and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)

Commentary
Infinity is the concealed Breath of the Pilot Supreme. Infinity is the revealed Life of the Supreme’s Boat. Infinity is the fulfilled Body of the Goal supreme.


Asato ma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I.3.28)

Lead me from the unreal to the Real
Lead me from darkness to Light.
Lead me from death to Immortality.

Commentary
The unreal in us desires the pleasure-life of the finite. The Real in us aspires for the God-Life of the Infinite.

Darkness is the discovery of the doubting and frustrated mind. Light is the discovery of the aspiring and dedicated heart.

Death – where is cat? Miaowing nowhere.
Immortality – where is the lion? Roaring all-where.


Anor aniyam mahato mahiyan
Atmasya jantor nihito guhayam

(Katha Upanishad 1.2.20)

Smaller than the smallest life, larger than the infinite Vast,
The soul breathes in secret heart of man.

Commentary
The soul is God’s eternal child and man’s great-grandfather. As God’s eternal child, the soul unceasingly plays. As man’s great-grandfather, the soul perpetually enjoys rest.


Satyam eva jayate
(Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6)

Truth alone triumphs.

Commentary
Truth is God’s Crown offered to God by God Himself.
Truth realized, God is forever caught.


Anandaddhyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante
Anandena jatani jivanti
Anandam prayantyabhisamvisanti

(Taittiriya Upanishad III.6)

From Delight we come into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey’s close, into
Delight we retire.

Commentary
God has written an open letter to His human children. His letter runs: “My sweetest children, you are the only delight of My universal Existence.”


Hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham
Tat tvam pusan apavrnu satyadharmaya drstaye

(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad V.15.1; also Isa Upanishad 15)

The Face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden orb. Remove it, O Sun, so that I who am devoted to the Truth may behold the Truth.

Commentary
The face of Truth awakens us.
The eye of Truth feeds us.
The Heart of Truth builds us.


Saha navavatu saha nau bhunaktu
Saha viryam karavavahai

(Invocation from the Katha Upanishad; also from
parts 2 and 3 of the Taittiriya Upanishad)

May He protect us together.
May He own us together.
May He make unto us vigour and virility.

Commentary
God, Guru and disciple: God is Compassion and Protection; Guru is concern; the disciple is dedication. When these three work together, perfect Perfection shines, and it will shine through Eternity.


Yenaham namrta syam
Kim aham kuryam

(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad II.4.3)

What shall I do with the things that cannot make me immortal?

Commentary
God is eternally proud of man because he embodies God’s Immortality.


Agne naya supatha raye asman
Visvani deva vayunani vidvan
Yuyodhyasmaj juhuranam eno
Bhuyistham te namauktim vidhema
(Isa Upanishad 18 and
Brhadaranyaka Upanishad I.188.1, V.15.1)


O Agni, O fire God, lead us along the right path so that we can enjoy the fruits of our divine actions. You know, O God, all our deeds. O God, take away from us all our unaspiring and binding sins and destroy them. To You we offer our teeming soulful salutations and prayers.

Commentary
Heart’s aspiration is the right path. God’s Compassion is the genuine guidance. The fruits of our divine actions are peace, light and bliss. Sin is the smile of self-limiting bondage. In our prayers and salutations abides God the illumining Savior.


Uttisthata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata
Ksurasya dhara nisita duratyaya
Durgam pathas tat kavayo vadanti
(Katha Upanishad 1.3.14)

Arise! Awake! Realise and achieve the Highest with the help of the illumining, guiding and fulfilling Masters. The path is as sharp as the edge of a razor, difficult to cross, hard to tread – so declare the wise sages.

Commentary
Arise! You need God. Awake! God needs you.” Who brings this message? The Master. The road may be long, but not endless. The goal is not only an endless life, but an ever-energising, immortal breath. A wise sage is he whose outer life is the manifestation of the Truth’s inner life.


Yo vai bhuma tat sukham
Nalpe sukham asti
Bhumaiva sukham
(Chandogya Upanishad VII.23.1)

The Infinite is the satisfying happiness.
In the finite no happiness can ever breathe.
The Infinite alone is the fulfilling happiness.

Commentary
The Life infinite is the Delight infinite.
The finite is a stranger to the infinite Happiness.
Infinity without Delight means the creation without a Creator.
Indeed, this is absurd.
Delight without Infinity means the Creator without the creation.
Indeed, this is equally absurd.


Na tatra suryo bhati na candratarakam
Nema vidyuto bhanti kuto ‘yam agnih
Tam eva bhantam anubhati sarvam
Tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati
(Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.10
Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.14)

There the sun shines not, nor the moon and the stars, nor the lightning, let alone this earthly fire.

Only when illumining Light shines, everything else shines; the self-revealing Light illumines the entire universe.

Commentary
The outer sun asks us to see, and when we look around we see all darkness.
The inner sun makes us see what we eternally are: the Light infinite.


Nayam atma balahinena labhyo
(Mundaka Upanishad 3.2.4)

The soul cannot be won by the weakling.

Commentary
True, a weak aspirant cannot realize his soul. Again, who can really be strong before he has realized his soul? A weak aspirant is God in His perfecting aspiration. A strong aspirant is Good in His manifesting realization.


Yo devo agnau yo’psu visvam bhuvanam avivesa
Ya osadhisu yo vanaspatisu tasmai devaya
Namo namah
(Svetasvatara Upanishad 2.17)

We offer our supreme salutations to this divine Being, who is in fire, in water, in the plants, in the trees, and who has entered and pervaded the whole universe.

Commentary
Fire is aspiration.
Water is consciousness.
A plant is a climbing hope.
A tree is an assuring confidence.
The divine Being is the concealed Breath and revealed Life of the universe.


Vidyan cavidyan ca yas tad vedobhayam saha
Avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyayamrtam asnute
(Isa Upanishad 11)

He who knows and understands knowledge and ignorance as one, through ignorance passes beyond the domain of death, through knowledge attains to an eternal Life and drinks deep the Light of Immortality.

Commentary
Ignorance is the knowledge of the physical mind. Knowledge is the secret of the soul. When the physical mind surrenders its existence to the illumination of the soul, death dies; Immortality dawns.


Bhadram Karnebhih srnuyama deva
Bhadram pasyemaksabhir yajatrah
Sthirair angais tustuvamsas tanubhir
Vyasema devahitam yad ayuh
(Invocation from the Mundaka-, Prasna-, and
Manduka Upanishad; originally from Rigveda I.89.8)


O cosmic gods, may we hear with our human ears all that is auspicious.
O gods who are truly worthy of worship, may we see with our human eyes all that is auspicious.
May we enjoy our life given by you, offering constant praises with our sound body and earthly existence to you.

Commentary
To hear an auspicious thing is to invoke God the Inspiration and God the Aspiration. To see an auspicious thing is to feel God the Light and God the Delight.