The Story of King Rantideva (An Example of Living Vedanta)

The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says: ‘The wise looks with an equal eye upon a noble brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a chandala’ (5.18).

Commenting on this verse, Bhagawan Shankaracharya says that a jnani looks upon this whole world as his own self (atman); i.e., he does not look upon anybody as different from himself.

This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.21). Rantideva was a person who satisfied himself with whatever came his way through its own accord without any direct effort on his behalf. In effect, he personified the jnani described in Gita 4.22:

‘He is content with what comes to him without effort. He is unaffected by dualities like heat and cold. He is free from envy and is equipoised in success or failure.’

Day by day his wealth started decreasing because he would give away whatever he received, thinking it to be momentary, even at the cost of remaining hungry himself. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient. His devoted family suffered the hardships along with him.

Once it so happened that for forty-eight days they did not get even water to drink. Only on the morning of the forty-ninth day did he happen to get by chance some eatables and water. His family was in deep distress at that time. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst. However, as soon as they were about to eat the food, a brahmin guest arrived.

via Exotic India

An article by Nitin Kumar

References & Further Reading:

Rantideva used to see God in everyone (sarvam khalu idam Brahman – Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1). Therefore, he received the brahmin with respect and gave him his share of food. The brahmin had his meal and went away.

Now they distributed the remaining food amongst themselves. Just then another guest, this time a shudra, arrived. Rantideva, keeping God in his mind, fed some part of the remaining food to the shudra guest.

When the shudra departed, another guest surrounded by a group of dogs approached him saying, “Oh King! Me and my dogs are hungry. Give us something to eat.”

The king received them kindly and gave to him respectfully whatever food that remained with him and bowed to the dogs and their owner.

Now only some water, sufficient enough to quench the thirst of just one person remained. They were about to distribute it amongst themselves for drinking when there arrived a chandala (one who tends to dead bodies in the cremation grounds). The chandala guest said, “I belong to the lowest of the lowest caste. Give me water to drink.”

Hearing the chandala’s pitiful voice, which he uttered with great pains and exhaustion, tormented as he was by thirst, the noble king with limitless patience was deeply moved with compassion and though he himself was on the point of death because of thirst, gave that water to the chandala saying:

“I do not desire from God the highest powers. I do not even want moksha. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries. This unfortunate man wanted water to drink. His life was saved by giving water. Now my hunger, thirst, exhaustion, distress and grief, all have vanished.”


Actually, these guests were different forms of Bhagawan’s Maya. They revealed themselves to Rantideva in the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The king, being entirely free from all attachments, cherished no desires. He bowed to them all, even as his mind was one with Bhagawan Vasudeva due to utmost devotion. He sought no boons from the Gods. King Rantideva did not want anything other than God Himself. Therefore, the Maya of God, constituted of the three gunas, dissolved before him, like a dream dissolves when a man wakes up. By virtue of their close association with him, all those who followed Rantideva too became absolutely devoted to Bhagawan Narayana.


Amazing Advice by Lord Sri Krishna!

Enlightenment/Self-realization secrets as taught by Lord Sri Krishna. Greatly focused on revealing the hidden spiritual and psychological truths in Bhagavad Gita to modern minds.


Jesus Christ in the Bhavishya Purana

The following prediction of Jesus Christ is found in the ancient Hindu scripture known as Bhavishya Purana. Bhavishya means “future”, and Purana means “history”, so the name means the “history of the future”. The Bhavishya Purana was originally written 5,000 years ago by the sage Vyasa, who was the compiler of the Vedic scriptures. Usually Puranas are historical narrations of universal events that happened in ancient times, but in the case of the Bhavishya Purana, Vyasa is providing a narration of events that will happen in the future, beginning with the arrival of the age of kali yuga.

[ Bhavishya Purana: Pratisarga Parva, Chaturyuga Khanda Dvitiyadhyayah, 19th Chapter, Texts 17 to 32 ]

Texts 17 – 21

pitr-rajyam grhitavan
jitva sakanduradharsams

tesam kosan-grhitva ca

sthapita tena maryada
mleccharyanam prthak-prthak
sindhusthanam iti jneyam
rastramaryasya cottamam

mlecchasthanam param sindhoh
krtam tena mahatmana
ekada tu sakadiso
himatungam samayayau

“Ruling over the Aryans was a king called Salivahana, the grandson of Vikramaditya, who occupied the throne of his father. He defeated the Shakas who were very difficult to subdue, the Cinas, the people from Tittiri and Bahikaus who could assume any form at will. He also defeated the people from Rome and the descendants of Khuru, who were deceitful and wicked. He punished them severely and took their wealth. Salivahana thus established the boundaries dividing the separate countries of the Mlecchas and the Aryans. In this way Sindusthan came to be known as the greatest country. That personality appointed the abode of the Mlecchas beyond the Sindhu River and to the west.”

Text 22

ekadaa tu shakadhisho
himatungari samaayayau
hunadeshasya madhye vai
giristhan purusam shubhano
dadarsha balaram raajaa

Once upon a time the subduer of the Sakas went towards Himatunga and in the middle of the Huna country (Hunadesh – the area near Manasa Sarovara or Kailash mountain in Western Tibet), the powerful king saw an auspicious man who was living on a mountain. The man’s complexion was golden and his clothes were white.

Text 23

ko bharam iti tam praaha
su hovacha mudanvitah
iishaa purtagm maam viddhi
kumaarigarbha sambhavam
“The king asked, ‘Who are you sir?’ ‘You should know that I am Isha Putra, the Son of God’. he replied blissfully, and ‘am born of a virgin.’ ”

Text 24

mleccha dharmasya vaktaram
satyavata paraayanam
iti srutva nrpa praaha
dharmah ko bhavato matah

” ‘I am the expounder of the religion of the Mlecchas and I strictly adhere to the Absolute Truth.’ Hearing this the king enquired, ‘What are religious principles according to your opinion?’

Texts 25 – 26

shruto vaaca mahaaraaja
praapte satyasya samkshaye
nirmaaryaade mlechadeshe
masiiho ‘ham samagatah

iishaamasii ca dasyuunaa
praadurbhuutaa bhayankarii
taamaham mlecchataah praapya
masiihatva mupaagatah

“Hearing this questions of Salivahara, Isha putra said, ‘O king, when the destruction of the truth occurred, I, Masiha the prophet, came to this country of degraded people where there are no rules and regulations. Finding that fearful irreligious condition of the barbarians spreading from Mleccha-Desha, I have taken to prophethood’.”

Texts 27 – 29

mlecchasa sthaapito dharmo
mayaa tacchrnu bhuupate
maanasam nirmalam krtva
malam dehe subhaasbham

naiganam apamasthaya
japeta nirmalam param
nyayena satyavacasaa
manasyai kena manavah

dhyayena pujayedisham
acaloyam prabhuh sakshat-
athaa suuryacalah sada

“Please hear Oh king which religious principles I have established among the mlecchas. The living entity is subject to good and bad contaminations. The mind should be purified by taking recourse of proper conduct and performance of japa. By chanting the holy names one attains the highest purity. Just as the immovable sun attracts, from all directions, the elements of all living beings, the Lord of the solar region, who is fixed and all-attractive, attracts the hearts of all living creatures. Thus by following rules, speaking truthful words, by mental harmony and by meditation, Oh descendant of Manu, one should worship that immovable Lord’.”

Text 30

isha muurtirt-dradi praptaa
nityashuddha sivamkari
ishamasihah iti ca
mama nama pratishthitam

“Having placed the eternally pure and auspicious form of the Supreme Lord in my heart, O protector of the earth planet, I preached these principles through the Mlecchas’ own faith and thus my name became ‘isha-masiha’ (Jesus the Messiah).”

Text 31

iti shrutra sa bhuupale
natraa tam mlecchapujaam
sthaapayaamaasa tam tutra
mlecchasthaane hi daarune

“After hearing these words and paying obeisances to that person who is worshipped by the wicked, the king humbly requested him to stay there in the dreadful land of Mlecchas.”

Text 32

svaraajyam praaptavaan raajaa
hayamedhan ciikirat
raajyam kriitvaa sa shashthyabdam
svarga lokamu paayayau

“King Salivahara, after leaving his kingdom performed an asvamedha yajna and after ruling for sixty years, went to heaven. Now please hear what happened when the king went to svargaloka.”

Thus ends the second chapter entitled, “the age of Salivahara” of the story of Kali Yuga of the Caturyuga Khanda also called pratisarga-parva of the wonderful Bhavishya Maha Purana.






Pradyumna – The Son of Sri Krishna

Lord Sri Krishna, the eighth avatara or manifestation of Sri Maha Vishnu, is a major deity in Hinduism. Considered to be a Poorna (complete) Avatara or a Supreme God in his own right, he is the central character of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita. Being the essence of love itself, Krishna had a great many female followers, devotees and wives as well. One of his dearest wives was Rukmini. Rukmini and Krishna had a son called Pradyumna.

The handsome and valiant Pradyumna is the most beloved and famous son of Krishna. Believed to be one among the four vyuha avataras, he is also one of the 24 Keshava namas (names in praise) of Vishnu. This is the story of Pradyumna, the Son of Sri Krishna.

Pradyumna as a Vyuha Avatara of Vishnu

Maha Vishnu is vastly revered for his Chatur-vyuha (four-fold vyuha) avataras, namely, Vasudeva (the Creator), Samkarsana (the Sustainer), Pradyumna (the Destroyer) and Aniruddha (the Promulgator of Spiritual Knowledge). These vyuhas are related to four of the six causes of creation, representing the five aspects of God himself, namely, Narayana (thinking), Vasudeva (feeling), Samkarsana (willing), Pradyumna (knowing) and Aniruddha (acting). Each of these avataras controls a specific creative energy.

Attributes and Functions of the Vyuhas

Each of the vyuha avatara possesses certain attributes and performs certain functions. Vasudeva is endowed with all the qualities in full measure and hence, is equivalent to the Supreme Being or the Para Vasudeva. Samkarsana possesses jnana (knowledge) and bala (strength). Pradyumna is endowed with aishwarya (prosperity) and veerya (valor). Aniruddha glows with shakti (might) and tejas (effulgence).

Each Vyuha is assigned one function. Vasudeva exists primarily to give jeevatmas an experience of Divine Bliss and to give them an opportunity to serve the Lord. Samkarsana is given the task of dissolution of the universe and propagation of the Shastras. Pradyumna is entrusted with the creation of the universe and the maintenance of Dharma. Aniruddha protects the universe and imparts spiritual knowledge to all.

Hence, Vyuha Vasudeva is directly in charge of samashti, srishti, sthiti and samhara. He is the Supreme Controller of all in this universe. As Pradyumna, he enters the body of Brahma and controls the process of creation through him. As Samkarsana, he enters Rudra, thus regulating the process of devolution in the universe. The process of preservation, however, is directly controlled by Vasudeva, in the form of Aniruddha. Aniruddha is an avatara of Maha Vishnu – he monitors and preserves the universe.

Birth and Life

Pradyumna was the son of Lord Sri Krishna; and also the 61st grandson of Adinarayana. He was born to Krishna and Rukmini in Dwaraka. He is commonly considered to be the reincarnation of Kama Deva, the God of Love, who was burnt to ashes by Shiva, in a fit of rage.

According to the Mahabharata, he was Sanathkumara, the son of Lord Brahma. In Jainism, the Pradyumna-charitra (an 18-canon poem) of Rajchandra relates the story of Pradyumna. This was written in 1618 AD.

Pradyumna as the Reincarnation of Kama Deva

Shiva, who had recently lost his wife Sati, was completely disillusioned with life. Sati, the daughter of King Daksha, had married him against her father’s wishes. An angry Daksha insulted her and talked ill about Shiva, when she visited his yagna after her marriage. Unable to bear the insult, she jumped into the havan-kund and gave up her life. On coming to know about this, Shiva reached the venue of the yagna, destroyed it all and, lifting the lifeless body of Sati, left the place. Utterly grief-stricken, Shiva then proceeded to go deep into meditation for years and years.


In the Sat Yuga, the Devas decided that it was now time for Shiva to come out of this self-imposed solitude and get back to both his worldly and divine duties. In order to achieve this, they called about Kama Deva to shoot his arrows of love at Shiva, thus distracting him from his asceticism and making him fall in love again.

Around the same time, Parvati, an incarnation of Sati, was deeply in love with Shiva. She was the daughter of King Himavan and had always adored Shiva, right from a very young age. She used to visit his meditation spot every day, cleaned the place and meditated along with him. When he refused to respond, she vowed to take up severe penance in order to gain his grace. Shedding her clothes and refusing to eat even a morsel, she meditated for days and weeks on end.

The Devas asked her to stand in front of Shiva and asked Kama Deva to start releasing his arrows. Distracted from his penance, Shiva opened his eyes looked around and spotted the God of Love cowering in a corner. Enraged at the latter’s behaviour, he opened his Third Eye and immediately burnt him to ashes.


Kama Deva’s distraught wife, Rati, came up to the Lord and pleaded that her husband be returned to her. Taking pity on her, Shiva promised her that Kama Deva would be a part of Krishna in his next birth and that Rati would reincarnate as the daughter of Bhimkaraya Rukmi. He blessed her that she would end up marrying Kama in that birth, thus being reunited with him.


Pradyumna is Abducted by Sambara

According to the Bhagavata Purana, Pradyumna was abducted by the demon Sambara, when he was only a six-day-old baby. The demon took him and cast him into the sea. He was then swallowed by a fish. But the fish was carried back to the house of Sambara. When they opened it up, they found the child inside. Sambara then gave the baby to Mayawati, who worked there as a cook. She was only too happy to raise the handsome little child. Mayawati was in actuality the reincarnation of Rati, the wife of Kama Deva.

After a few days, Narada approached this woman and revealed the true identity of the child, also letting her know that this was her husband, Kama Deva, from her previous birth. Ever since then, Mayawati fell in love with the child and knew that she would eventually marry him.


Mayawati was tremendously attracted to Pradyumna’s physical appearance and longed for him to recognize her and give her that same love he had, in their previous birth. One day, not able to take it anymore, Mayawati narrated to him the story of their previous life and told him they were now free to get back together again.

She also revealed to Pradyumna that Sambarasura was adept at many kinds of illusionary arts, which made him almost invulnerable to attack. She then taught him an art named Mahamaya, which could destroy all of the demon’s illusionary arts, thereby enabling the boy to kill him.

Pradyumna Kills Sambarasura

Once he felt prepared enough to fight Sambara, Pradyumna challenged him. This enraged the asura, who came charging at him with a mace in his hand. There ensued a terrible battle between the two. When the asura felt that his physical might would not be enough to fight the young man, he flew off to the sky and used his illusory powers to attack him with arrows and other astras (celestial weapons).

Undaunted, Pradyumna used his own Mahamaya art to fight the asura. Finally, Sambara’s powers were all destroyed one by one by the valiant warrior. Pradyumna then pulled out the powerful Vaishnavastra, Vishnu’s own weapon. The Vaishnavastra could be stopped or nullified only by Lord Vishnu himself. No one else; not even Indra, the God of the Devas, had the power to fight it. The astra found its mark and killed the fearful demon on the spot.

Pradyumna Returns to Dwaraka

Mayawati could travel in the air. She carried Pradyumna with her and reached him back to his father’s capital, Dwaraka. As they flew over the palace of Krishna and began their descent, all the citizens mistook him to be Krishna. Such was Pradyumna’s likeness with Krishna. However, seeing the woman who was accompanying him, they knew that this could not be their beloved Lord Krishna.

Once in the antahpura (interior chambers) of the palace, Pradyumna and Mayawati waited there for his mother, Rukmini. She came out a little later and, looking at him, was immediately reminded of her own son. She kept looking at him and, by sheer maternal intuition; also seeing his resemblance to her husband; she knew for sure that he was her own flesh and blood. Just at that moment, Krishna came out with his own parents, Vasudeva and Devaki. Pradyumna approached them and, falling at their feet, took their blessings.

At the behest of Krishna, Narada too turned up at the palace and narrated to everyone the story of how Pradyumna had been abducted by Sambara and how Mayawati had helped him slay the demon. He then revealed her true identity as the reincarnation of Rati, the wife of Kama Deva. He convinced everyone that the couple belonged to each other and must reunite as man and wife in this birth as well.

Once the residents of Dwaraka got over their initial shock at the sudden, unexpected turn of events, they were elated and cheered his arrival. The prince that they had lost and thought had gone forever; had come back to them. The city came alive with celebration, dance and music.

Pradyumna Weds Mayawati

As per Krishna’s advice, Pradyumna married Mayawati, thus reuniting with her in this birth. They later had a son named Aniruddha, who went on to become Krishan’s favourite grandson and was also considered a Vyuha Avatara of Vishnu. Later, Pradyumna also wedded Rukmavati, the daughter of his mother’s brother, Bhimkaraya Rukmi.

According to the Harivamsa; one of the important texts of Sanskrit literature; he had yet another wife named Prabhavati, the daughter of King Vajranabha. Legend has it that when he went to see her for the first time, he turned himself into a bee and lived in a garland of flowers, which had been especially prepared for her to wear.

Pradyumna Becomes a Maharathi

Soon after, Pradyumna joined hands with his father, to rule the land and also protect their land from all types of external attack. He was the beloved of the people of Dwaraka. In time, he became a mighty Maharathi warrior. Not only did he possess the rare Vaishnavastra, but he also knew the secret of the Chakra Vyuha, a highly complex battle formation, which was otherwise nearly impossible to get into and then come out of, alive.

According to the Mahabharata, Pradyumna trained Arjuna’s son, Abhimanyu, and the Upapandavas in warfare. However, he himself did not participate in the Great War of Kurukshetra. Instead, he chose to go on a pilgrimage with his uncle, Balarama, and some other Yadavas.

Pradyumna was an active participant in the Ashwamedha Yagna (one of the most important sacrificial rituals in Hindu mythology), which was conducted by Yudhishthira later. Then he, along with his father, fought the demon Nikumbha. Nikumbha hung Arjuna in the sky. After some time, the latter began to vomit blood. Krishna beheaded the asura. Arjuna then began to fall down from the sky. Seeing this, Pradyumna immediately rushed to him and held him as he was about to hit the ground, thus saving his life.

Pradyumna Meets His End

The valiant Pradyumna led and won many a battle during his rule. However, he was killed in a way that was least befitting the mighty warrior that he was. He lost his life in a drunken brawl in Krishna’s court at Dwaraka.

There is a legend behind his untimely demise and the destruction of the Yadava kula (clan) itself. This is narrated in the Mausala Parva or the “Book of Clubs”, which is the sixteenth of eighteen books of the epic Mahabharata. This treatise describes events 35 years after the end of the Great War of Kurukshetra. The sequence of events was revealed by Rishis to Krishna’s son, Samba, who dressed as a woman to mock them.

The Mausala Parva

In the days after the Kurukshetra War, Krishna went to visit Gandhari, the mother of the Kauravas. She was still mourning the loss of her 100 sons and the Kaurava soldiers. In extreme anger and grief, she blamed Krishna for having caused all the destruction and the death of hundreds and thousands of people. She accused him, saying that he could have stopped the war if he wanted to, but did not. She then cursed him that his entire Yadava clan would be destroyed in a manner similar to the terrible death of her sons.

Krishna accepted the curse and tried to explain that he had tried several times to mediate peace with Duryodhana, her oldest son. However, the latter had refused to give up his arrogant attitude and had chosen the path of adharma. Krishna also described the Kauravas’ many attempts to kill the Pandavas. No matter how he tried to console Gandhari, she was not prepared to listen to him. In any case, it was too late, as the curse had already been given and so, it would have to take effect at some time or other. Distressed and crestfallen, Krishna left Gandhari’s quarters.

The Yadava Clan is Destroyed

35 years after the end of the Kurukshetra War, the Yadava clan was peaceful and prosperous. Without having to face any type of trouble or challenges, the youth population got frivolous and irresponsible. Krishna’s son, Samba, was particularly infamous for his wayward behaviour. He once dressed up as a pregnant woman and, along with his friends, went to meet Rishis Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vasishtha, Narada and others. They were visiting in Dwaraka for an audience with Krishna. The young man intended to mock the great sages, asking them to predict the gender of his “unborn child”.

One of the Rishis saw through the prank and, in anger, cursed Samba that he would give birth to an iron bolt, which would destroy the entire Yadava race. Frightened, the young man fled from the spot and went to King Ugrasena to tell him what had happened. He asked Samba to powder the iron bolt and cast it all into the Prabhasa Sea. The ruler then ordered that no intoxicating spirits or substances should be produced or distributed in the Yadava kingdom.

Soon after this, the residents of the town experienced several dark omens, including the mysterious disappearance of the Sudarshana Chakra, the Panchajanya (Krishna’s Conch), his chariot and Balarama’s weapons. The place was infested with pests and people suddenly started committing crimes for no apparent reason. Cheating was rampant and no one seemed to have any sense of values or remorse. Everyone started having terrible dreams as well.

Seeing all this, Krishna became restless, knowing that something bad was going to occur there. He asked his subjects to go on a pilgrimage to the sacred Prabhasa sea. They agreed and reached the banks of the sea. Once there, they started making merry as usual, making noise, consuming alcohol and so on.

In this fracas, a heavily inebriated Satyaki went to Kritavarma and accused him for scheming with Ashwatthama and killing the remaining Pandava army, while they were sleeping. A terrible argument ensued, wherein each one tried to prove the other side more wrong. Pradyumna applauded Satyaki, which further angered Kritavarma. He, in turn, taunted Satyaki, saying that he had killed the armless Bhurshiravas, who had held no hostility towards anyone. Thus, both kept hurling insults at each other.

As the debate heated up more and more, Satyaki ended up killing Kritavarma. Not stopping here, he also killed all the warriors on Kritavarma’s side. Krishna hurried to Satyaki, in order to stop him. By that time, the Bhojas and the Andhakas surrounded Satyaki. Knowing he could do nothing more, Krishna stepped away and watched in a detached manner. The Bhojas and Andhakas started hitting Satyaki with whatever they could find.

Pradyumna, who was also watching all this, could no longer control himself. He rushed forward to rescue Satyaki. However, they were outnumbered by the warriors and, after fighting for some time, were slain, right in front of Krishna’s eyes.

In grief, anger and shock, Krishna took some eraka grass in his hand. This grass was growing in abundance along the banks of the Prabhasa. To everyone’s surprise, the eraka turned into a club. With this club, Krishna began to kill the violent people there.

Seeing this, everyone else picked up the eraka grass, which also transformed into clubs. Everyone was under the influence of alcohol and attacked everyone else. Soon, all of them were dead, except Vabhru, Daruka and he Krishna. Balarama was safe because he was not part of the crowd and was also not inebriated.

Balarama and Vabhru, however, did not survive long after that. They were the next to die. Krishna asked Daruka to go to the Pandava and tell them what had happened. He was sure Arjuna would come with help. Daruka immediately left to visit the Pandavas.

Krishna Sheds His Mortal Coil

In the meantime, some of the powder that had been cast in the Prabhasa had been swallowed by a fish. It transformed into a metal piece inside the fish. Jara, a hunter, caught that fish and found the metal. Shaping it into the tip of an arrow, he proceeded to go hunting. At that time, a sad Krishna was lounging under a tree, with his feet stretched out in front of him. Mistaking him for game, Jara shot the arrow at him. The poisonous tip pierced Krishna’s toe and took effect almost immediately. Realizing his great folly, the hunter was dismayed and tearfully apologized to Krishna. The latter merely smiled, blessed him and then proceeded to shed his mortal coil. Taking his four-armed avatara, he ascended back to Heaven and to his abode.

Vasudeva was the next to die. Arjuna rushed to help the old people and children who were the only survivors of the battle. He took them, along with the 16,000 wives of Krishna, to Indraprastha. As they were leaving, the waters of the Prabhasa rose, sinking the entire city of Dwaraka. The women, children and Arjuna’s army were attacked by Mlechhas and robbers. Arjuna fought hard to defend them, but was severely outnumbered. His weapons were exhausted and his power to invoke astras did not work. The women and children panicked and ran in different directions. The surviving Yadavas walked along with Arjuna to reach Indraprastha.

Arjuna, who failed to protect the women and children of his land, fell into deep depression. He met sage Vyasa, who advised that he and his brothers had served their mission and that now, it was time for them to gracefully retire and let the next generation take over. Arjuna then went to Yudhishthira to tell him everything that had happened.


Pradyumna sired a brilliant son called Aniruddha. When he came of age, Aniruddha married Usha, the daughter of Bana Daitya and granddaughter of the great King, Mahabali. Again, he is said to have been very much like his grandfather, Krishna. Some believe that he was a jana avatara, an avatara of Vishnu himself.

Aniruddha had a son named Vajra or Vajranabha. The youngster was an invincible warrior and was one among the very few Yadavas to survive the battle. When he became king, Vajra got 16 idols of Krishna and other Gods carved from a rare, imperishable stone called Braja. He then built temples in and around Mathura, to house each of those idols. He was extremely devoted to Krishna and wanted everyone to feel the presence of the Lord everywhere, at all times.

Pradyumna as Sanathkumara

In Hindu mythology, the Four Kumaras, namely, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanathkumara are the four manasaputras or the mind-born sons of Lord Brahma. Featuring prominently in Puranic literature, their mention is also found in the Upanishads. They are great yogis, who received the boon of remaining forever five years old, from Brahma himself. They were created with a view to advancing creation. However, they decided to undertake a vow of Brahmacharya or lifelong celibacy.

After being initiated into the Sri Gopala Mantra, the four brothers entered deep meditation and realized the Supreme Power of the Highest Being, Lord Sri Krishna. Being initiated into Vaishnava tradition, they then began to spread the teachings of the path of renunciation. During the process of initiation, they received the Sri Shaligrama Shila, known as Sri Sarveswara Bhagawan. This had been passed on through the Guru-Shishya parampara (teacher-student tradition) prevalent at that time.

The name Sanathkumara is derived from Sanskrit “Sanath”, which means “Eternal Youth”; “Ku” means “with difficulty” and “Mara” means “mortal”. He receives mention in the Chandogya Upanishad text. There is a shrine dedicated to him, situated in the town of Kataragama, Sri Lanka, which attracts people from all religions and faiths.

Sanathkumara is believed to reside in the most sacred place; at the very center of our planet. This place is called Shamballa or Shambhala. He has several names, relating to the sahasrara centers; associating with the different spiritual and cosmic planes. At the supra-cosmic plane, he is called Sanatana; at the cosmic plane, he is Subrahmanya; at the solar plane, he is known as Sanaka; at the planetary plane, he is Sanandana and, on this planet, he is the Sanathkumara.

According to the Mahabharata and several other scriptures, Sanathkumara comes to Earth to help the divine plan of creation. He synchronized his arrival with that of the Krishna avatara. He was born to Krishna and Rukmini as their son, Pradyumna.

He goes through a complicated life process, dies a violent death and, at the end of his mission; goes back to his original position as Sanathkumara in Shamballa. In its last chapters, the Mahabharata talks in detail about his life story.

Shamballa in Hinduism and Buddhism

Sanathkumara is said to live in Shamballa, which is the sahasrara of the world. In Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, Shamballa is a mythical kingdom, which is believed to be laid out in the form of an eight-petal lotus, surrounded by a chain of snowy mountains. In the center lies the palace of the King of Shamballa, who ruled from the city called Kalapa. Some texts refer to Shamballa as Shangri-La.

Interestingly, the Vishnu Purana and some other Hindu texts mention the village of Shamballa as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu. It is believed that Kalki will manifest in order to end the present Kali Yuga and usher in the new Age of the Satya Yuga.

According to the Buddhist Kalachakra teachings, Shambhala is ruled over by Maitreya, the future Buddha. The Kalachakra tantra prophesies that, when the state of the world declines to the maximum possible extent and all is lost, the 25th Kalki king will come forth from Shambhala, with his vast army, in order to destroy the “Dark Forces”. He will usher in a worldwide Golden Age. The date for this event is estimated around the year 2424.


(This article was written by:
Priya Viswanathan, a teacher/performer of Bharata Natyam, Classical Music, and Classical Instrumental Veena. A recipient of several awards for both music and dance, Priya is also a freelance writer online. She currently writes for, a subsidiary of the New York Times )

The Science of Upaniṣads – Conclusion

It is now time for us to conclude. We studied all the eleven most important Upaniṣads belonging to the corpus of spiritual thoughts of India, spanning over many centuries or even millennia. Innumerable studies and interpretations of the Upaniṣads had already taken place in different periods, in the past.

Our study, however, is different from all these conventional ones in that our focus was on unraveling the rational thoughts which are presented in the Upaniṣads with mythological encryption. We decoded all such encryptions and reached the pure rational conceptions within. And, what did we see? The finest and the most sublime discovery that mankind has ever made on the existence of universe; it is the concept of Ātmā, the ultimate of all that exists. We found that Ātmā is only a principle, the constitution of which is SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA. This principle is the driving force and the ruler of the whole universe. Any movement occurring anywhere in the universe is in furtherance of the urge impelled by this principle. In fact, SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA is only an abstraction of the manifold activities in the universe into three basic urges namely, (i) to exist, (ii) to know and express and (iii) to derive happiness; these urges are respectively SAT, CHIT and ĀNANDA, which when merged together, like various colours in sunlight, are known as SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA or Ātmā. We further saw that this Ātmā is the only God and Lord of all, pervading all, and without any sign or idol. Ātmā projects the phenomenal world by invoking its power of Prakṛti or Māyā. With Prakṛti invoked, Ātmā is called Puruṣa; the Prakṛti-Puruṣa combine is Brahma, which, on expansion, projects the universe.

To put specifically, our study identified i) the precise nature of Ātmā, Puruṣa, Prakṛti and Brahma, (ii) the subtle difference between Ātmā and Brahma, (iii) the fact that the principle of SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA is only an abstraction of all activities in the universe, (iv) the fact that Thalamus, the centre of consciousness within, is the Heart revealed in scriptures as location of Ātmā in beings, and above all, (v) the existence of consistency and mutual corroboration of thoughts in all the eleven Upaniṣads. It is these findings that make our study distinct from conventional interpretations done in the past by enlightened Sannyasins and learned scholars. We have unfailingly conformed to these findings, all through our study. We also took particular care in presenting the study in a logical format so as to facilitate easy understanding.

Perception of Ātmā as the only God and the only Lord is the fundamental spiritual philosophy of the Upaniṣads. It is not another spiritual philosophy, but the ultimate one. It is the science of spirituality; for, it is purely rational, not based on unfounded beliefs or blind faith. All other spiritual philosophies, moral codes, social laws and all are derivatives of this philosophy, often expressed with varying degrees of adulteration effected by dogmas.

If the rational spiritual philosophy of the Upaniṣads also finds practical expression as a religion, as is usual with any other spiritual philosophy, it must be known as the ‘Religion of the Upaniṣads’. What is now being practiced as the Hindu religion is only a highly corrupted version of this religion. Hindu religious practices have to undergo thorough reformation to live up to the most scientific spiritual philosophy of the world which constitutes their essence.

The religion of the Upaniṣads is the religion of ultimate freedom, a religion that promotes personal liberty. It does not require anybody to invariably follow a particular faith or to uphold any specified belief or to observe any prescribed rite or discipline; it is absolutely devoid of such demands and dictates. You are at liberty to ponder over whatever is preached to you and then accept only that which is felt reasonable; no dogmatism and no authoritarianism. This religion does not recognize the services of priests and mediators; it also does not recognize any differentiation between the God and the worshipper or between the leader and the follower. All is One; there is only ‘I’, all in One.

The religion of the Upaniṣads asserts the unity of origin and unity of essence of all beings. It is all about transcending the diversity of external appearances and characteristics and attaining to the unity of inner essence. The spirit of this inner equality makes it devoid of all kinds of discrimination and hatred. It is the universal religion. What it presently lacks is the proper dissemination of its principles. The effort to inculcate these principles in the minds of all has to start at the very stage of childhood. This is essential to illumine their future lives with positive values and broader vision of universal oneness.

All known religions possess various sets of prescriptions on rites and observances as a means to practice their distinct spiritual philosophy. These prescriptions mostly aim at appeasing the God of their perception, for favors of physical well-being. This appeasement is made by singing praises to that God, visualized in human form, and by offering presents in the form of money, gold, and other valuables; this is akin to bribing some power-wielding, greedy mortals for securing protection and favors. In contrast, Religion of the Upaniṣads does not approve of this notion of appeasement. For, it does not consider God as a glorified being in human form, amenable to appeasement and inclined to deliver favors in return; moreover, it does not recognize acquisition and arrogation of physical possessions as a goal of spiritual pursuit. The religion of the Upaniṣads, on the other hand, holds that durable happiness is obtained only by living the life in conformity with the principle of Ātmā. An action that is in conformity with this principle is known as puṇya karma and the opposite as pāpa karma. When a puṇya karma is done, the doer feels contented and enriched, since it resonates well with his inherent essence which is SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA. On the other hand, when a pāpa karma is done, the doer is upset internally as it is repugnant to his very essence. This contradiction between the inner essence and the outer expression throws him into a chaos which diminishes his strength and culminates in his total ruin. In the social front, when pāpa karmas become rampant threatening the peace and well-being of the society, the ultimate ruling principle, SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA, intervenes by churning out sufficient opposite forces to contain the adverse impacts and to finally assert itself. This is what Gīta says ‘saṃbhavāmi yuge yuge’ (4.8). Pāpa karmas are like obstructions to the natural flow of water in a river; when they reach an intolerable level, water musters sufficient force and thrashes away all the obstructions with a violent sweep.
All self-centered pursuits for physical yields will end up in retaliation and entanglements. Only by abiding by the principle of Ātmā that one can secure hassle-free, durable happiness. We should, therefore, get enlightened about that principle. That is why Upaniṣads say that only by knowing the Ātmā one can attain bliss. Gīta prescribes this knowing as the only one goal deserving to be pursued, not too many, as would be the case with physical benefits (Gīta 2.41 to 2.44).

Everybody knows that we are not isolated beings here; we are part of a magnificent whole. We consist of all that is here; we together constitute the whole. Therefore, our happiness is the happiness of the whole; we have no separate happiness. As such, we have to work for the happiness of the whole; our happiness is involved in that happiness. All our actions should comply with this understanding. This is the practical implication of being in conformity with the principle of Ātmā.

We have already seen that ‘knowing’ Ātmā, according to Upaniṣads, is not simply understanding; it is but experiencing also. Then, the question is how to experience it. Actually, we are always experiencing Ātmā; but we don’t recognize that fact. We enjoy pudding, laddu, etc. Sugar is the main constituent in them; without sugar, there is no pudding and no laddu. Because of ignorance of this truth, we don’t recognize that we are enjoying the sweetness of sugar. We simply say, “O, the pudding is good” or “laddu is good”. We don’t say that we have known the sweetness of sugar. Experiencing sugar is achieved by recognizing its presence and consciously feeling it. Like this, experiencing Ātmā is achieved by recognizing it in everything and consciously feeling it. This state of conscious feeling is achieved by meditation.

Having already known what Ātmā is, we are now concerned with meditation. It is really the lone spiritual practice under the Religion of Upaniṣads, apart from gaining simple knowledge about Ātmā. We shall see here how it can be done; this is only a model, not an inviolable prescription.

In a peaceful place and time, sit erect on a firm seat with the legs folded and hands placed on the thighs. The intention is to sit in a very comfortable posture. Close the eyes; concentrate on the upper tip of the nose between eye-brows; slowly move the attention backward horizontally to touch the cross line that passes through the head at level with the ears. It is approximately at this point the Thalamus or the Heart which is the center of consciousness within the body is situated. Thalamus has two halves of bulb-shaped masses, each half having a length of about 3 cm. Praśna says that to this Heart, 101 main nerves are connected, out of which one projects upward. Each of these 101 nerves branches into 7.2 million secondary and tertiary nerves. The heart is the center of consciousness, the light of Ātmā; from the Heart consciousness spreads to all parts of the body through nerves. Concentrate attention on the Heart and feel the flow of consciousness from the Heart to all parts of the body, like water from a perennial spring. Contemplate that every cell of the body is filled with the splendor of pure consciousness and that the whole body is drenched in it. Feel as being inundated with that splendor. Remain in this position as long as possible; it will refresh you with new energy. By constant practice, you will feel like being in that splendor constantly. While being in that position you will have no more prayers to be made to any external agent; for, in this state, there is no ‘another’ to pray to. Your prayers will, therefore, be converted into wills. You may anything to be done.

What we saw here is only a beginning. Constant practice will stabilize you in the splendor of consciousness. This is the highest goal of the Religion of Upaniṣads; such identification with Ātmā makes one immortal. Though the instances of reaching that goal are very rare, we should not abstain or discontinue. Any effort, however small it may be, will be helpful in bringing about inner enrichment to a proportionate level; it takes us closer and closer to the ultimate principle. Moreover, such efforts never produce an opposite effect; there is also nothing to lose by discontinuance (Gīta 2.40).

What we have seen above is the two facets of spiritual enlightenment, social and individual. That means, spirituality guides man to live a meaningful and ideal social life, on the one hand, and on the other, it enriches him to attain to the highest state of being.

Transformation of prayers into wills is exemplified by the Peace Invocations (Śānti Mantras) of Upaniṣads; no Deva or Lord is addressed therein for securing anything. The only exception is the Upaniṣads under Atharva Veda, namely Praśna, Muṇḍaka and Māṇḍūkya; note that Atharva is a later compilation. Śānti Mantras appear at the beginning and end of the Upaniṣads. The same Śānti Mantra appears in all the Upaniṣads under a particular Veda. Since Yajerveda has two branches, namely the Kṛṣṇa and Śukla Yajurvedas, separate Śānti Mantras are used in each of them. Thus there are five important Śānti Mantras; we shall have a look at them all.

Let us first see the Śānti Mantra of Aitareya Upaniṣad, the only Principal Upaniṣad under Ṛgveda.

ॐ वाङ्मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता | मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम् | आविराविर्म एधि | वेदस्य म आणीस्थः| श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान् संदधामि | ऋतं वदिष्यामि सत्यं वदिष्यामि | तन्मामवतु तद्वक्तारमवतु | अवतु मां अवतु वक्तारं अवतु वक्तारम् ||

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

vāṅme manasi pratiṣṭhitā; mano me vāci pratiṣṭhitaṃ; āvirāvirma edhi; vedasya ma
āṇīsthaḥ; śrutaṃ me mā prahāsīranenādhītenāhorātrān saṃdadhāmi; ṛtaṃ vadiṣyāmi satyaṃ vadiṣyāmi; tanmāmavatu tadvaktāramavatu; avatu māṃ avatu vaktāraṃ avatu vaktāram.

om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Word Meaning: vāk- speech (utterance); me- my; manasi- in mind; pratiṣṭhitā- established; manaḥ- mind; vāci- in speech; pratiṣṭhitaṃ- established; āvis- evident, manifest; āvirāvis- more and more evident; ma- to me; edhi- enlarged, more clarified or apparent; vedasya- of Veda, of learning; ma- to me, my; āṇī- instruments, means, agents; sthaḥ- (you two) are; śrutaṃ- whatever learned; me- to me; mā- not; prahāsīḥ- be lost; anenādhītena- by that learning; ahorātrān- day and night; saṃdadhāmi- I shall unite; ṛtaṃ- SAT, the ruling principle of the world; vadiṣyāmi – I shall speak of; satyaṃ Satyam; tat- that; mām- me; avatu- may protect; vaktāram- the expounder, teacher; avatu māṃ – may I be protected; avatu vaktāraṃ – may the teacher be protected.
śāntiḥ- peace, calmness.

Mantra Meaning: My speech (utterance) is established in my mind; my mind is established in my speech. (May everything) be more and more evident and clarified to me. (O, speech, and mind), you two are my instruments for learning. May what I have learned to be never lost. I shall unite day and night by that learning. I shall speak of SAT and Satyam; May that protect me and the teacher. May I be protected; may the teacher be protected.

The Mantra states that the mind and the speech are established in each other. What one speaks is what there is in his mind; what there is in one’s mind is what he learned by repeated recitation (by speech). This is the implication of the statement. It is obvious here that mind and speech are the instruments of learning. It is through them that one acquires correct and clarified knowledge. The prayer seeks that the acquired knowledge is never lost. The phrase ‘uniting day and night by the learning’ implies perseverance and constant effort throughout day and night. Ṛtaṃ is SAT which indicates Ātmā, the ruling principle of the universe; Satyam indicates, as we know, Brahma. ‘I shall speak of Ṛtaṃ and Satyam’ means ‘I shall study Ātmā and Brahma’. ‘May that protects’ implies ‘may such study’ protect. Upaniṣads repeatedly declare that knowing Ātmā and Brahma makes one immortal. This declaration relies in this Mantra.

Śānti is peace or calmness of mind obtained by alleviation of miseries; the word is repeated three times aiming to alleviate all the three kinds of miseries affecting humans.

The next Mantra is seen in Upaniṣads belonging to Śukla Yajurveda; Īśa and Bṛhadāraṇyaka are the two Principal Upaniṣads which use this Mantra.

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते | पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते||

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

om pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate; pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate.

om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Word Meaning: pūrṇam- Pūrṇam, that which is full, complete, absolute, saturated, whole, ultimate; adaḥ- that; idaṃ- this; pūrṇāt- from Pūrṇam; udacyate- emitted out; pūrṇasya- to the Pūrṇam; ādāya- having taken, having merged; pūrṇameva- Pūrṇam alone; avaśiṣyate- be left out, remains.

Mantra Meaning: That is Pūrṇam, this is Pūrṇam. Pūrṇam emerges from Pūrṇam. Pūrṇam on having merged to Pūrṇam, remains as Pūrṇam alone.

This Mantra, though short in size, actually presents one of the important basic tenets of Upaniṣadic philosophy. Upaniṣads say that this universe emerged from the ultimate principle, Ātmā and that it will finally merge into Ātmā. In other words, the universe is only an expression of Ātmā. It is well settled that Ātmā is absolute, ultimate and the whole; that means it is Pūrṇam. The words ‘that’ and ‘this’ in the Mantra indicate worldly objects there and here or far and near. All worldly objects are said to be body parts of Ātmā; they are manifestations of Ātmā. They are pervaded by Ātmā; they are actually Ātmā itself appearing in those forms. So, both are Pūrṇam; ‘that’ and ‘this’ are Pūrṇam. They emerged from Ātmā, the Pūrṇam; from Pūrṇam, only Pūrṇam can come out. So, it is said: ‘pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate’. What happens if all these merge into Ātmā? It will remain as such, as Pūrṇam only. Hence the Mantra declaration, “pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate” (Pūrṇam on having merged to Pūrṇam, remains as Pūrṇam alone).
Now we go to the next Mantra which is seen in Upaniṣads belonging to Samaveda (Kena and Chāndogya). This Mantra is an expression of an earnest wish to become one with Brahma.

ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वाक्प्राणश्चक्षुःश्रोत्रमथो बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि।

सर्वं ब्रह्मोपनिषदं माऽहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म निराकरोद् अनिराकरणमस्तु अनिराकरणं मेऽस्तु। तदात्मनि निरते य उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु ते मयि सन्तु।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

Oṃ āpyāyantu mamāṅgāni vākprāṇaścakṣuḥ śrotramatho balamindriyāṇi ca sarvāṇi;

sarvam brahmaupaniṣadam mā’haṃ brahma nirākuryāṃ mā mā brahma nirākarodanirākaraṇamastvanirākaraṇam me’stu. tadātmani nirate ya upaniṣatsu dharmāste mayi santu te mayi santu.

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.

Word Meaning: āpyāyantu- may be(come) strong, powerful; mama- my; aṅgāni- body parts; vāk- speech; prāṇa- breath; cakṣuḥ- eyes; śrotram- ears; athaḥ- and, further; balam-stamina; indriyāṇi- senses; ca- and; sarvāṇi- all; sarvam- all this; brahma- Brahma; upaniṣadam- declared in the Upaniṣads; ma- not; aham- I; nirākaroti- negate, separate off; mā’haṃ brahma nirākuryāṃ – may I not negate Brahma; mā mā brahma nirākarot – may Brahma not separate me off; anirākaraṇam- non-negation; astu- may there be; me- to me; tat- that; ātmani- within; nirate- attached, linger; ya- ye- which; upaniṣatsu- in Upaniṣads; dharmaḥ- ordinances, principles; te- they; mayi- in me; santu- may there be.

Mantra Meaning: May my body parts are strong; may my speech, breath, eyes, ears, stamina and all senses be powerful. All this (present here) is Brahma declared in the Upaniṣads. May I do not negate (defy) Brahma; may Brahma not negate me. May there be non-negation; may there be non-negation to me; may that (non-negation) linger within (me). May the ordinances of Upaniṣads be always present in me.

The first yearning in this Mantra is for a strong body; this is because, without a strong and healthy body, a sustained pursuit of the ultimate knowledge is not feasible. The second yearning is that there may not be any mutual negation of Brahma and the current seeker. This implies his earnest desire to be one with Brahma; he wants that this desire must constantly reverberate within him. Finally, he wants to bear in mind all the ordinances of the Upaniṣads; for, these ordinances are leading lights in the pursuit of spiritual realization.

We shall now see the Mantra that is found in Upaniṣads of Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda. It expresses a wish jointly made by the disciple and the master. They want the process of learning and teaching to be a smooth one without room for any prejudices. See the Mantra below:

ॐ सह नाववतु | सह नौ भुनक्तु | सह वीर्यं करवावहै | तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

Oṃ saha nāvavatu; saha nau bhunaktu; saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai; tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai.

Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.

Word Meaning: saha- together; nāvavatu – nau + avatu; nau- both of us; avatu- may be impelled, promoted, protected; bhunaktu- may be hungry; vīryaṃ- energy; karavāvahai- may we utilise; tejasvi- brilliant; adhītam- learning; astu- may it be; mā- not; vidviṣāvahai- may we cause to dislike each other.

Mantra Meaning: May both of us be impelled together; may we be hungry together. May we utilize our energy together. May our learning be brilliant; may we both not cause any dislike to each other.

The teacher and the student pray for being motivated together and for being hungry together. Motivation is for study; hunger is for imparting/receiving knowledge. To achieve this goal, they have to utilize their energy together. Such united effort is essential to ensure a brilliant output. Finally, the process of learning should not result in mutual dislike. There is a possibility of dislike in the absence of simultaneous inspiration and joint effort; that justifies the beginning part of the Mantra.

The last of the popular Śānti Mantras in the Upaniṣads is given below; it is found in Upaniṣads belonging to Atharva Veda. This Mantra is different from those given above, in that the prayers here are directed to various Devas.

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवाः भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः|
स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिः व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः।
स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु |
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

auṃ bhadraṃ karṇebhiḥ śruṇuyāma devāḥ bhadraṃ paśyemākṣabhiryajatrāḥ;
sthirairaṅgaistuṣṭuvāṃsastanūbhiḥ vyaśema devahitam yadāyuḥ;
svasti na indro vṛddhaśravāḥ svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavedāḥ;
svasti nastārkṣyo ariṣṭanemiḥ svasti no bṛhaspatirdadhātu.
auṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.

Word Meaning: bhadraṃ- auspicious, excellent; karṇebhiḥ- by ears; śruṇuyāma- may we hear; devāḥ- Devas; paśyema- may we see; akṣabhiḥ- by the eyes; yajatrāḥ- worshipful ones; sthirairaṅgaiḥ- (sthiraiḥ + aṅgaiḥ) with determined mind; tuṣṭuvāṃsastanūbhiḥ- with a satisfied or healthy body; vyaśema- spend, consume; devahitam- allotted or assigned by Devas; yadāyuḥ- life as (alloted); svasti- blessing, prosperity; naḥ- to us; indraḥ- Indra; vṛddhaśravāḥ- ancient glory; pūṣā- Pūṣa (the great nourisher); viśvavedāḥ- all-knowing; tārkṣyaḥ- Garuda; ariṣṭanemiḥ- one who wards off evils; bṛhaspatiḥ- Bṛhaspati (Lord of prayer); dadhātu- bestow.

Mantra Meaning: O Devas, may we hear the auspicious with our ears. O worshipful ones, may we see the auspicious with our eyes. May we spend our lifetime allotted by Devas, with a determined mind and healthy body. May Indra, the ancient glory and Pūṣa the all-knowing, Garuda, the one who wards of evils, and Bṛhaspati bestow blessings on us.

Finally, we shall look into a comment made by some readers regarding the oldness of Upaniṣads mentioned in the introduction to this series. They objected to specifying the period of the ten most ancient Upaniṣads to be between 1500 BC and 600 BC. Their reason was that Upaniṣads are divine (apauruṣeya) and their age cannot be so specified. In this regard, it is to be clarified that all knowledge is apauruṣeya; even the simple arithmetic “2 + 2 = 4” is so. This is because such knowledge is not the invention of any particular individual; it is only a discovery by some person at some point in time. The time of such discovery is what we give as the date of that piece of knowledge. It may be seen that each sukta in the Veda Samhita is known in the name of some renowned Sage. Upaniṣads also are mostly presented as expounded by some Ṛsis. As such, there is nothing wrong in mentioning the period of the revelation of the Upaniṣads. The dispute exists only in respect of the correctness of the period assigned.

It is clear from the above facts that nobody has any proprietary or tenancy right over any knowledge. Spiritual knowledge, like any other knowledge, is a universal property and every person has the right of access to and utilization of that property. Let everybody realize this fact and come forward to get enriched in the exercise of that right. It is everybody’s right and duty to acquire knowledge and rise up to the ultimate awakening. For, peaceful co-existence demands it.

The Science of Upaniṣads

Brihadaranyaka Upaniṣad

Chāndogya Upaniṣad

Īśāvāsya Upaniṣad

Kaṭha Upaniṣad

Kena Upaniṣad

Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad

Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad

Aitareya Upaniṣad

Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad

Praśna Upaniṣad

Taittirīya Upaniṣad, author Karthikeyan Sreedharan