Chandogya Upanishad – Seventh Section of the Eighth Chapter

Since I am only beginning, my interpretation of things is supposed to be bad. Anyway, I needed a point to begin. Aubrey Menen, gave me that point and so I have begun. The whole thing is under a title “Gods and the Godless”

Prajapati is an interesting teacher that the Gods and the Godless ( basically referring to devas and asuras) approach to understand the self. That is why we go into things like spirituality and stuff and so I think that is why Menen wanted us to start here!

Prajapati puts these two leaders of the Gods and the Godless to work. At the end of their services, he provides them with the knowledge that _they_ desire. It’s almost like what you might observe in modern PhD programmes. Advisors extract the maximum work of their candidates and then finally give them their PhD. A wicked comparison, for Prajapati was a wise man but something that came to the mind while reading these lines.

Prajapati never gives straight forward answers and answers only those questions that the student puts to him. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The leaders of the Gods and the Godless – Indira and Virochana – ask him what is the self. Prajapati asks them to look in their eyes and what they see is the self. Ditto for looking at water and mirrors. Virochana is quite happy with this ‘wisdom’ and propogates it among the Godless. This according to the Upanishads is why the Godless are more interested in bodily sin et. all. This I think is a bit of exageration on the part of the interpreter. This is the basis, perhaps of condemning sex as an act of the weak.

Anyway, Virochana is happy and so the Godless are now cursed to living their lives in good bodies with bad minds (aka sex et. all)

However, Indira is doubtful. He returns to Prajapati with a good doubt. If the body is the self, then shouldn’t the self change according to the strength in the body. This is not so. Whys that? Prajapati asked Indira to work under him some more time. In this way Indira works under Prajapati for about 101 years which leads to a common saying in India of why the self is valuable. Even Indira took 101 years to master it!

The final cut-short story is this wonderful quote from Prajapati:

“Like the wind, like clouds, like thunder
and lightning, which rise from space without physical shape and reach the transcendent
light in their own form, those who rise above body-consciousness ascend to the transcendent
lightin their real form, the Self.”

The self is not such an easy thing to understand and yet it’s been so beautifully expressed. Reading those lines and imaging how clouds are formed or how thunder falls from the sky – from the formless to that of form, seem to attain the true form of the Self.

I have been thinking for quite some time on what I have just written. I am tired for today. Maybe tomorrow. When I clear out the message and read this part again. And then on with the rest of the Upanishads.

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