Tejobindu Upaniṣad

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Tejobindu Upanisad, Tejobindu UpaniSad, Tejobindu Upanishad


Significance of Tejobindu Upaniṣad

Tejobindu Upaniṣad is one of the minor Upaniṣads assigned to the Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda group. It is a fairly long work with 466 verses in the anuṣṭubh meter, divided into six chapters.

Overview of Tejobindu Upaniṣad

The first chapter is a direct presentation of the teachings by the Upaniṣad. Chapters two, three and four are in the form of a dialogue between Skanda[1] and his father Śiva. The last two are a conversation in the question-answer form between the disciple Nidāgha and his teacher Ṛbhu. The following is a brief synopsis of the contents:

First Chapter

It has 51 verses which covers the following topics:

  • Description of Tejobindu, Brahman as the source of spiritual light
  • Some sādhanas that lead to it such as:
  1. Control over food
  2. Conquering anger and attachment
  3. Self-control
  4. Absence of egotism
  • Yoga of fifteen steps comprising of:
  1. Yama - control of senses
  2. Niyama - continuous meditation on the Self as consciousness
  3. Tyāga - renouncing the world-appearance by seeing Brahman in it
  4. Mauna - observing silence
  5. Etc.
  • Practice of yoga and overcoming the various obstacles
  • Attaining Brahman through samādhi

Second Chapter

It has 43 verses which delineates that everything that exists is ‘akhaṇḍaikarasa’ or ‘non-dual and part-less essence’.[2]

Third Chapter

It has 74 verses. The gist of the chapter is that the Ātman is the same as Brahman which is sat-cit-ānanda or existence-consciousness-bliss. This experience can be got by practicing the mantra, aham brahmāsmi, ‘I am Brahman’.

Fourth Chapter

It has 82 verses which describes in a highly poetical language about the Jīvanmukti[3] and videhamukti.[4]

Fifth Chapter

It has 105 verses which describes the true nature of the ātman as identified with Paramātman. The world that is grasped through the senses has no permanent and independent existence. Bondage of the individual[5] is due to the mind which is constantly desiring things.

Sixth Chapter

It has 111 verses which revises the teachings given earlier chapters. Rules are laid down here as to whom this teaching can be given and to whom it should not be imparted. Atheists, ungrateful ones and persons of bad character are unfit to receive it. Only those of a pure mind and endowed with devotion to the guru are fit to be taught.

Epilogue

The final declaration is that even study of this Upaniṣad is enough to give liberation.


References

  1. Skanda is the god Subrahmaṇya.
  2. It refers to Brahman here.
  3. Jīvanmukti means liberation while living.
  4. Videhamukti means liberation from future births.
  5. It is called as jivātman.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore