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Yajur Vedic Upanishads - XV

Hamsa Upanishad

This Upanishad talks about the famous Sanskrit term "Hamsa". This Upanishad is part of the Sukla Yajur Veda. It is in the form of a dialogue between Sage Gouthama and Sage Sanat Kumara.

Gautama addressed Sanat Kumara thus: "O Lord, thou art the knower of all Dharmas and art well versed in all Shastras, pray tell me the means by which I may obtain a knowledge of Brahma-Vidya.

Sanat Kumara replied thus: "Hear, O Gautama, that Tattva as expounded by Parvati after inquiring into all Dharmas and ascertaining Shiva's opinion. This treatise on the nature of Hamsa which gives the fruit of bliss and salvation and which is like a treasure to the Yogi, is very mystic and should not be revealed.

Now we shall explain the true nature of Hamsa and Paramahamsa for the benefit of a Brahmacharin (a seeker after Brahman or celibate), who has his desires under control, is devoted to his guru and always contemplates Hamsa and realizes thus: It (Hamsa) is permeating all bodies like fire (or heat) in all kinds of wood or oil in all kinds of gingili seeds. Having known (It) thus, one does not meet with death.

Having contracted the anus (with the heels pressed against it), having raised the Vayu (breath) from (Mula) Adhara (Chakra), having made circuit thrice round Svadhisthana, having gone to Manipuraka, having crossed Anahata, having controlled Prana in Visuddhi and then having reached Ajna, one contemplates in Brahmarandhra (in the head) and having meditated there always 'I am of three Matras', cognizes (his Self) and becomes formless. This is that Paramahamsa (Supreme Hamsa or Higher Self) having the resplendence of a Crore of suns and who pervades the entire world.

If (this Hamsa which has Buddhi as vehicle) has eight-fold Vritti. (When it is) in the eastern petal, there is the inclination (in a person) to virtuous actions; in the south-eastern petal, there arise sleep, laziness, etc., in the southern, there is the inclination to cruelty; in the south-western, there is the inclination to sins; in the western, there is the inclination to sensual sport; in the north-western, there arise the desire of walking and others; in the northern, there arises the desire of lust; in the north-eastern, there arises the desire of amassing money; in the middle (or the inter-spaces between the petals), there is the indifference to material pleasures. In the filament (of the lotus), there arises the waking state; in the pericarp there arises the Svapna (dreaming state); in the Bija (seed of pericarp), there arises the Sushupti (dreamless sleeping state); when leaving the lotus, there is the Turya (fourth state). When Hamsa is absorbed in Nada (spiritual sound), the state beyond the fourth is reached. Nada (which is at the end of sound and beyond speech and mind) is like a pure crystal extending from (Mula) Adhara to Brahmarandhra. It is that which is spoken of as Brahma and Paramatman.

Here is the performance of Ajapa Gayatri: Hamsa is the Rishi; the metre is Avyakta Gayatri; Paramahamsa is the Devata (or presiding deity) 'Ham' is the Bija; 'Sa' is the Sakti; So'ham is the Kilaka (wedge). Thus there are six. There are 21,600 Hamsas (or breaths) in a day and night. (Salutation to) Surya, Soma, Niranjana (the stainless) and Nirabhasa (the universeless). Ajapa mantra. May the bodiless and subtle one guide (or illuminate my understanding). Vaushat to Agni-Soma. Then Anganyasas and Karanyasas occur (or should be performed after the Mantras as they are performed before the Mantras) in the heart and other (seats). Having done so, one should contemplate upon Hamsa as the Atman in his heart. Agni and Soma are its wings (right and left sides); Omkara is its head; Ukara and Bindu are the three eyes and face respectively; Rudra and Rudrani (or Rudra's wife) are the feet Kanthata (or the realisation of the oneness of Jivatma or Hamsa, the lower self with Paramatman or Paramahamsa, the Higher Self) is done in two ways (Samprajnata and Asamprajnata). After that, Unmani is the end of the Ajapa (Mantra). Having thus reflected upon Manas by means of This (Hamsa), one hears Nada after the uttering of this Japa (Mantra) a crore of times. It (Nada) is (begun to be heard as) of ten kinds.

The first is Chini (like the sound of that word); the second is Chini-Chini; the third is the sound of bell; the fourth is that of conch; the fifth is that of Tantiri (lute); the sixth is that sound of Tala (cymbals); the seventh is that of flute; the eighth is that of Bheri (drum); the ninth is that of Mridanga (double drum); and the tenth is that of clouds (viz., thunder). He may experience the tenth without the first nine sounds (through the initiation of a Guru). In the first stage, his body becomes Chini-Chini; in the second, there is the (Bhanjana) breaking (or affecting) in the body; in the third, there is the (Bhedana) piercing; in the fourth, the head shakes; in the fifth, the palate produces saliva; in the sixth, nectar is attained; in the seventh, the knowledge of the hidden (things in the world) arises; in the eighth, Para-Vak is heard; in the ninth, the body becomes invisible and the pure divine eye is developed; in the tenth, he attains Para-Brahman in the presence of (or with) Atman which is Brahman. After that, when Manas destroyed, when it which is the source of Sankalpa and Vikalpa disappears, owing to the destruction of these two, and when virtues and sins are burnt away, then he shines as Sadashiva of the nature of Sakti pervading everywhere, being effulgence in its very essence, the immaculate, the eternal, the stainless and the most quiescent Om. Thus is the teaching of the Vedas; and thus is the Upanishad."

- October 11
- December 09

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