Saturday, 21 July 2018

Narayana Upanishad ; Vaishnavism In a Nutshell


Narayana Upanishad of the Krishna Yajur Veda holds a very unique position in the Vedic lore.

An Upanishad is a portion of the Vedas which gives the essence of Vedic truth.
The 4 Vedas had many branches ( shaakhas ) to them.A lot of them have gone extinct.

Narayana Upanishad is from one of the extinct branches of the Yajur Veda.This could explain why it appears unpopular despite its weightage.
    
                       
Video: Narayana Upanishad with meanings

Personally, Narayana Upanishad is one of my favourite portions of the Vedas. When one recites and meditates upon this Upanishad,it brings instant bliss.

In parallel to the Ganapati Upanishad,The then Vice Chancellor of AIMST University - Prof Ravichandran inspired me to learn the Narayana Upanishad.

It appears to be his favourite portion of the Vedas.I still recall the days he narrated his experience with Narayana Upanishad back in the campus.

Vaikuntha literally manifests wherever and whenever this Upanishad is recited.

Video : Narayana Upanishad recitation by my students.Location : Kriyalakshmi Shree Sai Gurukul,Setapak,Malaysia



The merits of reciting this Upanishad is also particularly brow-raising. These merits which are referred to as Phala Shruti are compiled at the climax of this Upanishad.

Merits of reciting Narayana Upanishad : 

(1) One gets the merit of reciting the entire Vedas

(2) If chanted in the morning, it destroys the sins of the previous night

(3) If chanted in the evening, it destroys the sins committed in the day

(4) If chanted in the noon, whilst facing the Sun, one pulverizes the five great sins.

(5) One merges with Narayana and becomes ONE with Him - Like eye and sight.The reciter becomes Vishnu ( that which is all-pervasive  : Indicating the state of enlightenment )

Why recite it? Can't I just go through the meanings?

The beauty of Vedas lies in its sound aspect. Vedas are literally the sound waves that reverberate as the cosmos.They were heard by ancient Sages who then orally transferred this sound-bound knowledge to disciples. This is why they are known as Shrutis ( that which was heard ). This is also why Veda chanting is bound to intonations ( uprise and downfall of pitches). Other forms of prayers that are not from Vedas do not have this rule ( eg.Lalita Sahasranamam ).

If you read, it is nothing different from reading a good philosophy.No experience in you is triggered. If you chant it, the truths of the Vedas are realized by the very reciter.

Reading and knowing is different from reciting and letting the sound of the Vedas erupt the very experience in you.

The mantra ( sound energy ) is the pendrive through which cosmic data is transferred into the chanter.



Contents in a nutshell : 

This Upanishad describes absolute consciousness or God as Narayana.


Further, it explains on how all the deities,the concept of time, directions and every aspect of creation is verily Narayana.The life-force which sustains all beings is born out of Narayana.The 5 elements which make up the entire Universe are born out of Narayana.

The sacred mantra ' Om Namo Narayanaya ' is elaborated and explained.

Additional verses on how everything is Narayana and indeed Narayana IS everything is expounded.

Then, Lord Krishna's identity as the very incarnation of Brahman - absolute consciousness is verified.Lord Krishna is verily Narayana.

 

Importantly, this Upanishad repeats a couple of verses that stress the essence of the Vedas - Unison with the absolute consciousness ( God ) or enlightenment / mukti.In its middle portion, it describes on how the reciter becomes Vishnu ( Indicating self-realization). At its conclusion, it expresses Sayujyam ( the state of complete union and becoming One ) with Narayana

These verses are repeated twice at every occurence - indicating the statement of God realisation as the very essence of the essence.It tallies with the Mahavakya of the Vedas - Aham Brahmasmi ( I am Brahman - God ) and Tat tvam asi ( i am THAT ! )

Video : AIMST University Veda class - Narayana Upanishad 



My Vedam class kids reciting the Narayana Upanishad

Technology can do wonders.Below is Narayana Upanishad by a learner who learnt with me through Whatsapp :

Whatsapp Veda Learner Shravanthi reciting the Narayana Upanishad

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