Upanishads 2:

Liberation, the Divine, and the Self


1)   Life and Suffering

a)    Suffering pervades human existence: the endless cycles of suffering, death, rebirth:  “May the evil of death not get me” (Brh Up), “To hoary and toothless and drooling old age may I not go” (Chan Up)

b)   See Embree p.31 Mundaka Upanishad

c)   The Solution = moksha.  Liberation from the endless round. 

2)   Moksha

a)    Liberation from the cycle of rebirth

b)   Realization of one’s divine identity

i)     Entails a new concept of the ultimate reality

3)   Brahman: A single pervasive power and essence, source of all things

a)    “That from which these beings are born; on which, once born, they live; and into which they pass upon death – seek to perceive that?  That is brahman!”

b)   Totality of sacred words in the Veda; gives unlimited power to sacrifice; Essence of the entire world; the power that reside s in all beings, including the gods

c)   Svetaketu (boy) and Uddalaka (his father): Sve hasn’t heard of world soul

d)   Fleeting names and forms outside (nama rupa), one underlying reality [See Chandogya Upanishad, Embree p.36]

e)    Brahman is the essence and source of the whole phenomenal world

4)   Atman: the reality that is the lasting and indispensable basis of one’s being

a)    Atman as pure consciousness: four states [See Chandogya Upanishad, Embree p.33]

i)     Waking life

ii)    Dreaming sleep

iii)  Dreamless sleep

iv)  Atman

5)   The secret revealed:

a)    Tatvamasi: “You are that”.  Atman = Brahman