Chandogya Upanisad, again

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 2 18:24:30 UTC 1999

>This passage seems interesting as a follow up on my previous
>inquiry about the Chandogya Upanisad.  Here Datta and Singh
>translate "rasi" as arithmetic rather than as mathematics as

I have seen other translations which use the term arithmetic, rather than

>translates it as "science of ritual").  It does not seem to make
>sense that Narada would beg from Sanatkumara Brahma-vidya only
>to subsequently list this as a science he already learnt.  Can
>anyone shed some light on this?

This has to do with the complexity of the term brahma. To most of us,
brahman refers to the ultimate reality or supreme principle. Within the
Vedic/upanishadic corpus, the variety of meanings of the term brahman can be
deduced from the context.

Specifically in the cchAndogya text, brahma-vidyaa in Narada's list is
juxtaposed with kshatra-vidyaa. The compound brahma-kshatra is a term that
occurs frequently. If I remember right, Narada asks for some knowledge that
would remove his sorrow. Sanatkumara proceeds to teach him in stages,
ultimately leading to the highest brahman. In the upanishadic/Vedantic
traditions, it is axiomatic that he who knows the highest reality knows no
sorrow and no fear. Obviously, the brahma-vidyaa listed by Narada as
something that he already knows is not the knowledge of the highest brahman.


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