I like how big an effect chance has on what I read. Chance is, after, all one of the cardinal precepts of my beloved Surrealism, and really, along with its cousin uncertainty, is one of the hallmarks of our age. I love finding and digesting stuff that’s fringe, not exactly rare and valuable but obscure, ignored and not immediately comprehensible. Such was Upanishad Vahini by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a product of the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Book Center of America. It’s an odd volume, 78 pages, somewhere between a pamphlet and a book, the penciled price of $1.75 written on the inside page. It’s basically a commentary on The Upanishads as well as a sort of Upanishad itself. When I found it jammed into the “Beliefs” section at the library book sale I, of course, immediately picked it up, leading me to realize that I had never really read the original Upanishads themselves. I’m sure I have a copy somewhere, but I couldn’t find it, so I ordered the Penguin Classics edition, translated by Juan Mascaro, which whittles down what could be a bible sized tome to the core texts, and read them side by side, the original and then the sort of commentary, finding quite a bit of worth in each, the fruits of which I will share with you. O lucky reader. In general I’ll say that what I found demonstrated Hinduism evolving into beliefs I more associated with Buddhism, in its rejection of this world and its desires, and the whittling down of the vast Hindu pantheon into a single object of devotion. At this level of mysticism all religions seem to posit very similar things, and there are passages in The Upanishads that would be entirely comfortable in Gnostic, Mystic Christian and Sufi settings.
Those who have lost awareness will search for the lost jewels though they actually wear them at the moment.
The entire creation is bound with name and form and so, unreal.
There is no use seeking to know the cause of this delusion. Seek how to escape from it.
It is in the nature of things that ignorance prompts men to crave for plentiful fruits through the performance of actions. Then, they become despondent that they only bind them more and do not help make them free. That craving for fruit is hard to shove off, even though this fearful flux of growth and decay makes them shiver in dread.
— Sai Baba
He is unknown to the learned and known to the simple.
— Kena Upanishad
As fire, though one, takes new forms in all things that burn, the spirit, though one, takes new forms in all things that live.
…in the land of shades as remembrance of dreams, and in the world of spirits as reflections in trembling waters.
— Katha Upanishad
But the spirit of light above form, never-born, within all, outside all, is in radiance above life and mind, and beyond this creation’s Creator.
In truth who knows God becomes God.
— Mundaka Upanishad
There is the soul of man with wisdom and unwisdom, power and powerlessness; there is nature, Prakriti, which is creation for the sake of the soul; and there is God, infinite, omnipresent, who watches the work of creation. When a man knows the three he knows Brahman.
— Svetasvatara Upanishad
Even as a man who is asleep awakes, but when he is asleep does not know that he is going to awake, so a part of the subtle invisible spirit comes as a messenger to the body without the body being conscious of his arrival.
At the end of the worlds, all things sleep: He alone is awake in Eternity. Then from his infinite space new worlds arise and awake, a universe which is a vastness of thought.
Even as water becomes one with water, fire with fire, and air with air, so the mind becomes one with the Infinite Mind and thus attains final freedom.
— Maitri Upanishad
This universe is a trinity and this is made of name, form and action.
In truth, it is not for the love of a husband that a husband is dear; but for the love of the Soul in the husband that a husband is dear.
— Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad
There is a Light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart.
We should consider that in the inner world Brahman is consciousness; and we should consider that in the outer world Brahman is space.
That is why when here on earth a man will not give any gifts, when a man has no faith and will not sacrifice, people say ‘This man is a devil’; for this is in truth their devilish doctrine. They dress their dead bodies with fine garments, and glorify them with perfumes and ornaments, thinking that thereby they will conquer the other world.
— Chandogya Upanishad
The spirit of man has two dwellings: this world and the world beyond. There is also a third dwelling place: the land of sleep and dreams. Resting in this borderland the spirit of man can behold his dwelling in this world and in the other world afar, and wandering in this borderland he beholds behind him the sorrows of this world and in front of him he sees the joys of the beyond.
But in the ocean of Spirit the seer is alone beholding his own immensity.
The Soul is made of consciousness and mind: it is made of life and vision. It is made of the earth and the waters: it is made of air and space. It is made of light and darkness: it is made of desire and peace. It is made of anger and love: it is made of virtue and vice. It is made of all that is near: it is made of all that is afar. It is made of all.
— The Supreme Teaching