Taittiriya Upanishad

   The Taittiriya Upanishad is an UPANISHAD of the Black YAJUR VEDA. It is considered one of the old-est Upanishads. It consists of three sections.
   The first section is devoted to teaching; it out-lines elements of the sacred study of the VEDAS. The second section is named for its description of the ANANDA (infinite bliss) of the BRAHMAN (ultimate reality). While in passing, defining the terms self and ultimate reality, it introduces the five SHEATHS that make up a human being. These are the sheath of food, the sheath of breath, the sheath of mind, the sheath of understanding, and the sheath of bliss.
   In the final section, named after the teacher Bhrigu, these five levels of being are fully described: the sheath of food describes the external body and the sheath of bliss lies in the core of the heart, as the ultimate Self or brahman. The Upanishad con-cludes with a memorable chant, the vision of the sage who realizes brahman: “I am food; I am food; I am food. I am the food-eater; I am the food-eater; I am the food-eater. . . . Earlier than the gods; at the navel of immortality . . . [I see] the golden light!” The food is the manifest universe. The food-eater is the transcendent reality. The sage understands that in SELF-REALIZATION he encompasses all the manifest and unmanifest world.
   Further reading: Swami Chinmayananda, Discourses on Taittiriya Upanishad (Madras: Chinmaya Publication Trust, 1962); Swami Gambhirananda, trans., Eight Upa-nishads with the Commentary of Sankaracarya (Calcutta: advaita Ashrama, 1972–73); Patrick Olivelle, trans., The Early Upanishads (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); S. Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upa-nishads (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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