Introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s The Upanishads

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The Upanishads clearly rank with the greatest spiritual and philosophical writings of mankind.  They have been revered for their beauty of expression and for the philosophical issues they address in a way that can benefit all, regardless of the particular religious or spiritual tradition one follows.  They are considered to be a universal body of expression of mankind’s highest aspirations and seeking for truth.

While many have undertaken to translate the Upanishads, Sri Aurobindo’s work deserves a special place.  Sri Aurobindo brought more than just scholarly efforts to this work.  It is informed with experience and spiritual practice, which allows him to enter into the spirit of the Upanishads and communicate it to us.

Sri Aurobindo has also added his own extensive commentaries to several of the key Upanishads, the Isha and the Kena, which together provide deep insight into the philosophy expressed in the Upanishads.

The Upanishads were not originally written as “philosophy”.  Rather they were intended to aid the teacher in communicating certain spiritual truths and practices to the chosen disciples.  With the right openness of spirit, it is possible for us to re-create these truths within our own lives.  This book provides a key to that effort and thereby justifies “yet another” translation of, and commentary on, the Upanishads.

The Upanishads provide a bridge from the symbolic age that gave birth to the Vedas, and refer to themselves in various places to be “the secret of the Veda”.  Deep study of the Upanishads can help unlock the tremendous spiritual force that has lain hidden in the ancient Vedic tradition under its veil of symbol and double-meanings, intended to communicate to the initiated while keeping the inner meaning secret from those not prepared to understand and apply that meaning in a positive way in their lives.  In today’s world, where ancient knowledge is so critically needed to address the challenges of modern-day life, we now have an opportunity to truly appreciate and apply “the secret of the Veda” as developed in the Upanishads.

For this study, we intend to take the approach of bringing together translation and commentary systematically for each Upanishad treated, rather than following a page-by-page approach as set forth in the volume at hand.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads

Sri Aurobindo’s and Related Writings on Apple iTunes for IPhone and IPad:

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Sri Aurobindo’s and Related Writings on Apple iTunes for IPhone and IPad:

We continue to add more titles to this list on an ongoing basis, so please check back regularly for additional titles.  We also supply a large number of titles for Amazon Kindle and Google Play which are listed separately.  Below find the links to the e-book versions available at this time on Apple iTunes:

By Sri Aurobindo:

Bases of Yoga                                      Bases of Yoga

 Essays on the Gita                              Essays on the Gita

 The Mother                                        The Mother

 Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol         Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol

 By The Mother:

 Commentaries on the Dhammapada  Commentaries on the Dhammapada

 By Sri M. P. Pandit:

 An Early Chapter in The Mother’s Life   Early Chapter in The Mother’s Life

 Art of Living                                        Art of Living

 Bases of Tantra Sadhana                   Bases of Tantra Sadhana

 Commentaries on Sri Aurobindo’s Thought, V. 1  Commentaries Sri Aurobindo’s Thought, V. 1

 Dhyana                                               Dhyana

 Heart of Sadhana                               Heart of Sadhana

 How Do I Proceed?                             How Do I Proceed?

 Introducing The Life Divine               Introducing The Life Divine

 Introducing Savitri                             Introducing Savitri

 Japa                                                    Japa

Kundalini Yoga                                   Kundalini Yoga

Readings in Savitri, V. 1                     Readings in Savitri, V. 1

 Readings in Savitri, V. 2                     Readings in Savitri, V. 2

 Readings in Savitri, V. 3                     Readings in Savitri, V. 3

 Readings in Savitri, V. 4                     Readings in Savitri, V. 4

 Readings in Savitri, V. 5                     Readings in Savitri, V. 5

 Readings in Savitri, V. 7                     Readings in Savitri, V. 7

 Readings in Savitri, V. 8                     Readings in Savitri, V. 8

Readings in Savitri, V. 9                     Readings in Savitri, V. 9

 Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga               Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga

 A Summary of Savitri                         A Summary of Savitri

 Talks on The Life Divine, V. 1             Talks on The Life Divine, V. 1

 Teachings of Sri Aurobindo               Teachings of Sri Aurobindo

Thoughts on the Gita                         Thoughts on the Gita

 By Santosh Krinsky:

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 1  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine,V. 1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 2 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine, V. 2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Vol. 3 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine, V. 3

Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo:               Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth and Karma:   Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth &  Karma

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita,V.1 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V.1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V. 2 Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, V.2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 1  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 1

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 2  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 2

Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, V. 3  Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Synthesis of Yoga, V. 3

 By Rand Hicks:

A Savitri Dictionary                            A Savitri Dictionary

Rev. 6/11/17

Sri Aurobindo’s Writings Available as E-Books for Amazon Kindle Readers or App

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The Amazon Kindle is perhaps the most popular e-book reader in the world, and the APP works on desktop computers, laptops, android phones, tablets etc. The APP can be downloaded free from Amazon.com We are systematically making Sri Aurobindo’s writings available for the Kindle App and Readers. Here are a few of them, with more links to be provided soon:

Bhagavad Gita and Its Message Bhagavad Gita and Its Message
Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga (compiled by M P Pandit) Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga
Essays on the Gita Essays on the Gita
The Future Evolution of Man The Future Evolution of Man
Hidden Forces of Life (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Hidden Forces of Life
The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development
The Ideal of Human Unity The Ideal of Human Unity
Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice Integral Yoga
The Life Divine The Life Divine
Looking from Within (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Looking from Within
The Mind of Light The Mind of Light (The Supramental Manifestation on Earth)
The Mother The Mother
Our Many Selves (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Our Many Selves
Powers Within (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Powers Within
The Psychic Being (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Psychic Being
Rebirth and Karma Rebirth and Karma
Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol
Secret of the Veda Secret of the Veda
Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra (compiled by M P Pandit) Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra
The Synthesis of Yoga The Synthesis of Yoga
The Upanishads The Upanishads
Vedic Symbolism (compiled by M P Pandit) Vedic Symbolism
Yoga of Sleep and Dreams (compiled by AS Dalal from writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother Yoga of Sleep and Dreams

By Sri M P Pandit:
Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga
Teaching of Sri Aurobindo Teaching of Sri Aurobindo

SRI AUROBINDO’S BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE PLAY AS E-BOOKS:

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The Mother THE MOTHER
Bases of Yoga BASES OF YOGA
Essays on the Gita ESSAYS ON THE GITA
The Human Cycle: Psychology of Social Development The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development
Ideal of Human Unity IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY
The Life Divine THE LIFE DIVINE
The Mind of Light THE MIND OF LIGHT
Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol  Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol
Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra SRI AUROBINDO ON THE TANTRA
The Synthesis of Yoga THE SYNTHESIS OF YOGA

For Android Phones, Tablets, and E-Readers

Sri Aurobindo Studies

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Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga has enormous implications for the time we find ourselves in.  As we systematically destroy the basis of life on the planet, and wall off one another through ultimate fragmentation, we are left with the stark contrast of choosing between survival and destruction, life and death, growth or decline.  Sri Aurobindo recognizes the necessity of the individual within the context of the collectivity, universality and the transcendent consciousness of Oneness.  The individual is the nexus or hub of the evolutionary urge, but not separate from nor at the expense of the life of the cosmic whole.

We post the daily blog entries also to our facebook page:  www.facebook.com/sriaurobindoswritings

We also have a daily twitter feed on Sri Aurobindo’s studies at www.twitter.com/santoshk1

We have systematically worked our way through The Life Divine as well as The Mother , Essays on the Gita and Rebirth and Karma, The Synthesis of Yoga, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development  The newest posts appear near the top.  If you want to start at the beginning, go to the oldest post and roll forward until you reach the final posts as of today.

Another option is to “search” for the chapter you would like to study and see all posts relating to that chapter. You may have to ask for “older posts” once you have the search results if you are looking for one of the earlier chapters.

We have separated the posts relating to each book into their own folder as an additional organisational tool.

Similarly you can use the search box to find specific concepts, terms or issues you are interested in. The results will show all posts that address those concepts or terms. You may have to click on “older posts” to find all the references here as well.

The next book we are taking up is The Upanshads by Sri Aurobindo, following a similar format to that we have utilised for The Life Divine , The Mother, Essays on the Gita and Rebirth and Karma, The Synthesis of Yoga, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle: Psychology of Social Development.

You may also want to visit our information site for Sri Aurobindo at Sri-Aurobindo.Com

Sri Aurobindo’s major writings are published in the US by Lotus Press.

The systematic studies on this blog have also been published as self-standing books by Lotus Press and are available in both printed formats and as e-books. There are 3 volumes encompassing Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, 2 volumes encompassing Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita, as well as 1 volume for Readings in The Mother by Sri Aurobindo, and Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s Rebirth and Karma., and 4 volumes  for the Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga as well as Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity and Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Human Cycle.  You can find the Readings series at Lotus Press

Many of the major writings of Sri Aurobindo are now also accessible on the Amazon Kindle Platform as well as Apple itunes, google play, kobo, and Barnes & Noble nook as well.  Kindle e-book reader program is also available for PC, Laptop, iPad, Blackberry, Android, iPhone and many other platforms from Amazon without charge. You can find the current list of titles available by going to http://www.amazon.com , go to the “kindle store” and type in “Aurobindo” New titles are being added as they can be made ready. Many of the major books are already accessible by the Kindle Reader.  You can follow a similar procedure for the other platforms we now support for Sri Aurobindo’s writings, I-tunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and KOBO.

The Origin of Living Beings, Part Two

Sri Aurobindo translates Prashna Upanishad, first question, verses 6 – 8:  “Now when the Sun rising entereth the East, then absorbeth he the eastern breaths into his rays.  But when he illumineth the south and west and north, and below and above and all the angles of space, yea, all that is, then he taketh all the breaths into his rays.  Therefore is this fire that riseth, this Universal Male, of whom all things are the bodies, Prana the breath of existence.  This is that which was said in the Rig Veda: ‘Fire is this burning and radiant Sun, he is the One lustre and all-knowing Light, he is the highest heaven of spirits.  With a thousand rays he burneth and existeth in a hundred existences: lo this Sun that riseth, he is the Life of all his creatures.’ ”

The Rishi takes a deeper look at the interplay of Matter and Energy.  Energy is seen as the universal Prana, and it enlivens all bodies, that is, all Matter.  We see this interplay in the energy of the sun as it brings forth all forms of life on the earth.  It goes beyond this to the entire creation as a universal phenomenon.

There is also the esoteric symbolism that the Vedic Rishis used to communicate a secret inner sense to those they were teaching, while holding an external meaning for those without this further grounding in the practices being taught.  Sri Aurobindo describes this use of dual meaning at length in The Secret of the Veda.  

As the Isha Upanishad describes, the sun is the sun of illumination of knowledge, covered by a brilliant golden lid which, when the seeker pierces it, gives him access to the higher planes of knowledge, the Vijnana, as described in the Taittiriya Upanishad.  Knowledge of the entire universal manifestation is lodged at this level, and in fact, this is the effective level that acts to transform the Oneness into the Multiplicity, which is the birth and “life of all his creatures.”  This sun of illumination creates, directs, motivates and actualises all the life-force in the universe.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Prashna Upanishad, pp.297-315

The Origin of Living Beings, Part One

Sri Aurobindo translates Prashna Upanishad, 1st Question:  “Lord, whence are all these creatures born?”

There are multiple parts to the answer provided by the Sage Pippalada.  First he declares that the Eternal through concentration of conscious force created Energy and Matter:  “The Eternal Father desired children, therefore he put forth his energy and by the heat of his energy (n.b. tapas), produced twin creatures, Prana the Life, who is Male, and Rayi the Matter, who is Female.  ‘These,’ said he, ‘shall make for me children of many natures. The Sun verily is Life and the Moon is no more than Matter: yet truly all this Universe formed and formless is Matter: therefore Form and Matter are One.”

Rayi, the term used for Matter, also means “food”.  Prana, the life-force, is, as we have seen in the Taittiriya Upanishad, considered to be the “eater of food”.  The Sun is the source of the energy that creates and sustains Matter and Life.  The conversion of energy into matter, and matter into energy, is therefore implied.  Further implied is a concept that is actually a modern scientific concept being proven out by scientists of today — namely, that “all this Universe formed and formless is Matter.”  The amount of visible matter in the universe is very small, but the universe reacts as if there is something other than visible matter.  This is being called “dark matter”.  We could understand that visible matter is the “formed” and dark matter is the “formless”.  Others are exploring the idea of whether there is a subtle material “ether” as the ancient sages indicated, to help describe the phenomena they see in their measurements of energy and the movement of celestial bodies.  Thus, the insight of the Upanishadic sage is being confirmed, similar to the insight that energy and matter are interchangeable, that energy creates matter.  Finally, the insight of the Eternal, the All-Conscious, forming both energy and matter, is now becoming known to science as they follow the path of “matter is energy, energy is consciousness”.

The further Western science delves into the secrets of the universe and the origins of living beings, the closer they get to the spiritual truths as seen and experienced by the ancient sages.

There are additional subtleties to be understood here as well.  In the Vedas and Upanishads, the Sun does not simply represent a physical body that radiates energy through conversion of matter, but also psychologically, the force of consciousness that creates the multiplicity we experience as the universal manifestation, the Vijnana.  The Isha Upanishad describes this Sun as a power of awareness.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Prashna Upanishad, pp.297-315

Ordering of Posts from Yesterday and Today

i was working on both posts and inadvertently posted today’s post yesterday and yesterday’s post today.  So you will see the final post for the Aitareya Upanishad showing up sequentially after the first post for the Prashna Upanishad in the sequential listings.  Sorry for any possible confusion that was involved.

Consciousness is the Brahman

Sri Aurobindo translates Aitareya Upanishad, Chapter 3: “Who is this Spirit that we may adore Him?  and which of all these is the Spirit?  By whom one seeth or by whom one heareth or by whom one smelleth all kinds of perfume or by whom one uttereth clearness of speech or by whom one knoweth the sweet and bitter.  This which is the heart, is mind also.  Concept and will and analysis and wisdom and intellect and vision and continuity of purpose and feeling and understanding, pain and memory and volition and operation (Or, application) of thought and vitality and desire and passion, all these, yea all, are but names of the Eternal Wisdom.  This creating Brahma; this ruling Indra, this Prajapati, Father of his peoples; all these Gods and these five elemental substances, even earth, air, ether, water and the shining principles; and these great creatures and those small; and seeds of either sort; and things egg-born and things sweat-born and things born of the womb and plants that sprout; and horses and cattle and men and elephants; yea, whatsoever thing here breatheth and all that moveth and everything that hath wings and whatso moveth not; by Wisdom all these are guided and have their firm abiding in Wisdom.  For Wisdom is the eye of the world.  Wisdom is the sure foundation, Wisdom is Brahman Eternal.  By the strength of the wise and seeing Self, the sage having soared up from this world, mounted (Or, ascended) into this other world of Paradise; and there having possessed desire, put death behind him, yea, he put death behind him.”

The focus of chapter 3 is to remind the reader of the conscious awareness, behind the operations of mind and senses, behind the operations of the universal forces, and behind the operations of the evolutionary process of the manifestation, and to equate this conscious awareness with Brahman Eternal.  This represents an expansive description of the concise formulation “All This is the Brahman,” which, taken together with “One without a Second” represents the Upanishadic view of existence.

The term “Wisdom” in this text is a translation of the term prajnana.  The sense of this word is what we would call “consciousness”.  It comes from the root term jnana, which means knowledge and is related to the term vijnana, which is the term used for an all-embracing and detailed knowledge which acts as the intermediary between the undifferentiated Oneness and the world of Multiplicity in all of its complexity and inter-relationships.

The Upanishad describes the experience of the sage who discovers the Self within and thereby overcomes the force of desire and puts the concept of death behind him.  This is a common theme in the Upanishads describing the shift in standpoint from the individual egoistic view to the divine status of Oneness with the Transcendent and the Universal aspects of Brahman.  Such a sage gains the all-encompassing conscious awareness of the Brahman and shares, thereby, in the immortality of the Brahman.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Aitareya Upanishad, pp.285-294

Introduction to the Prashna Upanishad

The Prashna Upanishad is known as the Upanishad of the Six Questions.  It is organized as a meeting between six seekers from notable lineages and the sage Pippalada.  The six seekers were interested to learn about the Universal, the Most High of Existence.  They came before the sage with faith, devotion and awakened intelligence.

The method of the Upanishadic sages differs from our modern ways of teaching.  Today we believe that we can simply answer questions that arise without looking at the preparedness or receptivity of the students to not only hear or memorize the answers, but to reflect deeply on them and grow inwardly based on them.  Pippalada proposed to answer the questions of these seekers, but only after they fulfilled the condition:  “Another year do ye dwell in holiness and faith and askesis: then ask what ye will, and if I know, surely I will conceal nothing.”

The request for a year of quiet study with faith, desire kept under control and a concentration of thought prepared the seekers for deeper reflection and understanding.  At the end of the year, each of the seekers asked a question, starting with larger questions about the origin of the worlds and the nature of existence, to finer points that get into the details of achieving spiritual realisation.

It is useful to understand the importance of the various factors involved in the spiritual realisation.  There must be a seeker who has the background and readiness for spiritual development; there must be a teacher capable of imparting spiritual truth, not just intellectual understanding; there must be essential qualities of faith, quiet focus and perseverance, and there must be time for the inner aspiration to grow and the inner development to form.  In The Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo expands on the basic requirements in the chapter titled “The Four Aids”.

The Upanishad’s first two verses touch on these preliminary requirements and bring forward the suitable seekers with the right background to appreciate the teachings, the teacher himself, the call for development of the right qualities, and the investment of Time through a persevering action.

As we find with many of the Upanishads, there is clearly much that was intended to be communicated outside the outline of the questions and answers, and much that expresses various occult knowledge, symbolic statements and esoteric practices that are virtually impossible to nail down with precision.  We must rely somewhat heavily, then on traditional interpretations of some of the symbolic references described herein, to gain insight to what was intended.  For the rest, consistent contemplation and perseverance will have to be the key to understanding.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Prashna Upanishad, pp.297-315

The Three Births of the Spirit

Sri Aurobindo translates Aitareya Upanishad, Chapter 2:  “In the male first the unborn child becometh.  This which is seed is the force and heat of him that from all parts of the creature draweth together for becoming; therefore he beareth himself in himself, and when he casteth it into the woman, ’tis himself he begetteth.  And this is the first birth of the Spirit.  It becometh one self with the woman, therefore it doeth her no hurt and she cherisheth this self of her husband that hath got into her womb.  She the cherisher must be cherished.  So the woman beareth the unborn child and the man cherisheth the boy even from the beginning ere it is born.  And whereas he cherisheth the boy ere it is born, ’tis verily himself that he cherisheth for the continuance of these worlds and their peoples; for ’tis even thus the thread of these worlds spinneth on unbroken.  And this is the second birth of the Spirit.  Lo, this is the spirit and self of him and he maketh it his vicegerent for the works of righteousness.  Now this his other self when it hath done the works it came to do and hath reached its age, lo! it goeth hence, and even as it departeth, it is born again.  And this is the third birth of the Spirit.  Therefore it was said by the sage Vamadeva, ‘I, Vamadeva, being yet in the womb, knew all the births of these gods and their causes.  In a hundred cities of iron they held me down and kept me; I broke through them all with might (Or, speed) and violence, like a hawk I soared up into my heavens. While yet he lay int he womb, thus said Vamadeva.  And because he knew this, therefore when the strings of the body were snapped asunder, lo, he soared forth into yonder world of Paradise and there having possessed all desires, put death behind him, yea, he put death behind him.”

This chapter focuses on the continuity of the manifested universe through the processes of birth and death.  Hunger and the force of desire were previously identified as a mechanism for development.  There needed still to be a mechanism for consciousness to systematically grow and this then led to the question of rebirth.

It must be noted that the sages clearly understood the concept behind the modern science of genetics.  They identified the first birth as the gathering of the essential elements of the father and the creation of the seed that transmitted this into the mother’s womb.  The mother incorporated this seed into her own being, representing the mother’s contribution to the child’s birth.  This was the second birth.  Along the way, the sages recognised the importance of pre-natal care, the “cherishing” of the mother during the course of the pregnancy.  Reference is then made to the death and rebirth of the individual, which is the third birth of the Spirit.  This provides for the continuity and development of the world.

The question of liberation of the soul from birth and death and the bonds of desire is next taken up in the final two verses which describe the sage Vamadeva.  It is implied that a realised soul can actually take up residence in the foetus and be born with full knowledge and awareness.  This is a further implication of rebirth.  While not every soul may take up residence at this stage, a realised soul may choose to do so.  Recognising the mechanism of birth and death, the action of desire and the bonds of attachment to the senses and their objects, the sage overcame desire and achieved liberation.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Aitareya Upanishad, pp.285-294

The Inhabitant of Nature, the Perceiver of the Spirit

Sri Aurobindo translates Aitareya Upanishad, Chapter 1, Section 3 (part 2):  “The Spirit thought, ‘Without Me how should all this be?  and He thought, ‘By what way shall I enter in?  He thought also, ‘If utterance is by Speech, if breathing is by the Breath, if sight is by the Eye, if hearing is by the Ear, if thought is by the Mind, if the lower workings are by apana, if emission is by the organ, who then am I?  It was this bound that He cleft, it was by this door that He entered in. ‘Tis this that is called the gate of the cleaving; this is the door of His coming and here is the place of His delight.  He hath three mansions in His city, three dreams wherein He dwelleth, and of each in turn He saith, ‘Lo, this is my habitation’ and ‘This is my habitation’ and ‘This is my habitation.’  Now when He was born, He thought and spoke only of Nature and her creations; in this world of matter of what else should He speak or reason?  Thereafter He beheld that Being who is the Brahman and the last Essence.  He said, ‘Yea, this is He; verily, I have beheld Him.’  There is He Idandra; for Idandra is the true name of Him.  But though He is Idandra, they call Him Indra because of the veil of the Unrevelation; for the gods love the veil of the Unrevelation, yea, verily, the gods love the Unrevelation.”

The Spirit has built a house, with all its machinery functional and ready to be put into operation.  But who is to experience and enjoy the operation of that machinery in that dwelling?  The three mansions referenced here have multiple different potential explanations, but within the context of the Upanishad itself, it is likely to refer to Matter, Life and Mind.  The three dreams appear to be the 3 states of awareness, waking, dream and dreamless sleep, which in one sense are all “dreams”.  Sometimes we experience the dream state as if it were our reality, and the waking state as if it is a dream.  In an ultimate sense, these are all states of “dream”.   What is missing in all of this is the witness, the experiencer of all experience.

The Spirit is not separate from this creation, so the Spirit, which is all-consciousness, must also have a seat in the house.  The Spirit inhabits this house and uses all the machinery of body, life and mind for its experience.  The conscious-awareness in the being is call the Jivatman, and it enters and departs the structure through the Brahmarandhra, the soft-spot in the top of the head.  As the Taittiriya Upanishad states “where the hair at its end whirleth round like an eddy, there it divideth the skull and pusheth through it.”

The human individual is immersed in the experience of Nature and therefore focuses his attention there.  It is possible however to turn the attention inward, to seek the being that “enjoys” Nature, and thereby to behold the Brahman, beyond and outside all the dream states.  The Upanishad names the perceiver of the Brahman as Idandra.  Idandra means “he who perceives”.  We see here a connection made to Indra, the universal power of the divine mind.  It should be noted that in the Kena Upanishad Indra is the one god who perceives the Brahman.  The universal powers, as noted in the Kena Upanishad, all take upon themselves the power and generally fail to recognise that it is the Brahman, not themselves, who is the source of their powers.  Thus, the statement that they “love the Unrevelation.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Aitareya Upanishad, pp.285-294