The Foundations of Gaining Spiritual Realisation

The Kena Upanishad once again reiterates the importance of actions in this world, as well as mastering the force of desire, as the means towards achieving spiritual realisation.  The theme is a common one including the equivalency set forth in the Taittiriya Upanishad between the highest potential forms of bliss and the status of the “Vedawise whose soul the blight of desire toucheth not.”  Austerity and self-conquest speak to the control of desire.  Works, although frequently interpreted in a very narrow sense of religious rituals or sacrifices, obviously implies efforts made in this world of manifestation, regardless of how narrowly one chooses to view the idea.  The Vedas represent the knowledge attained through spiritual experience of oneness, the shifting of the standpoint from the human to the divine standpoint; and truth as the dwelling place implies that this is not theory, hypothesis, speculation or some form of imagination, but an actual experience of knowledge by identity which alone conveys the fullness of truth.

Fourth part, Verse 8:  “Of this knowledge austerity and self-conquest and works are the foundation, the Vedas are all its limbs, truth is its dwelling place.”

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “… life and works are to be used as a means of arriving out of the state of subjection proper to the soul in the ignorance into a state of mastery which brings it nearer to the absolute self-mastery and all-mastery of the supreme Soul seated in the knowledge.  The Vedas, that is to say, the utterances of the inspired seers and the truths they hold, are described as all the limbs of the Upanishad; in other words, all the convergent lines and aspects, all the necessary elements of this great practice, this profound psychological self-training and spiritual aspiration are set forth in these great Scriptures, channels of supreme knowledge and indicators of a supreme discipline.  Truth is its home; and this Truth is not merely intellectual verity, — for that is not the sense of the word in the Vedic writings, — but man’s ultimate human state of true being, true consciousness, right knowledge, right works, right joy of existence all indeed that is contrary to the falsehood of egoism and ignorance.  It is by these means, by using works and self-discipline for mastery of oneself and for the generation of spiritual energy, by fathoming in all its parts the knowledge and repeating the high example of the great Vedic seers and by living in the Truth that one becomes capable of the great ascent which the Upanishad opens to us.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Kena Upanishad and analysis, pg. 107, 177-183