Introduction to the Taittiriya Upanishad

The Taittiriya Upanishad contains an enormous amount of information about the nature of the Brahman, as well as practices of concentration to attain knowledge of Brahman.  There are also a number of diverse passages that appear to be “teaching notes” or outlines of subjects to be covered, without going into any depth.   The Taittiriya Upanishad is seminal in terms of several specific aspects of the teaching, and these areas will be treated in some depth, while those that appear to be general educational outline notes will be left behind.  For those who want to follow up on these other subjects, we recommend carefully reading of the Taittiriya Upanishad in Sri Aurobindo’s The Upanishads.

Sri M. P. Pandit, long-time secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and a noted author and lecturer in the field, provides an extensive and in-depth review of the Taittiriya Upanishad in the light of Sri Aurobindo, and we intend to quote extensively from his text Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge.

The Taittiriya, together with the Isha Upanishad, have contributed substantial basis for a number of subjects taken up by Sri Aurobindo in The Life Divine and elsewhere.  The knowledge is the result of in depth concentration, as explained in the third chapter, Bhriguvalli, and has clearly stood the test of time.

It is interesting to note that the Taittiriya Upanishad is one of the few that is frequently recited in Sanskrit.  The flow of the prose, the poetic use of repetitive sound, combined with the deep meaning, makes it a very special experience.  Ramanashram and others have created CD’s with monks chanting this Upanishad together in a very focused manner.

The Taittiriya Upanishad is part of a much larger body of knowledge and brings forward elements from the Veda.  This is only fitting as the Upanishads themselves claim to expound “the secret of the Veda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Readings in the Taittiriya Upanishad, pp. 245-250, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 109-182