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Mystical peace mantra of Upanishads
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner: Sir, Namaste! Clearly, the opening of the Upaniṣad itself is mysterious. Kindly say something.

Acharya Prashant: You can call it mystery or you can call it an exalted, bold, uninhibited expression of your deepest desire.

Who is the one going to this verse? To whom are these verses addressed?

This question is very important otherwise, the verses would never disclose their meaning.

The word Upaniṣad itself means ‘the event that happens in nearness, proximity.’ That which happens when there is intimacy is called a ‘*Upaniṣad*’.

Who is the one seeking intimacy and with whom?

‘It is the mind.’ You could call it the ‘man’, the ‘woman’, the ‘person’ but to be more precise it is the mind that is seeking knowledge, relief, peace, light. It is the mind that stands to receive all these verses; this knowledge. So, these verses are addressed to the mind. The mind is seeking the nearness of Freedom or Clarity or Truth.

The phenomenon, the happening in which the mind is coming close to the Truth is called a ‘*Upaniṣad*’.

So, in the world of the mind, there always is discontent, dissatisfaction – A continuous lack of fulfillment is the mind. For the mind there never is fullness and then here to the mind is being said, “This is full, that is full.” Now, this is totally against the principle of the mind, the experience of the mind. It is totally something new because the mind has never seen such a thing happening, “This is full, that is full.” The mind says, “But I have never seen any fullness.”

But the words are coming from an authority, the words are coming from the Teacher, so, the mind has to listen, the mind has to receive. And the mind is being told, “This is full, that is full”. It is something very novel; something very path-breaking; something extremely out of the mind’s box.

First of all, fullness is a stranger to the mind. Secondly, all-pervasive fullness is not even imaginable. At most the mind can come to agree that something has attained a bit of fullness. But here what is being said is that “everything is full.” When it is said, ‘This is full, that is full”, that does not merely indicate two things. You may as well envision the Ṛṣi indicating with a fluid, fluent sweep of his hand, and the students are sitting right in front of him and he is saying, “This is full that is full.” And if you have to refer to a thousand things, two are sufficient; two indicate duality -The entire world is duality.

So, if you want to refer to the entire world you just have to say, “This is full, that is full,” meaning everything is full. Now, the mind just cannot believe this. It is so much beyond any credulity but somehow the student keeps sitting and then it is said, “Fullness comes forth from fullness.” Here, here you have something important. The student is getting some kind of a hint.

So, fullness comes forth from fullness.

“If I cannot see fullness all around me, is it because I do not have fullness within?”

So, even before the verses formally begin the student has been delivered a lesson in humility. The student is being told, “you are looking for the Truth, so you are saying ‘you haven’t had the Truth so far’.”

But then fullness comes forth only from fullness. If you do not have fullness then is it any surprising that you never see fullness anywhere around you, within you? And the student is now getting introspective. Yes, so the Upaniṣadic wisdom is not going to talk about something of the outside.

If fullness can come only from fullness, then to obtain fullness I have to, first of all, go to myself. I have to dive deep within and then comes the concluding blow, “Take away fullness from fullness and what remains is still full.” Now, this is totally beyond any experience or idea, or imagination of the mind. What they are saying is “everything has been taken away and still, everything remains.”

Now the student has never seen anything like this happening but if the Teacher is to be believed then the student will have to disbelieve all his experiences and concepts and that is exactly what the teacher wants. And the student is ready for it because fullness being taken away or even a part being taken away is never a welcome experience.

Forget about everything being taken away from you even if something is taken away from you, do you like it? And it remains a constant fear with everybody, "What if this thing or that thing or everything gets lost?" And here the Teacher is saying, “Even if everything gets lost, everything will remain with you provided you have that everything called fullness.”

So, the student’s mind is being attacked and consoled doubly. First of all, the mind is being delivered a koan-like blow and when the mind is delivered that kind of blow then the mind comes to a standstill. The usual, regular, habituated movement of the mind is jerked to a stop as if the emergency breaks have been slammed, “What, what did you just say? Fullness taken away from fullness, fullness still remains?” Now, it is so very jarring, so extremely contrary to all that we call as common wisdom or usual experience that the student just cannot take these words casually.

The student will have to pay attention. The Teacher has said something so unbelievable that the student just cannot let it pass. So, the student is brought into deep attention and when he pays attention to these words he finds that there is peace beyond the initial feeling of shock.

Because if nothing is to be lost, even if everything is lost then why should one worry?

Then, there is no need to be anxious or afraid and fear is the root problem that all spiritual literature or education seeks to remedy.

Here, you see even if everything is taken away from you, everything still remains, provided you have everything. It’s not being said that “If fullness is being taken away from a part, fullness would still remain.”

For fullness to remain unconditionally with you, first of all, you must have fullness. If you have fullness then you cannot lose it. If you do not have it then there is no need for someone to even take it away from you because you anyway do not have it and if you have it then it is unconditionally yours.

Can you imagine the kind of peace and security fullness brings to the mind? It is in the dire need of such security that the student has, first of all, gone to the Teacher. And the Teacher has actually said whatever he has to say in the opening verse itself, in the ‘ śāṃti pāṭha * ’ itself. The Teacher must be inwardly smiling because the complete answer has already been given. No other * Upanishad is needed not even the rest of the Ishavasya Upanishad is needed. Everything is contained in the śāṃti pāṭha itself. The Teacher has already delivered everything.

Now, whatever the Teacher will say here onwards it will just be an elaboration or an elucidation. And this need to make things more lucid to the student is only there because the student is still not up to it. Had there been a more capable student there was no need to elucidate.

That’s the thing with Teachers, they listen to the question or they look at the student and they know what the matter is, and often the entire reply or the entire solution is contained in the first sentence of their answer. But it is quite possible that they may go on and speak for another twenty minutes or they may go on and write an entire book to explain things to the questioner.

But remember the Teacher does not really need so many words or so much time or so much space to give the answer. The answer has been delivered in the first sentence itself and sometimes there have been students who have been so ripe and so ready that the teacher just hints at the answer, and the student says, “I got it”.

But those students are rare, so, the Teacher has to speak a lot often.

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