It is heard that there are many branches of Sāma Vēda. Among these branches one of them is “Thalavakāra”. In this there are nine chapters. Kēna is the last Chapter. The essence of Kēna is written here according to the writings in Telugu language by Pundit Gopadev Sastri. There are four sections and a total of 34 slōkās in this Upanishad. Only the summary of these slōkās are given here.
1.1 Due to what reason the mind is acting in the body? Due to what reason this Mind is bound by its Karma and accesses the senses in the body? Due to what reason the Prānna in the body is doing its duties? Due to which person do people listening with ears are able to speak with mouth? Which God is making the eyes and ears function?
1.2 The one who is Eye for the eye, Ear for the ear, Mind for the mind, Voice for the voice, is the one who is Prānna for the Prānna. Courageous people due to their meditation powers leave the attachment with the senses and get freed from the bondage with this physical world and become immortal.
1.3 According to the Scholars the one described in the above slōkā is called Brahma. Eyes, voice etc., and mind cannot approach the Brahma. Even we cannot know him by these senses. Then how does a person know the Brahma? How can a teacher advice to his disciple about Brahma? According to the sages this Brahma is more than what is known and is more than what is unknown.
1.4 Voice cannot describe the Brahma but with what the voice is functioning that is Brahma. So how much ever a person describes about the physical world it cannot become Brahma.
1.5 Brahma does not do activities with mind. But with what the mind works is Brahma. So what people pray is not the Brahma because mind cannot know it!
1.6 Brahma does not require eyes to see the Universe. But the people see the world with eyes and with what the eyes function is called Brahma. Therefore what people see with eyes is not Brahma.
1.7 Brahma does not hear with ears. But people hear with ears and the ears function because of Brahma. So what people hear is not Brahma.
1.8 Brahma does not require Prānna to live but Prānna exist because of Brahma. Therefore the world is not the Brahma.
2.1 The picture of Brahma that was described in the previous section is certainly minute than the minute. If someone says that one knows about the Brahma then that person requires knowing about the Brahma more.
2.2 The one who knows about Brahma does not tell that he/she knows it clearly. Because how much ever we know there is still to know about it.
2.3 Who says that they could know about Brahma with their mind, in fact do not know the Brahma. And who say that Brahma is not an object of mind definitely knows about the Brahma.
2.4 One who realizes that Brahma is not the knowledge of senses definitely knows about the Brahma. He/she definitely get salvation. Such person while living enjoys strength and bliss.
2.5 Fruitful is that person’s life who realizes about Brahma and great loss is considered for those who do not know about Brahma.
3.1 The victory of the divine materials like air, fire, water etc., is due to the Brahma who is the only divine thing in the Universe. Brahma means Greatest. Therefore the greatness in the materials is due to Brahma and not of themselves. But these materials think that the greatness is due to them. This is because these materials cannot recognize Brahma.
In Order to prove the greatness of Brahma the author tells a small story as given below.
3.2 To teach a lesson to the divine materials Brahma appears in front of them as Yaksha. But the divine materials could not know who he was.
3.3 All these divine materials then request Agni to find who he is. Agni agreed for this and proceeds to find who he is.
3.4 On seeing the Agni, the Yaksha (Brahma) asked who he is. Then Agni replied that his name is Jāthavēda. Jāthavēda means the one from whom Vēdas were born or from whom wealth is born. Here we have to consider the second meaning because Vēdas were born from Brahma.
3.5 Then the Yaksha asks Agni about his strength. Then Agni replies that he can burn everything that is on the earth.
3.6 On listening to this Yaksha keeps a string of grass in front of Agni and asks him to burn it. Agni uses his full strength to burn it and fails. On returning to others he explains that he could not know who the Yaksha is.
3.7 Now Vāyu was given the job to find who the Yaksha is. Vāyu agrees for it and goes.
3.8 On seeing Vāyu, Yaksha asks him who he is. Vāyu replies that he is the divine matter which moves freely in the space.
3.9 On listening to this Yaksha asks about Vāyu’s strength. Vāyu replies that he can carry anything on this earth.
3.10 Then the Yaksha keeps a grass string in front of the Vāyu and asks him to lift it. But Vāyu could not lift it even after using his full strength. Vāyu returns dejected and explains to others that he could not know who the Yaksha is.
3.11 Then Indra was requested to find the details of Yaksha. Accepting the challenge Indra goes to the place of Yaksha but could not find him there.
3.12 But Indra finds a golden colored woman whose name is Uma. On seeing the woman, Indra asks her about the Yaksha.
4.1 Then Uma says that the Yaksha is none other than Brahma. You all get the strength from Brahma. You should realize that Brahma is the Greatest and you all should get his divinity. (Here Indra is soul of humans and Uma is Budhi).
The entire meaning of this Upanishad is that except through Budhi one cannot find Brahma.
4.2 Only Agni, Vāyu and Indra could find Brahma. Therefore these three are the best among the divine materials in the Universe.
4.3 Since Indra could realize first about the Brahma, Indra is regarded superior to Agni and Vāyu.
4.4 Thus Brahma advices that as you see lightening for a small time period similarly when you realize Brahma through Budhi, it appears for a small time and disappears. On practicing one can get the Brahma for a longer time.
4.5 One who wants to attain Brahma should practice keeping his mind at one place and meditate. Every now and then as the mind gets disturbed one should keep taking oath and meditate again.
4.6 So as said above when one realizes Brahma is the only one eligible for Upāsana, all the living things in this Universe start liking him as dearest.
4.7 On listening to this disciples ask their teacher to teach about Brahma. On telling the entire thing that is described above the teacher says that there is nothing more for me to tell.
4.8 For achieving Brahma one should do penance, dama and karma. Bearing insults and praise, pleasure and sorrow, cold and heat, loss and benefit and practicing Brahmacharya is called penance. Dama means keeping control of the mind. Karma means doing what is advised by Vēda.
4.9 The person who learns Kēna Upanishad in this way will definitely get rid of sin and enjoy permanent bliss in the Brahma.
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