Sunday 20 April 2014


2014-16  Swadhyaya Pravachane Cha - Duties of Householders [Taittriya U. 1.9]

"One should study and teach the scriptures and also practise right understanding, truthfulness, austerity, mastery over the senses, mastery over the mind, maintenance of ritualistic fires, performance of the agnihotra ritual, hospitality, service to humanity, begetting of children, procreation, and begetting of grandchildren.

According to sage Rathithara whose words are ever truthful, truthfulness is the highest duty. According to sage Paurusisti who is committed to austerity,austerity is the highest duty. According to sage Naka, son of Mudgala, the study and teaching of the scriptures alone is the highest duty. That alone is austerity. That alone is austerity."  Swami Dayananda Saraswathi


The idea is that karma properly done produces chitta-suddhi, which is a pre-requisite for the attainment of Self-Knowledge. These duties are to be performed along with the study and teaching of the Scriptures [svadhya pravachane cha].

It has been stated earler [up to Taittriya U 1.8] that Self-Knowledge alone can give Liberation. This may lead people to think that social duties as prescribed by the scriptures are redundant. Lest people make this mistake, the place of karma or duties of an individual is emphasised here [Taittriya U 1.9].

Given below is Taittriya Upanishad, Siksha Valli, Anuvaka 9 [TU 1.9], in full, followed by its translation.   In my humble opinion, this [TU1.9] is the second most important section in Taittriya Upanishad after the most important section [TU 1.11] for Learning and Living.
ऋतं च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
सत्यं च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
तपः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
दमः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
शमः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
अग्नयः  च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
अग्निहोत्रं च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
अतिथयः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
मानुषं च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
प्रजा च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
प्रजनः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
प्रजातिः च स्वाध्याय प्रवचने च  |
सत्यं इति सत्यवचाः राथीतरः  |
तपः इति तपोनित्यः पौरुशिष्टिः  |
स्वाध्याय प्रवचने एव इति नाकः मौद्गल्यः  |
तत् हि तपः तत् हि तपः |                                                      [T U 1.9]

Ritam* cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Satyam cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Tapah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Damah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Shamah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Agnayah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Agnihotram cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Atithayah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Manusham cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Praja cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Prajanah cha svadhyaya pravachane cha.
Prajatih cha svadhyaya pravachane cha. 
Satyamiti satyavacha rathitarah.
Tapa iti taponityah paurushishtih.
Svadhyaya pravachane eva iti nako maudhgalyah.
Tat hi tapas tat hi tapah.                                                         [T U 1.9]

[Practise] Right [and Proper]*, with learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Truthwith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Austeritywith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Self-restraintwith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Tranquilitywith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Sacrificial fireswith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Agnihotra sacrificealong with learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Honouring Guestswith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Human compassionwith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Progeny, with learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Procreationwith learning and teaching the Scriptures
[Practise] Propagationwith learning and teaching the Scriptures
Satya [first], says Rathiratha’s son Satyavachi, 
Austerity [first], says Purushishti’s son, Taponitya
Learning and teaching the Scripturesalone [first], says Mudgala’s son, Naka
Yes that verily is austerity, yes that verily is austerity.

*Ritam = "Cosmic Law"; also 
                "What is Right and Proper as enjoined in the Scriptures".

We observe that svadhyaya pravachane cha is repeated 12 times to emphasize that all these duties are to be performed along with learning and teaching the Scriptures

This section closes with three masters advocating the importance of satyam or tapas or the study of the scriptures and their efficient spread in the society. We observe this openness in Upanishadic teaching in many places.

Taittriya U. Full Text with English Commentary by Swami Sharvananda [PDF]

Taittriya U. 1.9 English Commentary by Swami Paramarthananda [Audio]

Taittriya U. 1.9 Tamil Commentary by Swami Guruparananda [Audio]



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