The Kena Upanishad is called a mukhya, which means a Principle Upanishad. It centralizes around the first word in its title, ‘Kena,’ which, in Sanskrit, means ‘By Whom?’ The focus of the Upanishad asks the reader to ponder what is the force that is up underneath everything? ‘By Whom’ is everything moving, growing and decaying? By what force is the embodied life and all those that I meet sustained? And what power exists beyond all of manifestation? Additionally, the Kena Upanishad sets into motion several other sub-questions that the student must work to grasp and ultimately integrate into her practice. For example, the Kena Upanishad guides the student in how to question well, in the context of spiritual practice. Learning the art of questioning well, means you have the capacity to identify the real questions that are important to ask and then having the courage to approach them. The student also needs the skill to resolve these questions. But that comes in time. This process that I describe lies at the heart of the Kena Upanishad.
In the Kena Upanishad, Chapter 2, Verse 3, the Rishi engages the student with a riddle. This kind of play, on the part of the Rishi, undoubtedly places the verse in front of the student so that she can make the inner discovery. Without the ability to properly question, she will remain lost in terms of the yogic understanding.
Kena Upanishad Ch 2 Verse 3
Yasyāmatam Tasya Matam Matam Yasya Na Veda Sah
Avijñātam Vijānatām Vijñātam Avijānatām
audio of Manorama Chanting Kena Upanishad Chapter 2 Verse 3
She who does not understand it, understands it. She who understands it, does not understand it. Its not known by those who know it. It is known by those who do not know it.
What do you make of this confusing way of speaking? First, a riddle has been put in front of the student. You, as the reader, are the student. Secondly, who is the ‘it’ that is being mentioned in the verse? Understanding who ‘it’ is requires the ability to sit with the question and not push for a meaning mentally. In this verse, the Rishishows that the meaning of ‘it’ will never be grasped if the student uses the channel of the mind. She must look for other ways to arrive at meaning. She must pursue beyond the boundaries of the thinking mind and thought to understand. When she gets beyond ‘knowing,’ she will simultaneously get beyond thinking. If a a yogini-in-training hangs out there for a little while, in the space and openness of the no mind, the experience of pure being will rise. In the experience of pure being she will enter into the mystery and thus, integrate the Kena Upanishad verse. She will intuitively understand the purpose of the verse in her practice and life.
©2018 Luminous Shabda, Manorama & Sanskrit Studies
Learn the skill of working with and resolving the most important yogic questions.
Join the Upanishads Teleclass with Manorama
In this new module of the Upanishads Teleclass, Manorama will share how to work with select verses of the Kena Upanishad. She will share how to understand and integrate who the Umā is and what she represents in the context of the Upanishads into your yogic practice and your life. Each class will include: Meditation, Sanskrit Chanting, Wisdom discussion and Q & A.
Luminous Soul Method:
Darshana: Dive into the Upanishads Teleclass
Module: The Luminous Presence of Umā
Starts, Thurs, Sept 13, 2018
1 pm – 3 pm
For more info click here