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  • Ramesh Gupta

Shwetashwar Upanishad

It has 6 chapters.

Chapter I: Students of spirituality get together and discuss as to who is the supreme reality, under whom we live and who controls and governs all that exists.

Several suggestions were made as to whether it is the time period, laws of nature, fate, chance, the five subtle elements of nature or the soul or a combination thereof, which are the cause of this creation. This thought was discounted because the soul goes through pains and pleasure and is not dependent and therefore can not be the cause of creation or “Brahama”.

Here the universe has been compared to a wheel with spokes, tire cover, of course a circumference and other parts which will be different pains and sufferings. Soul without knowing the real form of supreme being is attached to worldly pleasures and goes through pains as well. On knowing the real form of supreme being one becomes free from all pains and sufferings and attain moksha. It also explains that the material things are destructible while the soul is eternal and imperishable. On knowing the enjoyer(soul), the subject of enjoyment(matter) and the ruler(God), one attains moksha(salvation).(12). There is a comparision of existance of God everwhere without being visible just as fire exists in wood and butter in yogurt.

Chapter II: Deals with yoga and how and what it does. Goes in to details about attinment of peace, disconnection of soul from external influence and explains how conncetion of soul with God occurs and then God tranfers or transcends qualities. The soul then becomes free from unhappiness. Yogi realizes that this is the same lord who governs and pervades now, was in existance in past and will be the master in future as well.

Chapter III: This chapter deals in depth as to the powers and presence of God/Lord/Parmatma in every particle of this universe. That he alone is the architect of all that exists. He alone is dispensing justice to all (aryama) according to their deeds without any favour to anyone.

God has created all the objects of divine qualities “Devata” such as fire, air, water, earth, sun, moon etc. God is “rudra” or the punishar of the wicked. Lord is calm, peaceful and destroyer of sins and is kind. Lord you are the revealer of holy vedas-the source of all knowledge.

“vedah metam purusham mahantam, aaditya varnam tamasah parastat

Tameva viditvati mrityu meti naanya panthaa vidyate ayanaya( to get rid of)”

Now yogi has realized God and has come to know the great all pervading, sun like glorious lord, who is beyond darkness. On realizing him alone one passes beyond death and can attain “moksha”. Lord pervades in hearts of all beings, is infinite and benevalent and pure.

14th mantra of the same chapter says that the universe, is than one fourth of the entire domain of supreme being. The expression goes that he has thousand eyes, heads, hands, feet etc. The supreme lord posseses all the qualities and capabilities, functions and strength of all the senses without having any of these senses in physical form. Well, God does not have any physical form at all.

“Apaani pado javano grahita, pashchatya chakshu sa shranotya karnah

Sa vetti vedyam na cha tasyasi vetta, tama aahu agrayam purusham mahaantam”

Javanah-in motion, grahitaa-one who can catch or accept, tam-to whom, aahu-is called, agrayam-first, purusham-lord of all that exists, mahaantam-greatest.

“ano raneeyan mahato maheeyan aatma guhayam nihitasya jantoh

tamakrituh pashyati veetshiko, dhaatuh prasaadan mahimaan meesham”

nihitah-present, asya-this, jantoh-of jeevaatma, akratum-one who does not do karma, pashyati-one who sees or witnesses, veetshokha-free from all sorrows, dhatu-of the adorable, mahimaanam-glory, eesham-to the lord

The lord is unborn, every present, and full understanding and description is not possible.

Chapter IV: It has 22 shlokas. In one of the shlokas, Eeshwar is called by so many names. Some of these are:

  1. Agni- all powerful, source of all life

  2. Adityaa- imperishable, eternal

  3. Vayu- all mighty and creator

  4. Chandrama- all bliss and bestower of happiness

  5. Shukra- most holy

  6. Bbhraman-

  7. Apa- all pervading

  8. Prajapati- lord of all beings

“Ajaamekaam lohit shukla krishnaam bahveeh prajaa srijamaanam saroopah.

Ajo hyeko jushmano anushete, jahatyenam bhakta bhoga bhajo anyah.”

The devotee says that all we see is created by sublte or atomic matter. All three entitees: the God, soul and nature are called “aja”, or one who was never born.

“A” is without and “Ja” means birth. Being of female gender in grammer, nature or prakriti is called “ajaa”. The God and soul is called “aja”.

State of unison of the 3 gunaas, the satogun, rajogun, and tamogun is called prakriti. One aja is enjoying [jeevaatma] and the other aja is watching – [parmaatma]

“Dya suparnaa sayuja sakhayaa, samaanam vriksham parishaswa jate,Tayo ranyah pippalam, swat vatya nash nananyo abhichaak sheeti.”

Abichaak-one who witnesses or sees

Sukhshamti suksham kalilasya madhye, vishwasya shrashtah ramanek roopam

Vishwasya ekam pariveshtitaaram, jaatwa shivam shaantim atyanta meeti.

Chapter V: It has 14 shlokaas. Interestingly, God is compared to the thumb of the parent. Just as the child who is holding mere thumb or the finger of the parents feels secure and thinks that he or she is holding the whole body of the parent. To us, who can see very little of the lord’s creation, that is how it feels. God has no gender.

Without knowledge, no action is possible and for bhakti, action is necessary. Only by meditating upon the qualities of the lord and asking to put these qualities in our lives, and then practicing these qualities, our lives can be better.

Chapter VI:This chapter has 23 shlokas. The Rishi who have assembled together to discuss the issue as to who is the lord raise the same question again.

One can attain moksha only by realising him who is imperishable, beyond the bounds of time, formless, by whom this entire universe has been created and put in action and who pervades and envelopes the universe. We humans act, but the intention is what really matters in an act. There comes the concept of “Dhiyo yonah prachodayat”.

“Na tasya karyam kaaranam cha vidyate, na tasyamashchaabhyadhikashcha drashyate

Paraasya shaktirvividheeva shruyate, swabhavikee gyaanabalakriya cha”

There is no cause or effect of him, no greater or even equal power to him. He is possessed of infinite natural or inherent knowledge, power and action.

“Eko devah sarva bhuteshu gudah, sarva vyapee sarva bhutaantaratma

Karmaa dhyaksha sarva bhutadhi vasah, kevalo nirgunashcha”

The one omnicient lord is hidden in the hearts of all creatures. He is all pervading, the innner supreme soul, existing in and controlling the souls of all creatures, pure conciousness and void of the three gunas and never engaging in the cycles of deeds or birth and deaths.

“Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandrataarakam, nemaa viduto bhanti kuto ayam agnih

Tamev bhanmanubhati sarvam, tasya bhasaa sarvam idam vibhaati”

The sun does not illuminate there, i.e., before God, nor the moon, nor the stars and nor these lightenings were there. How can these then illuminate him? It is because of Lord that everything shines.

Lastly the statement is made that it only in the heart of the great soul whose devotion to God is supreme can spirtual truth shine.

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