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Tajjalān is one of the few enigmatic methods in Hinduism employed by the Upanishadic seers to describe Reality or Brahman. It is a cosmological approach to the problem of Reality in the context of creation etc.

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.

The Upanishads, a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions. Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are widely known, and their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hindus.

Brahman metaphysical concept, unchanging Ultimate Reality in Hinduism

In Hindu philosophy, Brahman(ब्रह्म) is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists and the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. These schools of thought also consider Brahman to be the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe.


Meaning of Tajjalān

Tajjalān (Sanskrit: तज्जलान्) is an adjective, which means – 'absorbed and breathing in that', 'produced'. [1] It is a compound word interpreted as equivalent to taj-ja, tal-la and tad-ana that represent the attributes of Brahman. [2] It is the enigmatic method to describe Reality unlike the aphoristic method of the Mandukya Upanishad favoured in the later Sutra literature. Shandilya’s Upanishadic declaration –

Sanskrit ancient Indian language

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a history going back about 3,500 years. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Adjective part of speech that describes a noun or pronoun

In linguistics, an adjective is word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun.

<i>Mandukya Upanishad</i> One of the ancient Sanskrit scriptures of Hinduism

The Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad is the shortest of all the Upanishads, and is assigned to Atharvaveda. It is listed as number 6 in the Muktikā canon of 108 Upanishads.

सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म तज्जलानिति शान्त उपासीत
(sarvam khaluidam brahman tajjalān iti shānta upāsita) –
"All this (collectively) is Brahman, indeed: what evolves from That, what dissolves in That, what breathes or functions in That, should be closely and calmly studied……." - (Chandogya Upanishad III.14.1)

where this word first appears, [3] adopts the cryptic way for saying how God could be regarded as 'the origin', 'the end', and 'the life of all things'. [4] Creation literally refers to the beginning of the present cycle but the Vedic seers believed that creation is beginning-less and a never-ending process, and that Brahman is the essence of all that exists and does not exist. [5] Shankara gives the meaning of Tajjalān as – "From this "tad" Brahman the universe has arisen "ja", on dissolution it disappears "li" into this identical with Brahman; in the same way finally it is Brahman in whom the universe, after it is created, breathes "an" and lives - Tat-Ja-Li-An". He paraphrases tajja- with tasmad brahmano jatam because jan construed with tad-as can take the suffix da, so as to give the derivative tajja-. [6]

Adi Shankara Hindu philosopher monk of 8th century

Adi Shankara or Shankara, was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.


Tajjalān is a riddle that describes in a positive way the three basic attributes of Brahman with regard to explaining the process of creation etc. from the primeval Atman. Taittiriya Upanishad II.1/ III.1 proposes the Theory of the emanation of the elements from Brahman, the same Upanishad defines Brahman as Existence, Consciousness and Infinity and declares “that alone might be regarded as the Ultimate Reality of things, from which all these beings are born, by which they live when born, to which they repair and into which they are finally resolved”, because behind the cosmos there must be an existence which must be regarded as responsible for its origin, sustenance, and absorption. [7] Shandilya, through the use of the term, Tajjalān, reveals the secret name by which Brahman should be worshipped. Badarayana defines Brahman as – जन्माद्यस्य यतः (Janamādi asaya yatah) (Brahma Sutra I.1.2)– meaning, "That (is Brahman) from which (are derived) the birth etc. of this (universe)", in which regard Adi Shankara states that the phrase, janamādi is a bahuvrihi compound where the subject presented is apprehended along with its attributes. [8] This definition of Brahman is called, Tatasthalakshana.

The Taittirīya Upanishad is a Vedic era Sanskrit text, embedded as three chapters (adhyāya) of the Yajurveda. It is a mukhya Upanishad, and likely composed about 6th century BC.

Badarayana was an Indian philosopher about whom almost no personal details are reliably known. He wrote the foundational philosophical treatise Vedanta school of philosophy.

A bahuvrihi compound is a type of compound that denotes a referent by specifying a certain characteristic or quality the referent possesses. A bahuvrihi is exocentric, so that the compound is not a hyponym of its head. For instance, a sabretooth (smil-odon) is neither a sabre nor a tooth, but a feline with sabre-like teeth.


Tajjalān is the mysterious name of the universe as identified with Brahman which word summarises the three attributes of Brahman - as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe, and presents the universe as non-different from Brahman in all three periods, past, present and future [9] [10] This is the cosmological proof for the existence of God, which also means that the individual soul is non-limited in its essential nature even though owing to abundance of ignorance it acquires various names and forms to become limited. The phrase, Tajjalān, supplies the reason to explain the mahavakya - "All this is Brahman". [11] This phrase is one of the two well-known examples of the cosmological approach to the problem of Reality. [12] Shandilya’s declaration – सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म तज्जलानिति शान्त उपासीत, recommending meditation on Brahman with the aid of the word, Tajjalān, which word as a compressed formula summarizes the three attributes of the changeless Brahman, draws attention to the fact that the act of meditation (upāsita) must have an object to meditate upon. [13] [14]


The Mahavakyas are "The Great Sayings" of the Upanishads, as characterized by the Advaita school of Vedanta.

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Aruni, also referred to as Uddalaka or Uddalaka Aruni, is a revered Vedic sage of Hinduism. He is mentioned in many Vedic era Sanskrit texts, and his philosophical teachings are among the center piece in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad, two of the oldest Upanishadic scriptures. A famed Vedic teacher, Aruni lived a few centuries before the Buddha and attracted students from far regions of the Indian subcontinent; some of his students such as Yajnavalkya are also highly revered in the Hindu traditions. Both Aruni and Yajnavalkya are among the most frequently mentioned Upanishadic teachers in Hinduism.

Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade philosopher

Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade (1886–1957) was a scholar-philosopher-saint of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Paramananda is a compound Sanskrit word composed of two words, Parama and Ānanda. Parma is usually taken to mean the Highest, the utmost or the most excellent, but actually means - "beyond". And Ānanda, which means, happiness and bliss and most often used to refer to joy though it does not exactly mean these because the original meaning implies permanence rather than just a momentary surge of delight or happiness; it also suggests a deep-seated spiritual emotion that is solidly entrenched. The Upanishadic Seers have used the word, Ānanda, to denote Brahman, the limitless, formless, infinite, indestructible, sole eternal Supreme Being or Sole Reality, to mean, Brahmanmayah, i.e. full of Brahman.

Self-consciousness in the Upanishads is not the first-person indexical self-awareness or the self-awareness which is self-reference without identification, and also not the self-consciousness which as a kind of desire is satisfied by another self-consciousness. It is Self-realisation; the realisation of the Self consisting of consciousness that leads all else.

Aksara is a Sanskrit term translating to "imperishable, indestructible, fixed, immutable".

Avyakta, meaning "not manifest", "devoid of form" etc., is the word ordinarily used to denote Prakrti on account of subtleness of its nature and is also used to denote Brahman who is the subtlest of all and who by virtue of that subtlety is the ultimate support (asraya) of Prakrti. Avyakta as a category along with Mahat and Purusa plays an important role in the later Samkhya philosophy even though the Bhagavad Gita III.42 retaining the psychological categories altogether drops out the Mahat and the Avyakta (Unmanifest), the two objective categories.

Ishvaratva in Sanskrit language is an abstract noun meaning 'godhood', it also means divinity.

Bhuman (Sanskrit:भूमन) means fullness or abundance; It is a synonym of Brahman. The word, Bhuman, is derived from the word, Bahu, meaning much or many, with the suffix – imam, added after it by dropping – i, to impart the sense of the abstract noun. This word refers directly to the Supreme Self who is superior to Prana though Prana is Bhuman because of proximity where the vow of Prana, consisting in transcending all other thing is alluded to.

Ikshana is a noun which means sight, care and superintendence but also refers to eye, sight, look, seeing, viewing, aspect, caring for, looking after, regarding.

Pradhāna is an adjective meaning – most important, prime, chief or major. The Shatapatha Brahmana gives its meaning as – 'the chief cause of the material nature' (S.B.7.15.27) or 'the creative principle of nature' (S.B.10.85.3). The Samkhya School of Indian philosophy employs the word, Pradhana, to mean the creative principle of nature, as the original root of matter, the Prime Matter but which according to Badarayana’s logic is the unintelligent principle which cannot be the one consisting of bliss.

Prajña or Pragya as प्रज्ञा, प्राज्ञ and प्राज्ञा is used to refer to the highest and purest form of wisdom, intelligence and understanding. Pragya is the state of wisdom which is higher than the knowledge obtained by reasoning and inference.

In Hindu philosophy, the Sanskrit aphorism Ahaṁ Brahmāsmi "I am Brahman". It is one of the four Mahavakyas used to explain the unity of macrocosm and microcosm.

Madhu-vidya is described in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II.v.1-19, and in the Chandogya Upanishad III 1-5. Madhu-vidya or 'Honey-knowledge' is that of the supreme Bliss of the Self; it is an important Vedic teaching. This knowledge is meant to be communicated by the teacher to the disciple, by father to the son – who is worthy and inwardly ready. Indra taught Madhu-vidya to Rishi Dadhichi with a warning that it should not be communicated to anyone else.

Panchagni vidyā means - meditation on the five fires. This vidyā or knowledge appears in the Chandogya Upanishad and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It is one of the forty-one prescribed Vedic rirtuals.

Nāmarūpa-vyākaraṇa, in Hindu philosophy, refers to the process of evolution of differentiation into names and forms i.e. to the unfolding of the primal state into the manifest world prior to which unfolding there was nothing that existed; it refers to the conditioned reality. In the Upanishads this term is used to indicate the self-willed manifestation of Brahman under visible and nameable aspects, to the said manifestation into the fictitious plurality of the phenomenal world owing to maya, the unreal adjunct. According to Hindu scriptures the world in each age emanates from Brahman mirrored upon maya.

Śāṇḍilya Vidya is a set of teachings of vidyā or philosophy by the ancient Hindu sage Śāṇḍilya. It is part of the Agnirahasyama of the Shatapatha Upanishad, and its precepts are also set out in the Chandogya Upanishad. The work treats of the universal Absolute (Brahman) and of the practice of faith (Bhakti).

Svéna is derived from the root "sva" (स्व), a reflective adjective, meaning self or one’s own or belonging to oneself; "éna" is a pronominal suffix meaning - "by" as in कालेन (kāléna) – 'by time' or 'by present time'. "sva" + "éna" = Svéna means – 'by your own' or 'by one’s own conditioned nature'.


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  2. Monier Williams (2003-07-01). Indian Wisdom or Examples of …. Kessinger Publishing. p. 112. ISBN   9780766171985.
  3. Swami Gambhirananda. Chandogya Upanishad. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama. p. 208. Verse 14.1
  4. Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade (1986). A Constructive Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 23.
  5. Swami Parameshwarananda. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanishads. Sarup & Sons. p. 73.
  6. George Cordona (1999-01-01). Recent Research in Pananian Grammar. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 137. ISBN   9788120816374.
  7. Ramachandra Dattatrya Ranade (1986). A Constructive Survey of Upanishadic philosophy. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 53.
  8. Adi Shankara. Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama. p. 13.
  9. Swami Parmeshwaranand (2000-01-01). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanishads:S-Z. Sarup & Sons. p. 73. ISBN   9788176251488.
  10. Swami Nikhalananda (2003). The Principal Upanishads. Courier Dover Publications. p. 47. ISBN   9780486427171.
  11. George Thibaut (2004-06-01). The Vedanta Sutras with the commentary by Ramanuja Part 3. Kessinger Publishing. p. 157. ISBN   9781419186622.
  12. S.C.Sen (1937). The Mystical Philosophy of the Upanishads. Genesis Publishing (P) Ltd. p. 188. ISBN   9788130706603.
  13. Encyclopaedia of Upanishads and its Philosophy Vol.3. Genesis Publishing. p. 752.
  14. Ananda E. Wood. Interpreting the Upanishads. Islamic Books. p. 23.