CHENNAI: The subtle knowledge contained in the Upanishads deals with the universe and its relationship with the creator. The Taitriya Upanishad explains the uniqueness of creation and establishes that the Supreme Brahman manifests as the entire creation and activates all aspects of it.

It is Brahman that gives name, form and tendencies to the various beings and objects in the universe.

Since the nature of the Supreme Brahman is infinite and cannot be adequately expressed, explained or even understood, the Upanishads adopt the method of moving from the known to the unknown to enable a better grasp of subtle truths, pointed out Swamini Satyavratananda in a lecture.

Comprehension is effective when the teaching/learning process takes place in slow stages. For instance, when one has to identify and locate the moon, the method adopted is to view the tree, the branch, the leaves and then the moon. This paves the way for a clear understanding of the object. Similarly through the path of meditation on the different aspects of one’s self, it is possible to gain the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. The five sheaths (Koshas) in an individual’s body — Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya — are representative of the five elements. Contemplating on these Koshas in one’s self, one can get a glimpse of the universal Brahman who is the all pervading and animating force.

The relationship between the macro (Brahman) and the micro (individual) forms of the universe is best exemplified in this manner.

The creation of the universe is similar in certain respects to the creation of objects such a pot, table or gold jewellery, and unique in other respects as well. All these objects are made out of a material cause — clay, wood and gold, and also have an intelligent cause or a maker, namely, potter, carpenter and goldsmith.

The creation of the universe is shown to be unique since it is the Supreme Brahman who is both the material and the intelligent cause. In addition Brahman remains changeless while manifesting as space, wind, fire, water and earth, the five elements.