All Upanishads have one common universal goal — to gain knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. They contain the revelations experienced by seers and sages in their quest to understand the highest truth. They are thus revealed texts. Central to their enquiries, discussions, discourses and teachings is the profundity enveloping the nature of the Supreme Brahman. Their import alone is of paramount value and transcends the limitations of authorship, history or geography. They raise the fundamental question of how a jivatma (who is limited in many ways) can attempt to know the infinite Supreme Brahman and show how this paradox can be reconciled, pointed out Sri K. Srinivasan in a lecture.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad begins with an enquiry on the Supreme Brahman, and on the various theories on religion and philosophy, by the seekers of Brahman (Brahmavadins).
Rishi Svetasvatara is said to have taught this knowledge to his disciples.
“What is the cause? Is it Brahman? When are we born? Why do we live? Where is our final rest? Under whose orders are we subjected to the law of happiness and misery?”
Many issues are subsumed in this enquiry — the nature of causation, its necessity, and the ultimate goal. If the Supreme Brahman is Absolute and has no second, can He be the cause at all? If He is the cause, is He the material or the efficient cause or both? Or again how is one to account for entities such as time, fate, nature, gunas, etc., which are also highly influential in an individual’s life?
Each generation has to confront and probe these pertinent doubts about the mystery of the universe and our existence.
The Upanishad says the jivatma, in the embodied state, has to meditate and gradually try to realise the Supreme Lord. Realising Him to be without a beginning or end, as the sole creator of the cosmos, as the knower of all things, as one who assumes many forms, enveloping the entire universe and pervading each and every aspect of it, one is able to free oneself of all fetters and bondage.