Explain the meaning and philosophical implications of tajjalanjti. Discuss the nature of Brahma as discussed in the Chandogya Upanishad.

The meaning of Tajjalanjti – The base word for Tajjalanjti is Tajjalan. Tajjalan is one the few methods in Hinduism employed by the Upanishadic seer Uddaalaka to describe the Reality or Brahman. It is a cosmological approach to the problem of Reality in the context of creation etc.

Let us consider Uddaalaka’s theory. He represents the attributes of Brahman in his statement, ‘sarvam khalvidam brahma tajjalaaniti’ (all is Brahman because it is tajjalan).

Tajjalan is made up of the following words; tat (that), ja (generate), li (dissolve) an (sustain). ‘Ja’ also means ‘cause & birth’.

So it means, “…what generates from That, what dissolved in That, what sustains in That” Here the word That is used for Brahman.

Philosophical implications of Tajjalanjti- 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.

Tajjalan states that the world emerged from and much later it is re-absorbed by Brahman. So the physical world has both beginning and end. But Brahman, which is the source of the universe, has neither beginning nor end. If, for the time being, we ignore the idealistic theory which pervades the Upanishads, the description of Brahman correlates to the indestructibility of matter. Matter is not only indestructible, it cannot be created either. Physics speaks about the origin of universe but not matter.

So here, the word Tajjalanjti provides a different way to inquire into the process of creation.

Nature of Brahma as discussed in the Chandogya Upanishad- In the seventh chapter of Chandogya Upanishad, fresh attempts are made to describe Brahman. After having said that Brahman is avak (silent), now the Upanishad designates it as vag brahma (vak + brahma = vagbrahma). Before doing so, Brahman was called naama brahma. Not only Brahman is Naama, all Vedas are names. However, it is so only at inferior level. In a phased manner, the Upanishad provides the supposed perfect description. Vak is said to be superior to name. The question is how can Vak be a better description of Brahman when, earlier, it was said that Brahman is silent.

It is true that the description ‘Upashantoyam Atma’ applies to self. But there is no difference between Brahman and Atman. So, whatever predicates are applicable to Atman, are at the same time applicable to Brahman and vice versa. So, it shows that in its attempt to describe Saguna Brahman, the Upanishad is contradicting itself. Failure of affirmative description, perhaps, is not inherent in the concept. But it may be due to contributions from several thinkers at different times.

Mano Brahma is said to be superior to Vagbrahma. But it is not clear why the Upanishad has identified Manas with Brahman twice. Only difference is that earlier the function of Manas was restricted to reflection only. But in the seventh chapter there is shift in its function. Desire becomes the function of Manas.

From Manas it passes on to will or determination (Samkalpa). In this manner, the Upanishad considers in all twelve predicates, the highest being ‘prana’. It may be noted that Akasha is a repetition. Here, the status is decided based on the supposition of dependence, the principle on most of the occasions is dependence.

First let us list various predicates in the order of their position. Determination is followed by chitta (to know), dhyana (meditation), vijnana (higher knowledge), bala (force or might), anna (food), ap (water), tejas (heat), smara (memory), asha (desire) and prana (life). However, it is not necessary to consider this chain in detail. It is sufficient to consider the end point of the chain. It is more than obvious that Prana is the substratum of whatever was earlier mentioned.

Accordingly, Brahman is life just as Atman is. Life pervades the whole universe and it outstretches the same. This argument is close to the ancient Greek thought which considered the whole world as animated. By considering the world as animated by the Greek thought that they could solve the problem of change. And the Upanishads knowingly or unknowingly solved the problem of origin of life. Finally, by regarding Brahman as Prana, the Upanishad established the identity of Brahman and Atman more effectively.

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