The Upanishads are a secret, deep and very high spiritual teaching. In the ancient times, the Acharya (Guru) would teach their students in the following way:
The Guru (teacher) would sit under a tree, and the students would sit around him. Then, the Guru would disclose the secrets of spiritual books or teachings.
The word Upaniṣad comes from the following roots:
- Upa - Students coming closely around the teacher;
- Ni - Humble and respectful behaviour;
- Sad - To sit.
Therefore, the word Upaniṣad literally means “sitting closely and respectfully around the teacher”. However, what is implied by this word is “a secret spiritual teaching”.
There are 108 Upaniṣad in total.
Consider the below verse from Taittirīya Upaniṣad:
Deva-pitṛ kāryābhyāṁ na pramaditavyam,
Mātṛ Devo bhava, Pitṛ Devo bhava,
Ācārya Devo bhava, Atithi Devo bhava,
yānyanavadyāni karmāni tāni sevitavyāni,
Below please find a translation:
deva-pitr karyabhyam from the very very good services doing to gods-demigods and to ancestors peoples should not become proud people should give good attention and service to their parents
matr devo bhava by accepting their mother as god
pitr devo bhava and their father as god
Aacharya Devo bhava and also accepting their spiritual teacher as god
Atithi Devo bhava and finally accepting guests as god.
This is an important teaching, because what we can see in the modern society is that people are very happy doing their prayer and spiritual practices, and they are doing very very good. But they are not respecting their parents, their teacher (master) and their guests. This Upanishad (secret spiritual teaching) wants people to first respect and serve their mother and father, and then they do good prayer or spiritual practices. By ignoring parents, people do not lead their life in a straight way towards the truth and their spiritual life. Disrespecting parents will prevent spiritual achievements. Especially, respecting mother is the basis of success for one’s spiritual practice.
Thus, these are the four pillars of human life and spiritual success, the sources of blessing, which one should never forget:
- Master (teacher);
Here, the sentence “yāni an avadyāni karmāṇi” is of particular interest, and means actions that we should take that are free from sins, and are full of devotion, and “na itarāṇi”, which means “no other than that sinless service”. More precisely, here the word “serve” is used instead of “do”, i.e. “that kind of sinless actions that we should serve” (tāni sevitavyāni), which means “those all you need to serve”.
The word is not to do but to serve, its very interesting and beautiful. When people can do anything sinless, to serve these all 4 pillars of life,for that the word is serve...not do
We are nothing compared to these four pillars, which can be like a fire or tsunami if disrespected, but if respected can also be like the flowers and nectar. They can send one to heaven or to hell. Respecting the Four Pillars should be the result and the base of our meditation.