display | more...
back to Upanishads
Text of the Maitrayani Upanishad: 01|02

The Maitrayani Upanishad, sometimes called the Maitrayani-Brahmana Upanishad, deals with the division between the flesh and the spirit, desire and liberation, attachment and nonattachment. It describes the process by which the infinite and undefined (Brahman) takes on qualities and thus becomes the manifest universe. This infinite Brahman is the source of the intelligence of living beings, states the Upanishad, but the beings themselves do not know who it is that animates them, nor what it is by which they have their life.

Like many of the Upanishads, the teaching is given in the form of a dialogue between master and students, in which the students ask the master questions, to which he responds, generally at length. Here, the master is Sakayanya, and he describes to his students the process (Yoga) by which they may regain their knowledge of their own nature.

Because the Maitrayani Upanishad focuses on the dualities of spirit and matter, or desire and liberation, the Yoga it describes is very different to the pure Yoga of knowledge described in, for example, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Here the emphasis is on denial and asceticism, the rejection of the desires of the flesh and emotions, the rejection of the thoughts of the mind, and the nullification of all individual movements of the being. The goal is Nirvana, and the express elevator to Nirvana is the Sushumna, the pranic channel that runs along the spine and is the path that kundalini energy travels in its journey to the highest chakra, the sahasrar.

The Maitrayani Upanishad is rich in description and powerful in language, clothing the Divine (Brahman) in imagery and metaphor only to strip it away again and exhort the student to renounce all thoughts, comparisons, ideas and desires. There is some disagreement on its status, with some sites listing it as one of the major Upanishads, and others giving it only minor status, but it seems that it may have been a great influence on the more ascetic schools of Yoga and Hindu philosophy.


Text of the Maitrayani Upanishad: 01|02
back to Upanishads

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.