(7) General theme of the Upnishads.
The main theme of the
Upnishads is to surrender to God (brahm) and receive liberation
from the bondage of maya (the cosmic power or the material power)
and enter into the eternal state of the Divine Bliss. The Upnishads
distinguish the celestial gods from the Divine forms of God.
The 33 celestial gods.
The Brihadaranyak Upnishad says that there are
mainly thirty-three gods who are important in the celestial world in
terms of the performance of Vedic rituals and the yagyas. Other
celestial gods are affiliates to them. They are: eight Vasus, eleven
Rudras, twelve Adityas (forms of sun god), god Indra and god Prajapati.
The eight Vasus are: agni (god of fire),
prithivi (goddess of the earth), vayu (god of the wind),
antarikch (god of the space), aditya (sun god), dyo (god
of the luminous sky), chandrama (moon god) and nakchatra
(god of the nakchatras, asterism. Nakchatras are 27, called
Magha, Rohini etc.)
These gods are associated with Vedic ceremonies only.
They have no concern with God realization.
General definitions of soul, maya and God.
1. Souls are unlimited in number, infinitesimal (anu)
in size, initially Divine in quality but eternally blemished by maya,
so they are eternally bound by their karmas which are unlimited in
quantity. They are part of the Divine power called jeev shakti
which is affiliated to chit shakti of God. These are the souls that
are under the bondage of maya. All of the souls have a chance to
realize God if they follow the guidelines of selfless devotion (bhakti)
to God. There are also unlimited number of such souls that are beyond the
bondage of maya. They all live in the Divine abodes of their
worshipped form of God as described in our scriptures.
2. Maya is a single limitless and lifeless
power of God. It has three qualities, sattva (pious), raj
(selfish) and tam (evil) that represent its existence when it is
evolved into the form of the universe. In the state of absolute
dissolution of the universe, maya stays in God in an absolutely
dormant form along with the souls that are under its bondage.
3. God. Eternal, omnipresent, all-Blissful,
all-Gracious, all-kind and all-loving Divine personality is God. His prime
forms are: nirakar (formless aspect of God), Vishnu, Shiv, Durga,
Ram and Krishn. Nirakar is established in the personal form of God,
and all the personal forms of God are established in the personality of
Krishn Who reveals the richest and most intimate form of the Divine Bliss,
so He is called the supreme personality of God (poornatam
Illusive nature of the world.
The Upnishads tell about the illusive charm and the
fleeting pleasures of this world and also of the celestial abodes called
the heaven. The Mundkopnishad says,
It means that the ardent ritualists observing Vedic
discipline realized that the eternal (Divine) happiness cannot be found by
Vedic observances. So, they renounced them and considering them as
mayic deceptions they surrendered to God. Every person has an inherent
weakness of leaning towards mayic attractions, and thus, he keeps
on running after the mirage of illusive hope of receiving happiness
through sensual gratifications or other egoistic activities of receiving
name and fame in the world. His life ends, but the search for happiness
never ends. Thus the Upnishads say to renounce the hope (nirvedmayat)
of receiving happiness from worldly objects and beings and
wholeheartedly turn towards God.