Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER X: THE ARTIFICIAL METHOD OF UNITY IN RENUNCIATION AND IN YOGA - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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CHAPTER X: THE ARTIFICIAL METHOD OF UNITY IN RENUNCIATION AND IN YOGA - Misc (Upanishads), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads 
The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, translated from the Sanskrit with an outline of the philosophy of the Upanishads and an annotated bibliography, by Robert Ernest Hume (Oxford University Press, 1921).
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THE ARTIFICIAL METHOD OF UNITY IN RENUNCIATION AND IN YOGA
As the absolute unity of the Ātman was the final goal of speculative thought, so absolute unity with the Ātman was regarded as the supreme actual attainment. Though this is theoretically accomplishable by mere metaphysical knowledge, it is as a matter of fact accomplished only after death or during sleep. Therefore for the period while one is still alive and not sleeping some other method than knowledge must be provided.
That was found to be what in Muṇḍ. 3. 2. 1 was joined with knowledge as the means of escaping transmigration:—
After knowledge has informed a person that he is Brahma or Ātman, he should strictly have no more desires, for ‘he who has found and has awakened to the Soul . . . the world is his’ (Bṛih. 4. 4. 13).
‘Verily, because they knew this, the ancients desired not offspring, saying: “What shall we do with offspring, we whose is this Soul, this home?” They, verily, rising above the desire for sons and the desire for wealth and the desire for worlds, lived the life of a mendicant’ (Bṛih. 4. 4. 22; cf. 3. 5. 1).
In actual experience, however, desires do still continue and harass one. But by harboring desires and resorting to activity to satisfy them, one is only admitting and emphasizing to the mind a lack or limitation, and thereby preventing assimilation to and union with the desireless, blissful plenum of the Soul. The entertaining of any desires whatsoever, and the resulting activity, are conditions which from the point of view of knowledge are sheer ignorance; these react in dulling the understanding (cf. Muṇḍ. 1. 2. 9), blind one to the limitation of existence in the world and to the series of rebirths, and maintain the person’s false separation from the real Brahma or Ātman:—
The psychology and praxis of this doctrine are set forth in a notable passage, Bṛih. 4. 4. 5-7. ‘A person is made of desires only. As is his desire, such is his resolve; as is his resolve, such the action he performs; what action (karma) he performs, that he procures for himself. On this point there is this verse:—
So the man who desires. Now the man who does not desire. He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Soul—his breaths do not depart. Being very Brahma, he goes to Brahma. On this point there is this verse:—
But if the metaphysical knowledge of the essential oneness of the individual soul (ātman) and the universal Soul (Ātman) did not procure the blissful union with that Soul, neither does this theory of the avoidance of limiting desires; for they inevitably rise up in the ordinary life of activity. The final solution of the practical problem which the Upanishads offer, namely Yoga, is the outcome of that conception of strict unity which started the speculations of the Upanishads and which urged them on from cosmology to monism, from monism to pantheism, and from an external to an internal unity. That unity—under which it is the aim of every philosophy which has ever existed rationally to bring experience—the early Indian thinkers found in Brahma, and then in the objective Soul (Ātman), and then in one’s own soul, wherein the manifoldness of thought itself and the limitation of the distinctions of object and subject and all sorrows of the heart are merged into an undifferentiated unitary blissful plenum. ‘To the unity of the One goes he who knows this [i. e. that all is one]. The precept for effecting this [unity] is this: restraint of the breath, withdrawal of the senses [from objects], meditation, concentration, contemplation, absorption’ (Maitri 6. 17, 18). This is Yoga (from the root yuj, meaning to ‘join,’ ‘yoke,’ ‘harness’), a harnessing of the senses and mind from the falsely manifold objects and thoughts, and at the same time a union with the unitary blissful Self.
The practical application, the ethics, and the offers of this theory of the union with the Self are set forth in Maitri 6. 20. According to that—
The final exhortation of the Upanishads is well expressed in the following words connected with the Brahma-theory:—
[1 ]It is interesting to note the opposition between this theory that desires are limitations, and the earlier theory in which one of the strongest practical inducements to knowledge was the sure means of obtaining all desires. Cf. Chānd. 1. 1. 7; 5. 1. 4; 7. 10. 2; 8. 2. 10; Bṛih. 1. 3. 28; 6. 1. 4; Tait. 2. 1; Kaṭha 2. 16. Similarly the former method of obtaining Brahma was to know Brahma; now it is to quench all desires. The change on this point is another instance of that transition from epistemological realism to idealism which has been previously traced.
[1 ]The sacred syllable to be repeated until one passes into an unconscious stupor or ecstasy.