Kaivalya Upanishad belongs to the Atharvaveda. It is considered as
a minor Upanishad. Like the Svetavatara Upanishad, this Upanishad also describes Lord Siva as the Supreme Ruler and the very Brahman. The last two verses of the Upanishad elevate it to the status of the famous
Satarudriyam, which is an important text from the Yajurveda containing 100 stanzas of pure devotion addressed to Lord Siva.
Kaivalya Upanishad is revealed to Asvalayana, a famous seer of Vedic times by none other than Lord Brahma himself. The Upanishad is basically meant for aged people who have renounced worldly life and are in the final ashrama (stage) of their lives.
The Upanishad lays great stress on the importance of renunciation in attaining final liberation. In the very beginning of the scripture we hear the proclamation of Brahma that liberation can be attained only by means of renunciation and by no other means.(1.2)
The word "Kaivalya" means the state of kevalam or aloneness. It is the state of liberation attained through renunciation and the realization that one is verily Brahman Himself. The method or technique to attain the end is also described in the Upanishad in quite detail.(1.5 and 1.6)
The unity of godhead is described in the eighth verse, while in the 11th, the importance of the syllable AUM in the transformation of the lower self. The three states of consciousness are explained subsequently and compared logically to the three worlds of the macrocosm, namely the earth (wakeful state), the heaven (the dream state) and the world of Brahman (the deep sleep state).
The study of Kaivalya Upanishad is bound to help those who want to develop a divine orientation in their lives. The Upanishad proclaims some valuable truths which can be used effectively in daily meditation as mantras to keep the mind fixed on the divine aspects of life. The following phrases can be used as effective tools for meditation:
1. Tyaagenaike amrtatvamaanasuh (By renunciation alone immortality is attained.)1.2
2. Tattvameva tvameva tat (That alone you are, you are that alone) 1.16
3. Tadbrahmaaham. (That Brahman I am) 1.17
4. Chinmaatro 'ham (Pure consciousness I am) 1.18
Besides these, the Verses1.6 and1.7 can be used regularly to contemplate upon the unique attributes of Siva or Brahman.
Suggested Further Reading