Yoga Sikha Upanishad

Shiva Blessing Devotees

by P.R.Ramachander


The Yoga Sikhopanishad belongs to the Krishna Yajur Veda. Yoga sikha means head of the yogas. As the name implies, the Upanishad deals with the principles and practice of yoga in six chapters as a conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, with Shiva as the World Teacher. The Upanishad reveals the secrets of yoga, as a revelation of God himself, emphasizing the importance of both jnana and yoga in achieving salvation and how the inner transformation takes place with the practice of Maha Yoga, or great yoga, which is said to be a combination of Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga.

The meaning and significance of all these four yogas is also explained in the Upanishad. The body is described as the temple of Shiva. It has the potential to manifest occult powers, when it is purified and perfected with the help of Kundalini yoga. It is the seat of Kundalini energy and various chakras associated it. All the yogas are said to be a combination of Prana, Apana and Samana in varying degrees. The second and third chapters describe nadha or the inner sound, called Sabda Brahman. The fourth chapter confirms the principle of monism (Advaita) that there is no difference between the Supreme Self and the individual self and that the world is but an illusion or dream. In the fifth chapter we are advised not to practice yoga for the sake of siddhis or powers. The following is an original translation of the Upanishad by P.R. Ramachander. Hope it will help you to understand the meaning and significance of Yoga and the inner sound (nadha) in liberation- Jayaram V.


Aum ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Aum ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

First Chapter

“All the living beings are surrounded by the net of illusion, Oh God, Parameshwara, Oh God of Gods, How will they attain salvation? Be kind enough to tell.” Asked Lord Brahma to Lord Parameshwara and he replied as follows: 1.1

Some people say that the only way out is Jnana (knowledge). To attain occult powers, that alone will not suffice. How can Jnana without Yoga lead to salvation? It is also true that Yoga alone without Jnana will not lead to salvation. So the one who aims at salvation, should learn Jnana and Yoga together. 1.2

Like a rope ties a bird, the minds of all living beings are tied. Enquiries and researches do not affect the tie of this mind. So the only way to win over this mind is through victory over Prana. There is no other option to get victory over Prana except Yoga and there are no methods except those shown by Siddhas. 1.3

So I am teaching you this Yoga Shika (head of all yogas). It is greater than all Jnanas. After sitting in either Padmasana (lotus position) or any other Asana, and after concentrating the sight to the tip of the nose and after controlling both the hands and legs, meditate on the letter ‘Aum’ with a concentrated mind. If one continuously meditates on Parameshwara, he would become an expert in yoga and the Parameshwara would appear before him. 1.4

If we sit in an asana and continuously practice, the bindu will cease from going down. Without Pooraka and Rechaka, the Prana would stand in Kumbhaka for a very long time. You would hear different types of sound. The nectar will start flowing from the place of the moon. Hunger and thirst will cease. Mind would get concentrated on the ever flowing bliss. The four steps for this are Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga. The great Maha Yoga, which is one, has been divided in to four and named as above. The prana goes out with sound “ham” and goes in with the word “sa”, and all beings naturally chant the mantra “Hamsa, Hamsa” (while exhaling and inhaling). This is chanted in the Sushumna after being taught by the Guru in an inverted manner (Hamsa inverted is soham). This chanting of the mantra “Soham, Soham (I am it)" is called Mantra Yoga. Sun is the letter “Ha” and moon is the letter “Tha”. The joining of sun and the moon is the Hatha Yoga. Due to Hatha Yoga, the idiocy which is the cause of all doshas (draw backs) is swallowed. When the merging of Jeevatma and Paramatma takes place, mind melts and vanishes. And only air of Prana remains. This is called Laya Yoga. Because of Laya Yoga that heavenly Swathmananda Sowkhya (the well being of the joy of ones own soul) is attained. In the great temple of the middle of yoni (the female organ) the principle of the Devi, which is red like Hibiscus flower lives as Rajas in all beings. The merger of this rajas with the male principle is called Raja Yoga. As a result of Raja Yoga, the Yogi gets all the occult powers like Anima. You have to understand that all these four types of Yogas are nothing but the merger of Prana, Apana and Samana. 1.5

For all those who have a body, their body is the temple of Shiva. It can give them occult powers. The triangular part in between the anus and penis is called the mooladhara. This is the place where Shiva lives as a life giving force. There the Parashakthi called Kundalani lives. From there wind is produced. The fire is also produced from there. From there only the sound ‘Hamsa’ and the mind are also produced. This place which would give whatever is asked for is called Kamakhya peetam (the seat of passion). In the edge of the anus is the Swadishtana Chakra with six petals. Near the belly is the Mani Poora Chakra with its ten petals. In the place near the heart the Anahatha Chakra with its 12 petals exists. And, Hey Lord Brahma, this is called the Poorna Giri Peeta. In the depression in the throat, Vishudhi Chakra with its 16 petals exists. Hey lord of Lords, that is the Jalandara Chakra. In between the eyelids is the Agna Chakra with its two petals. Over that is the Maha Peeta called Udayana. 1.6

Second Chapter

This world functions because of the unclear foundation power which is described as Maha Maya, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Devi and Maha Saraswathi. That power shines in a micro form as a Bindu (dot) on the Peeta (seat). That Bindu breaks the Peeta and emerges from there in the form of Nadha (sound). That Nadha Brahma assumes three shapes viz., Macro, Micro and external. The macro form is the big shape which is pervaded by the five Brahmans. The micro form which arises from the Nadha with its three Bheejas (roots) is the form of Hiranya Garbha. Para is the ever true property of Satchitananda. By continuously chanting the Atma mantra, the glitter will occur in Para Thathwa (the philosophy of the external). For the Yogi who has stopped his mind, this appears in the micro form similar to the flame of the lamp, moon’s crescent, like a fire fly, like a streak of lightning and like the glitter of stars. There are no greater mantras than Nadha (sound), no Gods greater than Atma, no greater worship than the meditation and no pleasure greater than satisfaction. My devotee who understands this would remain stable in his happiness. To that great man who has great devotion to God as well as similar great devotion to his teacher, all this would be understood automatically.

Third Chapter

That great ever living Nadha (sound) is called Sabhda Brahman. It is the strength residing in the Mooladhara. Para is the foundation for its own self and is of the form of Bindhu. That Nadha coming out of Parashakthi (similar to the germ coming out of the seed) is called Pasyanthi (we see). The Yogis who are able to see using the Pasyanthi Shakthi, understand that it is the whole world. That power produces sound like a rain starting from the heart. Hey Lord of Lords, there it is called Madhyama. It is called Vaikari when it merges in the sound form with Prana and exists in the throat and jaw. It produces all the alphabets from Aa to Ksha. From alphabet words arise and from words rise the sentences and from them all the Vedas and Mantras. This Goddess Saraswathi lives in the cave of intelligence in all beings. In meditation when will power melts, you can reach this Para Thathwa.

Fourth Chapter

Because the divine power is single, there are no differences there. You have to understand that the thought process of living beings is like seeing a snake in a rope. When you do not know, it is a rope and then for a small time the rope appears as a snake. The ordinary intelligence is similar to this. We see everything as the world that we see. There is no reason or basis for this world to be different from this Brahman. So the World is only Brahman and not anything different. If you understand the Para Thathwa like this, where is the cause for differentiation. 4.1

In Taittiriya Upanishad fear has been told as belonging to that foolish person who finds difference between Jeevatma(soul) and Paramatma (God). Though this world has been told as some thing to be experienced, in the next moment it vanishes like a dream. There is no state of waking up in a dream. There is no dream in the state of waking up. Both of them are not there in Laya. Laya is not in both of them. All these three are illusions created by the three characters. The one who sees this would be above characteristics and would be forever. 4.2

The Chaithanya (activity) starts in the form of the world. All these are Brahman. It is useless to differentiate it as Atma and Anatma when dealing with wise people. The foolish man thinks that body is attached to the soul. The belief that pot is mixed with the mud and the water is mixed with mirage and similarly the belief that body is mixed up with the soul is because of taking recourse to ignorance. 4.3

Fifth Chapter

That Yogi who has mastered yoga and who has complete control over his senses would attain whatever he imagines. The Teacher (guru) is the Brahma, He is Vishnu and He is the Lord of Lords Sadashiva and there is nobody greater than the teacher in all the three worlds. We should worship with devotion that Parameshwara, who is the great Soul who has taught us the divine knowledge. The one who worships like that would get the result of Jnana fully. Do not keep your aim because of the wavering mind on occult powers. The one who knows this principle well, is the one who has attained salvation. There is no doubt about it.

Sixth Chapter

That great light in which the Bhoo Loka, Bhuvar Loka and Suvar Loka [Worlds] and the Sun, Moon and Fire Gods, are but a small part in the letter “Aum”. When mind wavers, the worldly life and when it is firm, the salvation will result. So Lord Brahma, using great intelligence we have to keep the mind not to waver. For desire to posses wealth, the mind is the reason. When that is destroyed, the world would be destroyed. One should with lot of effort start the treatment for that. When a man looks after his mind using his mind and realizes that it has stopped running, he would see the Parabrahman, which is very difficult to see. The Yogi is able to get salvation by seeing his mind with his mind. We have to see the mind with the mind and hanker for that mad state. We have to see the mind with the mind and be stable in Yoga. 6.1

In any place where the wind moves, the mind also wavers. Mind is called moon, sun, wind, sight and fire. The Bindu(dot), Nadha (sound) and the Kala (crescent) are the Gods Vishnu, Brahma and Ishwara. By constant practice of Nadha, the bad influences will vanish. That which is Nadha becomes the Bindu and then becomes the mind. One has to clearly aim at the unification of Nadha, Bindu and Chintha. Mind itself is the Bindu and that is the reason for the state of creation of the world. Similar to milk being produced by the cow, Bindu is produced by the mind. 6.2

The one who realizes well the six wheels (Agna chakras) enters the world of pleasure. One has to enter it by controlling the airs in the body. One has to send the air (Vayu) upwards. One has to practice Vayu, Bindu Chakra and Chintha. Once the Yogi realizes Samadhi by one of them, he feels that everything is nectar like. Similar to the fact that the fire inside the wood cannot be brought out without churning it by another wood, without practice, the lamp of wisdom can not be lit. Adopting his teacher as the one who pilots the ship and by adopting his teachings as the stable ship, with the power of constant practice, one crosses the sea of this birth. Thus tells this Upanishad.

Aum ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Aum ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

Here ends the Yoga-Sikhopanishad belonging to the Krishna-Yajur-Veda.

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