What is the Udgitha?
The Path, May, 1886
JAMESTOWN April 16th, 1886
DEAR BROTHER:—Will you kindly explain, through THE PATH, what is to be understood by the Udgitha, or hymn of praise to Brahm? With best wishes for the success of your enterprise, I remain,
Fraternally yours, L. J.
This is a vital question. It may have arisen from the peculiarity of the word inquired about, or it may be that our brother really knows the importance of the point. We refer him to the article on OM in the April number. OM is the Udgitha, and OM has been explained in that article. Read between the lines; and read also the “Upanishad Notes” in this month’s PATH.
In the Maitrayana-Brahmana-Upanishad, (Pr. VI), it is said:
“The Udgitha, called Pranava, the leader, the bright, the sleepless, free from old age and death, three footed (waking, dream, and deep sleep), consisting of three letters and likewise to be known as fivefold, is placed in the cave of the heart.”
This is the Self. Not the mere body or the faculties of the brain, but the Highest Self. And that must be meditated on, or worshipped, with a constant meditation. Hymn of praise, then, means that we accept the existence of that Self and aspire to or adore Him. Therefore, it is said again, in the same Upanishad:
“In the beginning Brahman was all this. He was one, and infinite. . . . The Highest Self is not to be fixed, he is unlimited, unborn, not to be reasoned about, not to be conceived. He is, like the ether, everywhere, and at the destruction of the Universe, he alone is awake. Thus from that ether he wakes all this world, which consists of (his) thought only, and by him alone is all this meditated on, and in him it is dissolved. His is that luminous form which shines in the sun, and the manifold light in the smokeless fire. He who is in the fire, and he who is in the heart, and he who is in the sun, they are one and the same. He who knows this becomes one with the One.”
Now, “to know” this, does not mean to merely apprehend the statement, but actually become personally acquainted with it by interior experience. And this is difficult. But it is to be sought after. And the first step to it is the attempt to realize universal brotherhood, for when one becomes identified with the One, who is all, he “participates in the souls of all creatures”; surely then the first step in the path is universal brotherhood.
The hymn of praise to Brahm (which is Brahman) is the real object of this magazine, and of our existence. The hymn is used, in the sacrifice, when verbally expressed, and we can offer it in our daily existence, in each act, whether eating, sleeping, waking, or in any state. A man can hardly incorporate this idea in his being and not be spiritually and morally benefited.
But we cannot fully explain here, as it is to be constantly referred to in this magazine.