The following table of concordance is an attempt to build a comparative list of equivalent concepts seen in the Ṛg Veda Samhitā and the Upaniṣads.
It is well-known that Hindu tradition considers the Veda Samhitās and Upaniṣads as forming integral parts of a single canon of orthodox scripture, the Veda. There must have been a really good reason for this. The reason is that the Veda is thoroughly consistent in its subject matter and fundamental metaphysics and philosophy, beginning with the Samhitās all the way through to the Upaniṣads. This internal consistency is acknowledged by traditional scholars and commentators such as Yāskācārya and Sāyaṇācārya. I shall demonstrate this consistency from the viewpoint of the latter’s Vedic commentary in another essay.
The present endeavor seeks to disprove the prevalent view amongst western Indologists, Sanskritists and so-called Vedic scholars, that there is a radical revolution of ideas and philosophies in the Upaniṣads in opposition to the Samhitās. For the better part of the last 200 years, under the influence of the unenlightened, pedestrian and agenda-based views of western Indologists, even those in the Hindu fold who are otherwise staunch traditionalists have ingested and succumbed to this ridiculously wrong assertion.
Even many eminent monks of the Ramakrishna Mission who project an image of being the custodians or representatives of authentic and native understanding of its own traditions, have fallen prey to such foreign and untenable views. You will find in many of the older translations of Upaniṣads published by Ramakrishna Math, in the introduction, such wrong views being propagated. According to such writings, the Upaniṣads supposedly represent a “revolt” against the older Vedic ritualism, led by Kṣatriyas against Brāhmaṇas.
The utter absurdity of the above view is evident from even a cursory look at the texts. If the Upaniṣads were revolts against the ritualistic “orthodoxy”, they wouldn’t even be included in the sacred Vedic canon. This is similar to saying that the Cārvāka writings were included in the Veda, when they indubitably ridiculed, criticized and denigrated the Vedic system in absolute terms. It is also patently untrue that Upaniṣads are a caste-based conflict between Kṣatriyas and Brāhmaṇas. Not only are the Upaniṣads strictly framed within the orthodox institution of yajña, all of the most crucial and important concepts and philosophy are taught by, and occur in discussions between, Brāhmaṇas. The very fact that some Kṣatriya teachers are included in the same texts shows that they are fully in conformance to the orthodoxy.
The Upaniṣads aim to change the perspective of the student from a superficial understanding of Vedic ritual to the deeper realization of the profound metaphysics that is expounded throughout the Vedic canon in different ways and at different levels of subtlety. This fact is also corroborated by the quoting of numerous Samhitā mantra verses verbatim and in toto. The Upaniṣads use the Samhitā mantras as authority to demonstrate that they are saying the same thing that has been said in different words in the mantras. Below, I have also included a table of direct Samhitā mantra quotes in the Upaniṣads. Overall, you will notice that the Samhitā mantras use more poetical, metaphorical, symbolical and esoteric language, while the Upaniṣads use more straightforward language.
|Ṛg Veda Samhitā||Upaniṣads|
|RV 3.26.7अग्निरस्मि जन्मना जातवेदाः घृतं मे चक्षुरमृतं म आसन् ।अर्कस्त्रिधातू रजसो विमानो अजस्रो घर्मो हविरस्मि नाम ॥“I am Agni, omniscient by birth, Light is my eye and Immortality is my mouth. I am the three-fold Light that measures the universe. I am both immortal energy and matter.”||Bṛ. Up. 1.4.10ब्रह्म वा इदमग्र आसीत्तदात्मानमेवावेदहं ब्रह्मास्मीति । तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत् … । तदिदमप्येतर्हि य एवं वेदाहं ब्रह्मास्मीति स सर्वं भवति …।“Brahman was indeed all this in the beginning. It knew only Itself as “I am Brahman”. Hence It became everything… Hence even today, whosoever knows “I am Brahman” becomes everything.”|
|RV 8.19.25यदग्ने मर्त्यस्त्वं स्यामहं मित्रमहो अमर्त्यः“O Agni! May I, a mortal, become You, Immortal, O Best Friend!”||Chān. Up. 6.8.7स आत्मा तत्त्वमसि“He is the Self, and You are That”|
|RV 10.5.7असच्च सच्च परमे व्योमन्दक्षस्य जन्मन्नदितेरुपस्थे ।अग्निर्ह नः प्रथमजा ऋतस्य पूर्व आयुनि वृषभश्च धेनुः ॥“Both non-existence and existence in the highest realm, Daksha’s birth from Aditi’s womb, Agni is for us the first form of the universe, and in an earlier state, he is both Bull and Cow.” RV 10.129.1नासदासीन्नो सदासीत्तदानीं“There was neither non-existence nor existence in that state” RV 10.129.2न मृत्युरासीदमृतं न तर्हि“There was neither death nor immortality”||Tait. Up. 2.6सच्च त्यच्चाभवत् निरुक्तं चानिरुक्तं च निलयनं चानिलयनं च विज्ञानं चाविज्ञानं च सत्यं चानृतं च सत्यमभवत् यदिदं किंच ।“He became both existence and non-existence, both explicit and implicit, both hospitable and inhospitable, both knowledge and ignorance, both real and unreal, he became the Reality of all.” Bṛ. Up. 2.3.1द्वे वाव ब्रह्मणो रूपे मूर्तं चैवामूर्तं च मर्त्यं चामृतं च स्थितं च यच्च सच्च त्यच्च ।“Two indeed are Brahman’s forms – gross and subtle, mortal and immortal, stationary and fluid, existence and non-existence.”|
|RV 3.55.7अन्वग्रं चरति क्षेति बुध्नः“He moves ahead while staying still as foundation”||Īśā. Up. 5तदेजति तन्नैजति“It moves and it moves not”|
|RV 6.9.5ध्रुवं ज्योतिर्निहितं दृशये कं मनो जविष्ठं पतयत्स्वन्तः ।विश्वे देवाः समनसः सकेता एकं क्रतुमभिवियन्ति साधु ॥“A firm Light is hidden within the senses (or the creatures), for the sake of vision. It is the source of bliss, and it is subtler than the mind. All the deities (or senses) with a single mind and single knowledge move towards the one center of ultimate knowledge.” RV 6.9.4… पश्यतेममिदं ज्योतिरमृतं मर्त्येषु …“… Look at Him! This Immortal Light within the mortals…”||Īśā. Up. 6अनेजदेको मनसो जवीयो“The one unmoving, faster (or subtler) than the mind.” Kaṭha Up. 1.2.20आत्माऽस्य जन्तोर्निहितो गुहायां“The Self is hidden within the creature” Tait. Up. 2.1यो वेद निहितं गुहायां परमे व्योमन्“He who knows the (Self) hidden inside the supreme space (or highest realm)” Bṛ. Up. 4.4.16तद्देवा ज्योतिषां ज्योतिरायुर्होपासतेऽमृतम्“The deities worship that Light of Lights, the Life, the Immortal” Kaṭha Up. 2.1.13अङ्गुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषो ज्योतिरिवाधूमकः“The thumb-sized Person, like a smokeless Light”|
|RV 6.9.6वि मे कर्णा पतयतो वि चक्षुर्वीदं ज्योतिर्हृदय आहितं यत् ।वि मे मनश्चरति दूरआधीः किं स्विद् वक्ष्यामि किमु नू मनिष्ये ॥“My ears fly forth, my eyes fly forth seeking this Light that is spread wide within the heart. My mind wanders far in search, what shall I speak of, and what shall I think of?”||Kena Up. 3न तत्र चक्षुर्गच्छति न वाग्गच्छति नो मनः“The eye does not go there, nor speech nor the mind” Tait. Up. 2.9यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह“From which speech and mind return back, not having reached” Kaṭha Up. 2.3.12नैव वाचा न मनसा प्राप्तुं शक्यो न चक्षुषा“Neither by speech nor by the mind nor by sight, is he attainable”|
|RV 6.9.7विश्वे देवा अनमस्यन्भियानास्त्वामग्ने तमसि तस्थिवांसम् ।वैश्वानरोऽवतूतये नोऽमर्त्योऽवतूतये नः ॥“All the deities bowed down in fear of you, O Agni, when you were sitting in the darkness. May the Universal Person protect us, may the Immortal One protect us.”||Tait. Up. 2.8भीषास्माद्वातः पवते भीषोदेति सूर्यः भीषास्मादग्निश्चेन्द्रश्च मृत्युर्धावति पंचम इति ।“Out of fear of him, the wind blows, out of fear the sun rises, out of fear Agni and Indra, and Death, the fifth, go about doing their work”|
|RV 1.164.4अस्थन्वन्तं यदनस्था बिभर्ति“The boneless one (i.e. without physical form) supports the one with bones (i.e. a physical form)||Kaṭha Up. 1.2.22अशरीरं शरीरेष्वनवस्थेष्ववस्थितं“The one without a body is present within bodies, the permanent presence within impermanent states”|
|RV 10.72.2असतः सदजायत“From non-existence was born existence”||Tait. Up. 2.7असद्वा इदमग्र आसीत् ततो सदजायत“Non-existence was indeed all this in the beginning, from it existence was born”|
|Ṛg Veda Samhitā||Upaniṣads|
|RV 4.26.1अहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चाहं कक्षीवान् ऋषिरस्मि विप्रः।अहं कुत्समार्जुनेयं न्यृञ्जेऽहं कविरुशना पश्यता मा ॥“I was Manu and the Sun. I am the wise Kakṣīvān Ṛṣi. I nurture the white bolt of lightning (or the Ṛṣi Kutsa). I am the ancient Kavi Uśanā. O people, look at me! (i.e. you can also become enlightened like me).”||Bṛ. Up. 1.4.10तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे अहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति“Having realized this truth, the Ṛṣi Vāmadeva declared “I was Manu and the Sun” …”|
|RV 4.27.1गर्भे नु सन्नन्वेषामवेदमहं देवानां जनिमानि विश्वा ।शतं मा पुर आयसीररक्षन्नधः श्येनो जवसा निरदीयम् ॥“While still in the womb, I knew of all the forms of all the deities. A hundred iron forts held me down, but I escaped swiftly like a hawk.”||Ait. Up. 2.5तदुक्तमृषिणा गर्भे नु … जवसा निरदीयम् ॥“(this same truth) is said by the Ṛṣi: “While still in the womb … swiftly like a hawk.” …”|
|RV 1.116.12तद्वां नरा सनये दंस उग्रमाविष्कृणोमि तन्यतुर्न वृष्टिम् ।दध्यङ् ह यन्मध्वाथर्वणो वामश्वस्य शीर्ष्णा प्रयदीमुवाच ॥“That fierce deed of yours (Aśvins) I shall declare, just as a cloud reveals rain. The secret Madhu knowledge that Dadhyaṅ Ātharvaṇa taught you through a horse’s head.” RV 1.117.22आथर्वणायाश्विना दधीचेऽश्व्यं शिरः प्रत्यैरयतम् ।स वां मधु प्रवोचदृतायन् त्वाष्ट्रं यद्दस्रावपिकक्ष्यं वाम् ॥“O Aśvins, you installed a horse’s head on Dadhyaṅ Ātharvaṇa. He then taught you the secret Madhu knowledge of Tvaṣṭā.”||Bṛ. Up. 2.5.16इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् । तद्वां नरा … प्रयदीमुवाचेति ।“This verily is that secret Madhu knowledge that Dadhyaṅ Ātharvaṇa taught the Aśvins. Having witnessed that, a Ṛṣi declared this mantra: “That fierce deed…” …” Bṛ. Up. 2.5.17इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोच । आथर्वणायाश्विना … वामिति ।“This verily is that secret Madhu knowledge that Dadhyaṅ Ātharvaṇa taught the Aśvins. Having witnessed that, a Ṛṣi declared this mantra: “O Aśvins…” …”|
|RV 8.6.30आदित्प्रत्नस्य रेतसो ज्योतिष्पश्यन्ति वासरम् । परो यदिध्यते दिवा ॥“They see the enveloping Supreme Light of the Ancient Seed everywhere, which shines in heaven.” RV 1.50.10उद्वयं तमसस्परि ज्योतिष्पश्यन्त उत्तरं । देवं देवत्रा सूर्यमगन्म ज्योतिरुत्तमम् ॥“May we overcome the darkness and see the light. May we, the godward, reach the god Sūrya’s supreme light.”||Chān. Up. 3.17.6-7तद्धैतद् घोर आङ्गिरसः कृष्णाय देवकीपुत्रायोक्त्वोवाचापिपास एव स बभूव सोऽन्तवेलायामेतत्त्रयं प्रतिपद्येताक्षितमस्यच्युतमसि प्राणसंशितमसीति तत्रैते द्वे ऋचौ भवतः।आदित्प्रत्नस्य रेतस उद्वयं तमसस्परि ज्योतिष्पश्यन्त उत्तरं स्वः पश्यन्त उत्तरं देवं देवत्रा सूर्यमगन्म ज्योतिरुत्तममिति ज्योतिरुत्तममिति।“That verily is what Ghora Āṅgirasa taught Kṛṣṇa Devakīputra, who became free from thirst.At the last moment of life, one should chant these three: “You are endless, you are faultless, you are protected by Prāṇa”. In regards to this, there are two Ṛk mantras:(RV 8.6.30) (RV 1.50.10)”|
|RV 1.189.1अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान् विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्वान्। युयोध्यस्मज्जुहुराणमेनो भूयिष्ठां ते नमउक्तिं विधेम ॥“O Agni, lead us on the right path as you O Lord are omniscient. Destroy this stubborn sin from us, we bow to you profusely.”||Īśā. Up. 18|
|RV 1.164.20द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते।तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥“Two birds of beautiful feathers, very attached to each other, best friends, sit on the same tree. Of them, one eats a tasty fruit, and the other watches silently without eating.”||Muṇḍ. Up. 3.1.1Śvet. Up. 4.6|
|RV 3.29.2अरण्योर्निहितो जातवेदाः गर्भइव सुधितो गर्भिणीषु।दिवेदिव ईड्यो जागृवद्भिर्हविष्मद्भिर्मनुष्येभिरग्निः ॥“The Omniscient One (Jātavedā) is well-hidden in wood (or bodies) just as an embryo is well-hidden in the womb of the pregnant. Agni is to be worshipped everyday by the awakened (i.e. enlightened), offering human beings.”||Kaṭha Up. 2.1.8अरण्योर्निहितो जातवेदाः गर्भइव सुभृतो गर्भिणीषु।दिवेदिव ईड्यो जागृवद्भिर्हविष्मद्भिर्मनुष्येभिरग्निः ॥(Same except सुधितो “hidden” changed to सुभृतो “protected”)|
|RV 4.40.5हंसः शुचिषद्वसुरन्तरिक्षसद्धोता वेदिषदतिथिर्दुरोणसत्। नृषद्वरसदृतसद्व्योमसदब्जा गोजा ऋतजा अद्रिजा ऋतम् ॥“The Swan is present in water, in the atmosphere, is the main priest, present in the altar, the guest, present in the house, present in humans, in deities, in the dynamism of the universe, in space. He is born from water, from light, from truth, from mountains. He is the truth.”||Kaṭha Up. 2.2.2|
|RV 1.164.12पञ्चपादं पितरं द्वादशाकृतिं दिव अाहुः परे अर्धे पुरीषिणम्। अथेमे अन्य उपरे विचक्षणं सप्तचक्रे षडर आहुरर्पितम् ॥“The Father of five feet and twelve forms is said to be showering down from heaven. Others say of him as having a chariot of seven wheels each of which have six spokes.”||Praśna Up. 1.11|
|RV 5.81.1युञ्जते मन उत युञ्जते धियो विप्रा विप्रस्य बृहतो विपश्चितः।वि होत्रा दधे वयुनाविदेक इन्मही देवस्य सवितुः परिष्टुतिः॥“The wise humans join their mind and intellect with the Great Wise Omniscient. He, the omniscient, alone knows the activities of all. This is the great praise of the god Savitā.||Śvet. Up. 2.4|
|RV 10.81.3विश्वतश्चक्षुरुत विश्वतो मुखो विश्वतो बाहुरुत विश्वतस्पात्।सं बाहुभ्यां धमति सं पतत्रैः द्यावाभूमी जनयन्देव एकः ॥“His eyes are everywhere, his face (or mouth) is everywhere, his arms are everywhere, his feet are everywhere. With his arms and wings he blows (like melting a metal) and manufactures the earth and heaven.”||Śvet. Up. 3.3|
|RV 10.90.1सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात्।स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वात्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् ॥“The Universal Person has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet. He envelops the earth all around but stays above it by a measure of ten fingers (or cubits).”||Śvet. Up. 3.14|
|RV 10.90.2पुरुष एवेदं सर्वं यद्भूतं यच्च भव्यम्।उतामृतत्वस्येशानः यदन्नेनाति रोहति ॥“The Universal Person is indeed all this, whatever was, and whatever will be. He is the Lord of Immortality, and he grows by food (or matter).”||Śvet. Up. 3.15|
|RV 1.164.39ऋचो अक्षरे परमे व्योमन्यस्मिन्देवा अधि विश्वे निषेदुः।यस्तन्न वेद किमृचा करिष्यति य इत्तद्विदुस्त इमे समासते ॥“The Ṛk mantras are present in the imperishable highest realm in which all the deities reside. One who does not know this, what use are the mantras to him. Those who know that, they imbibe the (meaning of the) mantras.”||Śvet. Up. 4.8|
Author: Ram Abloh
Oct 3rd, 2020
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