The Kena Upanishad is so named because it asks many fundamental questions that begin with the phrase, “by whom” – or “kena”. By whom willed and directed does the mind alight upon objects of the world? The Kena is one of the most metaphysical of the Upanishads, as it discusses the subtle reality of the indestructible Brahman. In conjunction with Chapter 8 of the Gita, it forms a pillar of the knowledge of the One supreme reality. The Kena addresses both the impersonal and personal aspects of Brahman, so as to engage the needs of all levels of truth-seekers.
References to the Gayatri Mantra in Scriptures
The Upanisads (sacred texts) of Hinduism contain several references to the Gayatri Mantra.
ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व:
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि,
धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।
That which makes the tongue speak, but cannot be spoken; That is the nature of the Self. It is not someone other than you.
Those who say they know the Self really do not know it. The Self cannot be known by the intellect because it is beyond the duality of the knower and the known.
The shining goal of life is to know the Self. The Self is beyond the body and beyond birth and death. When one sees the Self in all, he goes beyond death…
Swami Vivekananda was a great teacher of the Vedas and Vedic thought, and of the Upanishads in particular. His lecture on the Vedanta (Lahore, 1897) outlined several key concepts of Hinduism and clarified a lot of misconceptions regarding the Vedas and the Upanishads.
The theme of the Upanishads can be viewed as an attempt to find an ultimate unity among all things. “Knowledge is nothing but finding unity in the midst of diversity”. The goal of the Upanishads is to find unity in the midst of infinite variation in “this marvelously diversified universe, where prevail infinitely different names and forms, in matter and spirit – each thought differing from every other thought, each form differing from every other form”.