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       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

Upanishads

Choice of Two Versions
Upanishad in Brief and the same
Upanishad Verse by Verse

For a much simplied way of getting to know the Upanishads:
Upanishads in Story and dialogue <Cliclikng here will open Page
Stories and Episodes (13 & 19 to 35)

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Upanishads in Brief (by way of introduction)
Simplified

Click below

Katha Upanishad in Brief

Isa Upanishad in brief

Kenopanishad in brief
What is the Supreme Spirit?

Taittiriya Upanishad in brief

Aitareya Upanishad in brief

Chandogya Upanishad in brief

Chandogya Upanishad (introduction)
in brief

Mundaka Upanishad in brief

Svetasvatara Upanishad in brief

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
An introduction in brief

Prashna Upanishad see below
verse by verse

For Mandukya Upanishad
visit page
Consciousness-the three states

  

Upanishads verse by verse an anthology
A selection of sacred passages
Abridged

Click below

Isavasyopanishad (Isa Upanishad) verse by verse

Prashna Upanishad verse by verse

Katha Upanishad verse by verse

Chandogya Upanishadf verse by verse

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad verse by verse

For Mandukya Upanishad
visit page Consciousness-the three states

________________

Upanishads in Brief
(by way of introduction)

Katha Upanishad in Brief
Compiled, paraphrased and explained
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

Vajasravasa performed an elaborate sacrifice, which terminated with a parting of all his possessions as gifts to the guests assembled. Vajasravasa’s son, Nachiketas, watched the proceedings and, as he saw the gifts being given, he was filled with the thought of the vanity of it all.

“Of what use is it” he said to himself “giving these toothless old cattle and cows, past the age of bearing? Should not my father, if he is minded to give what is dear to him, give me away?”

So he went to his father and said: “Father! To whom are you going to give me?”

His father did not pay heed to the question, but went on with the routine of the great sacrifice. Nachiketas repeated the question again and again till Vajasravasa, losing patience, exclaimed without meaning like what he said: “You? I shall give you to Yama (the god of death).

Nothing could be uttered on such a solemn occasion but must be carried out. The father was aghast at his own exclamation. Nachiketas, however, decided to go to Yama.

“Many have gone before me and many yet must go after me. I go not alone to Death, and what can Yama do to me? Consider what has happened before this, and consider what is going to happen in the future. Countless are the mortals that have died before this and will die hereafter. The life of mortals, indeed, is like that of a corn that grows and ripens and is reaped, and like the grains that fall that spring again into life.”

So Nachiketas went to Yama. Yama was not prepared for the voluntary visitor. He was not willing to receive anyone before time. Nachiketas had to wait for three days before Yama received him. A Brahmin could not thus be disregarded even by Yama (the god of death). So, to make up for the offence, Death (Yama) offered to Nachiketas three boons in return. Death offered to Nachiketas whatever boons he might desire. He offered many gifts – length of days, and all kinds of earthly possessions that one could desire, and Swarga (heaven) thereafter. But the youth chose for the boon – instruction from Yama himself about the nature of the soul.

“There is no boon that I desire other than this knowledge” said Nachiketas, “and there can be no better instructor than you for imparting this knowledge. What use is length of days and what joy can possessions (give), or song or dance or houses and chariots give, so long as you are there as an ever present termination to it all?”

Yama pleaded with Nachiketas:

Kathopanishad verse (1)-21

Even the gods have had doubts in this matter. The nature of it (the soul) is so subtle that it is not possible to comprehend it satisfactorily. Choose some other boon, Nachiketas. Do not insist; release me from this.

But Nachiketas answered:

(1)22

Even if the gods had doubts in this matter and you say that it is not easily comprehended, who then could expound it as you can, O Death, and what other boon can equal this? None, indeed.

Yama pleaded again:

(1)23

Ask for sons and grandsons who may live for a hundred years. Ask for numerous cows, elephants, and gold and horses. Ask for large tracts of land, and live as many autumns as you desire.

(1)24

Or choose any boon that you can conceive equal to this, with wealth and long life. Be lord of wide dominions, O Nachiketas, I will make you the enjoyer of every desire.

(1)25

Ask freely for every rare enjoyment in the world of mortals. Here are nymphs in chariots playing on lutes, such as men have never seen. These will serve you at my command. But, do not ask me about Death.

Nachiketas was unmoved. He said:

(1)26

These ephemeral pleasures, O Death, consume the powers of the mortal’s senses. Even if they lasted all life, they are of little worth. You say you give me these gifts, but being all limited by the death of the enjoyer, they remain but yours though you appear to give them away, these chariots, and song and dance. [Keep these ephemeral things for yourself. I do not care for them.]

(1)27

How can man get satisfied with wealth? Can we hold wealth when we see you? All wealth disappears on death. We live but as long as you command it to be. That boon alone, therefore, is worthy of being desired that I craved of you.

Yama thus failed to persuade Nachiketas to give up his enquiry into the mystery of life even for all the pleasures of this world and of the world of the gods.

“You have displayed courage and resolve,” said Yama. “There can be no better seeker than such a one, even as you stated that there can be no better instructor than myself. Listen, then, I shall explain.”

Then follows the teachings.

The first thing that man should learn in the pursuit of Truth is that the Good is something different from the Pleasant.

Yama said:

(2) 1-2

The Good is one thing, the Pleasant is another. These two lead man to very different ends. He who chooses the Good attains happiness. He who prefers the pleasant ever loses his object. The wise are not deceived by the attractions of the Pleasant. They choose the Good. Fools are snared into the mere pleasant and perish.

(2)5

Steeped in ignorance, men engage themselves in activities and pursuits and considering themselves men of understanding and learned, stagger along aimlessly like blind men led by the blind, going round and round in the cycle of births.

The main obstacles in the path of the man striving for the higher life is the identification of oneself with the body. Therefore, all teaching in Hindu Vedanta stresses on man finding his soul within. If one realizes the divinity of the eternal spirit within, the battle is won.

(2)12

Concentrating the mind on the Spirit within, man should realize the divine character of his own soul and its inherent freedom. The Spirit lodged within oneself is unperceived because of the perplexities of joy and grief and attachment to worldly objects. When one realizes the divine Spirit within himself, all the confusion of joy and grief disappears.

(2) 23-24

This realization can come only if from inside one’s own heart spring purity of resolve and earnestness of spirit. It does not come by study or learned discussions. It comes to one whose Self yearns for realization, and whose mind has turned away from evil and has learnt to subdue itself and to be at peace with the world.

In other words, it comes out of the longing for self-realization that leads to detachment, rather than from much learning; that is to say, it comes out of the grace of the Supreme Spirit that dwells within us.

The Self is other than the changing body. It is other than the fears and the passions that agitate the mind. The Soul is divine in origin. It is not altered in nature by the qualities of the mind in which it is embodied. It can be released from the meshes of these qualities by a realization of its own intrinsic divine nature.

The reader may note that the following verses are almost identical with the verses in the Gita (chapter 2).

(2)-18

You are not born, nor do you die. You did not come from anything else, nor were made out of something other than yourself. You are unborn, eternal, everlasting and always existed. You are not slain, though the body is slain.

(2)-19

If you think you slay some one, or that you will be slain by some one, you are wrong in both cases. The soul neither slays nor is slain.

(2)-20

Subtler than the atom, greater than the greatest, the Atman (soul) resides in the hearts of living beings. He who makes himself desireless and has cast off grief beholds the greatness of the Spirit within him.

(2)-21

The man of understanding realizes this bodiless Spirit dwelling in the bodies, this imperishable substance lodged in the perishable and realizing it casts off grief.

(3) 3-4-5-9

The journey of life can be safely completed, and the Supreme world of Vishnu reached only if one keeps a watchful control over the senses. The body is like a chariot to which the senses are yoked like horses. The mind is like the reins, which enable the charioteer, viz., the understanding, to hold the horses, i.e., the senses, in check. The Soul rides on the chariot, and the road is the world of objects over which the senses move. If the reins are not held firmly and wisely, the senses, like wild horses, will get out of control, and the chariot will not reach the goal, but will go round and round in births and re-births. If the man is wise, and controls his mind, his senses will be like good horses driven by a good driver.

(4) 1- 2
The self-existent Spirit worked its way out from within and thus the openings of the mind are directed outwards, viz., the sense organs. Therefore, do men’s thoughts ever tend outwards. But the few, who have true understanding, turn their mind inwards and realize the Self within.
[The senses are created with outward tendencies like a bar door with hinges that allow it to swing open outward only. The Self -existent pierced the senses outward, and so one looks outward and not within oneself. Some wise man, however, seeking immortality, and turning his eyes inward, sees the inner Self.]

Those without understanding, who do not control themselves and pursue external pleasures fall into the widespread net of Birth and Death. Those of steady mind, realizing what is truly lasting, do not turn their thoughts to transient pleasures.

(4)- 8, (4) 9

The sacred fire is well concealed in the wood like a child in the womb of the mother. The Soul is contained in the body as the fire is contained and concealed in the wood. Fire manifest takes shape in accordance with the thing burning. It is now the flame of a lamp, now a furnace and now a forest-fire, according as to where it is manifested. The fire by itself is one and the same. So also, the Soul though manifold in embodiment, is the same as that in which it abides for the time being.

(4)-10-11

What is here is there and what is there is here; i.e., things and beings seem various but are, indeed one Being. We are liberated when we perceive this Oneness. We go from death to death if we perceive difference. It is the mind that by enlightenment can overcome the notion of difference and have a vision of the transcendent Oneness of all.

(4)-14-15

The rain falling on the hill divides itself and flows down the hillsides in many torrents. The ignorant man sees manifoldness in beings and is confused and he runs after the manifoldness. If water is poured into water, it becomes one and the same with it. Thus it is with the Self of the man of understanding who sees unity in manifoldness.

It is the light of the Spirit within that really enables us to see, not the light that falls from outside. Does this Spirit within shine by its own light or does it shine by Another Light? Is it a Self-luminous Soul or is it a reflection of the One lustrous Being? It is on this note of sublime doubt that the fifth valli of the Upanishad closes. The following two verses go together:

(5)-14

They say that the Indefinable Spirit of Supreme Bliss is this that is within me. How can I make out whether this Spirit within me shines by itself or shines by the reflected light from the Universal Spirit?

(5)-15

The sun does not furnish the light there, nor the moon, nor the stars, nor these flashes of lightning born of the clouds; certainly not the light of these sacrificial fires. The Spirit shines and all things else shine as a result. Everything in the universe reflects but that light.

Merely to know is not enough to escape from the tangle of illusion. Faith and discipline of life are necessary. The illusion arises not so much from ignorance as from attachments. Enlightenment comes with detachment, not with learning. This is the main teaching to which all the schools of Hindu philosophy ultimately revert and on which they lay the greatest emphasis. The discipline and meditation that serve to help the Soul to detach itself from the things or the world is what is called Yoga.

(6)-15

When the knots of the heart are untied, and man is freed from worldly attachments, he becomes immortal. This is the whole of the teaching

The Antaratman is lodged in the secret recess of our hearts. It is sheathed as the reed plant is sheathed in its blades. We should abstract it with understanding, tearing ourselves from attachments and desires and separating the pure from the gross. The Spirit within is pure and is immortal. Thus ends Yama’s exhortation in this Upanishad:

(6)-17

Of the size of a thumb, the Spirit within is lodged in the hearts of men and is there always. With understanding, separate Him from the sheaths of the body in which He is lodged, even as you take off the blades of a reed plant. Know that He is immaculate and deathless.

Related articles:
Preyas-Sreyas
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Index Alphabetical [Index to Pages]

Upanishads in Brief
By way of introduction)

Isa Upanishad
Isavasyopanishad
Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of the highest spiritual effort of the individual with the most practical social co-operation. We should carry on the activities of life, but we should do so remembering that all that we do belongs to God. Work done in this spirit will not cling to us in rebirth. This teaching that is expanded in the Bhagavad Gita is found tersely enunciated in the Isavasyopanishad in the first two verses.

(Slokas one & two)

Everything in the universe abides in the Supreme Being. Realize this well, and, realizing it, cast off the desires that rise in the heart, for example, the thought of possessing what is enjoyed by another. Joy comes only by the giving up of desires and attachments. You may live the longest life, doing work in a detached spirit and dedicating everything to God. Thus only can we escape the contamination of work and sterilize life.

The Vedantic teaching about higher knowledge should not confuse us into neglect of duties and indifference about discipline of mind and control of senses. To go through the activities of daily life in a spirit of detachment serves as a preparation for the reception of higher knowledge and for self-realization, which secures Moksha (liberation). Indeed, philosophical learning without discipline of conduct is more to be dreaded than even ritualism without the knowledge of Vedanta. Higher enlightenment is impossible, and even if it were possible, worthless, unless there has been preparation and purification by means of restraint of the senses. Fill the span of life given to you, says the Upanishad, with work and worship as is done by people without the higher knowledge, but carry on the work in the spirit of detachment and understand the forms in the sense that you have learnt from the higher knowledge. Thereby you shall pass through Death to Immortality.

The Santi Sloka of the Upanishad tersely sets out the relation of the individual soul to the Supreme Spirit. The Self that functions within us is of divine origin. It is of the same substance as the Supreme Spirit. The part that makes up the individual comes out of the whole, and the stuff of which it is made is of such a transcendental nature that the whole remains whole, in spite of something being taken out of the whole. Again,
though what is taken out is but part, it is as whole as the original. The axioms of mathematics relating to the whole and the part do not apply to the Absolute and its manifestations.

[Note: It may be found useful to use the example of knowledge or love that remains whole in spite of being taken out of the whole.]

Santi Sloka

Santi sloka explanations by Swami Nikhilananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math.

Om. That is whole; this is whole. The perfect has come out of the
perfect. Yet the perfect remains, as before, perfect.
Or
Om. That is full; this is full. This fullness has been projected from that
fullness. When this fulness merges in that fulness, all that remains is fullness.
Om.Peace! Peace! Peace!

[Note That: Pure Consciousness or the attributeless Brahman (Supreme Spirit.) Full: Perfect. This: Hiranyagarbha, the first manifestation of Pure Brahman in the relative universe characterised by a name and a form. It is the world Soul, the totality of all individual souls. The word THIS in the text also means the manifest universe, which, like Pure Consciousness, is perfect. Names and forms being Maya. Projected: On account of Maya or the incomprehensible power of Brahman. This projection or creation is like that of a mirage is a desert, or like that of a snake which a man sees through illusion, in a rope (in dim light a rope may look like a snake). This projection does not effect any change whatsoever in Brahman, as the illusory snake does not alter the real nature of the rope, or the mirage, the real nature of the desert. Merges: That is to say when, by means of Knowledge, the universe is realized as brahman. All that etc: It is because the Supreme Brahman is the only Reality. The idea of the phenomenal universe is falsely superimposed upon it.]

As the soul is the life of the body, which without it would be a carcass, so is the Supreme Spirit the essence of the individual soul’s being. And yet, even as the soul is ‘lost’ in the body, the Supreme Spirit, functioning as the Soul of the individual soul, loses cognisance of its real Divine nature. It is the Supreme Spirit that moves, though in reality there is no motion, It being the one Reality. There can be no motion when there is nought else. It is far away, because we fail to realize it. It is near, because it is immanent in everything and is in recess of one’s own heart.

5
It moves. It does not move. It is far away, yet most near.
It is the internal Spirit of everything that we know.

If we realize this all pervading immanence of the Supreme Spirit, the distinction between oneself and others melts away and with it disappear, as a matter of course, grief and illusion. Bhagavad Gita, chapter 6, slokas 29 and 30 are almost in the same words as the following slokas (6 and 7) from Isavasyopanishad:

6.
If one sees all living things as if they were in his own body, i.e., feels their joys and sorrows as his own, and sees the same Universal Spirit in all things then there is no need for protecting oneself against others.

7.
When a man understands that all beings are, indeed, the all-pervading Spirit, then he realizes the oneness of all things and illusion and grief vanish.

(Translated by Swami Gambhirananda, Advaita Ashrama) Those who worship avidya (rites) enter into blinding darkness; but into greater darkness than that enter they who are engaged in vidya (meditation).

(Verses 9-10-11-12-& 14
translation and explanation by
Swami Nikhilananda, Ramakrishna-Vedanta Center, New York).

9.
Into a blinding darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance (rituals); but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in knowledge (of a deity) alone.

Note: Blind Darkness: It is characterized by an absence
of knowledge because it is opposed to knowledge.

Ignorance: The word Avidya in the text signifies karma,
or ritualistic action, such as the Agnihotra sacrifice.

Greater Darkness: The result of meditation on the deities
without any ritual leads to a greater darkness.

Knowledge: The word knowledge here means knowledge or contemplation of a deity. It does not signify Supreme Knowledge

10.
One thing they say, is obtained from knowledge; another, they say, from ignorance. Thus we have heard from the wise who have taught us this.

[Note: That is to say, the Plane of the Deities.
Another etc: The Plane of the Fathers (Pitriloka)
This: Both rituals and knowledge of the deities.

Though verse ten has described separate results for work and for meditation on a deity, yet the real aim of the Upanishad seems to be their harmonization, which is described in the following verse. In order to emphasize this harmonization, work (or ritualistic action) and meditation on a deity (without appropriate ritualistic action) pursued separately have been condemned in verse nine. When anything laid down by the scriptures meets elsewhere with scriptural disapproval, the real purpose is not the condemnation of the thing in question, but the glorification of something else.]

11.
He who is aware that both knowledge and ignorance should be pursued together, overcomes death through ignorance and obtains immortality through knowledge.

[Note: Death: The action and knowledge natural to an unillumined person are here called death. Such a person does not see anything beyond the sense-perceived world.

Ignorance: That is to say, ritualistic actions, which reveal to their performers the other planes of existence not perceived by the senses.

Immortality: The relative immortality enjoyed by the gods in Devaloka. Absolute Immortality, or deathlessness, is not possible without Self-Knowledge.]

12.
Into a blind darkness they enter who worship only the unmanifested prakriti; but into a greater darkness they enter who worship the manifested Hiranyagarbha.

[Note: Blind Darkness: In that state the light of Brahman is not
perceived at all, because it then remains under the spell of Maya.

Unmanifested Prakriti:

The state of non-manifestation prior to the creation of names and forms, when the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas – remain in equilibrium. The disturbance of this equilibrium precipitates creation. This state of non-manifestation (balance) is also known by such names as avidya (nescience), avyakrita (the unmanifested), and ajnaan (ignorance). It is the state between two cycles and contains in an unmanifested form – hence the name unmanifested prakriti – all the good and evil tendencies and desires of the living beings of the past cycle, which determine the lives of those to be born in the next.

Manifested Hiranyagarbha: The first manifestation of Brahman in the relative universe. At the beginning of a cycle He is produced from the unmanifested prakriti and hence is called the manifested Hiranyagarbha.]

14.
He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti.

[Note: Manifested Hiranyagarbha: The word Vinasha in the text means destruction. Whatever is caused is liable to destruction. Hiranyagarbha the first individualized manifestation of prakriti, is a caused entity; hence His (Hiranyagarbha’s) destruction is inevitable.

Overcomes Death etc: That is to say, triumphs over the limitations of earthly life by the attainment of various supernatural powers through absorption in Hiranyagarbha.

Immortality: The result of this worship is, as stated above, absorption in prakriti. The devotee remains so merged till the next creation. The non-differentiated state of prakriti, between two creations, endures for an untold number of years and is therefore described as immortality, though in a relative sense.

The result of combining the two kinds of worship in the text is, the attainment of supernatural powers through devotion to Hiranyagarbha, and second, the attainment of immortality (relative) by merging in prakriti. The attainment of this immortality is the culmination of the efforts of a man or a god. It is the highest achievement in the relative universe.

[The highest result of the actions prescribed by the scriptures and performed with such material accessories as animals and gold, and also of knowledge of the deities, is, as shown above, absorption in prakriti. Here the life of samsara (worldly life) reaches its limit. But all this lies within the realm of relativity and is not the final liberation. The seeker of Liberation follows the path of Knowledge, renounces all desires, and contemplates Brahman. Thus the Vedas prescribe two paths, one characterized by action, and the other by renunciation. It has been stated before that meditation on the deities, combined with appropriate rituals, enables one to enjoy relative immortality. ]

[Verses 16 & 17,
translation and commentary by Sri C. Rajagopalachari]

The Isavasyopanishad winds up with a prayer for strength to maintain internal and external purity. Addressing the morning sun, the aspirant is taught to feel and say: “O Sun, of refulgent glory, I am the same Person as He that is in you.” And he is asked to say to himself: “My body will disintegrate but not I and my deeds. O Mind, remember this always, remember this always.”

16.
Oh Sun, who art our Nourisher, Giver of Knowledge, Dispenser of Justice, Giver of Light, Son of the Creator, disperse thy rays, draw in thy light, so that I may be enabled to behold thy most beautiful form. I am that same Person as makes thee who thou art.

As for my body

17.
My body will be reduced to ashes and my breath will join the deathless moving winds. Oh Mind, remember thy acts.

The formula- I am the person that is seen in that refulgent form – occurs slightly modified in Chhandogya Upanishad also.
The insistence is on the realization of the all-inclusive Oneness of the Soul, the Universe. The Spirit of the Sun is the same as myself! A daily repetition and contemplation of this truth is prescribed as an aid in life to detachment, elevation of Spirit and Self-realization.

Related articles:
Gita Chapter 5
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Upanishads in Brief

Kenopanishad

Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

What is the Supreme Spirit? By what relation to our experience shall we understand it? This is the subject of enquiry in this Upanishad. As the Isavasyopanishad is known by its first word, so also is this Upanishad named after its first word Kena, “By whom?”

Neither by the senses nor by human reasoning can we hope to comprehend the nature of Brahman (Supreme Reality). This is so because the subject, the object and the means are all identical. It is Brahman by which the understanding itself functions.

Kenopanishad I – verses 5-6-7-8

The Supreme Spirit is that by which the mind thinks; it is not one of the concepts that can be conceived by the mind, but it is that by which, indeed, one is able to think through his mind. It is that which enables the eye to see, the ear to hear, the breath to move. These functions themselves depend on Brahman, and therefore, are these senses and the mind unable to comprehend the Brahman. Do not take this body that one has to feed and look after for the Soul.

Life is not the aggregate of the functions of the body but a function of the Highest Spirit, inasmuch as not a thought or a breath or a glance is possible without the Supreme Agent.

Kenopanishad II – verses 1-3
He who thinks that he knows really thereby proves himself ignorant. He who realizes that he cannot know Him has best understood Him. Those who seek to know Him, as they can grasp things of ordinary knowledge, can never achieve their object. Those who realize the limitation of the human mind in respect of the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit and, therefore, frankly confess ignorance, really approach a true understanding of it.

The limitation of human knowledge, when trying to comprehend the Supreme Being, is brought out in the above epigram.

Kenopanishad II – verses 4
When it is known through every conscious state, it is rightly known and one attains eternal life thereby. Through his own self he gains strength and through his knowledge immortality.
Not by reasoning but only by an awakening can we get a vision of the Supreme Spirit. Life, in relation to the Ultimate Reality, is like a state of sleep. Reason, in respect of Ultimate Reality, is like the impossible conception of a sleeping man trying to know what he is about, without waking up. As sleep is to waking, so is ordinary life to the state of realization.

Self-discipline gives strength of spirit (Atmana Vindate Veerya).
To one so strengthened, knowledge gives immortality (Vidyaya Vindate Amritam).

The Self is itself immortal, and one has but to know it to become immortal. A man dreams that he is suffering from a mortal illness and is dying. He suffers pain and even death. But the moment he wakes up, he is cured and regains life. So does Jnana (Knowledge) give immortality to man.

The third chapter of this Upanishad is an allegory to illustrate that everything rests on the Supreme Spirit. It is That which gives heat to Fire, and energy to Motion, and the power of knowing to individual knowledge, however great. All beings are like electric lamps that glow by the power that is received by them from the Supreme Being, themselves not knowing it.

The gods were once elated at a great victory, and the Brahman (Supreme Being) appeared before them. They could not recognize or understand the vision. Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Indra (king of gods) were sent to approach and understand Him. They went, one by one, and tried to impress on the strange vision their respective powers. But when they were challenged to prove their vaunted strength, Agni (fire) could not burn, and Vayu (air) could not move by a hair’s breadth a dry bit of grass which was placed before them and which they attacked with all their strength one after the other. Indra went near to see, when the other two failed, but with his thousand eyes he failed to see anything whatsoever. The apparition disappeared altogether from his sight.

I – verses 3

III-3
They said to Agni (fire): “Oh, Jataveda, go and ascertain who this is, this adorable Being.” He said: “Yes.”

III-4
He ran up to the Being, who asked him: “Who are you?” Agni answered: “I am Agni, I am also called Jataveda.”

III-5
And what is your strength?” the Being asked. “I can burn up all that is here on earth,” answered Agni.

III-6
He placed before Agni a bit of dry grass, saying, “Burn this.” Going at it with all his energy Agni found that he could not burn it. He returned to the gods and said he could not make out who this strange Being was.

III-7
Then they said to Vayu (air): “Oh, do go and
ascertain who this is.” And Vayu said, “So be it.”

III-8
He ran up to the Being, who asked him, “Who are you?” “I am Vayu, otherwise called Matarisva,” answered Vayu.

III-9
Then said the Being, “What is your strength?” “Oh, I can sweep away whatever exists on this earth,” answered Vayu.

III-10
Then the Being placed a withered blade of grass before Vayu, and said: “Move this.” Vayu set on it with all his might, but could not move it; and he returned to the gods and said: “I could not make out who this is.”

III-11
Thereupon, they beseeched Indra to find out who it was. He agreed to do so, but when he ran up, he found that the Being had gone out of his view altogether.
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Upanishads in Brief

Taittiriya Upanishad
Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

We have in the Taittiriya Upanishad, (first Valli, eleventh anuvaka) a valedictory exhortation which reveals to us something of the system of education that produced the cultured among the ancient inhabitants of this sacred land (India).

After having taught the Vedas, the teacher instructs the pupil thus: Speak what is true. Do your duties. Continue, without neglect, the daily study of the Veda. Now that you have come to the end of your stay with your teacher, marry and bring forth progeny. Do not swerve from Truth and Dharma, and do something useful in the social economy. Achieve greatness, and do not fail to refresh your memory in respect of what you have learnt.

Remember the gods and your ancestors. Honour your mother. Look upon her as god. Honour your father. Look upon him as god. Honour your teacher as god. Honour your guest. Look upon him as if god came to receive your attention. May you ever exercise your understanding and, distinguishing the good from the blameworthy, avoid the latter and ever do what is good. Follow all that was good in your teacher’s life, not any other. You will meet with better men than even the teachers with whom you have lived. Show them due respect.

3.
Give gifts with faith, not neglectfully but with joy, with humility, with fear and with kindness.

4.
If your mind is troubled with any doubts as to what is right or wrong, follow the example of gentle and pious elders living in your neighbourhood in regard to those matters. This is the rule and this the teaching.

In the third Valli of the Tattiriya Upanishad, Varuna instructs his son Brigu on the immanence of Brahman (Supreme Reality) in matter as well as Spirit. The food we eat and the air we breathe are sacred forms of Brahman that builds us up, enables us to speak, think, act, exercise the will and understand.

III –2
He knew that food is Brahman, for from food, indeed, are born all beings in this world, by food do they live, and, after death, they become food again for other beings.

III- 7-10
We should not speak ill of food. We should not throw away food. We should produce plenty of food. We should let no one who comes for food be turned away.

The teaching is that food should be looked upon as Brahman, for from food are born all beings, by food do they live, and they become food at their death. It is by food, one for another, that all beings are made interdependent and made into one linked to the whole world.
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Upanishads in Brief

Aitareya Upanishad
Translation by Professor D.S.Sarma

1.
In the beginning all this was Atman – one only. There was nothing else active. He bethought himself, ‘Let me now create the world.’ He created these worlds.

[Note: Atman = Self or the Supreme Reality]

2.
He bethought himself, ‘Here then are the worlds. Let me now create the guardians of the worlds.’ From the waters themselves he drew forth the person and gave him a shape.

3.
He bethought himself, ‘Here are the worlds and the guardians of the worlds. Let me create food for them.’

4.
He brooded upon the waters and from the waters so brooded on, a form was produced. The form that was produced – that was indeed food.

5.
The food that was thus created wished to run away. The person sought to seize it with his speech. He could not grasp it with his speech. If he had grasped it with his speech, then by merely speaking of food one would have been satisfied.

6.
He then sought to seize it with his breath. He could not grasp it with his breath. If he had grasped it with his breath, then by merely breathing on food one would have been satisfied.

7.
He then sought to seize it with his sight. He could not grasp it with his sight. If he had grasped it with his sight, then by merely seeing food one would have been satisfied.

8.
He then sought to seize it with his hearing. He could not grasp it with his hearing. If he had grasped it with his hearing, then by merely hearing of food one would have been satisfied.

9.
He then sought to seize it with his skin. He could not grasp it with his skin. If he had grasped it with his skin, then by merely touching food one would have been satisfied.

10.
He then sought to seize it with his mind. He could not grasp it with his mind. If he had grasped it with his mind, then by merely thinking of food one would have been satisfied.

11.
He then sought to seize it with his Apana (digestive breath). He got it. It is this breath that takes in food. It is this breath that lives on food.

12.
He (the Atman) bethought himself, ‘Now can this thing (this person) live without me?’ He bethought himself, ‘By which way shall I enter it?’ He bethought himself, ‘If speaking is done by the organ of speech, breathing by breath, seeing by the eye, hearing by the ear, touching by the skin, thinking by the mind, eating by the Apana (digestive breath) – then who am I?’

13.
So cleaving asunder this end (of the head), He entered by that way. This is the opening known as Vidriti (the cleft). It is the place of bliss. For Him there are three abodes (in the body) – three states of sleep – this one, this one and this one.

[Note:(Explanation by Swami Nikhilananda, Belur Math): So piercing the end (i.e. the place where the parting of the hair ends), the Lord entered through that door.
Three conditions of sleep: the three states of consciousness – waking, dream and deep sleep.]

14.
He (the Jiva or the embodied soul), being born, knew and talked only of the created objects. How should he speak of any other? And then (after enlightenment) did he see this very Person, Brahman, the All-pervading and say ‘This have I seen.’

II (Up. III. 1.)

1.
Who is he whom we worship as Atman? Which one is Atman? Is it he by whom one sees, or by whom one hears, or by whom one smells the smell or by whom one speaks the speech, or by whom one knows the sweet and the bitter?’

2.
That which is known as the heart, the mind – that is consciousness, perception, discrimination, intelligence, wisdom, insight, steadfastness, thought, acuteness, impulse, memory, volition, decision, life, desire, control – all these are indeed, the names of intelligence (Prajnana).

3.
This Brahma, this Indra, this Prajapati, these gods, these five great elements – earth, air, space, water, fire – these things together with small creatures, and those of different origins – those born from an egg, those born from a womb, those born from sweat and those born from a sprout; horses, cows, men, elephants; whatever breathing thing there is here, whether moving or flying, and whatever is stationary – all this is guided by intelligence, is based on intelligence. The world is guided by intelligence. Intelligence is the basis. Intelligence is Brahman (the Supreme reality).

4.
By means of this Intelligent Self the (Vamadeva) soared upward from this world and, having fulfilled all his desires in the yonder world of heaven, became immortal – yea, became immortal.

Related articles
Creation
Mundaka Upanishad
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Upanishads in Brief

Chandogya Upanishad
Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

The sixth chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad begins with the old, old riddle: Was there a first cause? Shall we, seeing that the search for causes leads us backwards along an interminable chain, give up the theory of causation and say that the world came out of nothing? This cannot be, says the Rishi (seer of truth). Out of nothing, nothing could come. Non-Being cannot produce Being. Much less could the phenomenon of consciousness come out of nothing. We must hold that there was a first Cause: Sat: i.e., Being with consciousness.

Sat willed that it may expand and multiply. So it produced light, Tejas. The Spirit in Tejas willed to multiply and produced water. The Spirit in Water willed to become manifold, and it produced all the living things of the world.

Lest the reader imagine that the march of modern science has made this explanation out of date, it may be recalled that neither Chemistry nor Biology nor any other physical science explains anything. Plato depicted mankind as chained in a cave in such a way that they can look only on the wall which forms the back of the cave; they cannot see the busy life outside but only the shadows which objects moving in the sunshine cast on the walls of the cave. For the captives in the cave, the shadows constitute the whole phenomenal world, the world of reality remaining for ever beyond their ken. Sir James Jeans, the great physicist, says that modern science has come to the same conclusion. The reality behind the phenomenal world is unreachable. Chemical and other ‘laws’ are only classifications and simplifications of observed phenomena, and nothing more. Neither familiarity nor classification can itself be explanation. The unexplained factor outside the cave that permanently circumscribes our knowledge is the Sat of the Chhandogya.

“How can this vast universe with its multitudinous variety be produced in this simple way?” asked Svetaketu, whom his father Uddalaka, was instructing as to how the entire world has been evolved out of the Sat.

Chhandogya Upanishad VI-(14)-1-3

Uddalaka said: ‘Fetch a fruit of the big fig tree’
Svetaketu said: ‘Here is one, Sir.’

‘Break it, what do you see there?’
‘These little seeds.’

‘Crush one of the little seeds.’
‘Yes, Sir, I have done it.’

‘What do you see inside?’
‘Nothing,’ said the son.

‘Yet in the subtle substance inside that little seed, which your eye does not even perceive, existed all this big branching Nyagrodha tree. Do you wonder at it? Likewise all that exists, this universe, was in that Sat which thou too art. Believe it, dear child, thou art that.’

‘If the Sat is the all-pervading cause of all, why is it not
perceived clearly?’ is the next question.

As a lump of salt is dissolved in water and disappears, so is the Sat lost from view in the world but is still immanent in everything in the universe, as the salt is present in every part of the water.

‘How are we to gain knowledge of the Sat, which is imperceptible?’ is the next question.

VI-(14)-1-3

Like unto that of a man blindfolded and carried away by robbers from his own country is a man’s condition. The folds of cloth over his eyes being removed by a friend, he recovers the use of his eyes and slowly finds his way home, step by step, enquiring at each stage. So also, the good teacher instructs the seeker of Truth and helps him to unloose his bonds of desire, and saves him from the robbers. The robbers are his past deeds that brought him to this condition. Recovering his sight as soon as the desires and attachments that blind his vision are removed, he finds his way to the Sat. Thereafter, it is only a matter of waiting for natural death.
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An introduction to

Chandogya Upanishad (introduction)
Excerpts from the writings of
Swami Nikhilananda
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York

The Sama-Veda includes among its treasures the Chhandogya Brahmana, consisting of ten parts; of these, the last eight constitute the Chhandogya Upanishad. In turn, the eight parts of the Upanishad may be broadly divided into two sections.

The first consists of five parts, deals with upasana, or ritualistic worship with emphasis on meditation. The second section, of three parts, discusses certain fundamental doctrines of the Vedanta philosophy; in the sixth part, the Vedantic dictum “Tattvamasi,” or “That Thou art”; in the seventh part, the doctrine of Bhuma, or Infinity; and in the eighth part, the doctrine of Atman (Self).

The Brihadaranyaka and the Chhandogya, which are the longest of the Upanishads, occupy a superior position among the Upanishads known to us. Discussing profound philosophical truths through numerous anecdotes, they form the basis of the later development of the Vedanta philosophy. Sankaracharya, in establishing the philosophy of non-dualism, derived support from such statements of the Chhandogya Upanishad as: “One only without a second” (Vi, xiv.1), “From It the universe comes forth, into It the universe merges, and in It the universe breathes. Therefore a man should meditate on Brahman (the Supreme Reality) with a calm mind” (III, xiv, 1), and “That is the Self. That thou art” (VI, viii. 7). If a serious student carefully reads the Chhandogya Upanishad with the help of Sankaracharya’s commentary, he will come to know all the major topics of the Upanishads and will be directed toward the philosophy of the inscrutable Brahman.
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Upanishads in Brief

Mundaka Upanishad

Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

May our ears hear what is good, may our eyes see what is good. May we, what time we live, be blessed with healthy limbs and body, that we may glorify the Lord. May all the gods bless us. May our minds be at peace.

The Upanishad consists of Angira’s instruction to his disciple, Shaunaka.

I-(1) -4 ,5, 7 ,8

There are two sciences worthy of being learnt, of which the learned treat one as higher, and the other as lower. The Vedas, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, the Atharva Veda, intonation, ritual, grammar, etymology, metre, astronomy and all else that is commonly known as learning constitute the lower knowledge, the higher is that by which the Ever-Existing is realized.

Ceremonials and sacrifices lead men round and round, and not to the ultimate goal to which an understanding of the Self alone can lead.

The popular belief that as regards the efficacy of sacrifices is, though not rudely negated, politely put aside in the Upanishads as not leading to what is true and imperishable happiness.

The passage that occurs in Katha Upanishad about fools fancying themselves learned appears here with just one verbal change. Light is here thrown on what is meant by the important term Avidya that occurs in the Katha Upanishad and Isavasya Upanishad and also in the Bhagavad Gita (ch. 2- 42,43).

I-(2) –12

Realizing this, the seeker should abandon his desire and attachments for things transient, and respectfully approach a teacher who is qualified by learning and conduct to impart the higher knowledge.

This deals with the relationship between the individual soul and the Absolute Being.
The soul is like the spark that is thrown out and re-absorbed by the blazing fire.

II-(1)-1
It is left to be inferred that it is of the same nature
as the fire, and does not exist apart from it.

II-(1) 4,5
The whole universe is a manifestation and product of that universal, formless, causeless Being. The sun, the moon and all the quarters, all knowledge, and the souls of all existing beings are parts and manifestations of that single all-immanent Being. All life and all qualities, functions and activities are forms of that single Energy. He is the Fire, which has lighted the Sun and makes it burn, like a log burning in the fire.
Thereby does the sun give us warmth and light. The rain does not rain, but it is He that rains through the clouds. Beings come together and multiply, but it is He alone that multiplies through them.

II-(1) 9,10
From Him have issued all the mountains and the seas, the rivers, the trees and plants and their life bearing essences. He who thus knows the Supreme spirit that dwells within the heart, dear boy, cuts off all the knots of ignorance that bind man.

II-(2) 1
He has taken shape and dwells near, yea, in the cave of the human heart. Everything that moves, breathes or twinkles, moves and lives in Him. All that exists, as well as all ideas, even those, which the mind indicates to itself as inconceivable, issue out of His presence.

II-(2) 3,4

To perceive this Absolute Foundation of all existence, the mind must be as concentrated on it as an archer concentrates on his target. The Upanishad, i.e., knowledge received from the teacher, is the bow. The understanding Self should, like an arrow sharpened by devotion, be placed in it. Directing it at the target, viz., the Brahman (the Supreme Reality), pull the bowstring well with concentrated mind and you will hit the target. As a skilful archer, when aiming, makes his arrow merge in the target in his sight, and the two become but one and the same thing, so should your Self, the arrow, be merged by concentration in the target, viz., Brahman.

When the pupil pulls the bowstring with steady aim, if the teacher asks him, ‘What do you see?’

The pupil should be able to reply truly that he sees nothing but the point he aims at. He must see neither bow, nor arrow, nor anything else but Brahman.

He is the whole universe. Heaven, Earth and Sky. Your mind and your life-breath are all woven into Him. All other knowledge is a mere snare of words to be escaped from. He is the one and only Existence. This knowledge is the bridge leading to Immortality.

II-(2)-7

He is within our own hearts. He has lodged Himself in the food-sustained body of men and rules both body and life, even He that sustains the whole universe and all its glory. The unruffled spirits contemplate on Him and realize his deathless form of absolute joy.

II-(2)-8
When His presence in our own bodies and His immanence in every aspect of existence is realized, all doubts, all attachments and all activities vanish.

II(2)-10,11
On realizing Him, what is individual life? What even are the sun and the moon, the stars and the lightning of the clouds? What need be said, then, of this fire? All these are but reflections of that One undying Light. He fills all the quarters and all overhead and down below. He alone exists.

III-(1)-1,3

Man’s suffering lasts only until he sees the Supreme Being that dwells within himself. The indwelling Supreme Spirit and the individual soul are like two birds. They cling to one another and are on the same tree. One eats the fruits of the tree, the other look on, happy. One is attached to works, the other is free. When a man sees the Universal Ruler in himself, then the distinction between good and evil drops off. He is freed from passions and reaches the goal, i.e., becomes one with the Universal.

How can one be enabled to have a vision of the Supreme Being within oneself? Mere learning does not reveal Him. One has to realize that the Lord is the life that lives and the light that shines in everything. When he realizes this, he loses his dependence on externals and finds bliss in himself.

III-(1)-4
The man who realizes ‘It is the Supreme Life that shines through all life’ does not waste words. His pleasures and his love are then all in the soul. He becomes the most enlightened among the philosophers.

III-(1)-5
Truth, penance, understanding and purity are essential requisites for this revelation of the Brahman within. When the heart is cleansed, Brahman is revealed, and He is seen shining like a burning light within oneself.

III-(1)-6
Truth wins ever, and not untruth. With Truth is paved the road to the Divine. On that road walk the Rishis (seers of Truth) with desires all quenched, to reach the Supreme Abode of Truth.

Truth is the only pathway to God, and the seers pursue this to reach Him. This emphatic dependence on Truth is the dominating characteristic of the Upanishad.

The Lord is not to be apprehended by the senses, but only by the mind into which all the senses have been drawn in. All thought is inter-woven with the senses, and it is only when the mind is released from all this and is in a state of perfect freedom and tranquillity, that the Lord reveals Himself.

III-(1)-8, 9
Not by the eyes nor by speech or through other senses can He be apprehended: not even by austerities or ceremonials. He whose mind is pure and serene can by meditation attain a vision of the Indivisible. The Subtle Spirit dwelling within, into which the fivefold life has entered, can be realized by the understanding. If the understanding that is pierced and pervaded by the senses is purified, then the spirit reveals itself unto it.

This appears in the Katha Upanishad also.

“Much learning or scholarly discussion, or force
of intellect cannot enable one to realize the spirit within”.

III-(2)-3
The Spirit that yearns for self-realization realizes itself.

The yearning for realization automatically destroys other desires and attachments, and enables one to reach self-realization.

The feeble minded, who do not make earnest effort through well-directed meditation and control of mind and senses, cannot hope to realize the Self within. The will to realize and strenuous effort are necessary. BALAM in the following sloka stands for effort and strength exercised in the way of self-control and steady application.

III-(2)-4
Realization of the Soul cannot be attained by a man who has not strength and a vigilant spirit. It cannot be attained by austerities without devotion. But if with understanding a man strives with these aids, his soul enters the Abode of Brahman.

II-(2)-6, 8
Knowledge and discipline are mutually complimentary. Vedanta explains the true nature of what we seek. Yoga, i.e., detachment and self-discipline, purifies the mind and enables it to perceive the Truth. Those whose understanding has been thus enlightened as well as purified become one with the Universal Spirit. They join the Supreme Being and lose themselves in Him even as all the rivers join and lose themselves in the great ocean.

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Upanishads in Brief

Svetasvatara Upanishad
Translation and commentary
By Sri C. Rajagopalachari
Abridged

The doctrine of the Vedanta is summarized in the following mantras:

I-8

The Lord upholds the universe, which is a union of the manifest and the unmanifest, the imperishable and the perishable. Functioning as Enjoyer through the senses, the soul in man loses the consciousness of lordship and is enchained. When he realizes lordship, he is freed from every tie. Let man realize the divinity of his soul. Thereby does he obtain Release.

I-10
Iswara rules over the soul as well as material nature which forms the field for the soul’s functioning. Man reaches liberation from all the illusions of the world by contemplation and repeated meditation until realization is attained of the true nature of these three, God, matter and soul.

The fire is not seen when it is concealed in the wood. But it appears to view when the wood burns. So does meditation bring out the Supreme Spirit from within us. Like oil hidden in the sesame seed, like ghee (clarified butter) concealed in milk, like water hidden from view in the riverbed, like fire that is contained in the Arani (fire-churner), abides the Supreme Spirit within us, though not manifest. When the two pieces of wood in the Arani are rubbed, the fire manifests itself. The butter is separated by churning the milk. The water is seen if we sink a pit in the sand of the riverbed. The divine Self, can similarly be made manifest through the practice of truth, meditation and control of the mind and the senses, which is penance. Make the body the lower piece of the Arani and make the Understanding the upper piece and by the practice of meditation, churn the fire out, so to say.

I-13
Just as fire when it abides in its womb, the wood, is not seen in its manifest form but yet exists and appears to view when the wood burns, even so do both aspects of abiding unmanifest and being drawn out apply to the Spirit in the body. The Pranava (AUM) can enable the Spirit to be perceived.

I-14
Make your body the nether piece and Pranava the upper piece of the Arani and churn with the practice of meditation. Thus will you be enabled to perceive the concealed Divinity within.

I-15
As oil in the oil seed, ghee (clarified butter) in the curdled milk and water in the riverbed, so can That be obtained out of the Self, through truth and restraint of thought and the senses.

Verses IV 1-4 are addressed as a prayer for enlightenment to the Universal Spirit which is One but takes various shapes with various powers and functions, that will in the end re-unite and be lost in Him – the Sun, the Moon, the Air, the starry firmament, fire, water, Brahma, the lord, man and woman, in youth or in tottering old age, beast, bird, insect, the dark blue bee, the green parrot with red eyes, the clouds that shoot forth lightning, the ocean, the seasons – all will be re-absorbed in Him that has no beginning, the cause of All.

IV-17
The divine Spirit that has forged and brought the universe into being, the Supreme Soul, ever dwells in the hearts of men. He is revealed by the heart and intellect combining and controlling the mind and by meditation. They attain deathlessness who thus see Him revealed.

IV-20
This Isa, dwelling in the heart of man, can be perceived not by the eye but the heart; and he who perceives Him thus by the heart attains immortality.

Not time or innate quality of matter is the true cause of phenomena as some learned men imagine but the glory of God who dwells in and revolves all things, animate and inanimate. When one discovers this Universal Spirit within one’s self, the misery of life is ended. It would be easier to roll up the sky and carry it on one’s head as a tanner carries a hide than to achieve happiness without realizing the immanence of God.

VI-1
Some learned men attribute the phenomena of the universe to the innate nature of things, other deluded persons say that time is the cause. But it is the glory of God by which alone the wheel revolves and this world goes on.

VI-5
God, who is concealed in all beings, is one. He pervades everything. He is the inner soul of every being and the overseer of all activity. He dwells in all forms of life. He is the eternal witness, the Conscious Being within, standing apart from that in which He abides and unqualified.

VI-8
When (men could roll up the sky like a hide), we could reach the end of pain and grief without realizing God who abides in all things.

VI-19
Without parts, action-less, tranquil, that cannot be contaminated, spotless, the bridge that transcends and leads to immortality, consuming and unquenchable like fire.

The direct teaching of a father or a Guru is essential. Without this, book knowledge would be of no great avail. But more important than all is the previous purging of character and restraint of mind and senses, which are necessary for the knowledge and realization of the highest truth. Otherwise, knowledge leads to harm, not to good. “I am God” would lead to arrogance and atheism without purity of character, restraint and humility and the personal guidance of father or revered teacher.
Hence the following prohibition which should not be understood in any sense other than the caution above indicated.

VI-22
This highest mysticism, expounded in the Vedanta in a former age, should not be taught to one whose passions have not been subdued, nor to one who is not a worthy son, nor to an unworthy disciple.

VI-23
These truths, when taught, shine forth only in that high-souled one who has supreme devotion to God, and an equal degree of devotion to the spiritual teacher. They shine forth in that high-souled one only.

Related articles:
Self-realisation
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Upanishads in Brief

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

An Introduction
Excerpts from the writings of
Swami Nikhilananda
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad forms an important part of the philosophical and religious literature of the Vedas. Suresvacharya, in his illuminating explanation of Sankara’s commentary has pointed out the harmony between the different parts of the Upanishad. He has arranged the book in three divisions (kandas):

  1. The Madhukanda
  2. The Yajnavalkyakanda (also known as Munikanda)
  3. The Khilakanda

The Madhukanda contains the revelation of the principal Advaita doctrines and is called Upadesa (teachings).

The Yajnavakyakanda furnishes logical arguments (upapatti), showing the soundness of the upadesa (teachings).

The Khilakanda deals with certain forms of meditation (upasana), by means of which the aspirant experiences what is laid down in the upadesa (teachings).

The theme of the book, as of all Vedantic treatises, is the absolute identity of Atman (Self) and Brahman (the Supreme Reality). This identity has been established by the well known logical method of jalpa (argument repudiating the views of opponents) and vada (reasoning for the purpose of discovering Reality).

There exists an apparently unbridgeable gap between the ritualistic section (Karmakanda) of the Vedas, dealing with the various enjoyments (abhyudaya) in the phenomenal universe (samsara), and the philosophical section of the Upanishads (Jnanakanda), describing the knowledge of Brahman, which alone enables the aspirant to attain Liberation (moksha) or the Highest Good (Nihsreyasa). The section of the Upanishads dealing with the upasana, however, supplies the bridge. It shows the way to direst the mind from the performance of rituals to the philosophical contemplation of Brahman.

The Madhukanda, emphasising the authority of scriptural revelation, describes the major doctrines of the Upanishads, whose aim is to demonstrate the identity of Atman and Brahman. The method of arriving at this identity is the discussion of what are known in Vedanta as adhyaropa and apavada. Adhyaropa signifies the illusory superimposition of names and forms, through avidya (ignorance), upon the attributeless Brahman. This illusory superimposition accounts for the appearance of the phenomenal universe. Apavada is the refutation or sublation of the illusory phenomena, which is simultaneous with the experience of Pure Brahman. No further discipline is necessary for this realisation. The moment the illusory nature of the mirage is recognised, the true nature of the desert is revealed.

The phenomenal universe includes the entire realm of names and forms. To it belongs all the Vedic rituals and the various meditations associated with them, as well as their results. The world of Brahma or hiranyagarbha, which may be called the highest heaven, belongs also to the phenomenal universe and is therefore transitory. The only entity that transcends the universe is Atman (Self), non-dual and eternal, which is pointed out by negation (‘neti’) of names and forms (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II.iii.6). The aspirant cannot truly long for Self-knowledge unless he has gone through the entire gamut of experiences in the phenomenal world, ranging from the experience associated with the life of a clump of grass to that associated with Hiranyagarbha. The Upanishad vividly describes the rituals and the meditations for the realisation of various enjoyments in the universe of names and forms. By performing these rituals and practising these meditations an aspirant can find out the impermanent nature of all phenomenal enjoyments, including those obtained in Brahmaloka, and turn his attention to the knowledge of Atman which dwells in himself.

While discussing Adhyaropa, the Upanishad states that all phenomenal entities are mutually dependent, are objects of mutual enjoyment, and are conditioned by the law of cause and effect (Br.I.v.1). The whole universe, either in its unmanifested or in its manifested aspect, is of the very essence of names, forms, and action (Br.I.vi), and is therefore non-Self. Anything that is the result of action belongs to the realm of samsara. It is impermanent (Br. I.iv.15), since the result lasts only as long as the momentum given by the cause endures. Samsara is perceived to exist as long as duality, the result of avidya, remains. It disappears with the attainment of the knowledge of the non-dual Brahman (Br. I.iv.7; II.iv,14). Therefore, one seeking Liberation cultivates dispassion for all objects of the phenomenal universe, including the supreme position of Hiranyagarbha. In order to show the way to emancipation from the impermanent universe and to the realisation of Self-knowledge, the Upanishad says that the Self alone is to be meditated upon, for in It the prana and the sense-organs become unified (Br. I.iv.7). This scriptural statement is called a Vidya-sutra or knowledge-aphorism, in contrast with another statement called an avidya-sutra or nescience-aphorism, which says: “Now, if a man worships another deity, thinking: ‘He is one and I am another’, he does not know (Br.I.iv.10). These two statements describe the subject matter of vidya and avidya. The former deals with Atman and the latter with samsara. It is also said in connection with avidya that nescience, which veils the true nature of Atman, is the cause of the phenomenal universe.

After thus describing adhyaropa, or the illusory superimposition of names and forms, the Madhukanda deals with apavada, or their refutation, in order to establish the ultimate oneness of Atman and Brahman. The text states that there are two forms, incorporeal (amurta) and corporeal (murta), of the phenomenal universe which are superimposed upon Brahman (Br. II.iii.1). Then the text exhorts (Br. II.iii.6) the student to negate them. But it emphatically affirms that Brahman is not void (sunya), though It can never be brought within the scope of affirmation. One may, however, glimpse It through the negation of eliminable factors produced by ignorance (‘Not this, not this’ – Iti na, iti na’.)

It has already been mentioned that the realisation of the unreal nature of samsara and the knowledge of Atman accompany each other. Therefore Atman alone is to be realised, heard of, reflected upon, and contemplated (Br. II.iv.5). Everything in the world is loved because of Atman (II.iv.5). When Atman is known all things are known (II.iv.7-9). Unselfish action, rites, and meditations are enjoined as disciplines for the Knowledge of Atman, as also hearing, reasoning, and contemplation. But through renunciation (sannyasa) the Knowledge obtaines by these means becomes an unshakable, positive experience. The Rishi Yajnavalkya embraces the monastic life (IV.vi.15). The monastic life is also emphasized in other parts of the Upanishad (III.v.i; IV.iv.22).

The upadesa, or teaching, in the Madhukanda is appropriately followed by the upapatti, or argumentative discourse, in the Yajnavalkyakanda, or Munikanda. Both divisions aim at revealing the oneness of Atman and Brahman; so both have the same purpose. Thus one finds a similarity between certain important verses of the two divisions. There is likewise a similarity between the topics discussed in the two divisions.

In the Yajnavalkyakanda, the dialectical mode of argument is employed. Yajnavalkya is challenged by learned philosophers in the court of King Janaka (III.i.) to demonstrate his knowledge of Brahman (the Supreme reality). He silences his interlocutors and fights his way to victory. In this discussion he follows the method of jalpa, by means of which the views of the opponent are refuted.

In the fourth part, in the course of his dialogue with king Janaka, Yajnavalkya employs the method of vada, that is to say, reasoning for the ascertaining of truth. The earlier dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi is repeated in order to establish by means of reasoning the Self-Knowledge which has already been affirmed on the authority of the scriptures. In commenting on the last passage of this part (IV.v.15.), Sankaracharya discusses the value of the monastic discipline in the non-dualistic scheme of liberation, and emphasizes the imperative necessity of renunciation of the world for the realization of Brahman. He does not allow any compromise, either in practice or in theory, between the Knowledge of Brahman and the performance of religious rites with or without meditation.

The third division of the Upanishad is known as the Khilakanda, or supplementary section. It contains ethical disciplines and certain forms of meditation helpful for the knowledge of Brahman, The message of the brihadaranyaka Upanishad regarding the essence of Reality is given in (V.i.1.) The ethical doctrines of the Upanishad are stated in the introduction (V.ii.1) regarding self-control, charity, and compassion, by means of which one can suppress, respectively, passion, greed, and anger. The last part of the Khilakanda describes the religious rites and disciplines by which one can earn wealth and procreate righteous children, both of which are necessary in order to enjoy happiness here on earth and after death.

I have tried to show that there is an inner unity throughout the entire Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It teaches the non-duality of Reality, and not dualism, qualified non-dualism, the doctrine of difference and identity, or any other system. To be sure, there are scholars who do not find this unity of thought in the Upanishad but maintain that it contains different views of Brahman by various thinkers, unrelated to one another. Some try to explain the Upanishad with the help of philology. Others, again, apply the rational mthod of modern times. They all, it appears, miss the aim of the Upanishad, namely, Self-Knowledge, which transcends logic but does not contradict it.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad has been divided by Sankara into six parts, which again, are subdivided into a total of forty-seven chapters, called brahmanas. Each chapter contains a number of verses, called kandikas.

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Isavasyopanishad (Isa Upanishad) verse by verse

 

Isavasyopanishad (Isa Upanishad) verse by verse

Translated by Swami Nikhilananda
Ramakrishna-Vivekananda center, New York

1. All this – whatever exists in this changing universe- should be covered by the Lord. Protect the Self by renunciation. Do not lust after any man’s wealth.
[Note: All this: That is to say, the universe consisting of ever changing names and forms, held together by the law of causation.

Should be covered: This universe, from the standpoint of Absolute Reality, is nothing but the Lord. That it is perceived as a material entity is due to ignorance. One should view the universe, through the knowledge of non-duality, as Atman alone.

Lord: He who is the Supreme Lord and the inmost Self of all.
He is Brahman and identical Atman.

Protect: That to say, liberate the Self from the grief, delusion, and other evil traits of samsara (worldly life) in which It has been entangled on account of ignorance. To be attached to matter amounts to killing the Self.

Renunciation: The scripture prescribes the discipline of renunciation of the longing of offspring, wealth, and the heavenly worlds for him alone who devotes himself entirely to contemplation of the Self as the Lord. Such an aspirant has no further need of worldly duties. It is renunciation that leads to the Knowledge of the Self and protects Its immutability, eternity, and immortality.

Lust not etc: That is to say, a sannyasin (monk), who has renounced all desires, should not be attached to what he has or long for the property of someone else. Or the sentence may mean that a sannyasin should not covet wealth at all. For where is the real wealth in the transitory world that he should desire? The illumined person renounces the illusory names and forms because he regards the whole universe as Atman (Self) alone. He does not long for what is unreal.

General comments: When the truth is known the universe is realized as Atman, the Spirit that dwells in all hearts. The diversity of names and forms, changes, actions, and the rest are superimposed upon Atman through ignorance. These are extraneous to It and unreal. Day and night the seeker after Truth meditates thus: The Supreme Lord alone dwells in all beings as Atman; this universe, though ultimately unreal, appears to be real because Brahman alone is its ground; since Brahman is my innermost Self, the universe has its root in the Self; it cannot exist independent of Atman. The seeker of Self-Knowledge contemplates the world in this way and covers it by the unitive knowledge. Acharya Sankara gave the illustration of sandalwood. Sandalwood is fragrant by nature, but when kept in water for a long time it gives out a bad odour, which, however, is not inherent in it. Again, by rubbing, its natural fragrance is released; and this fragrance covers the foul smell, that is to say, destroys it. Likewise, constant meditation on the reality of Atman and the illusory nature of the universe produces true Knowledge, which reveals everything as the Lord alone.

The text lays down the control of lust for wealth as a great spiritual discipline. We cannot know the true nature of the Self because our mind is contaminated by greed, attachment, anger, and carnal desires, all produced by our craving for possessions.
The more one is attached to wealth, the less one knows the divinity of the Self. Engrossed day and night in the thought of his possessions, a worldly person finds very little time to think about Atman. Therefore the Upanishad asks the seeker who wants to protect his spiritual treasure to renounce the craving for material wealth.]

(The previous verse refers to the Highest Knowledge and prescribes the discipline of complete renunciation. But the vast majority of people are ignorant of the Self and incapable of cultivating Self-Knowledge. They still identify themselves with the body and crave material happiness. Lest they should indulge in unrighteous action to fulfil their desires, the Upanishad prescribes righteous action:)

2.If a man wishes to live a hundred years on this earth, he should live performing action. For you, who cherish such a desire and regard yourself as a man, there is no other way by which you can keep work from clinging to you.

[Note: Action: That is to say, the daily devotions and
other duties prescribed by the scriptures.

As a man: One who is identified with his body and
conscious of his human duties and responsibilities.

There is no other way: By the performance of righteous duties one can avoid unrighteous action. Furthermore, righteous work purifies the heart, creates the desire for Self-Knowledge, and endows the seeker with power to practise the spiritual discipline, which leads to such Knowledge.

Work: It means unrighteous work.

General comments: A person attached to his human body and desirous of enjoying on earth his full span of life should devote himself to religious duties and other unselfish actions; if not, he will engage in evil action. It is clear that this verse does not apply to the illumined person, who is not attached to material things and is indifferent about the length of his life.
According to Sankara the discipline of Self-Knowledge and the way of worldly enjoyment are totally incompatible. A sannyasin, seeking Self-Knowledge, is indifferent to both life and death.]

(The life unillumined by Self-Knowledge is condemned)

3.Verily, those worlds of the asuras (demons) are enveloped in blind darkness; and thereto they all repair after death who are slayers of Atman (Self).

[Note: Worlds: that is say, the various planes which afford embodied souls opportunities to experience the results of their actions.

Asuras: Literally means demons; those who delight in material enjoyments. Even those who experience in heaven the rewards of their meritorious actions may be called asuras, because they too are devoid of Self-Knowledge. The word worlds in the text refers to all relative states. Or it may mean ‘sunless’, that is to say, non-luminous.

Blind Darkness: Ignorance that prevents one from acquiring the Knowledge of the Self.

Slayer of Atman: Atman, the self-luminous Spirit, dwells in all beings. But on account of ignorance a man is not aware of It. Therefore the experience of Immortality, Blessedness, and Peace, which accompanies Self-Knowledge, remains unknown to him. He becomes a victim of repeated births and deaths. Thus such a person, clinging to ignorance, is described as a slayer of Atman.

General comments: Self-Knowledge, which enables one to experience Immortality and Blessedness, is within reach of all. It is through ignorance alone that a man deprives himself of this cherished goal and, as a result, finds himself going through the round of birth and death in various bodies, higher or lower, according to his actions and desires.]

(It has been said that the unillumined person, the slayer of Atman, whirls back into samsara (worldly life). Contrariwise, the illumined person, through Self-Knowledge, attains liberation; certainly he is not a slayer of Atman. Now what is the nature of this atman, the knowledge or ignorance of which accounts for a man’s emancipation or bondage? It is described in the following five verses).

4.That non-dual Atman, though never stirring, is swifter than the mind. The devas (the senses) cannot reach It, for It moves ever in front. Though standing still, It overtakes others who are running. Because of Atman, Vayu (the World Soul) apportions the activities of all.

[Note: The first cosmic manifestation of the Absolute in the relative universe, also known by such epithets as the World Soul, Hiranyagarbha, and Prana. It sustains the whole universe by apportioning to every one his function. But the World Soul can exercise its lordship because Atman is its inner Self. Without Atman even the highest cosmic entity becomes powerless and ceases to exist].

(Because the Knowledge of Brahman is both profound and inscrutable, the idea of the previous verse is reiterated in the following verse.)

5. It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near.
It is inside all this and It is outside all this.

6. The wise man beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone.

7. To the seer, all things have verily become the Self; what delusion, what sorrow, can there be for him who beholds that oneness?

8. It is He who pervades all – He who is bright and bodiless, without scar or sinews, pure and by evil unpierced; who is the Seer, omniscient, transcendent and uncreated. He has duly allotted to the eternal World Creators their respective duties.

9. Into a blind darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance (rituals); but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in knowledge (of a deity) alone.

10. One thing they say, is obtained from knowledge; another, they say, from ignorance. Thus we have heard from the wise that have taught us this.

11. He who is aware that both knowledge and ignorance should be pursued together, overcomes death through ignorance and obtains immortality through knowledge.

12. Into a blind darkness they enter who worship only the unmanifested prakriti; but into a greater darkness they enter who worship the manifested Hiranyagarbha.

13. One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of the manifested; another, they say, from the worship of the unmanifested. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.

14. He who knows that both the unmanifested prakriti and the manifested Hiranyagarbha should be worshipped together, overcomes death by the worship of Hiranyagarbha and obtains immortality through devotion to prakriti.

[The following verse describes a fervent death-bed prayer to the sun, on the part of such a worshipper, to help him realize his cherished desire.]

15. The door of the Truth is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the Truth may behold it.

16. O Nourisher, lone Traveller of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajapati! Gather your rays; withdraw your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there.

17. Now may my breath return to the all-pervading immortal Prana! May this body be burnt to ashes! Om, O mind, remember, remember all that I have done.

[The dying man again prays for a higher course after death.]

18. O Fire, lead us by the good path for the enjoyment of the fruit of our action. You know, O god, all our deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit. We offer, by words, our salutations to you.

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Upanishads verse by verse -an anthology
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Prashna Upanishad verse by verse
Translated by Professor D. S. Sarma

(Up.1.2)

1.
Sukesa (son of Bharadvaja), Satyakama (son of Sibi), Gargya (grandson of Surya), Kausalya (son of Asvala), Bhargava (of Vidarbha), and Kabandhi (son of Katya) – all these, intent on Brahman (the Supreme Reality), devoted to Brahman, and seeking the highest Brahman, approached the revered Pippalada with sacrificial fuel in their hands, thinking that he would explain all that to them.

2.
The Rishi (Seer of Truth) said to them: ‘Live with me another year with austerity, chastity and faith. Then ask questions as you please. If we know, we will tell you all.

3.
After that time, Kabandhi, son of Katya, approached him and asked: ‘Venerable Sir, whence are all these creatures born?’

4.
To him he said: ‘The Lord of Creation, wishing to have offspring, brooded in thought. Having brooded in thought, he created a pair – matter and life – thinking that they would produce creatures for Him.’

5.
Then Bhargava of Vidarbha questioned him: ‘Sir, how many powers support a creature? How many illumine it, and which of them, again, is the most important?’

6.
To him he said: “Space is such a power – and air, fire, water, earth – also speech, mind, eye and ear. These having illumined it, declare, ‘We sustain and support this body.’”

7.
“But Life, the most important of them all, said to them, ‘Do not cherish this delusion. I alone, dividing myself into five, sustain and support this body.’ They did not believe him.”

8.
“Then through pride he seemed as if to rise up from it. When he rose up, all of them rose up, and when he settled down, all of them settled down with him.

As all the bees rise up when the king bee rises, and as they settle down when he settles down, even so did these – speech, mind, sight and hearing. They were satisfied and sang the praises of Life” –

9.
“ ‘As fire he burns. He is the sun, he is the rain god Indra. He is the wind, the earth and matter. He is a god. He is being and non-being and what is immortal.

10.
“ ‘As spokes in the hub of a wheel everything is established in Life – the Rik, the Yajus and the Saman verses, and also sacrifices, valour and wisdom.

11.
“ ‘As the Lord of creatures, thou movest in the womb and thou thyself art born again. To thee, O Life, that dwellest with the vital breaths, these creatures bring their offerings.

12.
“ ‘Thou art the chief bearer of oblations to the gods. Thou art the first offering to the Pitris. Thou art the virtuous conduct of the sages, the descendants of Atharvan and Angiras.

13.
“ ‘Thou art Indra, O Prana (Life), thou art Rudra by thy valour, thou art the protector; thou movest in the sky. Thou art the sun, the lord of lights.

14.
“ ‘When thou comest down as rain, then these creatures breathe and live in a state of bliss, as there will be food to their heart’s content.

15.
“ ‘Thou art ever pure, O Life, the one seer, the eater, the real lord of the universe. We are the givers of food. O All-pervading, thou art our father.

16.
“ ‘That form of thine, which abides in speech, in hearing and in sight and which exists continuously in the mind – make it propitious. Do not depart.

17.
“ ‘All this is under the sway of life, as also that which is established in heaven above. Protect us as a mother does her son. Grant us prosperity and wisdom.’”

II (Up. 3)

1.
Then Kausalya, son of Asvala, asked him: ‘Venerable Sir, whence is this life born? How does it come into the body? And how does it distribute itself and establish itself? In what way does it depart? How does it relate itself to what is external to the body and how (does it relate itself) to what is internal and spiritual?’

2.
To him he then said: “You are asking questions that are highly transcendental. But, as I think you are most devoted to Brahman, I will tell you.

3.
“This life is born of the Self. As in the case of a man there is the shadow, so is this life connected with that Self. It comes into the body by the activity of the mind.

4.
“As a sovereign commands his officers, saying: ‘You superintend such and such villages’- even so does this life order the other vital breaths to their respective places.

5.
“The Apana breath is stationed in the organs of excretion and reproduction; the life-breath itself is in the eye and the ear and also in the mouth and the nose; the Samana breath in the middle distributes equally the food supplied. From this arise those seven fires.

6.
“In the heart is the Self. Here are these one hundred and one blood vessels. To each one of these belong a hundred smaller vessels. And to each of these again belong seventy-two thousand branching vessels. Within these moves the Vyana breath.

7.
“Now, rising upwards through one of them, the Udana breath leads one to the good world as a result of good deeds, and to the evil world as a result of evil deeds, and to the world of men as a result of both.

8.
“The sun rises and it is the external life-breath, for it helps the life-breath in the eye; the divinity which is in the earth supports a person’s Apana breath. And the space between the two – that is the Samana breath; and the air is the Vyana breath.

9.
“Fire is indeed the Udana breath. Hence he whose vital heat is quenched goes to rebirth, his senses being merged in his mind.

10.
“Whatever is a man’s last thoughts – with these he comes to life again. And life joined to vital heart together with the self, leads to whatever world he has fashioned in his thoughts.

11.
“The wise man who thus knows all about Life – his progeny will have no break and himself will become immortal. On this there is the following verse:-

12.
“The origin of Life, its coming, its staying, its five-fold extension and its relation to the Self – knowing these one obtains immortality”

III (Up.4)

1.
Then Gargya, grandson of Surya, asked him: ‘Venerable Sir, what are the powers that go to sleep in a man when he goes to sleep and what are they that are awake when he is awake? Who is that divinity that witnesses the dreams, and whose is that happiness? And in whom, again, are all these established?’

2.
To him he then said: “Just as, O Gargya, all the rays of the setting sun become one in an orb of light and spread themselves out when he rises, again and again, even so do all become one in that supreme divinity – the mind. Therefore in that state the man does not see, does not smell, does not taste, does not touch, does not speak, does not take, does not rejoice, does not emit and does not move about. They say, he sleeps.

3.
“The fires of life alone remain awake in this city.

4.
“There in sleep, the divine mind has experience of its power. It sees again whatever object has been seen, it hears again whatever has been heard, it experiences again and again whatever has been experienced before in different places and directions. Also what has been seen and not been seen, what has been heard and not been heard, what has been experienced and not been experienced, and what is existent and what is non-existent – it sees all; being all. It sees all.

5.
“But when it is overpowered with light, the mind sees no dreams; then there is happiness for it in the body.

6.
“Just as birds resort to a tree for rest, even so, my friend, all things here go into the Supreme Self – earth and the elements of earth, water and the elements of water, fire and the elements of fire, air and the elements of air, space and the elements of space; sight and what can be seen, hearing and what can be heard, smell and what can be smelt, taste and what can be tasted, the skin and what can be touched, speech and what can be spoken, hands and what can be handled, the organ of generation and what can be enjoyed, the organ of excretion and what can be excreted, feet and what can be trodden, the mind and what can be perceived, the intellect and what can be conceived, self-consciousness and what can be conscious of, thought and what can be thought, light and what can be illumined, and life and what can be supported by it.

7.
“Verily this seer, toucher, hearer, smeller, taster, perceiver, knower, doer, thinker, this person- he becomes establishes in the Supreme imperishable Self.

8.
“Verily, O friend, he who recognises the shadow-less. bodiless, colourless, pure, imperishable Self attains that Supreme imperishable Itself. He, knowing all, becomes the All. On this, there is this verse:

9.
“He who recognises the imperishable Self, in whom the conscious self, with all its powers, its vital breaths and the elements are established – he, O my friend, knowing all, has become the All.”

IV (Up.5)

1.
Then Satyakama, son of Sibi, asked him: ‘Venerable Sir, if among men any one meditates on AUM to the end of his life, what world does he win thereby?’

2.
To him he said: “Verily, O Satyakama, this syllable AUM is both the higher and the lower Brahman. Therefore, he who knows it can reach by its support either the one or the other.

3.
“If he meditates on one element of it, he is enlightened even by that and comes back quickly to earth.

The Rik verses lead him to the world of men. There, endowed with austerity, chastity and faith he experiences greatness.

4.
“If he meditates on two elements, then he becomes one with the mind and is led by Yajus formulas to the intermediate space, to the lunar world; having experienced greatness there he returns here again.

5.
“But if with the three elements of the syllable AUM he meditates on the highest Person, he becomes one with the light, the sun. And being freed from his sins, as a snake is freed from its skin, he is led by Saman chants to the world of Brahman. He sees the Person who dwells in the body, higher than the highest assemblage of life. On this subject there are these two verses:

6.
“These three elements, each by itself, are within the sphere of mortality. But if they are united and not separated from each other and are enjoyed in actions well performed, internal, external or intermediate – the knower is not shaken.

7.
“With the Rik verses one gains this world, with the Yajus formulas the inter-space, and with Saman chants that which the sages know. With AUM as the sole support the wise man attains to that which is tranquil, undecaying, deathless, fearless and supreme.

V (Up.6)

1.
Then Sukesa, son of Bharadvaja, asked him: “Venerable Sir, Hiranyanabha, a prince of Kosala, came to me and asked this question: ‘Bharadvaja, do you know the person with sixteen parts?’ I replied to the prince: ‘I do not know him. If I knew him why would I not tell you? He who speaks an untruth will indeed wither away to his roots. It is not proper for me, therefore, to speak an untruth.’ Thereupon he silently mounted his chariot and went away. Now I will ask you. Where is that person?”

2.
To him he said: “Even here, within the body, O friend, is that person in whom arise these sixteen parts.

3.
“He (the person) thought within himself, ‘On whose departure shall I be departing, and on whose resting firm shall I be resting?

4.
“He created life, and from life, faith, space, air, light, water, earth, senses, mind and food; and from food vitality, austerity, hymns, works, worlds, and in the worlds, individuals.

5.
“Just as these running streams flowing towards the sea disappear on reaching the sea and are simply called the sea, their name and form being broken up, even so these sixteen parts of this seer, tending towards the person, disappear on reaching him, and are simply called the person, their name and form being broken up. This one is without parts and is immortal. On this there is the following verse:

6.
“He in whom the parts are well established as spokes in the centre of the wheel – know him as the person to be known so that death may not afflict you.”

7.
To them he said: “Only thus far do I know that Supreme Brahman. There is nothing higher than that.”

8.
Then they praised him; “Thou art indeed our father, taking us across to the other shore of our ignorance”

Salutation to the supreme sages

Salutation to the supreme sages
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Upanishads verse by verse -an anthology
A selection of sacred passages
Abridged

Katha Upanishad verse by verse
Translation by Professor  D .S. Sarma

(Up.I.1)

  1. Desiring the fruits of a sacrifice, Vajasravasa, it is said, gave away all his wealth. He had a son, Nachiketas by name.
  2.  

  3. As the gifts were being distributed, faith entered into Nachiketas, though he was a boy, and he thought……..
  4.  

  5. These cows that have drunk their last water, eaten their last grass, yielded their last milk and worn out their organs – miserable, surely, are the worlds to which he will go who gives away such things.
  6.  

  7. He said to his father, “To whom, O Sire, will you give me?” – a second time, a third time; and he replied, “To Death will I give you.”
  8.  

  9. (Nachiketas) –“Of many I go as first, and of many I go as the midmost. What duty towards Yama will he accomplish today through me?”
  10.  

  11. “Look back to how it was with those who went before, look forward to how it will be with those who come hereafter. A mortal ripens like corn, like corn he springs up again.”
  12.  

  13. (A voice in Yama’s abode) –“Like fire does a Brahmin guest enter into houses, and they make him this peace offering; bring water, O son of Vivaswat.”
  14.  

  15. “Hope and expectation, good company and pleasant discourse, the fruits of sacrifices and good deeds, sons and cattle – all are taken away from that person of little understanding in whose house a Brahmin remains without food.”
  16.  

  17. (Yama) – “O Brahmin, since you, a venerable guest, have stayed in my house for three nights without food I make obeisance to you, and may it be with me! Therefore, choose now three boons in return.
  18.  

  19. (Nachiketas) – “That Gautama (my father) may be pacified, that he may be kind and free from anger towards me and that he may recognize me and greet me when I shall have been set free by you. O Death – this is the first of the boons I choose.”
  20.  

  21. (Yama) – “Through my favour Auddalaki Aruni (your father) will recognize you and be again towards you as he was before. And, seeing you released from the jaws of death, he shall be free from anger, and sleep peacefully through the night.”
  22.  

  23. (Nachiketas) – “In the world of heaven there is no fear whatever, you are not there and no one is afraid of old age. Overcoming both hunger and thirst, and leaving sorrow behind, one rejoices in the world of heaven.”
  24.  

  25. (Nachiketas) – “You know, O Death, that fire-sacrifice which leads one to heaven. Explain it to me- for I am full of faith – how the dwellers in heaven gain their immortality. This I choose as my second boon.”
  26.  

  27. (Yama) – “O Nachiketas, I know well that fire which leads one to heaven. I will declare it to you. Learn it of me and know that it is the means of gaining the endless world, that it is its foundation and that it abides in the cave of the heart.”
  28.  

  29. He then described to him that fire, which is the first of the worlds, and also what kind of bricks are to be used, how many of them and in what manner. And he (Nachiketas) repeated all, as it had been told. Then, being pleased with, Death spoke again.
  30.  

  31. That great one, being delighted, said to him:- “I will give you here today another boon – by your name will this fire be known hereafter. Take also this necklace of many colours.”
  32.  

  33. (Yama) – “This is your fire-sacrifice, O Nachiketas. Which leads one to heaven and which you have chosen for your second boon. People will call this by name only. Choose now, O Nachiketas, your third boon.”
  34.  

  35. (Nachiketas) – “When a man passes away there is this doubt, some hold that he exists and some that he does not. This I should like to know, instructed by you. This is the third of the boons.”
  36.  

  37. (Yama) – “Even the gods of old had doubts on this. It is not easy to understand. So subtle is the truth about it. Choose another boon, O Nachiketas. Do not press me. Release me from this.”
  38.  

  39. (Nachiketas) – “Indeed even the gods had doubts on this, and, O Death, you say it is not easy to understand. But no other teacher of it like you can be got, and no other boon is equal to this.”
  40.  

  41. (Yama) – “Choose sons and grandsons, who shall live a hundred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold and horses; choose the whole expanse of the earth and live for as many years as you like.”
  42. (Y) “If you can think of any boon equal to this, choose that, as also wealth and long life. Be a king on this wide earth, O Nachiketas. I will make you the enjoyer of all your desires.” 
  43. (Y) “Whatever desires are difficult to attain in this world of man, ask freely for all of them. Here are these fair maidens with their chariots, and musical instruments. Such are not to be obtained by men. Be served by these whom I give to you. But, O Nachiketas, do not question me about death.”
  44.  

  45. (N) –“Transient are all these, O Death, and they wear out the vigour of all the senses. Moreover all life is short. Keep your horses to yourself, keep your dance and your song.”
  46.  

  47. (N) “No man can be satisfied with wealth. Can we enjoy wealth when we see you! We shall live as long as you are in power! That alone is the boon to be chosen by me.”
  48.  

  49. (N) “What mortal decaying here below and coming to know of the undecaying nature of the immortals would ever delight in too long a life, thinking of the pleasures which arise from beauty and love?”
  50.  

  51. (N) “O Death, tell us about which people have doubts, what there is in that great hereafter. Nachiketas does not choose another boon but that which penetrates this mystery”

II (UP.1.2)

  1. (Yama) – “The good is one thing, the pleasant is another. These two, having different purposes, bind a man. Of these two, it is well for him who takes hold of the good; he who chooses the pleasant misses his end.”
  2.  

  3. (Y) “The good and the pleasant approach a man; the wise man considers and distinguishes the two. Wisely does he prefer the good to the pleasant, but a fool chooses the pleasant for its worldly good.”
  4.  

  5. (Y) “You O Nachiketas, have, after examining, rejected the pleasant that are delightful or seem to be so. You have not taken the road that leads to wealth in which many men perish.”
  6.  

  7. (Y) “Wide apart and leading to different ends are these which are known as ignorance and knowledge. I believe Nachiketas to be one who desires knowledge, for even many pleasures have not tempted you.”
  8.  

  9. (Y) “Fools steeped in ignorance, wise in their own conceit and regarding themselves as learned, go about staggering like blind men led by the blind.”
  10.  

  11. (Y) “The way to the other world does not shine for the ignorant man who blunders, ever deluded by the glamour of wealth. ‘This is the world and there is no other,’ he thinks and thus he falls again and again under my sway.”
  12.  

  13. (Y) “He who cannot be heard of by many and whom many, even hearing, do not know – wonderful is the man who can expound Him, and adept is the man who can find Him. And wonderful indeed is the man who can know Him, even when taught by an expert.”
  14.  

  15. (Y) “When taught by an inferior man, it (the Self) is not easily known, even though often meditated upon. Unless it is taught by a competent (proficient) man, there is no way to it, for it is inconceivable, being subtler than the subtle.”
  16.  

  17. (Y) “Not by argument is this knowledge obtained. But, O dearest, when taught by another, it is easy to understand. You have obtained it now, holding fast to truth. May we always have an enquirer like you, O Nachiketas!”

III (Up.I 2.3.

  1. (Nachiketas) –“Tell me that which you see beyond right and wrong, beyond effect and cause and beyond past and future.”
  2.  

  3. (Yama) – “That word which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities proclaim, and which men desire when they lead the life of religious students – that word, I tell you briefly. It is AUM.”
  4.  

  5. (Y) “This syllable is indeed Brahman (Supreme Reality); this syllable indeed is the highest; he who knows this syllable – whatever he desires will be his.”
  6.  

  7. (Y) “This is the best support, this is the highest support; he who knows this support becomes great in the world of Brahma.”
  8.  

  9. (Y) “The knowing Self is never born, nor does it die. It sprang from nothing, and nothing sprang from it. It is unborn, eternal, everlasting and primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain.”
  10.  

  11. (Y) “If the slayer thinks that he slays or if the slain thinks that he is slain, both of them do not understand. He neither slays nor is he slain.”
  12.  

  13. (Y) “Smaller than the small and greater than the great, the Self is hidden in the heart of every creature. A man who is free from desires beholds the glory of that Self through the tranquillity of his mind and senses and becomes freed from sorrow.”
  14.  

  15. (Y) “Though sitting still He travels far, though lying down He goes everywhere. Who but myself can know that luminous Atman who rejoices and rejoices not?”
  16.  

  17. (Y) “The wise man who knows the Self as bodiless within the bodies, as the unchanging among changing things, as great and all-pervading, will never grieve.”
  18.  

  19. (Y) “This Self cannot be gained by the Veda, nor by intellectual power, nor by much learning. He is to be gained only by the one whom He chooses. To such a one the Self reveals His own nature.”
  20.  

  21. (Y) “The man who has not turned away from his evil ways, who is not tranquil, who has no concentration of mind and whose mind is not at rest – he can never reach this Self through mere knowledge.”
  22.  

  23. (Y) “Who knows where He is – He to whom both Brahmins and Kshatriyas are as food, and death itself is as a condiment?”
  24.  

  25. (Y) “Know that the Self is like the lord of the chariot, and the body is His chariot. Know that the intellect is the charioteer and the mind the reins.”
  26.  

  27. (Y) “The senses, they say, are the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When the Self is in union with the body, the senses and the mind, the wise call Him the enjoyer.”
  28.  

  29. (Y) “He who has no understanding and whose mind is ever unrestrained – his senses are out of control as vicious horses for a charioteer.”
  30.  

  31. (Y) “But he who has understanding and whose mind is always restrained – his senses are under control as good horses for a charioteer.”
  32.  

  33. (Y) “He who has no understanding, who has no control over his mind and who is ever impure – he does not reach that place, but comes back to the round of births.”
  34.  

  35. (Y) “He, however, who has understanding, who has control over his mind and who is ever pure – he reaches that place from which he is not born again.”
  36.  

  37. (Y) “The man whose charioteer is his understanding, who holds the reins of his mind – he reaches the end of his journey, the supreme abode of Vishnu.”
  38.  

  39. (Y) “Beyond the senses there are the essences, beyond the essences there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the understanding and beyond the understanding there is the great soul.”
  40.  

  41. (Y) “Beyond the great soul there is the unmanifest, and beyond the unmanifest there is the Spirit. Beyond the Spirit there is nothing – that is the end, that is the highest reach.”
  42.  

  43. (Y) “That Self, hidden in all beings, does not shine forth, but it is seen by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.”
  44.  

  45. (Y) “A wise man should draw his speech into his mind, his mind into his understanding, his understanding into the great soul and the great soul into the silent Self.”
  46.  

  47. (Y) “Arise, awake, obtain the best teachers and learn of them. Sharp as the edge of a razor, hard to cross and difficult, is that path – so the sages say.”
  48.  

  49. (Y) “That which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay, and likewise without taste, without change, without smell, without beginning, without end, beyond the great, and ever abiding – by realizing It one is freed from the jaws of death.”
  50.  

  51. This ancient story of Nachiketas told by Death – by repeating it or listening to it a wise man grows great in the world of Brahma
  52.  

  53. Whoever with zeal causes to be recited, before an assembly of Brahmins or at the time of Sraddha ceremonies, this supreme secret – it will secure for him immortality- yea, it will secure immortality.

IV (Up.II.1.)

  1. The Self-existent pierced the senses outward and so one looks outward and not within oneself. Some wise man, however, seeking immortality, and turning his eyes inward, sees the inner Self.
  2.  

  3. The ignorant pursue outward pleasures; they walk into the widespread net of death. The wise, however, recognizing eternal life, do not seek the constant among inconstant things.
  4.  

  5. That by which one perceives forms, taste, smell, sounds and touches of love- by that alone one has knowledge. What is there that remains unknown to it? This, verily, is that.
  6.  

  7. That by which one perceives things both in dreams and in the waking state- having known that as the great omnipresent Self, this wise man does not grieve.
  8.  

  9. He who knows this living spirit, which is close at hand and which experiences the objects, as the lord of the past and the future- he fears no more. This, verily, is that.
  10.  

  11. Whence the sun rises and whither it goes to set – in whom all the devas are contained, and whom none can pass beyond - This, verily, is that.
  12.  

  13. Whatever is here the same is there; whatever is there the same is here. He goes from death to death who sees only multiplicity here.
  14.  

  15. By mind alone is this to be realized. There is no multiplicity here whatsoever. He goes from death to death who sees only multiplicity here.
  16.  

  17. The Purusha, of the size of a thumb, dwells in the body. After knowing Him as the Lord of the past and the future one fears no more. This, verily, is that.
  18.  

  19. That Purusha of the size of a thumb is like a flame without smoke. He is the Lord of the past and the future. He is the same today and tomorrow. This, verily, is that.
  20.  

  21. As rain water falling on a mountain peak runs down among the hills in all directions, even so he who sees the attributes as different from Brahman verily runs after them in all directions.
  22.  

  23. As pure water poured into pure water becomes one with it, so also, O Gautama, does the Self of the sage (seer or Rishi) who knows.

V (Up.II.2.)

  1. There is the city of eleven gates (the body) belonging to Him who is unborn and of unchanging (undistorted) consciousness. By meditating on Him one grieves no more, and being liberated one becomes free indeed. This, verily, is that.
  2.  

  3. He is the sun dwelling in the bright heavens, the air in the firmament, the fire dwelling on earth, and the guest in the house. He dwells in men; He dwells in the gods; He dwells in the sacrifice (truth); He dwells in space. He is all that is born in water, all that is born on earth, all that is born of sacrifice and all that is born on the mountains. He is the true and the great.
  4.  

  5. He it is that leads the life breaths upwards and casts the lower breath downwards. All senses minister to Him, the Adorable, who is seated in the centre.
  6.  

  7. When the embodied self that dwells within the body slips out and is released from the body, what is left over here? (What then remains?) This, verily, is that.
  8.  

  9. It is not by any upward breath or downward breath that a mortal lives; but it is by some other, on which these two depend, that men live.
  10.  

  11. Well, I will explain to you now, O Gautama, the mystery of Brahman (Supreme Reality), the eternal, and also what happens to the soul after meeting death.
  12.  

  13. Some souls enter into a womb for embodiment, others go into stationary things (trees, plants etc), according to their deeds and according to their thoughts (knowledge).
  14.  

  15. That spirit, which is awake in those that sleep, shaping desire after desire (shaping one lovely form after another) – that is indeed the Pure, that is Brahman, that indeed is called the Immortal. In it are contained all the worlds, and no one ever goes beyond it. This, verily, is that.

 

VI (Up.II.2)

  1. As fire, which is one, entering the world assumes different forms corresponding to different objects, so does the one Self with all beings assume different forms corresponding to different beings and also exists outside them all.
  2.  

  3. As air, which is one, entering the world, assumes different forms corresponding to different objects, so does the one Self within all beings assume different forms corresponding to different beings and also exists outside them all.
  4.  

  5. As the sun, the eye of the whole world, is not defiled by the external impurities seen by our eyes, so is the one Self within all beings not defiled by the misery of the world, being Himself without.
  6.  

  7. The one Ruler, the Self within all beings who makes His one form manifold – the wise who perceive Him within themselves, to them belong eternal happiness, not to others.
  8.  

  9. The Eternal among the transient, the Consciousness of conscious beings, the One who fulfils the desires of many – the wise who perceive Him within themselves, to them belongs eternal peace, not to others.
  10.  

  11. “That is it”- it is only thus that they recognize the indescribable highest happiness. How then can I know of it, whether it shines of itself or shines in reflection?
  12.  

  13. The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightenings. How then could this fire? When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light all this is lighted.

 

VII (Up.II.3)

  1. With its roots above and its branches below stands this ancient world tree. That (the root) is indeed the Pure, that is Brahman, that indeed is called the Immortal. All the worlds are contained in it, and no one ever goes beyond it. This, verily, is that.
  2.  

  3. The whole world, whatever there is, springs from and moves in Life (Brahman) which is a great terror, an upraised thunderbolt. Those who know it become immortal.
  4.  

  5. Through fear of Him fire burns, through fear of Him the sun blazes, through fear of Him Indra, Vayu and also Yama, as the fifth, speed on their way.
  6.  

  7. If a man is not able to know Him before his body falls away, he becomes liable to be embodied again in the created worlds.
  8.  

  9. His form is not to be seen, no one beholds Him with the eye. He is to be apprehended by the heart, by thought, by mind. Those who know Him thus become immortal.
  10.  

  11. When the five instruments of knowledge stand still, together with the mind, and the intellect itself does not stir – that, they say, is the highest state.
  12.  

  13. This they consider to be Yoga, this steady control of the senses. Then does one become watchful, for Yoga comes and goes.

 

VII (Up. II. 3)

  1. Not by speech, not by mind, not by sight can He be reached. How can He be apprehended unless one says to oneself that He is?
  2.  

  3. It is by saying “He is” that He is to be apprehended together with His twofold nature. His real nature reveals itself to those who apprehend that He is.
  4.  

  5. When all the desires that dwell in the heart are cast away – then does a mortal become immortal and attain to Brahman even here.
  6.  

  7. When all the ties of the heart are cut asunder here- then does a mortal become immortal. Thus far is the teaching.
  8.  

  9. The Purusha of the size of a thumb, the inner Self, abides always in the hearts of men. One should draw Him out from the body with firmness as one draws the pith from a reed. One should know Him as the pure, the immortal.
  10.  

  11. Having gained this knowledge imparted by Death and the whole rule of Yoga, Nachiketas attained Brahman and became free from passion and death. And so may any other who knows this teaching regarding the Self.

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Upanishads verse by verse -an anthology
A selection of sacred passages
Abridged

Chandogya Upanishadf verse by verse

Translated by Professor D. S. Sarma

I.i.1

  1. One should meditate on the syllable AUM, called the Udgitha, for the Udgitha (a portion of the Sama Veda) is sung beginning with Aum. Of this syllable the explanation is:
  2.  

  3. The essence of things here is the earth; the essence of the earth is water; the essence of water is plants; the essence of plants is man; the essence of man is speech; the essence of speech is the Rig Veda; the essence of the Rig Veda is the Sama Veda; and the essence of the Sama Veda is the Udgitha.
  4.  

  5. It is the best of all essences – the highest, the supreme, the eighth – namely the Udgitha.
  6.  

  7. By this does the threefold knowledge proceed; saying Aum one recites, saying Aum one orders, and saying Aum one sings aloud – all in honour of all that syllable with its greatness and its essence.
  8.  

  9. He who understands it and he who does not – both perform the same sacrifice. But knowledge and ignorance are different. What one performs with knowledge, faith and meditation becomes more powerful. This indeed is the full explanation of this syllable.

II.i.2

  1. When the gods and the demons, both descendants of Prajapati, contended with one another the gods took hold of the Udgitha thinking, “With this we shall overcome them.”
  2.  

  3. Then they meditated on the Udgitha as the breath in the nose, but the demons pierced it with evil. Therefore one smells with it both the sweet smelling and the foul smelling, for it was pierced with evil.
  4.  

  5. Then they meditated on the Udgitha as speech; but the demons pierced it with evil. Therefore one speaks with it both truth and falsehood. For it was pierced with evil.
  6.  

  7. Then they meditated on the Udgitha as the eye, but the demons pierced it with evil. Therefore, one sees with it both what is sightly and what is unsightly, for it was pierced with evil.
  8.  

  9. Then they meditated on the Udgitha as the ear, but the demons pierced it with evil. Therefore one hears with it both what should be heard and what should not be heard, for it was pierced with evil.
  10.  

  11. Then they meditated on the Udgitha as the mind, but the demons pierced it with evil. Therefore one imagines with it both what should be imagined and what should not be imagined, for it was pierced with evil.
  12.  

  13. They then meditated on the Udgitha as the chief vital breath itself. When the demons came against it they were destroyed as one would be in dashing against a solid rock.
  14.  

  15. Just as a ball of earth striking against a solid rock is destroyed, so will one be destroyed who wishes evil to him who knows this or one who injures him, for he is a solid rock.
  16.  

  17. With this vital breath one does not discern either the sweet smelling or the foul smelling, for it is free from evil. With this, whatever one eats or drinks, one supports the other vital breaths. And, not having this in the end, one finally departs and leaves the mouth open.

III.i.8

  1. There were once three men well versed in the Udgitha – Silaka Salavatya, Chaikitayana Dalbhya and Pravahana Jaivali. They said, “We are indeed well-versed in the Udgitha. Well, let us have a discussion on it.”
  2.  

  3. “So be it,” said they and sat down. Then Pravahana Jaivali said: “You two, sirs, speak first, for I wish to hear what two Brahmins have to say.”
  4.  

  5. Then Silaka Salavatya said to Chaikitayana Dalbhya: “Let me ask you.”

    “Ask”, he replied.

  6.  

  7. “What is the origin (abode) of the Saman (Udgitha)?”

    “Tone”, he replied.

    “What is the origin of tone?”

    “Breath”, he replied.

    “What is the origin of breath?”

    “Food”, he replied.

    “What is the origin of food?”

    “Water”, he replied.

  8.  

  9. “What is the origin of water?”

    “Yonder world”, he replied.

    “What is the origin of the yonder world?”

    He replied: “One should not go beyond the world of heaven. We establish the Saman in the world of heaven, for the Saman is extolled in heaven.”

  10.  

  11. Then Silaka Salavatya said to Chaikitayana Dalbhya: “Your Saman. O Dalbhya, is not firmly established. If now anyone were to say, ‘Your head shall fall off’, surely your head would fall off.”
  12.  

  13. “Well, then, let me know it from you, Sir”, said Dalbhya.

    “Know it”, replied Silaka Salavatya. ”What is the origin of the yonder world?”

    “This world”, he replied.

    “And what is the origin of this world?”

    He replied: “One should not go beyond this world as its support. We establish the Saman in this world as its support, for the Saman is praised as the support.”

  14.  

  15. Then said Pravahana Jaivali to him: “Indeed, O Salavatya, your Saman has an end. If someone were now to say, ‘Your head shall fall off’, surely your head would fall off.”

    “Well, then, let me know this from you, Sir.”

    “Know it”, he replied.

  16.  

  17. “What is the origin of this world?”

    “Space”, he replied. “For all these creatures take their rise from space, and they return to space. Space is indeed greater than these. Space is the ultimate abode.”

  18.  

  19. This indeed is the Udgitha – the highest and the best. It is without an end. He who, knowing this, meditates on the Udgitha, the highest and the best, becomes the highest and the best and obtains the highest and the best of worlds.

 

IV. i. 10- 11

  1. When the land of the Kurus was afflicted by a hailstorm, Ushasti Chakrayana lived as a beggar with his virgin wife at Ibhyagrama.
  2.  

  3. Seeing the chief of the village eating beans he begged of him. The chief said: “I have no other than these which are set before me.”
  4.  

  5. “Give me some of them”, said he. He gave them to him and said: “Here is water to drink along.” But he replied: “That would be drinking something that was left over and therefore unclean.”
  6.  

  7. “Were not these beans also left over and therefore unclean?” “No”, he replied, “for I should not have lived if I had not eaten them, but the drinking of water would be my pleasure.”
  8.  

  9. When he had eaten, he gave what still remained to his wife. But she had eaten well before. So she took them and kept them safe.
  10.  

  11. Next morning he arose and said: “Alas, if only we could get some food we might make some money, for the king over there is performing a sacrifice, he might choose me for all the priestly offices there.”
  12.  

  13. His wife said to him: “Look, my lord, here are those beans.” Having eaten them he went over to the sacrifice that was being performed.
  14.  

  15. There he sat down near the Udgatri priests who were about to sing the Stotra in the palace assigned for the purpose. He said to the Prastori priest:-
  16.  

  17. “O Prastori, if you are going to sing the Prastava without knowing the deity which belongs to it, your head will fall off.”
  18.  

  19. Similarly, he said to the Udgatri priest: “O Udgatri, if you are going to sing the Udgitha without knowing the deity which belongs to it, your head will fall off.”
  20.  

  21. Similarly he said to the Pratihartri priest: “O Pratihartri, if you are going to sing the Pratihara without knowing the deity which belongs to it, your head will fall off.” Then they stopped and sat in silence.
  22.  

  23. Thereupon the sacrificer said to him: “I should like to know who you are, Sir.” He replied: “I am Ushasti Chakrayana.”

     

  24. Then he said: “I looked for you, Sir, for all these priestly offices. But not finding you, I have chosen others. Now, Sir, please take up all these offices for me.”
  25.  

  26. “So be it”, he said, “and let them with my permission sing the hymns. But you should give me as much money as you would give them.” The sacrificer consented.
  27.  

  28. Then the Prastotri priest approached him and said: “Sir, you said to me, ‘O Prastotri, if you are going to sing the Prastava without knowing the deity which belongs to it, your head will fall off.’ Which is that deity?”
  29.  

  30. “Life”, said he, “for all beings enter into life and rise out of life. This is the deity belonging to the Prastava. If without knowing that deity you had sung the Prastava, your head would have fallen off, after you had been warned by me.”
  31.  

  32. Then the Udgatri priest approached him and said: “Sir, you said to me: ‘O Udgatri, if you are going to sing the Udgitha without knowing the deity which belongs to it, your head will fall off.’ Which is that deity?”
  33.  

  34. “The sun”, said he, “for all beings sing of the sun when he is up. This is the deity belonging to the Udgitha. If without knowing that deity you had sung the Udgitha, your head would have fallen off, after you had been warned by me.”
  35.  

  36. Then the Pratihartri priest approached him and said: “Sir, you said to me. ‘O Pratihartri, if you are going to sing the Pratihara without knowing the deity, which belongs to it, your head will fall off.’ Which is that deity?”
  37.  

  38. “Food”, he said, “for all beings here live only when they partake of food. This is the deity belonging to the Pratihara. If without knowing that deity you had sung the Pratihara, your head would have fallen off, after you had been warned by me.”

V. iii. 12

  1. Verily, Gayatri is all this – whatever has been and whatever is here. Speech verily is Gayatri, for speech sings of and protects all that has come to be.
  2.  

  3. Verily, what this Gayatri is, that, verily, is what this earth is. For all that exists rests on the earth and does not go beyond it.
  4.  

  5. Verily, what this earth is, that, verily, is what the body is in man here. For in it are the vital breaths established and do not go beyond.
  6.  

  7. Verily, what the body in man is, that, verily, is what the heart is within man. For in it are the vital breaths established and do not go beyond it.
  8.  

  9. This Gayatri has four feet and is six fold. This is also declared by a Rik verse:-
  10.  

  11. “Such is its power. But greater than that is the Purusha Himself. For all mortal beings are only a fourth part of Him. For the other three parts are immortal and in heaven.”
  12.  

  13. Verily, what is called Brahman, that is what the space outside a person is, verily, that is what the space outside a person is.
  14.  

  15. And that is again what the space inside a person is, verily, what the space inside a person is.
  16.  

  17. And what the space inside a person is, that verily, is what the space here within the heart is. And that is the Perfect and Unchanging. He who knows this obtains perfect and unchanging happiness.

Vi. iii. 13

  1. Now that light that shines above this heaven, higher than all, higher than everything, in the highest world, beyond which there are no other worlds, verily, that is the same as this light which is here within man.
  2.  

  3. There is this visible proof of it as one perceives by touch the warmth in the body. There is this audible proof of it, as one hears, on closing one’s ears, something like a rumbling sound of a blazing fire. One should meditate on this as that (Brahman) which is seen and heard. He who meditates thus becomes worthy of being seen and heard – yes, he who meditates thus.

 

Vii. iii. 14

  1. Verily, all this is Brahman. Let a man meditate on it in tranquillity as that from which he came forth, to which he shall return and in which he breathes. Now, verily, a man is what he meditates. According as he meditates in this world he becomes on departing hence. So let him meditate thus:-
  2.  

  3. He who consists of mind, whose body is life, whose form is light, whose will is truth, whose soul is space, who contains all works, all desires, all odours, all tastes, and who pervades the whole world – silent and unmoved-
  4.  

  5. He is my self within the heart, smaller than a grain of rice or of barley or a mustard seed or a grain of millet or even the kernel of a grain of millet – He is my self within the heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these worlds.
  6.  

  7. He contains all works, all desires, all odours and all tastes – He pervades the whole world, silent and unmoved. He is my self within the heart. And this is Brahman. And with Him shall I be united on departing from here. He who has this faith will have no more doubts. Thus said Sandilya, yea, Sandillya.

 

VIII, iii. 16-17

  1. Man is himself a sacrifice. His first twenty-four years form the morning libation, for the Gayatri metre has twenty-four syllables, and the morning libation is offered with a Gayatri hymn.
  2.  

  3. His next forty-four years form the midday libation, for the Trishtubh metre has forty-four syllables and the midday libation is offered with a Trishtubh hymn.
  4.  

  5. Then his forty-eight years form the third libation, for the Jagati metre has forty-eight syllables, and the third libation is offered with a Jagati hymn.
  6.  

  7. As he hungers and thirsts, and abstains from pleasures – these constitute the preliminary rites of initiation.
  8.  

  9. And as he eats and drinks and enjoys pleasures – he may be said to join in the Upasada ceremonies.
  10.  

  11. And as he laughs and eats and indulges in sexual pleasures, he may be said to join in the chants and recitations.
  12.  

  13. And his austerities, alms giving, uprightness, non-violence and truthfulness – these constitute the gifts to the priests.
  14.  

  15. His death is the final ablution.
  16.  

  17. When Ghora Angirasa explained this to Krishna, son of Devaki, he also said to him, as he became free from desires: “In the final hour one should take refuge in theses three thoughts, ‘Thou art the Imperishable; Thou art the Unchangeable; Thou art the Essence of life.’”

 

IX. iv. 4

 

  1. Once upon a time, Satyakama, son of Jabala, addressed his mother and said: “Mother, I desire to become a student of religion. Of what family am I?”
  2.  

  3. She said to him: “I do not know, my child, of what family you are. In my youth, when I went about a great deal as a servant I got you. So I do not know of what family you are. I am Jabala by name, and you are Satyakama by name. So you may say you are Satyakama Jabala.
  4.  

  5. Then he went to Gautama Haridrumata and said to him: “Sir, I wish to become a student of religion under you. May I come to you, Sir?”
  6.  

  7. He said to him; “Of what family are you, my dear?” He replied; “I do not know this, Sir, of what family I am, I asked my mother and she said to me, ‘In my youth when I went about a great deal as a servant I got you. So I do not know of what family you are. I am Jabala by name, and you are Satyakama by name. So I am Satyakama Jabala, Sir.”
  8.  

     

  9. He then said to him: “None but a true Brahmin would thus speak out. Go and fetch fuel, my dear. I will initiate you. You have not swerved from the truth.”

    Having initiated him he chose four hundred lean weak cows and said: “Tend these, my dear.”

    He drove them out and said to himself: “I shall not return unless I bring back a thousand.”

 

X. iv. 4-9

  1. He (Satyakama) lived away (in the forest) for a number of years.

    When the cows had become a thousand, the bull of the heard said to him: “Satyakama.” “Sir,” he replied. “We have become a thousand, my friend, take us back to the teacher’s house (Gurukula). I will now declare to you a fourth part of Brahman (the Supreme Reality).”

    “Declare it, Sir.”

     

  2. He then said to him: “The east is one sixteenth, the west is one sixteenth, the south is one sixteenth and the north is one sixteenth. This is quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts, and it is called the Resplendent.

    “He who knows this and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Resplendent becomes endowed with splendour in this world. He who knows this and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Resplendent will also conquer the resplendent worlds.

    “Now, fire will declare to you another quarter of Brahman.”

  3.  

  4. On the morrow he drove the cows on. And when they came towards the evening, he lighted a fire, penned the cows, laid on fuel and sat down behind the fire, facing east.
  5.  

  6. Then the fire said to him: “Satyakama.”

    “Sir,” he replied.

    “I will now declare to you one fourth of Brahman.”

    “Declare it, Sir.”

    He then said to him: “The earth is one sixteenth, the atmosphere is one sixteenth, the sky is one sixteenth and the ocean is one sixteenth. This is a quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts. It is called the Endless.

    “He who knows this and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Endless becomes endless in this world. He who knows this and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Endless will also conquer endless worlds.

    “Now, a swan will declare to you another quarter of Brahman.”

  7.  

  8. On the morrow he drove the cows on. And when they came towards the evening, he lighted a fire, penned the cows, laid on fuel and sat down behind the fire, facing east.
  9.  

  10. Then the swan flew down to him and said: “Satyakama.”

    “Sir,” he replied.

    “I will now declare to you one fourth of Brahman.”

    “Declare it, Sir.”

    He then said to him: “Fire is one sixteenth. The sun is one sixteenth. The moon is one sixteenth and lightning is one sixteenth. This is a quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts. It is called the Luminous.

    “He who knows and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called Luminous becomes luminous in this world. He who knows and meditates on this quarter of Brahman, consisting of four parts and called the Luminous will also conquer the worlds, which are luminous.

    “Now, a diver-bird will declare to you another quarter of Brahman.”

  11.  

  12. On the morrow he drove the cows on. And when they came towards the evening, he lighted a fire, penned the cows, laid on fuel and sat down behind the fire, facing east.
  13.  

  14. Then a diver-bird flew down to him and said: “Satyakama.”

    “Sir,” he replied.

    “I will now declare to you one fourth of Brahman.”

    “Declare it, Sir.”

    He then said to him: “Breath is one sixteenth, the eye is one sixteenth, the ear is one sixteenth and the mind is one sixteenth. This is a quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts. It is called the Abiding.

    “He who knows and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Abiding comes to possess an abode in this world. He who knows and meditates on this quarter of Brahman consisting of four parts and called the Abiding will also conquer the worlds possessing an abode.”

  15.  

  16. Then he reached the teacher’s house (Gurukula). The teacher said: “Satyakama.”

    “Sir,” he replied.

  17.  

  18. “Verily, my boy, you are shining like one who knows Brahman. Who has taught you?”

    He replied: “Others than men. But, Sir, I wish that you teach me. For I have heard from persons like you that only knowledge that is learnt from a teacher leads to real good.”

  19.  

  20. Then he taught him the same knowledge. Nothing was left out, yea, nothing was left out.

 

XI. iv. 10-15

  1. Upakosala, son of Kamala, dwelt as a religious student in the house of Satyakama Jabala. He tended his fires for twelve years. But the teacher, though he had allowed other pupils to return home after finishing their studies, did not allow Upakosala to depart.
  2.  

  3. His wife said to him: “This student has performed his penance and has carefully tended your fires. Teach him and let not the fires blame you.” But he went away on a journey without teaching him.
  4.  

  5. The student, on account of his sorrow, resolved not to eat. Then the teacher’s wife said: “O student, please eat. Why do you not eat?” He replied: “There are many desires in this person here which proceed in different directions. I am full of sorrows. I will not eat.”
  6.  

  7. Then the fires said among themselves: “This student has performed his penance and has carefully tended us. Well, let us teach him.” They said to him: “Life is Brahman; joy is Brahman; space is Brahman.”
  8.  

  9. Then he said: “I understand that life is Brahman. But joy and space I do not understand.”

    They said: “What joy is, the same is space. And what space is, the same is joy.”

    They explained to him life and space.

  10.  

  11. Then the Garhapatya fire taught him: “Earth, Fire, Food and the Sun – these are my forms. But the person that is seen in the Sun- I am he, I am he indeed.

    “He who, knowing this, meditates on him destroys his sins, becomes the possessor of this world, reaches full age and lives in glory. His descendants do not perish. We serve him both in this world and in the other – whosoever knowing this meditates on him.”

  12.  

  13. Then the Anvaharya fire taught him: “Water, the Quarters, the Stars and the Moon – these are my forms. But the person that is seen in the Moon- I am he, I am he indeed.

    “He who, knowing this, meditates on him destroys his sins, becomes the possessor of this world, reaches full age and lives in glory. His descendants do not perish. We serve him both in this world and in the other – whosoever knowing this meditates on him.”

  14.  

  15. Then the Ahvaniya fire taught him: “Life, Space, Sky and Lightning- these are my forms. But the person that is seen in the Lightning, I am he, I am he indeed.

    “He who, knowing this, meditates on him destroys his sins, becomes the possessor of this world, reaches full age and lives in glory. His descendants do not perish. We serve him both in this world and in the other – whosoever knowing this meditates on him.”

  16.  

  17. Then they all said: “Upakosala, this is the knowledge regarding ourselves, friend, and also the knowledge regarding the Self. But the teacher will tell you the way.”
  18.  

  19. The teacher came back and said to him: “Upakosala.”

    “Sir,” he answered.

    “My boy, your face is shining like that of one who knows Brahman. Who has taught you?”

    “Who should teach me, Sir?” he replied.

    He conceals the fact, as it were. And, pointing to the fire, he said: “These are of this form now, but they were different then.”

    The teacher then said: “What have they taught you, my boy?”

    “This,” he replied.

    “They have spoken to you about the worlds, my boy, but I will tell you this. And as water does not cling to a lotus leaf, so no evil deed clings to one who knows it.”

    “Tell me, Sir.”

  20.  

  21. To him he then said: “The person who is seen in the eye – he is the Self. This is the immortal, the fearless. This is Brahman. So even if one drops butter or water into it (the eye) it goes away by the sides.
  22.  

  23. “He is called Samyad-vama, for all desirable things go towards him. All desirable things go to him who knows this.

     

  24. “He is also Vamani, for he brings in all desirable things. He who knows this brings in all desirable things.
  25.  

  26. “He is also Bhamani, for he shines in all the worlds. He who knows this shines in all the worlds.
  27.  

  28. “Now, for such a man, whether people perform his obsequies or not, he goes to light, from light into the day, from the day into the fortnight of the waxing moon, from the fortnight of the waxing moon into the six months during which the sun goes to the north, from the months into the year, from the year into the sun, from the sun into the moon and from the moon into the lightning. There a person not human leads them to Brahman. This is the way of the gods, the way that leads to Brahman. Those who proceed by it do not return to the human condition, yea, they do not return.”

 

XII. iv. 17

 

  1. Prajapati brooded over the worlds, and from them thus brooded on he extracted their essences – fire from the earth, air from the atmosphere and the sun from the sky.
  2.  

  3. He then brooded over these three deities. And from them thus brooded on he extracted their essences – the Rik verses from the fire, the Yajus formulae from the air and the Saman chants from the sun.
  4.  

  5. He brooded again over these three kinds of knowledge. And from them thus brooded on he extracted their essences – Bhuh from the Rik verses, Bhuvah from the Yajus formulae and Suvah from the Saman chants.
  6.  

  7. If the sacrifice is injured in connection with the Rik verses one should make an oblation in the Garhapatya fire with the words Bhuh Svaha. Thus does one set right the injury done to the sacrifice on the side of the Rik verses by the essence and the power of the Rik verses themselves.
  8.  

  9. If the sacrifice is injured in connection with the Yajus formulae one should make an oblation in the southern fire with the words Bhuvah Svaha. Thus does one set right the injury done to the sacrifice on the side of the Yajus formulae by the essence and the power of the Yajus formulae themselves.
  10.  

  11. If the sacrifice is injured in connection with the Samana chants one should make an oblation in the Ahavaniya fire with the words Suvah Svaha. Thus does one set right the injury done to the sacrifice on the side of the Saman chants by the essence and the power of the Saman chants themselves.
  12.  

  13. As one joins together gold by means of borax, and silver by means of gold, and tin by means of silver, and lead by means of tin, and iron by means of lead, and wood by means of iron and by means of leather, so does one set right the injury done to the sacrifice by means of the essence of these worlds, these deities and the three Vedas. That sacrifice is well healed on which there is a Brahma priest who knows this.

    [Note: Brahma priest sits as observer, maintaining complete silence.]

 

XIII. v. 1

  1. Once upon a time the senses quarrelled among themselves as to who was superior, each saying: “I am superior, I am superior.”
  2.  

  3. They went to Prajapati, their father, and said: “Sir, who is the best of us?”

    He replied: “He by whose departure the body looks the worst – he is the best of you.”

  4.  

  5. Speech then departed and, having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?”

    They replied: “Like the dumb-not speaking, but breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then speech entered in.

  6.  

  7. The eye then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the blind – not seeing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, hearing with the ear and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the eye entered in.
  8.  

  9. The ear then departed, and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the deaf – not hearing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the ear entered in.
  10.  

  11. The mind then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like children – not thinking, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear. Thus we lived.” Then the mind entered in.
  12.  

  13. Now, when the breath was about to depart, tearing up the other senses, as a strong horse about to depart might tear up the pegs to which he is tethered, they gathered round him and said: “Sir, remain. You are the best of us, do not depart.”
  14.  

  15. Then speech said to him: “If I am the most prosperous, so are you the most prosperous.” The eye said to him: “If I am the firm basis, so are you the firm basis.” The ear said to him: “If I am success, so are you the success.” The mind said to him; “If I am the abode, so are you the abode.”
  16.  

  17. Hence these are not termed organs of speech or eyes or ears or minds. They are termed signs of life. For life itself becomes all these.

 

XIV. v. 3-10

  1. Svetaketu Aruneya went to an assembly of the Panchalas. There Pravahava Jaivali said to him: “Boy, has your father instructed you?”

    “Yes, Sir.”

  2.  

  3. “Do you know to what place men go from here?”

    “No, Sir.”

    “Do you know how they return again?”

    “No, Sir.”

    “Do you know where the path of the gods and that of the ancestral spirits diverge?”

    “No, Sir.”

  4.  

  5. “Do you know why the other world never becomes full?”

    “No, Sir.”

    “Do you know why in the fifth libation water is called a person?”

    “No, Sir.”

  6.  

  7. “Then why did you say you had been instructed? How could any one who did not know these things say he had been instructed?”
  8.  

  9. Distressed, the boy went to his father’s place and said to him: “Sir, you said you had instructed me without really instructing me. That fellow of the Rajanya caste asked me five questions and I could not answer even one of them.”

    He replied: “As you have told me these questions of his I do not know even one of them. If I had known any of them how could I not have told you?”

  10.  

  11. Then Gautama went over to the Rajah’s place, and when he arrived there the king showed him proper respect. In the morning he went to the audience hall and the king said to him: “Venerable Gautama, choose a boon out of the wealth that belongs to the world of men.” Then he replied: “Let the wealth that belongs to the world of men remain with you, O king. But the speech which you addressed to this boy – tell me that.” The king was perplexed.
  12.  

  13. “Stay with me for some time,” he commanded. Afterwards he said to him: “As to what you have told me, O Gautama, this knowledge has not reached any Brahmin before you. Therefore among all people this teaching belonged to the Kshatriya class only.”
  14.  

  15. Then he proceeded.

    “That world (heaven) is a sacrificial fire, the sun itself is the fuel, the rays the smoke, the day the flame, the moon the embers and the stars the sparks. In this fire of gods offer the oblation of faith. From this offering arise Soma, the king.

  16.  

  17. “Parjanya (god of rain), O Gautama, is the sacrificial fire. The air itself is its fuel, the cloud is the smoke, the lightning is the flame, the thunderbolt the embers and the thunders the sparks. In this fire the gods offer the oblation of Soma, the king. From this offering arises rain.
  18.  

  19. “The earth, O Gautama, is the sacrificial fire, the year is its fuel, space is the smoke, the night is the flame, the quarters the embers and the intermediate quarters the sparks. In this fire the gods offer the libation of rain. From this offering arises food.
  20.  

  21. “Man, O Gautama, is the sacrificial fire, speech is its fuel, breath is the smoke, the tongue is the flame, the eyes the embers and the ears the sparks. In this fire the gods offer the libation of food. From this offering arises seed.
  22.  

  23. “Woman, O Gautama, is the sacrificial fire. In this fire the gods offer the libation of seed. From this offering arises the foetus.
  24.  

  25. “It is for this reason that in the fifth oblation water comes to be called a person. The foetus enclosed in the womb lies inside for more or less nine or ten months, and then it is born.

    “When born, he lives whatever the length of his life may be. When he passes away, they carry him to the appointed place, to the fire from which indeed he came, from which he sprang.

  26.  

  27. “Those who know this and those who in the forest meditate with faith and austerity go to light, from light to day, from day to the bright half of the month, from the bright half of the month to those six months during which the sun moves northward, and from these months to the year, from the year to the sun, from the sun to the moon, and from the moon to the lightning. There is a person there – not human. He leads them on to Brahman. This is the path of the gods.
  28.  

  29. “But those who, living in a village, offer sacrifices and perform works of public utility and give alms – they pass into smoke, from smoke to night, from night to the dark half of the month, from the dark half of the month to the six months during which the sun moves southward, but they do not reach the year. From these months they go to the world of Pitris, from the world of Pitris into space, from space to the moon. That is Soma, the king. They become the food of the gods. The gods use them for their pleasure.
  30.  

  31. “Having dwelt there till the fruit of their good works is exhausted, they return again by the way by which they came – to space and from space into air. Having become air, he (the sacrificer) becomes smoke and having become smoke he becomes mist. Having become mist he becomes a cloud, and having become a cloud he drops down as rain. Then are they born as rice and barley, as herbs and trees, as sesamum and beans. From thence the release becomes extremely difficult. For whoever eats the food and begets the offspring – like unto him he becomes.
  32.  

  33. “Those whose conduct here has been good will quickly attain a good birth – the birth of a Brahmin, or a Kshatriya or a Vaisya. But those whose conduct here has been evil, will quickly attain an evil birth – the birth of a dog, or a hog or an outcaste.
  34.  

  35. “But on neither of these two ways are those small creatures which are continually revolving, those of whom it may be said, ‘Be born and die.’ Theirs is a third state.”

    That is why that world never becomes full. Therefore let a man take care of himself.

 

XV. v. 11-18

  1. Prachinasala Aupamanyava, Satyayajna Paulushi, Indradyumna Bhallaveya, Jana Sarkarakshya and Budila Asvatarasvi – these great householders, greatly learned in holy scriptures, once came together and held a discussion as to what is our Self and what is Brahman (the Supreme Reality).
  2.  

  3. They reflected among themselves: “Sirs, there is that Uddalaka Aruni, who knows at present this Universal Self. Well, let us go to him.” And so they went to him.
  4.  

  5. But he reflected in himself: “These great householders, greatly learned in Holy Scriptures, will question me and I shall not be able to tell them all. Therefore I shall direct them to another.”
  6.  

  7. He said to them: “Sirs, Asvapati Kaikeya knows at present the Universal Self. Well, let us go to him.” And so they went to him.
  8.  

  9. When they arrived, he had proper attentions paid to them severally. And rising the next morning he said: “In my kingdom there is no thief, no miser, no drunkard, no man without his sacrificial fire, no ignorant person, no adulterer and much less an adulteress. Sirs, I am going to perform a sacrifice, and as much wealth as I am going to give to each officiating priest I will give you. Please stay here, Sirs.”
  10.  

  11. Then they said: “The purpose for which a man comes – he should indeed state it. At present you know the Universal Self. Tell us about that.”
  12.  

  13. He then said to them: “Tomorrow I will give you an answer.” Therefore, the next morning they approached him with fuel in their hands. And he, without any preparatory rites, addressed them:
  14.  

  15. “Aupamanyava, on what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “Heaven only, venerable king,” he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self called Sutejas (brightly shining). But it is only the head of the Self.

  16.  

  17. Then he said to Satyayajna Paulush:

    “O Prachinayoga, on what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “The sun only, venerable king,” he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self called Visvarupa (manifold form). But it is only the eye of the Self.”

  18.  

  19. Then he said to Indradyumna Bhallaveya: “O Vaiyaghrapadya, on what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “Air only, venerable king”, he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self called Prithagvartman (having varied courses). But this is only the breath of the Self.”

  20.  

  21. Then he said to Jana Sarakarakshya: “On what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “Space only, venerable king”, he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self called Bahula (the full). But it is only the trunk of the Self.”

  22.  

  23. Then he said to Budila Asvatarasvi: “O Vaiyaghrapadya, on what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “Water only, venerable king”, he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self, called Rayi (wealth). But it is only the bladder of the Self.”

  24.  

  25. Then he said to Uddalaka Aruni; “O Gautama, on what do you meditate as the Self?”

    “The earth only, venerable king”, he replied.

    “The Self which you meditate on is the Universal Self called Pratishtha (firm support). But it is only the feet of the Self.”

  26.  

  27. Then he said to them all: “Verily, indeed, you eat your food, knowing this Universal Self as if it were many. But he who meditates on this Universal Self as extending from heaven to earth and as identical with himself – he eats food in all worlds, in all beings and in all selves.
  28.  

  29. “Of that Universal Self the bright (heaven) is the head; the manifold (sun) is the eye; the varying (wind) is the breath; the extended (space) is the trunk; the abundant (water) is the bladder; the supporting (earth) is the feet. The altar is his chest; the sacrificial grass is his hair; the Garhapatya fire is the heart; the Anvaharya fire is the mind and the Ahavaniya fire the mouth.”

 

XV. vi. 1-4

 

  1. Once there lived Svetaketu Aruneya. His father said to him: “Go and live the life of a religious student. For there is no one in our family, my boy, not having studied the Veda, is as it were a Brahmin by birth only.”
  2.  

  3. He then, having become a pupil at the age of twelve, returned when he was twenty-four years of age, having studied all the Vedas, greatly conceited, thinking himself well-read and arrogant.
  4.  

  5. His father then said to him: “Svetaketu, as you are so conceited, thinking yourself well-read and arrogant, have you ever asked, my boy, for that instruction by which we hear what cannot be heard, perceived what cannot be perceived and know what cannot be known?”

    “How can there be such instruction, Sir?”

  6.  

  7. “My boy, just as by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the difference being only a name arising from speech, while the truth is that it is just clay.
  8.  

  9. “My boy, just as by one nugget of gold all that is made of gold is known, the difference being only a name arising from speech, while the truth is that it is just gold.
  10.  

  11. “My boy, just as by one pair of nail-scissors all that is made of iron is known, the difference being only a name arising from speech, while the truth is that it is just iron”

    “Thus runs, my boy, that instruction.”

  12.  

  13. “Surely those venerable men did not know it. For if they had known it why should they not have told it to me? Do you, Sir, therefore tell me that.”
  14.  

  15. “Be it so, my boy. In the beginning, there was Being alone – One only without a second. Some people say that in the beginning there was non-being alone. One only without a second and that from that non-being Being was produced.
  16.  

  17. “But how indeed could it be thus, my boy?” said he. “How could Being be produced from non-being? No, my boy, in the beginning this was Being alone – One only without a second.
  18.  

  19. “It thought, may I be many, may I grow forth. It sent forth fire. The fire thought, may I be many, may I grow forth. It sent forth water. The water thought, may I be many; may I grow forth. It sent forth food.
  20.  

  21. “That Being thought, ‘Well, let me enter into these three divinities by means of this living self and let me develop names and forms. Let me make each one of the three threefold.’
  22.  

  23. “The Being thus entered into these three divinities by means of the living self and developed names and forms. It made each of these threefold.
  24.  

  25. “It was just this that the great householders and great students of sacred knowledge knew when they said of old: ‘No one can henceforth mention to us anything which we have not heard, anything which we have not perceived or anything which we have not known.’ For from these three they knew everything.
  26.  

  27. “They knew that whatever appeared red was of the form of fire. They knew that whatever appeared white was of the form of water. They knew that whatever appeared dark was of the form of food (earth). They knew that whatever appeared altogether unknown was a combination of these three divinities.”

Related articles
Creation

 

XVI. vi. 8-16

  1. Then Uddalaka Aruni said to his son Svetaketu: “Learn from me, my boy, the true nature of sleep. When a man here sleeps, as they say, then he has become united with pure Being, my boy, then he has gone to his own. Therefore they say Svapiti (he sleeps) because he has gone (apita) to his own (sva).
  2.  

  3. “As a bird tied by a string flies first in every direction and finding no resting place anywhere settles down at last at the place where it is bound, so also the mind after flying in various directions and finding no resting place anywhere settles down in the vital breath, for the mind, my boy, is bound to the vital breath.
  4.  

  5. “Now, learn from me, my boy, what hunger and thirst are. When a person here is hungry, as they say, water is leading away what he has eaten. As they speak of a leader of cows, a leader of horses or a leader of men, so they speak of water as the leader of food. Thus, my boy, understand that this body is a sprout, which has sprung up. It could not be without a root.
  6.  

  7. “And what else could be its root other than food? In the same manner, my boy, food itself being an off-shoot, seek for its root, namely, water; and water itself being an off-shoot, seek for its root, namely fire; and fire itself being an off-shoot, seek for its root, namely Being.

    “All these creatures, my boy, have their root in Being. They have Being as their abode, they have Being as their support.

  8.  

  9. “When a person here is thirsty, as they say, fire is leading away what he has drunk. As they speak of a leader of cows, a leader of horses or a leader of men, so they speak of fire as the leader of water. Thus, my boy, understand that this body is a sprout, which has sprung up. It could not be without a root.
  10.  

  11. “And what else could be its root other than water? Water itself being an offshoot, seek for its root, namely fire. And fire itself being an offshoot; seek for its root, namely Being.

    “All these creatures, my boy, have their root in Being. They have Being as their abode. They have Being as their support.

    “When a man departs from here, my boy, his speech merges in his mind, his mind in his breath, his breath in heat (fire) and heat in the highest Being.

  12.  

  13. “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my boy”, said he.

  14.  

  15. “As the bees make honey, my boy, by collecting the juices of different trees and reducing them to one form –

    “”Even so, my son, all these creatures, when they reach the Being, do not know that they have reached the Being.

  16.  

  17. “Whatsoever they are in this world – a tiger or a lion, a wolf or a bear, a worm or a fly, a gnat or a mosquito – that they become again and again.

    “That which is subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my son”, he said.

  18.  

  19. “These rivers flow, my son – the eastern towards the east, and western towards the west. They go from sea to sea; indeed they become the sea itself. And as these rivers, when they are in the sea, they do not know, ‘I am this river or that river’ –

    “In the same manner, my son, all these creatures, when they come back from pure Being, do not know that they have come back from pure Being.

  20.  

  21. “Whatsoever they are in this world – a tiger or a lion, a wolf or a bear, a worm or a fly, a gnat or a mosquito – which they become again and again.

    “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me further.”

    “Be it so, my son”, he said.

  22.  

  23. “If someone were to strike at the root of this mighty tree it would bleed but still live; if someone were to strike at the middle it would bleed but still live; if someone were to strike at the top, it would bleed but still live. Pervaded by its living self the tree stands firm, drinking its nourishment and rejoicing.
  24.  

  25. “But if its living self leaves (deserts) one of its branches, that branch withers; if it leaves a second branch that branch withers, if it leaves a third, that branch withers. If it leaves the whole, the whole tree withers.
  26.  

  27. “Even so, indeed, my son, understand this”, he said. “This body dies indeed, when the living self leaves it. But the living self does not die.

    “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. Thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my son”, he said.

  28.  

  29. “ Fetch me the fruit of that Nyagrodha tree.”

    “Here it is, Sir.”

    “Break it.”

    “It is broken, Sir.”

    “What do you see there?”

    “These extremely fine seeds, Sir.”

    “Break one of them.”

    “It is broken, Sir.”

    “What do you see there?”

    “Nothing at all, Sir.”

  30.  

  31. Then he said to him: “My son, that subtle essence which you do not perceive there – it is by that very essence that this great Nyagrodha tree stands. Believe it, my son. That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my son”, he said.

  32.  

  33. “Put this salt in water and come to me in the morning.”

    He did so, and then the father said to him: “Please take out the salt that you placed in the water last night.”

    Having looked for it he did not find it.

  34.  

  35. “Though it is dissolved, please taste the water from this end”, said the father. “How is it?”

    “It is salty.”

    “Taste it from the middle. How is it?”

    “It is salty.”

    “Taste it from the other end. How is it?”

    “It is salty.”

    “Throw it away and come to me.”

    He did so and said it was the same everywhere.

    Then he said to him: “Here also, my son, though you do not perceive pure Being, it is always there.

    “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. Thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please instruct me still further, Sir.”

    “So be it, my son”, he said.

  36.  

  37. “As one might lead a person away from the Gandharas, with his eyes bandaged, and abandon him in a place where there are no human beings –

    “And as that person would shout towards the east or the north or the south or the west; ‘I have been led here with my eyes bandaged’ –

  38.  

  39. “And as therefore if someone might release his bandage and say to him: ‘In that direction are the Gandharas, go in that direction’ –

    “And as, therefore, having been informed and being able to judge for himself, he would by asking his way from village to village arrive at last at Gandhara.

    “In exactly the same manner does a man who has found a teacher acquire true knowledge. For him there is only delay as long as he is not released from his body. Then he will attain perfection.

    “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my son,” he said.

  40.  

  41. “Around a sick man, my son, his relatives gather and ask: “Do you know me? Do you know me?”

    “So long as his voice is not merged in his mind, his mind in his breath and his breath in the warmth (of his body), and the warmth in the Highest Being, he knows them.

  42.  

  43. “But when his speech is merged in his mind, his mind in his breath, his breath in the warmth (of his body) and the warmth in the Highest Being then he does not know them.

    “That which is the subtle essence – the whole of this world has that as its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    “Please, Sir, instruct me still further.”

    “So be it, my son,” he said.

  44.  

  45. “They bring a man whom they have seized by the hand, saying, ‘He has stolen, he has committed a theft. Heat the hatchet for him.’

    “If he has really done it, then he makes himself a liar, and being given to untruth and covering himself with a lie, he takes hold of the heated hatchet – he is burnt and he is killed.

  46.  

  47. “But if he had not done the deed, he makes himself a true man, and, being given to truth, and covering himself with truth, he takes hold of the heated hatchet – he is not burnt and he is set free.

    “And as he is not burnt – the whole of this world has that for its soul. That is the Reality. That is the Self. And thou art That, O Svetaketu.”

    Then he understood it from him, yea, he understood it.

 

I. vii. 23-26

  1. Narada approached Sanatkumara and said: “Sir, teach me.”

    “Come and tell me what you know,” he replied, “and then I will teach you what is beyond that.”

  2.  

  3. “Sir, I know the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sama-Veda and Atharvan the fourth; and also the Itihasa-Purana as the fifth. I know the Veda of the Vedas (viz., grammar), the rules for the propitiation of the Pitris (ancestors), the science of numbers, the science of portents, the science of time, the science of logic, ethics and politics, the science of the gods, the science of scriptural studies, the science of the elemental science, the science of weapons, the science of the stars, the science of snake-charming and the fine arts – all these, Sir, I know,”
  4.  

  5. “But, Sir, with all these I am only a knower of words, not a knower of the Self. I have heard from holy men like you that he who knows the Self crosses over sorrow. I am in sorrow. Do, Sir, help me to cross over to the other side of sorrow.”
  6.  

  7. To him he then said: “Verily, whatever you have learned here is only a name.

    “That which is Infinite – that, indeed, is happiness. There is no happiness in anything that is finite. The Infinite alone is happiness. But this Infinite one must desire to understand.”

    “Sir, I desire to understand.”

    “Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else – that is the Infinite. But that in which one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else, is the finite. That which is Infinite, is alone immortal, and that which is finite is mortal.”

    “Sir, in what is that Infinite established?” (in what does the Infinite rest?)

    “In its own greatness or not even in its own greatness.”

  8.  

  9. “Here on earth people call cows and horses, elephants and gold, slaves and wives, fields and houses greatness. It is not thus that I speak,” he said, “for in that case one thing rests in another.
  10.  

  11. “The Infinite, indeed, is below. It is above. It is behind. It is in front. It is to the south, it is to the north. It is indeed all this.”

    Next follows the explanation of the Infinite as the Self or the ‘I’

    “(Atman). Atman alone is below. Atman is above. Atman is behind. Atman is in front. Atman is to the south. Atman is to the north. Atman alone is all this.

  12.  

  13. “Verily, he who sees this, who thinks this, who understands this – he loves the Self, he delights in the Self, he merges in the Self, he rejoices in the Self- he becomes a Self-ruler, he has unlimited freedom in all the worlds. But those who think differently from this have others for their rulers. They live in perishable worlds and have no freedom in all the worlds.
  14.  

  15. “Verily, for him alone, who sees thus, reflects thus and understands thus, Prana (life) springs from Atman (Self), aspiration from Atman, memory from Atman, space from Atman, water from Atman, appearance and disappearance from Atman, food from Atman, strength from Atman, understanding from Atman, contemplation from Atman, intelligence from Atman, will from Atman, mind from Atman, speech from Atman, name from Atman, hymns from Atman, rites from Atman. All this springs from Atman alone.”
  16.  

  17. “On this there is the following verse:

    ‘He who sees this does not see death, nor illness nor sorrow. He who sees this sees everything and obtains everything everywhere.

    ‘He is one (before creation); he becomes three; he becomes five; he becomes seven; he becomes nine. Then again he is said to be eleven, also a hundred and eleven and also a thousand and twenty.

    ‘When nourishment is pure, reflection and higher understanding are pure, memory becomes strong. When memory becomes strong, there is release from all the knots of the heart.’

    “Thus did the revered Sanatkumara show to Narada, after his impurities had been removed, the further shore of darkness. People call Sanatkumar as Skanda, yea, they call him Skanda.”

 

II. viii. 1-3

  1. Now, in this city of Brahman, there is a mansion (abode) in the shape of a small lotus flower; and within it there is a little space. Now, that which exists in that little space – one should seek that, one should desire to understand that.
  2.  

  3. “If they should say to him, “Now, with regard to that city of Brahman and the abode, the small lotus flower and the little space within it, what is there that should be sought and should be understood?”
  4.  

  5. He should reply: “As extensive as this cosmic space is that space within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars, and whatever there is of Him in this world and whatever is not – all that is contained within it.”
  6.  

  7. And if they should say to him, “If within that city of Brahman is contained all that exists – all beings and all desires, then what is left of it when old age overtakes it, or when it perishes?”
  8.  

  9. Then he should reply: “It does not age with the old age of the body; it is not killed with the killing of the body. It is the real city of Brahman. In it all desires are contained. It is the Self, which is free from sin, free from old age, free from death and grief, from hunger and thirst and whose desire is the real, whose will is the real. And as here on earth people obey orders and depend on the object to which they are attached – be it country or a piece of land –
  10.  

  11. “And as here on earth anything acquired by exertion perishes, even so perishes what is acquired in the next world by works of merit. Those who depart from here without having discovered the Self and those true desires – for them there is no freedom in all the worlds. But those who depart from here, having discovered the Self and those true desires – for them there is freedom in all the worlds.”
  12.  

  13. Thus he who desires the world of Pitris (ancestors) – by his mere will the Pitris come up to him, and having obtained the world of Pitris he is happy.
  14.  

  15. He who desires the world of food and drink – by his mere will food and drink arise for him; and having obtained the world of food and drink he is happy.
  16.  

  17. And he who desires the world of song and music, by his mere will, song and music come to him; and having obtained the world of song and music he is happy.

    And if he becomes desirous of the world of women, by his mere will, women arise. Possessed of that world of women he feels happy and exalted.

  18.  

  19. Whatever object he is attached to, whatever thing he desires- by his mere will it comes to him, and having obtained it he becomes happy.
  20.  

  21. But these same are the true desires that have a covering of what is false or untrue. Though the desires are true there is a covering that is false. Thus whosoever of one’s people departs from here – one cannot get him back to see here.
  22.  

  23. But those of his people, whether they are alive or dead and whatever else one desires but does not get, all that one finds by going there (into the Atman or the Self, the space in the heart); for here indeed are one’s true desires covered with what is false.
  24.  

  25. As people who do not know a field walk again and again over the treasure of gold hidden underneath and do not discover it, so do all creatures here, though they go daily into the Brahman-world, yet do not find it, for they are carried away by the untrue.
  26.  

  27. That Self abides in the heart, of which this is the etymological explanation. It is called ‘Hridayam’ from ‘Hridi-ayam’ (this one is in the heart).

    He who knows this goes day by day into the heavenly world.

  28.  

  29. Now that serene Being, rising out of this body and reaching the highest light, appears in his own form. That is the Self, he said. That is the Immortal, the Fearless. That is Brahman. And the name of that Brahman is the True (Satyam).
  30.  

  31. This name consists of three syllables- Sa-ti-yam (Sat-ti-yam). Sat signifies the immortal, ti signifies the mortal, and with yam one holds the two together. Because one holds with it the two together it is Yama. He who knows this goes day by day into the heavenly world.

 

III. viii. 4.

  1. The Self is a bank, a boundary that preserves these worlds. Day and night do not reach that bank – neither old age nor death, neither grief, nor good nor evil deeds. From it all evils turn back, for the world of Brahman is one where sin is vanquished.
  2.  

  3. Therefore, verily, a blind man reaching that bank is no longer blind, a wounded man is no longer wounded, a suffering man is no longer suffering. Therefore, verily, on reaching that bank, night appears even as day, for the world of Brahman is one of eternal light.
  4.  

  5. But only those who seek it through a life of the spirit (Brahmacharya) find this world of Brahman. For them there is freedom of movement in all the worlds.

 

IV. viii. 7-12

1. “The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst, whose desire is Reality, whose will is Truth – it is that which one has to seek, it is that which one has to know. He who has found out that Self and understands it – he obtains all worlds and all desires.”

Thus spoke Prajapati (lord of creatures).

2. The gods and the demons both heard this and said: “Let us seek that Self, by seeking which one obtains all worlds and all desires.”

Then Indra from among the gods and Virochana from among the demons went to him; and both of them, without communicating with each other, came into the presence of Prajapati, fuel in hand.

XX. viii. 7-12

1. “The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst, whose desire is Reality, whose will is Truth – it is that which one has to seek, it is that which one has to know. He who has found out that Self and understands it – he obtains all worlds and all desires.”

Thus spoke Prajapati (lord of creatures).

2. The gods and the demons both heard this and said: “Let us seek that Self, by seeking which one obtains all worlds and all desires.” Then Indra from among the gods and Virochana from among the demons went to him; and both of them, without communicating with each other, came into the presence of Prajapati, fuel in hand.

3. They dwelt with him as pupils for thirty-two years. Then Prajapati asked them: “For what purpose have you both dwelt here?” They replied: “Sir, people declare this to be your speech: - ‘The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from grief, free from hunger and thirst, whose desire is Reality, whose will is Truth – it is that which one has to seek, it is that which one has to know. He who has found that Self, and who understands it – he obtains all worlds, all desires.’ We have been living here desiring that Self.”

4. Then Prajapati said to them: “The person that is seen in the eye – that is the Self I spoke of, that is the Immortal, the Fearless. That is Brahman. “ “But, Sir, he who is perceived in the water and he who is perceived in a mirror – who is he?” “It is he himself that is perceived in all these,” he replied.

5. “Look at yourself in a pan of water, and whatever you do not understand of the Self, come and tell me.” They looked at themselves in a pan of water. “What do you see?” asked Prajapati. They replied: “Sir, we see ourselves as we are – an exact picture even to the very hairs and nails.

6. Then Prajapati said to them: “After you have adorned yourselves, put on your best clothes and tidied yourselves, look again into the pan of water.” They now adorned themselves, put on their best clothes, tidied themselves and looked into the pan of water. “What do you see?” asked Prajapati.

7. They replied: “Sir, just as we both are, well-adorned, well-dressed and tidy, so are both these also, well –adorned. Well-dressed and tidy.” “That is the Self, that is the Immortal, the Fearless. That is Brahman,” he said.

They both went away satisfied in their hearts.

8. And Prajapati, looking after them, said: “They both are going away without having perceived and without having known the Self. Whoever of the two, be they gods or demons, will follow this doctrine shall perish.”
Then Virochana, satisfied in his heart, went to the demons and preached that doctrine to them – that the self (the body) alone is to be worshipped, that the self (the body) alone is to be served and that he who worships that self and serves that self gains both the worlds – this world and the next

9. Therefore, even now they call man who does not give alms here, who has no faith and who offers no sacrifices, a demon, for this is the doctrine of the demons. They adorn the body of the deceased with perfume, flowers and fine clothes and ornaments and think that thereby they will win the other world.

10. But Indra, even before he returned to the gods, saw this difficulty: “Even as this self is well adorned when the body is well adorned, well dressed when the body is well dressed, well cleaned when the body is well cleaned, it will also be blind if the body is blind, lame, crippled if the body is crippled and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. I see no good in this.”

11. With fuel in hand he came again and Prajapati said to him: “O Maghavat, as you went away with Virochana, satisfied in your heart, what is your purpose in coming back?”
Indra replied: “Sir, even as this self is well adorned when the body is well adorned, well dressed when the body is well dressed, well cleaned when the body is well cleaned, it will also be blind if the body is blind, lame if the body is lame, crippled if the body is crippled and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. I see no good in this.

12. “So it is indeed, O Maghavat,” said Prajapati. “However, I will explain this further to you. Live with me another thirty-two years.” He then lived with him another thirty-two years.

13. Then Prajapati said to him: “He who moves about happy in a dream – he is the Self and he is the Immortal, the Fearless. He is Brahman.” Then Indra went away satisfied in his heart. But before he returned to the gods he saw this difficulty: “Even though the Self is not blind when the body is blind, nor lame when the body is lame, though he is not rendered defective by the defects of the body, nor slain when the body is slain, nor lamed when the body is lamed, yet it is as if they killed him, as if they chased him, he becomes even conscious as it were of pain, and even weeps as it were. I see no good in this.”

14. He came back again with fuel in hand. And Prajapati said to him: “O Maghavat, as you went away satisfied at heart, what is your purpose in coming back?” He replied: “Sir, even though the Self is not blind when the body is blind, nor lame when the body is lame, though he is not rendered defective by the defects of the body, nor slain when the body is slain nor lamed when the body is lamed, yet it is as if they killed him, as if they chased him. He becomes even conscious, as it were, of pain and even weeps as it were. I see no good in this.”
“So it is indeed, O Maghavat,” said Prajapati. “However, I will explain this further to you. Live with me another thirty-two years.” He lived with him another thirty-two years.

15. Then Prajapati said: “When a man is asleep, composed and at perfect rest and has no dreams – that is the Self, that is the Immortal, the Fearless.”
Indra went away, satisfied in his heart. But before he returned to the gods he saw this difficulty: “In truth this one does not know himself that ‘I am he’, nor does he know anything that exists. He is indeed gone to utter annihilation. I see no good in this.”

16. He came back again with fuel in hand. And Prajapati said to him: “O Maghavat, as you went away satisfied at heart, what is your purpose in coming back?” He replied: “Sir, in truth this one does not know himself that ‘I am he,’ nor does he know anything that exists. He is indeed gone to utter annihilation. I see no good in this.”

17. “So it is indeed, O Maghavat,” said Prajapati. “But I will explain this further to you and there is nothing else besides this. Live with me for another five years.” He lived with him for another five years. This made in all one hundred and one years, and so people say that Indra lived with Prajapati as his pupil for one hundred and one years.

18. Then Prajapati said to him: “O Maghavat, this body is indeed mortal, it is always held by death. But it is the support of the Self which is immortal and bodiless. The Self, when it is in the body, is subject to pleasure and pain. So long as he is in the body he cannot be free from pleasure and pain. But when he is bodiless, then neither pleasure nor pain touches him.

19. “Bodiless is air, and so are clouds, lightning and thunder – these are all bodiless. Now as these, when they arise from yonder space and reach the highest light, appear each in its own form – even so does that serene being, when he rises up from this body and reaches the highest light, appear in his own form. He is then the Highest Person. He moves about there, laughing, playing, rejoicing with women, chariots or relatives, never remembering the appendage of this body. Like an animal bound to a cart, so is the spirit bound to this body.

20. “Now when the eye is turned towards space, there is the seeing person, the eye is only the instrument for seeing. He who is cognisant of ‘Let me smell this,’ he is the Self, the nose is for smelling. He who is cognisant of ‘Let me utter this,’ he is the Self, the voice is for uttering. He who is cognisant of ‘Let me hear this,’ he is the Self, the ear is for hearing. He who is cognisant of ‘Let me think this’ he is the Self, the mind is his divine eye. He (the Self) rejoices, seeing these pleasures through his divine eye, namely the mind.

21. “The gods who are in the world of Brahma meditate on that Self. Therefore all worlds belong to them, and all desires. He who knows that Self and understands it obtains all worlds and all desires.”
Thus spoke Prajapati, yea, thus spoke Prajapati.

Gita Chapter 5

Upanishads in story and Dialogue
Stories and Episodes (13 &19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 ....)

Upanishads
(pages featuring extracts from Upanishads)

Chhandogya Upanishad
Wisdom versus Knowledge

Katha Upanishad
Preyas-Sreyas

Mandukya Upanishad
Consciousness- the three states

Mundaka Upanishad
Wisdom versus knowledge

Mundaka Upanishad
Creation
Svetasvatara Upanishad
Self-realisation

Hindu Scriptures

 

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