Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIRST ADHYĀYA - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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FIRST ADHYĀYA - Misc (Upanishads), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads 
The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, translated from the Sanskrit with an outline of the philosophy of the Upanishads and an annotated bibliography, by Robert Ernest Hume (Oxford University Press, 1921).
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The world as a sacrificial horse2
1.Om! Verily, the dawn is the head of the sacrificial horse; the sun, his eye; the wind, his breath; universal fire (Agni Vaiśvānara), his open mouth. The year is the body (ātman) of the sacrificial horse; the sky, his back; the atmosphere, his belly; the earth, the under part of his belly; the quarters, his flanks; the intermediate quarters, his ribs; the seasons, his limbs; the months and half-months, his joints; days and nights, his feet; the stars, his bones; the clouds, his flesh. Sand is the food in his stomach; rivers are his entrails. His liver and lungs are the mountains; plants and trees, his hair. The orient is his fore part; the occident, his hind part. When he yawns, then it lightens. When he shakes himself, then it thunders. When he urinates, then it rains. Voice, indeed, is his voice.
2. Verily, the day arose for the horse as the sacrificial vessel which stands before. Its place is the eastern sea.
Verily, the night arose for him as the sacrificial vessel which stands behind. Its place is the western sea. Verily, these two arose on both sides of the horse as the two sacrificial vessels.3
Becoming a steed, he carried the gods; a stallion, the Gandharvas; a courser, the demons; a horse, men.1 The sea, indeed, is his relative. The sea is his place.
The creation of the world, leading up to the institution of the horse-sacrifice
1. In the beginning nothing whatsoever was here. This [world] was covered over with death, with hunger—for hunger is death.
Then he made up his mind (manas): ‘Would that I had a self!’3
So he went on (acarat) praising (arcan). From him, while he was praising, water was produced. ‘Verily, while I was praising, I had pleasure (ka)!’ thought he. This, indeed, is the arka-nature of what pertains to brightness (arkya). Verily, there is pleasure for him who knows thus that arka-nature of what pertains to brightness.
2. The water, verily, was brightness.
That which was the froth of the water became solidified. That became the earth.
On it he [i.e. Death] tortured himself (√śram). When he had tortured himself and practised austerity, his heat (tejas) and essence (rasa) turned into fire.
3. He divided himself (ātmānam) threefold: [fire (agni) one third], the sun (āditya) one third, wind (vāyu) one third. He also is Life (prāṇa) divided threefold.
The eastern direction is his head. Yonder one and yonder one4 are the fore quarters. Likewise the western direction is his tail. Yonder one and yonder one5 are the hind quarters. South and north are the flanks. The sky is the back. The atmosphere is the belly. This [earth] is the chest. He stands firm in the waters. He who knows this, stands firm wherever he goes.
4. He desired: ‘Would that a second self of me were produced!’ He—death, hunger—by mind copulated with speech (vāc). That which was the semen, became the year. Previous to that there was no year. He bore him for a time as long as a year. After that long time he brought him forth. When he was born, Death opened his mouth on him. He cried ‘bhāṇ!’ That, indeed, became speech.
5. He bethought himself: ‘Verily, if I shall intend against him, I shall make the less food for myself.’ With that speech, with that self he brought forth this whole world, whatsoever exists here: the Hymns (ṛc) [i.e. the Rig-Veda], the Formulas (yajus) [i.e. the Yajur-Veda], the Chants (sāman) [i.e. the Sāma-Veda], meters, sacrifices, men, cattle.
Whatever he brought forth, that he began to eat. Verily, he eats (√ad) everything: that is the aditi-nature of Aditi (the Infinite). He who knows thus the aditi-nature of Aditi, becomes an eater of everything here; everything becomes food for him.
6. He desired: ‘Let me sacrifice further with a greater sacrifice (yajña)!’ He tortured himself. He practised austerity. When he had tortured himself and practised austerity, glory and vigor went forth. The glory and vigor, verily, are the vital breaths. So when the vital breaths departed, his body began to swell. His mind, indeed, was in his body (śarīra).
7. He desired: ‘Would that this [body] of mine were fit for sacrifice! Would that by it I had a self (ātmanvin)!’ Thereupon it became a horse (aśva), because it swelled (aśvat). ‘It has become fit for sacrifice (medhya)!’ thought he. Therefore the horse-sacrifice is called Aśva-medha. He, verily, knows the Aśva-medha, who knows it thus.
He kept him [i.e. the horse] in mind without confining him.1 After a year he sacrificed him for himself. [Other] animals he delivered over to the divinities. Therefore men sacrifice the victim which is consecrated to Prajāpati as though offered unto all the gods.
Verily, that [sun] which gives forth heat is the Aśva-medha. The year is its embodiment (ātman).
This [earthly] fire is the arka.1 The worlds are its embodiments. These are two, the arka sacrificial fire and the Aśvamedha sacrifice. Yet again they are one divinity, even Death. He [who knows this] wards off death again, death obtains him not, death becomes his body (ātman), he becomes one of these deities.
The superiority of breath among the bodily functions
1. The gods (deva) and the devils (asura) were the twofold offspring of Prajāpati. Of these the gods were the younger, the devils the older. They were struggling with each other for these worlds.
The gods said: ‘Come, let us overcome the devils at the sacrifice with the Udgītha.’2
2. They said to Speech: ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said Speech, and sang for them. Whatever pleasure there is in speech, that it sang for the gods; whatever good one speaks, that for itself.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon it and pierced it with evil. That evil was the improper thing that one speaks. That was the evil.
3. Then they [i.e. the gods] said to the In-breath (prāṇa): ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said the In-breath, and sang for them. Whatever pleasure there is in the in-breath, that it sang for the gods; whatever good one breathes in, that for itself.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon it and pierced it with evil. That evil was the improper thing that one speaks. That was the evil.
4. Then they [i.e. the gods] said to the Eye: ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said the Eye, and sang for them. Whatever pleasure there is in the eye, that it sang for the gods; whatever good one sees, that for itself.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon it and pierced it with evil. That evil was the improper thing that one sees. This, truly, was that evil.
5. Then they [i.e. the gods] said to the Ear: ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said the Ear, and sang for them. Whatever pleasure there is in the ear, that it sang for the gods; whatever good one hears, that for itself.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon it and pierced it with evil. That evil was the improper thing that one hears. This, truly, was that evil.
6. Then they [i.e. the gods] said to the Mind: ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said the Mind, and sang for them. Whatever pleasure there is in the mind, that it sang for the gods; whatever good one imagines, that for itself.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon him and pierced him with evil. That evil was the improper thing that one imagines. This, truly, was that evil.
And thus they let out upon these divinities with evil, they pierced them with evil.
7. Then they [i.e. the gods] said to this Breath in the mouth: ‘Sing for us the Udgītha.’
‘So be it,’ said this Breath, and sang for them.
They [i.e. the devils] knew: ‘Verily, by this singer they will overcome us.’ They rushed upon him and desired to pierce him with evil. As a clod of earth would be scattered by striking on a stone, even so they were scattered in all directions and perished. Therefore the gods increased, the demons became inferior. He increases with himself, a hateful enemy becomes inferior for him who knows this.
8. Then they said, ‘What, pray, has become of him who stuck to us thus?’ ‘This one here (ayam) is within the mouth (asya)!’ He is called Ayāsya Āṅgirasa, for he is the essence (rasa) of the limbs (aṅga).
9. Verily, that divinity is Dūr by name, for death is far (dūram) from it. From him who knows this, death is far.
10. Verily, that divinity having struck off the evil of these divinities, even death, made this go to where is the end of the quarters of heaven. There it set down their evils. Therefore one should not go to [foreign] people, one should not go to the end [of the earth], lest he fall in with evil, with death.
11. Verily, that divinity by striking off the evil, the death, of those divinities carried them beyond death.
12. Verily, it carried Speech over as the first. When that was freed from death, it became fire. This fire, when it has crossed beyond death, shines forth.
13. Likewise it carried Smell across. When that was freed from death, it became wind. This wind, when it has crossed beyond death, purifies.
14. Likewise it carried the Eye across. When that was freed from death, it became the sun. That sun, when it has crossed beyond death, glows.
15. Likewise it carried the Ear across. When that was freed from death, it became the quarters of heaven. These quarters of heaven have crossed beyond death.
16. Likewise it carried the Mind across. When that was freed from death, it became the moon. That moon, when it has crossed beyond death, shines.
Thus, verily, that divinity carries beyond death him who knows this.
17. Then it [i.e. breath] sang out food for itself, for whatever food is eaten is eaten by it. Hereon one is established.
18. Those gods said: ‘Of such extent, verily, is this universe as food. You have sung it into your own possession. Give us an after-share in this food.’
‘As such, verily, do ye enter into me.’
‘So be it.’ They entered into him from all sides. Therefore whatever food one eats by this breath, these are satisfied by it. Thus, verily, his people come to him, he becomes the supporter of his people, their chief, foremost leader, an eater of food, an overlord—he who knows this. And whoever among his people desires to be the equal of him who has this knowledge suffices not for his dependents. But whoever follows after him and whoever, following after him, desires to support his dependents, he truly suffices for his dependents.
19. He is Ayāsya Āṅgirasa, for he is the essence (rasa) of the limbs (aṅga). Verily, breath is the essence of the limbs, for verily breath is the essence of the limbs. Therefore from whatever limb the breath departs, that indeed dries up, for it is verily the essence of the limbs.
20. And also it is Bṛihaspati. The Bṛihatī1 is speech. He is her lord (pati), and is therefore Bṛihaspati.
21. And it is also Brahmaṇaspati. Prayer (brahman),2 verily, is speech. He is her lord (pati), and is therefore Brahmaṇaspati.
A glorification of the Chant as breath
22. And it is also the Sāma-Veda. The Chant (sāman), verily, is speech. It is sā (she) and ama (he). That is the origin of the word sāman.
Or because it is equal (sama) to a gnat, equal to a fly, equal to an elephant, equal to these three worlds, equal to this universe, therefore, indeed, it is the Sāma-Veda. He obtains intimate union with the Sāman, he wins its world who knows thus that Sāman.
23. And it is also the Udgītha. The breath verily is up (ut), for by breath this whole world is upheld (ut-tabdha). Song (gītha), verily, is speech; ut and gītha—that is Udgītha.
24. As also Brahmadatta Caikitāneya, while partaking of King [Soma], said: ‘Let this king cause this man’s3 head to fall off, if Ayāsya Āṅgirasa sang the Udgītha with any other means than that, for,’ said he, ‘only with speech and with breath did he sing the Udgītha.’
25. He who knows the property of that Sāman has that property. Its property, truly, is tone. Therefore let him who is about to perform the duties of an Ṛitvij priest desire a good tone in his voice. Being possessed of such a voice, let him perform the duties of the Ṛitvij priest. Therefore people desire to see at the sacrifice one who has a good tone, as being one who has a possession. He has a possession who knows thus the property of the Sāman.
26. He who knows the gold of that Sāman comes to have gold. The tone (svara), verily, is its gold. He comes to have gold who knows thus that gold of the Sāman.
27. He who knows the support of that Sāman is indeed supported. Voice, verily, is its support, for when supported on voice the breath sings. But some say it is supported on food.
Prayers to accompany an intelligent performance of the Chant
28. Now next, the praying of the purificatory formulas (pavamāna).—
The Prastotṛi priest (Praiser), verily, begins to praise with the Chant (sāman). When he begins to praise, then let [the sacrificer] mutter the following:—
When he says ‘From the unreal lead me to the real,’ the unreal, verily, is death, the real is immortality. ‘From death lead me to immortality. Make me immortal’—that is what he says.
‘From darkness lead me to light’—the darkness, verily, is death, the light is immortality. ‘From death lead me to immortality. Make me immortal’—that is what he says.
‘From death lead me to immortality’—there is nothing there that seems obscure.
Now whatever other verses there are of a hymn of praise (stotra), in them one may win food for himself by singing. And, therefore, in them he should choose a boon, whatever desire he may desire. That Udgātṛi priest who knows this—whatever desire he desires, either for himself or for the sacrificer, that he obtains by singing. This, indeed, is world-conquering. There is no prospect of his being without a world who knows thus this Sāman.
The creation of the manifold world from the unitary Soul
1. In the beginning this world was Soul (Ātman) alone in the form of a Person. Looking around, he saw nothing else than himself. He said first: ‘I am.’ Thence arose the name ‘I.’ Therefore even today, when one is addressed, he says first just ‘It is I’ and then speaks whatever name he has. Since before (pūrva) all this world he burned up (√uṣ) all evils, therefore he is a person (pur-uṣ-a). He who knows this, verily, burns up him who desires to be ahead of him.
2. He was afraid. Therefore one who is alone is afraid. This one then thought to himself: ‘Since there is nothing else than myself, of what am I afraid?’ Thereupon, verily, his fear departed, for of what should he have been afraid? Assuredly it is from a second that fear arises.
3. Verily, he had no delight. Therefore one alone has no delight. He desired a second. He was, indeed, as large as a woman and a man closely embraced. He caused that self to fall (√pat) into two pieces. Therefrom arose a husband (pati) and a wife (patnī). Therefore this [is true]: ‘Oneself (sva)1 is like a half-fragment,’ as Yājñavalkya used to say. Therefore this space is filled by a wife. He copulated with her. Therefrom human beings were produced.
4. And she then bethought herself: ‘How now does he copulate with me after he has produced me just from himself? Come, let me hide myself.’ She became a cow. He became a bull. With her he did indeed copulate. Then cattle were born. She became a mare, he a stallion. She became a female ass, he a male ass; with her he copulated, of a truth. Thence were born solid-hoofed animals. She became a she-goat, he a he-goat; she a ewe, he a ram. With her he did verily copulate. Therefrom were born goats and sheep. Thus, indeed, he created all, whatever pairs there are, even down to the ants.
5. He knew: ‘I, indeed, am this creation, for I emitted it all from myself.’ Thence arose creation. Verily, he who has this knowledge comes to be in that creation of his.
6. Then he rubbed thus.1 From his mouth as the fire-hole (yoni) and from his hands he created fire (agni). Both these [i.e. the hands and the mouth] are hairless on the inside, for the fire-hole (yoni) is hairless on the inside.
This that people say, ‘Worship this god! Worship that god!’—one god after another—this is his creation indeed! And he himself is all the gods.
Now, whatever is moist, that he created from semen, and that is Soma. This whole world, verily, is just food and the eater of food.
That was Brahma’s super-creation: namely, that he created the gods, his superiors; likewise, that, being mortal, he created the immortals. Therefore was it a super-creation. Verily, he who knows this comes to be in that super-creation of his.
7. Verily, at that time the world was undifferentiated. It became differentiated just by name and form, as the saying is: ‘He has such a name, such a form.’ Even today this world is differentiated just by name and form, as the saying is: ‘He has such a name, such a form.’
He entered in here, even to the fingernail-tips, as a razor would be hidden in a razor-case, or fire in a fire-holder.2 Him they see not, for [as seen] he is incomplete. When breathing, he becomes breath (prāṇa) by name; when speaking, voice; when seeing, the eye; when hearing, the ear; when thinking, the mind: these are merely the names of his acts. Whoever worships one or another of these—he knows not; for he is incomplete with one or another of these. One should worship with the thought that he is just one’s self (ātman), for therein all these become one. That same thing, namely, this self, is the trace (padanīya) of this All, for by it one knows this All. Just as, verily, one might find by a footprint (pada), thus—.1 He finds fame and praise who knows this.
8. That self is dearer than a son, is dearer than wealth, is dearer than all else, since this self is nearer.
If of one who speaks of anything else than the self as dear, one should say, ‘He will lose what he holds dear,’ he would indeed be likely to do so. One should reverence the self alone as dear. He who reverences the self alone as dear—what he holds dear, verily, is not perishable.
9. Here people say: ‘Since men think that by the knowledge of Brahma they become the All, what, pray, was it that Brahma knew whereby he became the All?’
10. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahma.
It knew only itself (ātmānam): ‘I am Brahma!’ Therefore it became the All. Whoever of the gods became awakened to this, he indeed became it; likewise in the case of seers (ṛṣi), likewise in the case of men. Seeing this, indeed, the seer Vāmadeva began:—
I was Manu and the Sun (Sūrya)!2
This is so now also. Whoever thus knows ‘I am Brahma!’ becomes this All; even the gods have not power to prevent his becoming thus, for he becomes their self (ātman).
So whoever worships another divinity [than his Self], thinking ‘He is one and I another,’ he knows not. He is like a sacrificial animal for the gods. Verily, indeed, as many animals would be of service to a man, even so each single person is of service to the gods. If even one animal is taken away, it is not pleasant. What, then, if many? Therefore it is not pleasing to those [gods] that men should know this.
11. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahma, one only. Being one, he was not developed. He created still further1 a superior form, the Kshatrahood, even those who are Kshatras (rulers)2 among the gods: Indra, Varuṇa, Soma, Rudra, Parjanya, Yama, Mṛityu, Īśāna. Therefore there is nothing higher than Kshatra. Therefore at the Rājasūya ceremony3 the Brahman sits below the Kshatriya. Upon Kshatrahood alone does he confer this honor. This same thing, namely Brahmanhood (brahma), is the source of Kshatrahood. Therefore, even if the king attains supremacy, he rests finally upon Brahmanhood as his own source. So whoever injures him [i.e. a Brahman] attacks his own source. He fares worse in proportion as he injures one who is better.
12. He was not yet developed. He created the Viś (the commonalty), those kinds of gods that are mentioned in numbers: the Vasus, the Rudras, the Ādityas, the Viśvadevas, the Maruts.
13. He was not yet developed. He created the Śūdra caste (varṇa), Pūshan.4 Verily, this [earth] is Pūshan, for the nourishes (√puṣ) everything that is.
14. He was not yet developed. He created still further a better form, Law (dharma). This is the power (kṣatra) of the Kshatriya class (kṣatra), viz. Law. Therefore there is nothing higher than Law. So a weak man controls a strong man by Law, just as if by a king. Verily, that which is Law is truth. Therefore they say of a man who speaks the truth, ‘He speaks the Law,’ or of a man who speaks the Law, ‘He speaks the truth.’ Verily, both these are the same thing.
15. So that Brahma [appeared as] Kshatra, Viś, and Śūdra. So among the gods Brahma appeared by means of Agni, among men as a Brahman, as a Kshatriya by means of the [divine] Kshatriya, as a Vaiśya by means of the [divine] Vaiśya, as a Śūdra by means of the [divine] Śūdra. Therefore people desire a place among the gods in Agni, among men in a Brahman, for by these two forms [pre-eminently] Brahma appeared.
Now whoever departs from this world [i.e. the world of the Ātman] without having recognized it as his own, to him it is of no service, because it is unknown, as the unrecited Vedas or any other undone deed [do not help a man].
Verily, even if one performs a great and holy work, but without knowing this, that work of his merely perishes in the end. One should worship the Self alone as his [true] world. The work of him who worships the Self alone as his world does not perish, for out of that very Self he creates whatsoever he desires.1
16. Now this Self, verily, is a world of all created things. In so far as a man makes offerings and sacrifices, he becomes the world of the gods. In so far as he learns [the Vedas], he becomes the world of the seers (ṛṣi). In so far as he offers libations to the fathers and desires offspring, he becomes the world of the fathers. In so far as he gives lodging and food to men, he becomes the world of men. In so far as he finds grass and water for animals, he becomes the world of animals. In so far as beasts and birds, even to the ants, find a living in his houses, he becomes their world. Verily, as one would desire security for his own world, so all creatures wish security for him who has this knowledge. This fact, verily, is known when it is thought out.
17. In the beginning this world was just the Self (Ātman), one only. He wished: ‘Would that I had a wife; then I would procreate. Would that I had wealth; then I would offer sacrifice.’ So great, indeed, is desire. Not even if one desired, would he get more than that. Therefore even today when one is lonely one wishes: ‘Would that I had a wife, then I would procreate. Would that I had wealth, then I would offer sacrifice.’ So far as he does not obtain any one of these, he thinks that he is, assuredly, incomplete. Now his completeness is as follows: his mind truly is his self (ātman); his voice is his wife; his breath is his offspring; his eye is his worldly wealth, for with his eye he finds; his ear is his heavenly [wealth], for with his ear he hears it; his body (ātman), indeed, is his work, for with his body he performs work.
The sacrifice is fivefold. The sacrificial animal is fivefold. A person is fivefold. This whole world, whatever there is, is fivefold. He obtains this whole world who knows this.
The threefold production of the world by Prajāpati as food for himself
Thus the verses.
2. ‘When the Father produced by intellect and austerity seven kinds of food’—truly by intellect and austerity the Father did produce them.
‘One of his [foods] was common to all.’ That of his which is common to all is the food that is eaten here. He who worships that, is not turned from evil, for it is mixed [i.e. common, not selected].
‘Of two he let the gods partake.’ They are the huta (fire-sacrifice) and the prahuta (offering). For this reason one sacrifices and offers to the gods. People also say that these two are the new-moon and the full-moon sacrifices. Therefore one should not offer sacrifice [merely] to secure a wish.
‘One he bestowed upon the animals’—that is milk, for at first both men and animals live upon milk. Therefore they either make a new-born babe lick butter or put it to the breast. Likewise they call a new-born calf ‘one that does not eat grass.’
‘On this [food] everything depends, both what breathes and what does not’—for upon milk everything depends, both what breathes and what does not. This that people say, ‘By offering with milk for a year one escapes the second death’—one should know that this is not so, since on the very day that he makes the offering he who knows escapes the second death, for he offers all his food to the gods.
‘How is it that these do not perish when they are being eaten all the time?’ Verily, the Person is imperishableness, for he produces this food again and again.
‘He who knows this imperishableness’—verily, a person is imperishableness, for by continuous meditation he produces this food as his work. Should he not do this, all the food would perish.
‘He eats food with his mouth (pratīka).’ The pratīka is the mouth. So he eats food with his mouth.
‘He goes to the gods, he lives on strength’—this is praise.
3. ‘Three he made for himself.’ Mind, speech, breath—these he made for himself.
People say: ‘My mind was elsewhere; I did not see. My mind was elsewhere; I did not hear. It is with the mind, truly, that one sees. It is with the mind that one hears. Desire, imagination, doubt, faith, lack of faith, steadfastness, lack of steadfastness, shame, meditation, fear—all this is truly mind.1 Therefore even if one is touched on his back, he discerns it with the mind.
Whatever sound there is, it is just speech. Verily, it comes to an end [as human speech]; verily, it does not [as the heavenly voice].
The in-breath, the out-breath, the diffused breath, the up-breath, the middle-breath—all this is just breath.
Verily, the self (ātman) consists of speech, mind, and breath.
4. These same are the three worlds. This [terrestrial] world is Speech. The middle [atmospheric] world is Mind. That [celestial] world is Breath.
5. These same are the three Vedas. The Rig-Veda is Speech. The Yajur-Veda is Mind. The Sāma-Veda is Breath.
6. The same are the gods, Manes, and men. The gods are Speech. The Manes are Mind. Men are Breath.
7. These same are father, mother, and offspring. The father is Mind. The mother is Speech. The offspring is Breath.
8. These same are what is known, what is to be known, and what is unknown.
Whatever is known is a form of Speech, for Speech is known. Speech, having become this, helps him [i. e. man].
9. Whatever is to be known is a form of Mind, for mind is to be known. Mind, having become this, helps him.
10. Whatever is unknown is a form of Breath, for Breath is unknown. Breath, having become this, helps him.
11. Of this Speech the earth is the body. Its light-form is this [terrestrial] fire. As far as Speech extends, so far extends the earth, so far this fire.
12. Likewise of that Mind the sky is the body. Its light-form is yon sun. As far as Mind extends, so far extends the sky, so far yon sun.
These two [the fire and the sun] entered sexual union. Therefrom was born Breath. He is Indra. He is without a rival. Verily, a second person is a rival. He who knows this has no rival.
13. Likewise of that Breath, water is the body. Its light-form is yon moon. As far as Breath extends, so far extends water, so far yon moon.
These are all alike, all infinite. Verily he who worships them as finite wins a finite world. Likewise he who worships them as infinite wins an infinite world.
One’s self identified with the sixteenfold Prajāpati
14. That Prajāpati is the year. He is composed of sixteen parts. His nights, truly, are fifteen parts. His sixteenth part is steadfast. He is increased and diminished by his nights alone. Having, on the new-moon night, entered with that sixteenth part into everything here that has breath, he is born thence on the following morning [as the new moon]. Therefore on that night one should not cut off the breath of any breathing thing, not even of a lizard, in honor of that divinity.
15. Verily, the person here who knows this, is himself that Prajāpati with the sixteen parts who is the year. The fifteen parts are his wealth. The sixteenth part is his self (ātman). In wealth alone [not in self] is one increased and diminished.
That which is the self (ātman) is a hub; wealth, a felly.1 Therefore even if one is overcome by the loss of everything, provided he himself lives, people say merely: ‘He has come off with the loss of a felly!’
The three worlds and how to win them
16. Now, there are of a truth three worlds—the world of men, the world of the fathers, and the world of the gods. This world of men is to be obtained by a son only, by no other means; the world of the fathers, by sacrifice; the world of the gods, by knowledge. The world of the gods is verily the best of worlds. Therefore they praise knowledge.
A father’s transmission to his son
17. Now next, the Transmission.2 —
When a man thinks he is about to depart, he says to his son: ‘Thou art holy knowledge. Thou art sacrifice. Thou art the world.’ The son replies: ‘I am holy knowledge. I am sacrifice. I am the world.’ Verily, whatever has been learned [from the Vedas], the sum of all this is expressed by the word ‘knowledge’ (brahma). Verily, whatever sacrifices have been made, the sum of them all is expressed by the word ‘sacrifice.’ Whatever worlds there are, they are all comprehended under the word ‘world.’ So great, verily, is this all.
‘Being thus the all, let him assist me from this world,’ thus [the father considers]. Therefore they call ‘world-procuring’ a son who has been instructed.1 Therefore they instruct him.
When one who has this knowledge departs from this world, he enters into his son with these vital breaths [i.e. faculties: Speech, Mind, and Breath]. Whatever wrong has been done by him, his son frees him from it all. Therefore he is called a son (putra).2 By his son a father stands firm in this world. Then into him [who has made over to his son his mortal breaths] enter those divine immortal breaths.
18. From the earth and from the fire the divine Speech enters him. Verily, that is the divine Speech whereby whatever one says comes to be.
19. Out of the sky and out of the sun the divine Mind enters him. Verily, that is the divine Mind whereby one becomes blissful and sorrows not.
20. Out of the water and out of the moon the divine Breath enters him. Verily, that is the divine Breath which, whether moving or not moving, is not perturbed, nor injured.
He who knows this becomes the Self of all beings. As is that divinity [i.e. Prajāpati], so is he. As all beings favor that divinity, so to him who knows this all beings show favor. Whatever sufferings creatures endure, these remain with them. Only good goes to him. Evil, verily, does not go to the gods.
Breath, the unfailing power in a person: like the unwearying world-breath, wind
21. Now next, a Consideration of the Activities.—
Prajāpati created the active functions (karma). They, when they had been created, strove with one another. ‘I am going to speak,’ the voice began. ‘I am going to see,’ said the eye. ‘I am going to hear,’ said the ear. So spake the other functions, each according to his function. Death, appearing as weariness, laid hold and took possession of them; and, taking possession of them, Death checked them. Therefore the voice becomes weary, the eye becomes weary, the ear becomes weary. But Death did not take possession of him who was the middle breath. They sought to know him. They said: ‘Verily, he is the best of us, since whether moving or not moving, he is not perturbed, nor perishes. Come, let us all become a form of him.’ Of him, indeed, they became a form. Therefore they are named ‘vital breaths’ after him. In whatever family there is a man who has this knowledge, they call that family after him. Whoever strives with one who knows this, dries up and finally dies.—So much with reference to the self.
22. Now with reference to the divinities.—
‘Verily, I am going to blaze,’ began the Fire. ‘I am going to give forth heat,’ said the Sun. ‘I am going to shine,’ said the Moon. So said the other divinities, each according to his divine nature. As Breath holds the central position among the vital breaths [or functions], so Wind among these divinities; for the other divinities have their decline, but not Wind. The Wind is that divinity which never goes to rest.
23. There is this verse on the subject:—
in truth, from Breath it rises, and in Breath it sets—
Verily, what those [functions] undertook of old, even that they accomplish today. Therefore one should practise but one activity. He should breathe in and breathe out, wishing, ‘May not the evil one, Death, get me.’ And the observance which he practises he should desire to fulfil to the end. Thereby he wins complete union with that divinity [i.e. Breath] and residence in the same world.
The entire actual world a threefold appearance of the unitary immortal Soul
1. Verily, this world is a triad—name, form, and work.
Of these, as regards names, that which is called Speech is their hymn of praise (uktha), for from it arise (ut-thā) all names. It is their Sāman (chant), for it is the same (sama) as all names. It is their prayer (brahman), for it supports (√bhar) all names.
2. Now of forms.—That which is called the Eye is their hymn of praise (uktha), for from it arise (ut-thā) all forms. It is their Sāman (chant), for it is the same (sama) as all forms. It is their prayer (brahman), for it supports (√bhar) all forms.
3. Now of works.—That which is called the Body (ātman) is their hymn of praise (uktha), for from it arise (ut-thā) all actions. It is their Sāman (chant), for it is the same (sama) as all works. It is their prayer (brahman), for it supports (√bhar) all works.
Although it is that triad, this Soul (Ātman) is one. Although it is one, it is that triad. That is the Immortal veiled by the real (satya). Life (prāṇa, ‘breath’) [a designation of the Ātman], verily, is the Immortal. Name and form are the real. By them this Life is veiled.
[1 ]This Brāhmaṇa occurs also as Śat. Br. 10. 6. 4.
[2 ]The Aśva-medha, ‘Horse-sacrifice,’ the most elaborate and important of the animal sacrifices in ancient India (described at length in Śat. Br. 13. 1-5), is interpreted, in this and the following Brāhmana, as of cosmic significance—a miniature reproduction of the world-order. In the liturgy for the Horse-sacrifice (contained in VS. 22-25) there is a similar apportionment of the parts of the animal to the various parts of the world. Compare also a similar elaborate cosmic correlation of the ox at AV. 9. 7.
[3 ]The vessels used to hold the libations at the Aśva-medha. Here they are symbolized cosmically by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
[1 ]Different names for, and aspects of, this cosmic carrier.
[2 ]This Brāhmaṇa is found also as a part of Śat. Br. 10. 6. 5.
[3 ]Or ‘a body,’ ātman-vin.
[4 ]Explained by Śaṅkara as northeast and southeast respectively.
[5 ]Explained by Śaṅkara as northwest and southwest respectively.
[1 ]Even as in the regular Aśva-medha the consecrated horse is allowed to range free for a year.
[1 ]That is, the fire in the Horse-sacrifice.
[2 ]The important Loud Chant in the ritual.
[1 ]Name of a meter used in the Rig-Veda. Here it signifies the Rig-Veda itself.
[2 ]Here referring particularly to the Yajur-Veda.
[3 ]That is, ‘my.’—Com.
[1 ]Less likely is Deussen’s interpretation: ‘Therefore is this [body] by itself (sva = sve = ātmani) like . . .’
[1 ]The adverb is here used deictically.
[2 ]Such is the traditional interpretation. If that is correct, the passage presents the earliest occurrence of a favorite simile of the later Vedānta; cf. for example, Śankara on the Brahma-Sūtras 3. 2. 6: ‘as fire is latent in firewood or in covered embers.’ But the meaning of viśvambhara is uncertain. Etymologically the word is a compound signifying ‘all-bearing.’ As such it is an unambiguous appellation of the earth at AV. 12. 1. 6. The only other occurrence of its adjectival use that is cited in BR. is AV. 2. 16. 5, where the commentator substantiates his rendering ‘fire’ by quoting the present passage. In both of these passages Whitney rejects the meaning ‘fire’ (AV Tr. p. 60-61), and in his criticism of Böhtlingk’s translation of this Upanishad (AJP. 11. 432) suggests that ‘viśvambhara may perhaps here mean some kind of insect, in accordance with its later use,’ and ‘since the point of comparison is the invisibility of the things encased’ proposes the translation ‘or as a viśvambhara in a viśvambhara-nest.’ But Professor Lanman adds to Whitney’s note on AV. 2. 16. 5 (AV. Tr. p. 60-61): ‘I think, nevertheless, that fire may be meant.’ The same simile recurs at Kaush. 4. 20.
[1 ]In the above translation evam (‘thus’) is regarded as the complete apodosis of the sentence whose protasis is introduced by yathā (‘just as’). This arrangement of clauses involves an ellipsis, which, is supplied in full, might be ‘Just as, verily, one might find [cattle, the commentator explains] by a footprint, thus one finds this All by its footprint, the self (ātman).’
[2 ]RV. 4. 26. 1 a.
[1 ]aty-asṛjata: ‘super-created.’
[2 ]kṣatra: abstractly, power or dominion; specifically, temporal power: used to designate the military and princely class, as contrasted with the priestly class of Brahmans. See page 98, note 2.
[3 ]The ceremonial anointing of a king.
[4 ]Another Vedic divinity.
[1 ]Cf. Chānd. 8. 2, where this thought is developed in detail.
[1 ]This and the two preceding sentences are quoted at Maitri 6. 30.
[1 ]In the analogy of a wheel.
[2 ]Another description of a dying father’s benediction and bestowal upon his son occurs at Kaush. 2. 15.
[1 ]The sense of this and the following paragraph seems to involve a play upon the double meaning of a word, a procedure characteristic of the Upanishads. The word lokya may here be translated ‘world-wise’ or ‘world-procuring.’ When properly instructed, a son is ‘world-wise’ in his own attainment of the world through knowledge. He is also ‘world-procuring’ for his father, in that he is able, through the discharge of appointed filial duties, to help the departed spirit of his father to attain a better world than would otherwise be possible.
[2 ]Cf. Mānava Dharma Śāstra 9.138. ‘Because a son delivers (trāyate) his father from the hell called Put, therefore he is called putra (son) [i.e. deliverer from hell].’