Front Page Titles (by Subject) AITAREYA UPANISHAD - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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AITAREYA UPANISHAD - 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 creation of the four worlds, of the cosmic person, and of cosmic powers by the primeval Self
1. In the beginning, Ātman (Self, Soul), verily, one only, was here1 —no other blinking thing whatever. He bethought himself: ‘Let me now create worlds.’
2. He created these worlds: water (ambhas), light-rays (marīci), death (mara), the waters (ap). Yon is the water, above the heaven; the heaven is its support. The light-rays are the atmosphere; death, the earth; what is underneath, the waters.
3. He bethought himself: ‘Here now are worlds. Let me now create world-guardians.’ Right (eva) from the waters he drew forth and shaped (√mūrch) a person.
4. Upon him he brooded (abhi + √tap).
When he had been brooded upon, his mouth was separated out, egg-like; from the mouth, speech (vāc); from speech, Agni (Fire).
Nostrils were separated out; from the nostrils, breath (prāṇa); from breath, Vāyu (Wind).
Eyes were separated out; from the eyes, sight (cakṣus); from sight, Āditya (the Sun).
Ears were separated out; from the ears, hearing (śrotra); from hearing, the quarters of heaven.
Skin was separated out; from the skin, hairs; from the hairs, plants and trees.
A heart was separated out; from the heart, mind (manas); from mind, the moon.
A navel was separated out; from the navel, the out-breath (apāna); from the out-breath, death (mṛtyu).
A virile member was separated out; from the virile member, semen; from the semen, water (ap).
The ingredience of the cosmic powers in the human person
1. These divinities, having been created, fell headlong in this great restless sea.1 He visited it with hunger and thirst.
They [i.e. the divinities] said to him: ‘Find out for us an abode wherein we may be established and may eat food.’
2. He led up a bull to them. They said: ‘Verily, this is not sufficient for us.’
He led up a horse to them. They said: ‘Verily, this is not sufficient for us.’
3. He led up a person to them. They said: ‘Oh! well done!’—Verily, a person is a thing well done.—
He said to them: ‘Enter into your respective abodes.’
4. Fire became speech, and entered the mouth.
Wind became breath, and entered the nostrils.
The sun became sight, and entered the eyes.
The quarters of heaven became hearing, and entered the ears.
Plants and trees became hairs, and entered the skin.
The moon became mind, and entered the heart.
Death became the out-breath (apāna), and entered the navel.
Waters became semen, and entered the virile member.
5. Hunger and thirst said to him [i.e. Ātman]: ‘For us two also2 find out [an abode].’
Unto the two he said: ‘I assign you two a part among these divinities. I make you two partakers among them.’ Therefore to whatever divinity an oblation is made, hunger and thirst become partakers in it.
The creation of food of fleeting material form, and the inability of various personal functions to obtain it
1. He bethought himself: ‘Here now are worlds and world-guardians. Let me create food for them.’
2. He brooded upon the waters. From them, when they had been brooded upon, a material form (mūrti) was produced. Verily, that material form which was produced—verily, that is food.
3. Having been created, it sought to flee away.
He sought to seize it with speech. He was not able to grasp it with speech. If indeed he had grasped it with speech, merely with uttering food one would have been satisfied.
4. He sought to grasp it with breath. He was not able to grasp it with breath. If indeed he had grasped it with breath, merely with breathing toward food one would have been satisfied.
5. He sought to grasp it with sight. He was not able to grasp it with sight. If indeed he had grasped it with sight, merely with seeing food one would have been satisfied.
6. He sought to grasp it with hearing. He was not able to grasp it with hearing. If indeed he had grasped it with hearing, merely with hearing food one would have been satisfied.
7. He sought to grasp it with the skin. He was not able to grasp it with the skin. If indeed he had grasped it with the skin, merely with touching food one would have been satisfied.
8. He sought to grasp it with the mind. He was not able to grasp it with the mind. If indeed he had grasped it with the mind, merely with thinking on food one would have been satisfied.
9. He sought to grasp it with the virile member. He was not able to grasp it with the virile member. If indeed he had grasped it with the virile member, merely with emitting food one would have been satisfied.
10. He sought to grasp it with the out-breath (apāna—the digestive breath). He consumed1 it. This grasper of food is what wind (vāyu) is. This one living on food (annāyu), verily, is what wind is.
The entrance of the Self into the body
11. He [i. e. Ātman] bethought himself: ‘How now could this thing exist without me?’
He bethought himself: ‘With which should I enter?’
He bethought himself: ‘If with speech there is uttered, if with breath (prāṇa) there is breathed, if with sight there is seen, if with hearing there is heard, if with the skin there is touched, if with the mind there is thought, if with the out-breath (apāna) there is breathed out, if with the virile member there is emitted, then who am I?’
He has three dwelling-places, three conditions of sleep. This is a dwelling-place. This is a dwelling-place. This is a dwelling-place.4
The mystic name of the sole self-existent Self
13. Having been born, he looked around on beings (bhūta), [thinking]: ‘Of what here would one desire to speak5 as another?’ He saw this very person as veriest (tatama) Brahma. ‘I have seen It (idam adarśa),’ said he (iti).
14. Therefore his name is Idaṁ-dra (‘It-seeing’). Idaṁ-dra, verily, is his name. Him who is Idaṁ-dra they call ‘Indra’ cryptically, for the gods are fond of the cryptic (parokṣa-priya), as it were1 —for the gods are fond of the cryptic, as it were.
A self’s three successive births
1. In a person (puruṣa), verily, this one2 becomes at first an embryo (garbha). That which is semen (retas), is the vigor (tejas) come together from all the limbs. In the self, indeed, one bears a self. When he pours this in a woman, then he begets it. This is one’s first birth.3
2. It comes into self-becoming (ātma-bhūya) with the woman, just as a limb of her own. Therefore it injures her not. She nourishes this self of his that has come to her.
3. She, being a nourisher, should be nourished. The woman bears him as an embryo. In the beginning, indeed, he nourishes the child [and] from birth onward. While1 he nourishes the child from birth onward, he thus nourishes his own self, for the continuation of these worlds; for thus are these worlds continued. This is one’s second birth.
4. This self of one is put in one’s place for pious deeds (puṇya karman). Then this other self of one, having done his work (kṛta-kṛtya), having reached his age, deceases. So, deceasing hence indeed, he is born again. This is one’s third birth. As to this it has been said by a seer:—
In embryo indeed thus lying (śayāna), Vāmadeva spoke in this wise.
6. So he, knowing this, having ascended aloft from this separation from the body (śarīra-bheda), obtained all desires in the heavenly world (svarga loka), and became immortal—yea, became [immortal]!
The pantheistic Self
1. [Question:] Who is this one?2
[Answer:] We worship him as the Self (Ātman).
[Question:] Which one3 is the Self?
[Answer:] [He] whereby one sees,4 or whereby one hears,5 or whereby one smells odors, or whereby one articulates speech, or whereby one discriminates the sweet and the unsweet;  that which is heart (hṛdaya) and mind (manas)—that is, consciousness (saṁjñāna), perception (ājñāna), discrimination (vijñāna), intelligence (prajñāna), wisdom (medhas), insight (dṛṣṭi), steadfastness (dhṛti), thought (mati), thoughtfulness (manīṣā), impulse (jūti), memory (smṛti), conception (saṁkalpa), purpose (kratu), life (asu), desire (kāma), will (vaśa).
All these indeed, are appellations of intelligence (prajñāna).
3. He is Brahma; he is Indra; he is Prajāpati; [he is] all these gods; and these five gross elements (mahā-bhūtāni), namely earth (pṛthivī), wind (vāyu), space (ākāśa), water (āpas), light (jyotīṁṣi); these things and those which are mingled of the fine (kṣudra), as it were; origins (bīja)1 of one sort and another: those born from an egg (aṇḍa-ja), and those born from a womb (jāru-ja), and those born from sweat (sveda-ja),2 and those born from a sprout (udbhij-ja); horses, cows, persons, elephants; whatever breathing thing there is here—whether moving or flying, and what is stationary.
All this is guided by intelligence, is based on intelligence. The world is guided by intelligence. The basis is intelligence. Brahma is intelligence.
4. So he [i. e. Vāmadeva], having ascended aloft from this world with that intelligent Self (Ātman), obtained all desires in yon heavenly world, and became immortal—yea, became [immortal]!
Thus (iti)! Om!
[1 ]Instead of meaning ‘here’ adverbially (as very frequently in the Brāhmaṇas and sometimes in the Upanishads), idam may be the neuter demonstrative with an ellipsis, thus: ‘Verily, this [universe] in the beginning was Ātman (Soul), one only, . . . .’ This sentence stands also at the beginning of Bṛih. 1. 4. 1.
[1 ]Skt. arṇava: etymologically ‘the moving,’ ‘the stirring,’ ‘the agitated’; specifically, simply ‘sea,’ as in Chānd. 8. 5. 3, 4.
[2 ]Reading api prajanīhi, instead of the (otherwise unquotable) compound abhiprajanīhi—according to Bohtlingk’s emendation in his translation, p. 166. This change brings the form of the question into uniformity with the similar question in § 1.
[1 ]āvayat, imperfect causative of √av; exactly like the annam āvayat, ‘he consumed food’ of RV. 10. 113. 8, and also like AV. 4. 6. 3; 5. 19. 2; VS. 21. 44; Śat. Br. 1. 6. 3. 5; 5. 5. 4. 6. Possible, but unparalleled, would be the derivation from ā + √vī, ‘he overtook.’ An etymologizing on vāyu.
[2 ]Probably accompanied with a deictic gesture.
[3 ]That is, the sagittal suture; or perhaps less specifically ‘the crown.’
[4 ]Śaṅkara explains that the right eye is the abode during the waking state, the inner mind (antar-manas) during dreaming sleep, the space of the heart (hṛdayākāśa) during profound sleep (suṣupti). He offers the alternative that the three abodes are ‘the body of one’s father,’ ‘the womb of one’s mother,’ and ‘one’s own body.’ Sāyaṇa and Ānandagiri understand the three abodes as ‘the right eye,’ ‘the throat,’ ‘the heart.’ With whatever significance, it would seem that the three demonstratives of the text must have been accompanied by explanatory pointings to certain parts of the body.
[5 ]Or, ‘What here would desire to speak of another?’ However, for this construction the neuter subject and the masculine object do not seem quite congruous. Or, ‘Why (or, how) here would one desire to speak of another?’ Or again, kim may be simply the interrogative particle: ‘Would one here desire to speak of another?’ In addition to these uncertainties of syntax, the form of the verb causes difficulty. Vāvadiṣat seems to contain unmistakable elements of the intensive and of the desiderative conjugations of √vad, ‘speak’; yet as it stands it is utterly anomalous. The Indian commentators furnish no help to a solution. BR. (vol. 6, column 650) proposes to emend to vāvadisyat, the future of the intensive. Bohtlingk, in his translation, pp. 169, 170, emends to vāva diśet, ‘(to see) whether anything here would point to another [than it].’ And in a note there he reports Delbrück’s conjecture, vivadiṣat, the participle of the desiderative, which would yield the translation: ‘What is there here desiring to speak of another?’ Deussen somehow finds a reflexive: ‘What wishes to explain itself here as one different [from me]?’
[1 ]This phrase occurs verbatim in Bṛih. 4. 2. 2; Ait. Br. 3. 33 end; 7. 30 end; and almost verbatim in Śat. Br. 6. 1. 1. 2, 11.
[2 ]That is, the Ātman, the subject of the entire previous part of this Upanishad. Or ayam may denote the indefinite ‘one,’ as probably in the last sentence of this paragraph.
[3 ]The words asya prathamaṁ janma may denote either ‘his (i. e. the Self’s) first birth’ or ‘a self’s first birth (as a particular individual).’ Either interpretation is possible according to pantheistic theory.
[1 ]Or perhaps ‘In that (yat) . . . .’
[2 ]Quoted from RV. 4. 27. 1. In the original Rig-Veda passage (as indeed in every other of the three occurrences of the same compound in the Rig-Veda, 1. 34. 2b, 1. 164. 18b, and 10. 17. 5a) the preposition anu seems to have served no more than to strengthen the force of the verb ‘know.’ As such, it is translated here by ‘well’ (in accordance with Grassmann’s Worterbuch, BR., and MW.) Yet it would be very possible—indeed, probable—that to the author of this Upanishad, who quotes the ancient passage as scriptural corroboration of his theory of various buths, that word anu conveyed a larger significance than it was originally intended to express. In accordance with its general meaning of ‘along toward’ he might understand it to intimate pregnantly that even from the embryonic stage the seer ‘fore-knew,’ anu-vid, all the births of the gods [of the various gods—be it noted—here applied to the successive births of the individual soul, ātman, from father to son]. As to such fine distinctions of meaning to be carefully observed in the prepositional compounds with verbs in the Upanishads, Professor Whitney (in his article on ‘The Upanishads and their Latest Translation’ in the American Journal of Philology, vol. 7, p. 15) has stated a noteworthy principle: ‘It may be laid down as a rule for the prose of the Brāhmaṇas and Upanishads that every prefix to a verb has its own distinctive value as modifying the verbal idea: if we cannot feel it, our comprehension of the sense is so far imperfect; if we cannot represent it, our translation is so far defective.’
[1 ]Reading adha, as in the Rig-Veda passage and in a variant of Śankara. But all editions of the text and of the commentators read adhaḥ, ‘down.’
[2 ]The interpretation of ayam here is doubtless the same as in the opening sentence of the previous Adhyāya. See note 2 on p. 298.
[3 ]That is, which one of the two selves previously mentioned? the primeval, universal Self? or the individual self?
[4 ]Roer and the Bombay editions have here, in addition, rūpam, ‘form.’
[5 ]Roer and the Bombay editions have here, in addition, śabdam, ‘sound.’
[1 ]Literally, ‘seeds.’
[2 ]This item may be a later addition to the other three, which are already similarly classified in Chānd. 6. 3. 1.