Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECOND ADHYĀYA - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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SECOND 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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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]!
[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.’