Front Page Titles (by Subject) SIXTH VALLĪ - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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SIXTH VALLĪ - 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-tree rooted in Brahma
This, verily, is That!
The great fear
Degrees of perception of the Soul (Ātman).
5. As in a mirror, so is it seen in the body (ātman);
As in a dream, so in the world of the fathers;
As if in water, so in the world of the Gandharvas (genii);
As if in light and shade, so in the world of Brahma.
The gradation up to the supersensible Person
6. The separate nature of the senses,
And that their arising and setting
Is of things that come into being apart [from himself],
The wise man recognizes, and sorrows not.
7. Higher than the senses (indriya) is the mind (manas);
Above the mind is the true being (sattva).
Over the true being is the Great Self [i. e. buddhi, intellect];
Above the Great is the Unmanifest (avyakta).
8. Higher than the Unmanifest, however, is the Person (Purusha),
All-pervading and without any mark (a-liṅga) whatever.
Knowing which, a man is liberated
And goes to immortality.
9. His form is not to be beheld.
No one soever sees Him with the eye.2
He is framed by the heart, by the thought, by the mind.
They who know That become immortal.3
The method of Yoga, suppressive of the lower activity
10. When cease the five
[Sense-]knowledges, together with the mind (manas),
And the intellect (buddhi) stirs not—
That, they say, is the highest course.1
11. This they consider as Yoga.2 —
The firm holding back of the senses.
Then one becomes undistracted.3
Yoga, truly, is the origin and the end.4
The Soul incomprehensible except as existent
12. Not by speech, not by mind,
Not by sight can He be apprehended.
How can He be comprehended
Otherwise than by one’s saying ‘He is’?5
13. He can indeed be comprehended by the thought ‘He is’ (asti)
And by [admitting] the real nature of both [his comprehensibility and his incomprehensibility].6
When he has been comprehended by the thought ‘He is’
His real nature manifests itself.
A renunciation of all desires and attachments the condition of immortality
14. When are liberated all
The desires that lodge in one’s heart,
Then a mortal becomes immortal!
Therein he reaches Brahma!7
15. When are cut all
The knots of the heart here on earth,
Then a mortal becomes immortal!
—Thus far is the instruction.
The passage of the soul from the body to immortality—or elsewhere
16. There are a hundred and one arteries of the heart.
One of these passes up to the crown of the head.
Going up by it, one goes to immortality.
The others are for departing in various directions.1
17. A Person of the measure of a thumb is the inner soul (antarātman),
Ever seated in the heart of creatures.
Him one should draw out from one’s own body
Like an arrow-shaft out from a reed, with firmness.
Him one should know as the Pure, the Immortal—
Yea, Him one should know as the Pure, the Immortal.
This teaching, the means of attaining Brahma and immortality
18. Then Nacrketas, having received this knowledge
Declared by Death, and the entire rule of Yoga,
Attained Brahma and became free from passion, free from death;
And so may any other who knows this in regard to the Soul (Ātman).
Recognition of the unity underlying the diversity of the world
Non-attachment of deeds on the person of a renouncer
The forbidding future for slayers of the Self
The all-surpassing, paradoxical world-being
4. Unmoving, the One (ekam) is swifter than the mind.
The sense-powers (deva) reached not It, speeding on before.
Past others running, This goes standing.
In It Mātariśvan places action.6
Characteristics of the world-ruler
8. He has environed. The bright, the bodiless, the scatheless,
The sinewless, the pure (śuddha), unpierced by evil (a-pāpa-viddha)!
Wise (kavi), intelligent (manīṣin), encompassing (paribhū), self-existent (svayambhū),
Appropriately he distributed objects (artha) through the eternal years.
Transcending, while involving, the antithesis of knowing
The inadequacy of any antithesis of being
Becoming and destruction a fundamental duality
A dying person’s prayer
16. O Nourisher (pūṣan), the sole Seer (ekarṣi), O Controller (yama), O Sun (sūrya), offspring of Prajāpati, spread forth thy rays! Gather thy brilliance (tejas)!5 What is thy fairest form—that of thee I see. He who is yonder, yonder Person (puruṣa)—I myself am he!
17. [My] breath (vāyu) to the immortal wind (anila)!1 This body then ends in ashes! Om!
General prayer of petition and adoration
18. O Agni, by a goodly path to prosperity (rai) lead us,
Thou god who knowest all the ways!
Keep far from us crooked-going sin (enas)!3
Most ample expression of adoration to thee would we render!4
[2 ]This same simile of the world as an eternal fig-tree growing out of Brahma is further elaborated in BhG. 15. 1-3.
[3 ]These last four lines = 5. 8. c-f.
[4 ]A very similar stanza is in Tait. 2. 8.
[1 ]The reading svargeṣu instead of sargeṣu would yield the more suitable meaning ‘in the heavenly worlds.’ At best, the stanza contradicts the general theory that perception of the Ātman produces release from reincarnation immediately after death. Consequently Śaṅkara supplies an ellipsis which changes the meaning entirely, and Max Muller hesitatingly inserts a ‘not’ in the first line. The present translation interprets the meaning that the degree of perception of the Ātman in the present world determines one’s reincarnate status.
[2 ]These two lines recur at Śvet. 4. 20 a, b.
[3 ]These two lines recur at Śvet. 3. 13 c, d and 4. 17 c, d.
[1 ]Quoted in Maitri 6. 30.
[2 ]Literally ‘yoking’; both a ‘yoking,’ i. e. subduing, of the senses; and also a ‘yoking,’ i. e. a ‘joining’ or ‘union,’ with the Supreme Spirit.
[3 ]apramatta, a technical Yoga term.
[4 ]Perhaps, of ‘the world’ of beings and experiences—here too, as in Mānḍ. 6, where the phrase occurs. That is ‘the world’ becomes created for the person when he emerges from the Yoga state, and passes away when he enters into it. Or perhaps the translation should be ‘an arising and a passing away’: i. e. is transitory—according to Śankara.
[5 ]The same thought of the incomprehensibility of the ultimate occurs at Kena 3 a, b, and Muṇḍ. 3. 1. 8 a, b.
[6 ]That is, both the affirmable, ‘He is’ and the absolutely non-affirmable ‘No! No!’ neti, neti of Bṛih. 2. 3. 6; both ‘being’ (sad) and ‘non-being’ (asad) of Muṇḍ. 2. 2. 1 d and Praśna 2. 5 d. Śankara interprets ‘both’ as referring to the ‘conditioned’ and the ‘unconditioned’ Brahma.
[7 ]This stanza is found also at Bṛih. 4. 4. 7 a.
[1 ]This stanza is found also at Chānd. 8. 6. 6. Cf. also Kaush. 4. 19 and Bṛih. 4. 2. 3.
[1 ]So called from its first word; or sometimes ‘Īśāvāsyam’ from its first two words; or sometimes the ‘Vājasaneyi-Saṁhitā Upanishad’ from the name of the recension of the White Yajur-Veda of which this Upanishad forms the final, the fortieth, chapter.
[2 ]Compare the persons called ‘devilish,’ āsura, at Chānd. 8. 8. 5. A variant reading here (accordant with a literalism interpreted in the following line) is a-sūrya, ‘sunless.’
[3 ]The word nāma here might mean ‘certainly’ instead of ‘called.’
[4 ]This idea is in sharp contrast with the doctrine of Kaṭha 2. 19 d (and BhG. 2. 19), where it is stated that ‘he [i.e. the Self] slays not, is not slain.’ The word ātma-han here, of course, is metaphorical, like ‘smother,’ ‘stifle,’ ‘completely suppress.’
[5 ]The whole stanza is a variation of Bṛih. 4. 4. 11.
[6 ]So Com. But apas may refer, cosmogonically, to ‘the [primeval] waters.’
[1 ]The very same ideas as in this stanza, though not all the same words, recur at BhG. 13. 15 a, b, d.
[2 ]This universal presence is claimed by Kṛishṇa for himself at BhG. 6. 30 a, b.
[3 ]The indefinite word tatas may mean ‘from these beings,’ or ‘from this Self,’ or ‘from this time on,’ or pregnantly all these.—The whole line recurs at Bṛih. 4. 4. 15 d; Kaṭha 4. 5 d, 4. 12 d.
[4 ]This stanza is identical with Bṛih. 4. 4. 10.
[5 ]The point here made is that both knowledge and lack of knowledge are inadequate for apprehending the Ultimate.
[6 ]A somewhat more concrete, and perhaps earlier, form of this stanza occurs as Kena 3 e-h.
[1 ]This stanza occurs again in Maitri 7. 9.
[2 ]The sun.
[3 ]For the petitioner (who calls himself ‘satya-dharma’) to see through; or ‘For Him whose law is Truth (or, true) to be seen,’ [as, e. g., for Savitṛi in RV. 10. 34. 8; 10. 139. 3; or the Unknown Creator, RV. 10. 121. 9; VS. 10. 103; or Agni, RV. 1. 12. 7]; or, ‘For that [neuter] which has the Real as its nature [or, essence; or, law] to be seen.’
[4 ]These lines occur with slight variations at Maitri 6. 35 and Bṛih. 5. 15. 1.
[5 ]According to this translation the idea is entirely honorific of the effulgence of the sun. Or, with a different grouping of words, the meaning might possibly be the petition: ‘Spread apart thy rays [that I may enter through the sun (as well as see through—according to the previous petition) into the Real; then] gather [thy rays together again, as normal]. The brilliance which is thy fairest form, . . .’ At best the passage is of obscure mystical significance.
[1 ]This formula recurs at Bṛih. 5. 15. The idea that at death the several parts of microcosmic man revert to the corresponding elements of the macrocosm is expressed several times in Sanskrit literature. With the specific mention here, compare ‘his spirit (ātman) to the wind (vāta)’ in the Cremation Hymn, RV. 10. 16. 3a; ‘with his breath (prāna) to wind (vāyu),’ Śat Br. 10. 3. 3. 8; ‘his breath (prāna) to wind (vāta), Bṛih. 3. 2. 13; and even of the sacrificial animal, ‘its breath (prāna) to wind (vāta), Ait. Br. 2. 6.
[2 ]Compare the statement in Chānd. 3. 14. 1, ‘Now, verily, a person consists of purpose (kratu-maya).’
[3 ]Other prayers for freedom from sin (enas, compare also āgas) are at RV. 1. 24. 9 d; 3. 7. 10 d; 7. 86. 3 a, 4 d; 7. 88. 6 c; 7. 89. 5 c, d; 7. 93. 7 c, d; 8. 67 (56). 17; 10. 35. 3 a, c; 10. 37. 12; AV. 6 97. 2 d; 6. 115. 1, 2, 3; 6. 116. 2, 3; 6. 117; 6. 118; 6. 119; 6. 120.
[4 ]This stanza is identical with RV. 1. 189. 1, and the second line also with AV. 4. 39. 10 b.