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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Conjectures concerning the First Cause
1. Discoursers on Brahma (brahma-vādin) say:—
What is the cause? Brahma?1 Whence are we born?
Whereby do we live? And on what are we established?
Overruled by whom, in pains and pleasures,
Do we live our various conditions, O ye theologians (brahmavid)?
2. Time (kāla), or inherent nature (sva-bhāva), or necessity (niyati), or chance (yadṛcchā),
Or the elements (bhūta), or a [female] womb (yoni), or a [male] person (puruṣa) are to be considered [as the cause];
Not a combination of these, because of the existence of the soul (ātman).
The soul certainly is impotent over the cause of pleasure and pain.
3. Those who have followed after meditation (dhyāna) and abstraction (yoga)
Saw the self-power (ātma-śakti) of God (deva), hidden in his own qualities (guṇa).
He is the One who rules over all these causes,
From ‘time’ to ‘the soul.’
The individual soul in manifold distress
4. We understand him [as a wheel] with one felly, with a triple2 tire,
Whose waves are the five vital breaths, whose original source is fivefold perception (buddhi),
With five whirlpools,8 an impetuous flood of fivefold misery,
Divided into five distresses,9 with five branches.
6. In this which vitalizes all things, which appears in all things, the Great—
In this Brahma-wheel the soul (haṁsa) flutters about,
Thinking that itself (ātmānam) and the Actuator are different.
When favored by Him, it attains immortality.
The saving knowledge of the one inclusive Brahma
7. This has been sung as the supreme Brahma.
In it there is a triad.10 It is the firm support, the Imperishable.
By knowing what is therein, Brahma-knowers
Become merged in Brahma, intent thereon, liberated from the womb [i. e. from rebirth].
8. That which is joined together as perishable and imperishable,
As manifest and unmanifest—the Lord (īśa, Potentate) supports it all.
Now, without the Lord the soul (ātman) is bound, because of being an enjoyer;
By knowing God (deva) one is released from all fetters.
9. There are two unborn ones: the knowing [Lord] and the unknowing [individual soul], the Omnipotent and the impotent.
She [i. e. Nature, Prakṛiti], too, is unborn, who is connected with the enjoyer and objects of enjoyment.
Now, the soul (ātman) is infinite, universal, inactive.
When one finds out this triad, that is Brahma.
10. What is perishable, is Primary Matter (pradhāna). What is immortal and imperishable, is Hara (the ‘Bearer,’ the soul).
Over both the perishable and the soul the One God (deva) rules,
By meditation upon Him, by union with Him, and by entering into His being
More and more, there is finally cessation from every illusion (māyā-nivṛtti).
11. By knowing God (deva) there is a falling off of all fetters;
With distresses destroyed, there is cessation of birth and death.
By meditating upon Him there is a third stage at the dissolution of the body,
Even universal lordship; being absolute (kevala), his desire is satisfied.
12. That Eternal should be known as present in the self (ātmasaṁstha).
Truly there is nothing higher than that to be known.
When one recognizes the enjoyer, the object of enjoyment, and the universal Actuator,
All has been said. This is the threefold Brahma.
Made manifest like latent fire, by the exercise of meditation
13. As the material form (mūrti) of fire when latent in its source [i.e. the fire-wood]
Is not perceived—and yet there is no evanishment of its subtile form (liṅga)—
But may be caught again by means of the drill in its source,
So, verily, both [the universal and the individual Brahma] are [to be found] in the body by the use of Om.
The all-pervading Soul
15. As oil in sesame seeds, as butter in cream,
As water in river-beds, and as fire in the friction-sticks,
So is the Soul (Ātman) apprehended in one’s own soul,
If one looks for Him with true austerity (tapas).
16. The Soul (Ātman), which pervades all things
As butter is contained in cream,
Which is rooted in self-knowledge and austerity—
This is Brahma, the highest mystic teaching (upaniṣad)!1
This is Brahma, the highest mystic teaching!
[1 ]The words kiṁ kāranam brahma might mean also ‘What is the cause? Is it Brahma?’ or ‘What is the cause? What is Brahma?’ or ‘Is the cause Brahma?’ or ‘Is Brahma the cause?’ or even ‘What sort of a cause is Brahma?’
[2 ]That is, consisting of the Three Qualities according to the Sānkhya philosophy (see Introduction, p. 8) sattvam, rajas, and tamas—pureness, passion, and darkness.
[3 ]That is, the five elements (bhūta), the five organs of perception (buddhīndriya) the five organs of action (karmendriya), and the mind (manas).
[4 ]The fifty conditions (bhāva) of the Sāṅkhya philosophy (cf. Sāṅkhya Kārikā 46).
[5 ]The ten senses (indriya) and their ten corresponding objects.
[1 ]That is, (1) eight producing causes of Prakṛiti, namely the five elements, mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and self-consciousness (ahaṁkāra); (2) eight constituents of the body (dhātu); (3) eight forms of superhuman power; (4) eight conditions (bhāva); (5) eight gods; (6) eight virtues.
[2 ]That is, desire.
[3 ]Namely religiousness (dharma), irreligiousness (a-dharma), and knowledge (jñāna).
[4 ]That is, the illusion of self-consciousness.
[5 ]Namely the consequences of good and of evil deeds.
[6 ]The five senses.
[7 ]The five elements.
[8 ]The five objects of sense.
[9 ]According to Śaṅkara’s reading. The traditional text has ‘divided fiftyfold.
[10 ]The world, the individual soul, and the cosmic Soul.
[1 ]Or ‘This is the highest mystic teaching concerning Brahma (brahmopaniṣad)!’