Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad | Part III

Part Three

The third part of Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad contains nine chapters and ninety-two verses in all; it describes, through the story of King Janaka, the means of acquiring Knowledge: first, appropriate gifts to the teacher, and next, association and discussion with scholars.

King Janaka in order to obtain knowledge offers a suitable prize to be awarded to the greatest knower of Brahman. Yājñyavalkya, who is an expert both in rituals and in the Knowledge of Brahman, claims the prize but is challenged by Aśvala, Janaka’s chief priest in the first chapter. Conversations of Yājñyavalkya with other great Rishis, Priests and philosophers continue throughout other chapters of Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad.


Part III

Chapter I , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chapter II , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Chapter III , verse ...  1 2

Chapter IV , verse ...  1 2

Chapter V , verse ...  1

Chapter VI , verse ...  1

Chapter VII , verse ...  1 2 3 4-14 15 16-23

Chapter VIII , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6-7 8 9 10 11 12

Chapter IX , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19-20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Next ... Part 4 ... Part 5 ... Part 6 ... Part 1 ... Part 2


Chapter I
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND AŚVALA

1

OM. Janaka, Emperor of Videha, performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed [among the priests]. Brāhmin scholars from [the countries of] Kuru and Pānchāla were assembled there.

Emperor Janaka of Videha wished to know which of these brāhmins was the most erudite Vedic scholar. So he confined a thousand cows in a pen and fastened on the horns of each ten pādas of gold.

2

He said to them: “Venerable brāhmins, let him among you who is the best Vedic scholar drive these cows home.”

None of the brāhmins dared.
Then Yājñyavalkya said to one of his pupils: “Dear Sāmśravā, drive these cows [home].”
He drove them away.

The brāhmins were furious and said: “How does he dare to call himself the best Vedic scholar among us?”

Now [among them] there was Aśvala, the hotri priest of Emperor Janaka of Videha.
He asked Yājñyavalkya: “Are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us, O Yājñyavalkya?”
He replied: “I bow to the best Vedic scholar, but I just wish to have these cows.”

Thereupon the hotri Aśvala determined to question him.

3

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “since everything here (i.e. connected with the sacrifice) is overtaken by death, since everything is overcome by death, by what means does the sacrificer free himself from the reach of death?”

Through the hotri priest and the organ of speech looked upon as fire. The sacrificer’s organ of speech is the hotri. This organ of speech is fire; this fire is the hotri; this [fire] is [the means to] liberation; this is complete liberation.”

4

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “since everything here is overtaken by day and night, since everything is overcome by day and night, by what means does the sacrificer free himself from the reach of day and night?”

“Through the adhvaryu priest and the eye looked upon as the sun. The sacrificer’s eye is the adhvaryu. This eye is the sun. This sun is the adhvaryu; this [sun] is [the means to] liberation; this is complete liberation.”

5

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “since everything here is overtaken by the bright and dark fortnights, since everything is overcome by the bright and dark fortnights, by what means does the sacrificer free himself from the reach of the bright and dark fortnights?”

Through the udgātri priest and the vital breath looked upon as the air. This vital breath is the udgātri. This vital breath is the air; this air is the udgātri; this [air] is [the means to] liberation; this is complete liberation.”

6

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “since the sky is, as it were, without a support, by means of what support does the sacrificer go to heaven?”

Through the Brahmā priest and the mind looked upon as the moon. The sacrificer’s mind is the Brahmā. The mind is the moon; this moon is the Brahmā; this [moon] is [the means to] liberation; this is complete liberation.”

So far about the ways of liberation; now about the meditation based upon resemblance.

7

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “how many [kinds of] Rig verses will the hotri priest use today in this sacrifice?”
Three kinds.”
And which are these three?”
The introductory, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic as the third.”
What does he (the sacrificer) win through them?”
All this that has life.”

8

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “how many [kinds of] oblations will the adhvaryu priest offer today in this sacrifice?”
Three.”
And which are these three?”

Those which, when offered, blaze upward;
those which, when offered, make a great noise;
and those which, when offered, sink down.”

What does he (the sacrificer) win through them?”

By those which, when offered, blaze upward, he wins the world of the gods;
for the world of the gods shines bright, as it were.
By those which, when offered, make a great noise, he wins the world of the Manes;
for this world of the Manes is excessively noisy.
By those which, when offered, sink down, he wins the world of men;
for the world of men is down below.”

9

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “with how many gods does the Brahmā priest [seated] on the right protect the sacrifice today?”
‘With one.”
‘Which is that one?”
The mind. The mind is indeed infinite, and infinite are the Viśve-devas. An infinite world he (the sacrificer) wins thereby.”

10

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “how many [kinds of] hymns of praise will the udgātri priest chant today in this sacrifice?”
“Three.”
“And which are these three?”
“The introductory, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic as the third.”
“Which are those that have reference to the body?”
The Prāṇa is the introductory hymn, the apāna is the sacrificial hymn, and the vyāna is the eulogistic hymn.”
What does he (the sacrificer) win through them?”
Through the introductory hymn he wins the earth,
through the sacrificial hymn he wins the sky,
and through the eulogistic hymn he wins heaven.”

Thereupon the priest Aśvala held his peace.

Chapter II
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND ĀRTABHĀGA

1

Then Ārtabhāga, of the line of Jaratkāru, questioned him:

“Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “how many grahas (organs) are there, and how many atigrahas (objects)?”
“Eight grahas,” he replied, “and eight atigrahas.”

And which are these eight grahas and eight atigrahas?”

2

The Prāṇa (the nose), indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the apāna (odour), the atigraha; for one smells odours through apāna (the air breathed in).

3

The vāk (the organ of speech), indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, name; for one utters names through the organ of speech.

4

The tongue, indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, taste; for one knows tastes by the tongue.

5

The eye, indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, colour; for one sees colours through the eye.

6

The ear, indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, sound; for one hears sounds with the ear.

7

The mind, indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, desire; for through the mind one cherishes desires.

8

The hands, indeed, are the graha; they are controlled by the atigraha, work; for one performs work by means of the hands.

9

The skin, indeed, is the graha; it is controlled by the atigraha, touch; for one feels touch through the skin. These are the eight grahas and eight atigrahas.”

10

Yajnava1kya,” said he, “since all this is the food of death, who, pray, is that god to whom death is the food?”

“Fire, indeed, is death; it is the food of water. [One who knows this] conquers further death.”

11

Yājñyavalkya,“ said he, “when this [liberated] person dies, do his organs depart from him or not?”

“No,” replied Yājñyavalkya, “they merge in him only. The body swells, is inflated, and in that state the dead [body] lies at rest.”

12

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “when such a man dies, what is it that does not leave him?”

“The name. For the name is infinite, and infinite are the Viśve-devas. He [who knows this] wins thereby an infinite world.”

13

Yājñyavalkya,” said he, “when the vocal organ of this dead person merges in fire,
the nose in air, the eye in the sun, the mind in the moon,
the ear in the quarters, the body in the earth,
 the ākāśa (space) in the heart in the external ākāśa,
the hair on the body in the herbs, the hair on the head in the trees,
and the blood and semen are deposited in water,
where is that person then?”

Yājñyavalkya said: “Give me your hand, dear Ārtabhāga.
We shall decide this between ourselves; we cannot do it in a crowd.”

Then they went out and deliberated,
and what they talked about was karma (work), and what they praised was karma:

one becomes good through good karma and evil through evil karma.

Thereupon Ārtabhāga, of the line of Jaratkāru, held his peace.

Chapter III
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND BHUJYU

1

Next Bhujyu, The grandson of Lahya, questioned him.

Yājñyavalkya,” said he,
“we were travelling in [the country of] Madra as [religious] students,
when we came to the house of Patanchala, of the line of Kapi.
His daughter was possessed by a gandharva.
We asked him (the gandharva): ‘Who are you?’
He said: ‘I am Sudhanvan, of the line of Angiras.’

While asking him about the limits of the world, we said:
‘Where were the descendants of Parikshit?’

And likewise I ask you, Yājñyavalkya, where were the descendants of Parikshit?
[Tell me,] where were the descendants of Parikshit?”

2

Yājñyavalkya said: “The gandharva, I suppose, told you that
they went where those who perform the Horse-sacrifice go.”

And where do they go who have performed the Horse-sacrifice?”

Thirty-two times the space traversed by the sun’s chariot in a day makes this plane (loka);
around it, covering twice the area, is the world (prithivi);
around the world, covering twice the area, is the ocean.
Now, as is the edge of a razor or the wing of a fly, so is there just that much space
[between the two halves of the cosmic shell. Through that opening they go out].

Fire, in the form of a falcon, delivered them to Vāyu.
Vāyu, placing them in itself,
took them where [previous] performers of the Horse-sacrifice were.”

Thus did the gandharva praise Vāyu.
Therefore Vāyu alone is the aggregate of all individuals.
He who knows this, as stated above, conquers further death.

Thereupon Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, held his peace.

Chapter IV
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND USHASTA

1

Then Ushasta, the son of Chakra, questioned him. “Yājñyavalkya,” said he,
“explain to me the Brahman that is immediately and directly perceived—the self that is within all.”

“This is your Self that is within all.”

Which [self] is within all, Yājñyavalkya?”

That which breathes through the Prāṇa is your self that is within all.
That which moves downward through the apāna is your self that is within all.
That which pervades through the vyāna is your self that is within all.
That which goes out with the udāna is your self that is within all.

This is your self that is within all.”

2

Ushasta, the son of Chakra, said:
“You have explained it as one might say: ‘Such is a cow,’ ‘Such is a horse.’
Tell me precisely the Brahman that is immediate and directly—the self that is within all.”

This is your self that is within all.”

Which is within all, Yājñyavalkya?”

“You cannot see the seer of seeing; you cannot hear the hearer of hearing;
you cannot think of the thinker of thinking; you cannot know the knower of knowing.
This is your self that is within all; everything else but this is perishable.”

Thereupon Ushasta, the son o£ Chakra, held his peace.

Chapter V
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND KAHOLA

1

Next Kahola, the son of Kushitaka, questioned him. Yājñyavalkya,” said he,
“explain to me the Brahman that is directly and immediately perceived—the self that is within all.“

This is your Self that is within all.”

Which [self] is within all, Yājñyavalkya?”

It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, grief, delusion, old age, and death.

Having realized this Self, brāhmins give up the desire for sons,
the desire for wealth, and the desire for the worlds,
and lead the life of [religious] mendicants.

That which is the desire for sons is the desire for wealth,
and that which is the desire for wealth is the desire for the worlds;
for both these are but desires.

Therefore a brāhmin, after he is done with scholarship,
should try to live on that strength which comes of scholarship.
After he is done with that strength and scholarship, he becomes meditative,
and after he is done with both meditativeness and non-meditativeness,
he becomes a knower of Brahman.

How does the knower of Brahman behave?
Howsoever he may behave, he is such indeed.
Everything else but this is perishable.”

Thereupon Kahola, the son of Kushitaka, held his peace.

Chapter VI
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND GĀRGĪ (I)

1

Then Gārgī, the daughter of Vachaknu, questioned him: ”Yājñyavalkya,” said she,

“if all this is pervaded by water, by what, pray, is water pervaded?”
”By air, O Gārgī.”
”By what, pray, is air pervaded?”
”By the sky, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the sky pervaded?”
”By the world of the gandharvas, O Gārgī.”
By what is the world of the gandharvas pervaded?”
”By the world of the sun, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the world of the sun pervaded?”
”By the world of the moon, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the world of the moon pervaded?”
”By the world of the stars, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the world of the stars pervaded?”
”By the world of the gods, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the world of the gods pervaded?”
”By the world of Indra, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the world of Indra pervaded?”
”By the World of Virāj, O Gārgī.”
”By what is the World of Virāj pervaded?”
”By the World of Hiraṇyagarbha, O Gārgī.”

”By what, pray, is the World of Hiraṇyagarbha pervaded?”

”Do not, O Gārgī,” said he, “question too much, lest your head should fall off.
You are questioning too much about a deity about whom we should not ask too much.
Do not ask too much, O Gārgī.”

Thereupon Gārgī, the daughter of Vachaknu, held her peace.

Chapter VII
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND UDDĀLAKA

1

Then Uddālaka, the son of Aruna, questioned him: Yājñyavalkya,” said he,

“in [the country of] Madra we lived in the house of Patanchala, of the line of Kapi,
studying the scriptures on the sacrifices.
His wife was possessed by a gandharva.
We asked him (the gandharva): Who are you?’
He said: ‘I am Kabandha, the son of Atharvan.’

He said to Patanchala Kāpya and those studying the scriptures on the sacrifices:
‘O descendant of Kapi, do you know that Sutra
by which this world, the other world, and all beings are held together?’
Patanchala Kāpya said: ‘I do not know it, venerable Sir.’

[Then] he (the gandharva) said to Patanchala Kāpya
and those studying the scriptures on the sacrifices:
‘O descendant of Kapi, do you know that Inner Controller
who controls this world, the next world, and all beings?’
Patanchala Kāpya said: ‘I do not know him, venerable Sir.’

[Then] he (the gandharva) said to Patanchala Kāpya
and those studying the scriptures on the sacrifices:

‘O descendant of Kapi, he who knows that Sutra and that Inner Controller indeed knows Brahman;
he knows the worlds, he knows the gods, he knows the Vedas,
he knows the beings, he knows the self, he knows everything.’
He (the gandharva) explained it all to them, and I know it.

If you, Yājñyavalkya, do not know that Sutra and that Inner Controller,
and still take away the cows that belong only to the knowers of Brahman,
your head will fall off.”

I know, O Gautama, that Sutra and that Inner Controller.”

Anyone might say: ‘I know, I know.’ Tell us what you know.”

2

Yājñyavalkya said:

“Vāyu, O Gautama, is that Sutra. By Vāyu, as by a thread, O Gautama,
are this world, the other world, and all beings held together.

Therefore, O Gautama, they say of a person who dies that his limbs have been loosened;
for they are held together by Vāyu as by a thread.”

Quite so, Yājñyavalkya. Now describe the Inner Controller.”

3

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “He who inhabits the earth, yet is within the earth, whom the earth does not know, whose body the earth is, and who controls the earth from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

4-14

He who inhabits water, yet is within water, whom water does not know, whose body water is, and who controls water from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits fire, yet is within fire, whom fire does not know, whose body fire is, and who controls fire from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the sky, yet is within the sky, whom the sky does not know, whose body the sky is, and who controls the sky from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the air, yet is within the air, whom the air does not know, whose body the air is, and who controls the air from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits heaven, yet is within heaven, whom heaven does not know, whose body heaven is, and who controls heaven from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the sun, yet is within the sun, whom the sun does not know, whose body the sun is, and who controls the sun from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the quarters [of space], yet is within them, whom the quarters do not know, whose body the quarters are, and who controls the quarters from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the moon and stars, yet is within the moon and stars, whom the moon and stars do not know, whose body the moon and stars are, and who controls the moon and stars from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the ākāśa, yet is within the ākāśa, whom the ākāśa does not know, whose body the ākāśa is, and who controls the ākāśa from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits darkness, yet is within darkness, whom darkness does not know, whose body darkness is, and who controls darkness from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits light, yet is within light, whom light does not know, whose body light is, and who controls light from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.”

This much with reference to the gods (adhidaivatam). Now with reference to beings (adhibhutam):

15

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “He who inhabits all beings, yet is within all beings, whom no beings know, whose body all beings are, and who controls all beings from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.”

This much with reference to the beings. Now with reference to the body.

16-23

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “He who inhabits the nose (Prāṇa), yet is within the nose, whom the nose does not know, whose body the nose is, and who controls the nose from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits [the organ of] speech, yet is within speech, whom speech does not know, whose body speech is, and who controls speech from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the eye, yet is within the eye, whom the eye does not know, whose body the eye is, and who controls the eye from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the ear, yet is within the ear, whom the ear does not know, whose body the ear is, and who controls the ear from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the mind, yet is within the mind, whom the mind does not know, whose body the mind is, and who controls the mind from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the skin, yet is within the skin, whom the skin does not know, whose body the skin is, and who controls the skin from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the intellect (vijnāna), yet is within the intellect, whom the intellect does not know, whose body the intellect is, and who controls the intellect from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He who inhabits the organ of generation, yet is within the organ, whom the organ does not know, whose body the organ is, and who controls the organ from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.

He is never seen, but is the Seer; He is never heard, but is the Hearer;
He is never thought of, but is the Thinker; He is never known, but is the Knower.
There is no other seer than He, there is no other hearer than He,
there is no other thinker than He, there is no other knower than He.

He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.
Everything else but Him is perishable.”

Thereupon Uddālaka, the son of Aruṇa, held his peace.

Chapter VIII
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND GĀRGĪ (II)

1

Then the daughter of Vachaknu said:
“Venerable brāhmins, I shall ask him two questions.
If he answers me these, then none of you can defeat him in discussing Brahman.”

[The brāhmins said:] “Ask, O Gārgī.”

2

Gārgī said: “O Yājñyavalkya, I [shall ask] you [two questions]:

As a man of Kāśī or the King of Videha, scion of a heroic line, might string his unstrung bow, take in his hand two bamboo-tipped arrows highly painful to enemies, and approach [his enemies] closely, even so, O Yājñyavalkya, do I confront you with two questions. Answer me these.”

Ask, O Gārgī.”

3

She said: “O Yājñyavalkya, what pervades that [Sutra] which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as [what is] between them, and which—they say—was, is, and will be?”

4

He said: “That, O Gārgī, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as [what is] between them, and which—they say—was, is, and will be,

is pervaded by the [unmanifested] ākāśa.”

5

She said: “I bow to you, O Yājñyavalkya.
You have fully answered this question of mine.
Now brace yourself for the other.”

Ask, O Gārgī.”

6-7

She said: “Yājñyavalkya, what pervades that [Sutra] which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as [what is] between them, and which—they say—was, is, and will be?”

He said: “That, O Gārgī, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as [what is] between them, and which—they say—was, is, and will be, is pervaded by the [unmanifested] ākāśa.”

What pervades the ākāśa?”

8

He said: “That, O Gārgī, the knowers of Brahman call the Imperishable.

It is neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor long, neither red nor moist;
It is neither shadow nor darkness, neither air nor ākāśa; It is unattached;
It is without taste or smell, without eyes or ears, without tongue or mind;
It is non-effulgent, without vital breath or mouth,
without measure, and without exterior or interior.
It does not eat anything, nor is It eaten by anyone.

9

Verily, under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gārgī,
the sun and moon are held in their respective positions.
Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gārgī,
heaven and earth are held in their respective positions.
Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gārgī,
moments, muhurtas, days and nights, fortnights, months, seasons, and years
are held in their respective positions.
Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gārgī,
some rivers flow eastward from the white mountains,
others flowing westward continue in that direction,
and still others keep to their respective courses.
Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gārgī,
men praise those who give, the gods depend upon the sacrificer,
and the Manes upon the Darvi offering.

10

Whosoever in this world, O Gārgī, without knowing this Imperishable,

offers oblations, performs sacrifices, and practises austerities, even for many thousands of years, finds all such acts but perishable.

Whosoever, O Gārgī, departs from this world without knowing this Imperishable is miserable.

But he, O Gārgī, who departs from this world after knowing the Imperishable is a knower of Brahman.

11

Verily, that Imperishable, O Gārgī, is never seen but is the Seer;
It is never heard, but is the Hearer; It is never thought of, but is the Thinker;
It is never known, but is the Knower.
There is no other seer but This, there is no other hearer but This,
there is no other thinker but This, there is no other knower but This.
By this imperishable, O Gārgī, is the [unmanifested] ākāśa pervaded.”

12

Then said Gārgī:
“Venerable brāhmins, you may consider yourselves fortunate
if you can get off from him through bowing to him.
None of you, I believe, will defeat him in arguments about Brahman.”
Thereupon the daughter of Vachaknu held her peace.

Chapter IX
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND VIDAGHDHA

1

Then Vidaghdha, the son of Śakala, asked him:
“How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”

Yājñyavalkya ascertained the number through [the group of mantras known as] the Nivid, and said:

“As many as are mentioned in the Nivid of the Viśve-devas—
three hundred and three, and three thousand and three.”
“Very good,” said Śākalya (the son of Śakala), and asked again: “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
”Thirty-three.”
“Very good,” said Śākalya, and asked again: “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
“Six.”
“Very good,” said the other, and asked again: “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
“Three.”
“Very good,” said the other, and asked again: “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
“Two.”
“Very good,” said he, and asked again, “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
“One and a half.”
“Very good,” said he, and asked again: “How many gods are there, Yājñyavalkya?”
“One.”

“Very good,” said Śākalya, and asked:
“Which are those three hundred and three, and those three thousand and three?”

2

Yājñyavalkya said: “There are only thirty-three gods.
These others are but manifestations of them.”
Which are these thirty-three?”
“The eight Vāsus, the eleven Rudras, and the twelve Ādityas—these are thirty-one.
And Indra and Prajāpati make up the thirty-three.”

3

Which are the Vāsus?” asked Śākalya.

Fire, the earth, the air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon, and the stars—these are the Vāsus;
for in them all this [universe] is placed (vasavah).
Therefore they are called Vāsus.”

4

Which are the Rudras?” asked Śākalya.

The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh.
When they depart from this mortal body, they make [one’s relatives] weep.
Because they make them weep (rud), therefore they are called Rudras.

5

‘Which are the Ādityas?” asked Śākalya.

There are twelve months in the year.
These are the Ādityas, because they move along carrying (ādadānāh) all this with them;
therefore they are called Ādityas.”

6

“Which is Indra and which is Prajāpati?” asked Śākalya.
“The thunderclap is Indra and the sacrifice is Prajāpati.”
“Which is the thunderclap?”
“The thunderbolt.”
“Which is the sacrifice?”
“The animals.”

7

“Which are the six [gods]?” asked Śākalya.

“Fire, the earth, the air, the sky, the sun, and heaven; for these six comprise all those.”

8

“Which are the three gods?” asked Śākalya.
“These three worlds, because all those gods are comprised in these three.”
“Which are the two gods?”
“Matter and the vital breath (Prāṇa).”
“Which are the one and a half?”
“This [air] that blows.”

9

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Concerning this some say:
‘Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half (adhyardha)?’
[The answer is:] It is one and a half because by its presence everything attains surpassing glory (adhyardhnot).”

“Which is the one God?”

“The vital breath (Hiraṇyagarbha); it is Brahman which is called That (Tyat).”

10

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is the earth, whose organ of vision is fire, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in this body. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity (cause)?”

“Nectar (chyle),” said Yājñyavalkya.

11

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is lust (kama), whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with lust. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“Women,” said Yājñyavalkya.

12

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is colours, whose organ of vision is the eye, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in the sun. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“Truth (the eye),” said Yājñyavalkya.

13

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is the ākāśa, whose organ of vision is the ear, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with the ear and with the time of hearing. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“The quarters,” said Yājñyavalkya.

14

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is darkness, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with shadow (ignorance). Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity’?”

“Death,” said Yājñyavalkya.

15

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is [particular] colours, whose organ of vision is the eye, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the being who is in the mirror. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“The vital breath,” said Yājñyavalkya.

16

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is water, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak—who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in water. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“Varuṇa (rain),” said Yājñyavalkya.

17

[Śākalya said:] “Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is semen, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind, and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yājñyavalkya.”

“I know that Being of whom you speak-who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with the son. Go on, Śākalya.”

“Who is His deity?”

“Prajāpati (the father),” said Yājñyavalkya.

18

[When Śākalya kept silent] Yājñyavalkya addressed him thus:

“Śākalya, have these brāhmins made you their instrument [such as tongs] for burning charcoal?”

19-20

”Yājñyavalkya,” said Śākalya, “what Brahman do you know, that you have thus flouted these Vedic scholars of Kuru and Panchāla?”
[Yājñyavalkya replied:] “I know the quarters, with their deities and supports.”

[Śākalya said:] “If you know the quarters, with their deities and supports, what deity are you identified with in the east?”
“With the deity sun.”
“In what does the sun find its support?”
“The eye.”
“In what does the eye find its support?”
“Colours, for one sees colours with the eye.”

“In what do colours find their support?”

”The heart (mind),” [said Yājñyavalkya,] “for one knows colours through the heart.
Therefore it is in the heart that colours find their support.”

“Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

21

[“Yājñyavalkya,” said Śākalya,] “What deity are you identified with in the south?”

“With the deity Yama (the god of justice).”

“In what does Yama find his support?”
“The sacrifice.”

“In what does the sacrifice find its support?”
“The remuneration of the priests.”

“In what does the remuneration find its support?”
“Faith, for when a man has faith he remunerates the priest.
Therefore it is in faith that the remuneration finds its support.”

“In what does faith find its support?”

“The heart (mind),” [said Yājñyavalkya,] “for one knows faith through the heart.
Therefore it is in the heart that faith finds its support.”

“Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

22

[“Yājñyavalkya,“ said Śākalya,] “what deity are you identified with in the west?”

“With the deity Varuṇa (the god of rain).”

“In what does Varuṇa find his support?”
“Water.”
“In what does water find its support?”
“Semen.”

“In what does semen find its support?”
“The heart,” [said Yājñyavalkya.]
“Therefore they say of a new-born child who resembles [his father]
that it seems as if he has sprung from [his father’s] heart—
that he has been created of [his father’s] heart, as it were.
Therefore it is in the heart that semen finds its support.”

“Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

23

[“Yājñyavalkya,” said Śākalya,] “what deity are you identified with in the north?”

“With the deity Soma (the moon and the creeper of that name).”

“In what does Soma find its support?”
‘The initiatory rite.”

“In what does initiation find its support?”

“Truth. Therefore they say to the one who is initiated: ‘Speak the truth';
for it is in the truth that initiation finds its support.”

“In what does the truth find its support?”

“The heart,” (said Yājñyavalkya,] “for through the heart one knows the truth;
therefore it is in the heart that the truth finds its support.”

“Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

24

“What deity,” [said Śākalya,] “are you identified with in the fixed direction (i.e. overhead)?”
“With the deity fire.”
“In what does fire find its support?”
“Speech.”
In what does speech find its support?”
“The heart.”
“In what does the heart find its support?”

25

“You ghost,” said Yājñyavalkya, “that you think that the heart should be elsewhere than in ourselves!
If it were elsewhere than in ourselves, dogs would eat this body or birds tear it to pieces.”

26

“In what do the body and the heart find their support?” [asked Śākalya.]
“In the Prāṇa.”
“In what does the Prāṇa find its support?”
“In the apāna.”
“In what does the apāna find its support?”
“In the vyāna.”
”In what does the vyāna find its support?”
“In the udāna.”
“In what does the udāna find its support?”
“In the samāna.”

[Here the Upanishad itself states:]

This self is That which has been described as “Not this, not this.”

It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived;
undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached;
unfettered, for It never feels pain and never suffers injury.

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “These are the eight abodes, the eight organs of vision,
the eight deities, and the eight beings.

Now I ask you about that Person who is to be known only from the Upanishads,
who definitely projects those beings and [again] withdraws them into Himself,
and who is at the same time transcendental.

If you cannot clearly explain Him to me, your head shall fall off.”

Śākalya did not know Him; his head fell off;
and robbers snatched away his bones, mistaking them for something else.

27

Then Yājñyavalkya said:

“Venerable brāhmins, whosoever among you wishes to question me may now do so, or all of you may. Or whosoever among you desires it, I shall question him, or I shall question all of you.”

But the brāhmins did not dare.

28

Yājñyavalkya interrogated them with the following verses:

1. As is a mighty tree, so indeed is a man: this is true.
His hairs are the leaves and his skin is the outer bark.

2. From his skin blood flows and from the bark, sap.
Therefore when a man is wounded blood flows, as sap from a tree that is injured.

3. His flesh is its inner bark and his nerves are its innermost layer of bark, which is tough.
His bones lie within, as does the wood of the tree. His marrow resembles the pith.

4. A tree, when it is felled, springs again from its root in a new form;
from what root, tell me, does a man spring forth after he is cut off by death?

5. Do not say: From the semen, for that is produced from the living man.
A tree springs from the seed as well; after it is dead it certainly springs again.

6. If a tree is pulled up with its root, it will not spring again.
From what root, tell me, does a mortal spring forth after he is cut off by death?

7. [If you think] he is indeed born, [I say: No,] he is born again.
Now who should again bring him forth?

[The Upanishad states:]
It is Brahman, which is [absolute] Knowledge and Bliss,
the ultimate goal of him who offers wealth,
and also of him who has realized Brahman and stands firm in It.