Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad | Part IV

Part Four

The fourth part of Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad, divided into six chapters, contains ninety-two verses. The scene is still the court of Janaka, and Yājñyavalkya starts the dis­cussion. Brahman is the topic.

The fourth chapter deals in detail with the subject of death and rebirth. The knowledge gathered in a man's present life and the impressions created by his action accompany the dying man.

Rebirth is determined by the desires the self cherishes. After reaping the fruit of its desires in a higher or lower world, the soul is born in a human body for new action.

But the man who has suppressed all desires is not embodied again, because the cause of embodiment is absent.


Part IV

Chapter I , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Chapter II , verse ...  1 2 3 4

Chapter III , 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 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Chapter IV , 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

Chapter V , verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8-10 11 12 13 14 15

Chapter VI , verse ...  1 2 3

Next ... Part 5 ... Part 6 ... Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3


Chapter I
PARTIAL DEFINITIONS OF BRAHMAN

1

OM. Janaka, Emperor of Videha, was seated [to give audience] when Yājñyavalkya arrived.

The Emperor said to him:
“Yājñyavalkya, for what purpose have you come here?
With a desire for cattle, or to hear some subtle questions asked?”

For both, Your Majesty,” said he.

2

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Jitvan, the son of Śilina, told me that the organ of speech (fire) is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the benefit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the son of Śilina say that the organ of speech is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who cannot speak?

But did he tell you about its abode (body) and support?”
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

The [physical] organ of speech is its abode and the ākāśa is its support.
It should be meditated upon as intelligence.”

What is intelligence, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the organ of speech, Your Majesty,” said Yājñyavalkya.

“Through the organ of speech alone, O Emperor,
are known the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sāma-Veda, the Atharvangirasa,
history, ancient lore, the arts, the Upanishads, verses, aphorisms,
explanations, commentaries, [the results of] sacrifices,
[the result of] offering oblations in the fire, [the result of] giving food and drink,
this world, the next world, and all beings.

The organ of speech, Your Majesty, is the Supreme Brahman.
The organ of speech never deserts him who, knowing this, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

3

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Udanka, the son of Śulba, told me that the vital breath (Prāṇa) is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the benefit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the son of Śulba say that the vital breath is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who does not live?

But did he tell you about its abode and support?“
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

The vital breath is its abode and the ākāśa is its support.
It should be meditated upon as dear.”

What is that dearness, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the vital breath, Your Majesty,” said Yājñyavalkya.
“For the sake of that vital breath (life), O Emperor,
one performs sacrifices for him for whom they should not be performed
and accepts gifts from him from whom they should not be accepted;
nay, for the sake of the vital breath, O Emperor,
one may go to a quarter where one runs the risk of losing one’s life.

The vital breath, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman.
The vital breath never deserts him who, knowing what has just been said, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

4

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Barku, the son of Vrishna, told me that the eye is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the benefit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the son of Vrishna say that the eye is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who cannot see?

But did he tell you about its abode and support?”
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

The eye is its abode and the ākāśa is its support.
It should be meditated upon as truth.”

What is truth, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the eye, Your Majesty,” said Yājñyavalkya.

“Verily, Your Majesty,
if one asks a person who has seen with his eyes: ‘Have you seen?’
and he answers: ‘Yes, I have,’ then it is true.

The eye, Your Majesty, is the Supreme Brahman.

The eye never deserts him who, knowing what has just been said, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

5

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Gardabhivipita, a descendant of Bhāradvāja, told me that the ear is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the benefit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the descendant of Bhāradvāja say that the ear is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who cannot hear?

But did he tell you about its abode and support?”
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

The ear Is Its abode and the ākāśa is its support.
It should be meditated upon as infinite.”

What is infinity, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the quarters, Your Majesty,” said Yājñyavalkya.
“Verily, Your Majesty,
to whatever quarter (direction) one may go, one never reaches its end.
[Hence] the quarters are infinite.
The quarters, O Emperor, are the ear, and the ear, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman.

The ear never deserts him who, knowing this, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

6

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Satyakāma, the son of Jabālā, told me that the mind is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the benefit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the son of Jabālā say that the mind is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who has no mind?

But did he tell you about its abode and support?”
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

The mind is its abode and the ākāśa is its support. It should be meditated upon as bliss.”

What is bliss, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the mind, Your Majesty,” said Yājñyavalkya.

“Verily, Your Majesty, with the mind a man [desires and] woos a woman;
[then] a son resembling him is born of her, and he is the cause of bliss.

The mind, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman.

The mind never deserts him who, knowing this, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

7

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “Let me hear what anyone among your teachers may have told you.”

Vidaghdha, the son of Śakala, told me that the heart is Brahman.”

As anyone who had [the bene.lit of being taught by a good] mother, father, and teacher should say, so did the son of Śakala say that the heart is Brahman;

for what can be attained by a person who is without a heart?

But did he tell you about its abode and support?”
No, he did not.”
This Brahman is only one-footed, Your Majesty.”
Then you tell us, O Yājñyavalkya.”

‘The heart is its abode and the ākāśa is its support. It should be meditated upon as stability.”

What is stability, O Yājñyavalkya?”

It is the heart,” said Yājñyavalkya.

“Verily, Your Majesty, the heart is the abode of all beings,
and the heart, Your Majesty, is the support of all beings.

The heart, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman.

The heart never deserts him who, knowing this, meditates upon it;
all beings eagerly approach him; and being a god, he attains the gods.”

I give you a thousand cows with a bull as large as an elephant,” said Emperor Janaka.

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My father was of the opinion
that one should not accept gifts from a disciple without fully instructing him.”

Chapter II
CONCERNING THE SELF

1

Janaka, Emperor of Videha, rose from his lounge, humbly approached Yājñyavalkya, and said:
“Salutation to you, O Yājñyavalkya. Please instruct me.”

Yājñyavalkya said:

“Your Majesty, as one who wishes to go a long distance would procure a chariot or a ship,
even so you have fully equipped your mind with so many secret names of Brahman.
You are also honoured and wealthy;
you have studied the Vedas and heard the Upanishads.

But do you know where you will go when you are released from this body?”

”Venerable Sir, I do not know where I shall go.”
Then I will tell you where you will go.”
Tell me, venerable Sir.”

2

The person who is in the right eye is named Indha.
Though he is Indha, people call him by the indirect name Indra;
for the gods are fond of indirect names and hate to be addressed directly.

3

The person who is in the left eye is his wife, Virāj (matter).

The ākāśa that lies within the heart is their place of union.
Their food is the lump (piṇḍa) of blood in the heart.
Their wrap is the net-like structure in the heart.

The path on which they move [from sleep to waking]
is the nerve that goes upward from the heart; it is like a hair split into a thousand parts.

In the body there are nerves called hitā, which are placed in the heart.
Through these the essence of our food passes as it moves on.

Therefore the subtle body (Taijasa) receives finer food than the gross body (Vaiśvānara).

4

Of the illumined sage [who is identified with Prajña in deep sleep]

the east is the eastern vital breath (Prāṇa), the south is the southern vital breath,
the west is the western vital breath, the north is the northern vital breath,
the upper direction is the upper vital breath, the direction below is the nether vital breath,
and all the directions are all the vital breaths.

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.

Verily, O Janaka, you have attained That which is free from fear,” said Yājñyavalkya.

Venerable Yājñyavalkya,” said Emperor Janaka,
“may that fearless Brahman be yours [too],
for you have made known to us the fearless Brahman.

Salutations to you! Here is the Empire of Videha and also myself at your service.”

Chapter III
INVESTIGATION OF THE THREE STATES

1

Yājñyavalkya called on Janaka, Emperor of Videha. He said to himself: “I will not say anything.”

But once upon a time Janaka, Emperor of Videha, and Yājñyavalkya had had a talk about the Agnihotra sacrifice, and Yājñyavalkya had offered him a boon.

Janaka had chosen the right to ask him any questions he wished,
and Yājñyavalkya had granted him the boon.

So it was the Emperor who first questioned him.

2

”Yājñyavalkya, what serves as light for a man?”

The light of the sun, O Emperor,” said Yājñyavalkya,
“for with the sun as light he sits, goes out, works, and returns.”

Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

3

When the sun has set, Yājñyavalkya, what serves as light for a man?”

The moon serves as his light,
for with the moon as light he sits, goes out, works, and returns.”

Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

4

When the sun has set and the moon has set, Yājñyavalkya, what serves as light for a man?”

Fire serves as his light, for with fire as light he sits, goes out, works, and returns.”

Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

5

When the sun has set, Yājñyavalkya, and the moon has set and the fire has gone out,
what serves as light for a man?”

Speech (sound) serves as his light,

for with speech as light he sits, goes out, works, and returns.
Therefore, Your Majesty, when one cannot see even one’s own hand,
yet when a sound is uttered, one can go there.”

Just so, Yājñyavalkya.”

6

When the sun has set, Yājñyavalkya, and the moon has set
and the fire has gone out and speech has stopped,
what serves as light for a man?”

The self, indeed, is his light,
for with the self as light he sits, goes out, works, and returns.”

7

Which is the self?”

This puruṣa, which is identified with the intellect (vijñānamaya)
and is in the midst of the organs, the [self-effulgent] light within the heart (intellect).

Assuming the likeness [of the intellect], it wanders between the two worlds;
it thinks, as it were, and moves, as it were.
Being identified with dreams, it transcends this [waking] world,
which represents the forms of death (ignorance and its effects).

8

That person (the individual self), when he is born,
that is to say, when he assumes a body,
is joined with evils,
and when he dies, that is to say, leaves the body,
he discards those evils.

9

And there are only two states for that person:
the one here in this world and the other in the next world.

The third, the intermediate, is the dream state.
When he is in that intermediate state, he surveys both states:
the one here in this world and the other in the next world.

Now, whatever support he may have for the next world,
he provides himself with that and sees both evils (sufferings) and joys.

And when he dreams,
he takes away a little of [the impressions of] this all-embracing world (the waking state),
himself makes the body unconscious, and creates [a dream body in its place],
revealing his own brightness by his own light—and he dreams.
In this state the person becomes self-illumined.

10

There are no [real] chariots in that state,
nor animals to be yoked to them, nor roads there,
but he creates the chariots, animals, and roads.

There are no pleasures in that state, no joys, no rejoicings,
but he creates the pleasures, joys, and rejoicings.

There are no pools in that state, no reservoirs, no rivers,
but he creates the pools, reservoirs, and rivers.

He indeed is the agent.

11

Regarding this there are the following verses:

‘The effulgent infinite being (puruṣa),
who travels alone, makes the body insensible in sleep
but himself remains awake, and taking with him the luminous particles of the organs,
watches those which lie dormant.

Again he comes to the waking state.

12

‘The effulgent infinite being (puruṣa), who is immortal and travels alone,

guards the unclean nest (body) with the help of the vital breath (Prāṇa)
and himself moves out of the nest.
That immortal entity wanders wherever he likes.

13

‘In the dream world, the luminous one attains higher and lower states
and creates many forms—

now, as it were, enjoying himself in the company of women, now laughing,
now even beholding frightful sights.

14

‘Everyone sees his sport but him no one sees.’

They say: ‘Do not wake him suddenly.’
If he does not find the right organ, the body becomes difficult to doctor.

Others, however, say that the dream state of a man is the same as the waking state,
because what he sees while awake, that only he sees when asleep.
[This is wrong.] In the dream state the self (puruṣa) itself becomes the light.”

Janaka said: “I give you a thousand cows, revered Sir.
Please instruct me further about liberation itself.”

15

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “That entity (puruṣa),
after enjoying himself and roaming [in the dream state]
and merely witnessing [the results of] good and evil,
remains in a state of profound sleep
and [then] hastens back in the reverse way to his former condition, the dream state.

He remains unaffected by whatever he sees in that [dream] state,
for this infinite being is unattached.”

[Janaka said:] “Just so, Yājñyavalkya. I give you, Sir, a thousand cows.
Please instruct me further about Liberation itself.”

16

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “That entity (puruṣa),
after enjoying himself and roaming in the dream state
and merely witnessing [the results of] good and evil,
hastens back in the reverse way to his former condition, the waking state.

He remains unaffected by whatever he sees in that state,
for this infinite being is unattached.”

[Janaka said:] “Just so, Yājñyavalkya. I give you, Sir, a thousand cows.
Please instruct me further about Liberation itself.”

17

[Yājñyavalkya said:] “That entity (puruṣa),
after enjoying himself and roaming in the waking state
and merely witnessing [the results of] good and evil,
hastens back in the reverse way to its former condition,
the dream state [or that of dreamless sleep].

18

As a large fish swims alternately to both banks [of a river]—the east and the west—
so does the infinite being move to both these states: dreaming and waking.

19

As a hawk or a falcon roaming in the sky becomes tired, folds its wings, and makes for its nest,
so does this infinite entity (puruṣa) hasten for this state,
where, falling asleep, he cherishes no more desires and dreams no more dreams.

20

There are in his body nerves (nādīs) called hita,
which are as fine as a hair divided into a thousand parts
and are fi1led with white, blue, brown, green, and red [fluids].
[They are the seat of the subtle body, which is the storehouse of impressions.]

Now, when he feels as if he were being killed or overpowered,
or being chased by an elephant, or falling into a pit,
[in short,] when he fancies at that time, through ignorance,
whatever frightful thing he has experienced in the waking state, [that is the dream state].

So also, when he thinks he is a god, as it were, or a king, as it were,
or thinks: “This [universe] is myself and I am all,”
that is his highest state.

21

That indeed is his form—free from desires, free from evils, free from fear.

As a man fully embraced by his beloved wife
knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within,
so does this infinite being (the self), when fully embraced by the Supreme Self,
know nothing that is without, nothing that is within.

That indeed is his form, in which all his desires are fulfilled,
in which all desires become the self, and which is free from desires and devoid of grief.

22

In this state a father is no more a father, a mother is no more a mother,
the worlds are no more the worlds, the gods are no more the gods,
the Vedas are no more the Vedas.
In this state a thief is no more a thief, the killer of a noble brāhmin is no more a killer,
a chandāla is no more a chandāla, a paulkasa is no more a paulkasa,
a monk is no more a monk, an ascetic is no more an ascetic.

This form [of his] is untouched by good deeds and untouched by evil deeds,
for he is then beyond all the woes of his heart.

23

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not see,
yet it is seeing though it does not see;
for there is no cessation of the vision of the seer, because the seer is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the seer that it could see.

24

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not smell,
yet it is smelling though it does not smell;
for there is no cessation of the smelling of the smeller, because the smeller is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the smeller that it could smell.

25

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not taste,
yet it is tasting though it does not taste;
for there is no cessation of the tasting of the taster, because the taster is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the taster that it could taste.

26

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not speak,
yet it is speaking though it does not speak;
for there is no cessation of the speaking of the speaker, because the speaker is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the speaker that it could speak about.

27

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not hear,
yet it is hearing though it does not hear;
for there is no cessation of the hearing of the hearer,
because the hearer is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the hearer that it could hear.

28

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not think,
yet it is thinking though it does not think;
for there is no cessation of the thinking of the thinker,
because the thinker is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the thinker that it could think of.

29

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not touch,
yet it is touching though it does not touch;
for there is no cessation of the touching of the toucher,
because the toucher is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the toucher that it could touch.

30

And when [it appears that] in deep sleep it does not know,
yet it is knowing though it does not know;
for there is no cessation of the knowing of the knower,
because the knower is imperishable.

There is then, however, no second thing separate from the knower that it could know.

31

When [in the waking and dream states] there is, as it were, another,
then one can see the other, then one can smell the other,
then one can speak to the other, then one can hear the other,
then one can think of the other, then one can touch the other,
then one can know the other.

32

In deep sleep it becomes [transparent] like water, the witness, one and without a second.

This is the World of Brahman, Your Majesty.
This is its supreme attainment, this is its supreme glory,
this it its highest world, this is its supreme bliss.
On a particle of this bliss other creatures live.”

Thus did Yājñyavalkya teach Janaka.

33

If a person is perfect of body and is prosperous, lord of others,
and most lavishly supplied with all human enjoyments,
he represents the highest blessing among men.

This human bliss multiplied a hundred times
makes one measure of the bliss of the Manes who have won their own world.
The bliss of these Manes who have won their world, multiplied a hundred times,
makes one measure of bliss in the world of the gandharvas.
The bliss of the gandharvas, multiplied a hundred times,
makes one measure of the bliss of the gods by action
(those who attain godhood through sacrificial rites).
The bliss of the gods by action, multiplied a hundred times,
makes one measure of the bliss of the gods by birth,
as also of one who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, and free from desire.
The bliss of the gods by birth, multiplied a hundred times,
makes one measure of bliss in the World of Prajāpati (Virāj),
as also of one who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, and free from desire.
The bliss in the World of Prajāpati, multiplied a hundred times,
makes one measure of bliss in the World of Brahmā (Hiraṇyagarbha),
as also of one who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, and free from desire.

This, indeed, is the supreme bliss. This is the state of Brahman, O Emperor,” said Yājñyavalkya.

Janaka said: “I give you a thousand cows, venerable Sir.
Please instruct me further about Liberation itself.”

At this Yājñyavalkya was afraid that the intelligent emperor was driving him to give the solution [of all his questions].

34

That entity (the self), after enjoying himself and roaming in the dream state
and merely witnessing [the results of] merits and demerits,
hastens back in the reverse way to its former condition, the waking state.

35

Just as a heavily loaded cart moves along, creaking,
even so the Self, identified with the body,
being presided over by the Self which is all consciousness (the Supreme Self),
moves along, groaning, when breathing becomes difficult [at the approach of death].

36

When this [body] grows thin—becomes emaciated through old age or disease—
then, as a mango or a fig or a fruit of the peepul tree becomes detached from its stalk,
so does this infinite being (the self),
completely detaching himself from the parts of the body,
again move on, in the same way that he came,
to another body for the remanifestation of his vital breath (Prāṇa).

37

Just as, when a king comes, the ugras appointed to deal with crimes,
the sutas, and the leaders of the village await him
with food and drink and lodgings ready, saying: ‘Here he comes, here he comes,’
even so, for the person who knows [about the fruits of his own work],
there wait all the elements, saying: ‘Here comes Brahman, here he comes.’

38

Just as, when the king wishes to depart, the ugras appointed to deal with crimes,
the sutas, and the leaders of the village gather around him,

even so do all the organs gather around the self, at the time of death, when it struggles for breath.”

Chapter IV
DEATH AND THE HEREAFTER

1

[Yājñyavalkya continued:] “Now, when that self
becomes weak and unconscious, as it were, the organs gather around it.

Having wholly seized these particles of light, the self comes to the heart.

When the presiding deity of the eye turns back from all sides,
the dying man fails to notice colour.

2

[The eye] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then people say: ‘He does not see.’
[The nose] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not smell.’
[The tongue] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not taste.’
[The vocal organ] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not speak.’
[The ear] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not hear.’
[The mind] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not think.’
[The skin] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not touch.’
[The intellect] becomes united [with the subtle body];
then they say: ‘He does not know.’

The upper end of the heart lights up, and by that light the self departs,
either through the eye or through the head or through any other part (aperture) of the body.

And when the self departs, the vital breath follows,
and when the vital breath departs, all the organs follow.

Then the self becomes endowed with a particular consciousness
and passes on to the body to be attained by that consciousness.

Knowledge, work, and past experience follow the self.

3

And just as a leech moving on a blade of grass reaches its end,
takes hold of another, and draws itself together towards it,
so does the self, after throwing off this body, that is to say, after making it unconscious,
take hold of another support and draw itself together towards it.

4

And just as a goldsmith takes a small quantity of gold
and fashions [out of it] another—a newer and better—form,
so does the self, after throwing off this body,
that is to say, after making it unconscious,
fashion another—a newer and better—form,
suited to the Manes, or the gandharvas, or the gods,
or Virāj, or Hiraṇyagarbha, or other beings.

5

That self is indeed Brahman;

it is also identified with the intellect, the mind, and the vital breath,
with the eyes and ears, with earth, water, air, and ākāśa,
with fire and with what is other than fire,
with desire and with absence of desire, with anger and with absence of anger,

with righteousness and unrighteousness, with all—it is identified,
as is well known, with this (i.e. what is perceived) and with that (i.e. what is inferred).

According as it acts and according as it behaves, so it becomes:
by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil.
It becomes virtuous through virtuous action, and evil through evil action.

Others, however, say that the self is identified with desire alone.
As is its desire, so is its resolution; and as is its resolution, so is its deed;
and whatever deed it does, that it reaps.

6

Regarding this there is the following verse:

‘Because of attachment, the [transmigrating] self, together with its work,
attains that result to which its subtle body or mind clings.

Having exhausted [in the other world] the results
of whatever work it did in this life,
it returns from that world to this world for [fresh] work.’

Thus does the man who desires [transmigrate].

But as to the man who does not desire—who is without desire,
who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied,
whose only object of desire is the Self—
his organs do not depart. Being Brahman, he merges in Brahman.

7

”Regarding this there is the following verse:

‘When all the desires that dwell in his heart are got rid of,
then does the mortal [man] become immortal and attain Brahman in this very body.’

Just as the slough of a snake lies, dead and cast away, on an ant-hill, even so lies this body.

Then the self becomes disembodied and immortal Spirit,
the Supreme Self (Prāṇa), Brahman, the Light.”

Janaka, Emperor of Videha, said: “I give you, venerable Sir, a thousand cows.”

8

Regarding this there are the following verses:

‘The subtle, ancient path stretching far away has been touched (reached) by me; nay, I have realized it myself.

By this path the wise, the knowers of Brahman, move on to the celestial sphere (Liberation) after the fall of this body, having been freed [even while living].’

9

‘Some speak of it as white, [others as] blue, grey, green, or red.

This path is realized by a knower of Brahman and is trod by whoever knows Brahman, has done good deeds, and is identified with the Supreme Light.’

10

‘Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance;
into a greater darkness than that, as it were, enter those who are devoted to knowledge.’

11

‘Cheerless indeed are those worlds covered with blinding darkness.
To them after death go those people who are ignorant and unwise.’

12

‘If a man knows the Self as I am this,
then desiring what and for whose sake will he suffer in the wake of the body?’

13

‘Whoever has realized and intimately known the Self,
which has entered this perilous and perplexing place (the body),
is the maker of the universe; for he is the maker of all.
[All] is his Self, and he, again, is indeed the Self of all.’

14

‘Dwelling in this very body, we have somehow realized Brahman;
otherwise we should have remained ignorant and great destruction would have overtaken us.

Those who know Brahman become immortal, while others only suffer misery.’

15

‘When a person following [the instructions of a teacher]
directly beholds the effulgent Self, the Lord of all that has been and will be,
he no longer wishes to hide himself from It.’

16

‘That under which the year with its days rolls on-
upon that immortal Light of all lights the gods meditate as longevity.’

17

‘That in which the five groups of five and the ākāśa rest,
that very Ātman I regard as the Immortal Brahman.
Knowing that Brahman, I am immortal.’

18

‘They who know the Vital Breath (Prāṇa) of the vital breath (Prāṇa),
the Eye of the eye, the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind,
have realized the ancient, primordial Brahman.’

19

‘Through the mind alone is Brahman to be realized. There is in It no diversity.
He goes from death to death who sees in It, as it were, diversity.’

20

‘Unknowable and constant, It should be realized in one form only.
The Self is free from taint, beyond the ākāśa, birthless, infinite, and unchanging.’

21

‘The intelligent seeker of Brahman, learning about the Self alone,
should practise wisdom (prajnā).
Let him not think of too many words, for that is exhausting to the organ of speech.’

22

That great, unborn Self, which is identified with the intellect (Vijñānamāyā)
and which dwells in the midst of the organs, lies in the ākāśa within the heart.

It is the controller of all, the lord of all, the ruler of all.
It does not become greater through good deeds or smaller through evil deeds.
It is the lord of all, the ruler of all beings, the protector of all beings.
It is the dam that serves as the boundary to keep the different worlds apart.

The brāhmins seek to realize It through the study of the Vedas, through sacrifices,
through gifts, and through austerity which does not lead to annihilation.
Knowing It alone one becomes a sage (muni).
Wishing for this World (i.e. the Self) alone, monks renounce their homes.

The knowers of Brahman of olden times,
it is said, did not wish for offspring [because they thought]:
‘What shall we do with offspring—we who have attained this Self, this World?’

They gave up, it is said, their desire for sons, for wealth, and for the worlds,
and led 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, indeed, are but desires.

‘This Self is That which has been described as “Not this, not this”.
It is imperceptible, for It is not perceived; undecaying, for It never decays;
unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered, for It never feels pain and never suffers injury.

‘Him [who knows this] these two thoughts do not overcome:
For this I did an evil deed, and For this I did a good deed. He overcomes both.
Things done or not done do not afflict him.’

23

This has been expressed by the following Rig verse:

‘This is the eternal glory of Brahman:
It neither increases nor decreases through work.
[Therefore] one should know the nature of That alone.
Knowing It one is not touched by evil action.’

Therefore he who knows It as such becomes self-controlled,
calm, withdrawn into himself, patient, and collected;
he sees the Self in his own self (body); he sees all as the Self.

Evil does not overcome him, but he overcomes all evil.
Evil does not afflict him) but he consumes all evil.
He becomes sinless, taintless, free from doubts, and a true Brāhmaṇa (knower of Brahman).

This is the World of Brahman, O Emperor, and you have attained It.” Thus said Yājñyavalkya.

Janaka said: “Venerable Sir, I give you the empire of Videha and myself, too, with it, to wait upon you.”

24

That great, unborn Self is the eater of food and the giver of wealth. He who knows this obtains wealth.

25

That great, unborn Self is undecaying, immortal, undying, fearless;
It is Brahman (infinite). Brahman is indeed fearless.
He who knows It as such becomes the fearless Brahman.

Chapter V
YĀJÑYAVALKYA AND MAITREYĪ (II)

1

Yājñyavalkya had two wives: Maitreyī and Kātyāyani.
Of these, Maitreyī was conversant with the Knowledge of Brahman,
while Kātyāyani had an essentially feminine outlook.

One day Yājñyavalkya, when he wished to embrace another mode of life,

2

Said: “Maitreyī, my dear, I am going to renounce this life [to become a monk].
Let me make a final settlement between you and Kātyāyani.”

3

Maitreyī said: “Venerable Sir,
if indeed the whole earth full of wealth belonged to me,
would I be immortal through that or not?”

“No,” replied Yājñyavalkya,
“your life would be just like that of people who have plenty.
Of Immortality, however, there is no hope through wealth.”

4

Then Maitreyī said: “What should I do with that which would not make me immortal?
Tell me, venerable Sir, of that alone which you know [to be the only means of attaining Immortality].”

5

Yājñyavalkya replied: “My dear, you have been my beloved [even before],
and [now] you have resolved [to know] what is after my heart.
If you wish, my dear, I shall explain it to you.
As I explain it, meditate [on what I say].”

6

And he said:
“Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved,
but he is loved for the sake of the self [which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self].
Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved,
but she is loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for .the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved,
but it is loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the animals, my dear, are the animals loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the brāhmin, my dear, is the brāhmin loved,
but he is loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved,
but he is loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the Vedas, my dear, are the Vedas loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved,
but they are loved for the sake of the self.
Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved,
but it is loved for the sake of the self.

Verily, my dear Maitreyī, it is the Self that should be realized—
should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon.
By the realization of the Self, my dear,
 through hearing, reflection, and meditation, all this is known.

7

The brāhmin rejects one who knows him as different from the Self.
The kshatriya rejects one who knows him as different from the Self.
The worlds reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The gods reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The Vedas reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The beings reject one who knows them as different from the Self.
The All rejects one who knows it as different from the Self.
This brāhmin, this kshatriya, these worlds, these gods,
these Vedas, these beings, and this All—
are that Self.

8-10

As the various particular [kinds of] notes of a drum, when it is beaten, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the drum or the general sound produced by different kinds of strokes is grasped;

And as the various particular notes of a conch, when it is blown, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the conch or the general sound produced by different kinds of blowing is grasped;

And as the various particular notes of a vinā, when it is played, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the vinā or the general sound produced by the different kinds of playing is grasped;

11

As from a fire kindled with wet fuel various [kinds of] smoke issue forth,
even so, my dear, the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sāma-Veda, the Atharvangirasa,
history (itihāsa), mythology (purāna), the arts (vidyā), Upanishads, verses (ślokas),
aphorisms (sutras), dedications (anuvyākhyānas), explanations (vyākhyānas),
sacrifices, oblations in the fire, food, drink,
this world, the next world, and all beings are all [like] the breath of this infinite Reality.
From this [Supreme Self] are all these, indeed, breathed forth.

12

As the ocean is the one goal of all waters (the place where they merge),
so the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch,
the nostrils are the one goal of all smells,
the tongue is the one goal of all savours,
the ear is the one goal of all sounds,
the mind is the one goal of all deliberations,
the intellect is the one goal of all [forms of] knowledge,
the hands are the one goal of all actions,
the organ of generation is the one goal of all [kinds of] enjoyment,
the excretory organ is the one goal of all excretions,
the feet are the one goal of all [kinds of] walking,
the organ of speech is the one goal of all the Vedas.

13

As a lump of salt has neither inside nor outside
and is altogether a homogeneous mass of taste,
even so this Self, my dear, has neither inside nor outside
and is altogether a homogeneous mass of Intelligence.

[This Self] comes out [as a separate entity] from the elements,
and with their destruction [this separate existence] is also destroyed.
After attaining [this oneness] it has no more consciousness.

This is what I say, my dear.”

So said Yājñyavalkya.

14

Then Maitreyī said:
“Just here you have completely bewildered me, venerable Sir.
Indeed, I do not at all understand this.”

He replied: “Certainly I am not saying anything bewildering, my dear.
Verily, this Self is immutable and indestructible.

15

For when there is duality, as it were, then

one sees another, one smells another, one tastes another,
one speaks to another, one hears another, one thinks of another,
one touches another, one knows another.

But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self,
then what should he see and through what,
what should he smell and through what, what should he taste and through what,
what should he speak and through what, what should he hear and through what,
what should he think and through what, what should he touch and through what,
what should he know and through what?

Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known?

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 never attaches Itself;
unfettered, for It never feels pain and never suffers injury.

Through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the Knower?

Thus you have the instruction given to you.
This much, indeed, is [the means to] Immortality.”

Having said this, Yājñyavalkya renounced home.

Chapter VI
THE LINE OF TEACHERS

1

Now the line [of teachers]:

[We received the knowledge from Pautimashya.] Pautimāshya [received it] from Gaupavana. Gaupavana from [another] Pautimāshya. [This] Pautimāshya from [another] Gaupavana. [This] Gaupavana from Kauśika. Kauśika from Kaundinya. Kaundinya from Śandilya. Śandilya from Kauśika and Gautama. Gautama

2

Gārgya. Gārgya from [another] Gārgya. [This] Gārgya from Gautama. Gautama from Saitava. Saitava from Pārāśaryāyana. Pārāśaryāyana from Gārgyāyana. Gārgyāyana from Uddālakāyana.

Uddālakāyana from Jābālāyana. Jābālāyana from Mādhyandināyana. Mādhyandināyana from Saukarāyana. Saukarāyana from Kāshāyana. Kāshāyana from Sāyakāyana. Sāyakāyana from Kauśikāyani. Kauśikāyani

3

From Ghritakauśika.Ghritakauśika from Parāsaryayana. Pārāśaryāyana from Pārāśarya. Pārāśarya from Jātukamya. Jātukamya from Āsurāyana and Yāska. Āsurāyana from Traivani. Traivani from Aupajandhani.

Aupajandhani from Āsuri. Āsuri from Bhāradvāja. Bhāradvāja from Ātreya. Ātreya from Mānti. Mānti from Gautama. Gautama from [another] Gautama. [This] Gautama from Vātsya. Vātsya from Śāndilya.

Śāndilya from Kaiśorya Kāpya. Kaiśorya Kāpya from Kumārahārita. Kumārahārita from Gālava. Gālava from Vidarbhikaundinya. Vidarbhikaundinya from Vatsanapāt Bābhrava. Vatsanapāt Bābhrava from Pathin Saubhara.

Pathin Saubhara from Ayāsya Āngirasa. Ayāsya Āngirasa from Ābhuti Tvāshtra. Ābhuti Tvāshtra from Viśvarupa Tvāshtra. Viśvarupa Tvashtra from the two Aśvins. The two Aśvins from Dadhyāch Ātharvana.

Dadhyāch Ātharvana from Ātharvana Daiva. Ātharvana Daiva from Mrityu Prādhvamsana. Mrityu Prādhvamsana from Prādhvamsana. Prādhvamsana from Ekarshi. Ekarshi from Viprachitti. Viprachitti from Vyashti.

Vyashti from Sanāru. Sanāru from Sanātana. Sanātana from Sanaga. Sanaga from Parameshthin (Virāj). Parameshthin from Brahmā (Hiraṇyagarbha).

Brahman is self-born (eternal). Salutation to Brahman.