Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad | Part V

Part Five

The fifth and sixth parts of the Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad together are called the Khila kāṇda, or Supplementary Part. The fifth part consists of fifteen chapters totalling thirty-one verses.

The first verse gives the gist of the entire Upanishad, namely, the nature of Brahman, of the manifested universe, and of their mutual relationship.

Brahman, beyond time, space, and causality, is infinite. The universe, which is projected from Brahman through māyā, is also infinite, because in reality it is nothing but Brahman. When the physical universe merges in Brahman on the destruction of ignorance, the Infinite Brahman alone remains.


Part V

Chapter I , verse ...  1 ... ... ...  Chapter II , verse ...  1 2 3

Chapter III , verse .. 1 ... ... ... Chapter IV , verse ... 1

Chapter V , verse ...  1 2 3 4    Chapter VI , verse ... 1

Chapter VII , verse .. 1 ...   Chapter VIII , verse . 1 ... . Chapter IX , verse ... 1

Chapter X , verse ...  1 ....   Chapter XI , verse ... 1 ...   Chapter XII , verse ... 1

Chapter XIII , verse . 1 2 3 4

Chapter XIV , verse . 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Chapter XV , verse .. 1

Next ... Part 6 ... Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3 ... Part 4 ... Part 5


Chapter I
THE INFINITY OF BRAHMAN

1

OM. Infinite is That [Brahman], infinite in this [manifested universe].
From the Infinite [Brahman] proceeds the infinite.

[After the realization of the Great Identity or after the cosmic dissolution],
when the infinity of the infinite [universe] merges [in the Infinite Brahman],
there remains the Infinite [Brahman] alone.

Om is the Ākāśa Brahman-the primeval ākāśa.
[It is] the ākāśa containing air, says the son of Kauravāyani.
It (Om) is the Veda—thus the knowers of Brahman know;
[for] through it one knows what is to be known.

Chapter II
THE THREE GREAT DISCIPLINES

1

Prajāpati had three kinds of offspring: gods, men, and demons (asuras).

They lived with Prajāpati, practising the vows of brahmācharins.
After finishing their term, the gods said to him: “Please instruct us, Sir.”

To them he uttered the syllable da [and asked]: “Have you understood?”
They replied: “We have. You said to us, ‘Control yourselves (dāmyata).’”
He said: ”Yes, you have understood.”

2

Then the men said to him: “Please instruct us, Sir.”
To them he uttered the same syllable da [and asked]: “Have you understood?”

They replied: “We have. You said to us, ‘Give (datta).’”
He said: “Yes, you have understood.”

3

Then the demons said to him: “Please instruct us, Sir.”
To them he uttered the same syllable da [and asked]: “Have you understood?”
They replied: ‘We have. You said to us: ‘Be compassionate (dayadhvam).’”
He said: “Yes, you have understood.”

That very thing is repeated [even today] by the heavenly voice,
in the form of thunder, as “Da,” “Da,” “Da,”
which means: “Control yourselves,” “Give,” and “Have compassion.”
Therefore one should learn these three: self-control, giving, and mercy.

Chapter III
BRAHMAN AS THE HEART

1

Prajāpati is this—the heart (intellect). It (the heart) is Brahman. It is all.
Hṛidyayam (the heart) consists of three syllables. One syllable is Hrī;
and to him who knows this, his own people and others bring [presents].
One syllable is da; and to him who knows this, his own people and others give [their powers].
One syllable is yam; and he who knows this goes to heaven.

Chapter IV
MEDITATION ON SATYA BRAHMAN

1

THAT [intellect Brahman] was verily this—Satya alone.
And whosoever knows
this great, glorious first-born one as the Satya Brahman conquers these worlds.
And his [enemy] is thus conquered and becomes non-existent—
yes, whosoever knows this great, glorious first-born one as the Satya Brahman;
for Satya indeed is that Brahman.

Chapter V
IN PRAISE OF SATYA BRAHMAN

1

In the beginning this universe was water alone.
That water produced Satya. Satya is Brahman.
Brahman produced Prajāpati, and Prajāpati the gods.
Those gods meditate on Satya.
This [name] Satya consists of three syllables.
Sa is one syllable, ti is one syllable, and ya is one syllable.
The first and last syllables are the truth. In the middle is untruth.
This untruth is enclosed on both sides by truth; thus truth preponderates.
Untruth does not hurt him who knows this.

2

Now, that which is Satya is the sun—
the being who dwells in yonder orb and the being who is in the right eye.
These two rest on each other.
The former (the being in the sun) rests on the latter (the being in the right eye) through his rays,
and the latter rests on the former through his organs.
When the individual self is about to leave the body,
he sees the solar orb clearly (i.e. without rays). Those rays no longer come to him.

3

Of this being who is in the solar orb, the syllable Bhuh is the head,
for there is one head and there is this one syllable;
the word Bhuvah is the arms, for there are two arms and there are these two syllables;
the word Svaḥ is the legs, for there are two legs and there are these two syllables.
His secret name is Ahar.
He who knows this destroys evil and leaves it behind.

4

Of this being who is in the right eye, the syllable Bhur is the head,
for there is one head and there is this one syllable;
the word Bhuvar is the arms, for there are two arms and there are these two syllables;
the word Svar is the legs, for there are two legs and there are these two syllables.
His secret name is Aham.
He who knows this destroys evil and leaves it behind.

Chapter VI
MEDITATION ON BRAHMAN AS THE MIND

1

This being identified with the mind and resplendent by nature
[is realized by yogis] within the heart as [of the size of] a grain of rice or barley.
He is the lord of all, the ruler of all, and governs all this—whatever there is.

Chapter VII
MEDITATION ON BRAHMAN AS LIGHTNING

1

They say that lightning is Brahman.
It is called lightning (vidyut) because it scatters (vidānāt) darkness.
Whosoever knows this—that lightning is Brahman—
scatters the evils [that are ranged against him]; for lightning is indeed Brahman.

Chapter VIII
MEDITATION ON THE VEDAS AS A COW

1

One should meditate upon speech (the Vedas) as a cow.
She (speech) has four teats: the sounds Svāhā, Vaṣaṭ, Hanta, and Svadhā.
The gods live on two of her teats, Svāhā and Vaṣaṭ;
men, on Hanta; and the Manes on Svadhā.
Her bull is the vital breath (Prāṇa), and her calf, the mind.

Chapter IX
MEDITATION ON THE VAIŚVĀNARA FIRE

1

This fire which is within a man and digests food that is eaten is Vaiśvānara.
Its sound is that which one hears by stopping the ears.
When a man is about to leave the body, he hears this sound no more.

Chapter X
THE PATH OF THE DEPARTING SOUL

1

When a man departs from this world, he reaches the air.
The air opens there for him as wide as the hole of a chariot wheel.
Through this [opening] he ascends and reaches the sun.
The sun opens there for him as wide as the hole of a lambara.
By this [opening] he ascends and reaches the moon.
The moon opens there for him as wide as the hole of a drum.
By this [opening] he ascends and reaches a World free from grief and cold.
There he dwells for endless years.

Chapter XI
THE SUPREME AUSTERITIES

1

The supreme austerity is indeed that a man suffers when he is ill.
He who knows this wins the highest world.
The supreme austerity is indeed that a man, after death, is carried to the forest.
He who knows this wins the highest world.
The supreme austerity is indeed that a man, after death, is laid on the lire.
He who knows this wins the highest world.

Chapter XII
MEDITATION ON FOOD AND THE VITAL BREATH AS BRAHMAN

1

Some say that food is Brahman; but this is not so,
for food decays without the vital breath (Prāṇa).

Others say that the vital breath is Brahman; but this is not so,
for the vital breath dries up without food.

These two deities (food and the vital breath),
when they become united, attain the highest state (Brahmanhood).

Thus [reflecting,] Prātrida said to his father:
“What good, indeed, can I do him who knows this,
and what evil can I do him either?”

His father answered, stopping him [with a gesture of his hand]:
“Oh, no, Prātrida;
for who would attain the highest [merely] by being identified with these two?”

Further, he (the father) said to him this:

“[It is] vi; food is verily vi, for all these creatures rest (viśanti) on food.
[It is] ram; the vital breath is ram,
for all these creatures delight (ramantē) in the vital breath.”

All creatures rest on him, all creatures delight in him, who knows this.

Chapter XIII
MEDITATION ON THE VITAL BREATH

1

[One should meditate on the vital breath as] the Uktha.
The vital breath is the Uktha, for it raises up (utthāpayati) all this [universe].
From him who knows this there is raised a son who is a a knower of the vital breath,
and he wins union with and abode in the same world as the Uktha.

2

[One should meditate upon the vital breath as] the Yajus.
The vital breath is the Yajus,
for all [these] beings are united (yujyantē) with one another
if the vital breath is present.
All beings are united to give eminence to him who knows this,
and he wins union with and abode in the same world as the Yajus (vital breath).

3

[One should meditate upon the vital breath as] the Sāman.
The vital breath is the Sāman,
for all [these] beings meet (samyanchi) if the Sāman (vital breath) is present.
For the sake of him who knows this all beings are united
and they succeed in giving him eminence;
and he wins union with and abode in the same world as the Sāman.

4

[One should meditate upon the vital breath as] the Kshatra.
The vital breath is the Kshatra,
for the vital breath protects (trāyate) the body from wounds (khanitoh).
He who knows this attains the Kshatra (vital breath) which needs no other protector,
and he wins union with and abode in the same world as the Kshatra.

Chapter XIV
THE SACRED GĀYATRI

1

The words Bhūmi (earth), Antariksha (sky), and Dyaus (heaven) form eight syllables,
and the first foot of the Gāyatri consists of eight syllables.
So the three worlds constitute the first foot of the Gāyatri.
Whosoever knows this about the [first] foot of the Gāyatri
wins all that is in the three worlds.

2

Richah, Yajumshi, and Sāmāni form eight syllables,
and the second foot of the Gāyatri consists of eight syllables.
So these [three] Vedas constitute the second foot of the Gāyatri.
Whosoever thus knows the second foot of the Gāyatri
wins as much as that treasury of knowledge, the three Vedas, has to confer.

3

Prāṇa, apāna, and vyāna form eight syllables,
and the third foot of the Gāyatri consists of eight syllables.
So these [three] forms of the vital breath constitute the third foot of the Gāyatri.
Whosoever knows this about the third foot of the Gāyatri
wins all the living beings that are in the universe.

Now, its turīya, [apparently] visible (darśata),
and supramundane (parorajā) foot is this—the sun that glows yonder.

That which is fourth is called turīya.
He (the being in the solar orb) is [apparently] visible (darśata),
because he is seen, as it were, [by the yogis].

He is supramundane (parorajā),
because he shines alone on the whole universe as its overlord.

He who thus knows the fourth foot of the Gāyatri shines with splendour and glory.

4

That Gāyatri rests on that fourth, [apparently] visible, supramundane foot.
And that, again, rests on truth.

The eye is truth, for the eye is indeed truth.
Therefore, even today, if two persons come disputing,
one saying: “I saw it,” and another: “I heard of it,”
we should trust the one who says: “I saw it.”

That truth rests on strength. The vital breath (Prāṇa) is strength.
Hence truth rests on the vital breath.
Therefore they say that strength is more powerful than truth.

Thus the Gāyatri is based on the vital breath within the body.
That Gāyatri protected the gayas. The organs are the gayas;
therefore the Gāyatri protected (tatre) the organs.
Because it protected the organs, it is called the Gāyatri.

The Sāvitri [verse], which the teacher communicates to the pupil, is no other than this.
It saves the organs of the pupil to whom it is imparted by the teacher.

5

Some impart [to the pupil] the Sāvitri which is in the Anuṣṭhubha metre, saying:
“[The goddess of] speech is Anuṣṭhubha; [so] we shall impart it to him.”

But one should not do that. One should impart only that Savitri which is Gāyatri.

Verily, if one who knows this accepts too much as a gift, as it were,
it is not enough for even one foot of the Gāyatri.

6

If he (the knower of the Gāyatri)
accepts [as a gift] the three worlds full of wealth,
he will be receiving [the fruit of knowing] only the first foot of the Gāyatri.

If he accepts [as a gift] as much
as this treasury of knowledge, the Vedas, [has to confer,]
he will be receiving [the fruit of knowing] only the second foot of the Gāyatri.

And if he accepts [as a gift] as much
as [is covered by] all living creatures in the world,
he will be receiving [the fruit of knowing] only the third foot of the Gāyatri.

While [the fruit of knowing] its fourth, [apparently] visible, supramundane foot—yonder sun that glows—is not to be counterbalanced by any gift received.

Indeed, how could anyone receive so much as a gift?

7

The salutation to the Gāyatri:
O Gāyatri, thou art one-footed, two-footed, three-footed, and four-footed.
And thou art without any feet, for thou art unattainable.
Salutation to thee, fourth foot, [apparently] visible and supramundane!
May the enemy never attain his object!”

[Should the knower of the Gāyatri] bear hatred towards anyone,
[he should] either [use this mantra]: “May his desired object never flourish!”—
in which case that object of the person
against whom he thus salutes the Gāyatri never flourishes—
or [he may say]: “May I attain that [cherished object] of his!”

8

On this subject Janaka, Emperor of Videha,
said to Buḍlila, the son of Aśvatarāśva:
‘Well, how is it that you, who called yourself a knower of the Gāyatri,
have come to be an elephant and are carrying me?”

He replied: “Because, Your Majesty, I did not know its mouth.”

Janaka said: “Fire is its mouth.
If people put a large quantity of fuel into the fire, it is all burnt up.
Similarly, a man who knows this, even if he commits a great many sins,
consumes them all and becomes pure, clean, and free from decay and death.”

Chapter XV
THE PRAYER OF A DYING PERSON

1

The door (real nature) of the truth (Satya Brahman) is covered by a golden disc.
Open it, O Nourisher!
Remove it so that I who have been worshipping the truth may behold it.

O Nourisher! O lone Traveller of the sky! O Controller! O Sun! O Offspring of Prajāpati!
Gather your rays. Withdraw your light.
I would see [through your grace] that form of yours which is the most benign.
I am indeed He, that puruṣa [who dwells in the sun]. I am immortal.

Now [when my body falls] may my breath return to the all-pervading Prāṇa!
May this body, reduced to ashes, [return to the earth]!

Om. O Fire, who art the symbol Om,
O god of deliberations, remember, remember all that I have done.

O Fire, lead us by the good path towards the enjoyment of the fruit of our action.
You know, O god, all our deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit.
We offer by words repeated salutations to you.