The Upanishads
Selections

Chandogya, Ch. 5
 Chandogya, Ch. 6
Chandogya, Ch. 8
Mandukya Upanishad
Svetashvatara, Ch. 2-3
Isa (complete)


Image: Inscription recording the establishment of the Sharvan Nath Temple, Haridwar

Chandogya Upanishad, chapter 5

The Chandogya Upanishad is generally considered one of the earliest Upanishads. One piece of evidence for this is that it uses the sacrificial language and metaphors characteristic of the earlier Brahmana texts. Another is that although it is much (MUCH) longer than any of the other Upanishads, it has no clearly defined philosophical perspective, and is often inconsistent or even contradictory. This Upanishad is a collection of dialogues and stories, and their ultimate purpose is less to articulate a specific doctrine than to speculate--on the ultimate nature of the universe and the ultimate nature of human beings.  To speak in very broad terms, the people who composed the Upanishads were seeking the ultimate realities upon which all other things were based.

The following story contains the first known reference to reincarnation. Note the differences between the two paths (the way of the Gods and theWay of the ancestors) and the results coming from each. Note too that the person revealing this secret knowledge is not a brahmin, but a member of the princely class.]

5.3.1. Svetaketu Aruneya once went to an assembly of the Panchalas, and Pravahana Jaibali adressed him thus: "Young man, has your father instructed you?"
"Yes indeed sir, he said"

2. Do you know where living creatures go [when they depart] from here?
"No sir."
"Do you know how they come back again?"
"No sir."
"Do you know the partings of the two paths, the way of the gods and the way of the ancestors?"
"No sir."

3. "Do you know how it is that the world up there is not filled up?"
"No sir."
"Do you know how it is that at the fifth offering water comes to have a human voice?"
"No sir."

4. "Then, how could you say that you had been instructed? How indeed could anyone who does not know these things consider themselves instructed?"
Much depressed, he returned to his father's house, and said to him: "You have not instructed me at all, and yet, sir, you claimed that you had done so. Some fellow of the princely class asked me five questions, and I was unable to answer even one of them."
The father said, "I do not know the answer to even one of these questions you have repeated to me. Had I known, would I not have told you?"

6. Then Gautama (the father) went off to the king's house, and on his arrival [the king] paid him due respect. The next morning the king went up to Gautama as he was entering the assembly-hall, and said: "Venerable Gautama, ask for whatever you would like."
Gautama said, "Keep such things for yourself, your majesty. Rather, tell me what you asked this young man."

7. The king was troubled. Then he bade Gautama stay with him for awhile and said: "As for what you have asked, this wisdom has never reached the brahmins before you, and that is why in all the worlds ruling power has belonged to the princely class alone." Then he said to him.....

[SECTIONS 5.4-5.8 DESCRIBE, USING THE METAPHOR OF SACRIFICE, THE CONCEPTION OF A HUMAN BEING. THE FIFTH "OFFERING" MENTIONED IS THE SEMEN THAT BRINGS ABOUT CONCEPTION].

5.9.1 "Thus at the fifth oblation water comes to have a human voice. Enveloped in the womb the embryo lies for nine, ten, or however many months, and is then born.

2. "Once born he lives out his allotted span. When dead he is carried from here to the [cremation] pyre to go to the allotted place from which he came, from which he arose.

5.10.1. "Those who know thus as well as those who worship in the forest, knowing that self-mortification is the same as faith, merge into the flame (of the pyre), from the flame they pass on to the day, from the day to the waxing moon, from the waxing moon to the six months when the sun is moving northwards, (2) from those months into the year, from the year into the sun, from the sun into the moon, from the moon into the lightning. There, there is a non-human Person. He leads them on to Brahman. This path is the "way of the gods."

3. "But those who in their villages lay great store by sacrifice, good works, and giving alms, merge into smoke, from the smoke they go to the night, from the night to the waning moon, from the waning moon to the six months when the sun moves southwards. These do not reach the year. (4) From those months they go to the world of the ancestors, from the world of the ancestors into space, from space into the moon which is King Soma, the food of the gods. This the gods eat up.

5. There they remain until the merit (from their good deeds) is exhausted, and then they once again return on the same path. They merge into space, from space to wind, from wind to smoke, from smoke to mist, (6) from mist they become a cloud, after which they pour forth as rain. Then they are born here as rice or barley, herbs or trees, sesame or beans. To emerge from these is difficult, only if someone or other eats him as food and pours him out as semen can he be reborn.

7. Those whose conduct on earth has given pleasure, can hope to enter a pleasant womb, that is, the womb of a Brahmin, or a woman of the princely class, or a woman of the peasant class; but those whose conduct on earth has been foul can expect to enter a foul and stinking womb, such as the womb of a dog or a pig or an outcast.

8. But those small and continually returning creatures (like flies and worms) are not to be found on either of these two paths: theirs is a third condition, "Be born and die."
That is why the world up there is not filled up, and that is why a man should carefully watch his actions. On this there is the following verse:

9. "Stealer of gold, drinker of wine, defiler of his teacher's bed, slayer of Brahmins,
These four are the greatest sinners, as is one who associates with them.

10. But whoever knows these five fires is not defiled by evil, even though he associates with such people. Pure and clean, he reaches the world of the good and the pure.

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Chandogya Upanishad, chapter 6. 

The following passage, from the sixth book, is concerned with the nature of the universe, the search for the ultimate Reality that the Upanishads name as Brahman.  Note too the way in which it reflects the Shramana ethos, prizing genuine enlightenment far more than textual mastery.

6.1.1. Om! There was [a boy named] Svetaketu Aruneya, and his father said to him, "Svetaketu, go live as a seeker of Brahman! Verily, dear boy, in our family there is no one without learning, a brahmin by virtue of [one's] relations, as it were."

2. Having become a pupil at 12 and having studied all the Vedas, he returned [home] at 24, proud, conceited, thinking himself well-schooled. Then his father said to him:

3. "Svetaketu, since you are proud and conceited, dear boy, and consider yourself learned, did you ask for that instruction by which that which is not heard, becomes heard, [that which is] not thought, becomes thought, and [that which is] not known becomes known?"
"But in what manner, sir, is this teaching?"

4. "Just as from a single lump of clay, dear boy, one would know about everything made from clay, the difference being a mere verbal distinction, a name, the reality is only `clay.'

5. Just as from one lump of copper, dear boy, one would know about everything made from copper, the difference being a mere verbal distinction, a name, the reality is only `copper.'

6. As from a single nail-scissor, dear boy, one would know about all iron objects, the difference being a mere verbal distinction, a name, the reality is only `iron,' this is that teaching, dear boy."

7. "Indeed, those worthy men did not know this, for if they had known it why did they not tell me? Sir, please tell it to me."
"Certainly, dear boy," he replied.

6.2.1. "In the beginning, dear boy, this world was Being--One only, without a second. To be sure, some say that in the beginning this world was only non-Being, one only without a second, and that from that non-Being Being was born.

2. "But, dear boy, how could this be?" he said, "how could Being be produced from non-Being? In the beginning there was Being alone, one only, without a second.

[After this preliminary discourse on the nature of Brahman as that which is the source of all other things, we come back in the ninth chapter of book six, where Svetaketu's father talks of the relationship between Brahman and the individual human being.]

1. "As bees, dear boy, produce honey by gathering together the nectars from the flowering trees in every direction, those nectars become one single honey.

2. And just as those nectars do not get the idea `I am the nectar of this tree, I am the nectar of that tree,' indeed in the very same way, dear boy, all these beings, having sprung from Being, do not know `We have sprung from Being.'

3. Whatever they are in this world--tiger, lion, wolf, bear, worm, flying insect, biting insect, or mosquito--that they become.

4. That which is the finest essence, the whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu!"
"O Blessed One, instruct me further."
"Certainly, dear boy," he replied.

6.10.1. "As these rivers flow, dear boy, the eastern ones to the east, the western ones to the west, they go from the sea to the sea alone, they become the sea itself. Just as there they do not know `I am this one, I am that one...'

2. In the same way, dear boy, all these beings, although they have come from Being, do not know `We have come from Being.' [Whatever] they are in this world--tiger, lion, wolf, bear, worm, flying insect, biting insect, or mosquito--that they become.

3. That which is the finest essence, the whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu!"
"O Blessed One, instruct me further."
"Certainly, dear boy," he replied.

6.12.1. "Bring a fig from over there."
"Here it is, sir."
"Divide it."
"It is divided, sir."
"What do you see there?"
"These rather small seeds, sir."
"Divide one."
"It is divided, sir."
"What do you see?"
"Nothing, sir."

2. "Dear boy," he said to him, "that finest essence which you do not perceive, from this very essence, dear boy, that great fig tree arises.

3. Believe me, dear boy, that which is the finest essence, the whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu!"
"O Blessed One, instruct me further."
"Certainly, dear boy," he replied.

6.13.1. "Place this salt in water, and in the morning come to me." He did exactly so, and he said to him, "the salt that you put in the water last night, bring it hither. But while he grasped for it he could not find it, since it had completely dissolved.

2. "Take a sip from the edge of it. What is there?"
"Salt."
"Take a sip from the middle. What is there?"
"Salt."
"Take a sip from the far edge. What is there?"
"Salt."
"Set it aside and come to me." And [the boy] did exactly that, [saying] "It is always the same."
He said to him, "Being is indeed truly here, dear boy, but you do not perceive it here.

3. That which is the finest essence, the whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu!"
"O Blessed One, instruct me further."
"Certainly, dear boy," he replied.

6.14.1. "Just as, dear boy, one might lead a blindfolded man from the land of the Gandharas, and abandon him in an uninhabited place, [he might have] traveled to the east, the north or the south, [but he would not know this], since he had been led blindfolded, and abandoned blindfolded.

2. And just as someone having removed the blindfold would tell him `The Gandharas are in this direction, go in this direction,' That resourceful man, asking the learned in every village, would arrive at the land of the Gandharas. In the same way, in this world a man possessing a teacher knows `I shall not be released until I have [broken the bonds of ignorance], then I will arrive home.'"

3. That which is the finest essence, the whole universe has That as its soul. That is Reality, That is the Self, and That is you, Svetaketu!"...."
Thus Svetaketu understood it from him, thus he understood it.

Chandogya Upanishad, chapter 8

[This particular story is still centered on the search for the Self, but with different characters, and a different understanding of the Self (this latter point shows that the understanding of the Self in the Upanishads was still speculative, and not yet philosophically fixed.]

8.7.1. Prajapati (the creator) declared: "That Self which is free from evil, ageless, deathless, without hunger or thirst, whose desires and declarations are true--that is to be sought after, to be discerned. One who thoroughly investigates and realizes that Self obtains all the worlds, attains all desires."

2. Both the gods and demons heard that, and they said: "Alas! Let us seek after that Self, the Self which having sought after one obtains all the worlds and attains all desires!" And Indra from the gods and Virochana from the demons went forth, the two without consulting each other, and came, fuel in hand, to Prajapati.

3. They lived as students for 32 years, and Prajapati said to them: "Desiring what have you lived thus?"
They said: "That Self which is free from evil, ageless, deathless, without hunger or thirst, whose desires and declarations are true--that is to be sought after, to be discerned. One who thoroughly investigates and realizes that Self obtains all the worlds, attains all desires. Such do people declare to be your words, and desiring that have we [lived] in this manner."

4. And Prajapati said to them: "That person seen by the eye, that is the Self of which I spoke, that is the deathless, without fear, that is Brahman."
"But sir, that which one perceives in water and that which [one sees in] a mirror, which one is he?"
"That very One, That One is perceived in all of these" he (Prajapati) said.

8.8.1. Prajapati said "Look at yourself in a pan of water, and tell me anything you do not understand about the Self."
The two of them looked in a pan of water, and Prajapati said to them, "What do you see?"
They said "We see a reflection, sir, that corresponds exactly to ourselves, down to the hair and fingernails."

2. And then Prajapati said to them: "Become well-ornamented, well-dressed, and adorned, and look in a pan of water."
They became well-ornamented, well-dressed, and adorned, and looked in a pan of water. And Prajapati said to them "What do you see?"

3. And they said "Just as it is with us, sir, well-ornamented, well-dressed, and adorned, in the same way those two are well-ornamented, well-dressed, and adorned."
"This is the Self," he said, "this is the deathless, without fear, this is Brahman." And the two set out with tranquil hearts.

4. Having glanced after them, Prajapati said: "They are going without having comprehended, without having obtained the Self. Whoever upholds this doctrine (upanisad) will perish, [whether] gods or demons."
And Virochana went to the demons with tranquil heart, and to them spoke this doctrine: "Oneself alone is to be made happy here on earth, oneself alone is to be served! By making oneself happy and serving oneself, one attains both worlds, this one and the next."

5. And therefore even now, here on this earth, they say of one who gives no alms, has no faith, and performs no sacrifice "Alas! Demonic!," for this is the doctrine of the demons. Thus they adorn a dead body with ornaments and clothes [obtained] by begging, thinking [that] by this they will win the next world.

8.9.1. But then Indra, even before he had returned to the gods, saw this danger: "Truly, just as this [Self] is well-ornamented when the body is well-ornamented, well-clothed when it is well-clothed, adorned when it is adorned, in the same way when this [body] is blind it becomes blind, when lame it becomes lame, when maimed it becomes maimed, and it is destroyed with the destruction of the body. I see nothing enjoyable in this."

2. Then he went back, fuel in hand, and Prajapati said to him: "O Maghavan (Indra), since you and Virochana just departed with tranquil hearts, desiring what have you returned?"
And he said: "Verily, sir, just as the Self is well-ornamented when this body is well-ornamented, well-clothed when it is well-clothed, adorned when it is adorned, in the same way it is blind when the body is blind, lame when it is lame, maimed when it is maimed, and it is destroyed with the destruction of the body. I see nothing enjoyable in this."

3. "He (the Self) is even so, O Maghavan," he said to him, "but I will explain it to you further. Live with me 32 more years." He lived with him for 32 more years, and Prajapati spoke to him.

8.10.1. Prajapati said "He who wanders rejoicing in a dream, he is the Self. That is the deathless, without fear, that is Brahman," said he. And he (Indra) departed with tranquil heart. But even before reaching the gods, he saw this danger. "Even if this body is blind, that [Self] is not blind, it is not lame if [the body] is lame, it is not blemished by any defect of this [body].

2. It is not killed when the body is slain, not lame with [the body's] lameness, yet it is as if they kill it, as if they unclothe it, as if it experiences unpleasant things, as if it weeps. I see nothing enjoyable in this."

3. So he returned, fuel in hand, and Prajapati said to him: "O Maghavan, since you departed with tranquil heart, seeking what have you returned?"
He said "Sir, even if this body is blind, that [Self] is not blind, it is not lame if [the body] is lame, it is not blemished by any of its defects.

4. It is not killed with the body's slaying, nor not lame with its lameness, yet it is as if they kill it, as if they unclothe it, as if it experiences unpleasant things, even as if it weeps. I see nothing enjoyable in this."
"It is exactly so, O Maghavan," he said to him, "but I will explain it to you further. Live with me 32 more years." He lived with him for 32 more years, and Prajapati spoke to him.

8.11.1. He said "[that which one perceives] when one is sound asleep, composed, soothed, and knows no dream--that is the Self, that is the deathless, without fear, that is Brahman! And he (Indra) departed with tranquil heart. But even before reaching the gods, he saw this danger: "Alas! Surely this [sort of Self] is not aware of itself, having the thought `I am he,' nor of these [other] living beings, hence it too is merely destroyed. I see nothing enjoyable in this."

2. He went back, fuel in hand, and Prajapati said to him, "O Maghavan, since you departed with tranquil heart, desiring what have you returned?"
He said, "Alas! Surely, sir, such a self is not aware of itself, having the thought `I am he,' nor of these [other] living beings, hence it too is merely destroyed. I see nothing enjoyable in this."

3. "It is exactly so, O Maghavan," he said to him, "but I will explain it to you further. Live with me five more years. He dwelt there for five years more--that makes 101 years--and thus it is they say that Maghavan lived for 101 years in Prajapati's house as a student. And he (Prajapati) said to him:

8.12.1. "O Maghavan, verily this body is mortal, food for death, [but] it is the dwelling-place (adhisthanam) of the deathless, bodiless Self. An embodied person is subject to [both] the pleasant and the unpleasant, and for one embodied there is no escape from the pleasant and the unpleasant. But the pleasant and unpleasant do not touch (affect) one without a body.

2. The wind is bodiless, cloud, lightning, and thunder--these are bodiless. Now as these, having risen above this space and having attained the highest light, appear each in their own form,

3. even so the Soul, perfectly quiet, having risen above this body and attained the highest light, appears in its own form. He is the supreme person, he roams about there eating, playing, diverting himself with women and chariots, or with friends, not remembering this appendage [which is] a body. As a draft animal is yoked to a cart, in the same way the breath is yoked to this body.

4. Now when the eye is directed thus into space, [the One who directs it] is the seeing person, the eye is [the organ] for seeing. The one who knows `I am smelling this,' that is the Self, the nose is [the organ] for smelling. The one who knows `I am speaking this,' that is the Self, the voice is [the organ] for speaking. The one who knows `I am hearing this,' that is the Self, the ear is [the organ] for hearing.

5. The one who knows `I am thinking thus,' that is the Self, the mind is the divine eye. Truly, he who sees desires with this divine eye, the mind, enjoys them.

6. Truly, those gods in the realm of Brahman worship that Self, and because of this they have enjoyed all worlds and all desires. One who searches after that Self and realizes it attains all the realms and all desires." Thus spoke Prajapati, thus Prajapati spoke.

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The Mandukya Upanishad

[This is the shortest Upanishad, a mere twelve verses. The bulk of the Upanishad is concerned with showing the parallels between the Self and the primeval sound OM, which are both explicitly equated with the Ultimate Reality, Brahman. Its concise articulation of a specific philosophical position--in this case monism--is a good indication that it is a later Upanishad, since this phhilosophical perspective is so quickly and concisely laid out.  There were many Upanishads with many different sorts of ideas; and two are included under supplementary reading.  The Isa Upanishad, like the Mandukya, also puts forth the idea of monism (i.e., that the highest reality is some sort of impersonal Being).  The Svetasvatara Upanishad, in contrast, stresses the notion of theism (that the highest reality is a personal deity, in this case Rudra), as well as the earliest known mention of yoga.

In the text from the Mandukya Upanishad below, verse 8 is more easily understood when one knows that in classical Sanskrit grammar vowels could combine, and that the vowels A and U combined to form the vowel O.] 

1. HARI OM! This sound OM is the entire universe. Its explication is the past, present, and future, everything [that exists] is nothing but the sound OM.

2. Indeed, this world is Brahman. This Self (atman) is Brahman. This Self has four quarters.

3. The first quarter is the waking state, whose awareness [is directed] externally, seven-limbed, nineteen-mouthed, enjoying the gross [material things], common to all human beings.

4. The second quarter is the sleeping state, whose awareness [is directed] inward, seven-limbed, nineteen-mouthed, enjoying the delicate, the Radiant One.

5. When a sleeper desires no desire and perceives no dreams, that is deep sleep. The state of deep sleep, the unified, a mass of pure awareness, composed of bliss, enjoying bliss, whose mouth is thought, the Conscious, is the third quarter.

6. This is the Lord of all, this is the Omniscient, this is the Inner Controller, this is the womb of everything, the origin and end of all beings.

7. Conscious of neither exterior nor interior, nor of both, not a mass of consciousness, nor non-consciousness, nor a lack of consciousness. Not to be seen, with which there is no commerce, not to be grasped, without characteristics, not to be thought, not to be designated, whose essence is the certainty of oneness with the Self, the cessation of all development, peaceful, auspicious, non-dual--[so] they consider the fourth [quarter]. It is the Self, it is to be discerned.

8. That sound OM is [comparable to] the Self, with regard to its phonetic elements. The quarters are the elements, the elements are the quarters, namely the phonemes A, U, and M.

9. The waking state, common to all human beings, is the phoneme "A," the first element, from apti1 ("obtaining") or adimattva ("being first"). One who knows this becomes first, and obtains all desires.

10. The dreaming state, the Radiant, is the phoneme "U," the second element, from utkarsha ("drawing forth") and ubhayatvad ("bothness"). One who knows this draws forth a lineage of knowledge and becomes equal..

11. The state of deep sleep, the Conscious, is the phoneme "M," the third state, from miti ("measuring out") or apiti ("dissolution"). One who knows this measures out this whole universe, and becomes its dissolution.

12. The fourth is beyond all letters, with it there is no commerce, it is calm, the cessation of development, and without duality. Thus is OM, the Self alone, the one who knows this spontaneously (atmana) merges with the Self, yes, the one who knows this!

 

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The Svetashvatara Upanishad, Chapters 2 and 3

{The Svetashvatara Upanishad is generally considered the latest of the classical Upanishads. While the Mandukya Upanishad makes a concise case for monins, the Svetashvatara Upanishad propounds theism, the belief in the Supreme Being as the god Rudra, who has been identified with the classical Hindu god Shiva. The Svetashvatara is also noteworthy for its description, in the second chapter, of the process of yoga and the fruits of yogic practice. The second chapter begins, however, with seven verses of invocation to Savitr, the sun, using verses drawn directly from the Vedas and the Brahmanas, texts composed over a thousand years earlier. These verses are full of sacrificial images that are completely incongrous in the Upanishads. I include them here partly as a way to give you a "taste" of the earlier texts, but more as a way to help you realize that although historians speak of "distinct" textual periods in Hindu religious history--Vedic, Brahmanic, and Upanishadic--the reality is far more complex. These divisions are made based on the overall tendencies of a text, but it is not at all uncommon to find one type of text "embedded" in another.]

CHAPTER TWO

1. The [deity] Savitr, controlling the mind and thoughts for the Truth, first perceived the light of Agni (Fire) [and] drew it out from the Earth.

2. With mind controlled, we are inspired toward the heavens by the power of the divine Savitr.

3. Controlling through the mind the senses [that go] to radiant heaven through thought, may Savitr inspire them (the senses) that they may create a great light!

4. The seers of the great learned seer control [their] minds and control [their] thoughts. The One [who] knows the rules established the libations to the gods [performed] the sacrificial priest, great is the praise of the divine Savitr!

5. With reverential salutations I join [your] ancient prayer! The verses go forth [like] suns in their course. [May] all the sons of the deathless hear [me], they [who] reside in the divine dwellings!

6. Where the fire is kindled, where conjoined is the breath (of speech), where flows the Soma copiously, there arises understanding.

7. Through Savitr, the Inspirer, may one enjoy the ancient prayer! They [who] make their source there, [their] former [deeds] do not destroy [them]!

8. Holding the body steady, the three (head, neck, and chest) held straight, withdrawing into the heart the senses with the mind, the wise man through the Brahma-boat should cross over all the frightful streams [of this life].

9. With movements controlled and suppressing the breath here, he should breathe with shallow breaths through [his] nostrils. The wise man should vigilantly restrain his mind, as [one restrains] a chariot yoked to vicious horses.

10. One should practice yoga in a secluded place protected from the wind, [which is] clean, level, free from pebbles, fire, and gravel, with the sound of water and other such things, agreeable to the mind but not offensive to the eye.

11. Fog, smoke, rays of light, fire, wind, sun, lightning, crystal, the moon--in yoga these are the preliminary forms heralding the manifestation of Brahman.

12. When the fivefold quality of yoga is manifest, rising up from earth, water, fire, wind, and ether, there is no sickness, old age, of death, for him who has obtained a body made from the fire of yoga.

13. Lightness, freedom from disease, lack of desire, a pleasing complexion and melodious voice, a pure odor, and scanty excretions--these are named as the first signs of yogic progress.

14. Just as a mirror clouded with dust shines brilliantly when well-cleaned, even so the embodied one, perceiving the true nature of the Self, becomes One, [his] end accomplished, [all] sorrow gone.

15. When through the true nature of the Self, as by a lamp, the disciplined one perceives here the true nature of Brahman, unborn, steadfast, free from all nature, by knowing God one is released from all fetters!

16. Verily, this god faces all the directions. He is born, and he is in the womb. He alone is born, he is going to be born, he stands before all creatures, facing in all directions.

17. That god who is in fire, who is in water, who has entered the entire universe, who is in plants, who is in trees--to that god adoration, adoration!

CHAPTER THREE

1. That One who wields the net [of illusion], he rules by his ruling powers, he rules all worlds through his ruling powers. The one who is alone in their arising and existence, those who know this become immortal.

2. Rudra is the only One, they (the worlds) depend on no other, he rules these worlds with his ruling powers. The Protector, he stands opposite creatures, [and] having created all beings, gathers them together at the end of time.

3. Having an arm on every side and a face on every side, an arm on every side and a foot on every side, the One god, forging with his hands, with wings, creates heaven and earth.

4. He who is the source and origin of the gods, the Ruler of the universe, Rudra, the great seer, of old he produced the golden Seed (which was the source of the universe), may he endow us with pure discernment!

5. O Rudra, thy form which is auspicious (shiva), not terrifying, without semblance of evil, O mountain-dweller, appear to us here in that most peaceful form!

6. O mountain-dweller, the arrow which you carry in your hand to throw, make [it] kind, O mountain-protector! Harm not man [nor] beast!

7. Higher than this [world] is Brahman, the Higher, the Great, hidden in all beings according to the body, those [who] know that Lord, the surrounder of all things, become immortal.

8. I know that Person, the Great, colored like the sun, beyond darkness. Knowing Him alone, one passes beyond death, there is no other path for going.

9. Than whom nothing is higher or lower, than whom nothing is smaller or greater, the One stands in the heavens, fixed like a tree, by that Person this universe is pervaded.

10. What is still higher than this is without form, without illness. Those who know this become immortal, but the others attain only sorrow.

11. Who is the face and head and neck of all, who dwells in the secret place of all beings, he, the Lord, is all-pervading, therefore omnipresent and benevolent.

12. That person is verily a mighty lord, setting existence in motion, unto this purest attainment, the Lord, an imperishable light!

13. [That] thumb-sized person [is] the inner Self, eternally lodged in the hearts of all creatures. The Lord is gained through the heart, the mind, and thought, those who know this become immortal.....[skip to verse 18]

18. The embodied person is [trapped] in the nine-gated city, the soul continually hovers outside, the master of the entire world, of the moving and unmoving.

19. Without hands and feet, he is swift and seizes! Without eyes, he sees, without ears, he hears. He knows what is to be known, but of him there is no knower, they call him the First, the Great Person.

20. Smaller than the small, greater than the great, the Self is placed in the heart of this creature. Through the Creator's grace one sees him as free from desire, one sees the Lord and his greatness, [and] goes beyond all sorrow.

21. I know this [Lord] as undecaying and ancient, the Self of all things, omnipresent through [his] all-pervasiveness, of whom the speakers on Brahman call the cessation of birth, [of whom] they call the eternal!

Thus ends the third chapter of the Svetashvatara Upanisad.

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The Isa Upanishad

[As with many of the Upanishads, the Isa Upanishad takes its name from the first word of the text, (Isa="Lord"). The Isa Upanishad is a composite piece, in which several of the verses have been lifted from other, earlier Upanishads, and reading through it the breaks in the text become clear. There is speculation that the verses at the end represent the prayer of a dying man, at the moment of final liberation.]

1. This entire universe is pervaded by the lord, and whatever moves within it; abandon it and enjoy, do not covet the wealth of anyone.

2. Performing [ritual] actions here, one may desire to live one hundred years. Whatever you desire, it is the same for others, thus one's actions do not cling to one.

3. Those worlds are called demonic, covered with blind darkness, and those people who destroy themselves go to them after death.

4. Unmoving, it is swifter than the mind. Though going before it, the gods could not overtake it. Standing, it overtakes those who are running, in it water placed fire.

5. It moves, it moves not. It is far, it is near. It is inside all things, and it is outside all things.

6. Once one perceives all beings as one's very self, and oneself in all beings, then one will not want to conceal oneself.

7. When one has recognized that all beings are one's own self, for one perceiving this unity, then where is delusion, where is sorrow?

8. He encircles all things: brilliant, bodiless, unscathed, without sinews, pure, untouched by evil, a seer, wise, all-pervasive, self-born; he arranged things as they are since endless years.

9. Into blind darkness go those who serve ignorance (avidya), yet into greater darkness still go those who delight in wisdom (vidya).

10. It is different, they say, from wisdom, and different too from ignorance--thus we have heard from the wise who have described it to us.

11. One who knows together wisdom and ignorance transcends death through ignorance, through wisdom gains deathlessness.

12. Into blind darkness go those who serve non-becoming, yet into greater darkness still go those who delight in becoming.

13. It is different, they say, from becoming, and different too from nonbecoming--thus we have heard from the wise who have described it to us.

14. One who knows together becoming and destruction transcends death through destruction, through becoming gains deathlessness.

15. The face of truth is covered with a golden bowl. Open it, O Pushan, that we may behold the true path.

16. O Pushan, the only seer, O sun, son of Prajapati, scatter your rays and gather them. I see the light that is your fairest form, and that man in there, I am he.

17. My breath to the immortal winds, this body ends in ashes. Remember the sacrifices, remember the actions.

18. O Agni, lead us on the straight path to prosperity, O god who knows all the ways. Keep us far from crookedness, we would render to you the highest praise.

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