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Maitrayani Upanishad

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Om ! Let my limbs and speech, Prana, eyes, ears, vitality And all the senses grow in strength. All existence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny Brahman, nor Brahman deny me. Let there be no denial at all: Let there be no denial at least from me. May the virtues that are proclaimed in the Upanishads be in me, Who am devoted to the Atman; may they reside in me.

Om ! Let there be Peace in me ! Let there be Peace in my environment ! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

The Maitrayani Upanishad, sometimes called the Maitrayani-Brahmana Upanishad, deals with the division between the flesh and the spirit, desire and liberation, attachment and nonattachment. It describes the process by which the infinite and undefined (Brahman) takes on qualities and thus becomes the manifest universe. This infinite Brahman is the source of the intelligence of living beings, states the Upanishad, but the beings themselves do not know who it is that animates them, nor what it is by which they have their life.

Like many of the Upanishads, the teaching is given in the form of a dialogue between master and students, in which the students ask the master questions, to which he responds, generally at length. Here, the master is Sakayanya, and he describes to his students the process (Yoga) by which they may regain their knowledge of their own nature.

Because the Maitrayani Upanishad focuses on the dualities of spirit and matter, or desire and liberation, the Yoga it describes is very different to the pure Yoga of knowledge described in, for example, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Here the emphasis is on denial and asceticism, the rejection of the desires of the flesh and emotions, the rejection of the thoughts of the mind, and the nullification of all individual movements of the being. The goal is Nirvana, and the express elevator to Nirvana is the Sushumna, the pranic channel that runs along the spine and is the path that kundalini energy travels in its journey to the highest chakra, the sahasrar.

The Maitrayani Upanishad is rich in description and powerful in language, clothing the Divine (Brahman) in imagery and metaphor only to strip it away again and exhort the student to renounce all thoughts, comparisons, ideas and desires. There is some disagreement on its status, with some sites listing it as one of the major Upanishads, and others giving it only minor status, but it seems that it may have been a great influence on the more ascetic schools of Yoga and Hindu philosophy.


The King Brihadratha, setting up his eldest son as king, deeming the body to be impermanent, getting detachment, went to the forest. He performed great penance and stood looking at the sun, arms uplifted. At the end of a thousand years the sage Sakayana approached (him) like, fire without smoke, burning with his lustre and said 'Oh King, arise and choose a boon'. He bowed and said, 'Sir, I am ignorant of the self. You know it; please impart it'.

'This has happened in the past, and is impossible, ask for other desires'. But the King touched his feet and said, 'Sir, what is the use of enjoyment in this body which smells badly and is a mass of bones, skins, etc., attacked by lust, anger, etc., separation from near and dear people, hunger, thirst etc. We see that all this is decaying, like flies and mosquitoes which live and die.

Great kings Dudyumna, Bhuridyumna, Indradyumna, Kuvalayasva, Yauvanasva etc., of Suryavamsa, Marutta etc., of the Somavamsa, relinquished this world and went to the other, even as the relatives were watching. We also see how Gandharvas, Asuras, Yaksas and others are dead and gone. The oceans become dry, mountains fall, Dhruva star is shaken, trees and earth are uprooted.

There is only rebirth in this world after all the enjoyment. You should uplift me who am like a frog in a dark well. You are my refuge.


The sage Sakayanya being pleased said, 'O King, the flag (ornament) of the Ikshvaku dynasty, you know the self, have done your duty, famous as the son of king Marut. This indeed, is your self'. 'Which, O Lord' (he asked). He replied: 'It cannot be described. This one, bound by external causes, going upward, suffering and yet not (really) suffering, dispels ignorance like the sun dispelling darkness. The tranquil one rising from this body and approaching the supreme, manifests itself in its own essence, immortal, fearless.

This Brahma-vidya has been imparted to us by Lord Maitreya. I shall teach you the same. The sinless, powerfully radiant and chaste Valakhilyas spoke to Prajapati, 'Lord, this body is inert like a cart. Which subtle being has such greatness that the body is set up as a conscious thing ? Who is the driver of this body ?'

He told them 'He who is beyond speech, is pure, holy, empty of delusion, placid, breathless, independent, endless, unchangeable, eternal, unborn, free, in his own glory. He is the driver.

They said, 'How can this body be set up like this by one who is devoid of desire ?' He replied 'The self is subtle, non-object, invisible and called Purusha. In part he is consciously present here and awakens the sleeper. That conscious part of this Purusha is the knower of the body in every individual. His marks are imagination, determination and conceit - he is the Lord of creatures, the eye of all. By that conscious being is the body set up. He is the driver.

They asked, 'Lord, how can such a being exist in part?'

He told them, 'This Prajapati was there in the beginning. Being alone he was not happy. He contemplated on himself and made numerous beings. They were unaware of him, breathless, inert like a post. He was not happy and thought, 'To kindle their awareness, I shall enter into them'. Making himself like air, he entered, not as one but making himself five-fold Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana airs. The breath that moves upward is Prana, Apana moves down. Samana is that which causes the eaten food to settle and circulates it to every limb equally. Udana throws up and sends down the drink and food. That which pervades the nerves is Vyana. The Vaisvanara wind overpowers the Antaryami wind and vice versa. In between these two warmth is exuded - the warmth is the spirit - spirit is cosmic fire. Also this has been stated elsewhere. The fire within is the cosmic fire, the inner fire by which food is digested. The sound of digestion is heard with closed ears, not when one is about to die.
This supreme being dividing himself into five, established in the cave (heart) is all mental, his body is the vital breath. He has many forms, his imaginations are true.

Standing in the core of the heart, he strives and thinks: Let me become all things. Uprisen, dividing things by the five rays, he experiences then. The sense organs are the rays, the motor organs are the horses; the body the chariot, mind is the driver, of the nature of Prakriti; driving with the whip, he makes the body revolve like a wheel. Due to him is the body a conscious entity.

This self is truly led to depend on the non-self by the fruit of actions, white and dark, is overwhelmed, as it were, by them and flits from body to body. Being unmanifest, subtle, invisible, non-object, unpossessive, free from states, non-agent, (but) abides like an agent.

He is truly pure, steadfast, immutable, untarnished, uneager, desireless, abiding as witness, experiences 'fruits of actions', is loved by a sheet (of Prakriti.


They said, 'O Lord, who then is the other self, overwhelmed by the white and dark fruits of actions and goes to wombs, good and bad, who goes down or up wandering, overcome by dualities ?'

He replied: There is indeed another self in elements, overwhelmed by actions white and dark. Elements means the five root-elements as well as the five concrete elements. Their complex is the body.

The self is like a drop of water in the lotus (leaf). This is overwhelmed by Prakriti. Being overcome he is in a state of delusion and does not see the Lord in himself making him act. Content with the mass of constituents and confused, unsteady, in eager pursuit, smitten by desire, yearning, conceited, thinking 'I am that, this is mine' he binds himself by himself as in a net, he roams about.

Elsewhere also it has been said. 'The agent indeed is the Elemental self. The inner spirit causes actions by means of instruments just as iron pervaded by fire and beaten by workers is split into may, so, the elemental self pervaded by the inner spirit and pressed by Prakriti becomes many. The group of three aspects, assuming the forms of 84 Lakhs of living beings constitutes the mass of elemental beings. This is the form of plurality. The constituents are impelled by the spirit as a wheel by its driver. As the fire is not beaten (only the iron is), so the elemental self and not the spirit is over-powered.

It has been stated: this body without consciousness has been generated by the sex-act - it is hell - has via the urinary passage, sustained by bones, covered with flesh and skin, filled with faeces, urine etc., -- it is a shattered sheath. It has been affirmed 'Delusion, fear, depression, sleep, wound, old age etc., being full of these Tamasa and Rajasa traits (like desire), the elemental self is overwhelmed. Hence indeed, it inevitably assumes different forms.


It has been said: 'As waves in great rivers, the past deeds are one's safeguard - like the coast line for the ocean. Rebirth is unavoidable - bound by good and bad results (of actions), as a beast by ropes. Like a prisoner, one in the clutches of Death is not free; dwells in the midst of many fears. He who is maddened by worldly pleasures is like one intoxicated. He is in the grip of sin and roams, like one bitten by a snake is he in the jaws of danger, as in darkness one is blinded by passion. As caught in a magic show one is in the midst of Maya. He sees every thing wrongly as in a dream, essenceless like the pith of plantain - like an actor dressed up for a moment - falsely attractive like a painted wall. It has been stated 'sense-objects' like sound are there, sources of trouble. Attached to them, the self forgets the supreme place.

The remedy is the winning of knowledge - following one's own Dharma, one's law of life supports all like a tree-trunk. By this law does one go upwards; without it one tumbles down - this has been laid down in the Vedas. A transmission of the law cannot really be in the Ashrama (stage of life). One who is in the Ashrama is said to be a real ascetic.

It has also been said: 'By penance is Sattva got and by Sattva is the (refined) mind; by mind is the spirit got and by the spirit attained, does (transmigration) stop.
The following verses are relevant:

Just as fire without fuel dies in its own source, so the mind by the dying of its modes, calms down in the source. The modes of mind, withdrawn, of the lover of Truth, not deceived by sense objects, are false. They follow laws of action -migrating life is mind indeed. Take pains to purge it well. What the mind dwells on, that fills one's life. This is the everlasting mystery. With the purged mind, fixed on the self, one fears on endless bliss. If the mind attached to sense objects is fixed upon the supreme spirit, who will not be liberated ? Mind is of two kinds: the impure is filled with desires; the pure is without them. When a person makes his mind free from dissolution and restlessness, reaches the mindless state, it is the high place. The mind is to be restrained only so long as it is not dissolved in the heart. This is knowledge and release too - rest is mere details. The joy got by the mind which is purified by Samadhi and fixed upon the spirit, cannot be described by words but grasped only by the mind. Water mixed in water cannot be distinguished, so also fire in fire and sky in sky, so the mind spirit - man is freed. Mind is the only cause of bondage and liberation: attached to objects, it gives bondage - without them, liberation.

You are Bhahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Prajapati, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Indra, Moon, Manu, Yama, Bhumi, Achyuta. In heaven you dwell in your own self in many ways. I bow to you, the lord of all, the soul of all, doer of allocations, protector of all; all illusion, all sport are you. The placid in nature, the most secret, beyond thought and knowledge without beginning and end.

It was all Tamas - then impelled by the Supreme, it became uneven - Rajas compelled, becomes uneven. This all came out of Sattva, the conscious being, in every person, indicated by thought, determination and conceit. Prajapati spoke about it. The first bodies are Brahma etc. He is the aspects of Tamas, Rudra of Sattva. Vishnu became three-fold, eight-fold etc., unlimited and moves among creatures - the support of all creatures and their lord, inside and outside them.

Om! Let my limbs and speech, Prana, eyes, ears, vitality And all the senses grow in strength. All existence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny Brahman, nor Brahman deny me. Let there be no denial at all: Let there be no denial at least from me. May the virtues that are proclaimed in the Upanishads be in me, Who am devoted to the Atman; may they reside in me.

   Om! Let there be Peace in me ! Let there be Peace in my environment ! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me!


1. Next follows Kutsayana's hymn of praise: 'Thou art Brahma, and thou art Vishnu, thou art Rudra, thou Pragapati, thou art Agni, Varuna, Vayu, thou art Indra, thou the Moon. Thou art Anna (the food or the eater), thou art Yama, thou art the Earth, th-ou art All, thou art the Imperishable. In thee all things exist in many forms, whether for their natural or for their own (higher) ends. Lord of the Universe, glory to thee! Thou art the Self of All, thou art the maker of All, the enjoyer of All; thou art all life, and the lord of all pleasure and joy. Glory to thee, the tranquil, the deeply hidden, the incomprehensible, the immeasurable, without beginning and without end.'

2. 'In the beginning darkness (tamas) alone was this. It was in the Highest, and, moved by the Highest, it becomes uneven. Thus it becomes obscurity (ragas). Then this obscurity, being moved, becomes uneven. Thus it becomes goodness (sattva). Then this goodness, being moved, the essence flowed forth. This is that part (or state of Self) which is entirely intelligent, reflected in man (as the sun is in different vessels of water) knowing the body (kshetragna), attested by his conceiving, willing, and believing, it is Pragapati, called Visva. His manifestations have been declared before. Now that part of him which belongs to darkness, that, O students, is he who is called Rudra. That part of him which belongs to obscurity, that, O students, is he who is called Brahma. That part of him which belongs to goodness, that, O students, is he who is called Vishnu. He being one, becomes three, becomes eight, becomes eleven, becomes twelve, becomes infinite. Because I he thus came to be, be is the Being (neut.), he moves about, having entered all beings, he has become the Lord of all beings. He is the Self within and without, yes, within and without.'


1. He (the Self) bears the Self in two ways, as he who is Prana (breath), and as he who is Aditya (the sun). Therefore there are two paths for him, within and without, and they both turn back in a day and night. The Sun is the outer Self, the inner Self is Breath. Hence the motion of the inner Self is inferred from the motion of the outer Self . For thus it is said:

'He who knows, and has thrown off all evil, the overseer of the senses, the pure-minded, firmly grounded (in the Self) and looking away (from all earthly objects), he is the same.' Likewise the motion of the outer Self is inferred from the motion of the inner Self. For thus it is said:
'He who within the sun is the golden person, who looks upon this earth from his golden place, he is the same who, after entering the inner lotus of the heart, devours food (perceives sensuous objects, &c.)'

2. And he who having entered the inner lotus of the heart, devours food, the same, having gone to the sky as the fire of the sun, called Time, and being invisible, devours all beings as his food.

What is that lotus and of what is it made? (the Valakhilyas ask.)

That lotus is the same as the ether; the four quarters, and the four intermediate points are its leaves.

These two, Breath and the Sun, move on near to each other (in the heart and in the ether). Let him worship these two, with the syllable Om, with the Vyahriti words (Bhuh, bhuvah, svar), and with the Savitri hymn.

3. There are two forms of Brahman, the material (effect) and the immaterial (cause). The material is false, the immaterial is true. That which is true is Brahman, that which is Brahman is light, and that which is light is the Sun. And this Sun became the Self of that Om.

He divided himself threefold, for Om consists of three letters, a+u+m. Through them all this is contained in him as warp and woof. For thus it is said:
'Meditate on that Sun as Om, join your Self (the breath) with the (Self of the) Sun.'

4. And thus it has been said elsewhere: The Udgitha (of the Sama-veda) is the Pranava (of the Rig-veda), and the Pranava is the Udgitha, and thus the Sun is Udgitha, and he is Pranava or Om. For thus it is said:

'The Udgitha, called Pranava, the leader (in the performance of sacrifices), the bright, the sleepless, free from old age and death, three-footed, consisting of three letters (a+u+m), and likewise to be known as fivefold (five Pranas) placed in the cave.' And it is also said:

'The three-footed Brahman has its root upward, the branches are ether, wind, fire, water, earth, &c. This one Asvattha by name, the world, is Brahman, and of it that is the light which is called the Sun, and it is also the light of that syllable Om. Therefore let him for ever worship that (breath and sun, as manifestations of Brahman) with the syllable Om.'

He alone enlightens us. For thus it is said:

'This alone is the Pure syllable, this alone is the highest syllable; he who knows that syllable only, whatever he desires, is his.'

5. And thus it has been said elsewhere: This Om is the sound-endowed body of him (Pranadityatman). This is his gender-endowed body, viz. feminine, masculine, neuter. This is his light-endowed body, viz. Agni, Vayu, ]Aditya]. This is his lord-endowed body, viz. Brahma, Rudra, Vishnu. This is his mouth-endowed body, viz. Garhapatya, Dakshinagni, Ahavaniya. This is his knowledge-endowed body, viz. Rik, Yagus, Saman. This is his world-endowed body, viz. Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svar. This is his time-endowed body, viz. Past, Present, Future. This is his heat-endowed body, viz. Breath, Fire, Sun. This is his growth-endowed body, viz. Food, Water, Moon. This is his thought-endowed body, viz. intellect, mind, personality. This is his breath-endowed body, viz. Prana, Apana, Vyana. Therefore by the aforesaid syllable Om are all these here enumerated bodies praised and identified (with the Pranadityatman). For thus it is said:

`O Satyakama, the syllable Om is the high and the low Brahman.'

6. This (world) was unuttered. Then forsooth Pragapati, having brooded, uttered it in the words Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svar. This is the grossest body of that Pragapati, consisting of the three worlds. Of that body Svar is the head, Bhuvah the navel, Bhuh the feet, the sun the eye. For in the eye is fixed man's great measure, because with the eye he makes all measurements. The eye is truth (satyam), for the person (purusha) dwelling in the eye proceeds to all things (knows all objects with certainty). Therefore let a man worship with the Vyahritis, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svar, for thus Pragapati, the Self of All, is worshipped as the (sun, the) Eye of All. For thus it is said:
'This (the sun) is Pragapati's all-supporting body, for in it this all is hid (by the light of the sun); and in this all it (the light) is hid. Therefore this is worshipped.'

7. (The Savitri begins:) Tat Savitur varenyam, i.e. 'this of Savitri, to be chosen.' Here the Aditya (sun) is Savitri, and the same is to be chosen by the love(r) of Self, thus say the Brahma-teachers.

(Then follows the next foot in the Savitri): Bhargo devasya dhimahi, i.e. 'the splendour of the god we meditate on.' Here the god is Savitri, and therefore he who is called his splendour, him I meditate on, thus say the Brahma-teachers.

(Then follows the last foot): Dhiyo yo nah prakodayat, i.e. 'who should stir up our thoughts.' Here the dhiyah are thoughts, and he should stir these up for us, thus say the Brahrna-teachers.

(He now explains the word bhargas). Now he who is called bhargas is he who is placed in yonder Aditya (sun), or he who is the pupil in the eye. And he is so called, because his going (gati) is by rays (bhabhih); or becau-se he parches (bhargayati) and makes the world to shrivel up. Rudra is called Bhargas, thus say the Brahma-teachers. Or bha means that he lights up these worlds; ra, that he delights these beings, ga that these creatures go to him and come from him; therefore being a bha-ra-ga, he is called Bhargas.

Surya (sun) is so called, because Soma is continually squeezed out (su). Savitri (sun) is so called, because he brings forth (su). Aditya (sun) is so called, because he takes up (ada, scil. vapour, or the life of man). Pavana is so called, because he purifies (pu). Apas, water, is so called, because it nourishes (pya).
And it is said:

'Surely the Self (absorbed in Prana, breath), which is called Immorta1, is the thinker, the perceiver, the goer, the evacuator, the delighter, the doer, the speaker, the taster, the srneller, the seer, the hearer, and he touches. He is Vibhu (the pervader), who has entered into the body.' And it is said:
'When the knowledge is twofold (subjective and objective), then he hears, sees, smells, tastes, and touches (something), for it is the Self that knows everything.'
But when the knowledge is not twofold (subjective only), without effect, cause, and action, without a name, without a comparison, without a predicate, what is that? It cannot be told.

8. And the same Self is also called Isana (lord), Sambhu, Bhava, Rudra (tamasa); Pragapati (lord of creatures), Visvasrig, (creator of all), Hiranyagarbha, Satyam (truth), Prana (breath), Hamsa (ragasa); Sastri (ruler), Vishnu, Narayana (sattvika); Arka, Savitri, Dhatri (supporter), Vidhatri (creator), Samrag (king), Indra, Indu (moon). He is also he who warms, the Sun, hidden by the thousand-eyed golden egg, as one fire by another. He is to be thought after, he is to be sought after. Having said farewell to all living beings, having gone to the forest, and having renounced all sensuous objects, let man perceive the Self from his own body.

'(See him) who assumes all forms, the golden, who knows all things, who ascends highest, alone in his splendour, and warms us; the thousand-rayed, who abides in a hundred places, the spirit of all creatures, the Sun, rises.'

9. Therefore he who by knowing this has become the Self of both Breath and Sun, meditates (while meditating on them) on his Self, sacrifices (while sacrificing to them) to his Self-this meditation, the mind thus absorbed in these acts, is praised by the wise.

Then let him purify the contamination of the mind by the verse Ukkhishtopahatam, &c.: 'Be it food left, or food defiled by left food, be it food given by a sinner, food coming from a dead person, or from one impure from childbirth, may the purifying power of Vasu, may Agni, and the rays of Savitri, purify it, and all my sin.'

First (before eating) he surrounds (the offered food) with water (in rincing his mouth). Then saying, Svaha to Prana, Svaha to Apana, Svaha to Vyana, Svaha to Samana, Svaha to Udana, he offers (the food) with five invocations (in the fire of the mouth). What is over, he eats in silence, and then he surrounds (the food) once more afterwards with water (rincing the mouth after his meal). Having washed let him, after sacrificing to himself, meditate on his Self with these two verses, Prano 'gnik and Visvo 'si, viz. 'May the Highest Self as breath, as fire (digestive heat), as consisting of the five vital airs, having entered (the body), himself satisfied, satisfy all, he who protects all.' 'Thou art Visva (all), thou art Vaisvanara (fire), all that is born is upheld by thee; may all offerings enter into thee; creatures live where thou grantest immortality to all.' He who eats according to this rule, does not in turn become food for others.

10. There is something else to be known. There is a further modification of this Self-sacrifice (the eating), namely, the food and the eater thereof. This is the explanation. The thinking Purusha (person), when he abides within the Pradhana (nature), is the feeder who feeds on the food supplied by Prakriti (nature). The elemental Self is truly his food, his maker being Pradhana (nature). Therefore what is composed of the three qualities (gunas) is the food, but the person within is the feeder. And for this the evidence is supplied by the senses. For animals spring from seed, and as the seed is the food, therefore it is clear that what is food is Pradhana (the seed or cause of everything).

Therefore as has been said, the Purusha (person) is the eater, Prakriti, the food; and abiding within it he feeds. All that begins with the Mahat (power of intellect) and ends with the Viseshas (elements), being developed from the distinction of nature with its three qualities, is the sign (that there must be a Purusha, an intelligent subject). And in this manner the way with its fourteen steps has been explained. (This is comprehended in the following verse): 'This world is indeed the food, called pleasure, pain, and error (the result of the three qualities); there is no laying hold of the taste of the seed (cause), so long as there is no development (in the shape of effect).' And in its three stages also it has the character of food, as childhood, youth, and old age; for, because these are developed, therefore there is in them the character of food.

And in the following manner does the perception of Pradhana (nature) take place, after it has become manifest:-Intellect and the rest, such as determination, conception, consciousness, are for the tasting (of the effects of Pradhana). Then there are the five (perceptive organs) intended for the (five) objects of senses, for to taste them. And thus are all acts of the five active organs, and the acts of the five Pranas or vital airs (for the tasting of their corresponding objects). Thus what is manifest (of nature) is food, and what is not manifest is food. The enjoyer of it is without qualities, but because he has the quality of being an enjoyer, it follows that he possesses intelligence.

As Agni (fire) is the food-eater among the gods, and Soma the food, so he who knows this eats food by Agni (is not defiled by food, as little as Agni, the sacrificial fire). This elemental Self, called Soma (food), is also called Agni, as having undeveloped nature for its mouth (as enjoying through nature, and being independent of it), because it is said, 'The Purusha (person) enjoys nature with its three qualities, by the mouth of undeveloped nature.' He who knows this, is an ascetic, a yogin, he is a performer of the Self-sacrifice (see before). And he who does not touch the objects of the senses when they intrude on him, as no one would touch women intruding into an empty house, he is an ascetic, a yogin, a performer of the Self-sacrifice.

11. This is the highest form of Self, viz. food, for this Prana (this body) subsists on food. If it eats not, it cannot perceive, hear, touch, see, smell, taste, and it loses the vital airs. For thus it is said:

'If it eats, then in full possession of the vital airs, it can perceive, hear, touch, speak, taste, smell, see.' And thus it is said:

'From food are born all creatures that live on earth; afterwards they live on food, and in the end (when they die) they return to it.'

12. And thus it is said elsewhere: Surely all these creatures run about day and night, wishing to catch food. The sun takes food with his rays, and by it he shines. These vital airs digest, when sprinkled with food. Fire flares up by food, and by Brahma (Pragapati), desirous of food, has all this been made. Therefore let a man worship food as his Self. For thus it is said:

'From food creatures are born, by food they grow when born; because it is eaten and because it eats creatures, therefore it is called food (annam).'

13. And thus it is said elsewhere: This food is the body of the blessed Vishnu, called Visvabhrit (all-sustaining). Breath is the essence of food, mind of breath, knowledge of mind, joy of knowledge. He who knows this is possessed of food, breath, mind, knowledge, and joy. Whatever creatures here on earth eat food, abiding in them he, who knows this, eats food. Food has been called undecaying, food has been called worshipful; food is the breath of animals, food is the oldest, food has been called the physician.

14. And thus it has been said elsewhere: Food is the cause of all this, time of food, and the sun is the cause of time. The (visible) form of time is the year, consisting of twelve months, made up of Nimeshas (twinklings) and other measures. Of the year one half (when the sun moves northward) belongs to Agni, the other to Varuna (when the sun moves southward). That which belongs to Agni begins with the asterism of Magha and ends with half of the asterism of Sravishtha, the sun stepping down northward. That which belongs to Soma (instead of Varuna) begins with the asterism (of Aslesha), sacred to the Serpents, and ends with half of the asterism of Sravishtha, the sun stepping up southward. And then there (are the months) one by one, belonging to the year, each consisting of nine-fourths of asterisms (two asterisms and a quarter being the twelfth part of the passage of the sun through the twenty-seven Nakshatras), each deter mined by the sun moving together with the asterisms.
Because time is imperceptible by sense, therefore this (the progress of the stin, &c.) is its evidence, and by it alone is time proved to exist. Without proof there is no apprehension of what is to be proved; but even what is to be proved can become proof, for the sake of making itself known, if the parts (the twinklings, &c.) can be distinguished from the whole (time). For thus it is said:

'As many portions of time as there are, through them the sun proceeds: he who worships time as Brahman, from him time moves away very far.' And thus it is said:

'From time all beings flow, from time they grow; in time they obtain rest; time is visible (sun) and invisible (moments).'

15. There are two forms of Brahman, time and non-time. That which was before the (existence of the) sun is non-time and has no parts. That which had its beginning from the sun is time and has parts. Of that which has parts, the year is the form, and from the year are born all creatures; when produced by the year they grow, and go again to rest in the year. Therefore the year is Pragapati, is time, is food, is the nest of Brahman, is Self. Thus it is said:

'Time ripens and dissolves all beings in the great Self, but he who knows into what time itself is dissolved, he is the knower of the Veda.'

16. This manifest time is the great ocean of creatures. He who is called Savitri (the sun, as begetter) dwells in it, from whence the moon, stars, planets, the year, and the rest are begotten. From them again comes all this, and thus, whatever of good or evil is seen in this world, comes from them. Therefore Brahman is the Self of the sun, and a man should worship the sun under the name of time. Some say the sun is Brahman, and thus it is said:

'The sacrificer, the deity that enjoys the sacrifice, the oblation, the hymn, the sacrifice, Vishnu, Pragapati, all this is the Lord, the witness, that shines in yonder orb.'

17. In the beginning Brahman was all this. He was one, and infinite; infinite in the East, infinite in the South, infinite in the West, infinite in the North, above and below and everywhere infinite. East and the other regions do not exist for him, nor across, nor below, nor above. The Highest Self is not to be fixed, he is unlimited, unborn, not to be reasoned about, not to be conceived. He is like the ether (everywhere), and at the destruction of the universe, he alone is awake.

Thus from that ether he wakes all this world, which consists of thought only, and by him alone is all this meditated on, and in him it is dissolved. His is that luminous form which shines in the sun, and the manifold light in the smokeless fire, and the heat which in the stomach digests the food. Thus it is said:

'He who is in the fire, and he who is in the heart, and he who is in the sun, they are one and the same.'

He who knows this becomes one with the one.

18. This is the rule for achieving it (viz. concentration of the mind on the object of meditation): restraint of the breath, restraint of the senses, meditation, fixed attention, investigation, absorption, these are called the sixfold Yoga. When beholding by this Yoga, he beholds the gold-coloured maker, the lord, the person, Brahman, the cause, then the sage, leaving behind good and evil, makes everything (breath, organs of sense, body, &c.) to be one in the Highest Indestructible (in the pratyagatman or Brahman). And thus it is said:

'As birds and deer do not approach a burning mountain, so sins never approach those who know Brahman.'

19. And thus it is said elsewhere: When he who knows has, while he is still Prana (breath), restrained his mind, and placed all objects of the senses far away from himself, then let him remain without any conceptions. And because the living person, called Prana (breath), has been produced here on earth from that which is not Prana (the thinking Self), therefore let this Prana merge the Pratia (himself) in what is called the fourth'. And thus it is said:
'What is without thought, though placed in the centre of thought, what cannot be thought, the hidden, the highest-let a man merge his thought there: then will this living being (lifiga) be without attachment.'

20. And thus it has been said elsewhere: There is the superior fixed attention (dharana) for him, viz. if he presses the tip of the tongue down the palate and restrains voice, mind, and breath, he sees Brahman by discrimination (tarka). And when, after the cessation of mind, he sees his own Self, smaller than small, and shining, as the Highest Self, then having seen his Self as the Self, he becomes Self-less, and because he is Self-less, he is without limit, without cause, absorbed in thought. This is the highest mystery, viz. final liberation. And thus it is said:

'Through the serenity of the thought he kills all actions, good or bad; his Self serene, abiding in the Self, obtains imperishable bliss.'

21. And thus it has been said elsewhere: The artery, called Sushumna, going upwards (from the heart to the Brahmarandhra), serving as the passage of the Prana, is divided within the palate. Through that artery, when it has been joined by the breath (held in subjection), by the sacred syllable Om, and by the mind (absorbed in the contemplation of Brahman), let him proceed upwards, and after turning the tip of the tongue to the palate, without using any of the organs of sense, let greatness perceive greatness. From thence he goes to selflessness, and through selflessness he ceases to be an enjoyer of pleasure and pain, he obtains aloneness (kevalatva, final deliverance). And thus it is said:

'Having successively fixed the breath, after it had been restrained, in the palate, thence having crossed the limit (the life), let him join himself afterwards to the limitless (Brahman) in the crown of the head.'

22. And thus it has been said elsewhere: Two Brahmans have to be meditated on, the word and the non-word. By the word alone is the non-word revealed. Now there is the word Om. Moving upward by it (where all words and all what is meant by them ceases), he arrives at absorption in the non-word (Brahman). This is the way, this is the immortal, this is union, and this is bliss. And as the spider, moving upward by the thread, gains free space, thus also he who meditates, moving upward by the syllable Om, gains independence.

Other teachers of the word (as Brahman) think otherwise. They listen to the sound of the ether within the heart while they stop the ears with the thumbs. They compare it to seven noises, like rivers, like a bell, like a brazen vessel, like the wheels of a carriage, like the croaking of frogs, like rain, and as if a man speaks in a cavern. Having passed beyond this variously apprehended sound, and having settled in the supreme, soundless (non-word), unmanifested Brahman, they become undistinguished and undistinguishable, as various flavours of the flowers are lost in the taste of honey. And thus it is said:

'Two Brahmans are to be known, the word-Brahman and the highest Brahman; he who is perfect in the word-Brahman attains the highest Brahman.'

23. And thus it has been said elsewhere: The syllable Om is what is called the word. And its end is the silent, the soundless, fearless, sorrowless, joyful, satisfied, firm, unwavering, immortal, immovable, certain (Brahman), called Vishnu. Let him worship these two, that he may obtain what is higher than everything (final deliverance). For thus it is said:

'He who is the high and the highest god, by name Om-kara, he is soundless and free from all distinctions: therefore let a man dwell on him in the crown of his head.'

24. And thus it has been said elsewhere: The body is the bow, the syllable Om is the arrow, its point is the mind. Having cut through the darkness, which consists of ignorance, it approaches that which is not covered by darkness. Then having cut through that which was covered (the personal soul), he saw Brahman, flashing like a wheel on fire, bright like the sun, vigorous, beyond all darkness, that which shines forth in yonder sun, in the moon, in the fire, in the lightning. And having seen him, he obtains immortality. And thus it has been said:

'Meditation is directed to the highest Being (Brahman) within, and (before) to the objects (body, Om, mind); thence the indistinct understanding becomes distinct.
And when the works of the mind are dissolved, then that bliss which requires no other witness, that is Brahman (Atman), the immortal, the brilliant, that is the way, that is the (true) world.'

25. And thus it has been said elsewhere: He who has his senses hidden as in sleep, and who, while in the cavern of his senses (his body), but no longer ruled by them, sees, as in a dream, with the purest intellect, Him who is called Pranava (Om), the leader, the bright, the sleepless, free from old age, from death, and sorrow, he is himself also called Pranava, and becomes a leader, bright, sleepless, free from old age, from death, and sorrow. And thus it is said:

'Because in this manner he joins the Prana (breath), the Om, and this Universe in its-manifold forms, or because they join themselves (to him), therefore this (process of meditation) is called Yoga (joining).

The oneness of breath, mind, and senses, and then the surrendering of all conceptions, that is called Yoga.'

26. And thus it has also been said elsewhere: As a sportsman, after drawing out the denizens of the waters with a net, offers them (as a sacrifice) in the fire of his stomach, thus are these Pranas (vital airs), after they have been drawn out with the syllable Om, offered in the faultless fire (Brahman).

Hence he is like a heated vessel (full of clarified butter); for as the clarified butter in the heated vessel lights up, when touched with grass and sticks, thus does this being which is called Not-breath (Atman) light up, when touched by the Pranas (the vital airs). And that which flares up, that is the manifest form of Brahman, that is the highest place of Vishnu, that is the essence of Rudra. And this, dividing his Self in endless ways, fills all these worlds. And thus it is said:

'As the sparks from the fire, and as the rays from the sun, thus do his Pranas and the rest in proper order again and again proceed from him here on earth.'

27. And thus it has also been said elsewhere: This is the heat of the highest, the immortal, the incorporeal Brahman, viz. the warmth of the body. And this body is the clarified butter (poured on it, by which the heat of Brahman, otherwise invisible, is lighted up). Then, being manifest, it is placed in the ether (of the heart). Then by concentration they thus remove that ether which is within the heart, so that its light appears, as it were. Therefore the worshipper becomes identified with that light without much delay. As a ball of iron, if placed in the earth, becomes earth without much delay, and as, when it has once become a clod of earth, fire and smiths have nothing more to do with that ball of iron, thus does thought (without delay) disappear, together with its support. And thus it is said:

'The shrine which consists of the ether in the heart, the blissful, the highest retreat, that is our own, that is our goal, and that is the heat and brightness of the fire and the sun.'

28. And thus it has been said elsewhere: After having left behind the body, the organs of sense, and the objects of sense (as no longer belonging to us), and having seized the bow whose stick is fortitude and whose string is asceticism, having struck down also with the arrow, which consists in freedom from egotism, the first guardian of the door of Brahman (for if man looks at the world egotistically, then, taking the diadem of passion, the earrings of greed and envy, and the staff of sloth, sleep, and sin, and having seized the bow whose string is anger, and whose stick is lust, he destroys with the arrow which consists of wishes, all beings) - having therefore killed that guardian, he crosses by means of the boat Om to the other side of the ether within the heart, and when the ether becomes revealed (as Brahman), he enters slowly, as a miner seeking minerals in a mine, into the Hall of Brahman. After that let him, by means of the doctrine of his teacher, break through the shrine of Brahman which consists of the four nets (of food, breath, mind, knowledge, till he reaches the last shrine, that of blessedness and identity with Brahman). Thenceforth pure, clean, undeveloped, tranquil, breathless, bodiless, endless, imperishable, firm, everlasting, unborn and independent, he stands on his own greatness, and having seen (the Self), standing in his own greatness, he looks on the wheel of the world as one (who has alighted from a chariot) looks on its revolving wheel. And thus it is said:
'If a man practises Yoga for six months and is thoroughly free (from the outer world), then the perfect Yoga (union), which is endless, high, and hidden, is accomplished.
But if a man, though well enlightened (by instruction), is still pierced by (the gunas of) passion and darkness, and attached to his children, wife, and house, then perfect Yoga is never accomplished.'

29. After he had thus spoken (to Brihadratha), Sakayanya, absorbed in thought, bowed before him, and said: `O King, by means of this Brahma-knowledge have the sons of Pragapati (the Valakhilyas) gone to the road of Brahman. Through the practice of Yoga a man obtains contentment, power to endure good and evil, and tranquillity. Let no man preach this most secret doctrine to any one who is not his son or his pupil, and who is not of a serene mind. To him alone who is devoted to his teacher only, and endowed with all necessary qualities, may he communicate it.

30. Om! Having settled down in a pure place let him, being pure himself, and firm in goodness, study the truth, speak the truth, think the truth, and offer sacrifice to the truth. Henceforth he has become another; by obtaining the reward of Brahman his fetters are cut asunder, he knows no hope, no fear from others as little as from himself, he knows no desires; and having attained imperishable, infinite happiness, he stands blessed in the true Brahman, who longs for a true man. Freedom from desires is, as it were, the highest prize to be taken from the best treasure (Brahman). For a man full of all desires, being possessed of will, imagination, and belief, is a slave; but he who is the opposite, is free.

Here some say, it is the Guna (i. e. the so-called Mahat, the principle of intellect which, according to the Sankhyas, is the result of the Gunas or qualities), which, through the differences of nature (acquired in the former states of existence), goes into bondage to the will, and that deliverance takes place (for the Guna) when the fault of the will has been removed. (But this is not our view), because (call it guna, intellect, buddhi, manas, mind, ahankara, egotism, it is not the mind that acts, but) he sees by the mind (as his instrument), he hears by the mind; and all that we call desire, imagination, doubt, belief, unbelief, certainty, uncertainty, shame, thought, fear, all that is but mind (manas). Carried along by the waves of the qualities, darkened in his imaginations, unstable, fickle, crippled, full of desires, vacillating, he enters into belief, believing I am he, this is mine, and he binds his Self by his Self, as a bird with a net. Therefore a man, being possessed of will, imagination, and belief, is a slave, but he who is the opposite is free. For this reason let a man stand free from will, imagination, and belief-this is the sign of liberty, this is the path that leads to Brahman, this is the opening of the door, and through it he will go to the other shore of darkness. All desires are there fulfilled. And for this they quote a verse:

"When the five instruments of knowledge stand still together with the mind, and when the intellect does not move, that is called the highest state."'

Having thus said, Sakayanya became absorbed in thought. Then Marut (i. e. the King Brihadratha), having bowed before him and duly worshipped him, went full of contentment to the Northern Path, for there is no way thither by any side-road. This is the path to Brahman. Having burst open the solar door, he rose on high and went away. And here they quote:

'There are endless rays (arteries) for the Self who, like a lamp, dwells in the heart: white and black, brown and blue, tawny and reddish.

One of them (the Sushumna) leads upwards, piercing the solar orb: by it, having stepped beyond the world of Brahman, they go to the highest path.

The other hundred rays rise upwards also, and on them the worshipper reaches the mansions belonging to the different bodies of gods.

But the manifest rays of dim colour which lead downwards, by them a man travels on and on helplessly, to enjoy the fruits of his actions here.'

Therefore it is said that the holy Aditya (sun) is the cause of new births (to those who do not worship him), of heaven (to those who worship him as a god), of liberty (to those who worship him as Brahman).

31. Some one asks: 'Of what nature are those organs of sense that go forth (towards their objects)? Who sends them out here, or who holds them back?'
Another answers: 'Their nature is the Self; the Self sends them out, or holds them back; also the Apsaras (enticing objects of sense), and the solar rays (and other deities presiding over the senses).'

Now the Self devours the objects by the five rays (the organs of sense); then who is the Self?

He who has been defined by the terms pure, clean, undeveloped, tranquil, &c., who is to be apprehended independently by his own peculiar signs. That sign of him who has no signs, is like what the pervading heat is of fire, the purest taste of water; thus say some. It is speech, hearing, sight, mind, breath; thus say others. It is intellect, retention, remembering, knowledge; thus say others. Now all these are signs of the Self in the same sense in which here on earth shoots are the signs of seed, or smoke, light, and sparks of fire. And for this they quote:

'As the sparks from the fire, and as the rays from the sun, thus do his Pranas and the rest in proper order again and again proceed from him here on earth.'

32. From this very Self, abiding within his Self, come forth all Pranas (speech, &c.), all worlds, all Vedas, all gods and all beings; its Upanishad (revelation) is that it is 'the true of the true.' Now as from a fire of greenwood,when kindled, clouds of smoke come forth by themselves (though belonging to the fire), thus from that great Being has been breathed forth all this which is the Rig-veda, the Yagur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharvangirasas (Atharva-veda), the Itihasa (legendary stories), the Purana (accounts of the creation, &c.), Vidya (ceremonial doctrines), the Upanishads, the Slokas (verses interspersed in the Upanishads, &c.), the Sutras (compendious statements), the Anuvyakhyanas (explanatory notes), the Vyakhyanas (elucidations) - all these things are his.

33. This fire (the Garhapatya-fire) with five bricks is the year. And its five bricks are spring, summer, rainy season, autumn, winter; and by them the fire has a head, two sides, a centre, and a tail. This earth (the Garhapatya-fire) here is the first sacrificial pile for Pragapati, who knows the Purusha (the Virag). It presented the sacrificer to Vayu (the wind) by lifting him with the hands to the sky. That Vayu is Prana (Hiranyagarbha).

Prana is Agni (the Dakshinagni-fire), and its bricks are the five vital breaths, Prana, Vyana, Apana, Samana, Udana; and by them the fire has a head, two sides, a centre, and a tail. This sky (the Dakshinagni-fire) here is the second sacrificial pile for Pragapati, who knows the Purusha. It presented the sacrificer to Indra, by lifting him with the hands to heaven. That Indra is Aditya, the sun.

That (Indra) is the Agni (the Ahavaniya-fire) and its bricks are the Rik, the Yagush, the Saman, the Atharvangirasas, the Itihasa, and the Purana; and by them the fire has a head, two sides, a tail, and a centre. This heaven (Ahavaniya-fire) is the third sacrificial pile for Pragapati, who knows the Purusha. With the hands it makes a present of the sacrificer to the Knower of the Self (Pragapati); then the Knower of the Self, lifting him up, presented him to Brahman. In him he becomes full of happiness and joy.

34. The earth is the Garhapatya-fire, the sky the Dakshina-fire, the heaven the Ahavaniya-fire; and therefore they are also the Pavamana (pure), the Pavaka (purifying), and the Suki (bright). By this (by the three deities, Pavamana, Pavaka, and Suki) the sacrifice (of the three fires, the Garhapatya, Dakshina, and Ahavaniya) is manifested. And because the digestive fire also is a compound of the Pavamana, Pavaka, and Suki, therefore that fire is to receive oblations, is to be laid with bricks, is to be praised, and to be meditated on. The sacrificer, when he has seized the oblation, wishes to perform his meditation of the deity:

'The gold-coloured bird abides in the heart, and in the sun-a diver bird, a swan, strong in splendour; him we worship in the fire.'

Having recited the verse, he discovers its meaning, viz. the adorable splendour of Savitri (sun) is to be meditated on by him who, abiding within his mind, meditates thereon. Here he attains the place of rest for the mind, he holds it within his own Self. On this there are the following verses:

  • As a fire without fuel becomes quiet in its place, thus do the thoughts, when all activity ceases, become quiet in their place.

  • Even in a mind which loves the truth and has gone to rest in itself there arise, when it is deluded by the objects of sense, wrongs resulting from former acts.

  • For thoughts alone cause the round of births; let a man strive to purify his thoughts. What a man thinks, that he is: this is the old secret.

  • By the serenity of his thoughts a man blots out all actions, whether good or bad. Dwelling within his Self with serene thoughts, he obtains imperishable happiness.

  • If the thoughts of a man were so fixed on Brahman as they are on the things of this world, who would not then be freed from bondage?

  • The mind, it is said, is of two kinds, pure or impure; impure from the contact with lust, pure when free from lust.

  • When a man, having freed his mind from sloth, distraction, and vacillation, becomes as it were delivered from his mind, that is the highest point.

  • The mind must be restrained in the heart till it comes to an end;-that is knowledge, that is liberty: all the rest are extensions of the ties (which bind us to this life).

  • That happiness which belongs to a mind which by deep meditation has been washed clean from all impurity and has entered within the Self, cannot be described here by words; it can be felt by the inward power only.

  • Water in water, fire in fire, ether in ether, no one can distinguish them; likewise a man whose mind has entered (till it cannot be distinguished from the Self), attains liberty.

  • Mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberty for men; if attached to the world, it becomes bound; if free from the world, that is liberty.

Therefore those who do not offer the Agnihotra (as described above), who do not lay the fires (with the bricks, as described above), who are ignorant (of the mind being the cause of the round of births), who do not meditate (on the Self in the solar orb) are debarred from remembering the ethereal place of Brahman. Therefore that fire is to receive oblations, is to be laid with bricks, is to be praised, to be meditated on.

35. Adoration to Agni, the dweller on earth, who remembers his world. Grant that world to this thy worshipper!

Adoration to Vayu, the dweller in the sky, who remembers his world. Grant that world to this thy worshipper!

Adoration to Aditya, the dweller in heaven, who remembers his world. Grant that world to this thy worshipper!

Adoration to Brahman, who dwells everywhere, who remembers all. Grant all to this thy worshipper!

The mouth of the true (Brahman) is covered with a golden lid; open that, O Pushan (sun), that we may go to the true one, who pervades all (Vishnu).

He who is the person in the sun, I am he.

And what is meant by the true one is the essence of the sun, that which is bright, personal, sexless; a portion (only) of the light which pervades the ether; which is, as it were, in the midst of the sun, and in the eye, and in the fire. That is Brahman, that is immortal, that is splendour.

That is the true one, a portion (only) of the light which pervades the ether, which is in the midst of the sun, the immortal, of which Soma (the moon) and the vital breaths also are offshoots: that is Brahman, that is immortal, that is splendour.

That is the true one, a portion (only) of the light which pervades the ether, which in the midst of the sun shines as Yagus, viz. as Om, as water, light, essence, immortal, Brahman, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svar, Om.

'The eight-footed, the bright, the swan, bound with three threads, the infinitely small, the imperishable, blind for good and evil, kindled with light-he who sees him, sees everything.'

A portion (only) of the light which pervades the ether, are the two rays rising in the midst of the sun. That is the knower (the Sun), the true one. That is the Yagus, that is the heat, that is Agni (fire), that is Vayu (wind), that is breath, that is water, that is the moon, that is bright, that is immortal, that is the place of Brahman, that is the ocean of light. In that ocean the sacrificers are dissolved like salt, and that is oneness with Brahman, for all desires are there fulfilled. And here they quote:

'Like a lamp, moved by a gentle wind, he who dwells within the gods shines forth. He who knows this, he is the knower, he knows the difference (between the high and the highest Brahman); having obtained unity, he becomes identified with it.

They who rise up in endless number, like spray drops (from the sea), like lightnings from the light within the clouds in the highest heaven, they, when they have entered into the light of glory (Brahman), appear like so many flame-crests in the track of fire.'

36. There are two manifestations of the Brahma-light: one is tranquil, the other lively. Of that which is tranquil, the ether is the support; of that which is lively, food. Therefore (to the former) sacrifice must be offered on the house-altar with hymns, herbs, ghee, meat, cakes, sthalipaka, and other things; to the latter, with meat and drinks (belonging to the great sacrifices) thrown into the mouth, for the mouth is the Ahavaniya-fire; and this is done to increase our bodily vigour, to gain the world of purity, and for the sake of immortality. And here they quote:

'Let him who longs for heaven, offer an Agnihotra. By an Agnishtoma he wins the kingdom of Yama; by Uktha, the kingdom of Soma; by a Shodasin-sacrifice, the kingdom of Surya; by an Atiratra-sacrifice, the kingdom of Indra; by the sacrifices beginning with the twelve-night sacrifice and ending with the thousand years' sacrifice, the world of Pragapati.

As a lamp burns so long as the vessel that holds the wick is filled with oil, these two, the Self and the bright Sun, remain so long as the egg (of the world) and he who dwells within it hold together.'

37. Therefore let a man perform all these ceremonies with the syllable Om (at the beginning). Its splendour is endless, and it is declared to be threefold, in the fire (of the altar), in the sun (the deity), in the breath (the sacrificer). Now this is the channel to increase the food, which makes what is offered in the fire ascend to the sun. The sap which flows from thence, rains down as with the sound of a hymn. By it there are vital breaths, from them there is offspring. And here they quote:
'The offering which is offered in the fire, goes to the sun; the sun rains it down by his rays; thus food comes, and from food the birth of living beings.'

And thus he said:

'The oblation which is properly thrown on the fire, goes toward the sun; from the sun comes rain, from rain food, from food living beings.'

38. He who offers the Agnihotra breaks through the net of desire. Then, cutting through bewilderment, never approving of anger, meditating on one desire (that of liberty), he breaks through the shrine of Brahman with its four nets, and proceeds thence to the ether. For having there broken through the (four) spheres of the Sun, the Moon, the Fire, and Goodness, he then, being purified himself, beholds dwelling in goodness, immovable, immortal, indestructible, firm, bearing the name of Vishnu, the highest abode, endowed with love of truth and omniscience, the self-dependent Intelligence (Brahman), standing in its own greatness. And here they quote:
'In the midst of the sun stands the moon, in the midst of the moon the fire, in the midst of fire goodness, in the midst of goodness the Eternal.'

Having meditated on him who has the breadth of a thumb within the span (of the heart) in the body, who is smaller than small, he obtains the nature of the Highest; there all desires are fulfilled. And on this they quote:

'Having the breadth of a thumb within the span (of the heart) in the body, like the flame of a lamp, burning twofold or threefold, that glorified Brahman, the great God, has entered into all the worlds. Om! Adoration to Brahman! Adoration!'


1. Agni, the Gayatra (metre), the Trivrit (hymn), the Rathantara (song), the spring, the upward breath (prana), the Nakshatras, the Vasus (deities)-these rise in the East; they warm, they rain, they praise (the sun), they enter again into him (the sun), they look out from him (the sun). He (the sun) is inconceivable, without form, deep, covered, blameless, solid, unfathomable, without qualities, pure, brilliant, enjoying the play of the three qualities, awful, not caused, a master-magician, the omniscient, the mighty, immeasurable, without beginning or end, blissful, unborn, wise, indescribable, the creator of all things, the self of all things, the enjoyer of all things, the ruler of all things, the centre of the centre of all things.

2. Indra, the Trishtubh (metre), the Pankadasa (hymn), the Brihat (song), the summer, the through-going breath (Vyana), Soma, the Rudras - these rise in the South; they warm, they rain, they praise, they enter again into him, they look out from him. He (the sun) is without end or beginning, unmeasured, unlimited, not to be moved by another, self-dependent, without sign, without form, of endless power, the creator, the maker of light.

3. The Maruts, the Gagati (metre), the Saptadasa (hymn), the Vairupa (song), the rainy season, the downward breath (apana), Sukra, the Adityas - these rise in the West; they warm, they rain, they praise, they enter again into him, they look out from him. That is the tranquil, the soundless, fearless, sorrowless, joyful, satisfied, firm, immovable, immortal, eternal, true, the highest abode, bearing the name of Vishnu.

4. The Visve Devas, the Anushtubh (metre), the Ekavimsa (hymn), the Vairaga (song), the autumn, the equal breath (samana), Varuna, the Sadhyas - these rise in the North; they warm, they rain, they praise, they enter again into him, they look out from him. He is pure within, purifying, undeveloped, tranquil, breathless, selfless, endless.

5. Mitra-Varunau, the Pankti (metre), the Trinavatrayastrimsa (hymns), the Sakvara-raivata (songs), the snowy and dewy seasons, the out-going breath (udana), the Angiras, the Moon - these rise above; they warm, they rain, they praise, they enter again into him, they look out from him-who is called Pranava (Om), the leader, consisting of light, without sleep, old age, death, and sorrow.

6. Sani (Saturn), Rahu and Ketu (the ascending and descending nodes), the serpents, Rakshas, Yakshas, men, birds, sarabhas, elephants, &c.-these rise below; they warm, they rain, they praise, they enter again into him, they look out from him - he who is wise, who keeps things in their right place, the centre of all, the imperishable, the pure, the purifier, the bright, the patient, the tranquil.

7. And he is indeed the Self, smaller (than small) within the heart, kindled like fire, endowed with all forms. Of him is all this food, within him all creatures are woven. That Self is free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, imagining nothing but what it ought to imagine, and desiring nothing but what it ought to desire. He is the highest lord, he is the supreme master of all beings, the guardian of all beings, a boundary keeping all things apart in their right places. He the Self, the lord, is indeed Sambhu, Bhava, Rudra, Pragapati, the creator of all, Hiranyagarbha, the true, breath, the swan, the ruler, the eternal, Vishnu, Narayana. And he who abides in the fire, and he who abides in the heart, and he who abides in the sun, they are one and the same. To thee who art this, endowed with all forms, settled in the true ether, be adoration!

8. Now follow the impediments in the way of knowledge, O King! This is indeed the origin of the net of bewilderment, that one who is worthy of heaven lives with those who are not worthy of heaven. That is it. Though they have been told that there is a grove before them, they cling to a small shrub. And others also who are always merry, always abroad, always begging, always making a living by handiwork; and others who are begging in towns, performing sacrifices for those who are not allowed to offer sacrifices, who make themselves the pupils of Sudras, and Sudras who know the sacred books; and others who are malignant, who use bad language, dancers, prize-fighters, travelling mendicants, actors, those who have been degraded in the king's service; and others who for money pretend that they can lay (the evil influences) of Yakshas, Rakshasas, ghosts, goblins, devils, serpents, imps, &c.; and others who falsely wear red dresses, earrings, and skulls; and others who wish to entice by the jugglery of false arguments, mere comparisons and paralogisms, the believers in the Veda - with all these he should not live together. They are clearly thieves, and unworthy of heaven. And thus it is said:

'The world unsettled by the paralogisms of the denial of Self, by false comparisons and arguments, does not know what is the difference between Veda and philosophy.'

9. Brihaspati, having become Sukra, brought forth that false knowledge for the safety of Indra and for the destruction of the Asuras. By it they show that good is evil, and that evil is good. They say that we ought to ponder on the (new) law, which upsets the Veda and the other sacred books. Therefore let no one ponder on that false knowledge: it is wrong, it is, as it were, barren. Its reward lasts only as long as the pleasure lasts, as with one who has fallen from his caste. Let that false science not be attempted, for thus it is said:

  • Widely opposed and divergent are these two, the one known as false knowledge, the other as knowledge. I (Yama) believe Nakiketas to be possessed by a desire of knowledge; even many pleasures do not move thee.

  • He who knows at the same time both the imperfect (sacrifice, &c.) and the perfect knowledge (of the Self), he crosses death by means of the imperfect, and obtains immortality by means of the perfect knowledge.

  • Those who are wrapped up in the midst of imperfect knowledge, fancying themselves alone wise and learned, they wander about floundering and deceived, like the blind led by the blind.

10. The gods and the demons, wishing to know the Self, went into the presence of Brahman (their father, Pragapati). Having bowed before him, they said: `O blessed one, we wish to know the Self, do thou tell us.' Then, after having pondered a long while, he thought, these demons are not yet self-subdued; therefore a very different Self was told to them (from what was told to the gods). On that Self these deluded demons take their stand, clinging to it, destroying the true means of salvation (the Veda), preaching untruth. What is untrue they see as true, as in jugglery. Therefore, what is taught in the Vedas, that is true. What is said in the Vedas, on that the wise keep their stand. Therefore let a Brahman not read what is not of the Veda, or this will be the result.

11. This is indeed the nature of it (the Veda), the supreme light of the ether which is within the heart. This is taught as threefold, in the fire, in the sun, in the breath. This is indeed the nature of it, the syllable Om, of the ether which is within the heart. By it (by the Om) that (light) starts, rises, breathes forth, becomes for ever the means of the worship and knowledge of Brahman. That (light, in the shape of Om), when there is breathing, takes the place of the internal heat, free from all brightness. This is like the action of smoke; for when there is a breath of air, the smoke, first rising to the sky in one column, follows afterwards every bough, envelopes it and takes its shape. It is like throwing salt (into water), like heating ghee. The Veda comes and goes like the dissolving view of a master-magician. And here they quote:

'Why then is it called "like lightning?" Because as soon as it comes forth (as Om) it lights up the whole body. Therefore let a man worship that boundless light by the syllable Om.'

  • The man in the eye who abides in the right eye, he is Indra, and his wife abides in the left eye.

  • The union of these two takes place in the cavity within the heart, and the ball of blood which is there, that is indeed the vigor and life of these two.

  • There is a channel going from the heart so far, and fixed in that eye; that is the artery for both of them, being one, divided into two.

  • The mind excites the fire of the body, that fire stirs the breath, and the breath, moving in the chest, produces the low sound.

  • Brought forth by the touch of the fire, as with a churning-stick, it is at first a minim, from the minim it becomes in the throat a double minim; on the tip of the tongue know that it is a treble minim, and, when uttered, they call it the alphabet (Greek, stoixeia).

  • He who sees this, does not see death, nor disease, nor misery, for seeing he sees all (objectively, not as affecting him subjectively); he becomes all everywhere (he becomes Brahman).

  • There is the person in the eye, there is he who walks as in sleep, he who is sound asleep, and he who is above the sleeper: these are the four conditions (of the Self), and the fourth is greater than all.

  • Brahman with one foot moves in the three, and Brahman with three feet is in the last.

It is that both the true (in the fourth condition) and the untrue (in the three conditions) may have their desert, that the Great Self (seems to) become two, yes, that he (seems to) become two.

Here ends the Maitrayani Upanishad, included in the Sama-Veda.


Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier. The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai. "Maitrayani Upanishad."

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