Om ! May He protect us both
together; may He nourish us both together; May we work conjointly with
great energy, May our study be vigorous and effective; May we not
mutually dispute (or may we not hate any). 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. Om ! Shaunaka, householder of fame, once asked
Bhagavan Pippalada of Angira’s family: In this body, the divine city of
Brahman, installed, how do they create ? Whose glory does this
constitute ? Who is he who became all this glory ?
2. Unto him (Shaunaka) he (Pippalada) imparted the supreme Wisdom of
Brahman: That is Prana, the Atman. He constitutes the glory of the
Atman, the life of the Devas. He represents both the life and the death
of the Devas. That Brahman who shines within the divine Brahmapura (or
body) as the faultless One, devoid of manifested effects,
self-effulgent, all-pervading, He (it is who) controls (the Jiva), like
a spider controlling the king of bees. Just as spiders by means of one
thread project and withdraw the web, so also the Prana, (who) retires
drawing back his creation.
Prana belongs to the Nadis or subtle
nerve-chords as their Devata or indwelling deity. One in dreamless sleep
goes through that state to one’s own Abode, like a falcon and the sky –
just as a falcon goes (to its nest) borne on the sky. He states: -- Just
as this Devadatta (in dreamless sleep) runs not away even when struck
with a stick, even so he does not also attach himself to good or evil
consequences of the life’s ordained activities; just as a child enjoys
itself (spontaneously) without motive or desiring fruit, even so this
Devadatta (the subject of dreamless sleep) enjoys happiness in that
He knows being the Light Supreme. Desiring Light he enjoys the
Light. So also he returns by the same way to the dream-state, like a
leech: just as a leech carries itself on to the other points in front –
(first) fixing upon the next point. And that state which he does not
give up for a next one is called the waking state. (He carries all these
states within himself) just as a (Vedic) deity bears the eight
sacrificial cups simultaneously. It is from Him that the source of the
Vedas and the Devas hang like breasts. In this waking state particularly
good and evil obtain for the shining being (i.e. man’s Self) as
ordained. This being or Self is fully self-extended (into world-forms),
he is the indwelling controller of things and beings, he is the Bird,
the Crab, the Lotus, he is the Purusha, the Prana, the destroyer, the
cause and the effect, the Brahman and the Atman, he is the Devata making
everything known. Whoever knows all this attains to the transcendent
Brahman, the underlying support, the subjective principle.
3. Now this Purusha has four seats, the navel, the heart, the throat,
and the head. In these shines forth the Brahman with four aspects: the
state of wakefulness, of dream, of dreamless sleep, and the fourth or
transcendental state. In the wakeful state, He is Brahma; in the
dreaming state, He is Vishnu; in dreamless sleep He is Rudra; and the
fourth state is the Supreme Indestructible One; and He again is the Sun,
the Vishnu, the Ishwara, He is the Purusha, He the Prana, He the Jive or
the animate being, He the Fire, The Ishwara, and the Resplendent; (yea)
that Brahman which is transcendent shines within all these !
It is devoid of mind, of ears, of hands and feet, of light. There
neither are the worlds existing nor non-existing, neither are the Vedas
or the Devas or the sacrifices existing nor non-existing, neither is the
mother or father or daughter-in-law existing nor non-existing, neither
is Chandala’s son or Pulkasa’s son existing nor non-existing, neither is
the mendicant existing nor non-existing, so neither all the creatures or
the ascetics; and thus only the One Highest Brahman shines there. Within
the recess of the heart is that Akasa of consciousness – that with many
openings, the aim of knowledge, within the space of the heart – in which
all this (universe outside) evolves and moves about, in which all this
is warped and woofed (as it were). (Who knows this), knows fully all
creation. There the Devas, the Rishis, the Pitris have no control, for
being fully awakened, one becomes the knower of all truth.
4. In the heart the Devas live, in the heart the Pranas are
installed, in the heart exist the supreme Prana and Light as also the
immanent Cause with threefold constituents and the Mahat principle.
5. It exists within this heart, that is, in the consciousness. “Put
on the sacrificial thread which is supremely sacred, which became
manifest of yore with Prajapati (the first created Being) Himself, which
embodies longevity, eminence and purity, and may it be strength and
puissance to you !”
6. The enlightened one should discard the external thread putting it
off with the sacred tuft of hair on the head; the Supreme Brahman as the
all-pervading one is the thread, and he should put this on.
7. The Sutra (or thread) is so called because of its having pierced
through and started (the process of becoming). This Sutra verily
constitutes the Supreme State. By whom this Sutra is known, he is the
Vipra (sage), he has reached beyond the Vedas.
8. By It all this (universe) is transfixed, as a collection of gems
is stringed together on a thread. The Yogi who is the knower of all
Yogas and the seer of truth should put on this thread.
9. Established in the state of highest Yoga, the wise one should put
off the external thread. One who is really self-conscious must put on
the thread constituted by awareness of Brahman.
10. On account of wearing this Sutra or thread, they can neither
become contaminated nor unclean, those (namely) who have this thread
existing within them – those, with this sacrificial thread of knowledge.
11. They, among men, (really) know the Sutra, they (really) wear the
sacrificial thread (on themselves), who are devoted to Jnana (the
highest knowledge), who have this Jnana for their sacred hair-tuft, this
Jnana for their sacred thread.
12. For them Jnana is the greatest purifier – Jnana, that is the best
as such. Those who have this Jnana for their tufted hair are as
non-different from it as is fire from its flame. This wise one is
(really) said to be a Shikhi (or wearer of the tufted hair), while
others are mere growers of hair (on the head).
13. But those belonging to the three castes (Brahmanas, Kshatriyas
and Vaisyas) who have the right of performing Vedic works have to put on
this (i.e. the common) sacred thread, as surely this thread is ordained
to be part of such works.
14. One who has the Jnana for his tufted hair, and the same for his
sacred thread, has everything about him characterised by Brahmanahood –
so know the knowers of the Vedas !
15. This sacred thread (of Yajna, i.e. of the all-pervading Reality)
is, again, the purification (itself) and that which is the end-all (of
Vedic works); and the wearer of this thread is the wise one – is Yajna
himself as well as the knower of Yajna.
16. The One Lord (self-effulgent) in all beings remaining hidden,
all-pervading and the Self of all beings, controlling and watching over
all works (good or bad), living in all creatures and the Witness (i.e.
neither the doer of any acts nor the enjoyer), the Supreme Intelligence,
the One without a second, having no attributes.
17. The one Intelligent (active) Being among the many inactive, He
who makes the many from what is one – the wise men who find out this
Self, theirs is the eternal peace, not of others.
18. Having made oneself the Arani, and the Pranava the upper Arani
and rubbing them together through the practice of meditation, see the
Lord in His hidden reality.
19. As in the oil in the sesamum seed, the butter in the curd, water
in the flowing waves, and fire in the Shami wood, so is the Atman in
one’s self to be discovered by one who searches for It through truth and
20. As the spider weaves out the web and again withdraws it, so the Jiva comes out to and goes back again to the wakeful and dreaming states
21. The heart (i.e. the inner chamber of heart) resembles the calyx
of a lotus, full of cavities and also with its face turned downwards.
Know that to be the great habitat of the whole universe.
22. Know the wakeful state to have for its centre the eyes; the
dreaming state should be assigned to the throat; the state of dreamless
sleep is in the heart; and the transcendental state is in the crown of
23. From the fact of an individual holding his self by means of
Prajna or spiritual understanding in the Supreme Self, we have what is
called Sandhya and Dhyana, as also the worshipping associated with
24. The Sandhya by meditation is devoid of any offering of liquids
and so also of any exertion of body and speech; it is the unifying
principle for all creatures, and this is really the Sandhya for
26. From which without reaching It, the speech falls back with the
mind, that is the transcendental Bliss of this embodied being, knowing
which the wise one is released (from all bondage).
26. (And this Bliss is verily) the Self which pervades the whole
universe, as the butter diffused within the milk.
This is the Brahmopanishad, or the supreme wisdom
of Brahman, in the form of a unity of the Atman of all, founded on the
spiritual discipline (Tapas) which is (nothing but) the Vidya or science
of the Atman.
Om ! May He protect us both together; may He
nourish us both together; May we work conjointly with great energy, May
our study be vigorous and effective; May we not mutually dispute (or may
we not hate any). 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 !
Here ends the Brahmopanishad belonging to the Krishna-Yajur-Veda.
Translated by Swami Madhavananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta