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
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 !
I-1. The King, Brihadratha by name, had his eldest
son installed on the throne and considering the body to be impermanent
and feeling disgusted (with worldly life) went to a (penance) forest.
There he performed the highest kind of penance and facing the sun
remained with his arm uplifted. At the end of a thousand years the
sun-god (taking the form of the sage Sakayanya) approached the sage.
Like fire (blazing) without smoke and burning all as it were with his
effulgence the sage Sakayanya, the knower of the Self, said to the king:
‘Rise up, rise up, choose a boon’. Bowing to him the king said: ‘Revered
Sir, I know not the Atman. But we hear that you are a knower of the
truth. Expound to me that’. ‘This request of yours is impossible on the
very face of it. Do not ask me this question. Oh descendant of Ikshvaku,
choose (the fulfilment of) other desires’. Reverently touching the feet
of the sage Sakayanya the king gave utterance to the following religious
I-2. Now then why speak of other things ? (There is) the drying up of
great seas, the downfall of mountains, the movement of the polestar or
of trees, the submerging of the earth and the loss of position by the
gods. In this worldly life which is of the nature of (distinction
between) ‘he’ and ‘I’, what is the use of enjoying desires as, resorting
to them, there is seen the repeated return (to the phenomenal world) ?
Hence it behoves on your part to uplift me. I am like a frog in a well
in this worldly life. Revered Sir, you are my refuge’. Thus (the king
I-3. Revered Sir, this body is born of sexual union alone, is devoid
of consciousness and is verily hell as it has emerged through the urinal
path, full of bones, daubed with flesh and encased in skin; it is fully
filled with faeces, urine, wind, bile, phlegm, marrow, fat, fatty
exudations and many other filthy things. Remaining in a body of this
kind, revered Sir, you are my refuge. Thus (he implored).
I-4. Then the revered sage Sakayanya greatly pleased, said to the
king: ‘Great king Brihadratha, you are prominent in the family of the
Ikshvakus, a knower of the Atman, one who has done his duty well and you
are well known by the name of Marut. Such is your Self. Revered Sir, who
is to be described ? And he said to the king:
I-5. The objects such as those denoted by sound and touch are
apparently (a source of) danger; for the individual self (encased in the
five elements) may not remember the highest goal when attached to them.
I-6. Through penance one gets to know the inborn disposition
(Sattva); from Sattva one gets (stability of) the mind; through the mind
one realizes the Atman; by realizing the Self (worldly life is)
I-7. Just as fire, when fuel is exhausted, calms down in itself, so
the mind, when its activity is exhausted, becomes quiescent in its
source (i.e. in the Self).
I-8. When the mind is calmed down into its source and goes in the
true path, the results dependent on activities are unreal as the objects
of the senses are confounded (i.e. actions performed do not affect him
as he is without attachment).
I-9. It is the mind that constitutes worldly life; this should be
purified. As the mind, so the things appear coloured by it; this is the
I-10. By the purity of the mind one destroys (the effect of) good and
bad actions. When with a pure mind one remains in the Self one enjoys
I-11. If a person’s mind, which is well attached to the region of the
sense-objects, were turned towards Brahman, who will not be released
from bondage ?
I-12-14. One should feel the supreme Lord to be present in the midst
of the lotus of one’s heart as the spectator of the dance of the
intellect, as the abode of supreme love, as beyond the range of mind and
speech, as he rescue ship scattering all worry (of those sinking in the
sea of worldly life), as of the nature of effulgent Existence alone, as
beyond thought, as the indispensable, as incapable of being grasped by
the (active) mind, possessing uncommon attributes, the immobile, steady
and deep, neither light nor darkness, free from all doubts and
semblance, and is consciousness consisting of the final beatitude.
I-15. That which is the eternal, the pure, the ever vigilant, free
from the nature (of delusions), the true, the subtle, the supremely
powerful, the one without a second, the ocean of bliss and transcendent,
that I am, the innermost essence (of all); there is no doubt about it.
I-16. How can the danger (of duality) approach me, resorting as I do
to the inner bliss of the Self, who despise the female goblin of
desires, who view the phenomenal world as in illusion and who am
unattached to it ?
I-17. Those ignorant people who stick to castes and orders of life
obtain the (worthless) fruit of their respective actions. Those who
discard the ways of caste, etc., and are happy with the bliss of the
Self become merged in Brahman (lit. Purushas).
I-18. The body consisting of various limbs and observing the (rules
of) castes and orders has a beginning and an end and is only a great
trouble. Free of attachment to one’s children, etc., and the body, one
should live in the endless supreme happiness.
II-1. Then the revered sage Maitreya went to
Kailasa. Approaching him (the Lord) he said: ‘Lord, expound to me the
secret of the supreme Truth’. The great god said to him:
II-2. The body is said to be the temple; the individual Self (Jiva)
is Shiva alone. One should discard the faded flowers in the form of
spiritual ignorance and worship God (with the conviction) ‘He and I are
II-3. True knowledge consists of seeing non-different (in all); deep
meditation consists of the mind freed from thinking on sensory objects;
bathing is the removal of impurity in the mind and cleansing consists of
controlling the senses.
II-4. He should imbibe the nectar, Brahman, go about for alms to
preserve the body, and becoming devoted to the one (Brahman) live in the
solitary place of oneness free from duality. Thus should a wise man
spend his life; he alone will attain liberation.
II-5. This body is born and it has death; it has originated from the
impure secretions of the mother and father; it is the abode of joy and
sorrow and it is impure. Bathing in the form of discarding attachment to
it is ordained when one touches it with the idea that it belongs to one.
II-6. It is built up of primary fluids, subject to grievous maladies,
abode of sinful actions, transitory and diffused with agitated feelings.
Touching this body, bathing (as aforesaid) is ordained.
II-7. It always naturally exudes at the appropriate time impure
secretions through the nine apertures (eyes, ears, etc.,). Having impure
matter it smells foul. Touching this, bathing (as aforesaid) is
II-8. It is associated with the mother in impurity at birth and is
born with the impurity caused by child-birth; as it is born associated
with death (in due course) and the impurity caused by child birth,
touching this body, bathing (as aforesaid) is ordained.
II-9. Viewing the body as ‘I’ and mine is smearing oneself with
faeces and urine in the place of cosmetics. Thus pure cleansing has been
spoken of (in the verses above). Cleansing (the body) with mud and water
is (the external one) practised in the world.
II-10. Cleansing which purifies the mind consists of the destruction
of the three inborn tendencies (loka-vasana, shastra-vasana and
deha-vasana); (real) cleansing is said to be by washing with mud and
water in the form of (true) knowledge and dispassion (Jnana and
II-11. Feeling of non-duality is the alms (which is consumed) and the
feeling of duality is the thing unfit for consumption. The receiving of
alms by the mendicant monk is ordained in accordance with the directions
of the Guru and the scripture.
II-12. After embracing renunciation of his own accord the wise man
shall move away from his native place and live far away, like a thief
who has been released from prison.
II-13. No sooner has (the ascetic) moved away from the son of ego,
the brother of wealth, the home of delusion and the wife of desires than
he is liberated (from worldly bondage); there is no doubt about it.
II-14-15. How shall I perform the twilight worship (Sandhya, i.e.,
there is no need for it) when the mother of delusion is (just) dead and
the son of true awakening is born, causing two-fold impurity ? How can I
perform twilight worship when the bright sun of consciousness ever
shines in the sky of the heart and it never sets or rises ? (i.e. there
is no twilight at all and hence there is no scope for worship).
II-16. The conviction, which is present from the words of the Guru
that there is only one (reality) without a second, alone is the solitude
(necessary for meditation) and not a monastery nor the interior of a
II-17. There is liberation for those who are free from doubts; there
is no emancipation even at the end of repeated births for those whose
minds are invaded by doubts (about the non-duality of the Atman). Hence
one should have faith.
II-18. There is no (true) renunciation by discarding action, nor by
reciting the mantras of Praisa (at the formal ceremony of renunciation).
Renunciation has been declared to be the oneness of the individual self
(Jiva) and the universal Self (Atman).
II-19. One, to whom all primary desires, etc., (such as for wife,
wealth and progeny) appear like vomit and who has discarded pride in his
body, is entitled to renunciation.
II-20. A wise man should embrace renunciation only when there has
risen in his mind dispassion for all worldly things; otherwise he is
II-21. He who renounces worldly life for amassing wealth (contributed
by rich disciples) or for the sake of (assured) boarding and clothing or
for a stable position (as the head of a monastery) is doubly fallen
(i.e. he has neither the full pleasures of worldly life nor liberation);
he does not deserve final beatitude.
II-22. The wisest take to contemplation on the reality (of Brahman);
the middling ones contemplate on the scripture; low people think of the
mantras; the lowest are deluded by (the efficacy) of holy places.
II-23. A fool in vain takes (theoretical) delight in Brahman without
practically experiencing it (as I am Brahman), like the joy of tasting
fruits found in the branch of a tree reflected (in a lake).
II-24. If a sage does not give up – the inward (conviction of
non-duality in) the collecting of alms from various houses as a bee does
honey from flowers, the father in the form of dispassion, the wife of
faith and the son of true knowledge, he is liberated.
II-25. People rich in wealth, old in age and similarly those mature
in knowledge – all these are (but) servants, (nay) the servants of the
disciples of those who are mature in wisdom.
II-26. Even learned people have their minds deluded by the illusion
created by me and without realizing me, the Atman, who am omnipresent,
they but wander like cows to fill the wretched belly !
II-27. To one desiring liberation worship of idols made of stone,
metal, gem and clay results only in the experience of rebirth; hence the
sage should perform the worship of his heart alone (i.e. contemplate on
Brahman enshrined in his heart, non-different from the Self). To prevent
rebirth he shall avoid external worship (of idols).
II-28. He who is full inwardly and outwardly is like a jar filled in
the sea; he who is empty inwardly and empty outwardly is like a jar
empty in the sky.
II-29. Do not become one enjoying objects (of the senses), do not
also become one believing in the senses. Rejecting all ideations, become
that which remains.
II-30. Discarding (ideas of) seer, seeing and what is seen along with
inward tendencies, may you resort only to the Atman who is the prime
source of all phenomena.
II-31. That state of remaining like a stone with all ideations
quiescent and freed from the states of waking and sleeping is the
supreme state of the Self (in the disembodied state).
Thus (ends the instruction given by Lord Shiva and the second chapter).
III-1. I am I, I am the other (the supreme one), I
am Brahman, I am the source (of all), I am also the Guru of all the
worlds, I am all the worlds, That I am.
III-2. I alone am, I have attained perfection, I am pure, I am the
supreme, I remain always, I am He, I am eternal, I am pure.
III-3. I am the true knowledge (Vijnana), I am the special one, I am
Soma, I am the all. I am the auspicious one, I am free from sorrow, I am
consciousness, I am the impartial one.
III-4. I am devoid of honour and dishonour, I am without attributes,
I am Shiva, I am free from duality and non-duality, I am free from the
pairs (of opposites), I am He.
III-5. I am devoid of being and non-being, I am beyond speech, I am
effulgence, I am the power of the void and the non-void and I am the
auspicious and the inauspicious (i.e. beyond both of them).
III-6. I am devoid of the equal and the unequal, eternal, pure, ever
auspicious; I am free of all and the non-all, I am the righteous and I
III-7. I am beyond the number one and I am beyond the number two as
well. I am above the distinction of good and bad and I am devoid of
III-8. I am free from the distinction of many souls, being of the
form of unalloyed bliss. I am not (existent as an entity), I am not
another, I am devoid of the body etc.,
III-9. I am free from the concept of substratum and that of the
object resting on it; I am devoid of a prop. I am above captivity and
liberation, I am the pure Brahman, I am He.
III-10. I am devoid of all things such as the mind, I am the supreme,
greater than the great. I am always of the form of investigation, I am
free from investigation. I am He.
III-11. I am of the form of the letter ‘a’ and ‘u’ and I am the
letter ‘m’ which (as Om) is eternal. I am free from meditation and being
a meditator, I am beyond the object of meditation, I am He.
III-12. I am of the form which fills everything, possessing the
characteristics of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. I am of the form
of all holy places, I am the supreme Atman, I am Shiva.
III-13. I am devoid of aim and non-aim and I am the bliss which has
no extinction. I am beyond measurer and measure and the thing measured;
I am Shiva.
III-14. I am not the world, I witness all and I am devoid of eyes,
etc., I am immense, I am awake, I am serene and I am Hara (Shiva).
III-15. I am devoid of all the senses and I do all actions. I am the
(object of) satisfaction to all the Upanishads, I am always easily
accessible (to the devoted).
III-16. I am joy (to the devoted) and sorrow (to the careless), I am
the friend of all silence. I am always of the form of consciousness and
I am always of the form of Existence and Consciousness.
III-17. I am not devoid of even the least, nor am I a little. I am
without the knot of the heart (i.e. partiality due to affection) and I
abode in the midst of the lotus of the heart.
III-18. I am devoid of the six changes (of birth, etc.,), I am
without the six sheaths (the gross material body, etc.,); I am free from
the group of six (internal) enemies (passions, etc.,) and I am the
witness, being the supreme God.
III-19. I am free of space and time, I am the bliss of the principal
unclad sages, I am beyond ‘there is’ and ‘there is not’ and I am devoid
of all negation (i.e. I am pure Existence without a counterpart).
III-20. I am of the form of unbroken ether and I am of omnipresent
form. I am the mind (chitta) free from the phenomenal world and I am
devoid of the phenomenal world.
III-21. I am of the form of all effulgence, I am the effulgence of
pure consciousness. I am beyond the three durations (past, present and
future) and I am free from passion, etc.
III-22. I am above the body and its dweller and I am unique, devoid
of attributes. I am beyond liberation, I am liberated and I am always
devoid of final emancipation.
III-23. I am above truth and untruth, I am always nothing other than
pure Existence. I am not obliged to go to any place, being free of
III-24. I am always equanimous, I am quiescence, the greatest being (Purushottama);
one who has his own experience thus is without doubt myself. He who
listens to this (experience) even once (with supreme faith) becomes
himself (i.e. becomes merged into) Brahman. Thus (ends) the Upanishad.
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 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 !
Here ends the Maitreyopanishad, included in the Sama-Veda.
Translated by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan
Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai