Brhadaranyaka Upanishad: The Great Forest Teaching: Book One Part II

I.4 1. In the beginning this was self (atman), in the likeness of a person (purusa). Looking round he sawIn this chapter, in which the Atman takes on the characteristics of a male creator-god, I have translated pronouns referring to it in the masculine gender. Where it has a more general and abstract sense, as in IV.3, I have treated it as neuter. In Sanskrit the word Utman remains masculine regardless of the sex of the person to which it refers: himself, herself, itself etc. nothing but himself (Atman). First he said, 'I am! So the name 'I'49Apart from the etymologizing of purusa as 'before-burning', the pronoun aham, 'I', is apparently being connected with the verb as', to be. came to be. Even now, when someone is addressed, he first says, 'It is I,' and then speaks whatever other name he has. Since before {purva) all this, he burnt up {us-) all the evils from everything, he is purusa. Whoever knows this, burns up anyone who wants to be before him.

2. He was afraid: so when alone one is afraid. Then he realized, 'There is nothing else but me, so why am I afraid?' Then his fear departed. For why should he be afraid? Fear arises from a second.

3. He had no pleasure either: so when alone one has no pleasure. He desired a companionLiterally, 'a second' He became as large as a woman and a man embracing. He made that self split (pat-) into two: from that husband (pati) and wife (patni)came to be. Therefore Yajnavalka used to say, 'In this respect we two are each like a half portion.'idam ardhabrgalam iva sva[h]. Like Miller and Olivelle, we take svah as the form of the verb to be, despite the syntactical oddity of a dual verb with the singular ardhabrgalam: this we have assumed is because Yajnavalkya is thinking of himself and his wife individually: hence we have inserted 'each'. Others take svah with atma understood: 'One's own [self, body] is like half a portion.' Or, 'half a split pea', taking ardha-brgala as equivalent to ardha-bidala or -vidala. So this space is filled by a wife. He coupled with her, and from that human beings were born.

4. She realized: 'How can he couple with me when he begot me from himself? Ah, I must hide!' She became a cow, the other a bull, and so he coupled with her. From that, cattle were born. She became a mare, the other a stallion; she became a she-donkey, the other a he-donkey: and so he coupled with her. From that, solid-hoofed animals were born. The one became a nanny-goat, the other a billy-goat; ihe one became a ewe, the other a ram: and so he coupled with her. From that, goats and sheep were born. In that way he created every pair, right down to the ants.

5. He knew: 'I am creation, for I created all this'. So he became creation. Whoever knows this, comes to be in this, his creation.

6. Then he rubbed like this and created Agni from his mouth and hands as his source (yoni). So both these are hairless on the inside, for the womb (yoni) is hairless on the inside.An attempt to convey the different meanings of yoni assumed here: 'womb'  hence, 'place of origin, source [of anything]' and 'female sex organ'.

When they say, 'Sacrifice to that one!' 'Sacrifice to that one!'-some god or other, that is his varied creation, and he himself is all the gods.

Then he created from seed whatever is moist, and that is Soma. All this is just food and the eater of food. Soma is food, and Agni is the eater of food.

This is the higher creation of Brahma,We know that he is now Brahma rather than brahman only because the adjective martya, 'mortal', is in the masculine, not the neuter, gender. since he created gods who are better than he: and also because, being mortal,Suggesting that there is already a belief that the universe is cyclic. he created immortals, it is his higher creation. Whoever knows this, comes to be in this, his higher creation.

7. Then this was undifferentiated. It became differentiated by name and form: 'He is so-and-so by name. He has such and-such a form. ' Therefore even now this is differentiated by name and form: 'He is so-and-so by name. He has such and-such a form.'

He entered in here right to the tips of the nails, as a razor slips into a razor-case, or a scorpion into a scorpion's nest.Uncertain. The word used is visvambhara, 'all-bearer', in later usage often a name for Agni. If this is the sense here, then it means like fire (hidden] in the home of fire (i.e. wood/: a frequent simile. However oi9trambhrua occurs also in the sense of 'scorpion' or some similar insect, and kulaya is normally the nest of a bird or animal. They do not see him, for he is incomplete. When he breathes he is called 'breath'; when he speaks, 'speech'; when he sees, 'eye'; when he hears, 'ear'; when he thinks, 'mind'. They are just the names of his works. Whoever worships one or other of them does not know, for with just one or other he is incomplete. One should worship him as 'self' (atman), for in that all these become one.

The self is the trace of all this: by it one knows all this, just as one can find someone by a footprint. And so whoever knows this finds glory and renown.

8. The self is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than any other thing, and deeper within. If someone were speaking of something other than the self as dear, and one were to say of him, 'He will weep for what is dear to him,' one would very likely be right. One should worship only die self as dear: then what is dear to one is not perishable.

9. They say, 'Since human beings think that they will become all through knowledge of brahman, what did brahman know, that it became all?'

10. In the beginning- brahman was this. It knew only itself: 'I am brahman' Through that it became all. Whichever of the gods woke up to it, became that; whichever of the Rsis, likewise; whichever of human beings, likewise. Seeing that, the Rsi VSmadeva began his hymn: 'I have become Manu and Surya too.'

Even today, whoever knows, 'I am brahman' becomes all this. Even the gods are not able to prevent it, for he becomes their self. Whoever worships another god, thinking, 'He is one and I am another', does not know. He is like a domestic animal for the gods. As many animals are useful to a man, so each man is useful to the gods. When even one animal is taken away, one does not like it, let alone when many are. So the gods do not like it when human beings know this.

11. In the beginning, brahmanBrahman is here being used specifically in its sense of 'priesthood', the essence  of the Brahmana varna (class),  alongside all its  other connotations. It emanates the essences of the other three classes, the Ksatriyas, warriors and rulers; the Vaisyas, farmers and merchants; and the Sadras, artisans and labourers. was all this, just one. Being just one, it was not complete. So it created over itself a better form, royalty (ksatra), those who are royalty among die gods: Indra, Varuna, Soma, Rudra, Parjanya, Yama, Mrtyu, and lsana. Therefore there is nothing higher than royalty: therefore at a king's anointing the Brahmana sits below die Khsatriya, and he confers this honour on royalty alone.

Brahman is the source (yoni) of royalty. So even if a king attains the highest state, in die end he takes refuge in the priesthood (brahman) as his own source. So whoever harms the priesthood attacks his own source: he becomes more evil, like one who has banned a superior.

12. HeAlthough still referring to brahman, it has changed from a neuter to a masculine pronoun, perhaps through being equated with the Brahmana in the previous verse. still was not complete. So he created the people (vis), those kinds of gods who are named in groups: the Vasus, the Rudras, the Adityas, the Visvedevas and the Maruts.

13. He still was not complete. So he created the Shudra class, Pusan. This earth is Pusan, for it nourishes (pus-) all this, whatever there is.

14. He still was not complete. So he created over himself a better form, dharma.Here, specifically, justice Dharma is die royalty of royalty, so there is nothing higher than dharma. Through dharma a weaker man overcomes a stronger one, as though through a king. Dharma is truth: so they say of one who speaks truth, 'He speaks dharma' or of one who speaks dharma, 'He speaks truth'. Both are the same.

15. So there were brahman (priesthood), khsatra (royalty), vis (the people) and Shudra (the labourer). BrakmanOr Brahma. came into being among the gods through Agni; as a Brahamana among human beings; as a Khsatriya through the Khsatriya; as a Vaisya through die Vaisya; and as a Shudra through the Shrudra. So folk seek a world among the gods in Agni, and a world among human beings in the Brahmana, for brahman came into being through these two forms.

Whoever leaves this world without knowing his own world, it, unknown, is of no use to him, just like the Veda unrecited, or some other work undone. Even if someone does a great and meritorious work without knowing it, that work of his perishes in the end.

One should worship only the self as one's world. If someone worships only the self as his world, his work does not perish; for he creates from the self whatever he desires.

16. Oneself (Atman) Is a world for all beings. When one makes offerings, when one sacrifices, one becomes a world for {he gods. When one learns by heart, one becomes a world for the Rsis. When one makes offerings to the ancestors, when one wishes for offspring, one becomes a world for the ancestors. When one gives shelter to human beings, when one gives them food, one becomes a world for human beings. When one finds grass and water for animals, one becomes a world for animals. When wild beasts and birds, and all creatures right down to the ants, find a living in one's house, one becomes a world for them. As one desires safety for one's own world, all beings desire safety for the one who knows this. This is well known and considered.

17. In the beginning, the self was all this, just one. He desired: If only I had a wife, so that I might have offspring! If only I had wealth, so dial I might do work (karman)! This is all that desire is: even if one wishes, one cannot find more than this. So even now a man alone desires: 'If only I had a wife, so that I might have offspring! If only I had wealth, so that I might do work!' So long as he does not get one or other of these, he thinks he is incomplete.

But his completeness is this,I.e. his true completeness. his mind is himself (atman)! speech is his wife; breath is his offspring; the eye is his human wealth (vitta), because he finds (vid-) it with die eye; the ear is his divine wealth, because he hears it with the ear. His body (Atman) is his work, because he does work with the body.

The sacrifice is fivefold; the animal is fivefold;The sacrificial animal, like the human being, is fivefold, presumably because it has a head and four limbs, five breaths, five senses, and five organs of action. Humankind may perhaps be fivefold because it consists of the four varnas and the outcaste group that falls outside them. the person is fivefold; all this, whatever there is, is fivefold. Whoever knows this, obtains all this.

I.5 1. When by intelligence and heat (tapas)
The Father produced seven foods,
One of his foods was common to all,
Two he allotted to the gods,
Three he made for himself,
'One he gave to the animals.
On it everything is supported,
What breathes and what does not.
Why do they not perish
When they are eaten all the time?
Whoever knows this imperishability
Eats food with his face:
He joins the gods;
He lives on strength.

So say the verses.

2. 'When by intelligence and heat the Father produced seven foods', for the father produced them by intelligence and heat, 'One of his foods was common to all': this is common food (anna), that which is eaten (ad'). Whoever eats this food does not get rid of evil, for it is mixed. Pure and impure. 'Two he allotted to the gods', the huta and the prahuta:Two forms of offering to the gods, the first specifically the pouring of an offering into the fire, the latter a more general term for sacrifice. therefore one offers die huta and the prahuta to the gods. But some say also that it means the new moon and full moon sacrifices. Therefore one should not offer a lesser sacrifice.'One should not be an isti-sacrificer (-yajuka). Isti has two meanings, depending on whether it is derived from yaj-, to sacrifice, or is-, to wish. In the Vedic period the first meaning was uppermost, and isti meant an offering of fruit, butter etc. that did not include Soma or animal sacrifice. So isti-yajuka would imply 'one who offers a lesser sacrifice' (presumably less nourishing to the gods). Here, however, it may mean (instead or as well) 'one who sacrifices for a wish' (that is, for his own needs, rather than to support the gods).

'One he gave to the animals', that is, milk, for in the beginning both human beings and animals live only on milk. So in the beginning they give the newborn infant ghee to lick, or put it to die breast: and they call a new-born calf 'not grass-fed'. 'On it everything is supported, what breathes and what does not,' for all this is supported on milk, what breathes and what does not. So when they say, 'Whoever makes offerings with milk for a year conquers re-death,' one should not understand it like that. He conquers re-death on die very day he first makes the offering, if he knows this: for he is offering all his good food to the gods.

'Why do they not perish when they are eaten all the time?' The person is imperishability, for he produces food again and again. 'Whoever knows this imperishability': the person is imperishability, for he produces food by repeated meditations, his works. If he did not do this, it would perish. 'Eats food with his face': 'face' means 'mouth', he eats food with his mouth. 'He joins the gods: he lives on strength': this is praise.

3. Three he made for himself, mind, speech, breath: he made them for himself. Someone may say, 'I had my mind elsewhere: I did not see. I had my mind elsewhere: I did not hear. ' For one sees with the mind, hears with the mind. Desire, imagination,Samkalpa doubt, faith, lack of faith, constancy, inconstancy, shame, meditation, fear-all this is mind. So even when one is touched on the back one knows it through mind.

Whatever sound there is speech. It may rest on an object, or it may not. Perhaps meaning that vie (speech, voice) includes both welds, which describe objects, and other sounds-natural noises, instrumental music etc.-which do not. The breath (prana), the lower breath (apana), the diffused breath (vyana), the up-breath (udana) and the central breath (sanwna) are all 'breath' {ana). All this is breath (prana). The self (atman) consists of this: it consists of speech, mind and breath.

4. The three worlds are these. Speech is this world, mind is the world of middle-air, and breath is the world of the sky.

5. The three Vedas are these. Speech is the Rgveda, mind is the Yajurveda, and breath is the Samaveda.

6. Gods, ancestors and human beings are these. Speech is the gods, mind is the ancestors, and breath is human beings.

7. Father, mother and offspring are these. Mind is the father, speech is the mother, and breath is the offspring.

8. The known, the to-be-known and the unknown are these. Whatever is known is a form of speech, for speech is known. Speech, by becoming the known, protects one.

9. Whatever is to be known is a form of mind, for mind is to be known. Mind, by becoming the to-be-known, protects one.

10. Whatever is unknown is a form of breath, for breath is unknown. Breath, by becoming the unknown, protects one.

11. Earth is the body of speech, fire its form of light As far as speech goes, earth goes, and fire goes.

12. Sky is the body of mind, the sun its form of light. As far as mind goes, the sky goes, and the sun goes.

They twoThey two: which two? Hume and Radhakrishnan both say, 'file and the sun'. These two entities however are both masculine: not an insuperable problem for Upanisadic mythology, but we would have expected an explanation. The answer, we think, is 'sky and the sun. In the Veda, div, dyaus, 'sky', is generally a male deity, Dyauspitr, Father Sky, a recognizable Indo-European parallel to Zeus, Jupiter (Dius-pater) and Tyr/Tiw. In classical Sanskrit, however, dyaus is feminine when it means came together in sexual union. From it, breath was born. He is Indra: he is the unrivalled. A second is a rival. Whoever knows this has no rival.

13. The waters are the body of breath, the moon its form of light. As far as breath goes, the waters go, and the moon goes." All these are the same, all infinite. Whoever worships them as finite wins a finite world: but whoever worships them as infinite wins an infinite world.

14. The year is Prajapati, of sixteen portions.Kala. The fifteen portions are those by which the moon appears to grow or decrease night by night on the way from new to full and back. The invisible sixteenth portion is incarnated in all living beings. His nights are fifteen portions. His fixed portion is the sixteenth. Only in his nights does he wax and wane. On the new moon night'" he enters into all this that has breath, and in the morning is born from it again. So on that night one should not cut off the breath of anything that has breath, even a lizard, out of reverence for that deity.

15. Any person who knows this is himself the Prajapati of sixteen portions who is the year. His wealth is the fifteen portions: his self (atman) is the sixteenth portion. Only in his wealth does he wax and wane. The self is the hub of a wheel, wealth the rim. So even if he loses everything, but himself lives, they say, "He has got off with the loss of a wheel-rim.'Literally, 'He has got away with the rim' Olivelle takes this exclamation of relief as referring to thief: 'Tie got away with just the wheel-plate'

16. There are three worlds, the world of human beings, the world of the ancestors, and the world of the gods. The world of human beings can be won only through a son, I.e. begetting and handing on to a son, as described not by any other work. The world of the ancestors can be won by work; the world of the gods by knowledge. The world of the gods is the best of the worlds: and so folk praise knowledge.

17. Now the handing on.

When a Brahmana'Brahmana' is added from context thinks he is about to depart, he says to his son: 'You are brahman. You are sacrifice (yajnta). You are the world.'

The son replies: "I am brahman. I am sacrifice. I am the world."

'Brahman' means the unity of everything that has been learnt. 'Sacrifice" means the unity of all the sacrifices that there are. "World" means the unity of all the worlds that there are. So much is all this. The father thinks, "Since he is all this, may he help me from this world!" So they call a son who has been taught, "world-winning": that is why they teach him.

When one who knows this departs from this world, with the breaths (prana) he enters his son. And if he has done anything amiss, the son frees him from it all. That is why he is called putra (son).The author seems to be linking putra, son, with pu, to purify, and trai-, to protect. Through his son he is established in this world. Then the divine, immortal breaths enter him.

18. From earth and fire the divine speech enters him. The divine speech is that by which whatever one says comes to be.

19. From sky and die sun the divine mind enters him. The divine mind is that by which one is joyful and never grieves.

20. From the waters and the moon {he divine breath enters him. The divine breath is that which, whether moving or not moving, does not suffer, does not come to harm.

The one who knows this becomes the self of all beings. What that deity is, he is. Just as all beings favour dial deity, all beings favour the one who knows this. Whatever sorrow creatures have remains at home with them. Only good goes to him. No evil goes to the gods. Now an investigation of Vrata, voluntary observance undertaken for a specific end (vr-, to choose).

Prajapati created the activities (karman). Once created, they vied with each other. Speech resolved, "I will speak"; the eye, "I will see"; the ear, "I will hear"; and so with the other activities, each according to its activity. Death, becoming tiredness, took possession of them and held them. Holding them, he stopped them. So speech grows tired, the eye grows tired, the ear grows tired. But he was not able to hold the one who is the middle breath. Madhyama prana, another variation on the theory of prana.

They resolved to know it. "It is the best of us' they said, "for, whether moving or not moving, it does not suffer, does not come to harm. Come, let us all become a form of ill'

They all became a form of it, and therefore they are called "breaths' after it.80 Any family in which there is someone who knows this comes to be called after him.

And whoever vies with the one who knows this gradually dries up: he dries up and in the end he dies.

So much regarding oneself.

22. Now regarding deities:

Fire resolved, "I will bum"; the sun, "I will give heat; the moon, 'I will shine'; and so with the other deities, each according to its deity. Like the middle breath among the bread's is Vayu among the deities. Other deities set, but not Vayu. Vayu is the deity who never goes down in the west.

23. There is a verse:

That from which the sun rises
And into which it sets . . .
It rises from breath and sets into breath.
The gods made it dharma.
It is, today, and tomorrow, too.

What they resolved to do then, they still do today. So one should undertake just one vow: one should breathe out and breathe in,This is clearly the meaning of prana and apan here. Some form of meditation based on awareness of the breathing is clearly intended. thinking, 'May not evil, may not death, hold me' And when one undertakes it, one should desire to bring it to completion. Then one wins union with that deity, shares a world with him.

I.6 1. All this is a triplicity, name, form and action. What is called 'speech" is the Uktha of all the names that there are, for all names arise {ut-tha-) from it. It is their saman, for it is equal (sama) to all names. It is their brahman, for it bears (bhr-) all names.

2. What is called "the eye' is the Uktha of all the forms that there are, for all forms arise from it. It is their saman, for it is equal to all forms. It is their brahman, for it bears all forms.

3. What is called 'the body~ (atman) is the Uktha of all the actions that there are, for all actions arise from it. It is then saman, for it is equal to all actions. It is their brahman, for it bears all actions.

This triplicity is one, the self: the self, being one, is a triplicity. This is immortality, hidden by truth. Breath is immortality: name and form are truth. The breath is bidder by them.

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