Shvetashvatara Upanishad

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad contains 6 short chapters with philosophical explanations on Atman, Brahman, Paramatma, and Prakriti. The text begins with the questions:- "What is the cause (of the existence of the universe)? What is Brahman? From where are we coming (before birth)? Why do we live? What is our final destination?" It then develops its answer, concluding that "the Universal Soul exists in every individual, it expresses itself in every creature, everything in the world is a projection of it, and that there is Oneness, a unity of souls in one and only Self". The text is notable for its discussion of the concept of personal god – Ishvara, and suggesting it to be a path to one's own Highest Self. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad has a poetic style and structure. The Upanishad contains 113 mantras or verses in six chapters, each with varying number of verses. The first chapter includes 16 verses, the second has 17, the third chapter contains 21 verses, the fourth is composed of 22, the fifth has 14, while the sixth chapter has 23 verses. The last three verses of the sixth chapter are considered as epilogue. Thus, the Upanishad has 110 main verses and 3 epilogue verses. This edition uses the translation of the Upanishad and the Commentary of Shankaracharya translated by Swami Nikhilananda ["The Upanishads - A New Translation"].

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Shanti Mantra


ॐ सहनाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु ।

सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।

तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥


oṃ sahanāvavatu . saha nau bhunaktu .

saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai .

tejasvi nāvadhītamastu . mā vidviṣāvahai ..

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ..

Sloka : 1.1

प्रथमोऽध्यायः ।

हरिः ॐ ॥ ब्रह्मवादिनो वदन्ति ।

किं कारणं ब्रह्म कुतः स्म जाता

जीवाम केन क्व च सम्प्रतिष्ठा ।

अधिष्ठिताः केन सुखेतरेषु

वर्तामहे ब्रह्मविदो व्यवस्थाम् ॥ १॥

prathamo'dhyāyaḥ .

hariḥ oṃ .. brahmavādino vadanti .

kiṃ kāraṇaṃ brahma kutaḥ sma jātā

jīvāma kena kva ca sampratiṣṭhā .

adhiṣṭhitāḥ kena sukhetareṣu

vartāmahe brahmavido vyavasthām .. 1..

Rishis, discoursing on Brahman, ask:- Is Brahman the cause? Whence are we born? By what do we live? Where do we dwell at the end? Please tell us, O ye who know Brahman, under whose guidance we abide, whether in pleasure or in pain.

Translation By Max Müller

1. The Brahma-students say:- Is Brahman the cause [1]? Whence are we born? Whereby do we live, and whither do we go? O ye who know Brahman, (tell us) at whose command we abide, whether in pain or in pleasure?


1. This translation seems the one which Saṅkara himself prefers, for on p. 277, when recapitulating, he says, kim brahma kâranam âhosvit kâlâdi. In comparing former translations, whether by Weber, Roer, Gough, and others, it will be seen that my own differs considerably from every one of them, and differs equally from Saṅkara's interpretation. It would occupy too much space to criticise former translations, nor would it seem fair, considering how long ago they were made, and how imperfect were the materials which were then accessible. All I wish my readers to understand is that, if I differ from my predecessors, I do so after having carefully examined their renderings. Unfortunately, Roer's edition of both the text and the commentary is often far from correct. Thus in the very first verse of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, I think we ought to read sampratishthâh, instead of sampratishthitâh. In the commentary the reading is right. Vyavasyâm is a misprint for vyavasthâm. In the second verse we must separate kâlah and svabhâvah. Yadrikhhâ no very unusual word, meaning chance, was formerly taken for a name of the moon! Instead of na tvâtmabhâvât, both sense and metre require that we should read anâtmabhâvât, though the commentators take a different view. They say, because there is a self, and then go on to say that even that would not suffice. Such matters, however, belong to a critical commentary on the Upanishads rather than to a translation, and I can refer to them in cases of absolute necessity only, and where the readings of the two MSS., A. and B, seem to offer some help.

Sloka : 1.2

कालः स्वभावो नियतिर्यदृच्छा

भूतानि योनिः पुरुष इति चिन्त्या ।

संयोग एषां न त्वात्मभावा-

दात्माप्यनीशः सुखदुःखहेतोः ॥ २॥

kālaḥ svabhāvo niyatiryadṛcchā

bhūtāni yoniḥ puruṣa iti cintyā .

saṃyoga eṣāṃ na tvātmabhāvā-

dātmāpyanīśaḥ sukhaduḥkhahetoḥ .. 2..

Should time, or nature, or necessity, or chance, or the elements be regarded as the cause? Or he who is called the purusha, the living self?

Translation By Max Müller

2. Should time, or nature [1], or necessity, or chance, or the elements be considered as the cause, or he who is called the person (purusha, vigñânâtmâ)? It cannot be their union either, because that is not self-dependent [2], and the self also is powerless, because there is (independent of him) a cause of good and evil [3].


1. Svabhâva, their own nature or independent character. 2. Union presupposes a uniter. 3. Âtmâ is explained by Saṅkara as the gîvah, the living self, and as that living self is in his present state determined by karman, work belonging to a former existence, it cannot be thought of as an independent cause.

Sloka : 1.3

ते ध्यानयोगानुगता अपश्यन्

देवात्मशक्तिं स्वगुणैर्निगूढाम् ।

यः कारणानि निखिलानि तानि

कालात्मयुक्तान्यधितिष्ठत्येकः ॥ ३॥

te dhyānayogānugatā apaśyan

devātmaśaktiṃ svaguṇairnigūḍhām .

yaḥ kāraṇāni nikhilāni tāni

kālātmayuktānyadhitiṣṭhatyekaḥ .. 3..

The sages, absorbed in meditation through one-pointedness of mind, discovered the creative power, belonging to the Lord Himself and hidden in its own gunas. That non-dual Lord rules over all those causes-time, the self and the rest.

Translation By Max Müller

3. The sages, devoted to meditation and concentration, have seen the power belonging to God himself [1], hidden in its own qualities (guna). He, being one, superintends all those causes, time, self, and the rest [2].


1. Devâtmasakti is a very important term, differently explained by the commentators, but meaning a power belonging to the Deva, the Îsvara, the Lord, not independent of him, as the Sâṅkhyas represent Prakriti or nature. Herein lies the important distinction between Vedanta and Sânkhya. 2. Kâlâtmabhyâm yuktâni, kâlapurushasamyuktâni svabhâvâdini. Âtman is here taken as synonymous with purusha in verse 2.

Sloka : 1.4

तमेकनेमिं त्रिवृतं षोडशान्तं

शतार्धारं विंशतिप्रत्यराभिः ।

अष्टकैः षड्भिर्विश्वरूपैकपाशं

त्रिमार्गभेदं द्विनिमित्तैकमोहम् ॥ ४॥

tamekanemiṃ trivṛtaṃ ṣoḍaśāntaṃ

śatārdhāraṃ viṃśatipratyarābhiḥ .

aṣṭakaiḥ ṣaḍbhirviśvarūpaikapāśaṃ

trimārgabhedaṃ dvinimittaikamoham .. 4..

The sages saw the wheel of Brahman, which has one felly, a triple tire, sixteen end-parts, fifty spokes with twenty counter-spokes and six sets of eight; whose one rope is manifold; which moves on three different roads; and whose illusion arises from two causes.

Translation By Max Müller

4.  [1]. We meditate on him who (like a wheel) has one felly with three tires, sixteen ends, fifty spokes, with twenty counter-spokes, and six sets of eight; whose one rope is manifold, who proceeds on three different roads, and whose illusion arises from two causes.


1. It is difficult to say whether this verse was written as a summing up of certain technicalities recognised in systems of philosophy existing at the time, or whether it is a mere play of fancy. I prefer the former view, and subjoin the explanation given by Saṅkara, though it is quite possible that on certain points he may be mistaken. The Îsvara or deva is represented as a wheel with one felly, which would seem to be the phenomenal world. It is called trivrit, threefold, or rather having three tires, three bands or hoops to bind the felly, these tires being intended for the three gunas of the prakriti, the Sattva, Ragas, and Tamas. In the Brahmopanishad (Bibl. Ind. p. 251) the trivrit sûtram is mentioned. Next follows shodasântam, ending in the sixteen. These sixteen are differently explained. They may be meant for the five elements and the eleven indriyas or organs (the five receptive and the five active senses, together with manas, the common sensory); or for the sixteen kalâs, mentioned in the Prasñopanishad, VI, 1, p. 283. Then follows a new interpretation. The one felly may be meant for the chaos, the undeveloped state of things, and the sixteen would then be the two products in a general form, the Virâg and the Sûtrâtman, while the remaining fourteen would be the individual products, the bhuvanas or worlds beginning with Bhûh. Next follows satârdhâram, having fifty spokes. These fifty spokes are supposed to produce the motion of the mundane wheel, and are explained by Saṅkara as follows:- 1. The five Viparyayas, misconceptions, different kinds of ignorance or doubt, viz. Tamas, Moha, Mahâmoha, Tâmisra, Andhatâmisra, or, according to Patañgali, ignorance, self-love, love, hatred, and fear (Yoga-sûtras I, 8; II, 2; Sâṅkhya-sûtras III, 37). 2. The twenty-eight Asaktis, disabilities, causes of misconception. (See Sâṅkhya-sûtras III, 38.) 3. The nine inversions of the Tushtis, satisfactions. (Sâṅkhya-sûtras III, 39.) 4. The eight inversions of the Siddhis, perfections. (Sâṅkhya-sûtras III, 40.) These are afterwards explained singly. There are 8 kinds of Tamas, 8 kinds of Moha, 10 kinds of Mahâmoha, 18 kinds of Tâmisra, and 18 kinds of Andhatâmisra, making 62 in all. More information on the Asaktis, the Tushtis, and Siddhis may be found in the Sâṅkhya-sûtras III, 37-45; Sâṅkhya-kârikâ 47 seq.; Yoga-sûtras II, 2 seq. Then follow the 20 pratyaras, the counter-spokes, or wedges to strengthen the spokes, viz. the 10 senses and their 10 objects. The six ashtakas or ogdoads are explained as the ogdoads of Prakriti, of substances (dhâtu), of powers (aisvarya), of states (bhâva), of gods (deva), of virtues (âtmaguna). The one, though manifold cord, is love or desire, Kâma, whether of food, children, heaven or anything else. The three paths are explained as righteousness, unrighteousness, and knowledge, and the one deception arising from two causes is ignorance of self, produced by good or bad works.

Sloka : 1.5

पञ्चस्रोतोम्बुं पञ्चयोन्युग्रवक्रां

पञ्चप्राणोर्मिं पञ्चबुद्ध्यादिमूलाम् ।

पञ्चावर्तां पञ्चदुःखौघवेगां

पञ्चाशद्भेदां पञ्चपर्वामधीमः ॥ ५॥

pañcasrotombuṃ pañcayonyugravakrāṃ

pañcaprāṇormiṃ pañcabuddhyādimūlām .

pañcāvartāṃ pañcaduḥkhaughavegāṃ

pañcāśadbhedāṃ pañcaparvāmadhīmaḥ .. 5..

We meditate on the River whose five currents are the five organs of perception, which is made impetuous and winding by the five elements, whose waves are the five organs of actions and whose fountain-head is the mind, the source of the five forms of perception. This River has five whirlpools and its rapids are the fivefold misery; and lastly, it has fifty branches and five pain-bearing obstructions.

Translation By Max Müller

5.  [1]. We meditate on the river whose water consists of the five streams, which is wild and winding with its five springs, whose waves are the five vital breaths, whose fountain head is the mind, the course of the five kinds of perceptions. It has five whirlpools, its rapids are the five pains; it has fifty kinds of suffering, and five branches.


1. Here again, where the Îsvara is likened to a stream, the minute coincidences are explained by Saṅkara in accordance with certain systems of philosophy. The five streams are the five receptive organs, the five springs are the five elements, the five waves are the five active organs. The head is the manas, the mind, or common sensory, from which the perceptions of the five senses spring. The five whirlpools are the objects of the five senses, the five rapids are the five pains of being in the womb, being born, growing old, growing ill, and dying. The next adjective pañkâsadbhedâm is not fully explained by Saṅkara. He only mentions the five divisions of the klesa (see Yoga-sûtras II, 2), but does not show how their number is raised to fifty. Dr. Roer proposes to read pañkaklesa-bhedâm, but that would not agree with the metre. The five parvans or branches are not explained, and may refer to the fifty kinds of suffering (klesa). The whole river, like the wheel in the preceding verse, is meant for the Brahman as kâryakâranâtmaka, in the form of cause and effect, as the phenomenal, not the absolutely real world.

Sloka : 1.6

सर्वाजीवे सर्वसंस्थे बृहन्ते

अस्मिन् हंसो भ्राम्यते ब्रह्मचक्रे ।

पृथगात्मानं प्रेरितारं च मत्वा

जुष्टस्ततस्तेनामृतत्वमेति ॥ ६॥

sarvājīve sarvasaṃsthe bṛhante

asmin haṃso bhrāmyate brahmacakre .

pṛthagātmānaṃ preritāraṃ ca matvā

juṣṭastatastenāmṛtatvameti .. 6..

In this great Brahma-Wheel, in which all things abide and finally rest, the swan wanders about so long as it thinks the self is different from the Controller. When blessed by Him the self attains Immortality.

Translation By Max Müller

6. In that vast Brahma-wheel, in which all things live and rest, the bird flutters about, so long as he thinks that the self (in him) is different from the mover (the god, the lord). When he has been blessed by him, then he gains immortality [1].


1. If he has been blessed by the Îsvara, i.e. when he has been accepted by the Lord, when he has discovered his own true self in the Lord. It must be remembered, however, that both the Îsvara, the Lord, and the purusha, the individual soul, are phenomenal only, and that the Brahma-wheel is meant for the prapañka, the manifest, but unreal world.

Sloka : 1.7

उद्गीतमेतत्परमं तु ब्रह्म

तस्मिंस्त्रयं सुप्रतिष्ठाऽक्षरं च ।

अत्रान्तरं ब्रह्मविदो विदित्वा

लीना ब्रह्मणि तत्परा योनिमुक्ताः ॥ ७॥

udgītametatparamaṃ tu brahma

tasmiṃstrayaṃ supratiṣṭhā'kṣaraṃ ca .

atrāntaraṃ brahmavido viditvā

līnā brahmaṇi tatparā yonimuktāḥ .. 7..

It is the Supreme Brahman alone untouched by phenomena that is proclaimed in the Upanishads. In It is established the triad of the enjoyer, the object and the Lord who is the Controller. This Brahman is the immutable foundation; It is imperishable. The sages, having realized Brahman to be the essence of phenomena, become devoted to Him. Completely merged in Brahman, they attain freedom from rebirth.

Translation By Max Müller

7. But what is praised (in the Upanishads) is the Highest Brahman, and in it there is the triad [1]. The Highest Brahman is the safe support, it is imperishable. The Brahma-students [2], when they have known what is within this (world), are devoted and merged in the Brahman, free from birth [3].


1. The subject (bhoktri), the object (bhogya), and the mover (preritri), see verse 12. 2. B. has Vedavido, those who know the Vedas. 3. Tasmin pralîyate tv âtmâ samâdhih sa udâhritah.

Sloka : 1.8

संयुक्तमेतत् क्षरमक्षरं च

व्यक्ताव्यक्तं भरते विश्वमीशः ।

अनीशश्चात्मा बध्यते भोक्तृ-

भावाज् ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ ८॥

saṃyuktametat kṣaramakṣaraṃ ca

vyaktāvyaktaṃ bharate viśvamīśaḥ .

anīśaścātmā badhyate bhoktṛ-

bhāvāj jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ .. 8..

The Lord, Isa, supports all this which has been joined together-the perishable and the imperishable, the manifest, the effect and the unmanifest, the cause. The same Lord, the Supreme Self, devoid of Lordship, becomes bound because of assuming the attitude of the enjoyer. The jiva again realizes the Supreme Self and is freed from all fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

8. The Lord (îsa) supports all this together, the perishable and the imperishable, the developed and the undeveloped. The (living) self, not being a lord, is bound [1], because he has to enjoy (the fruits of works); but when he has known the god (deva), he is freed from all fetters.


1. Read badhyate for budhyate.

Sloka : 1.9

ज्ञाज्ञौ द्वावजावीशनीशावजा

ह्येका भोक्तृभोग्यार्थयुक्ता ।

अनन्तश्चात्मा विश्वरूपो ह्यकर्ता

त्रयं यदा विन्दते ब्रह्ममेतत् ॥ ९॥

jñājñau dvāvajāvīśanīśāvajā

hyekā bhoktṛbhogyārthayuktā .

anantaścātmā viśvarūpo hyakartā

trayaṃ yadā vindate brahmametat .. 9..

The Supreme Lord appears as Isvara, omniscient and omnipotent and as the jiva, of limited knowledge and power, both unborn. But this does not deny the phenomenal universe; for there exists further the unborn prakriti, which creates the ideas of the enjoyer, enjoyment and the object. Atman is infinite and all-pervading and therefore devoid of agency. When the seeker knows all these three to be Brahman, he is freed from his fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

9. There are two, one knowing (îsvara), the other not-knowing (gîva), both unborn, one strong, the other weak [1]; there is she, the unborn, through whom each man receives the recompense of his works [2]; and there is the infinite Self (appearing) under all forms, but himself inactive. When a man finds out these three, that is Brahma [3].


1. The form îsanîsau is explained as khândasa; likewise brahmam for brahma. 2. Cf. Svet. Up. IV, 5, bhuktabhogyâm. 3. The three are (1) the lord, the personal god, the creator and ruler; (2) the individual soul or souls; and (3) the power of creation, the devâtmasakti of verse 3. All three are contained in Brahman; see verses 7, 12. So 'pi mâyî paramesvaro mâyopâdhisannidhes tadvân iva.

Sloka : 1.10

क्षरं प्रधानममृताक्षरं हरः

क्षरात्मानावीशते देव एकः ।


भावात् भूयश्चान्ते विश्वमायानिवृत्तिः ॥ १०॥

kṣaraṃ pradhānamamṛtākṣaraṃ haraḥ

kṣarātmānāvīśate deva ekaḥ .


bhāvāt bhūyaścānte viśvamāyānivṛttiḥ .. 10..

Prakriti is perishable. Hara, the Lord, is immortal and imperishable. The non-dual Supreme Self rules both prakriti and the individual soul. Through constant meditation on Him, by union with Him, by the knowledge of identity with Him, one attains, in the end, cessation of the illusion of phenomena.

Translation By Max Müller

10. That which is perishable [1] is the Pradhâna [2] (the first), the immortal and imperishable is Hara [3]. The one god rules the perishable (the pradhâna) and the (living) self [4]. From meditating on him, from joining him, from becoming one with him there is further cessation of all illusion in the end.


1. See verse 8. 2. The recognised name for Prakriti, or here Devâtmasakti, in the later Sâṅkhya philosophy. 3. Hara, one of the names of Siva or Rudra, is here explained as avidyâder haranât, taking away ignorance. He would seem to be meant for the Îsvara or deva, the one god, though immediately afterwards he is taken for the true Brahman, and not for its phenomenal divine personification only. 4. The self, Âtman, used here, as before, for purusha, the individual soul, or rather the individual souls.

Sloka : 1.11

ज्ञात्वा देवं सर्वपाशापहानिः

क्षीणैः क्लेशैर्जन्ममृत्युप्रहाणिः ।

तस्याभिध्यानात्तृतीयं देहभेदे

विश्वैश्वर्यं केवल आप्तकामः ॥ ११॥

jñātvā devaṃ sarvapāśāpahāniḥ

kṣīṇaiḥ kleśairjanmamṛtyuprahāṇiḥ .

tasyābhidhyānāttṛtīyaṃ dehabhede

viśvaiśvaryaṃ kevala āptakāmaḥ .. 11..

When the Lord is known all fetters fall off; with the cessation of miseries, birth and death come to an end. From meditation on Him there arises, after the dissolution of the body, the third state, that of universal lordship. And lastly, the aspirant, transcending that state also, abides in the complete Bliss of Brahman.

Translation By Max Müller

11. When that god is known, all fetters fall off, sufferings are destroyed, and birth and death cease. From meditating on him there arises, on the dissolution of the body, the third state, that of universal lordship [1]; but he only who is alone, is satisfied [2].


1. A blissful state in the Brahma-world, which, however, is not yet perfect freedom, but may lead on to it. Thus it is said in the Sivadharmottara:- Dhyânâd aisvaryam, atulam aisvaryât sukham uttamam,
Gñânena tat parityagya videho muktim âpnuyât. 2. This alone-ness, kevalatvam, is produced by the knowledge that the individual self is one with the divine self, and that both the individual and the divine self are only phenomenal forms of the true Self, the Brahman.

Sloka : 1.12

एतज्ज्ञेयं नित्यमेवात्मसंस्थं

नातः परं वेदितव्यं हि किञ्चित् ।

भोक्ता भोग्यं प्रेरितारं च मत्वा

सर्वं प्रोक्तं त्रिविधं ब्रह्ममेतत् ॥ १२॥

etajjñeyaṃ nityamevātmasaṃsthaṃ

nātaḥ paraṃ veditavyaṃ hi kiñcit .

bhoktā bhogyaṃ preritāraṃ ca matvā

sarvaṃ proktaṃ trividhaṃ brahmametat .. 12..

The enjoyer (jiva), the objects of enjoyment and the Ruler (Isvara)-the triad described by the knowers of Brahman-all this is nothing but Brahman. This Brahman alone, which abides eternally within the self, should be known. Beyond It, truly, there is nothing else to be known.

Translation By Max Müller

12. This, which rests eternally within the self, should be known; and beyond this not anything has to be known. By knowing the enjoyer [1], the enjoyed, and the ruler, everything has been declared to be threefold, and this is Brahman.


1. Bhoktâ, possibly for bhoktrâ, unless it is a Khândasa form. It was quoted before, Bibl. Ind. p. 292, l. 5. The enjoyer is the purusha, the individual soul, the subject; the enjoyed is prakriti, nature, the object; and the ruler is the Îsvara, that is, Brahman, as god. I take brahmam etat in the same sense here as in verse 9.

Sloka : 1.13

वह्नेर्यथा योनिगतस्य मूर्तिर्न

दृश्यते नैव च लिङ्गनाशः ।

स भूय एवेन्धनयोनिगृह्य-

स्तद्वोभयं वै प्रणवेन देहे ॥ १३॥

vahneryathā yonigatasya mūrtirna

dṛśyate naiva ca liṅganāśaḥ .

sa bhūya evendhanayonigṛhya-

stadvobhayaṃ vai praṇavena dehe .. 13..

The visible form of fire, while it lies latent in its source, the fire-wood, is not perceived; yet there is no destruction of its subtle form. That very fire can be brought out again by means of persistent rubbing of the wood, its source. In like manner, Atman, which exists in two states, like fire, can be grasped in this very body by means of Om.

Translation By Max Müller

13. As the form of fire, while it exists in the under-wood [1], is not seen, nor is its seed destroyed, but it has to be seized again and again by means of the stick and the under-wood, so it is in both cases, and the Self has to be seized in the body by means of the pranava (the syllable Om).


1. This metaphor, like most philosophical metaphors in Sanskrit, is rather obscure at first sight, but very exact when once understood. Fire, as produced by a fire drill, is compared to the Self. It is not seen at first, yet it must be there all the time; its liṅga or subtle body cannot have been destroyed, because as soon as the stick, the indhana, is drilled in the under-wood, the yoni, the fire becomes visible. In the same way the Self, though invisible during a state of ignorance, is there all the time, and is perceived when the body has been drilled by the Pranava, that is, after, by a constant repetition of the sacred syllable Om, the body has been subdued, and the ecstatic vision of the Self has been achieved. Indhana, the stick used for drilling, and yoni, the under-wood, in which the stick is drilled, are the two aranis, the fire-sticks used for kindling fire. See Tylor, Anthropology, p. 260.

Sloka : 1.14

स्वदेहमरणिं कृत्वा प्रणवं चोत्तरारणिम् ।

ध्याननिर्मथनाभ्यासादेवं पश्येन्निगूढवत् ॥ १४॥

svadehamaraṇiṃ kṛtvā praṇavaṃ cottarāraṇim .

dhyānanirmathanābhyāsādevaṃ paśyennigūḍhavat .. 14..

By making the body the lower piece of wood and Om the upper piece and through the practice of the friction of meditation, one perceives the luminous Self, hidden like the fire in the wood.

Translation By Max Müller

14. By making his body the under-wood, and the syllable Om the upper-wood, man, after repeating the drill of meditation, will perceive the bright god, like the spark hidden in the wood [1].


1. Cf. Dhyânavindûpan. verse 20; Brahmopanishad, p. 256.

Sloka : 1.15-16

तिलेषु तैलं दधिनीव सर्पि-

रापः स्रोतःस्वरणीषु चाग्निः ।

एवमात्माऽत्मनि गृह्यतेऽसौ

सत्येनैनं तपसायोऽनुपश्यति ॥ १५॥

सर्वव्यापिनमात्मानं क्षीरे सर्पिरिवार्पितम् ।

आत्मविद्यातपोमूलं तद्ब्रह्मोपनिषत् परम् ॥ १६॥

tileṣu tailaṃ dadhinīva sarpi-

rāpaḥ srotaḥsvaraṇīṣu cāgniḥ .

evamātmā'tmani gṛhyate'sau

satyenainaṃ tapasāyo'nupaśyati .. 15..

sarvavyāpinamātmānaṃ kṣīre sarpirivārpitam .

ātmavidyātapomūlaṃ tadbrahmopaniṣat param .. 16..

As oil exists in sesame seeds, butter in milk, water in river- beds and fire in wood, so the Self is realized as existing within the self, when a man looks for It by means of truthfulness and austerity-when he looks for the Self, which pervades all things as butter pervades milk and whose roots are Self- Knowledge and austerity. That is the Brahman taught by the Upanishad; yea, that is the Brahman taught by the Upanishads.

Translation By Max Müller

15. As oil in seeds, as butter in cream, as water in (dry) river-beds [1], as fire in wood, so is the Self seized within the self, if man looks for him by truthfulness and penance [2]; 16. (If he looks) for the Self that pervades everything, as butter is contained in milk, and the roots whereof are self-knowledge and penance. That is the Brahman taught by the Upanishad.


1. Srotas, a stream, seems to mean here the dry bed of a stream, which, if dug into, will yield water. 2. The construction is correct, if we remember that he who is seized is the same as he who looks for the hidden Self. But the metre would be much improved if we accepted the reading of the Brahmopanishad, evam âtmâ âtmani grihyate 'sau, which is confirmed by B. The last line would be improved by reading, satyenainam ye 'nupasyanti dhîrâh.

Sloka : 2.1

द्वितीयोऽध्यायः ।

युञ्जानः प्रथमं मनस्तत्त्वाय सविता धियः ।

अग्नेर्ज्योतिर्निचाय्य पृथिव्या अध्याभरत् ॥ १॥

dvitīyo'dhyāyaḥ .

yuñjānaḥ prathamaṃ manastattvāya savitā dhiyaḥ .

agnerjyotirnicāyya pṛthivyā adhyābharat .. 1..

May the sun, at the commencement of yoga, join our minds and other organs to the Supreme Self so that we may attain the Knowledge of Reality. May He, also, support the body, the highest material entity, through the powers of the deities who control the senses.

Translation By Max Müller

1.  [1]. Savitri (the sun), having first collected his mind and expanded his thoughts, brought Agni (fire), when he had discovered his light, above the earth.


1. The seven introductory verses are taken from hymns addressed to Savitri as the rising sun. They have been so twisted by Saṅkara, in order to make them applicable to the teachings of the Yoga philosophy, as to become almost nonsensical. I have given a few specimens of Saṅkara's renderings in the notes, but have translated the verses, as much as possible, in their original character. As they are merely introductory, I do not understand why the collector of the Upanishad should have seen in them anything but an invocation of Savitri. These verses are taken from various Samhitâs. The first yuñgânah prathamam is from Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 1, 1; Vâg. Samh. XI, 1; see also Sat. Br. VI, 3, 1, 12. The Taittirîya-text agrees with the Upanishad, the Vâgasaneyi-text has dhiyam for dhiyah, and agneh for agnim. Both texts take tatvâya as a participle of tan, while the Upanishad reads tattvâya, as a dative of tattva, truth. I have translated the verse in its natural sense. Saṅkara, in explaining the Upanishad, translates:- 'At the beginning of our meditation, joining the mind with the Highest Self, also the other prânas, or the knowledge of outward things, for the sake of truth, Savitri, out of the knowledge of outward things, brought Agni, after having discovered his brightness, above the earth, in this body.' He explains it:- 'May Savitri, taking our thoughts away from outward things, in order to concentrate them on the Highest Self, produce in our speech and in our other senses that power which can lighten all objects, which proceeds from Agni and from the other favourable deities.' He adds that 'by the favour of Savitri, Yoga may be obtained.'

Sloka : 2.2

युक्तेन मनसा वयं देवस्य सवितुः सवे ।

सुवर्गेयाय शक्त्या ॥ २॥

yuktena manasā vayaṃ devasya savituḥ save .

suvargeyāya śaktyā .. 2..

Having received the blessings of the divine Sun and with minds joined to the Supreme Self, we exert ourselves, to the best of our power, toward meditation, by which we shall attain Heaven (Brahman).

Translation By Max Müller

2.  [1]. With collected minds we are at the command of the divine Savitri, that we may obtain blessedness.


1. The second verse is from Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 1, 3; Vâg. Samh. XI, 2. The Vâgasaneyi-text has svargyâya for svargeyâya, and saktyâ for saktyai. Saṅkara explains:- 'With a mind that has been joined by Savitri to the Highest Self, we, with the sanction of that Savitri, devote ourselves to the work of meditation, which leads to the obtainment of Svarga, according to our power.' He explains Svarga by Paramâtman. Sâyana in his commentary on the Taittirîya-samhitâ explains svargeyâya by svargaloke gîyamânasyâgneh sampâdanâya; Saṅkara, by svargaprâptihetubhûtâya dhyânakarmane. Saktyai is explained by Saṅkara by yathâsâmarthyam; by Sâyana, by saktâ bhûyâsma. Mahîdhara explains saktyâ by svasâmarthyena. I believe that the original reading was svargyâya saktyai, and that we must take saktyai as an infinitive, like ityai, construed with a dative, like drisaye sûryâya, for the seeing of the sun. The two attracted datives would be governed by save, 'we are under the command of Savitri,' svargyâya saktyai, 'that we may obtain svargya, life in Svarga or blessedness.'

Sloka : 2.3

युक्त्वाय मनसा देवान् सुवर्यतो धिया दिवम् ।

बृहज्ज्योतिः करिष्यतः सविता प्रसुवाति तान् ॥ ३॥

yuktvāya manasā devān suvaryato dhiyā divam .

bṛhajjyotiḥ kariṣyataḥ savitā prasuvāti tān .. 3..

May the Sun bestow favour upon the senses and the mind by joining them with the Self, so that the senses may be directed toward the Blissful Brahman and may reveal, by means of Knowledge, the mighty and radiant Brahman.

Translation By Max Müller

3.  [1]. May Savitri, after he has reached with his mind the gods as they rise up to the sky, and with his thoughts (has reached) heaven, grant these gods to make a great light to shine.


1. The third verse is from Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 1, 2; Vâg. Samh. XI, 3. The Taittirîyas read yuktvâya manasâ; the Vâgasaneyins, yuktvâya savitâ. Saṅkara translates:- 'Again he prays that Savitri, having directed the devas, i.e. the senses, which are moving towards Brahman, and which by knowledge are going to brighten up the heavenly light of Brahman, may order them to do so; that is, he prays that, by the favour of Savitri, our senses should be turned away from outward things to Brahman or the Self.' Taking the hymn as addressed to Savitri, I have translated deva by gods, not by senses, suvaryatah by rising to the sky, namely, in the morning. The opposition between manasâ and dhiyâ is the same here as in verse 1, and again in verse 4.

Sloka : 2.4

युञ्जते मन उत युञ्जते धियो

विप्रा विप्रस्य बृहतो विपश्चितः ।

वि होत्रा दधे वयुनाविदेक

इन्मही देवस्य सवितुः परिष्टुतिः ॥ ४॥

yuñjate mana uta yuñjate dhiyo

viprā viprasya bṛhato vipaścitaḥ .

vi hotrā dadhe vayunāvideka

inmahī devasya savituḥ pariṣṭutiḥ .. 4..

It is the duty of those brahmins who fix their minds and senses on the Supreme Self to utter such lofty invocations to the divine Sun, omnipresent, mighty and omniscient. For He, all- witnessing and non-dual, is the dispenser of sacrifices.

Translation By Max Müller

4.  [1]. The wise sages of the great sage collect their mind and collect their thoughts. He who alone knows the law (Savitri) has ordered the invocations; great is the praise of the divine Savitri.


1. This verse is from Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 1, 4; I, 2, 13, 1, 1; Vâg. Samh. V, 14; XI, 4; XXXVII, 2; Rig-veda V, 81, 1; Sat. Br. III, 5, 3, 11; VI, 3, 1, 16. Saṅkara explains this verse again in the same manner as he did the former verses, while the Satapatha-brâhmana supplies two different ritual explanations.

Sloka : 2.5

युजे वां ब्रह्म पूर्व्यं नमोभिर्विश्लोक

एतु पथ्येव सूरेः ।

श‍ृण्वन्तु विश्वे अमृतस्य पुत्रा आ ये

धामानि दिव्यानि तस्थुः ॥ ५॥

yuje vāṃ brahma pūrvyaṃ namobhirviśloka

etu pathyeva sūreḥ .

śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrā ā ye

dhāmāni divyāni tasthuḥ .. 5..

O senses and O deities who favour them! Through salutations I unite myself with the eternal Brahman, who is your source. Let this prayer sung by me, who follow the right path of the Sun, go forth in all directions. May the sons of the Immortal, who occupy celestial positions, hear it!

Translation By Max Müller

5.  [1]. Your old prayer has to be joined [2] with praises. Let my song go forth like the path of the sun! May all the sons of the Immortal listen, they who have reached their heavenly homes.


1. For this verse, see Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 2, 1; Vâg. Samh. XI, 5; Atharva-veda XVIII, 3, 39; Rig-veda X, 13, 1. The Vâgasaneyins read vi sloka etu for vi slokâ yanti; sûreh for sûrâh; srinvantu for srinvanti; and the Rig-veda agrees with them. The dual vâm is accounted for by the verse belonging to a hymn celebrating the two sakatas, carts, bearing the offerings (havirdhâne); most likely, however, the dual referred originally to the dual deities of heaven and earth. I prefer the text of the Rig-veda and the Vâgasaneyins to that of the Taittirîyas, and have translated the verse accordingly. In the Atharva-veda XVIII, 39, if we may trust the edition, the verse begins with svâsasthe bhavatam indave nah, which is really the end of the next verse (Rv. X, 13, 2), while the second line is, vi sloka eti pathyeva sûrih srinvantu visve amritâsa etat. I see no sense in pathyeva sûrâh. Saṅkara explains pathyeva by pathi sanmârge, athavâ pathyâ kîrtih, while his later commentary, giving srinvantu and putrâh sûrâtmano hiranyagarbhasya, leads one to suppose that he read sûreh srinvantu. Sâyana (Taitt. Samh. IV, 1, 1, 2) explains pathyâ sûrâ iva by gîrvânamârga antarikshe sûryarasmayo yathâ prasaranti tadvat. The same, when commenting on the Rig-veda (X, 13, 1), Says:- pathyâ-iva sûreh, yathâ stotuh svabhûtâ pathyâ parinâmasukhâvahâhutir visvân devân prati vividham gakkhati tadvat. Mahîdhara (Vâg. Samh. XI, 5) refers sûreh (panditasya) to slokah, and explains pathyeva by patho 'napetâ pathyâ yagñamârgapravrittâhutih. 2. Yugé cannot stand for yuñge, as all commentators and translators suppose, but is a datival infinitive. Neither can yuñgate in the following verse stand for yuṅkte (see Boehtlingk, s. v.), or be explained as a subjunctive form. A. reads adhirudhyate, B. abhirudhyate, with a marginal note abhinudyate. It is difficult to say whether in lighting the fire the wind should be directed towards it, or kept from it.

Sloka : 2.6

अग्निर्यत्राभिमथ्यते वायुर्यत्राधिरुध्यते ।

सोमो यत्रातिरिच्यते तत्र सञ्जायते मनः ॥ ६॥

agniryatrābhimathyate vāyuryatrādhirudhyate .

somo yatrātiricyate tatra sañjāyate manaḥ .. 6..

If sacrifices are performed without first propitiating the Sun, then the mind becomes attached to sacrifices in which fire is kindled by the rubbing of the pieces of fire-wood, the oblations are offered to the deity Vayu and the soma juice is drunk excessively.

Translation By Max Müller

6. Where the fire is rubbed [1], where the wind is checked, where the Soma flows over, there the mind is born.


1. That is, at the Soma sacrifice, after the fire has been kindled and stirred by the wind, the poets, on partaking of the juice, are inspirited for new songs. Saṅkara, however, suggests another explanation as more appropriate for the Upanishad, namely, 'Where the fire, i.e. the Highest Self, which burns all ignorance, has been kindled (in the body, where it has been rubbed with the syllable Om), and where the breath has acted, i.e. has made the sound peculiar to the initial stages of Yoga, there Brahman is produced.' In fact, what was intended to be taught was this, that we must begin with sacrificial acts, then practise yoga, then reach samâdhi, perfect knowledge, and lastly bliss.

Sloka : 2.7

सवित्रा प्रसवेन जुषेत ब्रह्म पूर्व्यम् ।

यत्र योनिं कृणवसे न हि ते पूर्तमक्षिपत् ॥ ७॥

savitrā prasavena juṣeta brahma pūrvyam .

yatra yoniṃ kṛṇavase na hi te pūrtamakṣipat .. 7..

Serve the eternal Brahman with the blessings of the Sun, the cause of the universe. Be absorbed, through samadhi, in the eternal Brahman. Thus your work will not bind you.

Translation By Max Müller

7. Let us love the old Brahman by the grace of Savitri; if thou make thy dwelling there, the path will not hurt thee [1].


1. We must read krinavase, in the sense of 'do this and nothing will hurt thee,' or, if thou do this, thy former deeds will no longer hurt thee.

Sloka : 2.8

त्रिरुन्नतं स्थाप्य समं शरीरं

हृदीन्द्रियाणि मनसा सन्निवेश्य ।

ब्रह्मोडुपेन प्रतरेत विद्वान्

स्रोतांसि सर्वाणि भयानकानि ॥ ८॥

trirunnataṃ sthāpya samaṃ śarīraṃ

hṛdīndriyāṇi manasā sanniveśya .

brahmoḍupena pratareta vidvān

srotāṃsi sarvāṇi bhayānakāni .. 8..

The wise man should hold his body steady, with the three upper parts erect, turn his senses, with the help of the mind, toward the heart and by means of the raft of Brahman cross the fearful torrents of the world.

Translation By Max Müller

8. If a wise man hold his body with its three erect parts (chest, neck, and head) even [1], and turn his senses with the mind towards the heart, he will then in the boat of Brahman [2] cross all the torrents which cause fear.


1. Cf. Bhagavadgîtâ VI, 13. Samam kâyasirogrîvam dhârayan. Saṅkara says:- trîny unnatâny urogrîvasirâmsy unnatâni yasmin sarire. 2. Explained by Saṅkara as the syllable Om.

Sloka : 2.9

प्राणान् प्रपीड्येह संयुक्तचेष्टः

क्षीणे प्राणे नासिकयोच्छ्वसीत ।

दुष्टाश्वयुक्तमिव वाहमेनं

विद्वान् मनो धारयेताप्रमत्तः ॥ ९॥

prāṇān prapīḍyeha saṃyuktaceṣṭaḥ

kṣīṇe prāṇe nāsikayocchvasīta .

duṣṭāśvayuktamiva vāhamenaṃ

vidvān mano dhārayetāpramattaḥ .. 9..

The yogi of well regulated endeavours should control the pranas; when they are quieted he should breathe out through the nostrils. Then let him undistractedly restrain his mind, as a charioteer restrains his vicious horses.

Translation By Max Müller

9. Compressing his breathings let him, who has subdued all motions, breathe forth through the nose with gentle breath [1]. Let the wise man without fail restrain his mind, that chariot yoked with vicious horses [2].


1. Cf. Bhagavadgîtâ V, 27. Prânâpânau samau kritvâ nâsâbhyantara kârinau. See Telang's notes, Sacred Books of the East, vol. viii, p. 68 seq. 2. A similar metaphor in Kath. Up. III, 4-6; Sacred Books of the East, vol. xv, p. 13.

Sloka : 2.10

समे शुचौ शर्करावह्निवालिका-

विवर्जिते शब्दजलाश्रयादिभिः ।

मनोनुकूले न तु चक्षुपीडने

गुहानिवाताश्रयणे प्रयोजयेत् ॥ १०॥

same śucau śarkarāvahnivālikā-

vivarjite śabdajalāśrayādibhiḥ .

manonukūle na tu cakṣupīḍane

guhānivātāśrayaṇe prayojayet .. 10..

Let yoga be practised within a cave protected from the high wind, or in a place which is level, pure and free from pebbles, gravel and fire, undisturbed by the noise of water or of market-booths and which is delightful to the mind and not offensive to the eye.

Translation By Max Müller

10. Let him perform his exercises in a place [1] level, pure, free from pebbles, fire, and dust, delightful by its sounds, its water, and bowers, not painful to the eye, and full of shelters and caves.


1. The question is whether sabdagalâsrayâdibhih should be referred to mano 'nukûle, as I have translated it, or to vivargite, as Saṅkara seems to take it, because he renders sabda, sound, by noise, and âsraya by mandapa, a booth. See Bhagavadgîtâ VI, 11. In the Maitr. Up. VI, 30, Râmatîrtha explains sukau dese by girinadîpulinaguhâdisuddhastâne. See also Âsv. Grihya-sûtras III, 2, 2.

Sloka : 2.11


खद्योतविद्युत्स्फटिकशशीनाम् ।

एतानि रूपाणि पुरःसराणि

ब्रह्मण्यभिव्यक्तिकराणि योगे ॥ ११॥


khadyotavidyutsphaṭikaśaśīnām .

etāni rūpāṇi puraḥsarāṇi

brahmaṇyabhivyaktikarāṇi yoge .. 11..

When yoga is practised, the forms which appear first and which gradually manifest Brahman are those or snow-flakes, smoke, sun, wind, fire, fire-flies, lightning, crystal and the moon.

Translation By Max Müller

11. When Yoga is being performed, the forms which come first, producing apparitions in Brahman, are those of misty smoke, sun, fire, wind, fire-flies, lightnings, and a crystal moon [1].


1. Or, it may be, a crystal and the moon.

Sloka : 2.12

पृथिव्यप्तेजोऽनिलखे समुत्थिते

पञ्चात्मके योगगुणे प्रवृत्ते ।

न तस्य रोगो न जरा न मृत्युः

प्राप्तस्य योगाग्निमयं शरीरम् ॥ १२॥

pṛthivyaptejo'nilakhe samutthite

pañcātmake yogaguṇe pravṛtte .

na tasya rogo na jarā na mṛtyuḥ

prāptasya yogāgnimayaṃ śarīram .. 12..

When earth, water fire, air and akasa arise, that is to say, when the five attributes of the elements, mentioned in the books on yoga, become manifest then the yogi's body becomes purified by the fire of yoga and he is free from illness, old age and death.

Translation By Max Müller

12. When, as earth, water, light, heat, and ether arise, the fivefold quality of Yoga takes place [1], then there is no longer illness, old age, or pain [2] for him who has obtained a body, produced by the fire of Yoga.


1. The Yogaguna is described as the quality of each element, i.e. smell of the earth, taste of water, &c. It seems that the perception of these gunas is called yogapravritti. Thus by fixing the thought on the tip of the nose, a perception of heavenly scent is produced; by fixing it on the tip of the tongue, a perception of heavenly taste; by fixing it on the point of the palate, a heavenly colour; by fixing it on the middle of the tongue, a heavenly touch; by fixing it on the roof of the tongue, a heavenly sound. By means of these perceptions the mind is supposed to be steadied, because it is no longer attracted by the outward objects themselves. See Yoga-sûtras I, 35. 2. Or no death, na mrityuh, B.

Sloka : 2.13


वर्णप्रसादः स्वरसौष्ठवं च ।

गन्धः शुभो मूत्रपुरीषमल्पं

योगप्रवृत्तिं प्रथमां वदन्ति ॥ १३॥


varṇaprasādaḥ svarasauṣṭhavaṃ ca .

gandhaḥ śubho mūtrapurīṣamalpaṃ

yogapravṛttiṃ prathamāṃ vadanti .. 13..

The precursors of perfection in yoga, they say, are lightness and healthiness of the body, absence of desire, clear complexion, pleasantness of voice, sweet odour and slight excretions.

Translation By Max Müller

13. The first results of Yoga they call lightness, healthiness, steadiness, a good complexion, an easy pronunciation, a sweet odour, and slight excretions.

Sloka : 2.14

यथैव बिम्बं मृदयोपलिप्तं

तेजोमयं भ्राजते तत् सुधान्तम् ।

तद्वाऽऽत्मतत्त्वं प्रसमीक्ष्य देही

एकः कृतार्थो भवते वीतशोकः ॥ १४॥

yathaiva bimbaṃ mṛdayopaliptaṃ

tejomayaṃ bhrājate tat sudhāntam .

tadvā''tmatattvaṃ prasamīkṣya dehī

ekaḥ kṛtārtho bhavate vītaśokaḥ .. 14..

As gold covered by earth shines bright after it has been purified, so also the yogi, realising the truth of Atman, becomes one with the non-dual Atman, attains the goal and is free from grief

Translation By Max Müller

14. As a metal disk (mirror), tarnished by dust, shines bright again after it has been cleaned, so is the one incarnate person satisfied and free from grief, after he has seen the real nature of the Self [1].


1. Pareshâm pâthe tadvat sa tattvam prasamîkshya dehîti.

Sloka : 2.15

यदात्मतत्त्वेन तु ब्रह्मतत्त्वं

दीपोपमेनेह युक्तः प्रपश्येत् ।

अजं ध्रुवं सर्वतत्त्वैर्विशुद्धं

ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपापैः ॥ १५॥

yadātmatattvena tu brahmatattvaṃ

dīpopameneha yuktaḥ prapaśyet .

ajaṃ dhruvaṃ sarvatattvairviśuddhaṃ

jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāpaiḥ .. 15..

And when the yogi beholds the real nature of Brahman, through the Knowledge of the Self, radiant as a lamp, then, having known the unborn and immutable Lord, who is untouched by ignorance and its effects, he is freed from all fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

15. And when by means of the real nature of his self he sees, as by a lamp, the real nature of Brahman, then having known the unborn, eternal god, who is beyond all natures [1], he is freed from all fetters.


1. Sarvatattvair avidyâtatkâryair visuddham asamsprishtam.

Sloka : 2.16

एषो ह देवः प्रदिशोऽनु सर्वाः ।

पूर्वो ह जातः स उ गर्भे अन्तः ।

स एव जातः स जनिष्यमाणः

प्रत्यङ् जनास्तिष्ठति सर्वतोमुखः ॥ १६॥

eṣo ha devaḥ pradiśo'nu sarvāḥ .

pūrvo ha jātaḥ sa u garbhe antaḥ .

sa eva jātaḥ sa janiṣyamāṇaḥ

pratyaṅ janāstiṣṭhati sarvatomukhaḥ .. 16..

He indeed, the Lord, who pervades all regions, was the first to be born and it is He who dwells in the womb of the universe. It is He, again, who is born as a child and He will be born in the future, He stands behind all persons and His face is everywhere.

Translation By Max Müller

16. He indeed is the god who pervades all regions:- he is the first-born (as Hiranyagarbha), and he is in the womb. He has been born, and he will be born [1]. He stands behind all persons, looking everywhere.


1. This verse is found in the Vâg. Samh. XXXII, 4; Taitt. Âr. X, 1, 3, with slight modifications. The Vâgasaneyins read esho ha (so do A. B.) for esha hi; sa eva gâtah (A. B.) for sa vigâtah; ganâs (A. B.) for ganâms. The Âranyaka has sa vigâyamânah for sa vigâtah, pratyaṅmukhâs for pratyañganâms, and visvatomukhah for sarvatomukhah. Colebrooke (Essays, I, 57) gives a translation of it. If we read ganâh, we must take it as a vocative.

Sloka : 2.17

यो देवो अग्नौ योऽप्सु

यो विश्वं भुवनमाविवेश ।

य ओषधीषु यो वनस्पतिषु

तस्मै देवाय नमो नमः ॥ १७॥

yo devo agnau yo'psu

yo viśvaṃ bhuvanamāviveśa .

ya oṣadhīṣu yo vanaspatiṣu

tasmai devāya namo namaḥ .. 17..

The Self-luminous Lord, who is fire, who is in water, who has entered into the whole world, who is in plants, who is in trees- to that Lord let there be adoration! Yea, let there be adoration!

Translation By Max Müller

17. The god [1] who is in the fire, the god who is in the water, the god who has entered into the whole world, the god who is in plants, the god who is in trees, adoration be to that god, adoration!


1. B. (not A.) reads yo rudro yo 'gnau.

Sloka : 3.1

तृतीयोऽध्यायः ।

य एको जालवानीशत ईशनीभिः

सर्वाँल्लोकानीशत ईशनीभिः ।

य एवैक उद्भवे सम्भवे च

य एतद् विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ १॥

tṛtīyo'dhyāyaḥ .

ya eko jālavānīśata īśanībhiḥ

sarvām̐llokānīśata īśanībhiḥ .

ya evaika udbhave sambhave ca

ya etad viduramṛtāste bhavanti .. 1..

The non-dual Ensnarer rules by His powers. Remaining one and the same, He rules by His powers all the worlds during their manifestation and continued existence. They who know this become immortal.

Translation By Max Müller

1. The snarer [1] who rules alone by his powers, who rules all the worlds by his powers, who is one and the same, while things arise and exist [2],--they who know this are immortal.


1. Saṅkara explains gâla, snare, by mâyâ. The verse must be corrected, according to Saṅkara's commentary:- ya eko gâlavân îsata îsanîbhih
sarvân̐ llokân îsata îsanîbhih. 2. Sambhava, in the sense of Vergehen, perishing, rests on no authority.

Sloka : 3.2

एको हि रुद्रो न द्वितीयाय तस्थु-

र्य इमाँल्लोकानीशत ईशनीभिः ।

प्रत्यङ् जनास्तिष्ठति सञ्चुकोचान्तकाले

संसृज्य विश्वा भुवनानि गोपाः ॥ २॥

eko hi rudro na dvitīyāya tasthu-

rya imām̐llokānīśata īśanībhiḥ .

pratyaṅ janāstiṣṭhati sañcukocāntakāle

saṃsṛjya viśvā bhuvanāni gopāḥ .. 2..

Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time.

Translation By Max Müller

2. For there is one Rudra only, they do not allow a second, who rules all the worlds by his powers. He stands behind all persons [1], and after having created all worlds he, the protector, rolls it up [2] at the end of time.


1. Here again the MSS. A. B. read ganâs, as a vocative. 2. I prefer samkukoka to samkukopa, which gives us the meaning that Rudra, after having created all things, draws together, i.e. takes them all back into himself, at the end of time. I have translated samsrigya by having created, because Boehtlingk and Roth give other instances of samsrig with that sense. Otherwise, 'having mixed them together again,' would seem more appropriate. A. and B. read samkukoka.

Sloka : 3.3

विश्वतश्चक्षुरुत विश्वतोमुखो

विश्वतोबाहुरुत विश्वतस्पात् ।

सं बाहुभ्यां धमति सम्पतत्रै-

र्द्यावाभूमी जनयन् देव एकः ॥ ३॥

viśvataścakṣuruta viśvatomukho

viśvatobāhuruta viśvataspāt .

saṃ bāhubhyāṃ dhamati sampatatrai-

rdyāvābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ .. 3..

His eyes are everywhere, His faces everywhere, His arms everywhere, everywhere His feet. He it is who endows men with arms, birds with feet and wings and men likewise with feet. Having produced heaven and earth, He remains as their non-dual manifester.

Translation By Max Müller

3.  [1]. That one god, having his eyes, his face, his arms, and his feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and his wings [2].


1. This is a very popular verse, and occurs Rig-veda X, 81, 3; Vâg. Samh. XVII, 19; Ath.-veda XIII, 2, 26; Taitt. Samh. IV, 6, 2, 4; Taitt. Âr. X, 1, 3. 2. Saṅkara takes dhamati in the sense of samyogayati, i.e. he joins men with arms, birds with wings.

Sloka : 3.4

यो देवानां प्रभवश्चोद्भवश्च

विश्वाधिपो रुद्रो महर्षिः ।

हिरण्यगर्भं जनयामास पूर्वं

स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु ॥ ४॥

yo devānāṃ prabhavaścodbhavaśca

viśvādhipo rudro maharṣiḥ .

hiraṇyagarbhaṃ janayāmāsa pūrvaṃ

sa no buddhyā śubhayā saṃyunaktu .. 4..

He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha-may He endow us with clear intellect!

Translation By Max Müller

4. He [1], the creator and supporter of the gods, Rudra, the great seer, the lord of all, he who formerly gave birth to Hiranyagarbha, may he endow us with good thoughts.


1. See IV, 12.

Sloka : 3.5

या ते रुद्र शिवा तनूरघोराऽपापकाशिनी ।

तया नस्तनुवा शन्तमया गिरिशन्ताभिचाकशीहि ॥ ५॥

yā te rudra śivā tanūraghorā'pāpakāśinī .

tayā nastanuvā śantamayā giriśantābhicākaśīhi .. 5..

O Rudra, Thou who dwellest in the body and bestowest happiness! Look upon us with that most blessed form of Thine, which is auspicious, unterrifying and all good.

Translation By Max Müller

5.  [1]. O Rudra, thou dweller in the mountains, look upon us with that most blessed form of thine which is auspicious, not terrible, and reveals no evil!


1. See Vâg. Samh. XVI, 2; Taitt. Samh. IV, 5, 1, 1.

Sloka : 3.6

याभिषुं गिरिशन्त हस्ते बिभर्ष्यस्तवे ।

शिवां गिरित्र तां कुरु मा हिंसीः पुरुषं जगत् ॥ ६॥

yābhiṣuṃ giriśanta haste bibharṣyastave .

śivāṃ giritra tāṃ kuru mā hiṃsīḥ puruṣaṃ jagat .. 6..

O Dweller in the body and Bestower of happiness, make benign that arrow which Thou holdest in Thy hand ready to shoot, O Protector of the body! Do not injure man or the world!

Translation By Max Müller

6.  [1]. O lord of the mountains, make lucky that arrow which thou, a dweller in the mountains, holdest in thy hand to shoot. Do not hurt man or beast!


1. See Vâg. Samh. XVI, 3; Taitt. Samh. IV, 5, 1, 1; Nîlarudropan. p. 274.

Sloka : 3.7

ततः परं ब्रह्म परं बृहन्तं

यथानिकायं सर्वभूतेषु गूढम् ।

विश्वस्यैकं परिवेष्टितार-

मीशं तं ज्ञात्वाऽमृता भवन्ति ॥ ७॥

tataḥ paraṃ brahma paraṃ bṛhantaṃ

yathānikāyaṃ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍham .

viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāra-

mīśaṃ taṃ jñātvā'mṛtā bhavanti .. 7..

The Supreme Lord is higher than Virat, beyond Hiranyagarbha. He is vast and is hidden in the bodies of all living beings. By knowing Him who alone pervades the universe, men become immortal.

Translation By Max Müller

7. Those who know beyond this the High Brahman, the vast, hidden in the bodies of all creatures, and alone enveloping everything, as the Lord, they become immortal [1].


1. The knowledge consists in knowing either that Brahman is Îsa or that Îsa is Brahman. But in either case the gender of the adjectives is difficult. The Svetâsvatara-upanishad seems to use brihanta as an adjective, instead of brihat. I should prefer to translate:- Beyond this is the High Brahman, the vast. Those who know Îsa, the Lord, hidden in all things and embracing all things to be this (Brahman), become immortal. See also Muir, Metrical Translations, p. 196, whose translation of these verses I have adopted with few exceptions.

Sloka : 3.8

वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्त-

मादित्यवर्णं तमसः परस्तात् ।

तमेव विदित्वातिमृत्युमेति

नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय ॥ ८॥

vedāhametaṃ puruṣaṃ mahānta-

mādityavarṇaṃ tamasaḥ parastāt .

tameva viditvātimṛtyumeti

nānyaḥ panthā vidyate'yanāya .. 8..

I know the great Purusha, who is luminous, like the sun and beyond darkness. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death; there is no other way to the Supreme Goal.

Translation By Max Müller

8.  [1]. I know that great person (purusha) of sunlike lustre beyond the darkness [2]. A man who knows him truly, passes over death; there is no other path to go [3].


1. Cf. Vâg. Samh. XXX, 18; Taitt. Âr. III, 12, 3, 2. Cf. Bhagavadgîtâ VIII, 9. 3. Cf. Svet. Up. VI, 15.

Sloka : 3.9

यस्मात् परं नापरमस्ति किञ्चिद्य-

स्मान्नणीयो न ज्यायोऽस्ति कश्चित् ।

वृक्ष इव स्तब्धो दिवि तिष्ठत्येक-

स्तेनेदं पूर्णं पुरुषेण सर्वम् ॥ ९॥

yasmāt paraṃ nāparamasti kiñcidya-

smānnaṇīyo na jyāyo'sti kaścit .

vṛkṣa iva stabdho divi tiṣṭhatyeka-

stenedaṃ pūrṇaṃ puruṣeṇa sarvam .. 9..

The whole universe is filled by the Purusha, to whom there is nothing superior, from whom there is nothing different, than whom there is nothing either smaller or greater; who stands alone, motionless as a tree, established in His own glory.

Translation By Max Müller

9. This whole universe is filled by this person (purusha), to whom there is nothing superior, from whom there is nothing different, than whom there is nothing smaller or larger, who stands alone, fixed like a tree in the sky [1].


1. Divi, the sky, is explained by Saṅkara as dyotanâtmani svamahimni.

Sloka : 3.10

ततो यदुत्तरततं तदरूपमनामयम् ।

य एतद्विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति अथेतरे दुःखमेवापियन्ति ॥ १०॥

tato yaduttaratataṃ tadarūpamanāmayam .

ya etadviduramṛtāste bhavanti athetare duḥkhamevāpiyanti .. 10..

That which is farthest from this world is without form and without affliction They who know It become immortal; but others, indeed, suffer pain.

Translation By Max Müller

10. That which is beyond this world is without form and without suffering. They who know it, become immortal, but others suffer pain indeed [1].


1. The pain of samsâra, or transmigration. See Brihad. Up. IV, 3, 20 (p. 178).

Sloka : 3.11

सर्वानन शिरोग्रीवः सर्वभूतगुहाशयः ।

सर्वव्यापी स भगवांस्तस्मात् सर्वगतः शिवः ॥ ११॥

sarvānana śirogrīvaḥ sarvabhūtaguhāśayaḥ .

sarvavyāpī sa bhagavāṃstasmāt sarvagataḥ śivaḥ .. 11..

All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all- pervading Bhagavan. Therefore He is the omnipresent and benign Lord.

Translation By Max Müller

11. That Bhagavat [1] exists in the faces, the heads, the necks of all, he dwells in the cave (of the heart) of all beings, he is all-pervading, therefore he is the omnipresent Siva.


1. I feel doubtful whether the two names Bhagavat and Siva should here be preserved, or whether the former should be rendered by holy, the latter by happy. The commentator explains Bhagavat by aisvaryasya samagrasya vîryasya yasasah sriyah
Gñânavairâgyayos kaiva shannâm bhaga itiranâ. Wilson, in his Essay on the Religious Sects of the Hindus, published in 1828, in the Asiatic Researches, XVI, p. 11, pointed out that this verse and another (Svet. Up. II, 2) were cited by the Saivas as Vedic authorities for their teaching. He remarked that these citations would scarcely have been made, if not authentic, and that they probably did occur in the Vedas. In the new edition of this Essay by Dr. Rost, 1862, the references should have been added.

Sloka : 3.12

महान् प्रभुर्वै पुरुषः सत्वस्यैष प्रवर्तकः ।

सुनिर्मलामिमां प्राप्तिमीशानो ज्योतिरव्ययः ॥ १२॥

mahān prabhurvai puruṣaḥ satvasyaiṣa pravartakaḥ .

sunirmalāmimāṃ prāptimīśāno jyotiravyayaḥ .. 12..

He, indeed, is the great Purusha, the Lord of creation, preservation and destruction, who inspires the mind to attain the state of stainlessness. He is the Ruler and the Light that is imperishable.

Translation By Max Müller

12. That person (purusha) is the great lord; he is the mover of existence [1], he possesses that purest power of reaching everything [2], he is light, he is undecaying.


1. Saṅkara explains sattvasya by antahkaranasya. 2. I take prâpti, like other terms occurring in this Upanishad, in its technical sense. Prâpti is one of the vibhûtis or aisvaryas, viz. the power of touching anything at will, as touching the moon with the tip of one's finger. See Yoga-sûtras, ed. Rajendralal Mitra, p. 121.

Sloka : 3.13

अङ्गुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषोऽन्तरात्मा

सदा जनानां हृदये सन्निविष्टः ।

हृदा मनीषा मनसाभिक्लृप्तो

य एतद् विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ १३॥

aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣo'ntarātmā

sadā janānāṃ hṛdaye sanniviṣṭaḥ .

hṛdā manīṣā manasābhiklṛpto

ya etad viduramṛtāste bhavanti .. 13..

The Purusha, no bigger than a thumb, is the inner Self, ever seated in the heart of man. He is known by the mind, which controls knowledge and is perceived in the heart. They who know Him become immortal.

Translation By Max Müller

13.  [1]. The person (purusha), not larger than a thumb, dwelling within, always dwelling in the heart of man, is perceived by the heart, the thought [2], the mind; they who know it become immortal.


1. Cf. Taitt. Âr. X, 71 (Anuv. 38, p. 858). Kath. Up. IV, 12-13; above, p. 16. 2. The text has manvîsa, which Saṅkara explains by gñânesa. But Weber has conjectured rightly, I believe, that the original text must have been manîshâ. The difficulty is to understand how so common a word as manîshâ could have been changed into so unusual a word as manvîsa. See IV, 20.

Sloka : 3.14

सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात् ।

स भूमिं विश्वतो वृत्वा अत्यतिष्ठद्दशाङ्गुलम् ॥ १४॥

sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapāt .

sa bhūmiṃ viśvato vṛtvā atyatiṣṭhaddaśāṅgulam .. 14..

The Purusha with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, compasses the earth on all sides and extends beyond it by ten fingers' breadth.

Translation By Max Müller

14.  [1]. The person (purusha) with a thousand heads. a thousand eyes, a thousand feet, having compassed the earth on every side, extends beyond it by ten fingers' breadth.


1. This is a famous verse of the Rig-veda, X, 90, 1; repeated in the Atharva-veda, XIX, 6, 1; Vâg. Samh. XXXI, 1; Taitt. Âr. III, 12, 1. Saṅkara explains ten fingers' breadth by endless; or, he says, it may be meant for the heart, which is ten fingers above the navel.

Sloka : 3.15

पुरुष एवेदꣳ सर्वं यद् भूतं यच्च भव्यम् ।

उतामृतत्वस्येशानो यदन्नेनातिरोहति ॥ १५॥

puruṣa evedagͫ sarvaṃ yad bhūtaṃ yacca bhavyam .

utāmṛtatvasyeśāno yadannenātirohati .. 15..

The Purusha alone is all this-what has been and what will be. He is also the Lord of Immortality and of whatever grows by food.

Translation By Max Müller

15. That person alone (purusha) is all this, what has been and what will be; he is also the lord of immortality; he is whatever grows by food [1].


1. Sâyana, in his commentary on the Rig-veda and the Taitt. Âr., gives another explanation, viz. he is also the lord of all the immortals, i.e. the gods, because they grow to their exceeding state by means of food, or for the sake of food.

Sloka : 3.16

सर्वतः पाणिपादं तत् सर्वतोऽक्षिशिरोमुखम् ।

सर्वतः श्रुतिमल्लोके सर्वमावृत्य तिष्ठति ॥ १६॥

sarvataḥ pāṇipādaṃ tat sarvato'kṣiśiromukham .

sarvataḥ śrutimalloke sarvamāvṛtya tiṣṭhati .. 16..

His hands and feet are everywhere; His eyes, heads and faces are everywhere; His ears are everywhere; He exists compassing all.

Translation By Max Müller

16. Its [1] hands and feet are everywhere, its eyes and head are everywhere, its ears are everywhere, it stands encompassing all in the world [2].


1. The gender changes frequently, according as the author thinks either of the Brahman, or of its impersonation as Îsa, Lord. 2. Saṅkara explains loka by nikâya, body.

Sloka : 3.17

सर्वेन्द्रियगुणाभासं सर्वेन्द्रियविवर्जितम् ।

सर्वस्य प्रभुमीशानं सर्वस्य शरणं सुहृत् ॥ १७॥

sarvendriyaguṇābhāsaṃ sarvendriyavivarjitam .

sarvasya prabhumīśānaṃ sarvasya śaraṇaṃ suhṛt .. 17..

Himself devoid of senses, He shines through the functions of the senses. He is the capable ruler of all; He is the refuge of all. He is great.

Translation By Max Müller

17. Separate from all the senses, yet reflecting the qualities of all the senses, it is the lord and ruler of all, it is the great refuge of all.

Sloka : 3.18

नवद्वारे पुरे देही हंसो लेलायते बहिः ।

वशी सर्वस्य लोकस्य स्थावरस्य चरस्य च ॥ १८॥

navadvāre pure dehī haṃso lelāyate bahiḥ .

vaśī sarvasya lokasya sthāvarasya carasya ca .. 18..

The Swan, the ruler of the whole world, of all that is moving and all that is motionless, becomes the embodied self and dwelling in the city of nine gates, flies outward.

Translation By Max Müller

18. The embodied spirit within the town with nine gates [1], the bird, flutters outwards, the ruler of the whole world, of all that rests and of all that moves.


1. Cf. Kath. Up. V, 1.

Sloka : 3.19

अपाणिपादो जवनो ग्रहीता

पश्यत्यचक्षुः स श‍ृणोत्यकर्णः ।

स वेत्ति वेद्यं न च तस्यास्ति वेत्ता

तमाहुरग्र्यं पुरुषं महान्तम् ॥ १९॥

apāṇipādo javano grahītā

paśyatyacakṣuḥ sa śṛṇotyakarṇaḥ .

sa vetti vedyaṃ na ca tasyāsti vettā

tamāhuragryaṃ puruṣaṃ mahāntam .. 19..

Grasping without hands, hasting without feet, It sees without eyes, It hears without ears. It knows what is to be known, but no one knows It. They call It the First, the Great, the Full.

Translation By Max Müller

19. Grasping without hands, hasting without feet, he sees without eyes, he hears without ears. He knows what can be known, but no one knows him; they call him the first, the great person (purusha).

Sloka : 3.2

अणोरणीयान् महतो महीया-

नात्मा गुहायां निहितोऽस्य जन्तोः ।

तमक्रतुः पश्यति वीतशोको

धातुः प्रसादान्महिमानमीशम् ॥ २०॥

aṇoraṇīyān mahato mahīyā-

nātmā guhāyāṃ nihito'sya jantoḥ .

tamakratuḥ paśyati vītaśoko

dhātuḥ prasādānmahimānamīśam .. 20..

The Self, smaller than the small, greater than the great, is hidden in the hearts of creatures. The wise, by the grace of the Creator, behold the Lord, majestic and desireless and become free from grief.

Translation By Max Müller

20.  [1]. The Self, smaller than small, greater than great, is hidden in the heart of the creature. A man who has left all grief behind, sees the majesty, the Lord, the passionless, by the grace of the creator (the Lord).


1. Cf. Taitt. Âr. X, 12 (10), p. 800; Kath. Up. II, 20; above, p. 11. The translation had to be slightly altered, because the Svetâsvataras, as Taittirîyas, read akratum for akratuh, and îsam for âtmanah.

Sloka : 3.21

वेदाहमेतमजरं पुराणं

सर्वात्मानं सर्वगतं विभुत्वात् ।

जन्मनिरोधं प्रवदन्ति यस्य

ब्रह्मवादिनो हि प्रवदन्ति नित्यम् ॥ २१॥

vedāhametamajaraṃ purāṇaṃ

sarvātmānaṃ sarvagataṃ vibhutvāt .

janmanirodhaṃ pravadanti yasya

brahmavādino hi pravadanti nityam .. 21..

I know this undecaying, primeval One, the Self of all things, which exists everywhere, being all-pervading and which the wise declare to be free from birth. The teachers of Brahman, indeed, speak of It as eternal.

Translation By Max Müller

21.  [1]. I know [2] this undecaying, ancient one, the self of all things, being infinite and omnipresent. They declare that in him all birth is stopped, for the Brahma-students proclaim him to be eternal [3].


1. Cf. Taitt. Âr. III, 13, 1; III, 12, 7. 2. A. reads vedârûdham, not B. 3. A. and B. read brahmavâdino hi pravadanti.

Sloka : 4.1

चतुर्थोऽध्यायः ।

य एकोऽवर्णो बहुधा शक्तियोगाद्

वरणाननेकान् निहितार्थो दधाति ।

विचैति चान्ते विश्वमादौ च देवः

स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु ॥ १॥

caturtho'dhyāyaḥ .

ya eko'varṇo bahudhā śaktiyogād

varaṇānanekān nihitārtho dadhāti .

vicaiti cānte viśvamādau ca devaḥ

sa no buddhyā śubhayā saṃyunaktu .. 1..

He, the One and Undifferentiated, who by the manifold application of His powers produces, in the beginning, different objects for a hidden purpose and, in the end, withdraws the universe into Himself, is indeed the self-luminous-May He endow us with clear intellect!

Translation By Max Müller

1. He, the sun, without any colour, who with set purpose [1] by means of his power (sakti) produces endless colours [2], in whom all this comes together in the beginning, and comes asunder in the end--may he, the god, endow us with good thoughts [3].


1. Nihitârtha, explained by Saṅkara as grihîtaprayoganah svârthanirapekshah. This may mean with set purpose, but if we read agrihîtaprayoganah it would mean the contrary, namely, without any definite object, irrespective of his own objects. This is possible, and perhaps more in accordance with the idea of creation as propounded by those to whom the devâtmasakti is mâyâ. Nihita would then mean hidden. 2. Colour is intended for qualities, differences, &c. 3. This verse has been translated very freely. As it stands, vi kaiti kânte visvam âdau sa devah, it does not construe, in spite of all attempts to the contrary, made by Saṅkara. What is intended is yasminn idam sam ka vi kaiti sarvam (IV, 11); but how so simple a line should have been changed into what we read now, is difficult to say.

Sloka : 4.2


स्तद्वायुस्तदु चन्द्रमाः ।

तदेव शुक्रं तद् ब्रह्म

तदापस्तत् प्रजापतिः ॥ २॥


stadvāyustadu candramāḥ .

tadeva śukraṃ tad brahma

tadāpastat prajāpatiḥ .. 2..

That Supreme Self is Agni (Fire); It is Aditya (Sun); It is Vayu (Wind); It is Chandrama (Moon). That Self is the luminous stars; It is Hiranyagarbha; It is water; It is Virat.

Translation By Max Müller

2. That (Self) indeed is Agni (fire), it is Âditya (sun), it is Vâyu (wind), it is Kandramas (moon); the same also is the starry firmament [1], it is Brahman (Hiranyagarbha), it is water, it is Pragâpati (Virâg).


1. This is the explanation of Saṅkara, and probably that of the Yoga schools in India at his time. But to take sukram for dîptiman nakshatrâdi, brahma for Hiranyagarbha, and Pragâpati for Virâg seems suggested by this verse only.

Sloka : 4.3

त्वं स्त्री त्वं पुमानसि

त्वं कुमार उत वा कुमारी ।

त्वं जीर्णो दण्डेन वञ्चसि

त्वं जातो भवसि विश्वतोमुखः ॥ ३॥

tvaṃ strī tvaṃ pumānasi

tvaṃ kumāra uta vā kumārī .

tvaṃ jīrṇo daṇḍena vañcasi

tvaṃ jāto bhavasi viśvatomukhaḥ .. 3..

Thou art woman, Thou art man; Thou art youth and maiden too. Thou as an old man totterest along on a staff; it is Thou alone who, when born, assumest diverse forms.

Translation By Max Müller

3. Thou art woman, thou art man; thou art youth, thou art maiden; thou, as an old man, totterest [1] along on thy staff; thou art born with thy face turned everywhere.


1. Vañkayasi, an exceptional form, instead of vañkasi (A. B.)

Sloka : 4.4

नीलः पतङ्गो हरितो लोहिताक्ष-

स्तडिद्गर्भ ऋतवः समुद्राः ।

अनादिमत् त्वं विभुत्वेन वर्तसे

यतो जातानि भुवनानि विश्वा ॥ ४॥

nīlaḥ pataṅgo harito lohitākṣa-

staḍidgarbha ṛtavaḥ samudrāḥ .

anādimat tvaṃ vibhutvena vartase

yato jātāni bhuvanāni viśvā .. 4..

Thou art the dark-blue bee; Thou art the green parrot with red eyes; Thou art the thunder-cloud, the seasons and the seas. Thou art beginningless and all-pervading. From Thee all the worlds are born.

Translation By Max Müller

4. Thou art the dark-blue bee, thou art the green parrot with red eyes, thou art the thunder-cloud, the seasons, the seas. Thou art without beginning [1], because thou art infinite, thou from whom all worlds are born.


1. We see throughout the constant change from the masculine to the neuter gender, in addressing either the lord or his true essence.

Sloka : 4.5

अजामेकां लोहितशुक्लकृष्णां

बह्वीः प्रजाः सृजमानां सरूपाः ।

अजो ह्येको जुषमाणोऽनुशेते

जहात्येनां भुक्तभोगामजोऽन्यः ॥ ५॥

ajāmekāṃ lohitaśuklakṛṣṇāṃ

bahvīḥ prajāḥ sṛjamānāṃ sarūpāḥ .

ajo hyeko juṣamāṇo'nuśete

jahātyenāṃ bhuktabhogāmajo'nyaḥ .. 5..

There is one unborn prakriti-red, white and black-which gives birth to many creatures like itself. An unborn individual soul becomes attached to it and enjoys it, while another unborn individual soul leaves it after his enjoyment is completed.

Translation By Max Müller

5.  [1]. There is one unborn being (female), red, white, and black, uniform, but producing manifold offspring. There is one unborn being (male) who loves her and lies by her; there is another who leaves her, while she is eating what has to be eaten.


1. This is again one of the famous verses of our Upanishad, because it formed for a long time a bone of contention between Vedânta and Sâṅkhya philosophers. The Sâṅkhyas admit two principles, the Purusha, the absolute subject, and the Prakriti, generally translated by nature. The Vedanta philosophers admit nothing but the one absolute subject, and look upon nature as due to a power inherent in that subject. The later Sâṅkhyas therefore, who are as anxious as the Vedântins to find authoritative passages in the Veda, confirming their opinions, appeal to this and other passages, to show that their view of Prakriti, as an independent power, is supported by the Veda. The whole question is fully discussed in the Vedânta-sûtras I, 4, 8. Here we read rohita-krishna-suklâm, which seems preferable to lohita-krishna-varnâm, at least from a Vedânta point of view, for the three colours, red, black, and white, are explained as signifying either the three gunas, ragas, sattva, and tamas, or better (Khând. Up. VI, 3, 1), the three elements, tegas (fire), ap (water), and anna (earth). A. reads rohitasuklakrishnâm; B. lohitasuklakrishnâ (sic). We also find in A. and B. bhuktabhogâm for bhuktabhogyâm, but the latter seems technically the more correct reading. It would be quite wrong to imagine that aga and agâ are meant here for he-goat and she-goat. These words, in the sense of unborn, are recognised as early as the hymns of the Rig-veda, and they occurred in our Upanishad I, 9, where the two agas are mentioned in the same sense as here. But there is, no doubt, a play on the words, and the poet wished to convey the second meaning of he-goat and she-goat, only not as the primary, but as the secondary intention.

Sloka : 4.6

द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया

समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते ।

तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यन-

श्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥ ६॥

dvā suparṇā sayujā sakhāyā

samānaṃ vṛkṣaṃ pariṣasvajāte .

tayoranyaḥ pippalaṃ svādvattyana-

śnannanyo abhicākaśīti .. 6..

Two birds, united always and known by the same name, closely cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit; the other looks on without eating.

Translation By Max Müller

6.  [1]. Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating.


1. The same verses occur in the Mundaka Up. III, 1.

Sloka : 4.7

समाने वृक्षे पुरुषो निमग्नोऽ-

नीशया शोचति मुह्यमानः ।

जुष्टं यदा पश्यत्यन्यमीशमस्य

महिमानमिति वीतशोकः ॥ ७॥

samāne vṛkṣe puruṣo nimagno'-

nīśayā śocati muhyamānaḥ .

juṣṭaṃ yadā paśyatyanyamīśamasya

mahimānamiti vītaśokaḥ .. 7..

Seated on the same tree, the jiva moans, bewildered by its impotence. But when it beholds the other, the Lord worshipped by all and His glory, it becomes free from grief.

Translation By Max Müller

7. On the same tree man sits grieving, immersed, bewildered, by his own impotence (an-îsâ). But when he sees the other lord (îsa) contented, and knows his glory, then his grief passes away.

Sloka : 4.8

ऋचो अक्षरे परमे व्योमन्

यस्मिन्देवा अधि विश्वे निषेदुः ।

यस्तं न वेद किमृचा करिष्यति

य इत्तद्विदुस्त इमे समासते ॥ ८॥

ṛco akṣare parame vyoman

yasmindevā adhi viśve niṣeduḥ .

yastaṃ na veda kimṛcā kariṣyati

ya ittadvidusta ime samāsate .. 8..

Of what use are the Vedas to him who does not know that indestructible Substance, that akasa-like Brahman, which is greater than the unmanifest and wherein the Vedas and all the gods are sheltered? Only those who know It attain bliss.

Translation By Max Müller

8.  [1]. He who does not know that indestructible being of the Rig-Veda, that highest ether-like (Self) wherein all the gods reside, of what use is the Rig-Veda to him? Those only who know it, rest contented.


1. It is difficult to see how this verse comes in here. In the Taitt. Âr. II, 11, 6, it is quoted in connection with the syllable Om, the Akshara, in which all the Vedas are comprehended. It is similarly used in the Nrisimha-pûrva-tâpanî, IV, 2; V, 2. In our passage, however, akshara is referred by Saṅkara to the paramâtman, and I have translated it accordingly. Rikah is explained as a genitive singular, but it may also be taken as a nom. plur., and in that case both the verses of the Veda and the gods are said to reside in the Akshara, whether we take it for the Paramâtman or for the Om. In the latter case, parame vyoman is explained by utkrishte and rakshake.

Sloka : 4.9

छन्दांसि यज्ञाः क्रतवो व्रतानि

भूतं भव्यं यच्च वेदा वदन्ति ।

अस्मान् मायी सृजते विश्वमेत-

त्तस्मिंश्चान्यो मायया सन्निरुद्धः ॥ ९॥

chandāṃsi yajñāḥ kratavo vratāni

bhūtaṃ bhavyaṃ yacca vedā vadanti .

asmān māyī sṛjate viśvameta-

ttasmiṃścānyo māyayā sanniruddhaḥ .. 9..

The sacred verses, the offerings (yajna), the sacrifices (kratu), the penances (vrata), the past, the future and all that the Vedas declare, have been produced from the imperishable Brahman. Brahman projects the universe through the power of Its maya. Again, in that universe Brahman as the jiva is entangled through maya.

Translation By Max Müller

9. That from which the maker (mâyin [1]) sends forth all this--the sacred verses, the offerings, the sacrifices, the panaceas, the past, the future, and all that the Vedas declare--in that the other is bound up through that mâyâ.


1. it is impossible to find terms corresponding to mâyâ and mâyin. Mâyâ means making, or art, but as all making or creating, so far as the Supreme Self is concerned, is phenomenal only or mere illusion, mâyâ conveys at the same time the sense of illusion. In the same manner mâyin is the maker, the artist, but also the magician or juggler. What seems intended by our verse is that from the akshara which corresponds to brahman, all proceeds, whatever exists or seems to exist, but that the actual creator or the author of all emanations is Îsa, the Lord, who, as creator, is acting through mâyâ or devâtmasakti. Possibly, however, anya, the other, may be meant for the individual purusha.

Sloka : 4.10

मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं च महेश्वरम् ।

तस्यवयवभूतैस्तु व्याप्तं सर्वमिदं जगत् ॥ १०॥

māyāṃ tu prakṛtiṃ vidyānmāyinaṃ ca maheśvaram .

tasyavayavabhūtaistu vyāptaṃ sarvamidaṃ jagat .. 10..

Know, then, that prakriti is maya and that Great God is the Lord of maya. The whole universe is filled with objects which are parts of His being.

Translation By Max Müller

10. Know then Prakriti (nature) is Mâyâ (art), and the great Lord the Mâyin (maker); the whole world is filled with what are his members.

Sloka : 4.11

यो योनिं योनिमधितिष्ठत्येको

यस्मिन्निदं सं च विचैति सर्वम् ।

तमीशानं वरदं देवमीड्यं

निचाय्येमां शान्तिमत्यन्तमेति ॥ ११॥

yo yoniṃ yonimadhitiṣṭhatyeko

yasminnidaṃ saṃ ca vicaiti sarvam .

tamīśānaṃ varadaṃ devamīḍyaṃ

nicāyyemāṃ śāntimatyantameti .. 11..

By truly realising Him who, though non-dual, dwells in prakriti, both in its primary and in its secondary aspect and in Whom this whole world comes together and dissolves-by truly realising Him Who is the Lord, the bestower of blessings, the Adorable God, one attains the supreme peace.

Translation By Max Müller

11. If a man has discerned him, who being one only, rules over every germ (cause), in whom all this comes together and comes asunder again, who is the lord, the bestower of blessing, the adorable god, then he passes for ever into that peace.

Sloka : 4.12

यो देवानां प्रभवश्चोद्भवश्च

विश्वाधिपो रुद्रो महर्षिः ।

हिरण्यगर्भं पश्यत जायमानं

स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु ॥ १२॥

yo devānāṃ prabhavaścodbhavaśca

viśvādhipo rudro maharṣiḥ .

hiraṇyagarbhaṃ paśyata jāyamānaṃ

sa no buddhyā śubhayā saṃyunaktu .. 12..

He, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the Support of the universe, Rudra the omniscient, who at the beginning gave birth to Hiranyagarbha-may He endow us with clear intellect!

Translation By Max Müller

12.  [1]. He, the creator and supporter of the gods, Rudra, the great seer, the lord of all, who saw [2], Hiranyagarbha being born, may he endow us with good thoughts.


1. See before, III, 4. 2. Saṅkara does not explain this verse again, though it differs from III, 4. Vigñânâtman explains pasyata by apasyata, and qualifies the Âtmanepada as irregular.

Sloka : 4.13

यो देवानामधिपो

यस्मिन्ल्लोका अधिश्रिताः ।

य ईशे अस्य द्विपदश्चतुष्पदः

कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम ॥ १३॥

yo devānāmadhipo

yasminllokā adhiśritāḥ .

ya īśe asya dvipadaścatuṣpadaḥ

kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema .. 13..

He who is the sovereign of the gods, in whom the worlds find their support, who rules over all two-footed and four-footed beings-let us serve that God, radiant and blissful, with an oblation.

Translation By Max Müller

13. He who is the sovereign of the gods, he in whom all the worlds [1] rest, he who rules over all two-footed and four-footed beings, to that god [2] let us sacrifice an oblation.


1. B. reads yasmin devâh, not A. 2. I read tasmai instead of kasmai, a various reading mentioned by Vigñânâtman. It was easy to change tasmai into kasmai, because of the well-known line in the Rig-veda, kasmai devâya havishâ vidhema. Those who read kasmai, explain it as a dative of Ka, a name of Pragâpati, which in the dative should be kâya, and not kasmai. It would be better to take kasmai as the dative of the interrogative pronoun. See M. M., History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 433; and Vitâna-sutras IV, 22.

Sloka : 4.14

सूक्ष्मातिसूक्ष्मं कलिलस्य मध्ये

विश्वस्य स्रष्ठारमनेकरूपम् ।

विश्वस्यैकं परिवेष्टितारं

ज्ञात्वा शिवं शान्तिमत्यन्तमेति ॥ १४॥

sūkṣmātisūkṣmaṃ kalilasya madhye

viśvasya sraṣṭhāramanekarūpam .

viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ

jñātvā śivaṃ śāntimatyantameti .. 14..

By realising Him who is subtler than the subtlest who dwells in the midst of the chaos, who is the Creator of all things and is endowed with many forms, who is the non-dual Pervader of the universe and all good-by realising Him one attains the supreme peace.

Translation By Max Müller

14. He who has known him who is more subtile than subtile, in the midst of chaos, creating all things, having many forms, alone enveloping everything [1], the happy one (Siva), passes into peace for ever.


1. Cf. III, 7.

Sloka : 4.15

स एव काले भुवनस्य गोप्ता

विश्वाधिपः सर्वभूतेषु गूढः ।

यस्मिन् युक्ता ब्रह्मर्षयो देवताश्च

तमेवं ज्ञात्वा मृत्युपाशांश्छिनत्ति ॥ १५॥

sa eva kāle bhuvanasya goptā

viśvādhipaḥ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaḥ .

yasmin yuktā brahmarṣayo devatāśca

tamevaṃ jñātvā mṛtyupāśāṃśchinatti .. 15..

It is He who, in proper time, becomes the custodian of the universe and the sovereign of all; who conceals Himself in all beings as their inner Witness; and in whom the sages and the deities are united. Verily, by knowing Him one cuts asunder the fetters of death.

Translation By Max Müller

15. He also was in time [1] the guardian of this world, the lord of all, hidden in all beings. In him the Brahmarshis and the deities are united [2], and he who knows him cuts the fetters of death asunder.


1. In former ages, Saṅkara. 2. Because both the Brahmarshis, the holy seers, and the deities find their true essence in Brahman.

Sloka : 4.16

घृतात् परं मण्डमिवातिसूक्ष्मं

ज्ञात्वा शिवं सर्वभूतेषु गूढम् ।

विश्वस्यैकं परिवेष्टितारं

ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ १६॥

ghṛtāt paraṃ maṇḍamivātisūkṣmaṃ

jñātvā śivaṃ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍham .

viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ

jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ .. 16..

He who knows Brahman, who is all Bliss, extremely subtle, like the film that rises to the surface of clarified butter and is hidden in all beings-he who knows the radiant Deity, the sole Pervader of the universe, is released from all his fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

16. He who knows Siva (the blessed) hidden in all beings, like the subtile film that rises from out the clarified butter [1], alone enveloping everything,--he who knows the god, is freed from all fetters.


1. We should say, like cream from milk.

Sloka : 4.17

एष देवो विश्वकर्मा महात्मा

सदा जनानां हृदये सन्निविष्टः ।

हृदा मनीषा मनसाभिक्लृप्तो

य एतद् विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ १७॥

eṣa devo viśvakarmā mahātmā

sadā janānāṃ hṛdaye sanniviṣṭaḥ .

hṛdā manīṣā manasābhiklṛpto

ya etad viduramṛtāste bhavanti .. 17..

The Maker of all things, self-luminous and all-pervading, He dwells always in the hearts of men. He is revealed by the negative teachings of the Vedanta, discriminative wisdom and the Knowledge of Unity based upon reflection. They who know Him become immortal.

Translation By Max Müller

17. That god, the maker of all things, the great Self [1], always dwelling in the heart of man, is perceived by the heart, the soul, the mind [2];--they who know it become immortal.


1. Or the high-minded. 2. See III, 13.

Sloka : 4.18

यदाऽतमस्तान्न दिवा न रात्रिः

न सन्नचासच्छिव एव केवलः ।

तदक्षरं तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं

प्रज्ञा च तस्मात् प्रसृता पुराणी ॥ १८॥

yadā'tamastānna divā na rātriḥ

na sannacāsacchiva eva kevalaḥ .

tadakṣaraṃ tat saviturvareṇyaṃ

prajñā ca tasmāt prasṛtā purāṇī .. 18..

When there is no darkness of ignorance, there is no day or night, neither being nor non-being; the pure Brahman alone exists. That immutable Reality is the meaning of "That"; It is adored by the Sun. From It has proceeded the ancient wisdom.

Translation By Max Müller

18. When the light has risen [1], there is no day, no night, neither existence nor non-existence [2]; Siva (the blessed) alone is there. That is the eternal, the adorable light of Savitri [3],--and the ancient wisdom proceeded thence.


1. Atamas, no darkness, i.e. light of knowledge. 2. See on the difficulty of translating sat and asat, τὸ ὄν and τὸ μή ὄν, the remarks in the Preface. 3. Referring to the Gâyatrî, Rig-veda III, 62, 10; see also Svet. Up. V, 4.

Sloka : 4.19

नैनमूर्ध्वं न तिर्यञ्चं

न मध्ये न परिजग्रभत् ।

न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति

यस्य नाम महद् यशः ॥ १९॥

nainamūrdhvaṃ na tiryañcaṃ

na madhye na parijagrabhat .

na tasya pratimā asti

yasya nāma mahad yaśaḥ .. 19..

No one can grasp Him above, across, or in the middle. There is no likeness of Him. His name is Great Glory (Mahad Yasah).

Translation By Max Müller

19. No one has grasped him above, or across, or in the middle [1]. There is no image of him whose name is Great Glory.


1. See Muir, Metrical Translations, p. 198; Maitr. Up. VI, 17.

Sloka : 4.20

न सन्दृशे तिष्ठति रूपमस्य

न चक्षुषा पश्यति कश्चनैनम् ।

हृदा हृदिस्थं मनसा य एन-

मेवं विदुरमृतास्ते भवन्ति ॥ २०॥

na sandṛśe tiṣṭhati rūpamasya

na cakṣuṣā paśyati kaścanainam .

hṛdā hṛdisthaṃ manasā ya ena-

mevaṃ viduramṛtāste bhavanti .. 20..

His form is not an object of vision; no one beholds Him with the eyes. They who, through pure intellect and the Knowledge of Unity based upon reflection, realise Him as abiding in the heart become immortal.

Translation By Max Müller

20. His form cannot be seen, no one perceives him with the eye. Those [1] who through heart and mind know him thus abiding in the heart, become immortal.


1. B. reads hridâ manîshâ manasâbhiklipto, yat tad vidur; A. hridi hridistham manasâya enam evam vidur.

Sloka : 4.21

अजात इत्येवं कश्चिद्भीरुः प्रपद्यते ।

रुद्र यत्ते दक्षिणं मुखं तेन मां पाहि नित्यम् ॥ २१॥

ajāta ityevaṃ kaścidbhīruḥ prapadyate .

rudra yatte dakṣiṇaṃ mukhaṃ tena māṃ pāhi nityam .. 21..

It is because Thou, O Lord, art birthless, that some rare souls, frightened by birth and death, take refuge in Thee. O Rudra, may Thy benign face protect me for ever!

Translation By Max Müller

21. 'Thou art unborn,' with these words some one comes near to thee, trembling. O Rudra, let thy gracious [1] face protect me for ever!


1. Dakshina is explained either as invigorating, exhilarating, or turned towards the south.

Sloka : 4.22

मा नस्तोके तनये मा न आयुषि

मा नो गोषु मा न अश्वेषु रीरिषः ।

वीरान् मा नो रुद्र भामितो

वधीर्हविष्मन्तः सदामित् त्वा हवामहे ॥ २२॥

mā nastoke tanaye mā na āyuṣi

mā no goṣu mā na aśveṣu rīriṣaḥ .

vīrān mā no rudra bhāmito

vadhīrhaviṣmantaḥ sadāmit tvā havāmahe .. 22..

O Rudra, do not, in Thy wrath, destroy our children and grand-children. Do not destroy our lives; do not destroy our cows or horses; do not destroy our strong servants. For we invoke Thee always, with oblations, for our protection.

Translation By Max Müller

22.  [1]. O Rudra! hurt us not in our offspring and descendants, hurt us not in our own lives, nor in our cows, nor in our horses! Do not slay our men in thy wrath, for, holding oblations, we call on thee always.


1. See Colebrooke, Miscellaneous Essays, I, p. 141; Rig-veda I, 114, 8; Taitt. Samh. IV, 5, 10, 3; Vâg. Samh. XVI, 16. The various readings are curious. Âyushi in the Svet. Up., instead of âyau in the Rig-veda, is supported by the Taitt. Samh. and the Vâg. Samh.; but Vigñânâtman reads âyau. As to bhâmito, it seems the right reading, being supported by the Rig-veda, the Taitt. Samh., and the Svet. Up., while bhâvito in Roer's edition is a misprint. The Vâg. Samh. alone reads bhâmino, which Mahîdhara refers to virân. The last verse in the Rig-veda and Vâg. Samh. is havishmantah sadam it tvâ havâmahe; in the Taitt. Samh. havishmanto namasâ vidhema te. In the Svet. Up. havishmantah sadasi tvâ havâmahe, as printed by Roer, seems to rest on Saṅkara's authority only. The other commentators, Saṅkarânanda and Vigñânâtman, read and interpret sadam it.

Sloka : 5.1

पञ्चमोऽध्यायः ।

द्वे अक्षरे ब्रह्मपरे त्वनन्ते

विद्याविद्ये निहिते यत्र गूढे ।

क्षरं त्वविद्या ह्यमृतं तु विद्या

विद्याविद्ये ईशते यस्तु सोऽन्यः ॥ १॥

pañcamo'dhyāyaḥ .

dve akṣare brahmapare tvanante

vidyāvidye nihite yatra gūḍhe .

kṣaraṃ tvavidyā hyamṛtaṃ tu vidyā

vidyāvidye īśate yastu so'nyaḥ .. 1..

In the Immutable, infinite Supreme Brahman remain hidden the two:-- knowledge and ignorance. Ignorance leads to worldliness and knowledge, to Immortality. Brahman, who controls both knowledge and ignorance, is different from both.

Translation By Max Müller

1. In the imperishable and infinite Highest Brahman [1], wherein the two, knowledge and ignorance, are hidden [2], the one, ignorance, perishes [3], the other, knowledge, is immortal; but he who controls both, knowledge and ignorance, is another [4].


1. Saṅkara explains Brahmapare by brahmano hiranyagarbhât pare, or by parasmin brahmani, which comes to the same. Vigñânâtman adds khândasah paranipâtah. As the termination e may belong to the locative singular or to the nom. dual, commentators vary in referring some of the adjectives either to brahman or to vidyâvidye. 2. Gûdhe, lokair gñâtum asakye, Saṅkarânanda. 3. Saṅkara explains ksharam, by samsritikâranam, amritam by mokshahetuh. 4. Saṅkara explains that he is different from them, being only the sâkshin, or witness. Saṅkarânanda seems to have read Somya, i.e. Somavatpriyadarsana, as if Svetâsvatvara addressed his pupil.

Sloka : 5.2

यो योनिं योनिमधितिष्ठत्येको

विश्वानि रूपाणि योनीश्च सर्वाः ।

ऋषिं प्रसूतं कपिलं यस्तमग्रे

ज्ञानैर्बिभर्ति जायमानं च पश्येत् ॥ २॥

yo yoniṃ yonimadhitiṣṭhatyeko

viśvāni rūpāṇi yonīśca sarvāḥ .

ṛṣiṃ prasūtaṃ kapilaṃ yastamagre

jñānairbibharti jāyamānaṃ ca paśyet .. 2..

He, the non-dual Brahman, who rules over every position; who controls all forms and all sources; who, in the beginning, filled with knowledge the omniscient Hiranyagarbha, His own creation, whom He beheld when He (Hiranyagarbha) was produced-He is other than both knowledge and ignorance.

Translation By Max Müller

2. It is he who, being one only, rules over every germ (cause), over all forms, and over all germs; it is he who, in the beginning, bears [1] in his thoughts the wise son, the fiery, whom he wishes to look on [2] while he is born [3].


1. Like a mother, see I, 9. 2. Like a father. 3. See on this verse the remarks made in the Introduction.

Sloka : 5.3

एकैक जालं बहुधा विकुर्व-

न्नस्मिन् क्षेत्रे संहरत्येष देवः ।

भूयः सृष्ट्वा पतयस्तथेशः

सर्वाधिपत्यं कुरुते महात्मा ॥ ३॥

ekaika jālaṃ bahudhā vikurva-

nnasmin kṣetre saṃharatyeṣa devaḥ .

bhūyaḥ sṛṣṭvā patayastatheśaḥ

sarvādhipatyaṃ kurute mahātmā .. 3..

At the time of the creation the Lord spreads out individual nets in various ways and then at the time of the cosmic dissolution withdraws them into the great prakriti. Again the all- pervading Deity creates the aggregates of body and senses, both individual and collective and their controllers also and thus exercises His overlordship.

Translation By Max Müller

3.  [1]. In that field [2] in which the god, after spreading out one net after another [3] in various ways, draws it together again, the Lord, the great Self [4], having further created the lords [5], thus carries on his lordship over all.


1. The MSS. read yasmin for asmin, and patayas for yatayas, which the commentator explains by patîn. 2. The world, or the mûlaprakriti, the net being the samsâra. 3. Saṅkara explains ekaikam by pratyekam, i.e. for every creature, such as gods, men, beasts, &c. 4. I doubt whether mahâtmâ should be translated by the great Self, or whether great would not be sufficient. The whole verse is extremely difficult. 5. From Hiranyagarbha to insects; or beginning with Marîki.

Sloka : 5.4

सर्वा दिश ऊर्ध्वमधश्च तिर्यक्

प्रकाशयन् भ्राजते यद्वनड्वान् ।

एवं स देवो भगवान् वरेण्यो

योनिस्वभावानधितिष्ठत्येकः ॥ ४॥

sarvā diśa ūrdhvamadhaśca tiryak

prakāśayan bhrājate yadvanaḍvān .

evaṃ sa devo bhagavān vareṇyo

yonisvabhāvānadhitiṣṭhatyekaḥ .. 4..

As the sun shines, illumining all the quarters-above, below and across-so also God, self-resplendent, adorable and non-dual, controls all objects, which themselves possess the nature of a cause.

Translation By Max Müller

4. As the car (of the sun) shines, lighting up all quarters, above, below, and across, thus does that god, the holy, the adorable, being one, rule over all that has the nature of a germ [1].


1. Cf. IV, 11; V, 2.

Sloka : 5.5-6

यच्च स्वभावं पचति विश्वयोनिः

पाच्यांश्च सर्वान् परिणामयेद् यः ।

सर्वमेतद् विश्वमधितिष्ठत्येको

गुणांश्च सर्वान् विनियोजयेद् यः ॥ ५॥

तद् वेदगुह्योपनिषत्सु गूढं

तद् ब्रह्मा वेदते ब्रह्मयोनिम् ।

ये पूर्वं देवा ऋषयश्च तद् विदु-

स्ते तन्मया अमृता वै बभूवुः ॥६॥

yacca svabhāvaṃ pacati viśvayoniḥ

pācyāṃśca sarvān pariṇāmayed yaḥ .

sarvametad viśvamadhitiṣṭhatyeko

guṇāṃśca sarvān viniyojayed yaḥ .. 5..

tad vedaguhyopaniṣatsu gūḍhaṃ

tad brahmā vedate brahmayonim .

ye pūrvaṃ devā ṛṣayaśca tad vidu-

ste tanmayā amṛtā vai babhūvuḥ ..6..

He who is the cause of all and who enables all things to function according to their nature; who brings to maturity all that can be ripened; who, being non-dual, rules over the whole universe and engages the gunas in their respective functions-He is concealed in the Upanishads, the secret part of the Vedas. Brahma knew Him who can be known only from the evidence of the Vedas. The gods and seers of olden times who knew Him became Brahman and attained Immortality.

Translation By Max Müller

5. He, being one, rules over all and everything, so that the universal germ ripens its nature, diversifies all natures that can be ripened [1], and determines all qualities [2]. 6.  [1]. Brahma (Hiranyagarbha) knows this, which is hidden in the Upanishads, which are hidden in the Vedas, as the Brahma-germ. The ancient gods and poets who knew it, they became it and were immortal.


1. MS. B. has prâkyân, and explains it by pûrvotpannân. 2. This is again a very difficult verse. I have taken visvayonih as a name for Brahman, possessed of that devâtmasakti which was mentioned before, but I feel by no means satisfied. The commentators do not help, because they do not see the difficulty of the construction. If one might conjecture, I should prefer paket for pakati, and should write parinâmayed yat, and viniyogayed yat, unless we changed yakka into yas ka. 1. This verse admits of various translations, and requires also some metrical emendations. Thus Vigñânâtman explains vedaguhyopanishatsu very ingeniously by the Veda, i.e. that part of it which teaches sacrifices and their rewards; the Guhya, i.e. the Âranyaka, which teaches the worship of Brahman under various legendary aspects; and the Upanishads, which teach the knowledge of Brahman without qualities. These three divisions would correspond to the karmakânda, yogakânda, and gñânakânda (Gaimini, Patañgali, Bâdarâyana). See Deussen, Vedânta, p. 20. Mr. Gough and Dr. Roer take Brahmayoni as 'the source of the Veda,' or as the source of Hiranyagarbha. The irregular form vedate may be due to a corruption of vedânte.

Sloka : 5.7

गुणान्वयो यः फलकर्मकर्ता

कृतस्य तस्यैव स चोपभोक्ता ।

स विश्वरूपस्त्रिगुणस्त्रिवर्त्मा

प्राणाधिपः सञ्चरति स्वकर्मभिः ॥ ७॥

guṇānvayo yaḥ phalakarmakartā

kṛtasya tasyaiva sa copabhoktā .

sa viśvarūpastriguṇastrivartmā

prāṇādhipaḥ sañcarati svakarmabhiḥ .. 7..

Endowed with gunas, the jiva performs action, seeking its fruit; and again, it reaps the fruit of what it has done. Assuming all forms and led by the three gunas, the jiva, ruler of the pranas, roams about following the three paths, according to its deeds.

Translation By Max Müller

7.  [1]. But he who is endowed with qualities, and performs works that are to bear fruit, and enjoys the reward of whatever he has done, migrates through his own works, the lord of life, assuming all forms, led by the three Gunas, and following the three paths [2].


1. Here begins the description of what is called the tvam (thou), as opposed to the tat (that), i.e. the living soul, as opposed to the Highest Brahman. 2. The paths of vice, virtue, and knowledge.

Sloka : 5.8

अङ्गुष्ठमात्रो रवितुल्यरूपः

सङ्कल्पाहङ्कारसमन्वितो यः ।

बुद्धेर्गुणेनात्मगुणेन चैव

आराग्रमात्रोऽप्यपरोऽपि दृष्टः ॥ ८॥

aṅguṣṭhamātro ravitulyarūpaḥ

saṅkalpāhaṅkārasamanvito yaḥ .

buddherguṇenātmaguṇena caiva

ārāgramātro'pyaparo'pi dṛṣṭaḥ .. 8..

Of the size of a thumb, but brilliant, like the sun, the jiva possesses both volition and egoism. It is endowed with the qualities of both buddhi and Atman. Therefore it is seen as another entity, inferior and small as the point of a goad.

Translation By Max Müller

8.  [1]. That lower one also, not larger than a thumb, but brilliant like the sun, who is endowed with personality and thoughts, with the quality of mind and the quality of body, is seen small even like the point of a goad.


1. Both MSS. (A. and B.) read ârâgramâtro by avaro 'pi drishthah.

Sloka : 5.9

बालाग्रशतभागस्य शतधा कल्पितस्य च ।

भागो जीवः स विज्ञेयः स चानन्त्याय कल्पते ॥ ९॥

bālāgraśatabhāgasya śatadhā kalpitasya ca .

bhāgo jīvaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ sa cānantyāya kalpate .. 9..

Know the embodied soul to be a part of the hundredth part of the point of a hair divided a hundred times; and yet it is infinite.

Translation By Max Müller

9. That living soul is to be known as part of the hundredth part of the point of a hair [1], divided a hundred times, and yet it is to be infinite.


1. An expression of frequent occurrence in Buddhist literature.

Sloka : 5.10

नैव स्त्री न पुमानेष न चैवायं नपुंसकः ।

यद्यच्छरीरमादत्ते तेने तेने स युज्यते ॥ १०॥

naiva strī na pumāneṣa na caivāyaṃ napuṃsakaḥ .

yadyaccharīramādatte tene tene sa yujyate .. 10..

It is not female, it is not male, nor is it neuter. whatever body it takes, with that it becomes united.

Translation By Max Müller

10. It is not woman, it is not man, nor is it neuter; whatever body it takes, with that it is joined [1] (only).


1. A. and B. read yugyate. A. explains yugyate by sambadhyate. B. explains adyate bhakshyate tirobhûtah kriyate. Saṅkara explains rakshyate, samrakshyate, tattaddharmân âtmany adhyasyâbhimanyate.

Sloka : 5.11


र्ग्रासाम्बुवृष्ट्यात्मविवृद्धिजन्म ।

कर्मानुगान्यनुक्रमेण देही

स्थानेषु रूपाण्यभिसम्प्रपद्यते ॥ ११॥


rgrāsāmbuvṛṣṭyātmavivṛddhijanma .

karmānugānyanukrameṇa dehī

sthāneṣu rūpāṇyabhisamprapadyate .. 11..

By means of desires, contact, attachment and delusion, the embodied soul assumes, successively, diverse forms in various places, according to its deeds, just as the body grows when food and drink are poured into it.

Translation By Max Müller

11.  [1]. By means of thoughts, touching, seeing, and passions the incarnate Self assumes successively in various places various forms [2], in accordance with his deeds, just as the body grows when food and drink are poured into it.


1. The MSS. vary considerably. Instead of mohair, A. and B. read homair. They read grâsâmbuvrishtya kâtma. A. reads âtmavivriddhiganma, B. âtmanivriddhaganmâ. A. has abhisamprapadye, B. abhisamprapadyate. My translation follows Saṅkara, who seems to have read âtmavivriddhiganma, taking the whole line as a simile and in an adverbial form. Vigñânâtman, however, differs considerably. He reads homaih, and explains homa as the act of throwing oblations into the fire, as in the Agnihotra. This action of the hands, he thinks, stands for all actions of the various members of the body. Grâsâmbuvrishti he takes to mean free distribution of food and drink, and then explains the whole sentence by 'he whose self is born unto some states or declines from them again, namely, according as he has showered food and drink, and has used his hands, eyes, feelings, and thoughts.' Saṅkarânanda takes a similar view, only he construes saṅkalpanam and sparsanam as two drishtis, te eva drishtî, tayor âtmâgnau prakshepâ homâh; and then goes on, na kevalam etaih, kim tv asmin sthâne sarire grâsâmbuvrishtyâ ka. He seems to read âtmavivriddhaganmâ, but afterwards explains vivriddhi by vividhâ vriddhih. 2. Forms as high as Hiranyagarbha or as low as beasts.

Sloka : 5.12

स्थूलानि सूक्ष्माणि बहूनि चैव

रूपाणि देही स्वगुणैर्वृणोति ।

क्रियागुणैरात्मगुणैश्च तेषां

संयोगहेतुरपरोऽपि दृष्टः ॥ १२॥

sthūlāni sūkṣmāṇi bahūni caiva

rūpāṇi dehī svaguṇairvṛṇoti .

kriyāguṇairātmaguṇaiśca teṣāṃ

saṃyogaheturaparo'pi dṛṣṭaḥ .. 12..

The embodied soul, by means of good and evil deeds committed by itself, assumes many forms, coarse and fine. By virtue of its actions and also of such characteristics of the mind as knowledge and desire, it assumes another body for the enjoyment of suitable objects.

Translation By Max Müller

12. That incarnate Self, according to his own qualities, chooses (assumes) many shapes, coarse or subtile, and having himself caused his union with them, he is seen as another and another [1], through the qualities of his acts, and through the qualities of his body.


1. Instead of aparo, B. reads avaro, but explains aparo.

Sloka : 5.13

अनाद्यनन्तं कलिलस्य मध्ये

विश्वस्य स्रष्ठारमनेकरूपम् ।

विश्वस्यैकं परिवेष्टितारं

ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ १३॥

anādyanantaṃ kalilasya madhye

viśvasya sraṣṭhāramanekarūpam .

viśvasyaikaṃ pariveṣṭitāraṃ

jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ .. 13..

He who knows the Lord, who is without beginning or end, who stands in the midst of the chaos of the world, who is the Creator of all things and is endowed with many forms-he who knows the radiant Deity, the sole Pervader of the universe, is released from all his fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

13.  [1]. He who knows him who has no beginning and no end, in the midst of chaos, creating all things, having many forms, alone enveloping everything, is freed from all fetters.


1. Cf. III, 7; IV, 14, 16.

Sloka : 5.14

भावग्राह्यमनीडाख्यं भावाभावकरं शिवम् ।

कलासर्गकरं देवं ये विदुस्ते जहुस्तनुम् ॥ १४॥

bhāvagrāhyamanīḍākhyaṃ bhāvābhāvakaraṃ śivam .

kalāsargakaraṃ devaṃ ye viduste jahustanum .. 14..

Those who know Him who can be realised by the pure heart, who is called incorporeal, who is the cause of creation and destruction, who is all good and the creator of the sixteen parts-those who know the luminous Lord are freed from embodiment.

Translation By Max Müller

14. Those who know him who is to be grasped by the mind, who is not to be called the nest (the body [1]), who makes existence and non-existence, the happy one (Siva), who also creates the elements [2], they have left the body.


1. Nîda is explained as the body, but Saṅkarânanda reads anilâkhyam, who is called the wind, as being prânasya prânam, the breath of the breath. 2. Saṅkara explains kalâsargakaram by he who creates the sixteen kalâs, mentioned by the Âtharvanikas, beginning with prâna, and ending with nâman; see Prasña Up. VI, 4. Vigñânâtman suggests two other explanations, 'he who creates by means of the kalâ, i.e. his inherent power;' or 'he who creates the Vedas and other sciences.' The sixteen kalâs are, according to Saṅkarânanda, prâna, sraddhâ, kha, vâyu, gyotih, ap, prithivî, indriya, manah, anna, vîrya, tapah, mantra, karman, kâla (?), nâman. See also before, I, 4.

Sloka : 6.1

षष्ठोऽध्यायः ।

स्वभावमेके कवयो वदन्ति

कालं तथान्ये परिमुह्यमानाः ।

देवस्यैष महिमा तु लोके

येनेदं भ्राम्यते ब्रह्मचक्रम् ॥ १॥

ṣaṣṭho'dhyāyaḥ .

svabhāvameke kavayo vadanti

kālaṃ tathānye parimuhyamānāḥ .

devasyaiṣa mahimā tu loke

yenedaṃ bhrāmyate brahmacakram .. 1..

Some learned men speak of the inherent nature of things and some speak of time, as the cause of the universe. They all, indeed, are deluded. It is the greatness of the self-luminous Lord that causes the Wheel of Brahman to revolve.

Translation By Max Müller

1.  [1]. Some wise men, deluded, speak of Nature, and others of Time (as the cause of everything [2]); but it is the greatness of God by which this Brahma-wheel is made to turn.


1. See Muir, Metrical Translations, p. 198. 2. See before, 1, 2.

Sloka : 6.2

येनावृतं नित्यमिदं हि सर्वं ज्ञः

कालकारो गुणी सर्वविद् यः ।

तेनेशितं कर्म विवर्तते ह

पृथिव्यप्तेजोनिलखानि चिन्त्यम् ॥ २॥

yenāvṛtaṃ nityamidaṃ hi sarvaṃ jñaḥ

kālakāro guṇī sarvavid yaḥ .

teneśitaṃ karma vivartate ha

pṛthivyaptejonilakhāni cintyam .. 2..

He by whom the whole universe is constantly pervaded is the Knower, the Author of time. He is sinless and omniscient, It is at His command that the work which is called earth, water, fire, air and akasa appears as the universe. All this should be reflected upon by the wise.

Translation By Max Müller

2. It is at the command of him who always covers this world, the knower, the time of time [1], who assumes qualities and all knowledge [2], it is at his command that this work (creation) unfolds itself, which is called earth, water, fire, air, and ether;


1. The destroyer of time. Vigñânâtman reads kâlâkâlo, and explains it by kâlasya niyantâ, upahartâ. Saṅkarânanda explains kâlah sarvavinâsakârî, tasyâpi vinâsakarah. See also verse 16. 2. Or sarvavid yah.

Sloka : 6.3

तत्कर्म कृत्वा विनिवर्त्य भूय-

स्तत्त्वस्य तावेन समेत्य योगम् ।

एकेन द्वाभ्यां त्रिभिरष्टभिर्वा

कालेन चैवात्मगुणैश्च सूक्ष्मैः ॥ ३॥

tatkarma kṛtvā vinivartya bhūya-

stattvasya tāvena sametya yogam .

ekena dvābhyāṃ tribhiraṣṭabhirvā

kālena caivātmaguṇaiśca sūkṣmaiḥ .. 3..

The yogi who first performs actions and then turns away from them and who practises one, two, three, or eight disciplines, unites one principle with another principle and with the help of virtues cultivated by the self and of subtle tendencies attains Liberation in course of time.

Translation By Max Müller

3.  [1]. He who, after he has done that work and rested again, and after he has brought together one essence (the self) with the other (matter), with one, two, three, or eight, with time also and with the subtile qualities of the mind,


1. Instead of vinivartya, Vigñânâtman and Saṅkarânanda read vinivritya.

Sloka : 6.4

आरभ्य कर्माणि गुणान्वितानि

भावांश्च सर्वान् विनियोजयेद्यः ।

तेषामभावे कृतकर्मनाशः

कर्मक्षये याति स तत्त्वतोऽन्यः ॥ ४॥

ārabhya karmāṇi guṇānvitāni

bhāvāṃśca sarvān viniyojayedyaḥ .

teṣāmabhāve kṛtakarmanāśaḥ

karmakṣaye yāti sa tattvato'nyaḥ .. 4..

He who attains purity of heart by performing actions as an offering to the Lord and merges prakriti and all its effects in Brahman, realises his true Self and thereby transcends phenomena. In the absence of maya, both collective and individual, all his past actions are destroyed. After the destruction of the prarabdha karma he attains final Liberation.

Translation By Max Müller

4. Who, after starting [1] the works endowed with (the three) qualities, can order all things, yet when, in the absence of all these, he has caused the destruction of the work, goes on, being in truth [2] different (from all he has produced);


1. Âruhya for ârabhya, Saṅkarânanda. 2. These two verses are again extremely obscure, and the explanations of the commentators throw little light on their real, original meaning. To begin with Saṅkara, he assumes the subject to be the same as he at whose command this work unfolds itself, and explains tattvasya tattvena sametya yogam by âtmano bhûmyâdinâ yogam samgamayya. As the eight Tattvas he gives earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, thought, personality, while the Âtmagunas are, according to him, the affections of the mind, love, anger, &c. In the second verse, however, Saṅkara seems to assume a different subject. 'If a man,' he says, 'having done works, infected by qualities, should transfer them on Îsvara, the Lord, there would be destruction of the works formerly done by him, because there would be no more connection with the self.' Something is left out, but that this is Saṅkara's idea, appears from the verses which he quotes in support, and which are intended to show that Yogins, transferring all their acts, good, bad, or indifferent, on Brahman, are no longer affected by them. 'That person,' Saṅkara, continues, 'his works being destroyed and his nature purified, moves on, different from all things (tattva), from all the results of ignorance, knowing himself to be Brahman.' 'Or,' he adds, 'if we read anyad, it means, he goes to that Brahman which is different from all things.' Saṅkarânanda takes a different view. He says:- 'If a man has performed sacrifices, and has finished them, or, has turned away from them again as vain, and if he has obtained union with that which is the real of the (apparently) real, &c.' The commentator then asks what is that with which he obtains union, and replies, 'the one, i.e. ignorance; the two, i.e. right and wrong; the three, i.e. the three colours, red, white, and black; and the eight, i.e. the five elements, with mind, thought, and personality; also with time, and with the subtile affections of the mind.' He then goes on, 'If that man, after having begun qualified works, should take on himself all states (resulting from ignorance), yet, when these states cease, there would be an end of the work, good or bad, done by him, and when his work has come to an end, he abides in truth (according to the Veda); while the other, who differs from the Veda, is wrong.' Saṅkarânanda, however, evidently feels that this is a doubtful interpretation, and he suggests another, viz. 'If the Lord himself,' he says, 'determined these states (bhâva), it would seem that there would be no end of samsâra. He therefore says, that when these states, ignorance &c., cease, the work done by man ceases; and when the work done ceases, the living soul gets free of samsâra, being in truth another, i.e. different from ignorance and its products.' Vigñânâtman says:- 'If a man, having done work, turns away from it, and obtains union of one tattva (the tvam, or self) with the real tattva (the tat, or the Lord);--and how? By means of the one, i.e. the teaching of the Guru; the two, i.e. love of the Guru and of the Lord; the three, i.e. hearing, remembering, and meditating; the eight, i.e. restraint, penance, postures, regulation of the breath, abstraction, devotion, contemplation, and meditation (Yoga-sûtras II, 2 9); by time, i.e. the right time for work; by the qualities of the self, i.e. pity, &c.; by the subtile ones, i.e. the good dispositions for knowledge, then (we must supply) he becomes free.' And this he explains more fully in the next verse. 'If, after having done qualified works, i.e. works to please the Lord, a Yati discards all things, and recognises the phenomenal character of all states, and traces them back to their real source in Mûlaprakriti and, in the end, in the Sakkidânanda, he becomes free. If they (the states) cease, i.e. are known in their real source, the work done ceases also in its effects, and when the work has been annihilated, he goes to freedom, being another in truth; or, if we read anyat, he goes to what is different from all these things, namely, to the Lord; or, he goes to a state of perfect lordship in truth, having discovered the highest truth, the oneness of the self with the Highest Self.' I think that, judging from the context, the subject is really the same in both verses, viz. the Lord, as passing through different states, and at last knowing himself to be above them all. Yet, the other explanations may be defended, and if the subject were taken to be different in each verse, some difficulties would disappear.

Sloka : 6.5

आदिः स संयोगनिमित्तहेतुः

परस्त्रिकालादकलोऽपि दृष्टः ।

तं विश्वरूपं भवभूतमीड्यं

देवं स्वचित्तस्थमुपास्य पूर्वम् ॥ ५॥

ādiḥ sa saṃyoganimittahetuḥ

parastrikālādakalo'pi dṛṣṭaḥ .

taṃ viśvarūpaṃ bhavabhūtamīḍyaṃ

devaṃ svacittasthamupāsya pūrvam .. 5..

The Great Lord is the beginning, the cause which unites the soul with the body; He is above the three kinds of time and is seen to be without parts. After having worshipped that adorable God dwelling in the heart, who is of many forms and is the true source of all things, man attains final Liberation.

Translation By Max Müller

5. He is the beginning, producing the causes which unite (the soul with the body), and, being above the three kinds of time (past, present, future), he is seen as without parts [1], after we have first worshipped that adorable god, who has many forms, and who is the true source (of all things), as dwelling in our own mind.


1. Vigñânâtman and Saṅkarânanda read akalo 'pi, without parts, and Saṅkara, too, presupposes that reading, though the text is corrupt in Roer's edition.

Sloka : 6.6

स वृक्षकालाकृतिभिः परोऽन्यो

यस्मात् प्रपञ्चः परिवर्ततेऽयम् ।

धर्मावहं पापनुदं भगेशं

ज्ञात्वात्मस्थममृतं विश्वधाम ॥ ६॥

sa vṛkṣakālākṛtibhiḥ paro'nyo

yasmāt prapañcaḥ parivartate'yam .

dharmāvahaṃ pāpanudaṃ bhageśaṃ

jñātvātmasthamamṛtaṃ viśvadhāma .. 6..

He from whom this universe proceeds is higher and other than all forms of the Tree of the World and of time. When one knows Him who is the indweller, the bringer of good, the destroyer of evil, the Lord of powers, the immortal support of all, one attains final Liberation.

Translation By Max Müller

6. He is beyond all the forms of the tree [1] (of the world) and of time, he is the other, from whom this world moves round, when [2] one has known him who brings good and removes evil, the lord of bliss, as dwelling within the self, the immortal, the support of all.


1. Explained as samsâravriksha, the world-tree, as described in the Katha Up. VI, 1. 2. It seems possible to translate this verse in analogy with the former, and without supplying the verb either from yâti, in verse 4, or from vidâma, in verse 7. The poet seems to have said, he is that, he is seen as that, when one has worshipped him, or when one has known him within oneself.

Sloka : 6.7

तमीश्वराणां परमं महेश्वरं

तं देवतानां परमं च दैवतम् ।

पतिं पतीनां परमं परस्ताद्-

विदाम देवं भुवनेशमीड्यम् ॥ ७॥

tamīśvarāṇāṃ paramaṃ maheśvaraṃ

taṃ devatānāṃ paramaṃ ca daivatam .

patiṃ patīnāṃ paramaṃ parastād-

vidāma devaṃ bhuvaneśamīḍyam .. 7..

We know Him who is the Supreme Lord of lords, the Supreme Deity of deities, the Ruler of rulers; who is higher than the imperishable prakriti and is the self-luminous, adorable Lord of the world.

Translation By Max Müller

7. Let us know that highest great lord of lords [1], the highest deity of deities, the master of masters, the highest above, as god, the lord of the world, the adorable.


1. Saṅkara thinks that the lords are Vaivasvata &c.; the deities, Indra &c.; the masters, the Pragâpatis. Vigñânâtman explains the lords as Brahman, Vishnu, Rudra, &c.; the deities as Indra, &c.; the masters as Hiranyagarbha, &c. Saṅkarânanda sees in the lords Hiranyagarbha &c., in the deities Agni &c., in the masters the Pragâpatis, such as Kasyapa.

Sloka : 6.8

न तस्य कार्यं करणं च विद्यते

न तत्समश्चाभ्यधिकश्च दृश्यते ।

परास्य शक्तिर्विविधैव श्रूयते

स्वाभाविकी ज्ञानबलक्रिया च ॥ ८॥

na tasya kāryaṃ karaṇaṃ ca vidyate

na tatsamaścābhyadhikaśca dṛśyate .

parāsya śaktirvividhaiva śrūyate

svābhāvikī jñānabalakriyā ca .. 8..

He is without a body or organs; none like unto Him is seen, or better than He. The Vedas speak of His exalted power, which is innate and capable of producing diverse effects and also of His omniscience and might.

Translation By Max Müller

8. There is no effect and no cause known of him, no one is seen like unto him or better; his high power is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as force and knowledge.

Sloka : 6.9

न तस्य कश्चित् पतिरस्ति लोके

न चेशिता नैव च तस्य लिङ्गम् ।

स कारणं करणाधिपाधिपो

न चास्य कश्चिज्जनिता न चाधिपः ॥ ९॥

na tasya kaścit patirasti loke

na ceśitā naiva ca tasya liṅgam .

sa kāraṇaṃ karaṇādhipādhipo

na cāsya kaścijjanitā na cādhipaḥ .. 9..

He has no master in the world, no ruler, nor is there even a sign of Him by which He can be inferred. He is the cause, the Lord of the lord of the organs; and He is without progenitor or controller.

Translation By Max Müller

9. There is no master of his in the world, no ruler of his, not even a sign of him [1]. He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs [2], and there is of him neither parent nor lord.


1. If he could be inferred from a sign, there would be no necessity for the Veda to reveal him. 2. Karana, instrument, is explained as organ of sense. The lords of such organs would be all living beings, and their lord the true Lord.

Sloka : 6.10

यस्तन्तुनाभ इव तन्तुभिः प्रधानजैः स्वभावतः ।

देव एकः स्वमावृणोति स नो दधातु ब्रह्माप्ययम् ॥ १०॥

yastantunābha iva tantubhiḥ pradhānajaiḥ svabhāvataḥ .

deva ekaḥ svamāvṛṇoti sa no dadhātu brahmāpyayam .. 10..

May the non-dual Lord, who, by the power of His maya, covered Himself, like a spider, with threads drawn from primal matter, merge us in Brahman!

Translation By Max Müller

10. That only god who spontaneously covered himself, like a spider, with threads drawn from the first cause (pradhâna), grant us entrance into Brahman [1].


1. Besides brahmâpyayam, i.e. brahmany apyayam, ekîbhâvam, another reading is brahmâvyayam, i.e. brahma kâvyayam ka.

Sloka : 6.11

एको देवः सर्वभूतेषु गूढः

सर्वव्यापी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा।

कर्माध्यक्षः सर्वभूताधिवासः

साक्षी चेता केवलो निर्गुणश्च ॥ ११॥

eko devaḥ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaḥ

sarvavyāpī sarvabhūtāntarātmā.

karmādhyakṣaḥ sarvabhūtādhivāsaḥ

sākṣī cetā kevalo nirguṇaśca .. 11..

The non-dual and resplendent Lord is hidden in all beings. All-pervading, the inmost Self of all creatures, the impeller to actions, abiding in all things, He is the Witness, the Animator and the Absolute, free from gunas.

Translation By Max Müller

11. He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver [1], the only one, free from qualities.


1. All the MSS. seem to read ketâ, not kettâ.

Sloka : 6.12

एको वशी निष्क्रियाणां बहूना-

मेकं बीजं बहुधा यः करोति ।

तमात्मस्थं येऽनुपश्यन्ति धीरा-

स्तेषां सुखं शाश्वतं नेतरेषाम् ॥ १२॥

eko vaśī niṣkriyāṇāṃ bahūnā-

mekaṃ bījaṃ bahudhā yaḥ karoti .

tamātmasthaṃ ye'nupaśyanti dhīrā-

steṣāṃ sukhaṃ śāśvataṃ netareṣām .. 12..

There is a non-dual Ruler of the actionless many; He makes the one seed manifold. Eternal happiness belongs to the wise, who perceive Him within themselves-and not to others.

Translation By Max Müller

12.  [1]. He is the one ruler of many who (seem to act, but really do) not act [2]; he makes the one seed manifold. The wise who perceive him within their self, to them belongs eternal happiness, not to others.


1. See Katha-upanishad V, 12-15. 2. Saṅkara explains that the acts of living beings are due to their organs, but do not affect the Highest Self, which always remains passive (nishkriya).

Sloka : 6.13

नित्यो नित्यानां चेतनश्चेतनाना-

मेको बहूनां यो विदधाति कामान् ।

तत्कारणं साङ्ख्ययोगाधिगम्यं

ज्ञात्वा देवं मुच्यते सर्वपाशैः ॥ १३॥

nityo nityānāṃ cetanaścetanānā-

meko bahūnāṃ yo vidadhāti kāmān .

tatkāraṇaṃ sāṅkhyayogādhigamyaṃ

jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ .. 13..

He is the Eternal among the eternal, the Conscious among the conscious and though non-dual, fulfils the desires of many. He who has known Him, the luminous Lord, the Great Cause, to be realised by Knowledge (Samkhya) and yoga, is freed from all fetters.

Translation By Max Müller

13.  [1]. He is the eternal among eternals, the thinker among thinkers, who, though one, fulfils the desires of many. He who has known that cause which is to be apprehended by Sâṅkhya (philosophy) and Yoga (religious discipline), he is freed from all fetters.


1. I have formerly translated this verse, according to the reading nityo 'nityânâm ketanas ketanânâm, the eternal thinker of non-eternal thoughts. This would be a true description of the Highest Self who, though himself eternal and passive, has to think (gîvâtman) non-eternal thoughts. I took the first ketanah in the sense of kettâ, the second in the sense of ketanam. The. commentators, however, take a different, and it may be, from their point, a more correct view. Saṅkara says:- 'He is the eternal of the eternals, i.e. as he possesses eternity among living souls (gîvas), these living souls also may claim eternity. Or the eternals may be meant for earth, water, &c. And in the same way he is the thinker among thinkers.' Saṅkarânanda says:- 'He is eternal, imperishable, among eternal, imperishable things, such as the ether, &c. He is thinking among thinkers! Vigñânâtman says:- 'The Highest Lord is the cause of eternity in eternal things on earth, and the cause of thought in the thinkers on earth.' But he allows another construction, namely, that he is the eternal thinker of those who on earth are endowed with eternity and thought. In the end all these interpretations come to the same, viz. that there is only one eternal, and only one thinker, from whom all that is (or seems to be) eternal and all that is thought on earth is derived.

Sloka : 6.14

न तत्र सूर्यो भाति न चन्द्रतारकं

नेमा विद्युतो भान्ति कुतोऽयमग्निः ।

तमेव भान्तमनुभाति सर्वं

तस्य भासा सर्वमिदं विभाति ॥ १४॥

na tatra sūryo bhāti na candratārakaṃ

nemā vidyuto bhānti kuto'yamagniḥ .

tameva bhāntamanubhāti sarvaṃ

tasya bhāsā sarvamidaṃ vibhāti .. 14..

The sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightnings-much less this fire. He shining, everything shines after Him. By his light all this is lighted.

Translation By Max Müller

14. The [1] sun does not shine there, nor the moon and the stars, nor these lightnings, and much less this fire. When he shines, everything shines after him; by his light all this is lightened.


1. See Kath. Up. V, 15; Mund. Up. II, 2, 10; Bhagavadgîtâ XV, 6.

Sloka : 6.15

एको हंसः भुवनस्यास्य मध्ये

स एवाग्निः सलिले संनिविष्टः ।

तमेव विदित्वा अतिमृत्युमेति

नान्यः पन्था विद्यतेऽयनाय ॥ १५॥

eko haṃsaḥ bhuvanasyāsya madhye

sa evāgniḥ salile saṃniviṣṭaḥ .

tameva viditvā atimṛtyumeti

nānyaḥ panthā vidyate'yanāya .. 15..

In this universe the Swan, the Supreme Self alone exists. It is He who, as fire, abides in the water. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death, There is no other way to reach the Supreme Goal.

Translation By Max Müller

15. He is the one bird [1] in the midst of the world; he is also (like) the fire (of the sun) that has set in the ocean. A man who knows him truly, passes over death [2]; there is no other path to go.


1. Hamsa, frequently used for the Highest Self, is explained here as hanty avidyâdibandhakâranam iti hamsah. 2. Cf. III, 8.

Sloka : 6.16

स विश्वकृद् विश्वविदात्मयोनि-

र्ज्ञः कालकालो गुणी सर्वविद् यः ।


संसारमोक्षस्थितिबन्धहेतुः ॥ १६॥

sa viśvakṛd viśvavidātmayoni-

rjñaḥ kālakālo guṇī sarvavid yaḥ .


saṃsāramokṣasthitibandhahetuḥ .. 16..

He who is the support of both the unmanifested prakriti and the jiva, who is the Lord of the three gunas and who is the cause of bondage, existence and Liberation from samsara, is verily the Creator of the universe, the Knower, the inmost Self of all things and their Source-the omniscient Lord, the Author of time, the Possessor of virtues, the Knower of everything.

Translation By Max Müller

16. He makes all, he knows all, the self-caused, the knower [1], the time of time (destroyer of time), who assumes qualities and knows everything, the master of nature and of man [2], the lord of the three qualities (guna), the cause of the bondage, the existence, and the liberation of the world [3].


1. Again the MSS. read kâlakâlo, as in verse 2. They also agree in putting gñah before kâlakâlo, as in verse 2. 2. Pradhânam avyaktam, kshetragño vigñânâtmâ. 3. He binds, sustains, and dissolves worldly existence.

Sloka : 6.17

स तन्मयो ह्यमृत ईशसंस्थो

ज्ञः सर्वगो भुवनस्यास्य गोप्ता ।

य ईशेऽस्य जगतो नित्यमेव

नान्यो हेतुर्विद्यत ईशनाय ॥ १७॥

sa tanmayo hyamṛta īśasaṃstho

jñaḥ sarvago bhuvanasyāsya goptā .

ya īśe'sya jagato nityameva

nānyo heturvidyata īśanāya .. 17..

He who constantly rules the world is verily the cause of bondage and Liberation. Established in His own glory, He is the Immortal, the Embodiment of Consciousness, the omnipresent Protector of the universe. There is no one else able to rule it.

Translation By Max Müller

17. He who has become that [1], he is the immortal, remaining the lord, the knower, the ever-present guardian of this world, who rules this world for ever, for no one else is able to rule it.


1. He who seems to exist for a time in the form of kshetragña and pradhâna.

Sloka : 6.18

यो ब्रह्माणं विदधाति पूर्वं

यो वै वेदांश्च प्रहिणोति तस्मै ।

तं ह देवं आत्मबुद्धिप्रकाशं

मुमुक्षुर्वै शरणमहं प्रपद्ये ॥ १८॥

yo brahmāṇaṃ vidadhāti pūrvaṃ

yo vai vedāṃśca prahiṇoti tasmai .

taṃ ha devaṃ ātmabuddhiprakāśaṃ

mumukṣurvai śaraṇamahaṃ prapadye .. 18..

Seeking Liberation, I take refuge in the Lord, the revealer of Self-Knowledge, who in the beginning created Brahma and delivered the Vedas to Him.

Translation By Max Müller

18. Seeking for freedom I go for refuge to that God who is the light of his own thoughts [1], he who first creates Brahman (m.) [2] and delivers the Vedas to him;


1. The MSS. vary between âtmabuddhiprakâsam and âtmabuddhiprasâdam. The former reading is here explained by Saṅkarânanda as svabuddhisâkshinam. 2. Explained as Hiranyagarbha.

Sloka : 6.19-20

निष्कलं निष्क्रियं शान्तं निरवद्यं निरञ्जनम् ।

अमृतस्य परं सेतुं दग्धेन्दनमिवानलम् ॥ १९॥

यदा चर्मवदाकाशं वेष्टयिष्यन्ति मानवाः ।

तदा देवमविज्ञाय दुःखस्यान्तो भविष्यति ॥ २०॥

niṣkalaṃ niṣkriyaṃ śāntaṃ niravadyaṃ nirañjanam .

amṛtasya paraṃ setuṃ dagdhendanamivānalam .. 19..

yadā carmavadākāśaṃ veṣṭayiṣyanti mānavāḥ .

tadā devamavijñāya duḥkhasyānto bhaviṣyati .. 20..

When men shall roll up space as if it were a piece of hide, then there will be an end of misery without one's cultivating the Knowledge of the Lord, who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, blameless, unattached, the supreme bridge to Immortality, an like a fire that has consumed all its fuel.

Translation By Max Müller

19. Who is without parts, without actions, tranquil, without fault, without taint [1], the highest bridge to immortality--like a fire that has consumed its fuel. 20. Only when men shall roll up the sky like a hide, will there be an end of misery, unless God has first been known [1].


1. Nirañganam nirlepam. 1. Saṅkarânanda reads tadâ sivam avigñâya duhkhasyânto bhavishyati; Vigñânâtman retains devam but mentions sivam as a various reading. Both have anto, not antam, like Roer. Saṅkara seems to have found na before bhavishyati, or to have read duhkhânto na bhavishyati, for he explains that there will be no end of misery, unless God has first been known. It is possible, however, that the same idea may be expressed in the text as we read it, so that it should mean, Only when the impossible shall happen, such as the sky being rolled up by men, will misery cease, unless God has been discovered in the heart.

Sloka : 6.21

तपःप्रभावाद् देवप्रसादाच्च

ब्रह्म ह श्वेताश्वतरोऽथ विद्वान् ।

अत्याश्रमिभ्यः परमं पवित्रं

प्रोवाच सम्यगृषिसङ्घजुष्टम् ॥ २१॥

tapaḥprabhāvād devaprasādācca

brahma ha śvetāśvataro'tha vidvān .

atyāśramibhyaḥ paramaṃ pavitraṃ

provāca samyagṛṣisaṅghajuṣṭam .. 21..

Through the power of austerity and through the grace of the Lord, the sage Svetasvatara realised Brahman and proclaimed the highly sacred Knowledge, supremely cherished by the company of seers, to sannyasins of the most advanced stage.

Translation By Max Müller

21. Through the power of his penance and through the grace of God [1] has the wise Svetâsvatara truly [2] proclaimed Brahman, the highest and holiest, to the best of ascetics [3], as approved by the company of Rishis.


1. The MSS, read devaprasâdât, which is more in keeping with the character of this Upanishad. 2. Samyak may be both adverb and adjective in this sentence, kâkâkshinyâyena. 3. Atyâsramin is explained by Saṅkara as atyantam pûgyatamâsramibhyah; and he adds, katurvidhâ bhikshavas ka bahûdakakutîkakau, Hamsah paramahamsas ka yo yah paskât sa uttamah. Weber (Indische Studien, II, 109) has himself corrected his mistake of reading antyâsramibhyah, and translating it by neighbouring hermits. These four stages in the life of a Sannyâsin are the same to-day as they were in the time of the Upanishads, and Dayânanda Sarasvatî describes them in his autobiography, though in a different order:- 1. Kutîkaka, living in a hut, or in a desolate place, and wearing a red-ochre coloured garment, carrying a three-knotted bamboo rod, and wearing the hair in the centre of the crown of the head, having the sacred thread, and devoting oneself to the contemplation of Parabrahma. 2. Bahûdaka, one who lives quite apart from his family and the world, maintains himself on alms collected at seven houses, and wears the same kind of reddish garment. 3. Hamsa, the same as in the preceding case, except the carrying of only a one-knotted bamboo. 4. Paramahamsa, the same as the others; but the ascetic wears the sacred thread, and his hair and beard are quite long. This is the highest of all orders. A Paramahamsa who shows himself worthy is on the very threshold of becoming a Dîkshita.

Sloka : 6.22

वेदान्ते परमं गुह्यं पुराकल्पे प्रचोदितम् ।

नाप्रशान्ताय दातव्यं नापुत्रायाशिष्याय वा पुनः ॥ २२॥

vedānte paramaṃ guhyaṃ purākalpe pracoditam .

nāpraśāntāya dātavyaṃ nāputrāyāśiṣyāya vā punaḥ .. 22..

The profound mystery in the Vedanta was taught in the previous cycle. It should not be given to one whose passions have not been subdued, nor to one who is not a son or a disciple.

Translation By Max Müller

22. This highest mystery in the Vedânta, delivered in a former age, should not be given to one whose passions have not been subdued, nor to one who is not a son, or who is not a pupil [1].


1. Cf. Brih. Up. VI, 3, 12; Maitr. Up. VI, 2 9.

Sloka : 6.23

यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ ।

तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः ॥ २३॥

yasya deve parā bhaktiḥ yathā deve tathā gurau .

tasyaite kathitā hyarthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ .. 23..

If these truths have been told to a high-minded person who feels the highest devotion for God and for his guru as for God, then they will surely shine forth as inner experiences-then, indeed, they will shine forth.

Translation By Max Müller

23. If these truths have been told to a high-minded man, who feels the highest devotion for God, and for his Guru as for God, then they will shine forth,--then they will shine forth indeed.

Shanti Mantra (END)

प्रकाशन्ते महात्मन इति ।

ॐ सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।

तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

prakāśante mahātmana iti .

oṃ saha nāvavatu . saha nau bhunaktu . saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai .

tejasvi nāvadhītamastu . mā vidviṣāvahai ..

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ..


The Shvetashvatara Upanishad (Sanskrit: श्वेताश्वतरोपनिशद or श्वेताश्वतर उपनिषद्, IAST: Śvetāśvataropaniṣad or Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad) is an ancient Sanskrit text embedded in the Krishna Yajurveda.

The primal cause is within each individual

The Upanishad asserts, in verse 1.3, there are individuals who by meditation and yoga have realized their innate power of Self, powers that were veiled by their own gunas (innate personality, psychological attributes). Therefore, it is this “power of the Divine Soul” (Deva Atman Shakti, देवात्मशक्तिं) within each individual that presides over all the primal causes, including time and self.

God, non-God, the Eternal is within self

The subject of meditation, states Shvetashvatara Upanishad, is the knower and the non-knower, the God and non-God, both of which are eternal. The text distinguishes the highest soul from the individual soul, calling the former Isha and Ishvara, and asserting it is this Highest Brahman which is Eternal and where there is the triad - the bhoktri (subject), the bhogya (object), and the preritri (mover). With meditation, when a being fully realizes and possesses this triad within self, he knows Brahman.

Self knowledge, self discipline and Atman as the final goal of Upanishad

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, in verses 1.13 to 1.16, states that to know God, look within, know your Atman (Soul, Self). It suggests meditating with the help of syllable Om, where one’s perishable body is like one fuel-stick and the syllable Om is the second fuel-stick, which with discipline and diligent churning of the sticks unleashes the concealed fire of thought and awareness within. Such knowledge and ethics is, asserts the Upanishad, the goal of Upanishad.

Yoga as means for self knowledge, self discipline

The second Adhyaya of Shvetashvatara Upanishad is a motley collection of themes. It begins with prayer hymns to God Savitr, as the rising sun, the spiritual illuminator and the deity of inspiration and self-discipline. Thereafter, the Upanishad discusses Yoga as a means for self-knowledge.

The Upanishad, in verse 2.13, describes the first benefits of Yoga to be agility, better health, clear face, sweetness of voice, sweet odor, regular body functions, steadiness, and feeling of lightness in one’s personality. Yoga then leads to the knowledge of the essence of the Self, the nature of the Soul.

Atman as personal God (Isha or Rudra)

Verses 3.1 through 3.6 of the Shwetashvatara Upanishad describe the “Atman, Soul, Self” as the personal God, as the one and only Lord, that resides within, the origin of all gods, calling it the Isha or Rudra. This innermost Self, is stated as under the sway of Māyā or empirical Prakrti.

The verses 3.7 through 3.21 of the Upanishad describes Brahman as the highest, the subtlest and the greatest, concealed in all beings, one that encompasses all of the universe, formless, without sorrow, changeless, all prevading, kind (Shiva), one who applies the power of knowledge, the Purusha, one with the whole world as it is, one with the whole world as it has been, one with the whole world as it will be. It is the Atman, the Self of all.

Brahman as the individual and the highest soul

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, in verses 4.1 through 4.8 states that everything is Brahman, in everything is Deva (God), it is the individual soul and the highest soul.

The Upanishad states that Brahman is in all Vedic deities, in all women, in all men, in all boys, in all girls, in every old man tottering on a stick, in every bee and bird, in all seasons and all seas. Out of the highest Soul, comes the hymns, the Vedic teachings, the past and the future, asserts the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.

The Māyā doctrine

The verses 4.9 and 4.10 of Shvetashvatara Upanishad state the Māyā doctrine found in many schools of Hinduism. The text asserts that the Prakrti (empirical nature) is Māyā, that the individual soul is caught up by this Māyā (magic, art, creative power), and that the cosmic soul is the Māyin (magician). These verses are notable because these verses are one of the oldest known explicit statement of the Māyā doctrine. The verse 4.10 is also significant because it uses the term Maheswaram (Sanskrit: महेश्वरम्), literally the highest Lord (later epithet for Shiva), for the one who is “Māyā-maker”.

Rudra and Shiva

The Upanishad includes a motley addition of verses 4.11 through 4.22, wherein it repeats – with slight modifications – a flood of ancient Vedic Samhita benedictions and older Upanishadic hymns. In these verses, the Brahman, discussed so far in earlier chapters of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, is celebrated as Isha, Ishana (personal god) and Rudra. The verses of the fourth chapter use an adjective repeatedly, namely Shiva (literally, kind, benign, blessed) as a designation for Rudra (a fierce, destructive, slaying Vedic deity).

Brahman is everywhere

The fifth chapter of the Upanishad shifts back to using the word Brahman, instead of Rudra, and presents a threefold Brahman-Atman, all part of infinite highest Brahman, and contained in Oneness. The first theme is of “default state of ignorance” in human beings, the second is “realized state of knowledge”, and third is of elevated eternal omnipresent Brahman that embraces both. The text states that ignorance is perishable and temporary, while knowledge is immortal and permanent.

One Deva (God), the self within all beings

The sixth chapter of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad opens by acknowledging the existence of two competing theories: of Nature as the primal cause, and Time as the primal cause. Verse 6.1 declares these two theories as “completely wrong”. It is Deva (God, Brahman) that is the primal cause, asserts the text, and then proceeds to describe what God is and what is God’s nature. He is the knower, the creator of time, the quality of everything, the Sarva-vidyah (सर्वविद्यः, all knowledge), states Shvetashvatara Upanishad. This God, asserts the text, is one, and is in each human being and in all living creatures. This God is the soul (Atman) veiled inside man, the inmost self inside all living beings, and that the primal cause is within oneself.

End of misery and sorrow, the joyful Deva, seeking His refuge for freedom

The Upanishad, in verses 6.14 through 6.20 discusses Deva (God), interchangeably with Brahman-Atman, and its importance in achieving moksha (liberation, freedom). The text asserts that Deva is the light of everything, and He is the “one swan” of the universe. It is He who is self-made, the supreme spirit, the quality in everything, the consciousness of conscious, the master of primeval matter and of the spirit (individual soul), the cause of transmigration of the soul, and it is his knowledge that leads to deliverance and release from all sorrow, misery, bondage and fear. It is impossible to end sorrow, confusion and consequences of evil, without knowing this joyful, blissful Deva, asserts the sixth chapter of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.

Introduction by Max Müller

The Upanishads, Part 2 [1879]

THE Svetâsvatara-upanishad has been handed down as one of the thirty-three Upanishads of the Taittirîyas, and though this has been doubted, no real argument has ever been brought forward to invalidate the tradition which represents it as belonging to the Taittirîya or Black Yagur-veda.

It is sometimes called Svetâsvatarânâm Mantropanishad (p. 274), and is frequently spoken of in the plural, as Svetâsvataropanishadah. At the end of the last Adhyâya we read that Svetâsvatara told it to the best among the hermits, and that it should be kept secret, and not be taught to any one except to a son or a regular pupil. It is also called Svetâsva[1], though, it would seem, for the sake of the metre only. The Svetâsvataras are mentioned as a Sâkha[2], subordinate to the Karakas; but of the literature belonging to them in particular, nothing is ever mentioned beyond this Upanishad.

Svetâsvatara means a white mule, and as mules were known and prized in India from the earliest times, Svetâsvatara, as the name of a person, is no more startling than Svetâsva, white horse, an epithet of Arguna. Now as no one would be likely to conclude from the name of one of the celebrated Vedic Rishis, Syâvâsva, i.e. black horse, that negro influences might be discovered in his hymns, it is hardly necessary to say that all speculations as to Christian influences, or the teaching of white Syro-Christian missionaries, being indicated by the name of Svetâsvatara, are groundless[3].

The Svetâsvatara-upanishad holds a very high rank among the Upanishads. Though we cannot say that it is quoted by name by Bâdarâyana in the Vedânta-sûtras, it is distinctly referred to as sruta or revealed[4]. It is one of the twelve Upanishads chosen by Vidyâranya in his Sarvopanishad-arthânabhûtiprakâsa, and it was singled out by Saṅkara as worthy of a special commentary.

The Svetâsvatara-upanishad seems to me one of the most difficult, and at the same time one of the most interesting works of its kind. Whether on that and on other grounds it should be assigned to a more ancient or to a more modern period is what, in the present state of our knowledge, or, to be honest, of our ignorance of minute chronology during the Vedic period, no true scholar would venture to assert. We must be satisfied to know that, as a class, the Upanishads are presupposed by the Kalpa-sûtras, that some of them, called Mantra-upanishads, form part of the more modern Samhitâs, and that there are portions even in the Rig-veda-samhitâ[5] for which the name of Upanishad is claimed by the Anukramanîs. We find them most frequent, however, during the Brâhmana-period, in the Brâhmanas themselves, and, more especially, in those portions which are called Âranyakas, while a large number of them is referred to the Atharva-veda. That, in imitation of older Upanishads, similar treatises were composed to a comparatively recent time, has, of course, long been known[6].

But when we approach the question whether among the ancient and genuine Upanishads one may be older than the other, we find that, though we may guess much, we can prove nothing. The Upanishads belonged to Parishads or settlements spread all over India. There is a stock of ideas, even of expressions, common to most of them. Yet, the ideas collected in the Upanishads cannot all have grown tip in one and the same place, still less in regular succession. They must have had an independent growth, determined by individual and local influences, and opinions which in one village might seem far advanced, would in another be looked upon as behind the world. We may admire the ingeniousness of those who sometimes in this, sometimes in that peculiarity see a clear indication of the modern date of an Upanishad, but to a conscientious scholar such arguments are really distasteful for the very sake of their ingeniousness. He knows that they will convince many who do not know the real difficulties; he knows they will have to be got out of the way with no small trouble, and he knows that, even if they should prove true in the end, they will require very different support from what they have hitherto received, before they can be admitted to the narrow circle of scientific facts.

While fully admitting therefore that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad has its peculiar features and its peculiar difficulties, I must most strongly maintain that no argument that has as yet been brought forward, seems to me to prove, in any sense of the word, its modern character.

It has been said, for instance, that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is a sectarian Upanishad, because, when speaking of the Highest Self or the Highest Brahman, it applies such names to him as Hara (I, 10), Rudra (II, 17; III, 2; 4; IV, 12; 21; 22), Siva (III, 14; IV, 10), Bhagavat (III, 14), Agni, Âditya, Vâyu, &c. (IV, 2). But here it is simply taken for granted that the idea of the Highest Self was developed first, and, after it had reached its highest purity, was lowered again by an identification with mythological and personal deities. The questions whether the conception of the Highest Self was formed once and once only, whether it was formed after all the personal and mythological deities had first been merged into one Lord (Pragâpati), or whether it was discovered behind the veil of any other name in the mythological pantheon of the past, have never been mooted. Why should not an ancient Rishi have said: What we have hitherto called Rudra, and what we worship as Agni, or Siva, is in reality the Highest Self, thus leaving much of the ancient mythological phraseology to be used with a new meaning? Why should we at once conclude that late sectarian worshippers of mythological gods replaced again the Highest Self, after their fathers had discovered it, by their own sectarian names? If we adopt the former view, the Upanishads, which still show these rudera of the ancient temples, would have to be considered as more primitive even than those in which the idea of the Brahman or the Highest Self has reached its utmost purity.

It has been considered a very strong argument in support of the modern and sectarian character of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, that ‘it inculcates what is called Bhakti[7], or implicit reliance on the favour of the deity worshipped.’ Now it is quite true that this Upanishad possesses a very distinct character of its own, by the stress which it lays on the personal, and sometimes almost mythical character of the Supreme Spirit; but, so far from inculcating bhakti, in the modern sense of the word, it never mentions that word, except in the very last verse, a verse which, if necessary, certain critics would soon dispose of as a palpable addition. But that verse says no more than this: ‘If these truths (of the Upanishad) have been told to a high-minded man, who feels the highest devotion for God, and for his Guru as for God, then they will shine forth indeed.’ Does that prove the existence of Bhakti as we find it in the Sândilya-sûtras[8]?

Again, it has been said that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is sectarian in a philosophical sense, that it is in fact an Upanishad of the Sâṅkhya system of philosophy, and not of the Vedânta. Now I am quite willing to admit that, in its origin, the Vedânta philosophy is nearer to the Vedic literature than any other of the six systems of philosophy, and that if we really found doctrines, peculiar to the Sâṅkhya, and opposed to the Vedânta, in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, we might feel inclined to assign to our Upanishad a later date. But where is the proof of this?

No doubt there are expressions in this Upanishad which remind us of technical terms used at a later time in the Sâṅkhya system of philosophy, but of Sâṅkhya doctrines, which I had myself formerly suspected in this Upanishad, I can on closer study find very little. I think it was Mr. Gough who, in his Philosophy of the Upanishads, for the first time made it quite clear that the teaching of our Upanishad is, in the main, the same as that of the other Upanishads. ‘The Svetâsvatara-upanishad teaches,’ as he says, ‘the unity of souls in the one and only Self; the unreality of the world as a series of figments of the self-feigning world-fiction; and as the first of the fictitious emanations, the existence of the Demiurgos or universal soul present in every individual soul, the deity that projects the world out of himself, that the migrating souls may find the recompense of their works in former lives.’

I do not quite agree with this view of the Îsvara, whom Mr. Gough calls the Demiurgos, but he seems to me perfectly right when he says that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad propounds in Sâṅkhya terms the very principles that the Sâṅkhya philosophers make it their business to subvert. One might doubt as to the propriety of calling certain terms ‘Sâṅkhya terms’ in a work written at a time when a Sâṅkhya philosophy, such as we know it as a system, had as yet no existence, and when the very name Sâṅkhya meant something quite different from the Sâṅkhya system of Kapila. Sâṅkhya is derived from saṅkhyâ, and that meant counting, number, name, corresponding very nearly to the Greek λόγος. Sâṅkhya, as derived from it, meant originally no more than theoretic philosophy, as opposed to yoga, which meant originally practical religious exercises and penances, to restrain the passions and the senses in general. All other interpretations of these words, when they had become technical names, are of later date.

But even in their later forms, whatever we may think of the coincidences and differences between the Sâṅkhya and Vedânta systems of philosophy, there is one point on which they are diametrically opposed. Whatever else the Sâṅkhya may be, it is dualistic; whatever else the Vedânta may be, it is monistic. In the Sâṅkhya, nature, or whatever else we may call it, is independent of the purusha; in the Vedânta it is not. Now the Svetâsvatara-upanishad states distinctly that nature, or what in the Sâṅkhya philosophy is intended by Pradhâna, is not an independent power, but a power (sakti) forming the very self of the Deva. ‘Sages,’ we read, ‘devoted to meditation and concentration, have seen the power belonging to God himself, hidden in its own qualities.’

What is really peculiar in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is the strong stress which it lays on the personality of the Lord, the Îsvara, Deva, in the passage quoted, is perhaps the nearest approach to our own idea of a personal God, though without the background which the Vedânta always retains for it. It is God as creator and ruler of the world, as îsvara, lord, but not as Paramâtman, or the Highest Self. The Paramâtman constitutes, no doubt, his real essence, but creation and creator have a phenomenal character only[9]. The creation is mâyâ, in its original sense of work, then of phenomenal work, then of illusion. The creator is mâyin, in its original sense of worker or maker, but again, in that character, phenomenal only[10]. The Gunas or qualities arise, according to the Vedânta, from prakriti or mâyâ, within, not beside, the Highest Self, and this is the very idea which is here expressed by ‘the Self-power of God, hidden in the gunas or determining qualities.’ How easily that sakti or power may become an independent being, as Mâyâ, we see in such verses as:

Sarvabhûteshu sarvâtman yâ saktir aparâbhavâ Gunâsrayâ namas tasyai sasvatâyai paresvara[11].

But the important point is this, that in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad this change has not taken place. Throughout the whole of it we have one Being only, as the cause of everything, never two. Whatever Sâṅkhya philosophers of a later date may have imagined that they could discover in that Upanishad in support of their theories[12], there is not one passage in it which, if rightly interpreted, not by itself, but in connection with the whole text, could be quoted in support of a dualistic philosophy such as the Sâṅkhya, as a system, decidedly is.

If we want to understand, what seems at first sight contradictory, the existence of a God, a Lord, a Creator, a Ruler, and at the same time the existence of the super-personal Brahman, we must remember that the orthodox view of the Vedânta[13] is not what we should call Evolution, but Illusion. Evolution of the Brahman, or Parinâma, is heterodox, illusion or Vivarta is orthodox Vedânta. Brahman is a concept involving such complete perfection that with it evolution, or a tendency towards higher perfection, is impossible. If therefore there is change, that change can only be illusion, and can never claim the same reality as Brahman. To put it metaphorically, the world, according to the orthodox Vedântin, does not proceed from Brahman as a tree from a germ, but as a mirage from the rays of the sun. The world is, as we express it, phenomenal only, but whatever objective reality there is in it, is Brahman, ‘das Ding an sich,’ as Kant might call it.

Then what is Îsvara, or Deva, the Lord or God? The answers given to this question are not very explicit. Historically, no doubt, the idea of the Îsvara, the personal God, the creator and ruler, the omniscient and omnipotent, existed before the idea of the absolute Brahman, and after the idea of the Brahman had been elaborated, the difficulty of effecting a compromise between the two ideas, had to be overcome. Îsvara, the Lord, is Brahman, for what else could he be? But he is Brahman under a semblance, the semblance, namely, of a personal creating and governing God. He is not created, but is the creator, an office too low, it was supposed, for Brahman. The power which enabled Îsvara to create, was a power within him, not independent of him, whether we call it Devâtmasakti, Mâyâ, or Prakriti. That power is really inconceivable, and it has assumed such different forms in the mind of different Vedântists, that in the end Mâyâ herself is represented as the creating power, nay, as having created Îsvara himself. In our Upanishad, however, Îsvara is the creator, and though, philosophically speaking, we should say that be was conceived as phenomenal, yet we must never forget that the phenomenal is the form of the real, and Îsvara therefore an aspect of Brahman[14]. ‘This God,’ says Pramâda Dâsa Mitra[15], ‘is the spirit conscious of the universe. Whilst an extremely limited portion, and that only of the material universe, enters into my consciousness, the whole of the conscious universe, together, of course, with the material one that hangs upon it, enters into the consciousness of God.’ And again, ‘Whilst we (the gîvâtmans) are subject to Mâyâ, Mâyâ is subject to Îsvara. If we truly know Îsvara, we know him as Brahman; if we truly know ourselves, we know ourselves as Brahman. This being so, we must not be surprised if sometimes we find Îsvara sharply distinguished from Brahman, whilst at other times Îsvara, and Brahman are interchanged.’

Another argument in support of the sectarian character of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is brought forward, not by European students only, but by native scholars, namely, that the very name of Kapila, the reputed founder of the Sâṅkhya philosophy, occurs in it. Now it is quite true that if we read the second verse of the fifth Adhyâya by itself, the occurrence of the word Kapila may seem startling. But if we read it in connection with what precedes and follows, we shall see hardly anything unusual in it. It says:

‘It is he who, being one only, rules over every germ (cause), over all forms, and over all germs; it is he who, in the beginning, bears in his thoughts the wise son, the fiery, whom he wished to look on while he was born.’

Now it is quite clear to me that the subject in this verse is the same as in IV, II, where the same words are used, and where yo yonim yonim adhitishthaty ekah refers clearly to Brahman. It is equally clear that the prasûta, the son, the offspring of Brahman, in the Vedânta sense, can only be the same person who is elsewhere called Hiranyagarbha, the personified Brahman. Thus we read before, III, 4, ‘He the creator and supporter of the gods, Rudra, the great seer (maharshi), the lord of all, formerly gave birth to Hiranyagarbha;’ and in IV, 11, we have the very expression which is used here, namely, ‘that he saw Hiranyagarbha being born.’ Unfortunately, a new adjective is applied in our verse to Hiranyagarbha, namely, kapila, and this has called forth interpretations totally at variance with the general tenor of the Upanishad. If, instead of kapilam, reddish, fiery[16], any other epithet had been used of Hiranyagarbha, no one, I believe, would have hesitated for a moment to recognise the fact that our text simply repeats the description of Hiranyagarbha in his relation to Brahman, for the other epithet rishim, like maharshim, is too often applied to Brahman himself and to Hiranyagarbha to require any explanation.

But it is a well known fact that the Hindus, even as early as the Brâhmana-period, were fond of tracing their various branches of knowledge back to Brahman or to Brahman Svayambhû and then through Pragâpati, who even in the Rig-veda (X, 121, 10) replaces Hiranyagarbha, and sometimes through the Devas, such as Mrityu, Vâyu, Indra, Agni[17], &c., to the various ancestors of their ancient families.

In the beginning of the Mundakopanishad we are told that Brahman told it to Atharvan, Atharvan to Aṅgir, Aṅgir to Satyavâha Bhâradvâga, Bhâradvâga to Aṅgiras, Aṅgiras to Saunaka. Manu, the ancient lawgiver, is called both Hairanyagarbha and Svâyambhuva, as descended from Svâyambhu or from Hiranyagarbha[18]. Nothing therefore was more natural than that the same tendency should have led some one to assign the authorship of a great philosophical system like the Sâṅkhya to Hiranyagarbha, if not to Brahman Svayambhû. And if the name of Hiranyagarbha had been used already for the ancestors of other sages, and the inspirers of other systems, what could be more natural than that another name of the same Hiranyagarbha should be chosen, such as Kapila. If we are told that Kapila handed his knowledge to Âsuri, Âsuri to Pañkasikha, this again is in perfect keeping with the character of literary tradition in India. Âsuri occurs in the Vamsas of the Satapatha-brâhmana (see above, pp. 187, 226); Pañkasikha[19], having five tufts, might be either a general name or a proper name of an ascetic, Buddhist or otherwise. He is quoted in the Sâṅkhya-sûtras, V, 32; VI, 68.

But after all this was settled, after Kapila had been accepted, like Hiranyagarbha, as the founder of a great system of philosophy, there came a reaction. People had now learnt to believe in a real Kapila, and when looking out for credentials for him, they found them wherever the word Kapila occurred in old writings. The question whether there ever was a real historical person who took the name of Kapila and taught the Sâṅkhya-sûtras, does not concern us here. I see no evidence for it. What is instructive is this, that our very passage, which may have suggested at first the name of Kapila, as distinct from Hiranyagarbha, Kapila, was later on appealed to to prove the primordial existence of a Kapila, the founder of the Sâṅkhya philosophy. However, it requires but a very slight acquaintance with Sanskrit literature and very little reflection in order to see that the author of our verse could never have dreamt of elevating a certain Kapila, known to him as a great philosopher, if there ever was such a man, to a divine rank[20]. Hiranyagarbha kapila may have given birth to Kapila, the hero of the Sâṅkhya philosophers, but Kapila, a real human person, was never changed into Hiranyagarbha kapila.

Let us see now what the commentators say. Saṅkara first explains kapilam by kanakam[21] kapilavarnam . . . . Hiranyagarbham. Kapilo ‘graga iti purânavakanât. Kapilo Hiranyagarbho vâ nirdisyate. But he afterwards quotes some verses in support of the theory that Kapila was a Paramarshi, a portion of Vishnu, intended to destroy error in the Krita Yuga, a teacher of the Sâṅkhya philosophy.

Vigñânâtman explains the verse rightly, and without any reference to Kapila, the Sâṅkhya teacher.

Saṅkarânanda goes a step further, and being evidently fully aware of the misuse that had been made of this passage, even in certain passages of the Mahâbhârata (XII, 13254, 13703), and elsewhere, declares distinctly that kapila cannot be meant for the teacher of the Sâṅkhya (na tu sâṅkhyapranetâ kapilah, nâmamâtrasâmyena tadgrahane syâd atiprasaṅgah). He is fully aware of the true interpretation, viz. avyâkritasya prathamakâryabhûtam kapilam vikitravarnam gñânakriyâsaktyâtmakam Hiranyagarbham ityarthah, but he yields to another temptation, and seems to prefer another view which makes Kapila Vâsudevasyâvatârabûtam Sagaraputrânâm dagdhâram, an Avatâra of Vâsudeva, the burner of the sons of Sagara. What vast conclusions may be drawn from no facts, may be seen in Weber’s Indische Studien, vol. i, p. 430, and even in his History of Indian Literature, published in 1878.

Far more difficult to explain than these supposed allusions to the authors and to the teaching of the Sâṅkhya philosophy are the frequent references in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad to definite numbers, which are supposed to point to certain classes of subjects as arranged in the Sâṅkhya and other systems of philosophy. The Sâṅkhya philosophy is fond of counting and arranging, and its very name is sometimes supposed to have been chosen because it numbers (sankhyâ) the subjects of which it treats. It is certainly true that if we meet, as we do in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, with classes of things[22], numbered as one, two, three, five, eight, sixteen, twenty, forty-eight, fifty and more, and if some of these numbers agree with those recognised in the later Sâṅkhya and Yoga systems, we feel doubtful as to whether these coincidences are accidental, or whether, if not accidental, they are due to borrowing on the part of those later systems, or on the part it impossible to come to a decision on this point. Even so early as the hymns of the Rig-veda we meet with these numbers assigned to days and months and seasons, rivers and countries, sacrifices and deities. They clearly prove the existence of a considerable amount of intellectual labour which had become fixed and traditional before the composition of certain hymns, and they prove the same in the case of certain Upanishads. But beyond this, for the present, I should not like to go; and I must say that the attempts of most of the Indian commentators at explaining such numbers by a reference to later systems of philosophy or cosmology, are generally very forced and unsatisfactory.

One more point I ought to mention as indicating the age of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, and that is the obscurity of many of its verses, which may be due to a corruption of the text, and the number of various readings, recognised as such, by the commentators. Some of them have been mentioned in the notes to my translation.

The text of this Upanishad was printed by Dr. Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica, with Saṅkara’s commentary. I have consulted besides, the commentary of Vigñânâtman, the pupil of Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkârya-srîmag-Gñânotta-mâkârya, MS. I. O. 1133; and a third commentary, by Saṅkarânanda, the pupil of Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkâryânandâtman, MS. I. O. 1878. These were kindly lent me by Dr. Rost, the learned and liberal librarian of the India Office.

Footnotes by Max Müller

  1. xxxi:1 Vâkaspatyam, p. 1222.

  2. xxxi:2 Catal. Bodl. p. 271 a; p. 222 a.

  3. xxxi:3 See Weber, Ind. Stud. I, pp. 400, 421.

  4. xxxii:1 See Deussen, Vedânta, p. 24; Ved. Sûtra I, 1, II; I, 4, 8; II, 3, 22.

  5. xxxii:2 See Sacred Books of the East, vol. i, p. lxvi.

  6. xxxii:3 Loc. cit. p. lxvii.

  7. xxxiv:1 Weber, Ind. Stud. I, 422; and History of Indian Literature, p. 238.

  8. xxxiv:2 The Aphorisms of Sândilya, or the Hindu Doctrine of Faith, translated by E. B. Cowell, Calcutta, 1879.

  9. xxxvi:1 Prathamam îsvarâtmanâ mâyirûpenâvatishthate brahma; See p. 280, l. 5.

  10. xxxvi:2 Mâyî srigate sarvam etat.

  11. xxxvi:3 See p. 279, l. 5. Sârvatman seems a vocative, like paresvara.

  12. xxxvi:4 See Sarvadarsanasaṅgraha, p. 152.

  13. xxxvii:1 Vedântaparibhâshâ, in the Pandit, vol. iv, p. 496.

  14. xxxviii:1 Savisesham Brahma, or sabalam Brahma.

  15. xxxviii:2 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1878, p. 40.

  16. xxxix:1 Other colours, instead of kapila, are nîla, harita, lohitâksha; see IV, 1; 4.

  17. xxxix:2 See Vamsa-brâhmana, ed. Burnell, p. 10; Brihadâranyaka-up. pp. 185, 224.

  18. xxxix:3 See M. M., India, p. 372.

  19. xl:1 For fuller information on Pañkasikha, Kapila, &c., see F. Hall’s Preface to Sâṅkhya-pravakana-bhâshya, p. 9 seq.; Weber, Ind. Stud. I, p. 433.

  20. xl:2 Weber, Hist. of Indian Literature, p. 236.

  21. xl:3 This ought to be Kanakavarnam, and I hope will not be identified with the name of Buddha in a former existence.

  22. xli:1 See I, 4; 5; VI, 3

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