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Brihadaranyaka Upanishad | Part II. Ch I Relative Aspects of Brahman


I will tell you about Brahman.



Photo by Aman Shrestha




Part Two


Chapter I-Relative Aspects of Brahman


1. Om. There lived of yore a man of the Garga family called proud Balaki, who was an eloquent speaker. He said to Ajatasatru, the king of Kasi: "I will tell you about Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "For this proposal I give you a thousand cows. People indeed rush, saying: 'Janaka, Janaka.' I too have some of his virtues."


2. Gargya said: "That being (purusha) who is in the sun, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk to me about him. I meditate upon him as all- surpassing, as the head of all beings and as resplendent." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes all-surpassing, the head of all beings and resplendent.


3. Gargya said: "That being (purusha) who is in the moon, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk to me about him. I meditate upon him as the great, white-robed, radiant Soma." Whosoever thus meditates upon him has, every day, abundant soma pressed for him in his principal and auxiliary sacrifices and his food never runs short.


4. Gargya said: "That being (purusha) who is in the lightning, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk to me about him. I meditate upon him as luminous." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes luminous and his progeny too become luminous.


5. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in the akasa, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as full and unmoving." Whosoever thus meditates upon him is filled with progeny and cattle and his progeny is never extinct from this world.


6. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in the air, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as the Lord (Indra), as irresistible and as the unvanquished army." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes ever victorious, invincible and a conqueror of enemies.


7. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in fire, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as forbearing." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes forbearing and his progeny becomes forbearing.


8. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in water, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as agreeable." Whosoever thus meditates upon him-to him comes what is agreeable, not what is disagreeable and to him are born children who are agreeable.


9. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in the mirror, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as shining." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes shining and his progeny too becomes shining and he outshines all those with whom he comes in contact.


10. Gargya said: "The sound that arises behind a man while he walks, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as life." Whosoever thus meditates upon him reaches his full age on this earth and life does not depart from him before the completion of that time.


11. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in the quarters, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as second and as inseparable." Whosoever thus mediates upon him gets companions and his followers never part with him.


12. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who consists of shadow, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as death." Whosoever thus meditates upon him reaches his full age on this earth and death does not overtake him before the completion of that time.


13. Gargya said: "This being (purusha) who is in the self, I meditate upon as Brahman." Ajatasatru said: "No, no! Please do not talk about him. I meditate upon him as self-possessed." Whosoever thus meditates upon him becomes self-possessed and his progeny too becomes self-possessed. Gargya remained silent.


14. Ajatasatru said: "Is this all?" "That is all." "By knowing that much one cannot know Brahman." "Let me approach you as a student," said Gargya.


15. Ajatasatru said: "It is contrary to usual practice that a brahmin should approach a kshatriya, thinking: 'He will teach me about Brahman.' Nevertheless, I will instruct you." So saying, he took Gargya by the hand and rose. They came to a sleeping man. Ajatasatru addressed him by these names: Great, White- robed, Radiant, Soma. The man did not get up. The king pushed him again and again with his hand till he awoke. Then he got up.


16. Ajatasatru said: "When this being full of consciousness (identified with the intellect) was thus asleep, where was it then and whence did it thus come back?" Gargya did not know the answer.


17. Ajatasatru said: "When this being full of consciousness (vijnana maya) is thus asleep, it absorbs, at that time, the functions of the organs through its own consciousness and rests in the Supreme Self (akasa) that is in the heart. When this being absorbs them, it is called svapiti. Then the organ of smell is absorbed, the organ of speech is absorbed, the eye is absorbed, the ear is absorbed and the mind is absorbed."


18. When the self remains in the dream state, these are its achievements (results of past action): It then becomes a great king, as it were; or a noble brahmin, as it were; or attains, as it were, high or low states. Even as a great king, taking with him his retinue of citizens, moves about, according to his pleasure, within his own domain, so does the self, taking with it the organs, move about according to its pleasure, in the body.


19. Next, when the self goes into deep sleep-when it does not know anything-it returns along the seventy-two thousand nerves called hita, which extend from the heart throughout the whole body and remains in the body. As a baby or an emperor or a noble brahmin lives, having reached the summit of happiness, so does the self rest.

20. As the spider moves along the thread it produces, or as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, even so from this Atman come forth all organs, all worlds, all gods, all beings. Its secret name (Upanishad) is "the Truth of truth." The vital breaths are the truth and their truth is Atman.









  1. The Upanishads translated by Swami Nikhilananda


 

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