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Brihadaranyaka Upanishad | Part III. Ch VIII. Yajnavalkya and Gargi


What pervades that Sutra which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as what is between them and which-they say-was, is and will be?



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1. Then the daughter of Vachaknu said: 'Venerable brahmins, I shall ask him two questions. If he answers me these, then none of you can defeat him in discussing Brahman." The brahmins said: "Ask, O Gargi."


2. Gargi said: "O Yajnavalkya, I shall ask you two questions: As a man of Kasi or the King of Videha, scion of a heroic line, might string his unstrung bow, take in his hand two bamboo- tipped arrows highly painful to enemies and approach his enemies closely, even so, O Yajnavalkya, do I confront you with two questions. Answer me these." "Ask, O Gargi."


3. She said: "O Yajnavalkya, what pervades that Sutra which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as what is between them and which-they say-was, is and will be?"


4. He said: "That, O Gargi, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as what is between them and which-they say-was, is and will be, is pervaded by the unmanifested akasa.


5. She said: "I bow to you, O Yajnavalkya. You have fully answered this question of mine. Now brace yourself for the other." "Ask, O Gargi."


6-7. She said: "Yajnavalkya, what pervades that Sutra which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as what is between them and which-they say-was, is and will be?" He said: "That, O Gargi, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is heaven and earth as well as what is between them and which-they say-was, is and will be, is pervaded by the unmanifested akasa." "What pervades the akasa?"


8. He said: "That, O Gargi, the knowers of Brahman call the Imperishable. It is neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor long, neither red nor moist; It is neither shadow nor darkness, neither air nor akasa; It is unattached; It is without taste or smell, without eyes or ears, without tongue or mind; It is non-effulgent, without vital breath or mouth, without measure and without exterior or interior. It does not eat anything, nor is It eaten by anyone.


9. "Verily, under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gargi, the sun and moon are held in their respective positions. Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gargi, heaven and earth are held in their respective positions. Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gargi, moments, muhurtas (about forty- eight minutes), days and nights, fortnights, months, seasons and years are held in their respective positions. Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gargi, some rivers flow eastward from the white mountains, others flowing westward continue in that direction and still others keep to their respective courses. Under the mighty rule of this Imperishable, O Gargi, men praise those who give, the gods depend upon the sacrificer and the Manes upon the Darvi offering.


10. "Whosoever in this world, O Gargi, without knowing this Imperishable, offers oblations, performs sacrifices and practises austerities, even for many thousands of years, finds all such acts but perishable. Whosoever, O Gargi, departs from this world without knowing this Imperishable is miserable. But he, O Gargi, who departs from this world after knowing the Imperishable is a knower of Brahman.


11. "Verily, that Imperishable, O Gargi, is never seen but is the Seer; It is never heard, but is the Hearer; It is never thought of, but is the Thinker; It is never known, but is the Knower. There is no other seer but This, there is no other hearer but This, there is no other thinker but This, there is no other knower but This. By this imperishable, O Gargi, is the unmanifested akasa pervaded."


12. Then said Gargi: "Venerable brahmins, you may consider yourselves fortunate if you can get off from him through bowing to him. None of you, I believe, will defeat him in arguments about Brahman. Thereupon the daughter of Vachaknu held her peace.





  1. The Upanishads translated by Swami Nikhilananda


 

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