Kaushitaki Upanishad
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Hindu
0:54 h
The Kaushītaki Upanishad is a part of the Rigveda, one of the four Vedas that are central to the Hindu religion. Its position in the larger work differs slightly in manuscripts from different areas of India. The Upanishads are texts that deal with matters of religious philosophy, and the Kaushītaki Upanishad treats especially on the relationship between the soul (Atman) and the Universal Soul (Brahman). This English translation was done by F. Max Müller in 1879, and published in the first of his well-known series entitled "Sacred Books of the East."

Kaushītaki-Upanishad.

First Adhyāya.

CITRA Gāṅgyāyani, forsooth, wishing to perform a sacrifice, chose Āruṇi (Uddālaka, to be his chief priest). But Āruṇi sent his son, Śvetaketu, and said: ‘Perform the sacrifice for him.’ When Śvetaketu had arrived, Citra asked him: ‘Son of Gautama, is there a hidden place in the world where you are able to place me, or is it the other way, and are you going to place me in the world to which it (that other way) leads?’ He answered and said: ‘I do not know this. But, let me ask the master.’ Having approached his father, he asked: ‘Thus has Citra asked me; how shall I answer?’ Āruṇi said: ‘I also do not know this. Only after having learnt the proper portion of the Veda in Citra’s own dwelling, shall we obtain what others give us (knowledge). Come, we will both go.’ Having said this he took fuel in his hand (like a pupil), and approached Citra Gāṅgyāyani, saying: ‘May I come near to you?’ He replied: ‘You are worthy of Brahman, O Gautama, because you were not led away by pride. Come hither, I shall make you know clearly.’

And Citra said: All who depart from this world (or this body) go to the moon. In the former,(the bright) half, the moon delights in their spirits; in the other,(the dark) half, the moon sends them on to be born again. Verily, the moon is the door of the Svarga world (the heavenly world). Now, if a man objects to the moon (if one is not satisfied with life there) the moon sets him free. But if a man does not object, then the moon sends him down as rain upon this earth. And according to his deeds and according to his knowledge he is born again here as a worm, or as an insect, or as a fish, or as a bird, or as a lion, or as a boar, or as a serpent, or as a tiger, or as a man, or as something else in different places. When he has thus returned to the earth, some one (a sage) asks: ‘Who art thou?’ And he should answer: ‘From the wise moon, who orders the seasons, when it is born consisting of fifteen parts, from the moon who is the home of our ancestors, the seed was brought. This seed, even me, they (the gods mentioned in the Pañcāgnividyā) gathered up in an active man, and through an active man they brought me to a mother. Then I, growing up to be born, a being living by months, whether twelve or thirteen, was together with my father, who also lived by (years of) twelve or thirteen months, that I might either know it (the true Brahman) or not know it. Therefore, O ye seasons, grant that I may attain immortality (knowledge of Brahman). By this my true saying, by this my toil (beginning with the dwelling in the moon and ending with my birth on earth) I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons.’ ‘Who art thou?’ the sage asks again. ‘I am thou,’ he replies. Then he sets him free (to proceed onward).

He (at the time of death), having reached the path of the gods, comes to the world of Agni (fire), to the world of Vāyu (air), to the world of Varuṇa, to the world of Indra, to the world of Prajāpati (Virāj), to the world of Brahman (Hiraṇyagarbha). In that world there is the lake Āra, the moments called Yeshṭiha, the river Vijarā (age-less), the tree Ilya, the city Sālajya, the palace Aparājita (unconquerable), the door-keepers Indra and Prajāpati, the hall of Brahman, called Vibhu (built by vibhu, egoism), the throne Vicakshaṇā (buddhi, perception), the couch Amitaujas (endless splendour), and the beloved Mānasī (mind) and her image Cākshushī (eye), who, as if taking flowers, are weaving the worlds, and the Apsaras, the Ambās (sruti, sacred scriptures), and Ambāyavīs (buddhi, understanding), and the rivers Ambayās (leading to the knowledge of Brahman). To this world he who knows this (who knows the Paryaṅka-vidyā) approaches. Brahman says to him: ‘Run towards him (servants) with such worship as is due to myself. He has reached the river Vijarā (age-less), he will never age.

Then five hundred Apsaras go towards him, one hundred with garlands in their hands, one hundred with ointments in their hands, one hundred with perfumes in their hands, one hundred with garments in their hands, one hundred with fruit in their hands. They adorn him with an adornment worthy of Brahman, and when thus adorned with the adornment of Brahman, the knower of Brahman moves towards Brahman (neut.) He comes to the lake Āra, and he crosses it by the mind, while those who come to it without knowing the truth, are drowned. He comes to the moments called Yeshṭiha, they flee from him. He comes to the river Vijarā, and crosses it by the mind alone, and there shakes off his good and evil deeds. His beloved relatives obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done. And as a man, driving in a chariot, might look at the two wheels (without being touched by them), thus he will look at day and night, thus at good and evil deeds, and at all pairs (at all correlative things, such as light and darkness, heat and cold, &c.) Being freed from good and freed from evil he, the knower of Brahman (neut.), moves towards Brahman.

He approaches the tree Ilya, and the odour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the city Sālajya, and the flavour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the palace Aparājita, and the splendour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the door-keepers Indra and Prajāpati, and they run away from him. He approaches the hall Vibhu, and the glory of Brahman reaches him (he thinks, I am Brahman). He approaches the throne Vicakshaṇā. The Sāman verses, Bṛhad and Rathantara, are the eastern feet of that throne; the Sāman verses, Śyaita and Naudhasa, its western feet; the Sāman verses, Vairūpa and Vairāja, its sides lengthways (south and north); the Sāman verses, Śākvara and Raivata, its sides crossways (east and west). That throne is Prajñā, knowledge, for by knowledge (self-knowledge) he sees clearly. He approaches the couch Amitaujas. That is Prāṇa (speech). The past and the future are its eastern feet; prosperity and earth its western feet; the Sāman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the two sides lengthways of the couch (south and north); the Sāman verses, Bhadra and Yajñāyajñīya, are its cross-sides at the head and feet (east and west); the Ṛc and Sāman are the long sheets (east and west); the Yajus the cross-sheets (south and north); the moon-beam the cushion; the Udgītha the (white) coverlet; prosperity the pillow. On this couch sits Brahman, and he who knows this (who knows himself one with Brahman sitting on the couch) mounts it first with one foot only. Then Brahman says to him: ‘Who art thou?’ and he shall answer:

‘I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons, sprung from the womb of endless space, from the light (from the luminous Brahman). The light, the origin of the year, which is the past, which is the present, which is all living things, and all elements, is the Self. Thou art the Self. What thou art, that am U.

Brahman says to him: ‘Who am I?’ He shall answer: ‘That which is, the true’ (Sat-tyam).

Brahman asks: ‘What is the true?’ He says to him: ‘What is different from the gods and from the senses (prāṇa) that is Sat, but the gods and the senses are Tyam. Therefore by that name Sattya (true) is called all this whatever there is. All this thou art.’

This is also declared by a verse: ‘This great Ṛshi, whose belly is the Yajus, the head the Sāman, the form the Ṛc, is to be known as being imperishable, as being Brahman.’

Brahman says to him: ‘How dost thou obtain my male names?’ He should answer: ‘By breath (prāṇaḥ).’

Brahman asks: ‘How my female names?’ He should answer: ‘By speech (vāc).’

Brahman asks: ‘How my neuter names?’ He should answer: ‘By mind (manas).’

‘How smells?’ ‘By the nose.’ ‘How forms?’ ‘By the eye.’ ‘How sounds?’ ‘By the ear.’ ‘How flavours of food?’ ‘By the tongue.’ ‘How actions?’ ‘By the hands.’ ‘How pleasures and pain?’ ‘By the body.’ ‘How joy, delight, and offspring?’ ‘By the organ.’ ‘How journeyings?’ ‘By the feet.’ ‘How thoughts, and what is to be known and desired?’ ‘By knowledge (prajñā) alone.’

Brahman says to him: ‘Water indeed is this my world, the whole Brahman world, and it is thine.’

Whatever victory, whatever might belongs to Brahman, that victory and that might he obtains who knows this, yea, who knows this.


Second Adhyāya.

Prāṇa (breath) is Brahman, thus says Kaushītaki. Of this prāṇa, which is Brahman, the mind (manas) is the messenger, speech the housekeeper, the eye the guard, the ear the informant. He who knows mind as the messenger of prāṇa, which is Brahman, becomes possessed of the messenger. He who knows speech as the housekeeper, becomes possessed of the housekeeper. He who knows the eye as the guard, becomes possessed of the guard. He who knows the ear as the informant, becomes possessed of the informant.