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The Mundaka Upanishad (Sanskrit: मुण्डक-उपनिषद्, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad) is an ancient Sanskrit Vedic text, embedded inside Atharva Veda. It is a Mukhya (primary) Upanishad, and is listed as number 5 in the Muktika canon of 108 Upanishads of Hinduism. It is among the most widely translated Upanishads


First Muṇḍaka.

First Khaṇḍa.

BRAHMA was the first of the Devas, the maker of the universe, the preserver of the world. He told the knowledge of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledge, to his eldest son Atharva.

Whatever Brahmā told Atharvan, that knowledge of Brahman Atharvan formerly told to Aṅgir; he told it to Satyavāha Bhāradvāja, and Bhāradvāja told it in succession to Aṅgiras.

Śaunaka, the great householder, approached Aṅgiras respectfully and asked: ‘Sir, what is that through which, if it is known, everything else becomes known?’

He said to him: ‘Two kinds of knowledge must be known, this is what all who know Brahman tell us, the higher and the lower knowledge.’

The lower knowledge is the Ṛg-veda, Yajur-veda, Sāma-veda, Atharva-veda, Śikshā (phonetics), Kalpa (ceremonial), Vyākaraṇa (grammar), Nirukta (etymology), Chandas (metre), Jyotisha (astronomy); but the higher knowledge is that by which the Indestructible (Brahman) is apprehended.’

‘That which cannot be seen, nor seized, which has no family and no caste, no eyes nor ears, no hands nor feet, the eternal, the omnipresent (all-pervading), infinitesimal, that which is imperishable, that it is which the wise regard as the source of all beings.’

‘As the spider sends forth and draws in its thread, as plants grow on the earth, as from every man hairs spring forth on the head and the body, thus does everything arise here from the Indestructible.’

‘The Brahman swells by means of brooding (penance); hence is produced matter (food); from matter breath, mind, the true, the worlds (seven), and from the works (performed by men in the worlds), the immortal (the eternal effects, rewards, and punishments of works).’

‘From him who perceives all and who knows all, whose brooding (penance) consists of knowledge, from him (the highest Brahman) is born that Brahman, name, form, and matter (food).’

Second Khaṇḍa.

This is the truth: the sacrificial works which they (the poets) saw in the hymns (of the Veda) have been performed in many ways in the Tretā age. Practise them diligently, ye lovers of truth, this is your path that leads to the world of good works!

When the fire is lighted and the flame flickers, let a man offer his oblations between the two portions of melted butter, as an offering with faith.

If a man’s Agnihotra sacrifice is not followed by the new-moon and full-moon sacrifices, by the four-months’ sacrifices, and by the harvest sacrifice, if it is unattended by guests, not offered at all, or without the Vaisvadeva ceremony, or not offered according to rule, then it destroys his seven worlds.

Kālī (black), Karālī (terrific), Manojavā (swift as thought), Sulohitā (very red), Sudhūmravarṇā (purple), Sphuliṅginī (sparkling), and the brilliant Viśvarūpī (having all forms), all these playing about are called the seven tongues (of fire).

If a man performs his sacred works when these flames are shining, and the oblations follow at the right time, then they lead him as sun-rays to where the one Lord of the Devas dwells.

Come hither, come hither! the brilliant oblations say to him, and carry the sacrificer on the rays of the sun, while they utter pleasant speech and praise him, saying: ‘This is thy holy Brahma-world (Svarga), gained by thy good works.’