The Brahma-students say: Is Brahman the cause? 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?
Should time, or nature, or necessity, or chance, or the elements be considered as the cause, or he who is called the person (purusha, vijñānātmā)? It cannot be their union either, because that is not self-dependent, and the self also is powerless, because there is (independent of him) a cause of good and evil.
The sages, devoted to meditation and concentration, have seen the power belonging to God himself, hidden in its own qualities (guṇa). He, being one, superintends all those causes, time, self, and the rest.
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.
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.
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.
There are two, one knowing (īśvara), the other not-knowing (jīva), both unborn, one strong, the other weak there is she, the unborn, through whom each man receives the recompense of his works; and there is the infinite Self (appearing) under all forms, but himself inactive. When a man finds out these three, that is Brahma.
This, which rests eternally within the self, should be known; and beyond this not anything has to be known. By knowing the enjoyer, the enjoyed, and the ruler, everything has been declared to be threefold, and this is Brahman.
(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.