Brhadaranyaka Upanishad:

The Great Forest Teaching:

Book Two Part I


II.1

1. Balaki the Proud, the Gargya, was a learned man. He said to Ajatasatru of Kasi, 'I must teach you about brahman.' Olivelle takes as 'Let me tell you a formulation of truth (brahman)'. Ajatasatru said, 'We will give you a thousand 'Cows' are understood for such a teaching. People will run, crying, 'A Janaka, a Janaka!'AjataSatru is perhaps secretly thinking of the occasion when Janaka defeats Yajnavalkya in debate.

2. Gargya said, 'I worship as brahman the person (purusa) who is in the sun.'

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the topmost, the head and king of all beings. Whoever worships him as such becomes the topmost, the head and king of all beings.'

3. Gargya said, 'I worship as brahman the person who is in the moon.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the great King Soma, dressed in white. Whoever worships him as such, Soma Soma is understood is pressed and re-pressed for him every day, and his food never fails.'

4. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in the lightning.'

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the bright (tejasvin). Whoever worships him as such becomes bright, and his offspring become bright.'

5. Gargya said, I worship as brahman the person who is in space.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the full, the unmoving. Whoever worships him as such is filled with offspring and animals, and his offspring do not vanish from this world.

6. Gargya said, 'I worship as brahman the person who is in the wind.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as Indra Vaikuntha, the unvanquished army. Or, 'weapon'. Vaikuntha (perhaps, 'not blunted', 'undefeated'), here a title  of Indra,  later became  a  title of Vishnu,  and then the  name of Vishnu's heaven. Whoever worships him as such becomes victorious, unvanquished, a conqueror of foes.'

7. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in fire.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the courageous. Visasahi, from the frequentative from of vi-sah-, to conquer or to endure: 'much conquering', or 'much-enduring'. Whoever worships him as such becomes courageous, and his offspring become courageous.'

8. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in the waters.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as likeness. Whoever worships him as such, what is like him Sons comes to him, not what is unlike, and what is like him is begotten from him.'

9. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in the mirror.'

Ajatasatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the shining. Whoever worships him as such becomes shining, and his offspring become shining, and he outshines those he meets.'

10. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the sound which follows one as one moves.

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as life (asu). Whoever worships him as such attains his full span in this world, and his breath does not leave him before his time.'

11. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in the directions.'

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as the companion who never leaves us. Whoever worships him as such has a companion, Dvifiya, literally 'a second'. and is never deprived of company.'

12. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person made of shadow.'

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as death. Whoever worships him as such attains his full span in this world, and death does not come to him before his time.'

13. Gargya said, 選 worship as brahman the person who is in the body (atman).

AjataSatru said, 'Do not talk to me about him. I worship him as embodied.Atmanvin. The parallel passage at Kausitaki IV. 18 includes 'the person in the body (Sarira)' if Whoever worships him as such comes to be embodied, and his offspring come to beembodied.' Then Gargya fell silent.

14. Ajatasatru said, 1s that all?' 'That is all.' It is not known by this.'

Gargya said, 選 must come to you as your student. 'As your student is understood. Ajatasatru said 選t is against the natural orderPratiloma, literally, 'against the [body-] hair~ i.e. stroking in the wrong direction, the usual term for actions that are felt to be in the opposite order to the natural one: often used, for example, of marriages in which the woman is of a higher class or caste than the man. Here a Brahmana, supposedly the very embodiment of brahman, is asking for teaching about it from a Ksatriya. Actions done in the right order are anuloma, 'with the hair that a Brahmana should come to a Ksatriya to be taught about brahman. However I shall make it known to you.' He took him by the hand and stood up. They came to a man who was asleep, and the king called him by these names: "0 great King Soma, dressed in white!' He did not get up. But by patting him with his hand, he woke him, and he got up.

16. Ajatasatru said, 'When he fell asleep, where was the person made of knowledge, and where has he come back from?'

Gargya did not know.

17. Ajatasatru said, 'When he fell asleep, the person made of knowledge, by knowledge taking his knowledge with him, lay down in the space within the heart. When the person takes these to himself, he is said to be asleep: the breath is taken, the eye is taken, the ear is taken, the mind is taken.
18. 'When in dreams he moves about, these are his worlds. He seems to become a great king/ or a great Brahmana, or to move high and low. Just as a great king, taking his subjects with him, moves about at will in his own country, so he, taking his senses (prana) with him, moves about at will in his own body.

19. 'When he is deeply asleep, when he knows nothing at all, he moves along the seventy-two thousand channels called hita Hita, 'causeway, dike', but with the double meaning, 'wholesome, good'.The existence of these channels was perhaps suggested by those observed in the lungs. from the heart to the citadel of the heart.Speculative translation of puntat, some organ of the body in or near the heart. The word is obscure, but seems to suggest pur or puri, citadel. Previous translators have pericardium' (the bag of fibrous tissues surrounding the heart): but it seems more likely that some smaller, more subtle organ than the heart is intended, perhaps the same one as the hrdayasya agra, 'summit of the hear~,, mentioned in BU IV.4.2. The aorta would look like such a summit. Having moved quietly along them he lies down in the citadel. He lies there as a young prince or a great king or a great Brahmana would lie on reaching the utmost ecstasy of bliss.

20. 'As a spider moves up along its thread, as small sparks fly up from a fire, so all breaths, all worlds, all gods, all beings come up out of the self. Its inner meaning (Upanishad) is "the truth of the truth": the breaths are the truth, and it is the truth of them.'

II.2

1. Whoever knows the baby with his home, his covering, his post and his rope keeps away seven adversaries who hate him. The baby is the middle breath; thisThe Body is his home; this The Head is his covering; the breath is his post; food is his rope.Olivelle takes the baby (Sisu) as a young animal ('youngling') such as a foal, though the riddle would seem also to apply to a baby in the mother's womb, with the mother's breath as the post, the chorion and amnion as covering and the umbilical cord as the rope.

2. Seven unfailing ones wait on him. By the red streaks which are in the eye, Rudra is brought into contact with him; by the waters which are in the eye, Parjanya; by the pupil, Aditya; by the iris, Agni; by the white, Indra; by the lower lid, Prthivi is brought into contact with him; by the upper lid, Dyaus.

The food of the one who knows this does not fail.

3. There is a verse about it:

There is a bowl with its rim below and its base above
In it is placed the glory which possesses all forms.
On its edge sit the Seven Rsis,
And Vac, as the eighth, communing with Brahman Or Brahma. Here the Seven Rsis, named below, are related to the senses or 'breaths' within the head: see Mitchiner 1982: 283-7. The Seven Rsis are also present in the sky, as the seven brightest stars of the Great Bear, which can also be seen as a vessel (Cp. its American name, the Big Dipper), and perhaps also as an animal (the group of four stars) with a tethering rope (the three stars of the tail or handle).

'The bowl with its rim below and its base above' is the head, for it is a bowl with its rim below and its base above In it is placed the glory which possesses all forms': the breaths are the glory which possesses all forms. 'On its edge sit the Seven Rsis': the breaths are the Rsis: here he speaks of the breaths. He says, Ivac, as the eighth, communing with brahman because speech, as the eighth, communes with brahman.

4. These twoThe ears. are Gotama and Bharadvaja: this one is Gotama, this one Bharadvaja. These twoThe eyes. , are Vishvamitr; and Jamadagni: this one is Visistha this one Jamadagni These twoThe nostrils. are Vasistha and KaSyapa this one is Vasistha this one Kasyapa SpeechThe mouth. is Atri, for by speech food is eaten. 'To eat' is the same as Atri. The one who knows this becomes the eater of everything: everything becomes his food.

II.3

1. There are two forms of brahman, the shaped and the unshaped, the mortal and the immortal, the still and the moving, the present and the beyond.

2. The shaped is what is other than the wind and the middle-air: this is the mortal, the still, the present. The essence of the shaped, the mortal, the still, the present is the one who gives heat,The physical sun. for this is the essence of the present.

3. The unshaped is the wind and the middle-air: this is the immortal, the moving, the beyond. The essence of the unshaped, the immortal, the moving, the beyond is the person (purusa) in the circle, Of the sun. for this is the essence of the beyond. This in respect of deities.

4. In respect of oneself: the shaped is what is other than the breath and the space which is within the self: this is the mortal, the still, the present. The essence of the shaped, the mortal, the still, the present is the eye, for this is the essence of the present.

5. The unshaped is the breath and the space which is within the self: this is the immortal, the moving, the beyond. The essence of the unshaped, the immortal, the moving, the beyond is the person who is in the right eye, for this is the essence of the beyond.

6. The form of this person is like a saffron garment, a white woollen cloth, a rain-mite, Indragopa, a tiny mite (an arachnid, of the genus Trombiidae, not an insect or a beetle). It is noted for its brilliant velvety red colour, and for appearing in vast numbers at the start of the rains: see Lienhard (1978). a flame of fire, a white lotus, Pundanka, the normal word for a lotus in the Upanisads. It generally refers to the white  species. a sudden flash of lightning. Hence the symbolic statement, 創ot this, not this, for there is nothing - 創ot this higher than this. Its name is 奏he truth of the truth the breaths are the truth, and it is the truth of them.




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