Brhadaranyaka Upanishad:

The Great Forest Teaching:

Book Three Part I


III.1

1. Janaka of Videha offered a sacrifice, with munificent gifts for the priests.Daksina. The patron, who commissions the sacrifice, can be a 'twice-born' (initiated) man of any of the upper three classes—here the Kshatriya king, Janaka. There the Brahmanas of the Kurus and Pancalas were gathered together. It occurred to Janaka of Videha to wonder which of the Brahmanas was most learned. So he penned off a thousand cows, and ten gold pieces were attached to the horns of each.

2. He said to them, Blessed Brahmanas, whoever is the truest Brahmana among you, let him drive away these cows.' The Brahmanas dared not.

But Yajnavalkya called We know Yajnavalkya is calling to him, perhaps from a distance, because in samasravas iti the final a of samasrava is marked as three beats long instead of one. to his own student, “Samasravas, good lad, drive out these cows!' And he drove them out.

The Brahmanas were angry, thinking. How can he claim to be the truest Brahmana among us?'

Asvala was Hotr to Janaka of Videha. He asked him, 'Yajnavalkya, are you the truest Brahmana among us?' He said, 'We pay respect to the truest Brahmana: we just want the cows.'

Then Asvala the Hotr undertook to question him,

3. Yajnavalkya,' he said, 'since all this is seized by death, all this is overpowered by death, by what means does the patron of the sacrifice become free from the grip of death?'

"By the Hotr priest, by file, by speech. Speech is the Hotr of the sacrifice; what speech is, fire is; that is the Hotr. That is freedom; that is utter freedom.'

4. “Yajnavalkya” he said, “since all this is seized by days and nights, all this is overpowered by days and nights, by what means does the patron of the sacrifice become free from the grip of days and nights?”

“ By the Adhvaryu priest, by the eye, by the sun. The eye is the Adhvaryu of the sacrifice; what the eye is, the sun is; that is the Adhvaryu. That is freedom; that is utter freedom.”

5. “Yajnavalka”, he said, 'since all this is seized by bright fortnights and dark fortnights,' The waxing and waning halves of the lunar month. all this is overpowered by bright fortnights and dark fortnights, by what means does the patron of the sacrifice become free from the grip of bright fortnights and dark fortnights?'

“ By the Udagtr priest, by wind, by breath. Breath is the Udagtr of the sacrifice; what breath is, wind is; that is the Udagtr. That is freedom; that is utter freedom.”

6. “Yajnavalka”, he said, “since the middle-air is, as it were, without a support, by what way does the patron of the sacrifice climb to the heaven-world?”

“By the Brahma priest, by mind, by the moon. Mind is the Brahma of the sacrifice; what mind is, the moon is; that is the Brahma. That is freedom; that is utter freedom.” That was the passage on utter freedoms: now come the attainments.

7. “Yajnavalkya”, he said “how many kinds of verses will the Hotr employ in the sacrifice today?” “Three.” “What are the three?”

The verse of invitation, the verse accompanying the sacrifice, and the verse of blessing as the third.'

“What does one win by them?” “Whatever has breath.”

8. “Yajnavalka,” he said, “How many lands of offerings will the Adhvaryu offer in the sacrifice today?” "Three.” “What are the three?”

"Those which blaze up when offered; those which overflow when offered; and those which sink down when offered.”

“What does one win by them?”

“By those which blaze up when offered, one wins the world of the gods, for the world of the gods, as it were, shines; by those which overflow when offered, one wins the world of the ancestors, for the world of the ancestors is, as it were, beyond; and by those which sink down when offered, one wins the human world, for the human world is, as it were, below.”

9. "Yajnavalkya,” he said, “with how many gods will the Brahmma on the southern side protect the sacrifice today?” “One.” “What is the one?” "The mind.”

Indeed, the mind is infinite; the Visvedevas are infinite; by knowing it one wins an infinite world.

10. "Yajnavalkya,” he said, “How many praises will the Udgatr chant in the sacrifice today?” Three.” “What are the three?”

"The chant of invitation, the chant accompanying the sacrifice, and the chant of blessing as the third.” “What are they in relation to oneself?”

"The chant of invitation is the breath, the chant accompanying the sacrifice the lower breath, and the chant of blessing the diffused breath.” “What does one win by them?”

"By the chant of invitation one wins the world of the earth; by the chant accompanying the sacrifice, the world of the middle-air; and by the chant of blessing, the world of the sky.'

Then Asvala the Hotr fell silent.

III.2

1. Then Jaratkarava Artabhaga questioned him. 'Yajnavalkya,' he said, ‘How many graspers According to Olivelle, there is a pun here. In the ritual, the graham, grasper, is a cup used to draw out Soma and the atigraha is an offering  of extra cupfuls of Soma. In the body, the graha is a sense-organ the atigrahs the sense object are there; how many over-graspers?' 'Eight graspers; eight over-graspers.'

'What are they, the eight graspers, the eight over-graspers?'

2. The out-breath (pram) is the grasper. His grasped by the in-breath (apami) as its over-grasper, for by the in-breath one smells.

3. 'Speech is the grasper. It is grasped by name as its over-grasper, for by speech one litters names.

4, The tongue is the grasper. It is grasped by taste as its over-grasper, for by the tongue one discerns tastes.

5. "The eye is the grasper. It is grasped by form as its over-grasper, for by the eye one sees forms.

6. The ear is the grasper. It is grasped by sound as its over-grasper, for by the ear one hears sounds.

7. The mind is the grasper. It is grasped by desire as its over-grasper, for by the mind one desires desires.

8. The hands are the grasper. It is grasped by action as its over-grasper, for by the hands one performs actions.

9, The skin is the grasper. It is grasped by touch as its over-grasper, for by the skin one feels touches. These are the eight graspers and the eight over-graspers.'

10. 'Yajnavalka’ he said, 'since all this is the food of death, who is the deity of whom death is the food?' Fire is death: he is the food of the waters. Whoever knows this conquers re-death.'

11. 'Yajnavalkya,' he said, 'when a person dies, do his breaths go up out of him or not?'

'No,' said Yajnavalkya, 'they are gathered together just here, and he swells up, becomes inflated. The dead man lies inflated.'

12. 'Yajnavalka,' he said, 'when a person dies, what does not leave him?' 'Name.' Name is infinite; the Visvedevas are infinite; by it one wins an infinite world.

13. 'Yajnavalka,' he said, 'when a person dies, and his voice goes into fire, his breath into air, his eye into the sun, his mind into the moon, his ear into the directions, his body into the earth, his self into space, his body-hair into plants, and his head-hair into trees, and his blood and seed are placed in the waters, where is the person then?' 'Artabhaga, good man, take my hand. Just we two will know of this: it is not for us to discuss in public.' They went away and discussed it. What they spoke of was action (karman); what they praised was action. One becomes good by good action, evil by evil action.

Then Jaratkarava Artabhaga fell silent.

III.3

1. Then Bhujyu Lahyayani questioned him. 'Yajnavalkya,' he said, 'we were wandering as religious students among the Madras, and we came to the house of Patancala Kapya. He had a daughter who was possessed by a gandharva. We asked the gandharva, "Who are you?" He said, "Sudhanvan Angirasa." When we were questioning him about the ends of the worlds, we said to him, "Where have the Pariksitas gone?"

‘I ask you, Yajnavalka, where have the Pariksitas gone?'

2. He said, "He told you, "They have gone where those who perform the horse-sacrifice go." You said, "Where do those who perform the horse-sacrifice go?" He said, "This world is thirty-two days' journey of the god's The sun-god. chariot wide, and the earth surrounds it completely, twice as wide. The ocean surrounds the earth completely, twice as wide. The space between Between ocean and sky. is just as wide as the edge of a razor or the wing of a fly. Indra, becoming an eagle, handed them over to Vayu. Vayu placed them in himself and took them where those who perform the horse-sacrifice have gone." In some such words the gandharva praised Vayu. So Vayu is individuality, Vayu is totality. Whoever knows this conquers re-death.'

Then Bhujyu Lahyayani fell silent.

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