Brhadaranyaka Upanishad:

The Great Forest Teaching:

Book Six Part I


VI.1

1. The one who knows the eldest and best becomes the eldest and best of his own people. Breath is the eldest and best. The one who knows this becomes the eldest and best of his own people, and of those of whom he wishes to become so.

2. The one who knows the finestVasistha, best, richest, in feminine gender, agreeing with vac. becomes the finest of his own people. Speech is the finest. The one who knows this becomes the finest of his own people, and of those of whom he wishes to become so.

3. The one who knows the support (pratistha) stands firm (prati-stha-) on even ground, stands firm on rough ground. The eye is the support, for the eye stands firm on even ground, stands firm on rough ground.The eye rests equally comfortably on a smooth or a rough object. The one who knows this stands firm on even ground, stands firm on rough ground.

4. The one who knows prosperity attains whatever desire he desires.Literally: 'To the one who knows prosperity (sampad) comes (sum-pad-)
whatever he desires. The ear is prosperity, for all the Vedas are attained
(abhi-sam-pad- in it . . .' The verb sam-pad-, to come to, to befall to,
is used always or agreeble things. The noun sampad, prosperity, is
derived from it. The ear is prosperity, for all the Vedas are attained in it. The one who knows this attains whatever desire he desires.

5. The one who knows the dwelling-place becomes a dwelling-place for his own folk, a dwelling-place for the people. Mind is the dwelling-place. The one who knows this becomes a dwelling-place for his own folk, a dwelling-place for the people.

6. The one who knows procreation increases in offspring and in animals.Literally, 'procreates by means of offspring and by means of [domestic]
animals' The seed is procreation. The one who knows this increases in offspring and in animals.

7. The bodily functions (prana) were arguing about who was the best. They went to brahman and asked it, 'Who is the finest of us?'

It said, 'The finest of you is the one after whose departure the body is thought to be worst off.'

8. Speech departed and stayed away for a year. When it came back it asked, 'How were you able to live without me?'

They said, 'We lived like the dumb, not speaking with speech, but breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, knowing with the mind, procreating with the seed.'

Then speech went back in.

9. The eye departed and stayed away for a year. When it came back it asked, 'How were you able to live without me?'

They said, 'We lived like the blind, speaking with speech, breathing with the breath, not seeing with the eye, but hearing with the ear, knowing with the mind, procreating with the seed.'

Then the eye went back in.

10. The ear departed and stayed away for a year. When it came back it asked, 'How were you able to live without me?'

They said, 'We lived like the deaf, speaking with speech, breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, not hearing with the ear, but knowing with the mind, procreating with the seed.'

Then the ear went back in.

11. The mind departed and stayed away for a year. When it came back it asked, 'How were you able to live without me?'

They said, 'We lived like the simpletons, speaking with speech, breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, not knowing with the mind, but procreating with the seed.'

Then the mind went back in.

12. The seed departed and stayed away for a year. When it came back it asked, 'How were you able to live without me?'

They said, 'We lived like the eunuchs, speaking with speech, breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, knowing with the mind, but not procreating with the seed.'

Then the seed went back in.

13. The breath (prana), about to depart, dragged those bodily functions (prana) together as a fine big stallion of Sindhu might drag its tethering pegs.

They said, 'Blessed one, do not leave. We will not be able to live without you.'

'Then make me an offering.'

'We will.'

14. Speech said, 'In that I am the finest, you are the finest.' The eye said, 'In that I am the support, you are the support.'

The ear said, 'In that I am prosperity, you are prosperity.' The mind said, Tn that I am the dwelling-place, you are the dwelling-place.'

The seed said, 'In that I am procreation, you are procreation.'

'Then what is my food, what is my clothing?' 'Whatever there is, down to dogs, worms, insects and flying things,Patahga, here of flying insects rather than birds, since the list is of
creatures considered impure for human beings to eat. In the
Brhadaranyaka vegetarianism is not yet taken as the norm—see VI.4.18 is your food: water is your clothing.'

Whoever knows in this way the food of the breath will not come to eat anything that is not food, will not come to receive anything. Knowing this, the learned sip water when they are about to eat, and sip water after they have eaten. They think that they are making the breath (ana) not-naked (anagna).

VI.2

1. Vetaketu Aruneya came to an assembly of the PaftcSlas. He approached Jaivali Pravahana, who was being waited on by his entourage. Literally, 'having himself waited on' Seeing him, the prince called, 'Young man!' Here and in what follows the final syllables of each line of dialogue
have been marked extra long, suggesting that they are calling to one
another, in a kind of challenge, rather than speaking conversationally.
I have here and there attempted to suggest this with the words Tie
called'. 'Sir?' he called back.

'Have you been educated by your father?'

'OM,' he said.

2. 'Do you know,' cried the prince, 'how people, when they depart, go in different directions?'

'No,' he said.

'And do you know how they come back to this world again?'

'No,' he said.

'And do you know how that world does not become full with the many people who depart to it again and again?'

'No,' was all he said.

'And do you know how many offerings have to be offered before the waters take on a human voice, rise up and speak?'

'No,' was all he said.

'And do you know how to reach the path that leads to the gods or the one that leads to the ancestors—what they do to reach the path that leads to the gods or the one that leads to the ancestors? For we have heard the saying of the Rsi:

"I have heard of two ways for mortals, To the ancestors and to the gods: By them goes everything that moves Between the father and the mother."

'I do not know a single one of these things' he said.

3. The prince invited him to stay with him, but the young man, not honouring his hospitality, ran away. He came to his father and said, 'Now, father, you said before that we had been educated!'

'What of it, clever one?'

'A princelingRajanya-bandhu, 'relative of royals', a pejorative term for a Ksatriya. There is perhaps an unintended compliment here, since the Ksatriya turns out to know more about brahman than the Brahmana youth. asked me five questions, and I do not know a single one of them.'

'What are they?'

'These'—and he told him the subjects.

4. He said, 'You should know me, son: whatever I know, I have taught you. But come, we two will go to him and live with him as his students.'

'You go, father.'

Gautama went to Pravahana Jaivali's house. The prince offered him a seat, had water brought for him, and welcomed him as an honoured guest. He said, 'We grant a boon to the blessed Gautama.'

5. He said, 'I accept the boon. Tell me the words you spoke in the presence of the young man.'

6. He said, 'Gautama, that falls among boons for the gods. Name something that belongs to human beings.'

7. He said, 'It is well known that I have plenty of gold, cows and horses, slave-women, coverings and clothing. Sir, do not stint me of what is great, endless, unlimited.'

'Then, Gautama, you should ask for it in the proper way.'

The ancients used to go to their teachers by saying, 'I come to you, sir': and so Gautama became his student by announcingAs he is of a higher class than his teacher he does not have to touch
his feet. that he was going to him.

8. He said, 'Gautama, may you not be displeased with us, nor your grandfathers either, but this knowledge has never before lived in any Brahmana. But I will teach it to you: for who could refuse you when you ask in this way?

9. 'ThatSky world is a fire, Gautama. The sun is its fuel;

the rays its smoke; the day its flame; the directions its embers; the intermediate directions its sparks. In that fire the gods offer faith (sraddha). From that offering King Soma arises.

10. 'Parjanya is a fire, Gautama. The year is his fuel; the clouds his smoke; the lightning his flame; the thunderbolt his embers; the hailstones his sparks. In that fire the gods offer King Soma. From that offering rain arises.

11. 'This world is a fire, Gautama. The earth is its fuel; fire its smoke; the night its flame; the moon its embers; the constellations its sparks. In that fire the gods offer rain. From that offering food arises.

12. 'A man (purusa) is a fire, Gautama. The open mouth is his fuel; breath his smoke; speech his flame; the eye his embers; the ear his sparks. In that fire the gods offer food. From that offering the seed arises.

13. 'A young woman is a fire, Gautama. The loins are her fuel; the body-hairs her smoke; the vagina her flame; what one does inside, her embers; the pleasures her sparks. In that fire the gods offer the seed. From that offering a person arises.Which answers the question about the number of offerings that haveto be made before the waters (which appears as rain in v.10) take on a human voice, rise up and speak He lives as long as he lives, and when he dies—

14. 'They carry him to the fire. Then his fire becomes the fire; his fuel the fuel; his smoke the smoke; his flame the flame; his embers the embers; his sparks the sparks. In that fire the gods offer the person. From that offering a person of the colour of light arises.

15. 'Those who know this, and those who in the forest worship faith as truth,Or 'truly worship faith'. raddha may be regarded as a goddess: she is sometimes said to be the mother of Brhaspati (Mitchiner 1982: 244). go into the flame, from the flame into the day, from the day into the waxing fortnight, from the waxing fortnight into the six months in which the sun goes northward,Approximately 21st December to 21st June. from the months into the world of the gods, from the world of the gods into the sun, from the sun into that which is made of lightning. The person of mind goes to those beings of lightning and leads them to the world of Brahma.Or 'of brahman' Exalted, far above, they dwell in the worlds of Brahma. For them there is no returning.

16. 'But those who win worlds by sacrifice, giving and asceticism go into the smoke, from the smoke into the night, from the night into the waning fortnight, from the waning fortnight into the six months in which the sun goes southward,Approximately 21st June to 21st December. from the months into the world of the ancestors, from the world of the ancestors into the moon.

'Reaching the moon, they become food. There the gods partake of them, as they do of King Soma,Identified with the moon saying, "Grow full!" "Wane!"

'When that passes away for them, they enter into space, from space into the air, from the air into the rain, from the rain into the earth.

'Reaching the earth, they become food. They are offered again in the fire of a man, and from that are bom in the fire of a young woman, rising again to the worlds. So they circle around. But those who do not know the two paths become worms, flying things, and everything that bites.'

VI.3

1. If someone desires to achieve greatness, then in the northward passage of the sun, on a lucky day of the waxing fortnight, he takes an upasad vow lasting twelve days. Then he puts together all the herbs called 'fruits' in a cup or dish made of pippala-wood. He sweeps up and smears around Cleanses the site by sweeping it and smearing with cow-dung. builds a fire and covers it with grass. He prepares the clarified butter in the usual way. Then, under a masculine constellation, he prepares the stirred mixture Mantha, prepared as described in VI.3.13. and makes an offering:

'As many gods as there are in you, Jatavedas,

Who, crossing them, thwart a person's desires, I offer them all a share.

May they be pleased, and please me with all desires. SVAHA!

'And you who cross our desires,

Saying, "I am the Separator", With a stream of ghee

I sacrifice to you as the Reconciler.

SVAHA!'

2. Saying, 'To the eldest, SVAHA! To the best, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To breath, SVAHA! To the finest,Feminine, referring on to 'speech' in the following verse. The terminology is explained in VI. 1.1-6. SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To speech, SVAHA! To the support, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the eye, SVAHA! To prosperity, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the ear, SVAHA! To the dwelling-place, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the mind, SVAHA! To procreation, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the seed, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

3. Saying, 'To Agni, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To Soma, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'BHUH, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'BHUVAH, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'SVAH, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'BHUH, BHUVAH, SVAH, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To priesthood (brahman), SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To royalty (ksatra), SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the past, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the future, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To the universe, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To all, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

Saying, 'To Prajapati, SVAHA!', he makes an offering into the fire and pours the remainder into the stirred mixture.

4. Then he touches it, saying, 'You are the wandering, you are the blazing, you are the full, you are the rigid, you are the one meeting-place, you are the sound hm,The sound uttered at the beginning of the sacrifice by the Prastotr. you are the sounding of hin, you are the Udgtha, you are the chanting of the Udgttha, you are what is recited,By the Adhvaryu priest you are what is recited back,By the Agnidhra priest. you are what bums in what is wet, Lightning in the cloud? you are the all-pervading, you are the powerful, you are food, you are light, you are the ending, you are the drawing together.'

5. Then he lifts it up, saying, 'Amamsy amamhi te mahi.Obscure: possibly, 'You think: think on your power. The equivalent
passage in the Chandogya has 'amo aflmasy ami hi te sarvam idam' He is the ruler of kings, the overlord: may the ruler of kings make me the overlord!'

6. Then he sips it and says:

'We meditate on the lovely—The three lines of the Gayatri, with the 'sweetness verses' and the ritual utterances between. Because of the differences in word-order between the languages, the English translation of the first two lines here does not exactly reproduce their content in the Sanskrit Sweetly Sweet/sweetly, sweet-filled: madhu, madhumat, whose basic meaning is  'honey', 'honey-bearing' (as in BU 11.5). The verses are found at RV 1.90.6-8 and VajasaneyT Samhita 13.27-9. the winds blow for the good, Sweetly the rivers flow. Sweet be the herbs for us. BHUH SVAHA!

'Glory of the god Savitr— Sweet be the night and the dawns too, Sweet-filled be the dust of the earth, Sweet be the sky our father. BHUVAH SVAHA!

'That he may stimulate our minds— Sweet-filled be the lord of the wood, Vimaspati, forest tree

Sweet-filled be the sun, Sweet be the cows to us. SVAH SVAHA!'

He recites the whole of the Savitri and all the 'Sweet-filled' verses. Then: 'May I become all this! BHUH, BHUVAH, SVAH, SVAHA!' Finally, when he has sipped it, he washes his hands and lies down behind the fire-altar with his head towards the east.

In the morning he worships the sun, saying: 'You are the one white lotus of the directions: may I become the one white lotus of humankind!' He goes back by the way he came, sits down behind the fire-altar and recites the lineage. Of the teaching, as in the following verses

7. Uddalaka Aruni taught this to his student Vajasaneya Yajnavalkya, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.'

8. And Vajasaneya Yajnavalkya taught this to his student Madhuka Paihgya, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.'

9. And Madhuka Paingya taught this to his student Cula Bhagavitti, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.'

10. And Cula Bhagavitti taught this to his student Janaki Ayasthuna, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.'

11. And Janaki Ayasthuna taught this to his student Satyakama Jabala, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.'

12. And Satyakama Jabala taught this to his students, and said: 'If one were to sprinkle this even on a dried-up stump, branches would grow, and leaves would sprout.' One should not teach this to anybody who is not a son or a student.

13. Four things Of the teaching, as in the following verses. are made of pippala-wood. The spoon is of pippala-wood; the bowl is of pippala-wood; the fuel is of pippala-wood; the two chuming-sricks are of pippala-wood.

There are ten cultivated grains: rice, barley, sesamum, beans, millet, panic seed, wheat, lentils, peas and vetch.This list is rather obscure, and almost certainly includes varieties that are no longer cultivated. Anu and priyahgu are both members of the millet (panicum) family, hence 'millef and 'panic seed' in the translation. Masura and khalva are thought to be pulses, the former a variety of lentil, the latter an unknown species. Following Olivelle, I have used 'peas' for the latter. Khalakula seems to be a member of the vetch family, leguminous plants that in ancient times were grown as food in various parts of the world. He sprinkles them, ground, on yoghurt, honey and ghee, and makes an offering of melted butter.




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