Brhadaranyaka Upanishad:

The Great Forest Teaching:

Book Six Part II


VI.4

1. The earth is the essence of all beings, the waters the essence of earth, plants of the waters, flowers of plants, fruits of flowers, a man (purusa) of fruits, and the seed of a man.

2. Prajapati thought, 'Come, I must make a support for him!' He created a woman. When he had created her, he worshipped her below: so one should worship a woman below. He stretched forward his pressing-stoneGravan: (a) the stone used to press the Soma; (b) the male sex-organ. in front of him and with it he pouredPoured or emitted (abhi-srj-), used (a) of the Soma-offering; (b) of the sexual act; (c) of cosmic act of creation sexual act; (c) of the cosmic act of creation. The creative act of Prajapati
is recounted here to provide a precedent for the rituals described in the rest of the chapter, which are concerned mainly with sex and childbirth. into her.

3. Her loins are the altar; her body-hairs, the strewing-grass; her skin, the Soma-press; her labia, the fire in the middle. The one who practises sexual intercourse knowing this gains as great a world as the one who offers the Vajapeya sacrifice,Drink of strength, considered one of the most powerful forms of Soma sacrifice, offered only by Ksatriyas aspiring to kingship or Brahmanas seeking the highest status. and takes the merit of the women to himself. But the one who practises sexual intercourse without knowing this, the women take his merit to themselves. ukrta, good action. This chapter seems to reflect the anxiety of men undertaking spiritual practice about losing their hoarded energy through sexual intercourse (which, for those living the household life, was also part of their duty to the ancestors). Later, the Tantrikas attempted to solve the problem through yogic techniques. The Brhadaranyaka, typically, attempts to solve it through knowledge.

4. Knowing this, Uddalaka Aruni used to say— Knowing this, Naka Maudgalya used to say— Knowing this, Kumaraharita used to say: 'Many mortals, descendants of Brahmanas,Literally, grandsons of Brahmanas: men who are born into that class,
but do not have the knowledge that should go with it. depart from this world impotent, without merit: the ones who practise sexual intercourse without knowing this.'

If, when a man is asleep or awake, this much of his seed is spilled,

5. He should touch it, or recite over it:

'Whatever seed of mine is spilled on the earth, Or has flowed into plants, or into the waters, I take back that seed. May my potency, My energy, my luck, come back to me!

'May the fire-altar and the side-altars be set again in their proper places!' Then he should take it between ring-finger and thumb and rub it between his breasts or his eyebrows.

6. If it is in water, he should look at himself in the water and recite over it:As it has  been expanded this passage slightly, following Sankara. Another interpretation is simply, 'If he should see himself in water, he should recite over it.' However this seems an abrupt change of subject here. 'In me be light, potency, goods, merit!'

This is the beauty of women, when she has taken off her dirty clothes.At the end of the seclusion during menstruation—see Bu IV. 4.13.Sankara takes this sentence as being part of what the man should say, 'She [my wife] is the beauty among women . . / In what follows, the words 'a man', 'a woman', 'the couple', have been inserted where necessary for clarity. So when she is glorious, having taken off her dirty clothes, the man should approach and invite her.

7. If she does not give him his desire, he should bribe her. If she still does not give him his desire, he should strike her Or touch (upa-han-, elsewhere used of ordinary or ritual physical contact, e.g. Bu IV.4.13). It is not clear whether actual or symbolic violence is intended. Neither would seem to the modern mind to fit very easily
with the reverence for the woman advocated e.g. in v. 2. with a stick or with his hand, saying, 'With my potency, my glory, I take away your glory!': and she becomes inglorious.

8. If she gives him his desire, he should say, 'With my potency, my glory, I place glory in you!': and they both become glorious.

9. If a man desires a woman, wishing, 'May she desire me!', then he should place his sex-organ in her, join mouth with mouth, stroke her loins, and mutter:

'You come from every limb;

You are born in the heart; You are the essence of the limbs: Make mad for me,

As though pierced by a poisoned arrow!'

10. If he desires a woman wishing, 'May she not become pregnant!', then he should place his sex-organ in her, join mouth with mouth, breathe out into her, and breathe in, saying, 'With my potency, my seed, I take the seed from Breathe out into her and then breathe back in you!': and she becomes without seed.

11. If he desires a woman, wishing, 'May she become pregnant!', then he should place his sex-organ in her, join mouth with mouth, breathe in, and breathe out into her, saying, 'With my potency, my seed, I place seed in you!': and she becomes pregnant.

12. If a man's wife has a lover, and he hates that lover, he should set a fire in an unfired pot, lay out a strewing of reeds in the opposite order to normal, and offer in the fire those reed arrows in the opposite order to normal, saying:

'You have made an offering in my fire. I take away your out-breath (pram) and in-breath (apana) !'

'You have made an offering in my fire. I take away your sons and animals, !'

'You have made an offering in my fire. I take away your sacrifice and merit, !'

'You have made an offering in my fire. I take away your hope and expectation, !'

The one who is cursed by a Brahmana who knows this departs from this world impotent, without merit. So knowing this, one should not wish for sexual intercourse with the wife of one who is learned in the Veda, for one who knows this becomes superior.

13. When one's wife has her period, for three days she should not drink from a metal cup nor change her clothes. No low-born man or woman should touch her. At the end of three nights she should bathe and have rice ground.

14. If someone wishes: 'May a white son be born to me! May he learn a Veda! May he live a full span!', the couple should have rice-and-milk cooked and eat it with ghee: and they will be able to have one.

15. If someone wishes: 'May a tawny, yellow son be born to me! May he learn two Vedas! May he live a full span!', the couple should have rice-and-yoghurt cooked and eat it with ghee: and they will be able to have one.

16. If someone wishes: 'May a dark, red-eyed son be born to me! May he learn three Vedas! May he live a full span!', the couple should have rice-and-water cooked and eat it with ghee: and they will be able to have one.

17. If someone wishes: 'May a learned daughter be born to me! Sankara considers that the daughter's learning will be confined to the domestic area, disregarding the examples of Maitreyi and Gargi Vacaknavi in this same Upanisad. May she live a full span!', the couple should have rice-and-sesame cooked and eat it with ghee: and they will be able to have one.

18. If someone wishes: 'May a learned, famous son be born to me, one who goes to assemblies, a speaker of well-received words! May he learn all the Vedas! May he live a full span!', the couple should have rice-and-meat cooked and eat it with ghee: and they will be able to have one—with meat from a bull-calf or a bull. Modern editors, such as Panoli are troubled by this recommendation to eat beef (as they seem not to be by the apparent encouragement of domestic violence. Sankara accepts and interprets the passage as it stands. It is not clear whether beef-eating was regarded as generally acceptable at this time: the present passage is describing, not an ordinary meal, but a piece of sympathetic magic to bring about the conception of a son who will be a 'bull among men'.

19. Towards morning, the man should stir ghee in the manner of the sthalipaka,Cooking in a dish'. SthaR is familiar in its Hindi form as the than tray of Indian cuisine.
 and make a touch-offering,  Upaghata, again from upa-han- (note 251). The food is symbolically offered to the gods by touching the dish before the couple eat. saying. To Agni, SVAHA! To Anumati, SVAHA! To the god Savitr, of true conception, SVAHA!' After offering it, he takes it up and eats: after eating, he offers it to the other. He washes his hands, fills a water-bowl, and sprinkles her three times, saying:

'Get up from here, Visvavasu,

Look for another young woman.

Leave this wife with her husband.'

20. Then he approaches her, saying:

'I am he, you are she; You are she, I am he;

I am the sawan-verse, you the are-verse;

I am sky, you are earth:

Let us two join together, Mix our seed together, To get a male child.'

21. Then he spreads apart her thighs, saying, 'Spread apart, sky and earth.' He places his sex-organ in her, joins mouth with mouth, and strokes her three times in the direction of the hair, Either in a literal sense, or perhaps, 'in the natural way'. saying:

'May Visnu prepare the womb;

May Tvastr fashion the shapes;

May Prajapati pour in;

May Dhatr place the embryo in you.

'Place the embryo, Sinivali;

Place the embryo, you with the broad fringe;

May the Asvins, garlanded with lotuses,

Place the embryo in you.

22. 'Just as the Asvins

Twirl with their golden fire-sticks, We invoke for you an embryo

To be born in the tenth month.

'As the earth is pregnant with fire

And the sky is pregnant with Indra, As air is the embryo of the directions,

I place an embryo in you, !'

23. When she is about to give birth, he sprinkles her with water, saying:

'As the wind ruffles a lotus-pond

On every side, May your embryo stir

And come down with its after-birth.

'Indra's enclosure has been made

With its bolt and its fence. Indra, send out from it

The after-birth with the embryo.'

24. When a son has been born, he takes him in his lap and puts mixed Mixed with yoghurt. ghee in a metal cup. He makes a touch-offering of the mixed ghee, saying:

'May I nurture a thousand in this one, Increasing in my own house. May his lineage not be cut off

In offspring or in animals. SVAHA!

'The breaths in me

By mind I offer into you. SVAHA!

'Whatever in my work I have over-done,

Or whatever I have under-done, May Agni, the maker-good of sacrifices, knowing it,

Make it a good sacrifice, a good offering, for us. SVAHA!'

25. Then, close to the child's right ear, he whispers three times, 'Speech, speech.' Then putting together yoghurt, honey and ghee he feeds him with a golden spoon which he does not put inside his mouth, whispering, T place BHUH in you; I place BHUVAH, in you; I place SVAH, in you: I place BHUH, BHUVAH, SVAH, everything in you.'

26. Then, saying, 'You are Veda,' he gives him a name: and that becomes his secret name.

27. Then he gives him to his mother and offers him her breast, saying:

'That breast of yours, ever-flowing, refreshing,

Wealth-bestowing, rich, generous, With which you nourish all that are fit to be chosen, Sarasvati, give it to my baby here to suck.

28. Then he addresses the mother, saying:

'You are Ila, daughter of Mitra and Varuna. Heroine,Taking vire as vocative feminine. It could be locative masculine: To a hero you have borne a hero'. you have borne a hero. May you always possess heroes. I.e. her husband and many sons.

Since you have given us a hero.'

They say to such a one, 'Ah, you have become greater than your father! Ah, you have become greater than your grandfather!' Ah, he has attained the highest point in splendour, fame and the glory of brahman—the son who is born to a Brahmana who knows this!

VI.5

1. Now the lineage of the teaching. The son of Pautimasi his list differs widely from those in 11.6 and IV.6. The names from
'son of PautimasT (pautimasl-putra)' to 'the son of Prasni' (prasni-putra,
near end of v. 2) are all metronymics. But Pautimasi's son and the
Pautimasya of the other lists could well be the same person. The
family name is unusual in itself; and in the Upanisads name-formation
has not yet settled into the classical Sanskrit pattern of suffixing -ya
for patronymics and -eya for metronymics (cp. Aditya, son of [goddess]
Aditi, and Aruneya, son of [man] Aruni). received it from the son of Katyayani, the son of Katyayani from the son of Gautami, the son of Gautami from the son of Bharadvaji, the son of Bharadvaji from the son of Parasari, the son of Parasari from the son of Aupasvasti, the son of Aupasvasti from the son of Parasari, the son of Parasari from the son of Katyayani, the son of Katyayani from the son of Kausiki, the son of Kausiki from the son of Alambi and the son of Vaiyaghrapadi, the son of Vaiyaghrapadi from the son of Kanvi and the son of Kapi, the son of Kapi

2. from the son of Atreyi, the son of Atreyi from the son of Gautami, the son of Gautami from the son of Bharadvaji, the son of Bharadvaji from the son of Parasari, the son of Parasari from the son of Vatsi, the son of Vatsi from the son of Parasari the son of Parasari from the son of Varkaruni, the son of Varkaruni from the son of Varkaruni, the son of Varkaruni from the son of Artabhagi, the son of Artabhagi from the son of Saurigi, the son of Saurigi from the son of Sarikrti, the son of Sarikrti from the son of Alambayam, the son of Alambayam from the son of Alambi, the son of Alambi from the son of Jayanti, the son of Jayanti from the son of Mandukayani, the son of Mandukayani from the son of Manduki, the son of Manduki from the son of Sandili, the son of Sandili from the son of Rathitari, the son of Rathitari from the son of Bhaluki, the son of Bhaluki from the two sons of Kraunriki, the two sons of Kraunciki from the son of Vaidabhrti, the son of Vaidabhrti from the son of Karsakeyi, the son of Karsakeyi from the son of Pradnayogi, the son of Pracmayogi from the son of Sanjivi, the son of Sanjivi from the son of Prasni who lived in Asuri's house, As a student. the son of Prasni from Asurayana, Asurayana from Asuri, Asuri.

3. from Yajnavalkya, Yajnavalkya from Uddalaka, Uddalaka from Aruna, Aruna from Upavesi, Upavesi from Kusri, Kusri from Vajasravas, Vajasravas from Jihvavat Badhyoga, Jihvavat Badhyoga from Asita Varsagana, Asita Varsagana from Harita Kasyapa, Harita Kasyapa from Silpa Kasyapa, Silpa Kasyapa from Kasyapa Naidhruvi, Kasyapa Naidhruvi from Vac, Vac from Ambhini, Ambhini from Aditya. These White Yajus verses of Aditya were taught by Vajasaneya Yajnavalkya.

4. The same as far as 'the son of SanjTvi'.268 The son of SanjTvi received the teaching from Mandukayani, Mandukayani from Mandavya, Mandavya from Kautsa, Kautsa from Mahitthi, Mahitthi from Vamakaksayana, Vamakaksayana from Sandilya, Sandilya from Vatsya, Vatsya from Kusri, Kusri from Yajnavacas Rajastambayana, Yajnavacas Rajastambayana from Tura Kavaseya, Tura Kavaseya from Prajapati, Prajapati from brahman. Brahman is self-born: homage to brahman.

OM. Together may it protect us two:

Together may it profit us two:

Together may we do a hero's work. May we learn intelligently:

May we never hate one another.

OM. Peace, peace, peace.




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