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Brahma Knowledge, by L. D. Barnett, [1911], at

XV. Gloria in Excelsis 1

I know that great Spirit, sun-hued, beyond the darkness. Knowing Him, man escapeth Death; there is no other way to walk.

Than this naught else is higher, nor subtler,

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nor mightier. As a tree firm-set in the heavens 1 stands the One; with this Spirit the universe is filled.

Formless, sorrowless is the Highest; they become deathless who know it; but others come to very grief.

With face, head, neck everywhere, dwelling in covert in every creature, pervading all, the Lord is He; thus everywhere is the presence of the Gracious. 2

A great lord is the Spirit, mover of the understanding, ruler of this pure approach, Light, 3 unfading.

The Spirit dwells ever as inward soul, an inch in stature, within men's hearts, conceived by the heart, the imagination, the thought; deathless they become who know this…

Showing himself in the qualities of all senses, void of all senses, He is lord, ruler of all, refuge of all.

Bodied in the nine-gated city, 4 the Swan hovers without, master of all the motionless and moving world. 5

Handless and footless, He speeds and seizes;

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eyeless, He sees; earless, He hears. He knows what may be known, but there is none to know Him. Men call Him the Primal, the Great Spirit.

Subtler than the subtle is He, greater than the great, the soul lodged in covert in living beings. Freed from grief, man sees by the Almighty's grace Him the desireless, Him the Power sovereign.

I know Him, the ageless, ancient, All-soul, dwelling everywhere in universal presence, to whom Brahma-teachers deny birth, whom they call the Eternal.

The one hue that by blending of powers lends manifold hues in diverse wise from gathered substance, the Beginning and End wherein the All dissolves—He is God; may He unite us with blessed understanding!

That same is the Fire, that is the Sun, that the Wind, that the Moon; that same is the Bright, that Brahma, that the Waters, that the Creator.

Thou art woman, Thou art man, Thou art boy and maiden; Thou art the old man tottering on the staff; Thou art born with face looking all ways.

Thou art the black bird, the green with red eyes, the lightning-bearing [cloud], the seasons, the seas; Thou art that which is beginningless, Thou livest in universal presence, whence are born all beings…

In vision of the Lord, the bounteous worshipful

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[paragraph continues] God, who stands sole warder over every womb, in whom this All falls together and dissolves asunder, man comes to this everlasting peace.

May He who is the fount and origin of the gods, the lord of all, Rudra, the great sage, who beheld the Germ of Gold 1 coming into being, unite us with blessed understanding…

Where there is not darkness, nor day and night, nor being or not-being, but the Gracious One alone, that is the Unfading, that is the lovely [light] of Savitā 2; thence has streamed forth the ancient Intelligence.

He may not be grasped above, nor athwart, nor in the midst. There is no likeness of Him whose name is Great Glory.

His form is not to be beheld; none sees Him with the eye. Deathless they become who in heart and mind know Him as heart-dwelling.


98:1 Śvetāśvatara Upanishad, iii. 8—iv. 20. This work, one of the earliest metrical Upanishads, is marked by a singular combination of philosophical idealism with theistic feeling. In it Brahma appears as a living God, especially in his manifestation as Śiva, or Rudra, the spirit of cosmic destruction. Here accordingly we find the first expression of the doctrine of Divine Grace and of worship in love, which later became one of the chief features in Hindu religion, especially in the Vishṇuite church.

99:1 Compare Kaṭh. Upan. vi. 1. The universe is compared to an aśvattha tree, the Ficus religiosa, of which the branches are the phenomenal world and the root Brahma.

99:2 Śiva, a title of Rudra which has gradually ousted the, latter name.

99:3 See extract vii., p. 68.

99:4 Compare above, p. 61.

99:5 Compare extract vii., above.

Next: XVI: The Advaita-Makaranda of Lakshmidara