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The Upanishads, Part 1 (SBE01), by Max Müller, [1879], at

p. 269 p. 270


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1. KITRA Gâṅgyâyani 1, forsooth, wishing to perform a sacrifice, chose Âruni (Uddâlaka 2, to be his chief priest). But Âruni sent his son, Svetaketu, and said: 'Perform the sacrifice for him.' When Svetaketu 3 had arrived, Kitra asked him: 'Son of Gautama 4, is there a hidden place in the world where you are able to place me, or is it the other way, and are you going to place me in the world to which it (that other way) leads 5?'

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He answered and said: 'I do not know this. But, let me ask the master.' Having approached his father, he asked: 'Thus has Kitra asked me; how shall I answer?'

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Âruni said: 'I also do not know this. Only after having learnt the proper portion of the Veda in Kitra's own dwelling, shall we obtain what others give us (knowledge). Come, we will both go.'

Having said this he took fuel in his hand (like a pupil), and approached Kitra Gâṅgyâyani, saying: 'May I come near to you?' He replied: 'You are worthy of Brahman 1, O Gautama, because you were not led away by pride. Come hither, I shall make you know clearly.'

2. And Kitra said: All who depart from this world (or this body) go to the moon 2. In the former, (the bright) half, the moon delights in their spirits; in the other, (the dark) half, the moon sends them on

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to be born again 1. Verily, the moon is the door of the Svarga world (the heavenly world). Now, if a man objects to the moon (if one is not satisfied with life there) the moon sets him free 2. But if a man does not object, then the moon sends him down as rain upon this earth. And according to his deeds and according to his knowledge he is born again here as a worm, or as an insect, or as a fish, or as a bird, or as a lion, or as a boar, or as a serpent 3, or as a tiger, or as a man, or as something else in different places 4. When he has thus returned to the earth, some one (a sage) asks: 'Who art thou?' And he should answer: 'From the wise moon, who orders the seasons 5, when it is born consisting of fifteen parts, from the moon who is the home of our ancestors, the seed was brought. This seed, even me, they (the gods mentioned in the Pañkâgnividyâ 6) gathered up in an active man, and through an active

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man they brought me to a mother. Then I, growing up to be born, a being living by months, whether twelve or thirteen, was together with my father, who also lived by (years of) twelve or thirteen months, that I might either know it (the true Brahman) or not know it. Therefore, O ye seasons 1, grant that I may attain immortality (knowledge of Brahman). By this my true saying, by this my toil (beginning with the dwelling in the moon and ending with my birth on earth) I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons.' 'Who art thou?' the sage asks again. 'I am thou,' he replies. Then he sets him free 2 (to proceed onward).

He (at the time of death), having reached the path of the gods, comes to the world of Agni (fire), to the world of Vâyu (air), to the world of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Pragâpati (Virâg), to the world of Brahman (Hiranyagarbha). In that world there is the lake Âra 3, the moments called Yeshtiha 4, the river Vigarâ (age-less), the tree Ilya 5, the city Sâlagya, the palace Aparâgita (unconquerable), the door-keepers Indra

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and Pragâpati, the hall of Brahman, called Vibhu 1 (built by vibhu, egoism), the throne Vikakshanâ (buddhi, perception), the couch Amitaugas (endless splendour), and the beloved Mânasî (mind) and her image Kâkshushî (eye), who, as if taking flowers, are weaving the worlds, and the Apsaras, the Ambâs (sruti, sacred scriptures), and Ambâyavîs (buddhi, understanding), and the rivers Ambayâs (leading to the knowledge of Brahman). To this world he who knows this (who knows the Paryaṅka-vidyâ) approaches. Brahman says to him: 'Run towards him (servants) with such worship as is due to myself. He has reached the river Vigarâ (age-less), he will never age.

4. Then five hundred Apsaras go towards him, one hundred with garlands in their hands, one hundred with ointments in their hands, one hundred with perfumes in their hands, one hundred with garments in their hands, one hundred with fruit 2 in their hands. They adorn him with an adornment worthy of Brahman, and when thus adorned with the adornment of Brahman, the knower of Brahman moves towards Brahman (neut.) 3 He comes to the lake Âra, and he crosses it by the mind, while those who come to it without knowing the truth 4, are drowned. He comes to the moments called Yeshtiha, they flee from him.

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He comes to the river Vigarâ, and crosses it by the mind alone, and there shakes off his good and evil deeds. His beloved relatives obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done. And as a man, driving in a chariot, might look at the two wheels (without being touched by them), thus he will look at day and night, thus at good and evil deeds, and at all pairs (at all correlative things, such as light and darkness, heat and cold, &c.) Being freed from good and freed from evil he, the knower of Brahman (neut.), moves towards Brahman.

5. He approaches the tree Ilya, and the odour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the city Sâlagya, and the flavour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the palace Aparâgita, and the splendour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the door-keepers Indra and Pragâpati, and they run away from him. He approaches the hall Vibhu, and the glory of Brahman reaches him (he thinks, I am Brahman). He approaches the throne Vikakshanâ. The Sâman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the eastern feet of that throne 1; the Sâman verses, Syaita and Naudhasa, its western feet; the Sâman verses, Vairûpa and Vairâga, its sides lengthways (south and north); the Sâman verses, Sâkvara and Raivata, its sides crossways (east and west). That throne is Pragñâ, knowledge, for by knowledge (self-knowledge) he sees clearly. He approaches the couch Amitaugas. That is Prâna (speech). The past and the future are its eastern feet; prosperity and earth its western feet; the Sâman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the two sides lengthways of the couch (south and north);

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the Sâman verses, Bhadra and Yagñâyagñîya, are its cross-sides at the head and feet (east and west); the Rik and Sâman are the long sheets 1 (east and west); the Yagus the cross-sheets (south and north); the moon-beam the cushion; the Udgîtha the (white) coverlet; prosperity the pillow 2. On this couch sits Brahman, and he who knows this (who knows himself one with Brahman sitting on the couch) mounts it first with one foot only. Then Brahman says to him: 'Who art thou?' and he shall answer:

6. 'I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons, sprung from the womb of endless space, from the light (from the luminous Brahman). The light, the origin of the year, which is the past, which is the present, which is all living things, and all elements, is the Self 3. Thou art the Self. What thou art, that am U

Brahman says to him: 'Who am I?' He shall answer: 'That which is, the true' (Sat-tyam).

Brahman asks: 'What is the true?' He says to him: 'What is different from the gods and from the senses (prâna) that is Sat, but the gods and the

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senses are Tyam. Therefore by that name Sattya (true) is called all this whatever there is. All this thou art.'

7. This is also declared by a verse: 'This great Rishi, whose belly is the Yagus, the head the Sâman, the form the Rik, is to be known as being imperishable, as being Brahman.'

Brahman says to him: 'How dost thou obtain my male names?' He should answer: 'By breath (prânah).'

Brahman asks: 'How my female names?' He should answer: 'By speech (vâk).'

Brahman asks: 'How my neuter names?' He should answer: 'By mind (manas).'

'How smells?' 'By the nose.' 'How forms?' 'By the eye.' 'How sounds?' 'By the ear.' 'How flavours of food?' 'By the tongue.' 'How actions?' 'By the hands.' 'How pleasures and pain?' 'By the body.' 'How joy, delight, and offspring?' 'By the organ.' 'How journeyings?' 'By the feet.' 'How thoughts, and what is to be known and desired?' 'By knowledge (pragñâ) alone.'

Brahman says to him: 'Water indeed is this my world 1, the whole Brahman world, and it is thine.'

Whatever victory, whatever might belongs to Brahman, that victory and that might he obtains who knows this, yea, who knows this 2.


271:1 It is difficult to determine whether Kitra's name was Gâṅgyâyani or Gârgyâyani. Professor Weber adopted first Gârgyâyani (Indische Studien 1, P. 395), afterwards Gâṅgyâyani (ibid. II, 395). Professor Cowell adopts Gâṅgyâyani, but he tells us that the Telugu MS. reads Gârgyâyani throughout, and the other MSS. B, C do so occasionally. The commentator explains Gâṅgyâyani as the descendant (yuvâpatyam) of Gâṅgya. I confess a preference for Gârgyâyani, because both Gaṅgâ and Gâṅgya are names of rare occurrence in ancient Vedic literature, but I admit that for that very reason the transition of Gâṅgyâyani into Gârgyâyani is perhaps more intelligible than that of Gârgyâyani into Gâṅgyâyani.

271:2 Cf. Kh. Up. V, 11, 2; Brih. Âr. VI, 2, 1.

271:3 Cf. Kh. Up. V, 3; VI, 1.

271:4 Brih. Âr. VI, 2, 4.

271:5 The question put by Kitra to Svetaketu is very obscure, and was probably from the first intended to be obscure in its very wording. What Kitra wished to ask we can gather from other passages in the Upanishads, where we see another royal sage, Pravâhana Gaivali (Kh. Up. V, 3; Brih. Âr. VI, 2), enlightening Svetaketu on the future life. That future life is reached by two roads; p. 272 one, the Devapatha, leading to the world of Brahman (the conditioned), beyond which there lies one other stage only, represented by knowledge of and identity with the unconditioned Brahman; the other leading to the world of the fathers, and from thence, after the reward of good works has been consumed, back to a new round of mundane existence. There is a third road for creatures which live and die, worms, insects, and creeping things, but they are of little consequence. Now it is quite clear that the knowledge which king Kitra possesses, and which Svetaketu does not possess, is that of the two roads after death, sometimes called the right and the left, or the southern and northern roads. These roads are fully described in the Khândogya-upanishad and in the Brihad-âranyaka, with certain variations, yet on the whole with the same purpose. The northern or left road, called also the path of the Devas, passes on from light and day to the bright half of the moon; the southern or right road, called also the path of the fathers, passes on from smoke and night to the dark half of the moon. Both roads therefore meet in the moon, but diverge afterwards. While the northern road passes by the six months when the sun moves towards the north, through the sun, (moon,) and the lightning to the world of Brahman, the southern passes by the six months when the sun moves towards the south, to the world of the fathers, the ether, and the moon. The great difference, however, between the two roads is, that while those who travel on the former do not return again to a new life on earth, but reach in the end a true knowledge of the unconditioned Brahman, those who pass on to the world of the fathers and the moon return to earth to be born again and again.

The question therefore which Kitra addresses to Svetaketu can refer to these two roads only, and though the text is very corrupt, and was so evidently even at the time when the commentary was written, we must try to restore it in accordance with the teaching imparted by Kitra in what follows. I propose to read: Gautamasya putra, asti samvritam loke yasmin mâ dhâsyasy anyatamo vâdhvâ tasya (or yasya) mâ loke dhâsyasi, 'Is there a hidden place in the world where you (by your sacrificing and teaching) are able to p. 273 place me, or is it the other way, and will you place me in the world to which it leads?' Even thus the text is by no means satisfactory, but it is better than anyam aho vâdhvâ, adopted by the commentator and explained by him: Is there a hidden place in that world in which you will place me as another, i. e. as different from the whole world or identical with the whole world, and, if as different, then having bound me (vâdhvâ = baddhvâ) and made me a different person? We may read anyataro for anyatamo vâdhvâ. The commentator sums up the question as referring to a hidden or not hidden place, where Kitra should be placed as another person or not another person, as bound or not bound; or, as Professor Cowell renders it, 'O son of Gautama, is there any secret place in the world where thou canst set me unconnected, having fixed me there (as wood united with glue); or is there some other place where thou canst set me?' The speculations on the fate of the soul after death seem to have been peculiar to the royal families of India, while the Brahmans dwelt more on what may be called the shorter cut, a knowledge of Brahman as the true Self. To know, with them, was to be, and, after the dissolution of the body, they looked forward to immediate emancipation, without any further wanderings.

273:1 Worthy to know Brahman, or, as the commentator, who reads brahmârgha, thinks, to be honoured like Brahman.

273:2 Both roads lead to the moon, and diverge afterwards.

274:1 I should like to read aparapakshe praganayati, instead of aparapakshena, or aparapakshe na. The negative is out of the question, for praganayati, he sends into a new life, is exactly what the moon does to those who do not proceed on the Devapatha to the Brahmaloka. Therefore if the reading aparapakshena must be retained, it should be rendered by 'the moon with the dark half sends them into a new life.'

274:2 This is supposed to be the hidden place, or rather the way to it, when the departed leave the moon, and pass on to lightning and to the world of Brahman. This is in fact the Devayâna, as opposed to the Pitriyâna, described in the Khândogya-upanishad.

274:3 Parasvâ, dandasûkaviseshah. There is no authority for translating it by dog; cf. Indische Studien I, 396.

274:4 This might even include naraka or hell.

274:5 If ritavah is here the genitive of ritu, its meaning would be the ordainer of the seasons; cf. Hibbert Lectures, p. 247. Vikakshana is applied to the moon again, II, 9, and the throne of Brahman also is called vikakshana, I, 3.

274:6 Kh. Up. V, 4-8.

275:1 The commentator takes ritavah as an accusative. I take it as a vocative, and as used in a sense analogous to the Zend ratu, an epithet of Ahura. Darmesteter, Ormazd, p. 12, n. 3.

275:2 If a person fears heaven (svarga) as much as hell, because neither gives final liberation, then he is fit to proceed to a knowledge of Brahman. It would seem that after this, this person is in the same position as the other who, objecting to remain in the moon, was set free at once.

275:3 Consisting of ari's, enemies, such as love, anger, &c. In the Kh. Up. VIII, 5, 3, it is called Ara.

275:4 Explained to mean, killing the sacrifice, which consists in a desire for Brahman.

275:5 The same as the asvatthah somasavanah in Kh. Up. VIII, 5, 3

276:1 Vibhunâmakam pramitam sabhâsthalam.

276:2 Some MSS. read phanahastâh, and the commentator explains phana by âbharana.

276:3 Though brahman is used here as a neuter, it refers to the conditioned Brahman.

276:4 Samprativid is here explained as brahmavidyâsûnya, ignorant, while in other places (Ait. Âr. II, 3, 1) it stands for samyagabhigña. If the latter is the true meaning, we might read here tam itvâsamprativido.

277:1 Cf. Atharva-veda XV; Aufrecht, in Indische Studien I, p. 122.

278:1 Sheets or coverings seem more applicable here than mere threads forming the woof and warp; cf. Aufrecht, Indische Studien I, p. 131.

278:2 I read udgîtha upash, srir upabarhanam. The Atharva text has udgîtho 'pasrayah.

278:3 This passage is corrupt, and the various readings and various interpretations of the commentators do not help us much. One view, which I have followed, as far as possible, is that it had to be explained how the same being could be the child of the seasons, or living from year to year, and, at the same time, born of the light. The answer is, Because light is the seed or cause of the year, and the year the cause of everything else. I take no responsibility for this view, and I see no way of discovering the original reading and the original meaning of these sentences.

279:1 it sprang from water and the other elements. Comm. Professor Weber proposes to translate âpah by Erlangungen, acquisitions, with reference to apnoshi, 'how dost thou acquire my names?' in what precedes.

279:2 Who knows the conditioned and mythological form of Brahman as here described, sitting on the couch.

Next: Adhyâya II