The Upanishads, Part 2 (SBE15), by Max Müller, , at sacred-texts.com
1. This is the truth 1: the sacrificial works which they (the poets) saw in the hymns (of the Veda) have been performed in many ways in the Tretâ age 2. Practise 3 them diligently, ye lovers of truth, this is your path that leads to the world of good works 4!
2. When the fire is lighted and the flame flickers, let a man offer his oblations between the two portions of melted butter, as an offering with faith.
3. If a man's Agnihotra sacrifice 5 is not followed
by the new-moon and full-moon sacrifices, by the four-months' sacrifices, and by the harvest sacrifice, if it is unattended by guests, not offered at all, or without the Vaisvadeva ceremony, or not offered according to rule, then it destroys his seven worlds 1.
4. Kâlî (black), Karâlî (terrific), Manogavâ (swift as thought), Sulohitâ (very red), Sudhûmravarnâ (purple), Sphuliṅginî (sparkling), and the brilliant Visvarûpî 2 (having all forms), all these playing about are called the seven tongues (of fire).
5. If a man performs his sacred works when these flames are shining, and the oblations follow at the right time, then they lead him as sun-rays to where the one Lord of the Devas dwells.
6. Come hither, come hither! the brilliant oblations say to him, and carry the sacrificer on the rays of the sun, while they utter pleasant speech and praise him, saying: 'This is thy holy Brahma-world (Svarga), gained by thy good works.'
7. But frail, in truth, are those boats, the sacrifices, the eighteen, in which this lower ceremonial has been told 3. Fools who praise this as the highest good, are subject again and again to old age and death.
8. Fools dwelling in darkness, wise in their own conceit, and puffed up with vain knowledge, go round and round staggering to and fro, like blind men led by the blind 1.
9. Children, when they have long lived in ignorance, consider themselves happy. Because those who depend on their good works are, owing to their passions, improvident, they fall and become miserable when their life (in the world which they had gained by their good works) is finished.
10. Considering sacrifice and good works as the best, these fools know no higher good, and having enjoyed (their reward) on the height of heaven, gained by good works, they enter again this world or a lower one.
11. But those 2 who practise penance and faith in the forest, tranquil, wise, and living on alms, depart free from passion through the sun to where that immortal Person dwells whose nature is imperishable 3.
12. Let a Brâhmana, after he has examined all these worlds which are gained by works, acquire freedom from all desires. Nothing that is eternal (not made) can be gained by what is not eternal (made). Let him, in order to understand this, take
fuel in his hand and approach a Guru who is learned and dwells entirely in Brahman.
13. To that pupil who has approached him respectfully, whose thoughts are not troubled by any desires, and who has obtained perfect peace, the wise teacher truly told that knowledge of Brahman through which he knows the eternal and true Person.
30:1 In the beginning of the second Khanda the lower knowledge is first described, referring to the performance of sacrifices and other good deeds. The reward of them is perishable, and therefore a desire is awakened after the higher knowledge.
30:2 The Tretâ age is frequently mentioned as the age of sacrifices. I should prefer, however, to take tretâ in the sense of trayî vidyâ, and santata as developed, because the idea that the Tretâ age was distinguished by its sacrifices, seems to me of later origin. Even the theory of the four ages or yugas, though known in the Ait. Brâhmana, is not frequently alluded to in the older Upanishads. See Weber, Ind. Stud. I, p. 283.
30:3 The termination tha for ta looks suspiciously Buddhistic; see 'Sanskrit Texts discovered in Japan,' J. R. A. S. 1880, p. 180.
30:4 Svakrita and sukrita are constantly interchanged. They mean the same, good deeds, or deeds performed by oneself and believed to be good.
30:5 At the Agnihotra, the first of all sacrifices, and the type of many others, two portions of âgya are sacrificed on the right and left side of the Âhavanîya altar. The place between the two is called the Âvâpasthâna, and here the oblations to the gods are to be offered. There are. two oblations in the morning to Sûrya and Pragâpati, two in the evening to Agni and Pragâpati. Other sacrifices, such as the Darsa and Pûrnamâsa, and those mentioned in verse 3, are connected with the Agnihotra.
31:1 The seven worlds form the rewards of a pious sacrificer, the first is Bhuh, the last Satya. The seven worlds may also be explained as the worlds of the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, of the son, the grandson, and great-grandson, and of the sacrificer himself.
31:2 Or Visvarukî, if there is any authority for this reading in Mahîdhara's commentary to the Vâgas. Samhitâ XVII, 79. The Râjah of Besmah's edition has visvarukî, which is also the reading adopted by Rammohun Roy, see Complete Works, vol. i, p. 579.
31:3 The commentator takes the eighteen for the sixteen priests, the sacrificer, and his wife. But such an explanation hardly yields a satisfactory meaning, nor does plava mean perishable.
32:1 Cf. Kath. Up. II, 5.
32:2 According to the commentator, this verse refers to those who know the uselessness of sacrifices and have attained to a knowledge of the qualified Brahman. They live in the forest as Vânaprasthas and Samnyâsins, practising tapas, i.e. whatever is proper for their state, and sraddhâ, i.e. a knowledge of Hiranyagarbha. The wise are the learned Grihasthas, while those who live on alms are those who have forsaken their family.
32:3 That person is Hiranyagarbha. His immortality is relative only, it lasts no longer than the world (samsâra).