The Upanishads, Part 2 (SBE15), by Max Müller, , at sacred-texts.com
1. The words Bhûmi (earth), Antariksha (sky), and Dyu 1 (heaven) form eight syllables. One foot of the Gâyatrî consists of eight syllables. This (one foot) of it is that (i. e. the three worlds). And he who thus knows that foot of it, conquers as far as the three worlds extend.
2. The Rikas, the Yagûmshi, and the Sâmâni form eight syllables. One foot (the second) of the Gâyatrî consists of eight syllables. This (one foot) of it is that (i.e. the three Vedas, the Rig-veda, Yagur-veda, and Sama-veda). And he who thus knows that foot of it, conquers as far as that threefold knowledge extends.
3. The Prâna (the up-breathing), the Apâna (the down-breathing), and the Vyâna (the back-breathing) form eight syllables. One foot (the third) of the Gâyatrî consists of eight syllables. This (one foot) of it is that (i. e. the three vital breaths). And he who thus knows that foot of it, conquers as far as there is anything that breathes. And of that (Gâyatrî, or speech) this indeed is the fourth (turîya), the bright (darsata) foot, shining high above the skies 2. What is here called turîya (the fourth) is meant for katurtha (the fourth); what is called darsatam padam (the bright foot) is meant for him who is as it were seen (the person in the sun); and what is called paroragas (he who shines high above the
skies) is meant for him who shines higher and higher above every sky. And he who thus knows that foot of the Gâyatrî, shines thus himself also with happiness and glory.
4. That Gâyatrî (as described before with its three feet) rests on that fourth foot, the bright one, high above the sky. And that again rests on the True (satyam), and the True is the eye, for the eye is (known to be) true. And therefore even now, if two persons come disputing, the one saying, I saw, the other, I heard, then we should trust the one who says, I saw. And the True again rests on force (balam), and force is life (prâna), and that (the True) rests on life 1. Therefore they say, force is stronger than the True. Thus does that Gâyatrî rest with respect to the self (as life). That Gâyatrî protects (tatre) the vital breaths (gayas); the gayas are the prânas (vital breaths), and it protects them. And because it protects (tatre) the vital breaths (gayas), therefore it is called Gâyatrî. And that Savitri verse which the teacher teaches 2, that is it (the life, the prâna, and indirectly the Gâyatrî); and whomsoever he teaches, he protects his vital breaths.
5. Some teach that Sâvitrî as an Anushtubh 3 verse, saying that speech is Anushtubh, and that we teach
that speech. Let no one do this, but let him teach the Gâyatrî as Sâvitrî 1. And even if one who knows this receives what seems to be much as his reward (as a teacher), yet this is not equal to one foot of the Gâyatrî.
6. If a man (a teacher) were to receive as his fee these three worlds full of all things, he would obtain that first foot of the Gâyatrî. And if a man were to receive as his fee everything as far as this threefold knowledge extends, he would obtain that second foot of the Gâyatrî. And if a man were to receive as his fee everything whatsoever breathes, he would obtain that third foot of the Gâyatrî. But 'that fourth bright foot, shining high above the skies 2' cannot be obtained by anybody--whence then could one receive such a fee?
7. The adoration 3 of that (Gâyatrî):
'O Gâyatrî, thou hast one foot, two feet, three feet, four feet 4. Thou art footless, for thou art not known. Worship to thy fourth bright foot above the skies.' If 5 one (who knows this) hates some
one and says, 'May he not obtain this,' or 'May this wish not be accomplished to him,' then that wish is not accomplished to him against whom he thus prays, or if he says, 'May I obtain this.'
8. And thus Ganaka Vaideha spoke on this point to Budila Âsvatarâsvi 1: 'How is it that thou who spokest thus as knowing the Gâyatrî, hast become an elephant and carriest me?' He answered: 'Your Majesty, I did not know its mouth. Agni, fire, is indeed its mouth; and if people pile even what seems much (wood) on the fire, it consumes it all. And thus a man who knows this, even if he commits what seems much evil, consumes it all and becomes pure, clean, and free from decay and death.'
196:1 Dyu, nom. Dyaus, must be pronounced Diyaus.
196:2 Paronagas, masc., should be taken as one word, like paroksha, viz. he who is beyond all ragas, all visible skies.
197:1 Saṅkara understood the True (satyam) by tad, not the balam, the force.
197:2 The teacher teaches his pupil, who is brought to him when eight years old, the Sâvitrî verse, making him repeat each word, and each half verse, till he knows the whole, and by teaching him that Sâvitrî, he is supposed to teach him really the prâna, the life, as the self of the world.
197:3 The verse would be, Rig-veda V, 82, 1:
Tat savitur vrinîmahe vayam devasya bhoganam
Sreshtham sarvadhâtamam turam bhagasya dhîmahi.
198:1 Because Gâyatrî represents life, and the pupil receives life when be learns the Gâyatrî.
198:2 See before, § 2.
198:3 Upasthâna is the act of approaching the gods, προσκύνησις Angehen, with a view of obtaining a request. Here the application is of two kinds, abhikârika, imprecatory against another, and abhyudayika, auspicious for oneself. The former has two formulas, the latter one. An upasthâna is here represented as effective, if connected with the Gâyatrî.
198:4 Consisting of the three worlds, the threefold knowledge, the threefold vital breaths, and the fourth foot, as described before.
198:5 I have translated this paragraph very freely, and differently from Saṅkara. The question is, whether dvishyât with iti can be used in the sense of abhikâra, or imprecation. if not, I do not see how the words should be construed. The expression yasmâ upatishthate p. 199 is rightly explained by Dvivedagaṅga, yadartham evam upatishthate.
199:1 Asvatarasyâsvasyâpatyam, Saṅkara.