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



1. Nârada approached Sanatkumâra and said, 'Teach me, Sir!' Sanatkumâra said to him: 'Please to tell me what you know; afterward I shall tell you what is beyond.'

2. Nârada said: 'I know the Rig-veda, Sir, the Yagur-veda, the Sâma-veda, as the fourth the Âtharvana, as the fifth the Itihâsa-purâna (the Bhârata); the Veda of the Vedas (grammar); the Pitrya (the rules for the sacrifices for the ancestors); the Râsi (the science of numbers); the Daiva (the science of portents); the Nidhi (the science of time); the Vâkovâkya (logic); the Ekâyana (ethics); the Deva-vidyâ (etymology); the Brahma-vidyâ (pronunciation, sikshâ, ceremonial, kalpa, prosody, khandas); the Bhûta-vidyâ (the science of demons); the Kshatra-vidyâ

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[paragraph continues] (the science of weapons); the Nakshatra-vidyâ (astronomy); the Sarpa and Devagana-vidyâ (the science of serpents or poisons, and the sciences of the genii, such as the making of perfumes, dancing, singing, playing, and other fine arts) 1. All this I know, Sir.

3. 'But, Sir, with all this I know the Mantras only, the sacred books, I do not know the Self. I have heard from men like you, that he who knows the Self overcomes grief. I am in grief. Do, Sir, help me over this grief of mine.'

Sanatkumâra, said to him: 'Whatever you have read, is only a name.

4. 'A name is the Rig-veda, Yagur-veda, Sâma-veda, and as the fourth the Âtharvana, as the fifth the Itihâsa-purâna, the Veda of the Vedas, the Pitrya, the Râsi, the Daiva, the Nidhi, the Vâkovâkya, the Ekâyana, the Deva-vidyâ, the Brahma-vidyâ, the Bhûta-vidyâ, the Kshatra-vidyâ, the Nakshatra-vidyâ, the Sarpa and Devagana-vidyâ. All these are a name only. Meditate on the name.

5. 'He who meditates on the name as Brahman 2,

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is, as it were, lord and master as far as the name reaches-he who meditates on the name as Brahman.'

'Sir, is there something better than a name?'

'Yes, there is something better than a name.'

'Sir, tell it me.'


110:1 This passage, exhibiting the sacred literature as known at the time, should be compared with the Brihadâranyaka, II, 4, 10. The explanation of the old titles rests on the authority of Saṅkara, and he is not always consistent. See Colebrooke, Miscellaneous Essays, 1873, 11, p. 10.

110:2 Why a man who knows the Veda should not know the Self, while in other places it is said that the Veda teaches the Self, is well illustrated by the commentary. If a royal procession approaches, he says, then, though. we do not see the king, because he is hidden by flags, parasols, &c., yet we say, there is the king. And if we ask who is the king, then again, though we cannot see him and point him out, we can say, at least, that he is different from all that is seen. The Self is hidden in the Veda as a king is hidden in a royal procession.

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