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



1. Harih, Om. There is this city of Brahman (the body), and in it the palace, the small lotus (of

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the heart), and in it that small ether. Now what exists within that small ether, that is to be sought for, that is to be understood.

2. And if they should say to him: 'Now with regard to that city of Brahman, and the palace in it, i. e. the small lotus of the heart, and the small ether within the heart, what is there within it that deserves to be sought for, or that is to be understood?'

3. Then he should say: 'As large as this ether (all space) is, so large is that ether within the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained within it, both fire and air, both sun and moon, both lightning and stars; and whatever there is of him (the Self) here in the world, and whatever is not (i. e. whatever has been or will be), all that is contained within it 1.'

4. And if they should say to him: 'If everything that exists is contained in that city of Brahman, all beings and all desires (whatever can be imagined or desired), then what is left of it, when old age reaches it and scatters it, or when it falls to pieces?'

5. Then he should say: 'By the old age of the body, that (the ether, or Brahman within it) does not age; by the death of the body, that (the ether, or Brahman within it) is not killed. That (the Brahman)

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is the true Brahma-city (not the body 1). In it all desires are contained. It is the Self, free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine. Now as here on earth people follow as they are commanded, and depend on the object which they are attached to, be it a country or a piece of land,

6. 'And as here on earth, whatever has been acquired by exertion, perishes, so perishes whatever is acquired for the next world by sacrifices and other good actions performed on earth. Those who depart from hence without having discovered the Self and those true desires, for them there is no freedom in all the worlds. But those who depart from hence, after having discovered the Self and those true desires 2, for them there is freedom in all the worlds.


125:2 The eighth Prapâthaka seems to form a kind of appendix to the Upanishad. The highest point that can be reached by speculation had been reached in the seventh Prapâthaka, the identity of our self and of everything else with the Highest Self. This speculative effort, however, is too much for ordinary people. They cannot conceive the Sat or Brahman as out of space and time, as free from all qualities, and in order to help them, they are taught to adore the Brahman, as it appears in space and time, an object endowed with certain qualities, living in nature and in the human heart. The Highest Brahman, besides which there is nothing, and which can neither be reached as an object, nor be considered as p. 126 an effect, seems to ordinary minds like a thing which is not. Therefore while the true philosopher, after acquiring the knowledge of the Highest Sat, becomes identified with it suddenly, like lightning, the ordinary mortal must reach it by slow degrees, and as a preparation for that higher knowledge which is to follow, the eighth Prapâthaka, particularly the first portion of it, has been added to the teaching contained in the earlier books.

126:1 The ether in the heart is really a name of Brahman. He is there, and therefore all that comes of him when he assumes bodily shapes, both what is and what is not, i.e. what is no longer or not yet; for the absolute nothing is not intended here.

127:1 I translate this somewhat differently from the commentator, though the argument remains the same.

127:2 True desires are those which we ought to desire, and the fulfilment of which depends on ourselves, supposing that we have acquired the knowledge which enables us to fulfil them.

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