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


1. She replied: 'It is Brahman. It is through the victory of Brahman that you have thus become great.' After that he knew that it was Brahman.

2. Therefore these Devas, viz. Agni, Vâyu, and Indra, are, as it were, above the other gods, for they touched it (the Brahman) nearest 2.

3. And therefore Indra is, as it were, above the other gods, for he touched it nearest, he first knew it.

4. This is the teaching of Brahman, with regard to the gods (mythological): It is that which now

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flashes forth in the lightning, and now vanishes again.

5. And this is the teaching of Brahman, with regard to the body (psychological): It is that which seems to move as mind, and by it imagination remembers again and again 1.

6. That Brahman is called Tadvana 2, by the name of Tadvana it is to be meditated on. All beings have a desire for him who knows this.

7. The Teacher: 'As you have asked me to tell you the Upanishad, the Upanishad has now

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been told you. We have told you the Brâhmî Upanishad.

8. 'The feet on which that Upanishad stands are penance, restraint, sacrifice; the Vedas are all its limbs 1, the True is its abode.

9. 'He who knows this Upanishad, and has shaken off all evil, stands in the endless, unconquerable 2 world of heaven, yea, in the world of heaven.'


151:2 The next phrase was borrowed from § 3, without even changing the singular to the plural. As Indra only found out that it was Brahman, the original distinction between Indra and the other gods, who only came near to it, was quite justified. Still it might be better to adopt the var. lect. sa hy etat in § 2.

152:1 I have translated these paragraphs very differently from Saṅkara and other interpreters. The wording is extremely brief, and we can only guess the original intention of the Upanishad by a reference to other passages. Now the first teaching of Brahman, by means of a comparison with the gods or heavenly things in general, seems to be that Brahman is what shines forth suddenly like lightning. Sometimes the relation between the phenomenal world and Brahman is illustrated by the relation between bubbles and the sea, or lightning and the unseen heavenly light (Mait. Up. V 1, 35). In another passage, Kh. Up. VIII, 12, 2, lightning, when no longer seen, is to facilitate the conception of the reality of things, as distinct from their perceptibility. I think, therefore, that the first simile, taken from the phenomenal world, was meant to show that Brahman is that which appears for a moment in the lightning, and then vanishes from our sight.

The next illustration is purely psychological. Brahman is proved to exist, because our mind moves towards things, because there is something in us which moves and perceives, and because there is something in us which holds our perceptions together (saṅkalpa), and revives them again by memory.

I give my translation as hypothetical only, for certainty is extremely difficult to attain, when we have to deal with these enigmatical sayings which, when they were first delivered, were necessarily accompanied by oral explanations.

152:2 Tadvana, as a name of Brahman, is explained by 'the desire of it,' and derived from van, to desire, the same as vâñkh.

153:1 It is impossible to adopt Saṅkara's first rendering, 'the Vedas and all the Aṅgas,' i.e. the six subsidiary doctrines. He sees himself that sarvâṅgâni stands in opposition to pratishthâ and âyatana, but seeing Veda and Aṅga together, no Brahman could help thinking of the Vedâṅgas.

153:2 Might we read agyeye for gyeye? cf. Satap. Brâhm. XI, 5, 7, 1.

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