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The Upanishads, Part 2 (SBE15), by Max Müller, [1879], at

p. 12


1. 'There are the two 1, drinking their reward in the world of their own works, entered into the cave (of the heart), dwelling on the highest summit (the ether in the heart). Those who know Brahman call them shade and light; likewise, those householders who perform the Trinâkiketa sacrifice.'

2. 'May we be able to master that Nâkiketa rite which is a bridge for sacrificers; also that which is the highest, imperishable Brahman for those who wish to cross over to the fearless shore 2.'

3. 'Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect (buddhi) the charioteer, and the mind the reins 3.'

4. 'The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer.'

5. 'He who has no understanding and whose mind

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[paragraph continues] (the reins) is never firmly held, his senses (horses) are unmanageable, like vicious horses of a charioteer.'

6. 'But he who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are under control, like good horses of a charioteer.'

7. 'He who has no understanding, who is unmindful and always impure, never reaches that place, but enters into the round of births.'

8. 'But he who has understanding, who is mindful and always pure, reaches indeed that place, from whence he is not born again.'

9. 'But he who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind, he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place of Vishnu.'

10. 'Beyond the senses there are the objects, beyond the objects there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the intellect, the Great Self is beyond the intellect.'

11. 'Beyond the Great there is the Undeveloped, beyond the Undeveloped there is the Person (purusha). Beyond the Person there is nothing--this is the goal, the highest road.'

12. 'That Self is hidden in all beings and does not shine forth, but it is seen by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.'

13. 'A wise man should keep down speech and mind 1; he should keep them within the Self which is knowledge; he should keep knowledge within the Self which is the Great; and he should keep that (the Great) within the Self which is the Quiet.'

14. 'Rise, awake! having obtained your boons 2,

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understand them! The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path (to the Self) is hard.'

15. 'He who has perceived that which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay, without taste, eternal, without smell, without beginning, without end, beyond the Great, and unchangeable, is freed from the jaws of death.'

16. 'A wise man who has repeated or heard the ancient story of Nakiketas told by Death, is magnified in the world of Brahman.'

17. 'And he who repeats this greatest mystery in an assembly of Brâhmans, or full of devotion at the time of the Srâddha sacrifice, obtains thereby infinite rewards.'


12:1 The two are explained as the higher and lower Brahman, the former being the light, the latter the shadow. Rita is explained as reward, and connected with sukrita, lit. good deeds, but frequently used in the sense of svakrita, one's own good and evil deeds. The difficulty is, how the highest Brahman can be said to drink the reward (ritapa) of former deeds, as it is above all works and above all rewards. The commentator explains it away as a metaphorical expression, as we often speak of many, when we mean one. (Cf. Mund. Up. III, 1, 1.) I have joined sukritasya with loke, loka meaning the world, i.e. the state, the environment, which we made to ourselves by our former deeds.

12:2 These two verses may be later additions.

12:3 The simile of the chariot has some points of similarity with the well-known passage in Plato's Phædros, but Plato did not borrow this simile from the Brahmans, as little as Xenophon need have consulted our Upanishad (II, 2) in writing his prologue of Prodikos.

13:1 Saṅkara interprets, he should keep down speech in the mind.

13:2 Comm., excellent teachers.

Next: II, 4