Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 25 p. 26 p. 27




1. BRAHMA was the first of the Devas, the maker of the universe, the preserver of the world. He told the knowledge of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledge, to his eldest son Atharva 1.

2. Whatever Brahmâ told Atharvan, that knowledge of Brahman Atharvan formerly told to Aṅgir; he told it to Satyavâha Bhâradvâga, and Bhâradvâga told it in succession to Aṅgiras.

3. Saunaka, the great householder, approached Aṅgiras respectfully and asked: 'Sir, what is that through which, if it is known, everything else becomes known?'

4. He said to him: 'Two kinds of knowledge must be known, this is what all who know Brahman tell us, the higher and the lower knowledge.'

5. 9 The lower knowledge is the Rig-veda, Yagur-veda, Sâma-veda, Atharva-veda, Sikshâ (phonetics), Kalpa (ceremonial), Vyâkarana (grammar), Nirukta (etymology), Khandas (metre), Gyotisha (astronomy) 2;

p. 28

but the higher knowledge is that by which the Indestructible (Brahman) is apprehended.'

6. 'That which cannot be seen, nor seized, which has no family and no caste 1, no eyes nor ears, no hands nor feet, the eternal, the omnipresent (all-pervading), infinitesimal, that which is imperishable, that it is which the wise regard as the source of all beings.'

7. 'As the spider sends forth and draws in its thread, as plants grow on the earth, as from every man hairs spring forth on the head and the body, thus does everything arise here from the Indestructible.'

8. 'The Brahman swells by means of brooding (penance) 2; hence is produced matter (food); from matter breath 3, mind, the true 4, the worlds (seven), and from the works (performed by men in the worlds), the immortal (the eternal effects, rewards, and punishments of works).'

p. 29

9. 'From him who perceives all and who knows all, whose brooding (penance) consists of knowledge, from him (the highest Brahman) is born that Brahman 1, name, form 2, and matter (food).'


27:1 The change between Atharva and Atharvan, like that between Nakiketas and Nâkiketa, shows the freedom of the phraseology of the Upanishad, and cannot be used for fixing the date of the constituent elements of the Upanishad.

27:2 Other MSS. add here itihâsa-purâna-nyâya-mîmâmsâ-dharma-sâstrâni.

28:1 I translate varna by caste on account of its conjunction with gotra. The commentator translates, 'without origin and without qualities.' We should say that which belongs to no genus or species.

28:2 I have translated tapas by brooding, because this is the only word in English which combines the two meanings of warmth and thought. Native authorities actually admit two roots, one tap, to burn, the other tap, to meditate; see commentary on Parâsara-smriti, p. 39b (MS. Bodl.), Tapah krikkhrakandrâyanâdirûpenâhâravarganam. Nanu Vyâsena tapo 'nyathâ smaryate, tapah svadharma-vartitvam saukam saṅganibarhanam iti; nâyam doshah, krikkhrâder api svadharmaviseshât. Tapa samtâpa ity asmâd dhâtor utpannasya tapah-sabdasya dehasoshane vrittir mukhyâ. . . . Yat tu tatraivoktam, ko 'yam mokshah katham tena samsâram pratipannavân ity âlokanam arthagñâs tapah samsanti panditâ iti so 'nya eva tapahsabdah, tapa âlokana ity asmâd dhâtor utpannah.

28:3 Hiranyagarbha, the living world as a whole. Comm.

28:4 Satya, if we compare Kath. VI, 7 and III, 10, seems to mean buddhi. Here it is explained by the five elements.

29:1 Hiranyagarbha. Comm.

29:2 Nâmarûpam, a very frequent concept in Buddhistic literature.

Next: I, 2