1. In the beginning this was Self alone, in the shape of a person (purusha). He looking round saw nothing but his Self. He first said, “This is I;” therefore he became I by name. Therefore even now, if a man is asked, he first says, “This is I,” and then pronounces the other name which he may have. And because before (purva) all this, he (the Self) burnt down (ush) all evils, therefore he was a person (pur-usha). Verily he who knows this, burns down every one who tries to be before him.
2. He feared, and therefore any one who is lonely fears. He thought, “As there is nothing but myself, why should I fear?” Thence his fear passed away. For what should he have feared? Verily fear arises from a second only.
3. But he felt no delight. Therefore a man who is lonely feels no delight. He wished for a second. He was so large as man and wife together. He then made this his Self to fall in two (pat), and thence arose husband (pati) and wife (patni). Therefore Yagnavalkya said: “We two are thus (each of us) like half a shell.” Therefore the void which was there, is filled by the wife. He embraced her, and men were born.
4. She thought, “How can he embrace me, after having produced me from himself? I shall hide myself.”
She then became a cow, the other became a bull and embraced her, and hence cows were born. The one became a mare, the other a stallion; the one a male ass, the other a female ass. He embraced her, and hence one-hoofed animals were born. The one became a she-goat, the other a he-goat; the one became a ewe, the other a ram. He embraced her, and hence goats and sheep were born. And thus he created everything that exists in pairs, down to the ants.
5. He knew, “I indeed am this creation, for I created all this.” Hence he became the creation, and he who knows this lives in this his creation.
6. Next he thus produced fire by rubbing. From the mouth, as from the fire-hole, and from the hands he created fire. Therefore both the mouth and the hands are inside without hair, for the fire-hole is inside without hair.
And when they say, “Sacrifice to this or sacrifice to that god,” each god is but his manifestation, for he is all gods.
Now, whatever there is moist, that he created from seed; this is Soma. So far verily is this universe either food or eater. Soma indeed is food, Agni eater. This is the highest creation of Brahman, when he created the gods from his better part, and when he, who was (then) mortal, created the immortals. Therefore it was the highest creation. And he who knows this, lives in this his highest creation.
7. Now all this was then undeveloped. It became developed by form and name, so that one could say, “He, called so and so, is such a one. ” Therefore at present also all this is developed by name and form, so that one can say, “He, called so and so, is such a one.”
He (Brahman or the Self) entered thither, to the very tips of the finger-nails, as a razor might be fitted in a razor-case, or as fire in a fire-place.
He cannot be seen, for, in part only, when breathing, he is breath by name; when speaking, speech by name; when seeing, eye by name; when hearing, ear by name; when thinking, mind by name. All these are but the names of his acts. And he who worships (regards) him as the one or the other, does not know him, for he is apart from this (when qualified) by the one or the other (predicate). Let men worship him as Self, for in the Self all these are one. This Self is the footstep of everything, for through it one knows everything. And as one can find again by footsteps what was lost, thus he who knows this finds glory and praise.
8. This, which is nearer to us than anything, this Self, is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than all else.
And if one were to say to one who declares another than the Self dear, that he will lose what is dear to him, very likely it would be so. Let him worship the Self alone as dear. He who worships the Self alone as dear, the object of his love will never perish.
9. Here they say: “If men think that by knowledge of Brahman they will become everything, what then did that Brahman know, from whence all this sprang?”
10. Verily in the beginning this was Brahman, that Brahman knew (its) Self only, saying, “I am Brahman.” From it all this sprang. Thus, whatever Deva was awakened (so as to know Brahman), he indeed became that (Brahman); and the same with Rishis and men. The Rishivamadeva saw and understood it, singing, “I was Manu (moon), I was the sun.” Therefore now also he who thus knows that he is Brahman, becomes all this, and even the Devas cannot prevent it, for he himself is their Self.
Now if a man worships another deity, thinking the deity is one and he another, he does not know. He is like a beast for the Devas. For verily, as many beasts nourish a man, thus does every man nourish the Devas. If only one beast is taken away, it is not pleasant; how much more when many are taken! Therefore it is not pleasant to the Devas that men should know this.
11. Verily in the beginning this was Brahman, one only. That being one, was not strong enough. It created still further the most excellent Kshatra (power), viz. those Kshatras (powers) among the Devas, Indra, Varuna, Soma, Rudra, Parganya, Yama, Mrityu, Isana. Therefore there is nothing beyond the Kshatra, and therefore at the Ragasutya sacrifice the Brahmana sits down below the Kshatriya. He confers that glory on the Kshatra alone. But Brahman is (nevertheless) the birth-place of the Kshatra. Therefore though a king is exalted, he sits down at the end (of the sacrifice) below the Brahman, as his birth-place. He who injures him, injures his own birth-place. He becomes worse, because he has injured one better than himself.
12. He was not strong enough. He created the Vis (people), the classes of Devas which in their different orders are called Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Visve Devas, Maruts.
13. He was not strong enough. He created the Sudra colour (caste), as Pushan (as nourisher). This earth verily is Pushan (the nourisher); for the earth nourishes all this whatsoever.
14. He was not strong enough. He created still further the most excellent Law (dharma). Law is the Kshatra (power) of the Kshatra, therefore there is nothing higher than the Law. Thenceforth even a weak man rules a stronger with the help of the Law, as with the help of a king. Thus the Law is what is called the true. And if a man declares what is true, they say he declares the Law; and if he declares the Law, they say he declares what is true. Thus both are the same.
15. There are then this Brahman, Kshatra, Vis, and Sudra. Among the Devas that Brahman existed as Agni (fire) only, among men as Brahmana, as Kshatriya through the (divine) Kshatriya, as Vaisya through the (divine) Vaisya, as Sudra through the (divine) Sudra. Therefore people wish for their future state among the Devas through Agni (the sacrificial fire) only; and among men through the Brahmana, for in these two forms did Brahman exist.
Now if a man departs this life without having seen his true future life (in the Self), then that Self, not being known, does not receive and bless him, as if the Veda had not been read, or as if a good work had not been done. Nay, even if one who does not know that (Self), should perform here on earth some great holy work, it will perish for him in the end. Let a man worship the Self only as his true state. If a man worships the Self only as his true state, his work does not perish, for whatever he desires that he gets from that Self.
16. Now verily this Self (of the ignorant man) is the world of all creatures. In so far as man sacrifices and pours out libations, he is the world of the Devas; in so far as he repeats the hymns, &c., he is the world of the Rishis; in so far as he offers cakes to the Fathers and tries to obtain offspring, he is the world of the Fathers; in so far as he gives shelter and food to men, he is the world of men; in so far as he finds fodder and water for the animals, he is the world of the animals; in so far as quadrupeds, birds, and even ants live in his houses, he is their world. And as every one wishes his own world not to be injured, thus all beings wish that he who knows this should not be injured. Verily this is known and has been well reasoned.
17. In the beginning this was Self alone, one only. He desired, “Let there be a wife for me that I may have offspring, and let there be wealth for me that I may offer sacrifices.” Verily this is the whole desire, and, even if wishing for more, he would not find it. Therefore now also a lonely person desires, “Let there be a wife for me that I may have offspring, and let there be wealth for me that I may offer sacrifices.” And so long as he does not obtain either of these things, he thinks he is incomplete. Now his completeness (is made up as follows): mind is his self (husband); speech the wife; breath the child; the eye all worldly wealth, for he finds it with the eye, the ear his divine wealth, for he hears it with the ear. The body (atman) is his work, for with the body he works. This is the fivefold sacrifice, for fivefold is the animal, fivefold man, fivefold all this whatsoever. He who knows this, obtains all this.