1.Svetaketu Aruneya went to the settlement of the Pankalas. He came near to Pravahana Gaivali, who was walking about (surrounded by his men). As soon as he (the king) saw him, he said: “My boy!” Svetaketu replied: “Sir!”
Then the king said: “Have you been taught by your father!” “Yes,” he replied.
2. The king said: “Do you know how men, when they depart from here, separate from each other?”
“No,” he replied.
“Do you know how they come back to this world?” “No,”he replied.
“Do you know how that world does never become full with the many who again and again depart thither?” “No,” he replied.
“Do you know at the offering of which libation the waters become endowed with a human voice and rise and speak?” “No,” he replied.
“Do you know the access to the path leading to the Devas and to the path leading to the Fathers, i.e. by what deeds men gain access to the path leading to the Devas or to that leading to the Fathers? For we have heard even the saying of a Rishi: ‘I heard of two paths for men, one leading to the Fathers, the other leading to the Devas. On those paths all that lives moves on, whatever there is between father (sky) and mother (earth).’”
Svetaketu said: “I do not know even one of all these questions.”
3. Then the king invited him to stay and accept his hospitality. But the boy, not caring for hospitality, ran away, went back to his father, and said: “Thus then you called me formerly well-instructed!” The father said:. “What then, you sage?” The son replied: “That fellow of a Raganya asked me five questions, and I did not know one of them.”
“What were they?”said the father.
“These were they,” the son replied, mentioning the different heads.
4. The father said: “You know me, child, that whatever I know, I told you. But come, we shall go thither, and dwell there as students.”
“You may go, Sir,” the son replied.
Then Gautama went where (the place of) Pravahana Gaivali was, and the king offered him a seat, ordered water for him, and gave him the proper offerings. Then he said to him: “Sir, we offer a boon to Gautama.”
5. Gautama said: “That boon is promised to me; tell me the same speech which you made in the presence of my boy.”
6. He said: “That belongs to divine boons, name one of the human boons.”
7. He said: “You know well that I have plenty of gold, plenty of cows, horses, slaves, attendants, and apparel; do not heap on me I what I have already in plenty, in abundance, and superabundance.”
The king said: “Gautama, do you wish (for instruction from me) in the proper way?”
Gautama replied: “I come to you as a pupil.”
In word only have former sages (though Brahmans) come as pupils (to people of lower rank), but Gautama actually dwelt as a pupil (of Pravahana, who was a Raganya) in order to obtain the fame of having respectfully served his master.
8. The king said: “Do not be offended with us, neither you nor your forefathers, because this knowledge has before now never dwelt with any Brahmana. But I shall tell it to you, for who could refuse you when you speak thus?
9. “The altar (fire), O Gautama, is that world (heaven); the fuel is the sun itself, the smoke his rays, the light the day, the coals the quarters, the sparks the intermediate quarters. On that altar the Devas offer the sraddha libation (consisting of water). From that oblation rises Soma, the king (the moon).
10. “The altar, O Gautama, is Parganya (the god of rain); the fuel is the year itself, the smoke the clouds, the light the lightning, the coals the thunderbolt, the sparks the thunderings. On that altar the Devas offer Soma, the king (the moon). From that oblation rises rain.
11. “The altar, O Gautama, is this world; the fuel is the earth itself, the smoke the fire, the light the night, the coals the moon, the sparks the stars. On that altar the Devas offer rain. From that oblation rises food.
12. “The altar, O Gautama, is man; the fuel the opened mouth, the smoke the breath, the light the tongue, the coals the eye, the sparks the ear. On that altar the Devas offer food. From that oblation rises seed.
13. “The altar, O Gautama, is woman; On that altar the Devas offer seed. From that oblation rises man. He lives so long as he lives, and then when he dies,
14. “They take him to the fire (the funeral pile), and then the altar-fire is indeed fire, the fuel fuel, the smoke smoke, the light light, the coals coals, the sparks sparks. In that very altar-fire the Devas offer man, and from that oblation man rises, brilliant in colour.
15. “Those who thus know this (even Grihasthas), and those who in the forest worship faith and the True (Brahman Hiranyagarbha), go to light (arkis), from light to day, from day to the increasing half, from the increasing half to the six months when the sun goes to the north, from those six months to the world of the Devas (Devaloka), from the world of the Devas to the sun, from the sun to the place of lightning. When they have thus reached the place of lightning a spirit comes near them, and leads them to the worlds of the (conditioned) Brahman. In these worlds of Brahman they dwell exalted for ages. There is no returning for them.
16. “But they who conquer the worlds (future states) by means of sacrifice, charity, and austerity, go to smoke, from smoke to night, from night to the decreasing half of the moon, from the decreasing half of the moon to the six months when the sun goes to the south, from these months to the world of the fathers, from the world of the fathers to the moon. Having reached the moon, they become food, and then the Devas feed on them there, as sacrificers feed on Soma, as it increases and decrea. But when this (the result of their good works on earth) ceases, they return again to that ether, from ether to the air, from the air to rain, from rain to the earth. And when they have reached the earth, they become food, they are offered again in the altar-fire, which is man (see 11), and thence are born in the fire of woman. Thus they rise up towards the worlds, and go the same round as before.
“Those, however, who know neither of these two paths, become worms, birds, and creeping things.”