Kaushitaki-Upanishad: First Adhyâya

Updated May 14, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

First Adhyâya


1. Kitra Gangyayani, forsooth, wishing to perform a sacrifice, chose Aruni (Uddalaka, to be his chief priest). But Aruni sent his son, Svetaketu, and said: “Perform the sacrifice for him.” When Svetaketu had arrived, Kitra asked him: “Son of Gautama, is there a hidden place in the world where you are able to place me, or is it the other way, and are you going to place me in the world to which it (that other way) leads,?

He answered and said: “I do not know this But, let me ask the master.” Having approached his father, he asked: “Thus has Kitra asked me how shall I answer?

Aruni said: “I also do not know this. Only after having learnt the proper portion of the Veda in Kitra's own dwelling, shall we obtain what others give us (knowledge). Come, we will both go.

Having said this he took fuel in his hand (like a pupil), and approached Kitra Gangyayani, saying: “May I come near to you?” He replied: “You are worthy of Brahman, O Gautama, because you were not led away by pride. Come hither, I shall make you know clearly.

2. And Kitra said: All who depart from this world (or this body) go to the moon. In the former, (the bright) half, the moon delights in their spirits; in the other, (the dark) half, the moon sends them on to be born again. Verily, the moon is the door of the Svarga world (the heavenly world). Now, if a man objects to the moon (if one is not satisfied with life there) the moon sets him free. But if a man does not object, then the moon sends him down as rain upon this earth. And according to his deeds and according to his knowledge he is born again here as a worm, or as an insect, or as a fish, or as a bird, or as a lion, or as a boar, or as a serpent, or as a tiger, or as a man, or as something else in different places. When he has thus returned to the earth, some one (a sage) asks: “Who art thou?” And he should answer: “From the wise moon, who orders the seasons, when it is born consisting of fifteen parts, from the moon who is the home of our ancestors, the seed was brought. This seed, even me, they (the gods mentioned in the Pankagnividya) gathered up in an active man, and through an active man they brought me to a mother. Then I, growing up to be born, a being living by months, whether twelve or thirteen, was together with my father, who also lived by (years of) twelve or thirteen months, that I might either know it (the true Brahman) or not know it. Therefore, O ye seasons, grant that I may attain immortality (knowledge of Brahman). By this my true saying, by this my toil (beginning with the dwelling in the moon and ending with my birth on earth) I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons.” “Who art thou?” the sage asks again. “I am thou,” he replies. Then he sets him free (to proceed onward).

3. He (at the time of death), having reached the path of the gods, comes to the world of Agni (fire), to the world of Vayu (air), to the world of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Pragâpati (Virâg), to the world of Brahman (Hiranyagarbha). In that world there is the lake Ara, the moments called Yeshtiha, the river Vigara (age-less), the tree Ilya, the city Salagya, the palace Aparagita (unconquerable), the door-keepers Indra and Pragâpati, the hall of Brahman, called Vibhu (built by vibhu, egoism), the throne Vikakshana (buddhi, perception), the couch Amitaugas (endless splendour), and the beloved Manasi (mind) and her image Kakshushi (eye), who, as if taking flowers, are weaving the worlds, and the Apsaras, the Ambas (sruti, sacred scriptures), and Ambayavis (buddhi, understanding), and the rivers Ambayas (leading to the knowledge of Brahman). To this world he who knows this (who knows the Paryanka-vidya) approaches. Brahman says to him: “Run towards him (servants) with such worship as is due to myself. He has reached the river Vigara (age-less), he will never age.

4. Then five hundred Apsaras go towards him, one hundred with garlands in their hands, one hundred with ointments in their hands, one hundred with perfumes in their hands, one hundred with garments in their hands, one hundred with fruit in their hands. They adorn him. with an adornment worthy of Brahman, and when thus adorned with the adornment of Brahman, the knower of Brahman moves towards Brahman (neut.) He comes to the lake Ara, and he crosses it by the mind, while those who come to it without knowing the truth, are drowned. He comes to the moments called Yeshtiha, they flee from him. He comes to the river Vigarga, and crosses it by the mind alone, and there shakes off his good and evil deeds. His beloved relatives obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done. And as a man, driving in a chariot, might look at the two wheels (without being touched by them), thus he will look at day and night, thus at good and evil deeds, and at all pairs (at all correlative things, such as light and darkness, heat and cold, &c.) Being freed from good and freed from evil he, the knower of Brahman (neut.), moves towards Brahman.

5. He approaches the tree Ilya, and the odour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the city Salagya, and the flavour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the palace Aparagita, and the splendour of Brahman reaches him. He approaches the door-keepers Indra and Pragâpati, and they run away from him. He approaches the hall Vibhu, and the glory of Brahman reaches him (he thinks, I am Brahman). He approaches the throne Vikakshana. The Saman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the eastern feet of that throne; the Saman verses, Syaita and Naudhasa, its western feet; the Saman verses, Vairtipa and Vairaga, its sides lengthways (south and north); the Saman verses, Sakvara and Raivata, its sides crossways (east and west). That throne is Pragna knowledge, for by knowledge (self-knowledge) he sees clearly. He approaches the couch Amitaugas. That is Prâna (speech). The past and the future are its eastern feet; prosperity and earth its western feet; the Saman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the two sides lengthways of the couch (south and north); the Saman verses, Bhadra and Yagnayagniya, are its cross-sides at the head and feet (east and west); the Rik and Saman are the long sheets (east and west); the Yagus the cross-sheets (south and north); the moon-beam the cushion; the Udgitha the (white) coverlet; prosperity the pillow. On this couch sits Brahman, and he who knows this (who knows himself one with Brahman sitting on the couch) mounts it first with one foot only. Then Brahman says to him: “Who art thou?” and he shall answer:

6. “I am (like) a season, and the child of the seasons, sprung from the womb of endless space, from the light (from the luminous Brahman). The light, the origin of the year, which is the past, which is the present, which is all living things, and all elements, is the Self. Thou art the Self. What thou art, that am I.

Brahman says to him: “Who am I?” He shall answer: “That which is, the true” (Sat-tyam).

Brahman asks: “What is the true?” He says to him: “What is different from the gods and from the senses (prâna) that is Sat, but the gods and the senses are Tyam. Therefore by that name Sattya (true) is called all this whatever there is. All this thou art.

7. This is also declared by a verse: “This great Rishi, whose belly is the Yagus, the head the Saman, the form the Rik, is to be known as being imperishable, as being Brahman.

Brahman says to him: “How dost thou obtain my male names?” He should answer: “By breath (pranah).

Brahman asks: “How my female names?” He should answer: “By speech (vak).

Brahman asks: “How my neuter names?” He should answer: “By mind (manas).” “How smells?” “By the nose.” “How forms?” “By the eye.” “How sounds?” “By the ear.” “How flavours of food?” “By the tongue.” “How actions?” “By the hands.” “How pleasures and pain?” “By the body.” “How joy, delight, and offspring?” “By the organ.” “How journeyings?” “By the feet.” “How thoughts, and what is to be known and desired?” “By knowledge (pragna) alone.

Brahman says to him: “Water indeed is this my world, the whole Brahman world, and it is thine.

Whatever victory, whatever might belongs to Brahman, that victory and that might he obtains who knows this, yea, who knows this.

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