Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad: Fourth Adhyâya, Fourth Brahmana

Updated May 14, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Fourth Brahmana

1. Yagnavalkya continued: “Now when that Self, having sunk into weakness, sinks, as it were, into unconsciousness, then gather those senses (prânas) around him, and he, taking with him those elements of light, descends into the heart. When that person in the eye turns away, then he ceases to know any forms.

2. “He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not see.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not smell.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not taste.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not speak.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not hear.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not think.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not touch.’ ‘He has become one,’ they say, ‘he does not know.’ The point of his heart becomes lighted up, and by that light the Self departs, either through the eye, or through the skull, or through other places of the body. And when he thus departs, life (the chief prâna) departs after him, and when life thus departs, all the other vital spirits (prânas) depart after it. He is conscious, and being conscious he follows and departs.

Then both his knowledge and his work take hold of him, and his acquaintance with former things.

3. “And as a caterpillar, after having reached the end of a blade of grass, and after having made another approach (to another blade), draws itself together towards it, thus does this Self, after having thrown off this body and dispelled all ignorance, and after making another approach (to another body), draw himself together towards it.

4. “And as a goldsmith, taking a piece of gold, turns it into another, newer and more beautiful shape, so does this Self, after having thrown off this body and dispelled all ignorance, make unto himself another, newer and more beautiful shape, whether it be like the Fathers, or like the Gandharvas, or like the Devas, or like Pragâpati, or like Brahman, or like other beings.

5. “That Self is indeed Brahman, consisting of knowledge, mind, life, sight, hearing, earth, water, wind, ether, light and no light, desire and no desire, anger and no anger, right or wrong, and all things. Now as a man is like this or like that, according as he acts and according as he behaves, so will he be:a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad. He becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds.

“And here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap.

6. “And here there is this verse: "To whatever object a man's own mind is attacbed, to that he goes strenuously together with his deed; and having obtained the end (the last results) of whatever deed he does here on earth, he returns again from that world (which is the temporary reward of his deed) to this world of action."

“So much for the man who desires. But as to the man who does not desire, who, not desiring, freed from desires, is satisfied in his desires, or desires the Self only, his vital spirits do not depart elsewhere—being Brahman, he goes to Brahman.

7. “On this there is this verse: ‘When all desires which once entered his heart are undone, then does the mortal become immortal, then he obtains Brahman.

And as the slough of a snake lies on an ant-hill, dead and cast away, thus lies this body; but that disembodied immortal spirit (prâna' life) is Brahman only, is only light.

Ganaka Vaideha said: “Sir, I give you a thousand.

8. “On this there are these verses:

The small, old path stretching far away has been found by me. On it sages who know Brahman move on to the Svarga-loka (heaven), and thence higher on, as entirely free.

9. On that path they say that there is white, or blue, or yellow, or green, or red; that path was found by Brahman, and on it goes whoever knows Brahman, and who has done good, and obtained splendour.

10. All who worship what is not knowledge (avidya) enter into blind darkness: those who delight in knowledge, enter, as it were, into greater darkness.

11. There are indeed those unblessed worlds, covered with blind darkness. Men who are ignorant and not enlightened go after death to those worlds.

12. “If a man understands the Self, saying, ‘I am He,’ what could he wish or desire that he should pine after the body”.

13. “Whoever has found and understood the Self that has entered into this patched-together hidingplace, he indeed is the creator, for he is the maker of everything, his is the world, and he is the world itself.

14. “While we are here, we may know this; if not, I am ignorant, and there is great destruction. Those who know it, become immortal, but others suffer pain indeed.

15. “If a man clearly beholds this Self as God, and as the lord of all that is and will be, then he is no more afraid.

16. “He behind whom the year revolves with the days, him the gods worship as the light of lights, as immortal time.

17. “He in whom the five beings and the ether rest, him alone I believe to be the Self—I who know, believe him to be Brahman; I who am immortal, believe him to be immortal.

18. “They who know the life of life, the eye of the eye, the car of the ear, the mind of the mind, they have comprehended the ancient, primeval Brahman.

19. “By the mind alone it is to be perceived, there is in it no diversity. He who perceives therein any diversity, goes from death to death.

20. “This eternal being that can never be proved, is to be perceived in one way only; it is spotless, beyond the ether, the unborn Self, great and eternal.

21. “Let a wise Brahmana, after he has discovered him, practise wisdom. Let him not seek after many words, for that is mere weariness of the tongue.

22. “And he is that great unborn Self, who consists of knowledge, is surrounded by the Prânas, the ether within the heart. In it there reposes the ruler of all, the lord of all, the king of all. He does not become greater by good works, nor smaller by evil works. He is the lord of all, the king of all things, the protector of all things. He is a bank and a boundary, so that these worlds may not be confounded. Brahmanas seek to know him by the study of the Veda, by sacrifice, by gifts, by penance, by fasting, and he who knows him, becomes a Mun1.Wishing for that world (for Brahman) only, mendicants leave their homes.

“Knowing this, the people of old did not wish for offspring. What shall we do with offspring, they said, we who have this Self and this world (of Brahman)? And they, having risen above the desire for sons, wealth, and new worlds, wander about as mendicants. For desire for sons is desire for wealth, and desire for wealth is desire for worlds. Both these are indeed desires only. He, the Self, is to be described by No, no! He is incomprehensible, for he cannot be comprehended; he is imperishable, for he cannot perish; he is unattached, for he does not attach himself; unfettered, he does not suffer, he does not fail. Him (who knows), these two do not overcome, whether he says that for some reason he has done evil, or for some reason he has done good—he overcomes both, and neither what he has done, nor what he has omitted to do, burns (affects) him.

23. “This has been told by a verse (Rik): ‘This eternal greatness of the Brahmana does -not grow larger by work, nor does it grow smaller. Let man try to find (know) its trace, for having found (known) it, he is not sullied by any evil deed.

He therefore that knows it, after having become quiet, subdued, satisfied, patient, and collected, sees self in Self, sees all as Self. Evil does not overcome him, he overcomes all evil. Evil does not burn him, he burns all evil. Free from evil, free from spots, free from doubt, he becomes a (true) Brahmana; this is the Brahma-world, O King,”—thus spoke Yagnavalkya.

Ganaka Vaideha said: “Sir, I give you the Videhas, and also myself, to be together your slaves.

24. This indeed is the great, the unborn Self, the strong, the giver of wealth. He who knows this obtains wealth.

25. This great, unborn Self, undecaying, undying, immortal, fearless, is indeed Brahman. Fearless is Brahman, and he who knows this becomes verily the fearless Brahman.

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