Format by A.K. Aruna, 2019 ver.1.0: UpasanaYoga. If downloaded, requires installed Devanāgarī Siddhanta1.ttf font, downloadable from UpasanaYoga. If run from UpasanaYoga website, it alternatively can use online Web Font. Any Devanāgarī in parentheses () is an alternate reading of text in Red. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad appears to be a later Upaniṣad in that it proportionately borrows more mantras from other Upaniṣads, than they themselves do. Philosophically it is also interesting in that several of its “newly” introduced terms were picked up and developed outside of Vedānta, such as ‘pradhāna’ and ‘sāṅkhya,’ and by the compound ‘sāṅkhya-yoga.’ However, as we will show below, the introduced terminologies are very easily incorporated as additional synonyms for prominent, orthodox Upaniṣad topics, and, outside of academia, much ado about very little. Indeed, if there was a philosophy back then that proposed there is no Lord who created this universe and that the world is only an evolute from nature, from pradhāna, then SvetU.6.1 clearly declares it to be completely confused and that if those philosophers held on to that confusion for the following thousands of years, then they would still be circling around in saṃsāra today.
by A.K. Aruna
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Teachers of brahman explain: What is the cause (kāraṇa)? Is it brahman? From what were we (sma = smas) born? By what do we survive? Where is the ultimate abode (saṃpratiṣṭha)? Governed (adhiṣṭita) in pleasures and otherwise, by whom do we obey the order (vyavasthā, the way things are laid out), O knowers of brahman?
Time (kāla), inherent nature (sva-bhāva), law (niyati, of karma), chance (yad-ṛcchā), the elements (bhūtas), the female (yoni, female principle, the mother of the universe, Māyā or Prakṛti), or the male (puruṣa, the male principle, the father of the universe, Lord Brahmā or Hiraṇya-garbha) – these are to be considered (as possible causes, kāraṇas)? Or perhaps a combination (saṃyoga) of any of these? No, because of their very nature (ātman, as being themselves dependent upon something else, themselves changing, and the statement of the one ātman that precedes manifestation, AitU.1.1.1). The individual ātman (i.e., jīva-ātman, who is reborn over and over also cannot be the cause), as it is itself powerless (an-īśa) over the reasons for its pleasures and pains.
Committed to contemplation as a means (dhyāna-yoga), they have seen (come to know) the power (śakti) behind the individual (ātman, the jīva-ātman) as the shining being (deva, the Lord) (as though) hidden by the guṇas (sattva, rajas and tamas), who alone (eka) presides in (adhitiṣṭhati) all causes related to time, etcetera, and the individual.
(We know, adhīmaḥSvetU.1.5, that deva, Īśvara, the Lord) As the one who has one rim (eka-nemi, prakṛti) consisting of the three (tri-vṛt, the three guṇas: sattva, rajas and tamas), having sixteen end pieces (ṣoḍaśa-anta, PrasU.6.4, Prāṇa, etcetera), having fifty spokes (śata-ardha-ara, a composite of fifty things said to be indicated in the Kalpopaniṣad of Brahma-Purāṇa) and twenty counter (bracing) spokes (viṃśati-pratyara, perhaps the ten karma and jñāna indriyas, plus their ten spheres of activity, which make known and interact with the fifty things), with six sets of eight things each (even more confusing divisions with which to get identified), with just one noose (pāśa, likely Death’s noose) spread wide (as many snares to catch individuals), having three paths (mārgas, after death, likely the northern/solar path and the southern/lunar path, plus the group of other paths straight into rebirths without a heavenly vacation, PrasU.1.9 & KathU.2.3.16), which is all one delusion (cycle) brought about by the two (according to one’s actions and knowledge, yathā-karma yathā-śruta, KathU.2.2.7, or the delusion which gives rise to all the pairs of opposites).
(And as) The five streams of water (the five senses) violently meandering among their five sources (the five great elements), whose waves are the five prāṇas backed (mūla) by the five (matching) perceptions (through these five senses), having the five whirlpools (varta, which are the perceptions’ five objects that continually drown you in saṃsāra: sights, sounds, etc.), impelled by the flow of five stages of pain (in the womb, and during birth, ageing, disease and death), having fifty aspects (or more likely having the five afflictions, pañca-kleśas, YS.2.3), and having five branches (parvans) – we know (adhīmaḥ).
In this vast brahma-cakra (wheel of brahman) where all live and rest, the haṃsa (the swan-like, migratory individual) roams around, thinking itself (ātman) and the creator (preritāra, the Lord who directs this cosmic order) are different (pṛthak). But once one chooses (juṣṭha, to know the Lord as oneself, KathU.1.2.23), then this one (eventually) attains immortality by this (brahma-ātman to which one commits).
This is indeed declared to be the parama brahman (the ultimate reality). In that is the ultimate basis (supratiṣṭhā, the oneness) of even this triad (the preceding Lord, world and the individual; the roles as the creator, as the created and as an individual in the creation) and is unchanging (a-kṣara, whether the world is there or not). By knowing this as the one within (as ātman, oneself) here (in this life itself, in the firm depth of one’s knowledge), the knowers of brahman, having that as their ultimate, merging (their notional individuality) into this brahman, are freed from the womb (yoni, from travelling into future births in these cycles of creation).
(Having declared brahman as the basis of both the Lord and the individual, since the Lord, naturally having all knowledge, would know this too, then like the individual knower of brahman is brahman, so too the Lord is brahman. Therefore, the Upaniṣad can use the word ‘Lord’ here in the following context as equivalent to brahman, the same as the word ‘ātman is equivalent to brahman – when the context applies and these identities need to be repeated during the teaching.) The Lord (Īśa) supports this universe (viśva) which is a combination of the perishable and imperishable, the manifest and unmanifest. The individual (ātman) who (knows) not this Lord (an-Īśa) is bound by the nature of (believing one is just another) experiencer. Upon knowing (the oneness of) the Lord (deva) one is free from all nooses (pāśas, of Death).
The knowing omnipotent (the Lord) and the unknowing impotent (individual jīva-ātman) are both (in fact) unborn. She (mother nature, Prakṛti, Māyā, as the manifesting power of the Lord) too is (in fact) an unborn (a-jā) one, and is involved in the form of (or for the sake of) the experiencer and the experienced. When the individual (ātman) knows this triad as (in fact) brahman, then this one is limitless (an-anta, as brahman, TaitU.2.1.1), is all forms (viśva-rūpa, as prakṛti), and a non-actor (a-kartṛ, as ātman and Īśvara).
Nature (pradhāna, prakṛti) is changing (kṣara). Lord Hara (the destroyer, into which the universe resolves) is immortal and unchanging. This is the one and only (eka) Lord (deva), who rules over both the changing (kṣara, nature) and the individual (ātman). From contemplating (abhidhyāna) on that one, from the discipline of yoga (yojana), and by finally (knowing one is) the nature of that (Lord), one is free from all illusions (viśva-māyā, the cosmic illusion, that all this is as real as oneself).
By knowing the Lord (deva, as what is identical to oneself, as all being brahman alone) all bonds (pāśas, notions of limitation) are dismissed (as mistakes, as ignorance, which is the only job of knowledge). This is a dismissal of a (believed real) birth and death, via (yoga) the weakening of the afflictions (kleśas: ignorance, limiting I-notion, attachment, aversion, and fear of death, YS.2.3–11). By contemplating that (deva) the individual gains identity to the third of the (triad) bodies (i.e., the Lord), as having total independence from (aiśvarya, no dependence on, BhG.3.18) the universe, is the one only (kevala), and has all seeking satisfied (āpta-kāma).
This which is to be known is indeed always within (ātma-stha). There is nothing better (para, to know than this, MunU.1.1.3), by knowing that the experiencer (bhoktṛ), the experienced (bhogya), and the one who keeps this in motion (preritāra), which make up the triad (the individual, the world, and the Lord) just described, is all nothing but this brahman.
Just as the manifest form (mūrti) of fire (inherently) present in its source (yoni, the lower block of wood) is not seen, still there is no loss of its subtle form (liṅga), (since) it can again be manifested from the source (yoni, the lower block of wood) by the (fire-making churning) stick. Like that, both (limitless brahman as ātman, oneself) can be made manifest (manifestly known) by (the churning of) praṇava (Om, KathU.1.2.15–18, PrasU.5.1–6, MunU.2.2.3–4, ManU.1–12, TaitU.1.4.1 and 1.8.1, etcetera) in (the heart, the intellect, of) this body.
Making one’s mind the lower block of wood (by making the intellect purified by yoga, capable of assimilation the teaching) and praṇava (Om, the summarized form of the teaching) the upper fire-starting stick, by repetition in churning which is dhyāna (repeated bring and holding in the quiet intellect the teaching summarized by Om), in this way one sees the deva (the Lord, i.e., the brahman as being the same basis as oneself and the Lord) which was as though hidden (by one’s blocking notions and saṃskāras, the lingering unconscious blocks to fully assimilating the teaching).
Just as oil in sesame seeds, butter in curds, water in a (dry) river bed, and fire in wood, in this way (with specific, effective “extraction” efforts and methods) this ātman is grasped in oneself (in the intellect, the “cave of the heart”), who can according (to the teaching, and repeatably) see (anupaśyati) this through satya (the truth of the teaching, MunU.3.1.5 thru 3.2.11) and through tapas (disciplines of action and mind that prepare for this teaching).
(…and can see) The ātman which pervades all things, like butter present in milk (which the haṃsa, swan SvetU.1.6, is said to be able to extract from milk), and (whose knowledge of which is) rooted in self-knowledge (ātma-vidyā, satya) and tapas (appropriate discipline). This much is the sacred teaching (upaniṣad) on the ultimate (para) brahman (limitless reality). The end (by repetition of the previous phrase, “This much…”).
First disciplining (yuñjāna) the mind and senses for (revealing) the truth (tattva, the nature of things), Savitṛ (the deity within who impels, the mind) by observing that the light (jyotis, i.e., consciousness, the truth of the mind) is distinct from fire (agni, i.e., from the mind, from the mūrti, the manifest form of consciousness), (in this way) distinguished (its self, as consciousness) from earth (i.e., nature).
Under the impulse (sava) of the shining Savitṛ (Lord within), with mind disciplined we (strive) with tenacity (śaktyā) for leading to the very best of outcomes (su-vargeya).
Disciplining (yuktvāya = yuktvā, A Sanskrit Grammar, Whitney 993.b) the senses (devas) from their natural choices (su-varya-tas, from heaven, etcetera) with the mind (manas) and intellect (dhī, for an important discussion on the mind and the terminologies employed see YS-Mind), (may) Savitṛ (the Lord within) impel them (the senses, mind and intellect), so that (the mind and intellect both) make evident (kariṣyatas) the (self-)shining (div) limitless effulgence (bṛhat-jyotis, ananta-jñāna).
The inspired (vipras) discipline their mind (manas). They discipline their intellect. Great (mahī) is the glory (pariṣṭuti) of the shining Savitṛ, who is pervasive (vipra), who is vast (bṛhat, who is all-knowing (vipascit), the one only (eka id) knower of the order (viyunāvid), who makes manifest (vi-dadhe) the disciplines (hotrās, of these inspired seekers who no longer are interested in heavens within saṃsāra).
With reverences (namas) I offer the ancient brahman (the reality in the form this teaching) to you two (this mind and intellect, or you children and celestials). May this verse travel (vi-etu, reach you) like the path (pathyā) of the celestial (sūri, the sun). May all the children of the immortal (Lord) listen (to this teaching), even those who (temporarily) inhabit the heavenly abodes (may they eventually listen).
Where the fire is kindled (abhimathyate) (in the mind while contemplating on Om, etcetera), where the air is controlled (in prāṇāyāma, and other bodily disciplines), and where soma overflows (in rituals which neutralize any karma hindrances) – there the mind matures (saṃjāyate).
By the grace (prasava) that is Savitṛ, may you all honor the ancient brahman (the reality in the form this teaching). Because (if) you make (your) source (yoni) there (in this brahman), your past (karma) no longer binds.
Holding the three (trunk, neck, and head) upright (not slouched or reclined, as that habitually leads to sleep) and the body balanced (not leaning and firmly based), withdrawing the senses through the mind (YS.2.54–55) into the heart (the intellect), the wise (vidvat) should cross over all the fearful currents (srotas, of life) by the raft (uḍupa) of brahman (the small vision of brahman I have until it manifests as the vastness that brahman is).
The one whose activities are moderated (starts meditation) by restraining the senses here (in this place and time only), minimizing the (number of) in and out breaths while breathing through the nostrils, like in the illustration of the chariot (vāha) yoked to undisciplined horses (the senses in the illustration KathU.1.3.3–9), the wise one (vidvat, in the illustration this is the master of the chariot with an informed and skilled driver, the intellect), would direct (dhārayeta) the mind (manas, putting the reins in the hand of the knowledge I have) without distractions (a-pramatta, from the teaching I want in my mind at this time).
On a place that is level, clean, and without gravel, (distracting) fire or (blowing) sand, and (without) noise or wet ground, but rather is a place that is conducive to the mind, not distressing to the eye, or in a cave (shelter) that is protected from the wind – to this one should resort.
Mist (or frost), smoke, sun, fire (an-ala), wind, fire-fly, lightning, crystal, moon – these are the forms that may precede the manifest appearance of brahman during meditation (yoga, or in the yoga literature here and there). (At least smoke to crystal seems descriptive of more clarity, whereas the rest take a lot more imagination. But the natures of these things themselves show no possible progression towards the limitless brahman as oneself, which is either all or almost nothing, like 1 + any number gets you no closer to infinity.)
A fivefold merit of yoga occurs (pravṛtta), arising from (identification with the subtle instead of the gross natures of each of the five elements) earth, water, fire, wind and space (kha). At that time this accomplished one’s body has undergone the (knowledge-)fire of yoga (that burns the gross identifications and leaves the subtle identification) which has no disease (even the physical body may avoid disease), and no ageing or death (which can never be avoided by any physical body, though the subtle body continues relatively untouched by these three as it travels through countless new and ageing bodies). (Even the cosmic Virāṭ’s physical body goes away after each manifestation cycle. The subtle jīva-ātman, though beginningless has an end in self-knowledge. Again, no amount of added years gets any closer to timeless brahman, which only this ātman is.)
(When) one’s body feels light (laghutva) and healthy (ārogya), and the mind is not filled with longings (a-loluptatva), the skin is clear, the voice has vigor, the body smells pleasant, and its excretions are scant (i.e., the body, health, and mind are well fit for unhindered, long meditations without weakening for any of those reasons), (then) they say this is the initial (prathamā) stage of (full-time) yoga (life of uninterrupted contemplation and religious disciplines). (The majority of modern yoga practitioners and even teachers views this as their own or their teaching’s summum bonum, and scantily and vaguely point out that there used to be something more, that they often explain as mystic superpowers of certain ancients. But the source authorities of yoga like here say straight out that a healthy and fit body is only the initial start in a full yoga, and now in the next two mantras the real summum bonum of yoga is pointed out. This is not to fault the individuals, but rather the available materials and methods. Currently in the world English happens to be the common language. But the one hundred years of the vast English renderings of Sanskrit texts has not yet fully and clearly reflected what these texts reveal. Yoga was never meant to be a commercial product, so the next one hundred years may not resolve this disconnect. Still here and there the original teaching survives. The seeker has to have perseverance or good fortune to stumble upon it in an English friendly version so it can be recommunicated more broadly. In my case, I just stumbled into it early enough. –A.K. Aruna)
Just as a reflecting surface (bimba) covered by dirt, (when) it is clean, shines brilliantly, similarly the embodied one (dehin), clearly seeing the reality (tattva, brahman) that is ātman (oneself, with a transparently clear mind), is (thus) one (eka, with that limitless shining reality), then this person has achieved the goal (kṛta-artha) and is free from sorrow (vīta-śoka).
When here itself by the best light (of teaching) the yukta (the yogin) knows as clear as seeing (prapaśyet) the reality that is brahman (limitless shining reality) as being the reality that is ātman (oneself), then, by knowing the unborn and permanent Lord (deva, again, this teaching holds that the ātman and Īśvara are nothing but brahman, SvetU.1.7) which is free from the (various, limited) natures of all things, then (the yogin too, as ātman) is free from all bonds (pāśas, the limited and dying natures of all things).
This (Lord, brahman) is indeed the shining one (deva) which indwells (anu pratiṣṭhati) all directions. Is the first born (Hiraṇya-garbha). Has entered into the womb (as the jīva, the individual), who alone is born (i.e., there is no jīva that is not this very Lord), and ever will be born (i.e., there can be no evolution for this one Lord as everyone). Is present within all persons, and faces everywhere (as the only light of consciousness).
The one who is the deva (shining being) that dwells (āviveśa) in fire and in water, who dwells as the entire manifestation (bhuvana), who dwells in all (these nourishing and blessing) plants and trees – unto that shining one my salutations (namas) again and again. The end.
The one who wields the net (of illusions, the Indra-jāla, the binding entrapments around the mind, that are but the nooses of death, pāśas), who rules as these powers (īśanīs, the devatās, deities) and thus rules all the worlds by these powers, who is one and the same at creation (ud-bhave) and at dissolution (saṃ-bhave) – those who know this one are (in this way themselves) immortals.
The one Rudra (the roarer, here being the ruling Īśvara, the Lord, KathU.2.3.1–3 wherein this one is also called ‘prāṇa’), whom there are none that could stand as a second, alone rules (īśate) through its powers (the devatās) over all these worlds. This one is present within all creatures. Manifesting and remaining as the protector (gopā) over all these worlds, withdraws (sañcukoca) (them into itself) at the end of time (the cyclic universal resolution).
Having all eyes and (uta) all faces, arms, feet everywhere, this one Lord (deva) roars them together (saṃ dhamati, from √dhmā nāde to make a sound, to blow, simply by Rudra thinking them into manifestation as the various names and forms according to their karma) with arms and roars them together (saṃ [dhamati]) with wings (patatras), while creating heaven and earth (dyāvā-bhūmī).
May the one who creates (prabhava) and supports (udbhava) these deities, who is the Lord of the universe, who is Rudra (who removes the unhelpful and who resolves everything back into itself), who is the one who sees all, and who has first manifested as Hiraṇya-garbha, please may this one endow us with only pure (śubha) thoughts (so that we can know You more clearly).
O Rudra, O Giri-śaṃ-ta (who spreads, tanoti, auspiciousness from the mountains, or who pervades as the auspicious in the voice, gir, in the form of the Vedas), with Your auspicious form (śivā tanū, from such expressions come the later Purāṇa titles of the Lord as Lord Siva and Giri-śa) which is not dreadful (a-ghorā, does not prematurely destroy us), which manifests as other than the unpleasant (a-pāpa), with only that most peaceful (śaṃtamā) form please reveal (Yourself).
O Lord of the mountains (giri-saṃ-ta, revealer of the teaching), the arrow (iṣu, myself as one who meditates upon You, MunU.2.2.4) which You hold in Your hand to shoot (astave, vedic dative infinitive, Practical Sanskrit Grammar Appendix III 13.b., MacDonell) please make it (me) auspicious (śivā). O mountain protector, may You not bring (premature) harm to mankind or the world.
Higher than that (Lord Rudra, part of the triad SvetU.1.7) knowing (jñātvā) the ultimate brahman (limitless reality, nir-guṇa-brahman) as the vast (bṛhat, all of nature), as the one (individual) hidden (mistaken) as the assembled body and mind (yathā-nikāya) in all beings, and as the one Lord (Īśa, the sa-guṇa-brahman) that pervades the universe – then one is that immortal (since there is nothing else than that brahman, I must be that).
I know this limitless puruṣa (brahman), whose brilliance is (like) the sun, beyond darkness (ignorance). Having known that alone, one goes beyond death (ignorance). There is no other means (na anyaḥ panthā) for reaching (beyond death including brahma-loka that is a heaven within saṃsāra, than knowing this puruṣa). (Not by doing, thinking or meditating – though it takes action, thinking and meditating to come to, ponder and repeatedly try to assimilate this teaching. In other words, the goal is knowing and thus being brahman, not doing a ritual, being a scriptural scholar, or being a meditator.)
There is nothing superior (para) or other (apara) than this. Nothing more subtle (aṇīya) or senior (jyāyas). It is present in heaven, one only, immovable like a tree. By that puruṣa all this is filled (pūrṇa).
This which is far beyond that (triad) has no form (rūpa) and thus no ailment. Those who know this one (as themselves) are immortal, but others enter (remain) only into affliction (being identified with the decaying and dying).
(Being the Lord) it is all faces, heads, and necks, resides in the heart (guhā, the intellect, as I) of all beings, is all-pervasive (sarva-vyāpin), and has all glories (bhagavat, as the Lord it has all allotments), therefore it is present everywhere (sarva-gata) and auspicious (śiva).
The puruṣa is indeed the limitless master (prabhu, the Lord). It is the prime mover (pravartaka) of the mind (sattva, all entities including the mind). As the immutable light (jyoti which is unblinking consciousness) it is the one owning (īśāna) the attainment that is this complete purity (from ignorance). (The intellect can become a degree more pure by removing confusions, but only the conscious being which is oneself is the complete purity sought by the intellect.)
The puruṣa (as an object of meditation) is imagined (abhikḷipta) by the mind as the heart (hṛdā) which is the intellect (man-īṣā) to be the size of the thumb, (yet) is the self within (antar-ātman) which is always present in the heart (hṛdaya) of all beings (thus lacks a size limit). Those who know this are immortal.
The puruṣa (who is yourself) has thousands of (i.e., countless) heads, thousands of eyes, and thousands of feet. This one envelops (vṛtvā) the entire universe, yet extends beyond (this largest limit) by ten fingers (i.e., is limitless, as it includes the unmanifest universe and the Lord, and thus is beyond time and space).
The puruṣa (yourself) indeed is all this, whatever was and will be. Also, it is the lord of immortality. It is whatever (mortal or deity) that grows by food (anna, all matter, everything that has a form, AitU.1.2.1 & 1.3.1–2).
With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads, and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, that one remains encompassing everything in the universe (BhG.13.13).
It appears as the attributes (the functioning – seeing, etcetera) of all the organs, (yet) is free from all the organs (BhG.13.14). This one is the lord (prabhu, the power) of all, the ruler (īśāna), the refuge (śaraṇa), and friend (suhṛd) of all.
That one within this body with its nine gates (nava-dvāra, seven on the head and two below, BhG.5.13) is the haṃsa (the swan, the consciousness, via the mind and senses) who traverses (lelāyate, sports about) every world (the known universe and the heavens). That one is the (unaffected) master (vaśin) over the entire universe, both the immovable and movable.
Without hands and feet it grasps and moves, without eyes it sees, without ears it hears (cf. SvetU.3.16). That one knows (all that is) knowable, yet there is no knower of that one (consciousness itself). That one is said to exist from the beginning (agrya), the limitless puruṣa (SvetU.3.8).
Subtler than the subtlest, and greater than the greatest (i.e., limitless). The ātman (consciousness being) (seems) hidden in the cave (guhā, cave of the heart, the intellect) of the person when born (jantu). (With knowledge) one is freed from sorrow (identification with sorrowful limitations) and comes to appreciate (paśyati) that desireless (a-kratu, a-saṅkalpa) and limitless (mahiman) Lord (Īśa, brahman) from the grace (prasāda) of the creator (dhātṛ, the Lord who has provided all possibilities).
I know this undecaying (a-jara), ancient (purāṇa, ever present) self of all, that is present in all because it is all-pervasive (vibhutva, manifests variously as all, i.e., is uncontained), which the knowers of brahman declare to be the absence of birth (janma-nirodha), because it is declared to be free from time (nitya).
The one who is formless (a-varṇa), by means of its powers (śakti-yoga) and with manifest purpose (nihita-artha), manifests (dadhāti, allots according to karma) the various, countless forms (varṇas, coverings). And in the end that Lord (deva) deconstructs (vi eti) the universe into the ādi (the beginning, into itself as the unmanifest out of which all this is manifested). Please may this one endow us with only pure (śubha) thoughts (so that we can know You more clearly, SvetU.3.4).
That alone is (the deity and manifest) Fire (Agni), is Sun (Āditya), is Wind (Vāyu), is the Moon (Candramas), is Śukra (Venus, Soma, or the Milky Way cloud above the solar luminaries), is Lord Brahman (Hiraṇya-garbha), is Water (Āp), and is Prajā-pati (Virāṭ, TaitU.2.8.4).
You are the woman, the man, the boy, and the girl. You are the old man who totters with a cane. You are the one born with Your face turned in every direction.
You are the blue winged, and the green (parrot) with red eyes. You are the thunder cloud (taḍid-garbha), the seasons (ṛtus), and the oceans. You are without beginning. You exist infinitely (vibhutvena, spacewise and timewise). You are the one from whom all worlds are born.
There is one unborn (female, prakṛti) consisting of red, white, and black (the three guṇas: rajas, sattva, tamas, respectively, ChanU.6.4.1), who produces many offspring like herself (sa-rūpa, with these three guṇas), whom the one unborn (jīva-ātman, person) loves and lies with (her, YS.2.7–8). (Whereas) there is another unborn (wise person, one who has renounced Māyā through knowledge) who after having enjoyed (her), dismisses (her).
Two beautiful winged birds are (always born) together as companions (and as having the same name, “I,” sa-khāya, samāna-ākhyāna). Both are perched on the same tree (of saṃsāra, depicted as the Peepal tree, the aśvattha tree). Of the two, one (the jīva-ātman) enjoys the pleasant (svādu) fruit (of action) of the Peepal tree. The other (the Lord, the parama-ātman) simply witnesses without experiencing (an-aśnan, MunU.3.1.1).
On the same tree, one person is depressed (nimagna), and without lordship (over hardly anything), this deluded one grieves. When this one knows as clear as seeing the other one, the worshipful Lord (Īśa) as “the one who has (all) the glory (mahiman),” this one becomes free from grief (replacing the misplaced “I” from the individual to the total) (MunU.3.1.1).
Of what use (kiṃ kariṣyati) are the Ṛcs (the Veda mantras) to the one who does not know (na veda) that (tam, Lord) in the indestructible, vast space (vyoman = vyomni, TaitU.2.1.1, in the heart, or does not know that as the space[-like brahman] in the still and vast [guhā, cave of the intellect]), in which (brahman) all the Ṛcs (Vedas) and the gods (devas) reside (adhi niṣeduḥ). Only those very ones who know that (tad brahman) reside (there as that brahman).
(Of the two in SvetU.4.7, the Lord and the individual:) The Chandas (Vedas), yajñas (Veda rituals), kratus (non-Veda ceremonies), religious vows, what was and what will be, whatever (heavens and deities) the Vedas reveal, all the universe and us – the Māyin (the Lord wielding Māyā as its twofold power of manifestation, in the form of veiling the one reality and projecting multiplicity) manifests. The other (the individual, jīva-ātman) within that (projection) is bound (to that projection) by Māyā (the veiling). (Since knowledge alone frees, SvetU.4.7, then it is the veiling what needs to be penetrated, the projection cannot block the knowledge, so it does not have to go away for one to remain wise, while perched on the tree of saṃsāra.)
One should know Māyā as mother nature (Prakṛti), and the limitless Lord as having Māyā within. This entire universe is covered as being just aspects (avayas) of that (Lord).
One completely attains this peace (sānti, freedom from grief), seeing (nicāyya) that shining (deva), worshipful, blessing-bestowing Lord (Īśāna), who is the one alone (eka) who presides in (adhitiṣṭhati) each and every source (yoni), within which all this resolves (vi [eti]) and manifests (eti).
Rudra is this creator and supporter of the deities, the viśva-adhipa (Lord, protector over all), the one who sees all, who saw Hiraṇya-garbha being (re)born. Please may this one endow us with only pure (śubha) thoughts (so that we can know You more clearly, SvetU.4.1).
Whoever is the Lord of the deities, in whom all the worlds reside, who rules the bipeds and quadrupeds in this world – unto whoever that deva is may we offer our oblations.
After knowing (jñātvā) the one who is subtler than the subtle, who in the midst of chaos (kalila, the unmanifest holding all possibilities) manifests the universe, who assumes countless forms (an-eka-rūpa), and who being one envelopes all this, then this (knower) attains complete, auspicious peace (śānti).
That one alone is the preserver of the universe in time, the Lord (adhipa) of the universe, (as though) hidden in all beings. Knowing in this way the one (Lord) in whom all the sages of the Vedas and the deities are united, one cuts the noose (pāśas) of death.
After knowing (jñātvā) the one beyond the subtle, like the essence (maṇḍa, sāra) finer than ghee (the finest that action can churn from milk), who is auspicious (śiva), (as though) hidden in all beings (yet can be revealed by knowledge), who being one envelopes all this, this knower of the Deva is freed from all nooses (pāśas, of Death).
This Deva, the creator of the universe, the ultimate ātman, always dwells in the heart (intellect) of beings. Only by the intellect (with the teaching) is (the nature of the self) made firmly known (abhikḷpta), which, being the master of the manas, the mind follows (into contemplation). Those who know this (ātman), attain (their factual nature) as timeless (KathU.2.3.9).
When the darkness (tamas, ignorance) is gone, then the (separate notions of) day and night, as well as being and nonbeing are gone (all pairs of opposites, all dualities, SvetU.5.1). The only (reality) is just this śiva (the auspicious). That is indestructible (a-kṣara). That is (the effulgence) to be worshipped of the sun (savitur vareṇyam, Gāyatrī Mantra, Ṛg Veda 3.62.10). From that, this ancient knowledge has manifested.
None can grasp this (dimensionless) one above, across or in the middle. There is no likeness (pratimā, equivalent) of that (one and only), whose name (nature) is great glory (mahat, yaśas).
It has no form that can be within the scope of vision. No one sees it with the eyes. Those who know this one by the intellect (hṛd, through the teaching), followed by the mind (SvetU.4.17), as present in the heart (the intellect, as “I,” conscious being itself), in that way are immortal.
Some out of (a healthy) fear (of these nooses of death in saṃsāra) approach (You) as the one free from death (a-jāta). O Rudra, always protect me with Your benevolent face (Your south-facing teaching form as the Daksiṇa-mūrthi form).
O Rudra, towards our children and grandchildren, our lives, our cows and horses, may you not harm (mā rīriṣaḥ). May you not kill (mā vadhīḥ) our heroes out of wrath. We invoke You always (sadam) indeed with offerings.
Both knowledge (vidyā) and ignorance (a-vidyā) lie hidden* (not manifest) in the imperishable, limitless (an-anta), ultimate reality (brahma-para, the ultimate which is brahman). Ignorance is the perishable (kṣara, i.e., is actually a reality claim of its relative lack of survivability in time); knowledge is the immortal (a-mṛta, a relative reality status)**. Different (anya, from both) is that (Lord) which rules (īśate) both knowledge and ignorance (and which is the whole reality of both). *(From the perspective of the whole there is only facts, only reality, only knowledge, only satyaṃ jñānam anantaṃ brahman.) **(Degrees of distinctions enter only from the relative perspectives and opinions of individuals, as modifications of the mind. The truth of these perspectives and opinions lies in their fact of being relative and temporary. If they are taken as being absolute, this mistake keeps individuals in the relative world of saṃsāra, ruled by their own opinions. The Lord is what does not and can not fall under such a spell.)
The (Lord) who is one only presides over (adhitiṣṭhati) every source (yoni, womb), and who is all forms (rūpas) and all sources (they being just aspects of the Lord from different perspectives). This is the one who alone could witness (paśyet) the first born, golden (kapila) seer (ṛṣi, Hiraṇya-garbha also called Lord Brahmā, not the sage Kapila, unless he is taken as an avatāra of Hiraṇya-garbha, in which case, Him being the total Mind, we all are His avatāra) and endows (bibharti) this one being born with every kind of knowledge (the four Vedas onward that occurs in the subtle mind, MunU.1.1.1 & .5).
(Just to be sure we are not talking about sage Kapila:) Repeatedly spreading out the net (jāla, the Indra-jāla, the blinding net of appearances) one after another, this Lord (deva) withdraws it into this ground (kṣetra, into itself). Repeatedly manifesting (sṛṣṭvā, the manifestations of creation) via the Lords of creatures (patayaḥ, Prajā-patis, AitU.3.1.3, in each cycle), the Lord (Īśa) as the limitless self (mahā-ātman) continues the over-lordship (ādhipatyaṃ kurute) of all (through these appearances).
Lighting up all directions – up, down, and across – the one who shines (powerfully) like a bull (in a field of cows), that Lord shining (deva, as conscious being) in this way, the one to be chosen (vareṇya, SvetU.4.18), is the one alone (eka) who presides in (adhitiṣṭhati) all that have the nature of being sources (yonis).
The (single) source (yoni) of everything who ripens (pacati, contemplates, tapas atapyataPrasU.1.4, TaitU.2.6.1) (everything’s) nature (sva-bhāva, according to the order of karma from the unmanifest) and (thus) who would (appropriately) mature all those who are to be matured (according to their karma, one way or the other). This one presides over all this universe and (thus) would appropriately distribute all the guṇas (the earned mixtures of sattva-rajas-tamas).
That one (brahman) is hidden (as it requires a teacher to unlock the teaching) in the Upaniṣads that are secreted in the Vedas (often not properly distinguished from the rest of the ritual mantras, and which throughout history required private initiation into the teaching). Lord Brahmā (Hiraṇya-garbha) knows it as the source of Brahman (the Vedas, or the source of Himself). Those devas and seers who long ago knew that one became the nature of it (tanmaya), (thus) are immortal.
(Whereas) the individual who identifies with the guṇas, who takes oneself alone (instead of the Lord) as the creator (kartṛ) and enjoyer (bhoktṛ) of the results of one’s action, wanders (saṃcarati, in saṃsāra) as every form (viśva-rūpa, thus identified with) consisting of the three guṇas within the three paths (vartmans, up to heavens, across to human births, or down to lower births), according to one’s own actions, ruling (only) one’s own life (instead of being the Lord of all life).
This one is (wrongly) considered (dṛṣṭa) as other (apara, than the Lord, than brahman): (as if) the size of a thumb (as the one only within this heart), as a form like the sun (outside), as endowed with desire and I-notion, as with the qualities of the mind, as with the qualities of the body, and as being the size of tip of an awl (ārā).
That individual (jīva) is to be known as a fraction (bhāga) of a hundredth part of the tip of a hair (bāla = vāla) divided a hundred (more) times and (at the same time) is considered limitless (ānantya, dimensionless).
That one is neither female, nor male, nor neuter. Whatever body it takes (ādatte, takes birth as), with that it is naturally identified (yujyate).
(Just as) there arises the growth of the body through the power (vṛṣṭi, aiśvarya) of food and drink (during this life), (similarly) through the (power of) desiring, experiencing, witnessing and delusion, the embodied one (dehin) successively (anukrameṇa), according to its karma takes birth as (various) forms in (various) locations (BhG.2.22).
The embodied one (dehin) (in effect) chooses (vṛṇoti, determines) the many forms (of rebirth) physical and subtle (on earth and in heavens) according to one’s innate guṇas (one’s saṃskāras, innate tendencies from prior births), and the qualities of (one’s current) actions (kriyā) and mind (ātman). The reason of this identity (saṃyoga-hetu) in these (forms) is considered as something other (apara, as other than not knowing the Lord within, or as due to nature instead of one being in fact the unborn Lord free from nature).
The one who knows (jñātvā) this deva (as oneself, SvetU.3.7), who has no beginning or end (anādi-ananta), who in the midst of chaos (kalila, the unmanifest holding all possibilities) manifests the universe, who assumes countless forms (an-eka-rūpa), and who being one envelopes all this (SvetU.4.14), then this (knower) attains freedom from all nooses (pāśas, of death, SvetU.4.16).
Those who know (viduḥ) the deva who is to be attained by owning it (bhāva-grāhya, by being it with all one’s heart), who has no abode (a-nīḍa, no nest) and is nameless (a-khya, words cannot depict), who is the cause of being and nonbeing (the pairs of opposites, SvetU.4.18), who is auspicious, who is the cause of the kalās (the sixteen parts of the universe, ṣoḍaśa-antaSvetU.1.4 & PrasU.6.4,), then these (knowers) are freed (jahuḥ) from the body.
Some confused (parimuhyamāna, SvetU.1.2) thinkers (kavis) say nature (sva-bhāva, i.e., karma, SvetU.5.5, or the guṇas, Māyā, prakṛti, pradhāna) alone and others say time (kāla) is that by which the cycle of the universe (brahma-cakra) revolves, instead of this greatness (mahiman, SvetU.4.7) in the world that (inseparably) belongs to the deva (per SvetU.6.2).
The one by whom all this is always enveloped, who is knowing (jña, the all) and knows everything (sarva-vid in detail, MunU.2.2.7), who is that which makes time time (kāla-kāla, the Lord of time), who wields the guṇas (wields prakṛti), and that by which karma is ruled – one should know (cintya) this (deva, Lord) as the one who only appears (vivartate, without changing, since it is ultimate unchanging basis of all this, SvetU.1.7) in the form of (the elements) earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
That one (appearing) to do this action (karma) while still resting (vinivartya, as the knowing being, satyaṃ jñānam), it “enters in union” (yogaṃ sametya) as the truth (tattva, the ātman, the reality) of the nature of all these (of the tattvas) – (variously considered) as one, as two, as three, or as eight (tattvas, categories of things, BhG.7.4), as well as time or the subtle qualities (guṇas) of the mind.
The one who initiates the activities (which is the fluctuating imbalance of the guṇas’ previously flatline unmanifest state) associated with the guṇas, who orders (rules) all these entities (bhāvas, tattvas, via the guṇas fluctuations), and in their absence (a-bhāva, of their activities, when the guṇas go back into flatline equilibrium, into unmanifest potential) is the destruction (resolution) of the activities (fluctuations) that were done, and yet (all the while this one, the Lord) remains apart from (anya, apara other than, as has been told SvetU.3.9, 5.8 & 5.12, BhG.8.20) these tattvas, even after their actions have merge (into it).
At first contemplating (pūrvam upāsya) on that praiseworthy deva (Lord) as having all forms (viśva-rūpa) and being the source of all beings (bhava-bhūta), and as being present in one’s mind (citta, hṛd, the intellect), (then, from purity of intellect, by the Lord’s teaching and good grace) that one (Lord) is seen (known as clear as seeing) as the source (ādi, the beginning, the material source as Māyā) and instrumental reason for the identity (saṃyoga-nimitta-hetu, for the confusion of all these forms with the oneself, with ātman, SvetU.5.12, by being the witnessing-being present amidst the temporal forms), even though that (Lord) is beyond (para) the three periods of time (tri-kāla: past, present and future, in which case gaining or losing a form is impossible) and (therefore) has no forms (a-kala, no divisions, and since time and space is only present during the manifestation of the universe which itself comes and goes).
Knowing (jñātvā) that one as other (antya) and beyond (para, on a higher, inclusive level of reality, not just equally separate) from this tree (of saṃsāra, KathU.2.3.1, BhG.15.1) consisting of time and form (kāla-ākṛti), as this one from whom the (five-element) universe (prapañca) proceeds, the bringer (āvaha) of dharma (what supports us) and the remover (nuda) of pāpa (what we try to get away from), the Lord having all virtues, as present in oneself (ātma-stha) and immortal, (yet) the abode of everything (– then this knower is that very one, immortal).
May we know (vidāma, as ourselves) that one who is the limitless Lord (Maheśvara) superior to all other lords, the divinity (daivata) superior to all the deities, the master of masters superior to all others, the shinning one (deva), the praiseworthy Lord of creation.
That one has no effect (kārya, is uneffected) and no cause (karaṇa, is uncaused) (or, has no physical body, kārya, nor subtle body, karaṇa). An equal to it (tat-sama) or superior is not seen (known). Great power of all variety is said (by authoritative scripture) to belong only to this one (not to any other entity), which is inherent (svābhāvikī) and in the form of all knowledge, strength, and action.
That one has no master (pati, no protector or owner) in this world, nor a ruler (īśitṛ). Nor has it any indication (liṅga, by which this one can be inferred, apart from the authoritative scripture to declare the nature of this Lord and one’s identity to the Lord). That one is the cause (kāraṇa, of everything else). It is the lord of this subtle body (karaṇa, here itself). Nor does it have a father (janitṛ, or a mother), nor an overlord (adhipa) here.
The one deva who, like a spider (tūrṇa-nābha = tantu-nābha) with its threads, obscures (āvṛṇoti) itself naturally with the effects of pradhāna (nature, prakṛti). May that one grant us entry in brahman (brahma-apyaya, identity in brahman).
The one (eka) shining being (deva) is the one who is (as though) hidden in all beings, pervading all as the self (ātman) within all beings, the seer (adhyakṣa) of all activities, the inhabitant (adhivāsa) of all beings, the witness (sākṣin), the knower (cetṛ), complete (kevala), and without attributes (nir-guṇa).
This is the one controller (vaśin) of the inactive multitude (i.e., all things, since they only move by the order of cosmic intelligence, the Lord). This is the one seed (bīja) which manifests in all ways. Those discerning ones (dhīras) who accordingly know (anupaśyanti, in keeping with this teaching) that one as being present within themselves (ātma-stha), they alone have lasting satisfaction (śāśvataṃ sukham, “always in a good space,” su-kha), not so the others.
It is the nitya of the nityas (the eternal reality, satyam anantam brahma, which allows anything to be long lived or eternal). It is cetana of the cetanas (the consciousness which allows anything to be conscious). It is the one alone which variously manifests (vidadhāti, allots according to karma, SvetU.4.1) the objects of desire to the many. Knowing the deva as the cause (kāraṇa) of all these (not prakṛti, pradhāna, SvetU.4.10, SvetU.6.10), which is to be comprehended by the means of this teaching (sāṇkhya-yoga)*, one is freed from all nooses (pāśas, of death). *(Sāṇkhya-yoga means samyak khyāti “the complete and effective teaching” here in the UpaniṣadsSvetU.5.6 & BhG.2.39. It also can mean samyak khyāyate “what is completely and well told,” this brahma-ātman. It would not mean a later developing school of thought that called itself Sāṇkhya, which obviously borrowed a few phrases, including their name, from this Upaniṣad, since that philosophy accepts duality as ultimately real and does not accept a Lord which manifests as this universe, and therefore is clearly in contradiction to this teaching here. The means, yoga, for comprehending, starts with a simple, clean life leading to contemplating the teaching, SvetU.2.13, YS.1.1 & BhG.5.4–6.)
The sun does not illumine that (ātman), nor the moon or stars. These flashes of lightning do not illumine (ātman). What to speak of this small flame. Everything shines after that (brahma-ātman) alone that has ever been the shinning. By the light of that (limitless consciousness being), all this shines distinctly elsewhere (KathU.2.2.15, MunU.2.2.10, BhG.15.6).
That one (deva) is (yourself) the individual traveler (haṃsa, swan, i.e., the ātman, SvetU.3.18) in the midst of this universe. That one is the agni (the “small” worshipful light, the consciousness being, yourself, SvetU.6.14) present in the waters (salila, the elements water, etcetera, KathU.2.1.6). There is no other means (na anyaḥ panthā) for reaching (beyond death, than knowing this deva, SvetU.3.8).
That one is the creator of all and is the knower of the all (as itself, SvetU.6.2). That one is the source of itself (ātma-yoni, i.e., uncaused). It is what makes time time (kāla-kāla, the Lord of time), wields the guṇas (wields Prakṛti), and knows everything (sarva-vid in detail, SvetU.6.2). That one is the master (pati) of nature and the knowers of this field of nature (pradhāna-kṣetrajña, BhG.13.1). It is the Lord of the guṇas (that make up pradhāna). It is the reason for bondage (bandha) of remaining in, as well as for the freedom (mokṣa) from, saṃsāra (i.e., it is the appearance of bondage, and the appearance of the teaching which frees from that appearance, that ignorance).
It has only the nature of itself (tanmaya, not of any apparent limitation), since it is timeless (a-mṛta) and abides as the Lord (Īśa-saṃstha). It is the knower of all, all-pervading, and the protector (goptṛ) of this universe. It is ever (nityam) the ruler of this universe, and there is no other agent (hetu) for this ruling.
Desiring only freedom (mumukṣu) may I take refuge to that deva who lights my mind within (ātma-buddhi-prakāśa), who manifested in the beginning (pūrvam) Lord Brahmā (Hiraṇya-garbha) and bestowed the Vedas to Him.
…And who is partless, actionless, tranquil, faultless and taintless, and who is the ultimate bridge (setu) to deathless, and who is like a fire (an-alam) that consumes it own fuel (the knowledge that consumes my ignorance that begs to be torched).
When people (impossibly) could roll up space like an āsana pad (carman), would there be an end to misery, without clearly knowing the deva (within all).
By the power of his disciplines (tapas, karma-yoga and jñāna-yoga, a disciplined life and disciplined contemplation) and by the grace (prasāda) of the deva (the sāṅkhya, in the form of the teaching and the limitless reality which is taught), Śvetāśvatara became wise and then to those who have renounced even the notion of having a societal role (atyāśamins, those who have culminated their total renunciation) he fully taught this ultimate, purifying brahman, which the community of sages have chosen (to be their own ultimate and purifying nature, KathU.2.3.12).
This ultimate, hidden (brahman) which is proclaimed in Vedānta (the Upaniṣads) from olden times (in order to limit this teaching lineage from going wildly astray or abused over the ages) should not be given to those who have insufficient tranquility (a-praśānta), nor to an offspring who has gone astray (a-putra), nor again to someone who is not able or ready to be taught (a-śiṣya).
These truths taught (arthāḥ kathitāḥ) to an open-minded one (mahā-ātman) who has complete devotion in the deva, and as much in the teacher (guru) as in the deva, then those (truths) shine (are clear to such a one). The end.