Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad of Atharvaveda

by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1914 | 14,587 words

This is the English translation of the Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad (belonging to the Atharvaveda): a minor Sanskrit treatise selected amongst a collection 108 extant upanishads, dating to at least the 1st millennium BC. The Narada-parivrajaka-upanishad describes the lifestyle of a sannyasi, a Hindu monk who renounced life according to the Ashrama...

Chapter IX (ninth upadeśa)

Nārada asked: "Who is Brahma-svarūpa?" To which Brahma replied thus: "Brahma-svarūpa is thus: Those who know that 'he (Brahman) is one and I am another' are only paśus (animals). The real paśus (animals) are no animals. The wise man who knows Brahman thus (as himself, and himself as Brahman) escapes out of the mouth of death. There is no other path to salvation.

"Is time the cause (of origination of universes)?[1] or nature? or karma? or accident? or the (great) elements? or Puruṣa? This should be considered. It is not the union of them. (Then) there is the Ātmā, but (jīva-) Ātmā is not the Lord, as it is subject to pleasures and pains. Those (Ṛṣis) following dhyāna-yoga have beheld, as the cause, the devātma-śakti concealed by its own qualities of that One that presides over all the causes associated with time and Ātma. Him (the Universal Soul), we consider as the wheel which has one circumference, which is covered by three (layers), which has sixteen end-parts, which has fifty spokes and twenty counter-spokes, which has six times eight (nails), which has one rope of various forms, which has the threefold path, and which has delusion arising from the twofold cause. Him (we worship as a river) which has (water) oozing out of the five currents (of organs), which is terrible and crooked through the five causes (of elements), whose praṇas are the five waves, which has buddhi, etc., as the root cause, which has five whirlpools, which is impelled by the velocity of the five pains, which has fifty differences (or has the five miseries), and which has the five obstacles. In this wheel of Brahman, which is the support of life and the last abiding place of all beings, and which is infinite, is whirling deluded the jīva, thinking that it is different from the one (Lord) Ordainer. Being blessed by Him, he gains salvation through such (a blessing). This is declared as Brahman, as the supreme and the indestructible. In it, are the three (the enjoyer, the enjoyed and enjoyment). Hence it is the firm abode (of all). The knowers of Brahman having known Brahman within (the universe, etc.,) attain samādhi in Brahman and are absorbed in Brahman. Īśvara upholds this universe, closely associated with the destructible and the indestructible, which are manifest and unmanifest; but the not-ruler of (jīva-) Ātmā is bound through the thought of its being the enjoyer; and having known the Lord is freed from all fetters. Both Īśvara and jīva are birthless; one (the former; is jñānī and the other (latter) is ajñānī. (The goddess of) Brahmātma-śakti, is birthless, is alone engaged (in this world), on account of the enjoyment of the enjoyers. Ātmā is endless. The universe is His form. He is not the agent. Whoever knows the Brahman that is threefold (as jīva, Īśvara and the universe) is released from bondage. It is pradhāna alone that is destructible. It is Īśvara that is immortal and indestructible. The one Lord (Īśvara) ordains Pradhāna and Puruṣa.

"The illusion of the universe disappears through meditation on union (or absorption) and sattva-bhāva of Parameśvara always. Through knowing the Lord, avidyā and the rest are destroyed. Through the removal of such pains, there is freedom from birth and death. Through the meditation of that Parameśvara, the third body is acquired after this (physical) body, all wealth is enjoyed, and he attains whatever should be attained. He should know with certitude that all the three things (viz.,) the enjoyer, the enjoyed, and enjoyment are nothing but Brahman, and are of the nature of his own Self. There is none but It to be known. All Ātmic knowledge is through tapas (only). That, Brahman contains in itself all excellence. Having known thus, whoever meditates upon the (Ātmā-) svarūpa, to him where then is grief? Where then is delusion? Therefore the Virāt is the past, present, and future time, and is of indestructible nature.

"Ātmā, that is the atom of atoms and the greatest of the greatest, is in the cave of the heart of all creatures. One without the thought of objects and without grief, knows the Ātmā capable of neither increase nor decrease through the grace of Īśvara or through the non-attraction to the objects of the senses. He (Ātmā) walks speedily without legs, lifts objects without hands, sees without eyes and hears without ears. He knows all, but none knows Him. He is said to be the foremost Mahā-Puruṣa. Having known Ātmā that is bodiless in this fleeting body, the great, the all-pervading, the support of all, with incomprehensible power, fit to be known through the meaning, etc., of all the Upaniṣads, the supreme of the supreme, the supreme object fit to be known, the one remaining after all, the all-knowing, the eternal, the foremost of all foremost beings, the ordainer of all, the one fit to be worshipped by all angels, the one without beginning, end, and middle, without limit or destruction, the cause of Brahma, Viṣṇu, and Rudra, the one that has all the universe latent in himself, of the nature of the five elements with the expansion of all the quintuplicated creation, without being enveloped by his own limbs of quintuplicated objects, superior to the supreme, greater than the greatest, of the nature of effulgence, the eternal and the auspicious, the undaunted personage never grieves. One who has neither given up vicious actions, nor controlled his organs, nor mastered his mind, nor given up longing after fruits of actions though the mind is undisturbed, nor brought his mind to one state (or point), will not attain this Ātmā.

"This (Brahman) is neither internal nor external consciousness; is neither gross, nor jñāna, nor ajñāna; nor is it the state between the waking and the dreaming states. It cannot be cognised by the organs; is not subject to proof; is within. He who knows that which is by Itself alone is an emancipated person."

The Lord Brahma said that he becomes an emancipated person. He who knows Reality is a Parivrāt. Such a Parivrāt roams about alone. Through fear, he is like a terrified deer. He will not be opposed to going anywhere. Having given up all but his body, he will live like a bee, and without considering others as foreign to himself; ever meditating upon Reality, he attains liberation in himself. Such a Parivrāt will be without delusion, without action or causing others to act, being absolved from teacher, disciple, books, etc., and having abandoned all saṃsāra. Such a Parivrāt roams about thus—without wealth, being happy, able to get wealth (if wanted), having crossed jñāna and ajñāna as well as happiness and grief, being Self-effulgence, being fit to be known by the Vedas, having known all, able to confer siddhis and remaining himself as Brahman, the Lord. Such a Parivrāt attains the supreme abode of Viṣṇu, from which a yogin that has gone to it does not return, and where the sun and the moon do not shine. He does not return. Such is Kaivalya. Such is the Upaniṣad.

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The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣaḍ begins thus.

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