The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (with the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya)
by Swāmī Mādhavānanda | 1950 | 272,359 words | ISBN-10: 8175051027
This Upanishad is widely known for its philosophical statements and is ascribed to Yajnavalkya. It looks at reality as being indescribable and its nature to be infinite and consciousness-bliss. Ethics revolve around the five Yajnas or sacrifices. This book includes the english translation of the Bhāṣya of Śaṅkara. The Shankara-Bhashya is the most ...
अप एवेदमग्र आसुः, ता आपः सत्यमसृजन्त, सत्यं ब्रह्म, ब्रह्म प्रजापतिम्, प्रजापतिर्देवान्; ते देवाः सत्यमेवोपासते; तदेतत्त्र्यक्शरम्—सत्यमिति; स इत्येकमक्शरम्, तीत्येकमक्शरम्, यमित्येकमक्शरं; प्रथमोत्तमे अक्शरे सत्यम्, मध्यतोऽनृतम्, तदेतदनृतमुभयतः सत्येन परिगृहीत्म्, सत्यभूयमेव भवति; नैनं विद्वांसमनृतं हिनस्ति ॥ १ ॥
apa evedamagra āsuḥ, tā āpaḥ satyamasṛjanta, satyaṃ brahma, brahma prajāpatim, prajāpatirdevān; te devāḥ satyamevopāsate; tadetattryakśaram—satyamiti; sa ityekamakśaram, tītyekamakśaram, yamityekamakśaraṃ; prathamottame akśare satyam, madhyato'nṛtam, tadetadanṛtamubhayataḥ satyena parigṛhītm, satyabhūyameva bhavati; nainaṃ vidvāṃsamanṛtaṃ hinasti || 1 ||
1. This (universe) was but water (liquid oblations connected with sacrifices) in the beginning. That water produced Satya. Satya is Brahman. Brahman (produced) Prajāpati, and Prajāpati the gods. Those gods meditate upon Satya. This (name) ‘Satya’ consists of three syllables: ‘Sa’ is one syllable, ‘Tī’ is another syllable, and ‘Ya’ is the third syllable. The first and last syllables are truth. In the middle is untruth. This untruth is enclosed on either side by truth. (Hence) there is a preponderance of truth. One who knows as above is never hurt by untruth.
This section is in praise of the Satya-Brahman. He has been called great, adorable and first-born (V. iv. i). How is he the first-born? This is being explained: This was but water in the beginning. ‘Water’ here means the oblations that are connected with rites such as the Agnihotra. They are called water because they are liquid. This ‘water,’ after the rites are finished, maintains its connection with them in some invisible, subtle form, and is not alone, but united with the other elements; but it is given prominence on account of its connection with the rites. All the elements, which before their manifestation remain in an undifferentiated state, are together with the agent designated as water. That water, which is the seed of the universe, remains in its undifferentiated form, This entire universe, differentiated into name and form, was just this water in the beginning, and there was no other manifested object. Then that water produced Satya; therefore the Satya-Brahman is the first-born. The manifestation of the undifferentiated universe is what is spoken of here as the birth of Hiraṇyagarbha or Sūtrātman. Satya is Brahman. Why? Because of his greatness. How is he great? This is being explained: Because he is the projector of everything. How? The Saty-Brahman (produced) Prajāpati, the lord of all beings, Virāj, of which the sun etc. are the organs. The verb ‘produced’ is understood. Prajāpati, Virāj, produced the gods. Since everything was produced in this order from the Satya-Brahman, therefore he is great. But how is he adorable? This is being explained: Those gods who were thus produced meditate upon that Satya-Brahman, even superseding their father Virāj. Hence this first-born great one is adorable. Therefore he should be meditated upon with one’s whole heart. The name of the Satya-Brahman also is Satya. This consists of three syllables. What are they? ‘Sa’ is one syllable, ‘Tī’ is another syllable. The ī has been added to t for facility of indication. ‘Ya’ is the third syllable. Of these, the first and last syllables, ‘Sa’ and ‘Ya,’ are truth, being free from the form of death. In the middle is untruth. Untruth is death, for the words ‘Mṛtyu’ (death) and ‘Anṛta’ (untruth) have both a t in them. This untruth, the letter t, which is a form of death, is enclosed or encompassed on either side by truth, by the two syllables ‘Sa’ and ‘Ya,’ which are forms of truth. Hence it is negligible, and there is a preponderance of truth. One who knows as above, knows the preponderance of truth and the insignificance of all death or untruth, is never hurt by untruth that he may have uttered unawares.
तद्यत्तत्सत्यमसौ स आदित्यः—य एष एतस्मिन्मण्डले पुरुषः, यश्चायं दक्शिणेऽक्शन्पुरुषः; तावेतावन्योन्यस्मिन् प्रतिष्ठितौ; रश्मिभिरेषोऽस्मिन्प्रतिष्ठितः, प्राणैरयममुष्मिन्; स यदोत्क्रमिष्यन्भवति शुद्धमेवैतन्मण्डलं पश्यति; नैनमेते रश्मयः प्रत्यायन्ति ॥ ३ ॥
tadyattatsatyamasau sa ādityaḥ—ya eṣa etasminmaṇḍale puruṣaḥ, yaścāyaṃ dakśiṇe'kśanpuruṣaḥ; tāvetāvanyonyasmin pratiṣṭhitau; raśmibhireṣo'sminpratiṣṭhitaḥ, prāṇairayamamuṣmin; sa yadotkramiṣyanbhavati śuddhamevaitanmaṇḍalaṃ paśyati; nainamete raśmayaḥ pratyāyanti || 2 ||
2. That which is Satya is that sun—the being who is in that orb and the being who is in the right eye. These two rest on each other. The former rests on the latter through the rays, and the latter rests on the former through the function of the eyes. When a man is about to leave the body, he sees the solar orb as clear. The rays no more come to him.
Now a meditation on different parts of the body of the Satya-Brahman is being described: That which is Satya, the first-born Satya-Brahman, is that sun. Who is he? The being who is in that orb, who thinks he is the sun, and the being who is in the right eye. They are both Satya-Brahman; the word ‘and’ shows this connection. Because these two, the beings in the sun and the eye, are but different forms of the Satya-Brahman, therefore they rest on each other, the solar being rests on the ocular being and vice versa, for there is a relation of mutual helpfulness between the self as identified with different parts of the body and the presiding deities. How they rest on each other is being explained: The former, the solar being, rests on the latter, the being (individual self) who is identified in this body with the eye, through the rays, helping the other with his light. And the latter, the being who is in the eye, rests on the former, the being who is identified among the gods with the sun, through the function of the eyes, helping that deity (by revealing him). When a man, the individual self or the experiencer inhabiting this body, is about to leave the body, the solar being, who is the presiding deity of the eye, withdraws his rays and maintains a blank, indifferent pose. Then he, the individual self, sees the solar orb as clear, shorn of its beams, like the moon. This portent of death is incidentally mentioned, so that a man may be careful and take necessary steps. The rays no more come to him: In the discharge of their master’s duties, they used to do so before with regard to the being who is identified with the eye, in order to help him; but considering those duties finished, as it were, they no more come to him. Hence this mutual helpfulness between them shows that both are parts •of the same Satya-Brahman.
य एष एतस्मिन्मण्डले पुरुषस् तस्य भूरिति शिरः; एकं शिरः, एकमेतदक्शरम्; भुव इति बाहू, द्वौ बाहू, द्वे एते अक्शरे; स्वरिति प्रतिष्ठा; द्वे प्रतिष्ठे, द्वे एते अक्शरे; तस्योपनिषदहरिति; हन्ति पाप्मानं जहाति च य एवं वेद ॥ ३ ॥
ya eṣa etasminmaṇḍale puruṣas tasya bhūriti śiraḥ; ekaṃ śiraḥ, ekametadakśaram; bhuva iti bāhū, dvau bāhū, dve ete akśare; svariti pratiṣṭhā; dve pratiṣṭhe, dve ete akśare; tasyopaniṣadahariti; hanti pāpmānaṃ jahāti ca ya evaṃ veda || 3 ||
3. Of this being who is in the solar orb, the syllable ‘Bhūr’ is the head, for there is one head, and there is this one syllable; the word ‘Bhuvar’ is the arms, for there are two arms, and there are these two syllables; the word ‘Svar’ is the feet, for there are two feet, and there are these two syllables. His secret name is ‘Ahar.’ He who knows as above destroys and shuns evil.
Now, of this being who is in the solar orb, called Satya, the Vyāhṛtis (Bhūr, Bhuvar and Svar) are the limbs. How? The Vyāhṛti called 'Bhūr' is his head, because it comes first. The śruti itself points out the similarity between them: There is one head, and there is this one syllable, Bhūr. Each is one in number. The word, ‘Bhuvar’ is the arms, because both are two in number. There are two arms, and there are these two syllables. Similarly the word ‘Svar’ is the jeet, for there are two feet, and there are these two syllables. The word ‘Pratiṣṭhā’ means the feet, for they help one to stand. The secret name of this Satya-Brahman who has the Vyāhṛtis as his limbs—that name, called by which that Brahman turns to us, as it happens with us—is ‘Ahar.’ He who knows as above, that ‘Ahar’ is derived from the root ‘Han’ or ‘Hā,’ meaning, ‘to kill or to shun,’ destroys and shuns evil.
योऽयं दक्शिणेऽक्शन्पुरुषस्तस्य भूरिति शिरः; एकं शिर, एकमेतदक्शरम्; भुव इति बाहू; द्वौ बाहू, द्वे एते अक्शरे; स्वरिति प्रतिष्ठा; द्वे प्रतिष्ठे, द्वे एते अक्शरे; तस्योपनिषदहमितिः हन्ति पाप्मानं जहाति च य एवं वेद ॥ ४ ॥
इति पज्ञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥
yo'yaṃ dakśiṇe'kśanpuruṣastasya bhūriti śiraḥ; ekaṃ śira, ekametadakśaram; bhuva iti bāhū; dvau bāhū, dve ete akśare; svariti pratiṣṭhā; dve pratiṣṭhe, dve ete akśare; tasyopaniṣadahamitiḥ hanti pāpmānaṃ jahāti ca ya evaṃ veda || 4 ||
iti pajñcamaṃ brāhmaṇam ||
4. Of this being who is in the right eye, the syllable ‘Bhūr’ is the head, for there is one head, and there is this one syllable; the word ‘Bhuvar’ is the arms, for there are two arms, and there are these two syllables; the word ‘Svar’ is the feet, for there are two feet, and there are these two syllables. His secret name is ‘Aham.’ He who knows as above destroys and shuns evil.
Similarly of this being who is in the right eye, the syllable ‘Bhūr’ is the head, etc.—to be explained as before. His secret name is ‘Aham’ (I), because he is the inner self. He who knows, etc.—already explained.
Footnotes and references:
The translation of this sentence and its commentary is slightly condensed for the sake of clarity.