From the Upanishads, by Charles Johnston, , at sacred-texts.com
A VEDIC MASTER
They came to the Master Pippalâda, with fuel in their hands, saying: He verily will declare it all.
And the Sage said to them: Remain yet a year in fervour, service of the Eternal, and faith. Ask whatever questions you will, if we know them, we shall declare all to you.
So Kabandhin Kâtyâyana, approaching, asked: Master, where are all these beings brought forth from?
He answered him: The Lord of beings desired beings. He brooded with fervour; and, brooding with fervour, he forms a Pair. They are the Substance and the Life. These two will make beings manifold for me, said he. The sun verily is the
[paragraph continues] Life, and Substance is the moon. For Substance is all that is formed, and the formless is the Life. Therefore the form is the Substance.
So the sun, rising, enters the eastern space; and thus he gathers all the eastern lives among his rays. As the southern, the western, the northern, the nether, and the upper space, and the spaces between, as he illumines all, so he gathers all lives among his rays. Thus the Life rises as universal, all-formed fire.
And this is declared by the Vedic verse:
The all-formed, golden Illuminer, the supreme way, the light, the fervent one. Thousand-rayed, turning in a hundred ways, the Life of beings, this sun rises.
The year is a Lord of beings. His two paths are the southern and the northern. Therefore they who worship, thinking that it is fulfilled by sacrifice and gifts, win the lunar world. They verily return again. Therefore these sages who desire beings, turn to the south. For this is the path of Substance, the path of the fathers.
But they who by the northern way seek the Self by fervour, service of the Eternal, faith and knowledge, they verily win the sun. This is the home of lives; this is the immortal, fearless, supreme way. From it they do not return again; for this is the end.
And there is this verse:
But others call him the Seer who rests in the seven-wheeled chariot, of six spokes.
The month is a Lord of beings. The dark half is the Substance; the bright half is the Life. Therefore these Sages offer sacrifice in the bright half; but the others in the other half.
Day-and-night is a Lord of beings. Day verily is the Life, and night is the Substance. They waste their life who find love in the outward; but service of the Eternal finds love in the hidden.
Food also is a Lord of beings. Thence comes this seed, and thence these beings are brought forth. And
all that follow this vow of the Lord of beings, produce a pair.
Theirs verily is that world of the Eternal, who have fervour and service of the Eternal, and in whom truth is set firm. Theirs is that quiet world of the Eternal; but not theirs, in whom are crookedness, untruth, Illusion.
And so Bhârgava Vâidarbhi asked him: Master, how many are the bright ones that uphold being? i Which illumine this? Which of them again is chiefest?
He answered him:. Shining ether is that bright one, air, and fire, and water, and earth; voice, mind, sight, hearing. They, illumining, declare: We uphold this ray, establishing it.
And Life, the chiefest among them, said: Cherish not this delusion: for I, verily, dividing myself fivefold, uphold this ray, establishing it.
They were incredulous. Life proudly made as if to go out above. And as Life goes out, all the others go out, and as Life returns, all the others return. As the bees all go out after the honey-makers’ king when he goes
out, and return when he returns, thus did voice, mind, sight, and hearing. Joyful, they sing the praise of Life.
Like spokes in a wheel's nave, all this rests in Life. Songs, and liturgies, and chants; sacrifice and warrior and priest.
Thou, Life, as Lord of beings, movest in the germ; and thou thyself art born from it. And to thee, Life, these beings bring the offering; thou who art set firm through the lives.
Thou art the tongued flame of the bright ones; the first oblation of the fathers. Thou art the law of the sages; the truth of sacrificial priests.
Thou art the thunderer, Life, with his brightness; thou art the storm-god, the preserver. Thou movest in the mid space as the sun; thou art master of the stars.
When thou descendest as rain, these thy children, Life, stand
Thou art the exile, Life, the lonely seer; the eater, the good master of all. We are givers of the first offering. Thou art father to us, the great Breath.
Thy form that is manifested in voice, and in hearing, and in sight, and the form that expands in mind, make it auspicious! Go not out!
All this is in Life's sway, all that is set firm in the triple heaven. Guard us as a mother her sons; and as Fortune, give us wisdom!
And so Kâushalya Ashvalâyana asked him: Master, where is this Life born from? How does it enter this body? Hew does it come forth, dividing itself? Through what does it go out? How does it envelop the outer? and how as to union with the Self?
He answered him: Many questions thou askest! Thou art full of the Eternal, and therefore I tell it to thee. From the Self is this Life born. And as the shadow beside a man,
this is expanded in that. By mind's action it enters this body. And as a sovereign commands his lords: These villages and these villages shall ye rule over! Thus also Life disposes the lesser lives. For the lower powers, the downward-life; in sight and hearing, in mouth and nose, the forward-life; and in the midst, the binding-life; this binds together the food that is offered; and thence the seven flames arise.
In the heart is the Self. Here are a hundred and one channels. From them a hundred each, and in each of these, two and seventy thousand branch-channels. In these the distributing-life moves.
And by one, the upward, rises the upward-life. It leads by holiness to a holy world, by sin to a sinful world, by both, to the world of men.
The outward-life rises as the sun. It is linked with this life that dwells in seeing. And the potency that is in earth, entering the downward-life of man, establishes it. And the shining ether is for the binding-life, and air for the distributing-life.
And radiance for the upward-life.
[paragraph continues] Therefore he whose radiance bas become quiescent is reborn through the impulses dwelling in mind. According to his thoughts, he enters life. And Life joined by the radiance with the Self leads him to a world according to his will.
He who, thus knowing, knows Life, his being fails not, and he becomes immortal.
And there is this verse:
And so Sâuryâyanin Gârgya asked him: Master, how many powers sleep in the man? How many wake in him? Who is the bright one that sees dreams? Whose is that bliss? and in whom are all these set firm?
He answered him: As, Gârgya, the rays of the sun, at setting, all become one in his shining orb; and when he rises, they all come forth again; so all becomes one in the higher bright one, mind.
Therefore the man hears not, nor sees nor smells, nor tastes, nor touches, nor speaks, nor takes, nor enjoys, nor puts forth, nor moves. He sleeps, they say.
The life-fires verily wake in this dwelling. The household fire is the downward-life. The fire of oblations is the distributing-life. And as the fire of offerings is brought forward from the household fire, it is the forward-life.
And the binding-life is what binds together the offerings, the outbreathing and inbreathing. Mind is the sacrificer, and the upward-life is the fruit of the sacrifice. For it brings the sacrificer day by day to the Eternal.
So this bright one in dream enjoys greatness. The seen, as seen he beholds again. What was heard, as heard he hears again. And what was enjoyed by the other powers, he enjoys again by the other powers. The seen and the unseen, heard and unheard, enjoyed and unenjoyed, real and unreal, he sees it all; as All he sees it.
And when he is wrapt by the radiance, the bright one no longer
sees dreams. Then within him that bliss arises. And, dear, as the birds come to the tree to rest, so all this comes to rest in the higher Self.
Earth and earth-forms; water and water-forms; light and light-forms; air and air-forms; ether and ether-forms; seeing and seen; hearing and heard; smelling and smelled; taste and tasted; touch and touched; voice and spoken; hands and handled; feet and moving; mind and minding; knowledge and knowing; personality and personal; imagination and imagining; radiance and enlightening; life and living.
For this Self is the seer, toucher, hearer, smeller, taster, thinker, knower, doer, the perceiving spirit. And this is set firm in the supreme, unchanging Self.
He reaches the supreme unchanging who knows that shadowless, bodiless, colourless, bright unchanging one. He, dear, becomes all-knowing, becomes the All.
And there is this verse:
And so Shâivya Satyakâma asked him: And he amongst men, Master, who to the end of his life meditates on the mystic Om; what world will he gain by it?
And he answered him: This mystic Om, Satyakâma, is for the higher and lower Eternal. Therefore the wise man, by dwelling on this, reaches one of these: if he meditates on the first measure, enlightened by it he is quickly reborn in the world. The songs bring him to the world of men; there, full of fervour, service of the Eternal, and faith, he enjoys greatness. And if he dwells on it in his mind with two measures, he is led to the middle world by the liturgies. He wins the lunar world, and after enjoying brightness in the lunar world, he returns again.
And he who with three measures meditates on the mystic Om, and thereby meditates on the supreme spirit, is endowed with radiance, with the sun; as a serpent is freed from its slough, he is, verily, freed from sin.
He is led by the chants to the world of the Eternal. He beholds the indwelling spirit above the highest assemblage of lives.
And there are these two verses:
By the songs to this world; by the liturgies to the middle world; by the chants to the world the seers tell of; by meditating on the mystic 0m, the wise man reaches that peace, unfading, immortal, fearless, supreme.
And so Sukeshan Bhâradvâja asked him: Master, the Râjaputra. Hiranyanâbha Kâusalya, coming to me, asked this question: Bhâradvâja, knowest thou the spirit with sixteen parts? I answered the youth: I know him not; if I knew him, how should I not tell thee? He withers, root and all, who speaks untruth; therefore I deign not to speak untruth. He,
silently, entering his chariot, departed. I ask thee where this spirit is.
He answered him: Here, verily, within the body, dear, is that spirit in which the sixteen parts come forth.
He said: In whose going out shall I go out? In whose resting shall I rest firm? He put forth Life; and, from Life, faith, the shining ether, air, light, the waters, and the power of earth. Then mind and food, and, from food, force and fervour, the hymns, the words of action, and name in the worlds.
And as these rivers, rolling ocean-wards, go to their setting on reaching the ocean, and their name and form are lost in the ocean, they say. So the sixteen parts of this seer, moving spiritwards, on reaching spirit, go to their setting; their name and form are lost in spirit, they say. He becomes one, without parts, and immortal.
And there is this verse:
He said to them: So far I know
that supreme Eternal. There is nothing beyond.
Thou art our father, inasmuch as thou hast made us cross over to the further shore of unwisdom, said they, honouring him.