The Upanishads, Part 2 (SBE15), by Max Müller, , at sacred-texts.com
1. The Vâlakhilyas, whose passions were subdued, approached him full of amazement and said: 'O Saint, we bow before thee; teach thou, for thou art the way, and there is no other for us. What process is there for the elemental Self, by which, after leaving this (identity with the elemental body), he obtains union 4 with the (true) Self?' Pragâpati Kratu said to them:
2. 'It has been said elsewhere: Like the waves in large rivers, that which has been done before, cannot be turned back, and, like the tide of the sea, the approach of death is hard to stem. Bound 5 by the fetters of the fruits of good and evil, like a cripple; without freedom, like a man in prison; beset by many fears, like one standing before Yama (the judge of
the dead); intoxicated by the wine of illusion, like one intoxicated by wine; rushing about, like one possessed by an evil spirit; bitten by the world, like one bitten by a great serpent; darkened by passion, like the night; illusory, like magic; false, like a dream; pithless, like the inside of the Kadalî; changing its dress in a moment, like an actor 1; fair in appearance, like a painted wall, thus they call him; and therefore it is said:
Sound 2, touch, and other things are like nothings; if the elemental Self is attached to them, it will not remember the Highest Place 3.
3. This is indeed the remedy for the elemental Self: Acquirement of the knowledge of the Veda, performance of one's own duty, therefore conformity on the part of each man to the order to which he happens to belong. This 4 is indeed the rule for one's own duty, other performances are like the mere branches of a stem 5. Through it one obtains the Highest above, otherwise one falls downward 6. Thus is one's own duty declared, which is to be found in the Vedas. No one belongs truly to an order (âsrama) who transgresses his own law 7. And if people say, that a man does not belong to any of the orders, and that he is an ascetic 8, this is wrong, though, on
the other hand, no one who is not an ascetic brings his sacrificial works to perfection or obtains knowledge of the Highest Self 1. For thus it is said:
By ascetic penance goodness is obtained, from goodness understanding is reached, from understanding the Self is obtained, and he who has obtained that, does not return 2.
4. "Brahman is," thus said one who knew the science of Brahman; and this penance is the door to Brahman, thus said one who by penance had cast off all sin. The syllable Om is the manifest greatness of Brahman, thus said one who well grounded (in Brahman) always meditates on it. Therefore by knowledge, by penance, and by meditation is Brahman gained. Thus one goes beyond 3 Brahman (Hiranyagarbha), and to a divinity higher than the gods; nay, he who knows this, and worships Brahman by these three (by knowledge, penance, and meditation), obtains bliss imperishable, infinite, and unchangeable. Then freed from those things (the senses of the body, &c.) by which he was filled and overcome, a mere charioteer 4, he obtains union with the Self.'
5. The Vâlakhilyas said: 'O Saint, thou art the teacher, thou art the teacher 1. What thou hast said, has been properly laid up in our mind. Now answer us a further question: Agni, Vâyu, Âditya, Time (kâla) which is Breath (prâna 2), Food (anna), Brahmâ 3, Rudra, Vishnu, thus do some meditate on one, some on another. Say which of these is the best for us.' He said to them:
6. 'These are but the chief manifestations of the highest, the immortal, the incorporeal Brahman. He who is devoted to one, rejoices here in his world (presence), thus he said. Brahman indeed is all this, and a man may meditate on, worship, or discard also those which 4 are its chief manifestations. With these (deities) he proceeds to higher and higher worlds, and when all things perish, he becomes one with the Purusha, yes, with the Purusha.'
299:1 M. reads vyavartatvam.
299:2 It should be kañkalatvam.
299:3 M. reads mattasvaro.
299:4 Instead of the irregular sâyogyam, M. always reads sâyugyam.
299:5 It is not quite clear what is the subject to which all these adjectives refer. M. reads baddho for baddham, but afterwards agrees with the text as published by Cowell.
300:1 M. reads natavat.
300:2 M. reads ye 'rthâ anarthâ iva te sthitâh, esham.
300:3 M. reads na smaret paramam padam.
300:4 M. reads svadharma eva sarvam dhatte, stambhasâkhevetarâni.
300:5 The commentator considers the other sacrificial performances as hurtful, and to be avoided.
300:6 M. reads anyathâdhah pataty, esha.
300:7 The rules of the order to which he belongs.
300:8 A Tapasvin is free from the restrictions of the preceding âsramas, p. 301 but he must have obeyed them first, before he can become a real Tapasvin.
301:1 M. reads âsrameshv evâvasthitas tapasvî kety ukyata ity, etad apy uktam, &c. This would mean, 'For it is said that he only who has dwelt in the âsramas is also called a Tapasvin, a real ascetic; and this also has been said, that no one obtains self-knowledge except an ascetic.' This is not impossible, but the commentator follows the text as printed by Cowell. AI. reads âtmagñânenâdhigamah, karmasuddhi.
301:2 M. reads manasâ prâpyate tv âtmâ hy âtmâptyâ na nivartata iti.
301:3 M. reads pura eta, which may be right.
301:4 Rathitah is a very strange word, but, like everything else, it is p. 302 explained by the commentator, viz. as ratham prâpito rathitvam ka prâpita iti yâvat. Nevertheless the reading of M. seems to me preferable, viz. atha yaih paripûrno 'bhibhûto 'yam tathaitais ka, taih sarvair vimukta svâtmany eva sâyugyam upaiti. I should prefer vimuktas tv âtmany eva, and translate, 'But then, freed from all those things by which he was filled and likewise was overcome by them, he obtains union with the Self.'
302:1 M. reads the second time abhivâdy asmîti, which is no improvement. It might have been ativâdyasîti.
302:2 M. reads Yamah prâno.
302:3 This is, of course, the personal Brahmâ of the Hindu triad. To distinguish this personal Brahmâ from the impersonal, I sometimes give his name in the nom. masc., Brahmâ, and not the grammatical base, Brahman.
302:4 M. reads yâ vâ asyâ. The commentator explains yâ vâsyâh by vâsayogyâh; or yâ vâ yâh by kâskit, admitting a Vedic irregularity which is not quite clear.