Translation by Dr. Radhakrishnan

Prepared by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj 


The name Muṇḍaka is derived from Muṇd, 'to shave,' because he who understands the doctrine of this Upanishad is 'shorn' of all error. --Monier-Williams

The Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad belongs to the Atharva Veda and has three chapters, each of which has two sections. The name is derived from the root muṇḍ 'to shave,' as he that comprehends the teaching of the Upaniṣad is shaved or liberated from error and ignorance. The Upaniṣad states clearly the distinction between the higher knowledge of the Supreme Brahman and the lower knowledge of the empirical world. It is by this higher wisdom and not by sacrifices or worship that one can reach Brahman. Only the saṁnyāsin who has given up everything can obtain the highest knowledge.

I.1.3 Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 671 

Muṇḍaka 1    Section I  


1. Brahma arose as the first among the gods, the maker of the universe, the protector of the world. He taught the knowledge of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledges, to Atharvan, his eldest son.  

Brahma, the creator of the world and its governor arose, by the exercise of his own choice. His rise is unlike the birth of individuals which is determined by their past deeds. Brahma here is Hiraṇya-garbha, the world-soul.

 Brahma-knowledge: A life without philosophy is not livable for man, in the view of Socrates. See Plato's Apology. Aristotle observes: 'All the other sciences which are not philosophy are more necessary, but none is more important than philosophy.'  

2. That knowledge of Brahman, which Brahmā taught to Atharvan, and Atharvan in olden times told Aṅgiras He (in his tum) taught it to Satyavāha, son of Bhāradvāja and the son of Bhāradvāja to Aṅgiras-both the higher and the lower (knowledge).  

Parāvarām: both the higher and the lower (knowledge) or 'knowledge descended from the greater to the lesser.' What permeates the objects of all knowledge, great and small?

Avidyā is aparā-vidyā concerned with things perishable and vidyā is parā-vidyā dealing with Imperishable Being. Higher knowledge is concerned with the understanding of the nature of the supreme good, nihśreyasa, and the lower knowledge deals with the disciplines relating to instrumental values.

3. Śaunaka, the great householder, duly approached Aṅgiras and asked, through what being known, Venerable Sir, does all this become known.'

'Is there one cause of all the varieties in the world, which cause being known, all will be well known?'  


4. To him he said, two kinds of knowledge are to be known, as, indeed, the knowers of Brahman declare-the higher as well as the lower.  

aparā: lower knowledge. It is also a kind of knowledge, not bhrama or mithyā Jāna, error or falsehood. It also aims at knowledge of the highest reality even though in a partial or imperfect manner.  

5. Of these, the lower is the Ṛg Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sāma Veda, the Atharva Veda. Phonetics, Ritual, Grammar, Etymology, Metrics and Astrology. And the higher is that by which the Undecaying is apprehended.  

Cp Śivasvarodaya: The Veda is not to be called Veda for there is no Veda in Veda. That is truly the Veda by which the Supreme is known. 


6. That which is ungraspable, without family, without caste, without sight or hearing, without hands or feet, eternal, all-pervading, omnipresent, exceedingly subtle, that is the Undecaying which the wise perceive as the source of beings.

adrśyam: unperceivable. Vibhum: all-pervading

The indescribable Absolute Brahman is also the source of beings, būta-yoni. For Saṁkara, bhūta-yoni is Īśvara, for Madhva it is Viṣṇu.

The use of the word yoni suggests that Brahman is the material cause of the world, according to R.

I.1.8    Mundaka Upanisad    673

7. As a spider sends forth and draws in (its thread), as herbs grow on the earth, as the hair (grows) on the head and the body of a living person, so from the Imperishable arises here the universe.

 There is no suggestion here that the world is an illusory appearance of Brahman. The illustrations are intended to convey that Brahman is the sole cause and there is no second to Brahman which can be used by Brahman. kāraṇāntaram anapekṣya svayam eva sṛjate. S.  

8. By contemplative power Brahman expands. From that food is produced. From food, life (thence) mind, (thence) the reals (the five elements); (thence) the worlds, (thence the rituals) in the rituals, immortality.  

Tapas: contemplative power is the energy by which the world is produced. R. Tapas is derived from two roots which make out that is austerity or meditation. The Supreme works by means and ends and by gradual steps.

674 The Principal Upaniṣads  I.2.1

Brahman in relation to the cosmos is the Personal God  who is self-conscious and contemplative. The first product anna is for Śaṁkara the unmanifested principle of objectivity, avyākṛtam. The two represent the subject and the object and next arises prāṇa, which S equates with the world-soul. All these products are working towards immortality which is the goal of creation.  

9. He who is all-knowing and all-wise, whose austerity consists of knowledge, from him are born this Brahma (Hiraṇya-garbha), name-shape and food. 

The all-knowing, all-wise Īsvara or the Absolute in relation to the world. He is wisdom, His tapas is jāna. From him issues the world-soul, Hiraṇya-garbha or brahmā.

The Brahman who is without beginning and end, who is of the form of the indestructible word is apparently transformed into objects, and this is the process through which creation takes place. Sphoṭa is the indivisible idea with its dual form of śabda, word and artha, meaning. 


1. This is that truth. The works which the sages saw in the hymns are variously spread forth in the three Vedas. Perform them constantly, ye lovers of truth. This is your path to the world of good deeds.  

Tretāyām: the three vedas or generally performed in the tretā age.

1.2.4.    MUṆḌAKA Upaniṣad    675 

2. When the flame (which) moves after the fire has been kindled, then one should throw with faith his oblations between the two portions of melted butter.  

havya-vāhana: fire; the bearer of the sacrifice.  

3. He whose agnihotra sacrifice is not followed by the sacrifice of the new moon and of the full moon, by the four months' sacrifice, by the ritual (performed m the harvest season) is without guests, without oblations, without the ceremony to all the gods or gives offerings contrary to rule, (such conduct) destroys his worlds till the seventh.  

The opposition of the Upaniṣads to the observance of rites is greatly exaggerated The performance of rites is unnecessary for those who are already liberated while it is necessary for attaining liberation. When performing rites we must be fully aware of what we are doing. There is a vital difference between the routine performance of rites and an understanding performance of them. 

In Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (II 2 2 8-20) it is said that the gods and the demons were both the children of Prajā-pati both devoid of spiritual wisdom and so were subject to the law of change and death. Only Agni was immortal. Both set up their sacrificial fires. The demons performed their rites externally and the gods then set up that fire in their inward self. Having done so the gods became immortal and invincible and overcame their mortal and vincible foes. Again, 'by knowledge (vidyayā) they ascend to where desires have migrated (parāgatāḥ) it is not by offerings (dakṣṇābhiḥ) nor by ignorant ardor (avidvāṁsaḥ tapasvinaḥ) but only to knowers that that world belongs.'  

Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa X 5 4 16. We must set up the sacrificial fire within our self. We must feed the flame by truthful utterance, for we quench it by speaking falsehood. The distinction between external conformity and inward purity is ultimately resolved when the whole of life is interpreted and lived sacrificially. See also  Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa X 4 2 31 and XIII I 3. 22.

676 The Principal Upaniṣads I 2 7 

4. The seven moving tongues of fire are the black the terrific, the swift as mind, the very red, the very smoky-colored. The spark blazing, the all-shaped goddess.'  

all-shaped: another reading viśvaruce, all-tasting.  

5. Whosoever performs works, makes offerings when these (tongues) are shining and at the proper time, these (offerings) in the form of the rays of the sun lead him to that (world) where the one lord of the gods abides.  

devānāṁ patiḥ: the one Lord of the gods. Indra according to S and Hiraṇya-garbha according to R.  

6. The radiant offerings invite him with the words, 'come, come,' and carry the sacrificer by the rays of the sun, honoring him and saluting him with pleasing words: 'This is your holy world of Brahmā won through good deeds.'  

7. Unsteady, verily, are these boats of the eighteen sacrificial forms, which are said to be inferior karma. The deluded who delight in this as leading to good, fall again into old age and death.  

aṣṭadaśoktam: eighteen in number consisting of the sixteen ṛitviks, the sacrificer and his wife.  

Avaram: inferior because it is devoid of knowledge.  

Ritual is by itself not enough, Vasiṣṭha tells Rama. 

Deluded by sacrifice, austerity, almsgiving, pilgrimage, and worship of gods men pass many years in misery, like unto beasts. Again, Garuḍa, Puṛāna

I.2.10.     Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad      677 

All those who are intent on the performance of the duties of their own caste and stage of life do not know the supreme virtue and go to ruin with their pride.  

Again in Garuḍa Purāṇa, it is said: Deluded by my māyā, the ignorant desire (to see me) who am hidden, by adopting the vows of single meal, fasting and the like which tend to weaken the body. 

See B G. XVII 5 and 6.

Page 344 The Bhagavad gita Translation by Dr. Radhakrishnan

Verses 17.5 and 6.

(5) Those men, vain and conceited and impelled by the force of lust and passion, who perform violent austerities, which are not ordained by the scriptures.  

(6) Being foolish oppress the group of elements in their body and Me also dwelling in the body. Know these to be demoniac in their resolves.  

The methods of self-torture undertaken by some for purposes of display such as wearing hair-shirts, or piercing the body with sharp spikes, are here condemned. Bodily weakness sometimes produces hallucinations which are mistaken for spiritual visions. Self-discipline is not to be confused with bodily torture. Cp. with this, Gautama the Buddha's admonition: "The habitual practice of asceticism or self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable, ought not to be followed.The true discipline of the body by the practice of cleanliness, etc., is given in verse I4.  

8. Abiding in the midst of ignorance, wise in their own esteem, thinking themselves to be learned, fools, afflicted with troubles, go about like blind men led by one who is himself blind.

See Kaṭha I 2 5 , Matrī VII 9  

9. The immature, living manifoldly in ignorance, think 'we have accomplished our aim ' Since those who perform rituals do not understand (the truth) because of attachment, therefore they sink down, wretched, when their worlds (i.e. the fruits of their merits) are exhausted.  

bālāḥ: immature, ignorant. ajāninaḥ S  

10. These deluded men, regarding sacrifices and works of merits as most important, do not know any other good. Having enjoyed in the high place of heaven won by good deeds, they enter again this world or a still lower one.  

iṣṭā-pūrtam: see Praśna 1.9.n. below.

The year, verily, is the lord of creation; of it (there are) two paths, the southern and the northern. Now those, verily, who worship, thinking 'sacrifice and pious acts are our work,' they win only the human world. They certainly return again. Therefore, the sages, desirous of offspring, take the southern route. This, which is called the path of ancestors, is verily matter (rayi).

The southern route is the material path where we perform acts with selfish desires. These acts are of two lands iṣṭa and pūrta. The former relates to acts of ceremonial piety, observances of Vedic ritual, the latter to acts of social service and public good.

nākasya: of heaven or the place where sorrow is unknown.

678 The Principal Upamsads I 2 12 

11. But those who practice austerity and faith in the forest the tranquil knowers who live the life of a mendicant depart freed from sin, through the door of the sun to where dwells the Immortal, imperishable person.  

araṇye: in the forest, spiritual life in India has solitary meditation as one of its essential stages. It has been the cherished ambition and pursuit of the lonely ascetic. It is assumed that those who are distracted by the cares and encumbered by the possessions of the world find it hard to secure their spiritual ends. Those emancipated from these are free to devote themselves to the highest aim. When once the end is reached, the Indian saṁnyāsin travels at pleasure and has no fixed residence or occupation. The first Christians were homeless wanderers. The mendicant rather than the resident community of monks has been the Indian ideal Monasteries are more temporary rest-houses or centres of learning than permanent habitations.  

The Hindu system of āśramas according to which every one of the twice-born towards the close of his life must renounce the world and adopt the homeless life and the ascetic's garb has had great influence on the Indian mind. Though in intention, certain classes were not eligible to become monks, in practice monks were recruited from all castes.  

The Jain and the Buddhist orders though based on the ancient Hindu custom have become more centralized and coordinated Mutts or monasteries have become more popular among the Hindus also. To erect a monastery for the service of the wandering ascetics has become recognized as an act of religious piety.  

In these verses the Upaniṣad points out the superiority of the way of knowledge to the empty and formal ritualism of the Brāhmaṇas. The latter lead to the world of Brahmā which lasts as long as this world lasts while the former takes us to the world of Īśvara, i.e. oneness with the Supreme, where we obtain sarvātmabhāva.  


II.1.1. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 679 

12. Having scrutinized the worlds won by works, let a Brāhmaṇa arrive at non-attachment. The (world) that is not made is not (won) by what is done. For the sake of this knowledge, let him only approach, with sacrificial fuel in hand, a teacher who is learned m the scriptures and established in Brahman.  

Karma is a means to what is transitory and not eternal karma anityasyaiva sādhanam. S.

śrotriyam: a teacher who is learned in the scriptures śruta vedāntam. He should also be a man of realization.

brahma-niṣṭham: established in Brahman. Brahma-sākṣātkāravantam.   

I3. Unto him who has approached in due form, whose mind is tranquil and who has attained peace, let the knowing (teacher) teach in its very truth that knowledge about Brahman by which one knows the Imperishable person, the true.  

Cp. the Buddha: 'The Brāhmaṇa whose self has been cleansed of sins, who is free from conceit, whose nature is not stained by passions, who is self-controlled, who has studied the Vedanta and lived a chaste life is indeed the man who can expound the doctrine of Brahman.'  


68o The Principal, Upaniṣads II


I. This is the truth. As from a blazing fire, sparks of like form issue forth by the thousands, even so, O beloved, many kinds of beings issue forth from the immutable and they return thither too.  

See B U. II.I.20  

2. Divine and formless is the person He is without and within, unborn, without breath and without mind, pure and higher than the highest immutable. 

akṣara, the immutable: the unmanifested, prakṛti the self is beyond this.  

3. From him are born life, mind, all the sense-organs (also) ether, air, light, water and earth, the supporter of all.  

Jāyate: are born. It is not creation but emanation that is suggested. S points out that the world which issues out of him is not real avidyā-viṣaya-vikāra-bhūataḥ, nāmadheyaḥ anṛtātmakaḥ. It is as real as the person from whom it issues. So even the author is said to be unreal, being the manifestation of the Supreme Brahman through māyā.  

The whole creation is traced to the personal Lord Īśvara who along with the principle of objectivity as a manifestation of the Absolute Brahman.  

4. Fire is His head, his eyes are the sun and the moon, the regions of space are His ears, His speech the revealed Vedas; air is His life and His heart the world. Out of His feet the earth (is born); indeed He is the self of all beings.  

We have here a description of the Viśva-rūpa which in BG.XI receives enlargement. It is reported of St Benedict that he beheld a transfiguration in which he saw the whole world before him as in a sphere all collected together Rudolf Otto: Mysticism: East and West (1932), p 60.  

The Sūtrātman, world-soul, is pictured as the world form or virāt.

II.1.8 Mundaka Upanisad 681 

5. From him (proceeds) fire whose fuel is the sun; from the moon, the rain; herbs on the earth (nourished by them) the male fire pours seed in the female, thus are creatures produced from the person.  

6. From him are born the ṛc (verses) the sāman (chants), the yajus (formulas), the rites of initiation, all the sacrifices, ceremonies and sacrificial gifts, the year too, and the sacrificer, and the worlds where the moon purifies and where the sun (shines).  

Here is a reference to the world of the fathers and the world of the gods. See CU. V. 10.  

7. From him also the gods are born in manifold ways, the celestials, men, cattle, birds, the in-breath and the out-breath, rice and barley, austerity, faith, truth, chastity and the law.  

8. From him come forth the seven life-breaths, the seven flames, their fuel, the seven oblations, these seven worlds m which move the life-breaths, seven and seven which dwell in the secret place (of the heart).  

S explains the seven prāṇas as the seven organs of sense in the head, i.e. two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth. These are compared to the seven different sacrificial oblations. The perceptions produced by their activities are the flames of the sacrifice. The activities of the different senses are

coordinated by the mind which is located in the heart.

682  The Principal Upaniṣads  II.2.1 

9. From him, all the seas and the mountains, from him flow rivers of every kind, from him are all herbs and their juice too; by which, together with the elements, the inner soul is upheld.  

While the inward way of contemplation takes us to the self, there is the other side of union with the world. The knower penetrates the whole world and becomes the All.  

10. The person himself is all this, work, austerity and Brahmā beyond death. He who knows that which is set in the secret place (of the heart), he, here on earth, O beloved, cuts asunder the knot of ignorance. 

He gets rid of ignorance. 'The universe has no separate existence apart from the person.' na viśvam nāma puruṣād anyad kicid asti. S.  


1. Manifest, well-fixed, moving, verily, in the secret place (of the heart) such is the great support. In centered all this  which moves, breathes and winks. Know that as being, as non-being, as the supreme object to be desired, as the highest beyond the reach of man's understanding.

saṁnihitam: well-fixed samyak-sthitaṁ hṛdi, S. sarva-prāṇiniām hṛdaye  sthitam. A 

II 2. 5. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 683 

2. What is luminous, what is subtler than the subtle, in which are centered all the worlds and those that dwell in them, that is the imperishable Brahman. That is life, that is speech and mind. That is true, that is immortal, O beloved, that is to be known, know (that).  

Veddhavyam: that is to be known or penetrated, from the root vyadh, to penetrate.  

3. Taking as the bow the great weapon of the Upaniṣads, one should place in it the arrow sharpened by meditation. Drawing it with a mind engaged in the contemplation of that (Brahman), O beloved, know that Imperishable Brahman as the target.  

saṁdadhīta, v. saṁdhīyata saṁdhānam kuryāt. S.  

4. The syllable aum is the bow: one's self, indeed, is the arrow. Brahman is spoken of as the target of that. It is to be hit without making a mistake. Thus one becomes united with it as the arrow (becomes one with the target).  

Apramattena: without making a mistake, or becoming indifferent to other objects and developing a one-pointed mind, viṣayāntaravimukhena ekāgra-cittena. R.  

Tanmaya: united with it, becomes one with it, ekātmatva. S.

684 The Principal Upaniṣads II.2.9 

5. He in whom the sky, the earth and the interspace are woven as also the mind along with all the vital breaths know him alone as the one self. Dismiss other utterances. This is the bridge to immortality.  

anyā vācaḥ: other utterances, relating to lower knowledge or not-self apara-vidyā-rūpaḥ S anātma-viṣaya- vācaḥ R.  

In the beginning, the two worlds of heaven and earth were one. They came into separate being by the act of creation and what separates them is the river or sea of time and space. From earth we have to find our way to heaven by crossing the river of time.

See Epinomis 984 E.  

6. Where the arteries of the body are brought together like the spokes in the centre of a wheel, within it (this self, moves about) becoming manifold. Meditate on aum as the self. May you be successful in crossing over to the farther shore of darkness.  

pārāya V. parāya

tamasaḥ: darkness, the darkness of ignorance avidyā-tamasaḥ. S.  

7. He who is all-knowing, all-wise, whose is this greatness on the earth, in the divine city of Brahmā, in the ether (of the heart) is that self-established.  

8. He consists of mind and is the leader of life and body and is seated in food (i.e. the body) controlling the heart. The wise perceive clearly by the knowledge (of Brahman) the blissful immortal which shines forth.

anne: in food, anna-pariṇāma śarīre. R.  

9. The knot of the heart is cut, all doubts are dispelled and his deeds terminate, when He is seen--the higher and the lower.

See Kaṭha VI.15

When he sees the Real which comprehends himself, he asserts the non-reality of all that is opposed to it. The evil in him through his past bad acts falls away. With the change in his nature all that is not his ceases to bind him

II.2.12 Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 685 


10. In the highest golden sheath is Brahman without stain, without parts; Pure is it, the light of lights That is what the knowers of self  know.  

11. The sun shines not there, nor the moon and stars, these lightnings shine not, where then could this fire be? Every thing shines only after that shining light. His shining illumines all this world.  

See Katha V.15, SU. VI I4, BG. IX.15, 6.  

his shining illumines all this world. The whole objective universe is illumined by Him for it cannot illumine itself.

In the Udāna I. 10, the Buddha describes nirvāṇa in similar terms.  

12. Brahman, verily, is this immortal. In front is Brahman, behind is Brahman, to the right and to the left It spreads forth below and above. Brahman, indeed, is this universe. It is the greatest.

686   The Principal Upaniṣads    III.1.3


1. Two birds, companions (who are) always united, cling to the self-same tree. Of these two, the one eats the sweet fruit and the other looks on without eating.  

See RV I 164.20, ŚU IV.6, Kaṭha I.3.I

Sayujā: always united sarvada yuktau. S.  

Pippalam: the sweet fruit. It eats or experiences the pleasant or painful fruits of its past deeds karma--niṣpannaṁ sukha duḥkha lakṣaṇam phalam. S.  

Svādv atti: eats. bhakṣayati upabhuṅkte avivekataḥ. S Cp Agaa Suttanta where eating is said to be the cause of degradation to cruder forms of existence. 

anaśnan: without eating. Īsvara permits the processes of the world as the witness and thus impels their activities.  

2. On the self-same tree, a person immersed (in the sorrows of the world) is deluded and grieves on account of his helplessness. When he sees the other, the Lord who is worshipped and his greatness, he becomes freed from sorrow.  

See SU IV 7.  

3. When a seer sees the creator of golden hue, the Lord, the Person, the source of Brahmā, then being a knower, shaking off good and evil and free from stain, he attains supreme equality with the lord.  

See Maitrī V. I8, KU I.4

brahma-yoni: the source of Brahmā. Brahmā, the world-soul Īśvara for his home and birth-place.

Eternal life is said to consist m attaining an absolute likeness to God and enjoying a life of personal immortality.

II.I.5    Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad     687 

4. Truly it is life that shines forth in all beings. Knowing him, the wise man does not talk of anything else. Sporting in the self, delighting in the self, performing works, such a one is the greatest of the knowers of Brahman

kriyāvān: performing works S, feeling the incompatibility of performing works after attaining knowledge of Brahman, suggests that it may mean only the previous performance of meditation and other acts conducive to a knowledge of Brahman. The verse, however, tells us that he who knows the atman is also a performer of works. The soul frees itself from all attachments, enters into the stillness of the self, becomes composed and yet breaks forth into temporal works without compulsion, without seeking for reward, without selfish purpose. Its life is a free outpouring of a liberated consciousness and it is incapable of resting even as the living God Himself does not rest. Deep unmoved repose at the centre and perpetual creativity are his features.  

In the Tripurā-rahasya the prince who has become liberated even in the present life (jīvan-mukta) performs his royal duties like an actor on the stage, naṭavad raṅga-maṇḍale, without being motivated by any selfish passions. He is not infected by what he does on the stage. He remains himself untroubled by the thought. 'Thus I did right' or 'thus I did wrong ' See B U IV 4 22. He will do his duty impartially, regardless of gain and loss. B G tells us that our concern is with action only, not with the result. 'Battles are lost m the same spirit in which they are won ' The duty of a soldier is to fight and not to hate. The well-known story of Ali points out how we should not act in passion. Ali, engaged in single combat, was on the point of victory, but when his opponent spat in his face, he withdrew because he would not fight in anger.

5. This self within the body, of the nature of light and pure, is attainable by truth, by austerity, by right knowledge, by the constant (practice) of chastity. Him, the ascetics with their imperfections done away, behold.

tapasā: S quotes a line to the effect that tapas refers to the focusing of the mind and the senses on one object, i.e. the eternal Self.

688    The Principal Upaniṣads    III.1.10


6. Truth alone conquers, not untruth. By truth is laid out the path leading to the gods by which the sages who have their desires fulfilled travel to where is that supreme abode of truth.

satyam eva Jayate: truth alone conquers This is the motto inscribed on the seal of the Indian nation.  

Jayate v. Jayati  

7 Vast, divine, of unthinkable form, subtler than the subtle. It shines forth, farther than the far, yet here near at hand, set down in the secret place (of the heart) (as such) even here it is seen by the intelligent.  

8. He is not grasped by the eye nor even by speech nor by other sense-organs, nor by austerity nor by work, but when one's (intellectual) nature is purified by the light of knowledge then alone he, by meditation, sees Him who is without parts.  

9. The subtle self is to be known by thought in which the senses in five different forms have centered. The whole of mens thought is pervaded by the senses. When it (thought) is purified, the self shines forth.  

III.2.3.  Muṇḍaka Upanisad 689 

10. Whatever world a man of purified nature thinks of in his mind and whatever desires he desires, all these worlds and all these desires he attains. Therefore, let him who desires prosperity worship the knower of the self.  

See B.U I 4 I5  

The knower of the self has all his desires fulfilled and can obtain any world he may seek.  


1. He knows that supreme abode of Brahman, wherein founded, the world shines brightly. The wise men, who, free from desires, worship the Person, pass beyond the seed (of rebirth).  

śukram: the seed, the material cause of embodied existence. S.  

2. He who entertains desires, thinking of them, is born (again) here and there on account of his desires. But of him who has his desire fully satisfied, who is a perfected soul, all his desires vanish even here (on earth).  

3. This self cannot be attained by instruction nor by intellectual power nor even through much hearing. He is to be attained by the one whom (the self) chooses. To such a one the self reveals his own nature.  

See Kaṭha I 2 23

690 The Principal Upaniṣads III.2.6 

4. This self cannot be attained by one without strength nor through heedlessness nor through austerity without an aim. But he who strives by these means, if he is a knower, this self of his enters the abode of Brahman.  

bala-hīnena: by one without strength, which is said to be derived from concentration on the self Strength or energy is at the root of all great achievements. 

aliṅgāt: without an aim. S equates liṅga with saṁnyāsa.

liṅga: outward badges of an ascetic, his robes, shaven head, etc.Outward signs are not enough for salvation We require inward realization. Cp MB XII.11898-9

Cp. What harm has your hair done? Perform the tonsure on your sins, What earthly good is a monk's robe to a mind besmirched?


5. Having attained Him, the seers (who are) satisfied with their knowledge (who are) perfected souls, free from passion, tranquil, having attained the omnipresent (self) on all sides, those wise, with concentrated minds, enter into the All itself.

They have found the self in all and therefore enter into everything.  

6. The ascetics who have ascertained well the meaning of the Vedanta knowledge, who have purified their natures through the path of renunciation, they (dwelling) in the worlds of Brahmā, at the end of time, being one with the immortal, are all liberated.

vedānta vijāna the knowledge of the Vedanta. Cp. Taittirīya Āraṇyaka X 12. 3, S U VI.22  

parāntakāle=  at the end of time. being one with the highest immortal.

Companionship with the highest God Brahmā is the end and the soul will be liberated at the time of the great end along with Brahmā. Until then they can assume any form at their will.

III 2 9 Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 69I 

7. Gone are the fifteen parts to their (respective) supports (the elements) and all the gods (the sense organs) into their corresponding deities. One's deeds and the self, consisting of understanding, all become one in the Supreme Immutable Being.  

eki-bhavanti= become one. Their separateness is dissolved. See Praśna VI 4  

8 Just as the flowing rivers disappear in the ocean casting off name and shape, even so the knower, freed from name and shape, attains to the divine person, higher than the high.  

See Praśna VI.5

parāt-param = higher than the high, the unmanifested. The souls attain universality of spirit. Eckhart says, 'And here one cannot speak about the soul any more, for she has lost her name yonder in the oneness of divine essence. There she is no more called soul, she is called unmeasurable being.' R. argues that they attain to equality of nature and not identity of being.

692 The Principal Upaniṣads III.2. II.

9. He, verily, who knows the Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman himself. In his family, no one who does not know Brahman, will be born. He crosses over sorrow. He crosses over sins. Liberated from the knots of the secret place (of the heart), he becomes immortal.  

10. This very (doctrine) is declared in the verse. Those who perform the rites, who are learned in scriptures, who are well-established in Brahman, who offer of themselves oblations to the sole seer (a form of fire) with faith, to them alone one may declare this knowledge of Brahman (to them alone), by whom the rite (of carrying fire) on the head has been performed, according to rule.  

11. This is the truth The seer Aṅgiras declared it before. Let none who has not performed the rite read this Salutation to the great seers. Salutation to the great seers.