Translated by Swami Tyagisananda
Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai
Om! May Brahman protect us both together.
May He nourish us both together.
May we both work together, with great energy.
May our study be vigorous and effective.
May we not hate each other.
Om! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !
I-1: Students of Brahman (i.e. the Vedas) discuss (among themselves):
What is the cause ? (Is it) Brahman ? Whence are we born ? Why do we
live ? Where is our final rest ? Under whose orders are we, who know the
Brahman, subjected to the law of happiness and misery ?
I-2: Time, nature, law, chance, matter, energy, intelligence – neither
these, nor combination of these, can bear examination because of their
own birth, identity and the existence of the self. The self also is not
a free agent, being under the sway of happiness and misery.
I-3: Practising the method of meditation, they realized that Being who
is the God of religion, the Self of philosophy and the Energy of
science; who exists as the self-luminous power in everyone; who is the
source of the intellect, emotions and will; who is one without a second;
who presides over all the causes enumerated above, beginning with time
and ending with the individual soul; and who had been incomprehensible
because of the limitations of their own intellect.
I-4: We think of Him as the universe resembling a wheel which has one
felly with a triple tyre, sixteen extremities, fifty spokes, twenty
counter-spokes and six sets of eight; which is driven along three
different roads by means of a belt that is single yet manifold; and
which each revolution gives rise to two.
I-5: We think of Him (in His manifestation as the universe) who is like
a river that contains the waters of five streams; that has five big
turnings due to five causes; that has the five Pranas for the waves, the
mind – the basis of five-fold perception – for the source, and the
five-fold misery for its rapids; and that has five whirlpools, five
branches and innumerable aspects.
I-6: In this infinite wheel of Brahman, in which everything lives and
rests, the pilgrim soul is whirled about. Knowing the individual soul,
hitherto regarded as separate, to be itself the Moving Force, and
blessed by Him, it attains immortality.
I-7: This is expressly declared to be the Supreme Brahman. In that is
the triad. It is the firm support, and it is the imperishable. Knowing
the inner essence of this, the knowers of Veda become devoted to
Brahman, merge themselves in It, and are released from birth.
I-8: The Lord supports this universe, which consists of a combination of
the perishable and the imperishable, the manifest and the unmanifest. As
long as the self does not know the Lord, it gets attached to worldly
pleasures, and is bound; but when it knows Him, all fetters fall away
I-9: The conscious subject and the unconscious object, the master and
the dependent, are both unborn. She, too, who is engaged in bringing
about the relation of the enjoyer and the enjoyed (or between these
two), is unborn. When all these three are realized as Brahman, the self
becomes infinite, universal and free from the sense of agentship.
I-10: Matter is perishable, but God is imperishable and immortal. He,
the only God, rules over the perishable matter and individual souls. By
meditating on him, by uniting with Him, and by becoming one with Him,
there is cessation of all illusion in the end.
I-11: With the knowledge of God, all fetters fall off. With the waning
of ignorance, birth and death cease. Going beyond the consciousness of
the body by meditating on Him, one reaches the third state, viz., the
universal lordship. All his desires are satisfied, and he becomes one
without a second.
I-12: This is to be known as eternally existing in one’s own self.
Indeed, there is nothing to be known beyond this. As a result of
meditation the enjoyer, the enjoyed and the power which brings about the
enjoyment – all are declared to be the three aspects of Brahman.
I-13: Fire is not perceived in its source, the fire-stick, till it is
ignited by percussion. The subtle essence of fire, nevertheless, is not
absent in the stick; for fire can be obtained from the source, the
fire-stick, by striking again. (The state of the Atman before and after
realization). By meditating on the Pranava, the Atman is perceived
manifestly in the body, (but it was there in a latent state even before
I-14: Making one’s own body the lower piece of wood, and the Pranava the
upper piece of wood, and practising churning in the form of meditation,
one should realize God as one would find out something hidden.
I-15-16: As oil in sesame seeds, as butter in curds, as water in
underground springs, as fire in wood, even so this Self is perceived in
the self. He who, by means of truthfulness, self-control and
concentration, looks again and again for this Self, which is
all-pervading like butter contained in milk, and which is rooted in
self-knowledge and meditation – he becomes that Supreme Brahman, the
destroyer of ignorance.
II-1: First harnessing the mind and the senses with a view to realizing
the Truth, and then having found out the light of the fire, the Evolving
Soul brought itself out of the earth.
II-2: With our minds controlled so as to manifest the self-luminous
Immanent Soul, we shall vigorously endeavour for the attainment of
II-3: Controlling the heaven-aspiring senses with the help of the mind
and the intellect, the Immanent Soul so regenerates them as to enable
them to manifest the self-luminous Infinite Light.
II-4: Great is the glory of the Immanent Soul who is all-pervading,
all-knowing, infinite and self-luminous. Only those rare few who know,
undergo the necessary discipline and spiritual practices. The wise do,
indeed, control the activities of the intellect, and practise meditation
II-5: Following only in the footsteps of the wise, I merge you both in
the ancient Brahman by continued meditation. May the Glorious One
manifest Himself ! May the sons of Immortal Bliss hearken to me – even
they who occupy celestial regions !
II-6: Where fire is churned out, where air is controlled, where Soma
juice overflows – there the mind attains perfection.
II-7: Attaining whom thou destroyest the source and art no more troubled
by the results of past actions – to that ancient Brahman be thou devoted
through the Prime Cause, the Immanent Soul.
II-8: Placing the body in a straight posture, holding the chest, throat
and head erect, and drawing the senses and the mind into the heart, the
knowing one should cross over all the fearful currents by means of the
raft of Brahman.
II-9: Controlling the senses with an effort, and regulating the
activities in the body, one should breathe out through the nostrils when
the vital activities become gentle. Then the knowing one, without being
in the least distracted, should keep his hold on the mind as on the
reins attached to restive horses.
II-10: One should perform one’s exercises in concentration, resorting to
caves and such other pure places helpful to its practice – places where
the ground is level without pebbles, and the scenery pleasing to the
eyes; where there is no wind, dust, fire, dampness and disturbing
II-11: Forms that appear like snow, smoke, sun, wind, fire, fire-fly,
lightning, crystal and moon, precede the manifestation of Brahman in
II-12: When the fivefold perception of Yoga, arising from (concentrating
the mind on) earth, water, light, air and ether, have appeared to the
Yogin, then he has become possessed of a body made of the fire of Yoga,
and he will not be touched by disease, old age or death.
II-13: It is said that the first signs of entering Yoga are lightness of
body, health, thirstlessness of mind, clearness of complexion, a
beautiful voice, an agreeable odour and scantiness excretions.
II-14: Just as the same metal disc, which was stained by dust before,
shines brilliantly when cleaned, so the embodied being, seeing the truth
of Atman, realizes oneness, attains the goal and becomes sorrowless.
II-15: When the Yogin realizes the truth of Brahman, through the
perception of the truth of Atman in this body as a self-luminous entity,
then, knowing the Divinity as unborn, eternal and free from all the
modifications of Prakriti, he is freed from all sins.
II-16: This Divinity pervades all directions in their entirety. He is
the first-born (Hiranyagarbha). He has entered into the womb. He alone
is born, and is to be born in future. He is inside all persons as the
Indwelling Self, facing all directions.
II-17: Salutations to that Divinity who is in the fire, who is in the
water, who is in the plants, who is in the trees, who has pervaded the
III-1: It is the self-same One who exists alone at the time of creation
and dissolution of the universe, that assumes manifold powers and
appears as the Divine Lord by virtue of His inscrutable power of Maya.
He it is that protects all the worlds and controls all the various
forces working therein. Those who realize this Being becomes immortal.
III-2: He who protects and controls the worlds by His own powers, He –
Rudra – is indeed one only. There is no one beside Him who can make Him
the second. O men, He is present inside the hearts of all beings. After
projecting and maintaining all the worlds, He finally withdraws them
III-3: Though God, the creator of heaven and earth, is one only, yet
Heaven is the real owner of all the eyes, faces, hands and feet in this
universe. It is Heaven who inspires them all to do their respective
duties in accordance with the knowledge, past actions and tendencies of
the various beings (with whom they appear to be associated).
III-4: May Heaven, who created the gods and supports them; who is the
origin also of the cosmic soul; who confers bliss and wisdom on the
devotes, destroying their sins and sorrows, and punishing all breaches
of law – may Heaven, the great seer and the lord of all, endow us with
III-5: O Lord, who blesses all creatures by revealing the Vedas, deign
to make us happy by Thy calm and blissful self, which roots out terror
as well as sin.
III-6: O revealer of the Vedic truths, deign to make propitious that
arrow which Thou holdest in Thy hand for shooting at somebody. O
protector of devotees, do not destroy that benign personal form of Thine
which has manifested as the universe.
III-7: Higher than this Personal Brahman is the infinite Supreme
Brahman, who is concealed in all beings according to their bodies, and
who, though remaining single, envelops the whole universe. Knowing him
to be the Lord, one becomes immortal.
III-8: I have realized this Great Being who shines effulgent like the
sun beyond all darkness. One passes beyond death only on realizing Him.
There is no other way of escape from the circle of births and deaths.
III-9: There is naught higher than or different from Him; naught greater
or more minute than Him. Rooted in His own glory He stands like a tree,
one without a second and immovable. By that Being the whole universe is
III-10: That Being is far beyond this world, is formless and free from
misery. They who know this become immortal. But all others have indeed
to suffer misery alone.
III-11: Therefore, that Divine Lord, being all-pervading, omnipresent
and benevolent, dwells in the hearts of all beings, and makes use of all
faces, heads and necks in this world.
III-12: This Self is indeed the mighty Lord. He is the imperishable
(internal) light that controls everything. He guides the intellect of
all beings so as to enable them to gain that extremely pure state (of
III-13: Assuming a form of the size of a thumb, by virtue of intellect,
emotion, imagination and will, the Infinite Being dwells in the hearts
of creatures as their inner self. Those who realize this become
III-14: That Infinite Being has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a
thousand feet enveloping the whole universe on all sides. He exists
beyond ten fingers.
III-15: That which is, that which was, and that which is yet to be – all
this is nothing but this Infinite Being. Though He grows beyond His own
nature into the form of the objective universe, He still remains the
lord of immortality.
III-16: With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths
everywhere, with ears everywhere, That exists, pervading everything in
III-17: They realize Him as shining by the functions of all the senses
yet without the senses as the lord of all, the ruler of all, the refuge
of all and the friend of all.
III-18: It is He who resides in the body, the city of nine gates. He is
the soul that sports in the outside world. He is the master of the whole
world, animate and inanimate.
III-19: Without hands and feet He goes fast and grasps; without eyes He
sees; without ears He hears. He knows whatever is to be known, yet there
is none who knows Him. They say He is the foremost, the great Infinite
III-20: Subtler than even the subtlest and greater than the greatest,
the Atman is concealed in the heart of the creature. By the grace of the
Creator, one becomes free from sorrows and desires, and then realizes
Him as the great Lord.
III-21: I know this undecaying primeval Immanent Self of all, who is
omnipresent because of His all-pervasiveness, and whom the expounders of
Brahman declare to be eternally free from birth.
IV-1: May that Divine Being, who, though Himself colourless, gives rise
to various colours in different ways with the help of His own power, for
His own inscrutable purpose, and who dissolves the whole world in
Himself in the end – may He endow us with good thoughts !
IV-2: That Itself is the fire, That is the sun, That is the air, That is
the moon, That is also the starry firmament, That is the Brahman, That
is the waters, That is Prajapati.
IV-3: Thou art the woman, Thou art the man, Thou art the youth and the
maiden too. Thou art the old man who totters along, leaning on the
staff. Thou art born with faces turned in all directions.
IV-4: Thou art the dark blue butterfly, and the green parrot with red
eyes. Thou art the thunder-cloud, the seasons and the oceans. Thou art
without beginning, and beyond all time and space. Thou art He from whom
all the worlds are born.
IV-5: There is a single Female of red, white and black colours, who is
unoriginated, and who produces numerous offsprings resembling herself.
By her side lies one unborn Male out of attachment for her, while
another Male, also unoriginated, forsakes her after having enjoyed her.
IV-6: Two birds of beautiful plumage, who are inseparable friends,
reside on the self-same tree. Of these, one eats the fruits of the tree
with relish while the other looks on without eating.
IV-7: Sitting on the same tree the individual soul gets entangled and
feels miserable, being deluded on account of his forgetting his divine
nature. When he sees the other, the Lord of all, whom all devotees
worship, and realizes that all greatness is His, then he is relieved of
IV-8: Of what avail are the Vedas to him who does not know that
indestructible, highest Ethereal Being, in whom the gods and the Vedas
reside ? Only those who know That are satisfied.
IV-9: The Lord of Maya projects the Vedas, sacrifices, spiritual
practices, past and future, religious observances, all that the Vedas
declare, and the whole world including ourselves. The other, again, is
bound by Maya in this.
IV-10: Know then that Nature is Maya, and that the great God is the Lord
of Maya. The whole world is filled with beings who form His parts.
IV-11: One attains infinite peace on realizing that self-effulgent
Adorable Lord, the bestower of blessings, who, though one, presides over
all the various aspects of Prajapati, and in whom this universe
dissolves, and in whom it appears in manifold forms.
IV-12: May He, who created the gods and supports them; who witnessed the
birth of the cosmic soul; who confers bliss and wisdom on the devoted,
destroying their sins and sorrows, and punishing all breaches of law –
may He, the great seer and the lord of all, endow us with good thoughts
IV-13: Let us offer our worship with oblations to that blissful Divine
Being who is the lord of the Devas, who governs the bipeds and the
quadrupeds and in whom the worlds rest.
IV-14: One attains infinite peace when one realizes that Blissful One
who is subtler than the subtlest, who creates the world in the midst of
chaos, who assumes various forms, and who is the only one that
encompasses the universe.
IV-15: He alone is the protector of the world at the proper time. He is
the lord of the universe hidden in all creatures. In Him the divine
sages and the gods merge themselves. Realizing Him thus, one cuts
asunder the fetters of death.
IV-16: One is released from all fetters on realizing the Blissful One
who encompasses the world, and who hides Himself in all beings in an
extremely subtle form as the essence finer than ghee.
IV-17: This Divinity, who created the universe and who pervades
everything, always dwells in the hearts of creatures, being finitized by
emotions, intellect, will and imagination. Those who realize this become
IV-18: When ignorance is dispelled, there is neither day nor night,
neither being nor non-being. There is only that Auspicious One who is
imperishable, and who is worthy of being adored by the creator. From Him
has proceeded the ancient wisdom.
IV-19: No one can grasp Him above, or across, or in the middle. There is
none equal to Him whose name is great glory.
IV-20: His form does not stand within the range of the senses. No one
perceives Him with the eye. Those who know Him through the faculty of
intuition as thus seated in their heart, become immortal.
IV-21: Some, being afraid, approach Thee, thinking that Thou art the
unborn. O Rudra, deign to protect me with that benevolent face of Thine.
IV-22: Injure us not in respect of children, grand-children and life,
nor in respect of cows and horses. Do not destroy our heroes in Thy
anger, O Rudra. We invoke Thee always with offerings.
V-1: Ignorance leads to the perishable. Wisdom leads to immortality.
Entirely different from these is he, the imperishable, infinite, secret,
Supreme Brahman, in whom exists wisdom as well as ignorance, and who
governs them both.
V-2: He alone presides over Nature in all aspect, and controls every
form and every cause of production. He witnesses the birth of the first
born seer of golden colour and nourishes him with wisdom.
V-3: Differentiating each genus into its species, and each species into
its members, the Supreme Being withdraws them once more into their own
ground. Again, bringing forth the agents of creation, the Great Self
holds sway over them all.
V-4: Just as the sun shines lighting up all space above, below and
across, even so does that one adorable God, the repository of all
goodness and greatness, preside over everything that has the nature of a
V-5: He who is the one source of the world brings out everything out of
His own Nature, and leads creatures to perfection according to their
deserts, and endows each being with its distinguishing characteristic.
Thus he presides over the whole universe.
V-6: He lies hidden in the Upanishads, which form the essence of the
Vedas. Him the Hiranyagarbha knows as the source of Himself and the
Vedas. Those gods and seers who realized Him in former days became
identified with Him, and verily became immortal.
V-7: Only he who gets attached to the pleasurable qualities of things
does work for the sake of its fruits, and enjoys the fruits of his own
deeds. Though really the master of the senses, he becomes bound by the
three Gunas, and assuming various forms, wanders about through the three
paths as a result of his own deeds.
V-8: Subtle as the point of a goad, and pure, effulgent and infinite
like the sun, He alone is seen assuming as another the size of a thumb
on account of the finiteness of the heart (in which He appears), and
associating Himself with egoism and Sankalpa on account of the
limitations of the intellect.
V-9:That individual soul is as subtle as a hairpoint divided and
sub-divided hundreds of times. Yet he is potentially infinite. He has to
V-10: He is neither female, nor male, nor neuter. Whatever body he
assumes, he becomes identified with that.
V-11: By desire, contact, sight and delusion, the embodied soul assumes
successively various forms in various places according to his deeds,
just as the body grows nourished by showers of food and drink.
V-12: The embodied self chooses many forms, gross and subtle, based on
the qualities belonging to himself, to the actions, and to the mind. The
cause of their combination is found to be still another.
V-13: Realizing Him who is without beginning or end, who creates the
cosmos in the midst of chaos, who assumes many forms, and who alone
envelops everything, one becomes free from all fetters.
V-14: That Supreme Divinity who created both Life and Matter, who is the
source of all arts and sciences, who can be intuited by a pure and
devoted mind – realizing Him, the blissful the incorporeal and the
nameless, one is freed from further embodiment.
VI-1: Some deluded thinkers speak of Nature, and others of time, as the
force that revolves this wheel of Brahman. But really all this is only
the glory of God manifested in the world.
VI-2: It should be known that energy assumes various forms such as
earth, water, light, air and ether at the command of Him who is the
master of Gunas and the maker of time, who is omniscient, who is Pure
consciousness itself, and by whom all this is ever enveloped.
VI-3: After setting the creation in motion and withdrawing Himself from
it, He unites the principle of Spirit with the principle of Matter –
with one, with two, with three and with eight – through the mere
instrumentality of time and their own inherent properties.
VI-4: He gives the start to the creation associated with the three Gunas
of Nature, and others all things. Again, in the absence of the Gunas, He
destroys all created objects, and after destruction, remains aloof in
VI-5: By previously meditating as seated in one’s own heart, on that
Adorable Being who appears as the universe, and who is the true source
of all creatures, He can be perceived even though He is the primeval
cause of the union (of Spirit with Matter), as well as the partless
entity transcending the three divisions of time.
VI-6: Knowing Him who is the origin and dissolution of the universe –
the source of all virtue, the destroyer of all sins, the master of all
good qualities, the immortal, and the abode of the universe – as seated
in one’s own self, He is perceived as different from, and transcending,
the tree of Samsara as well as time and form.
VI-7: May we realize Him – the transcendent and adorable master of the
universe – who is the supreme lord over all the lords, the supreme God
above all the gods, and the supreme ruler over all the rulers.
VI-8: His has nothing to achieve for Himself, nor has He any organ of
action. No one is seen equal or superior to Him. His great power alone
is described in the Vedas to be of various kinds, and His knowledge,
strength and action are described as inherent in Him.
VI-9: No one in the world is His master, nor has anybody any control
over Him. There is no sign by which He can be inferred. He is the cause
of all, and the ruler of individual souls. He has no parent, nor is
there any one who is His lord.
VI-10: May the Supreme Being, who spontaneously covers Himself with the
products of Nature, just as a spider does with the threads drawn from
its own navel, grant us absorption in Brahman !
VI-11: God, who is one only, is hidden in all beings. He is
all-pervading, and is the inner self of all creatures. He presides over
all actions, and all beings reside in Him. He is the witness, and He is
the Pure Consciousness free from the three Gunas of Nature.
VI-12: Those wise men, who ever feel in their own hearts the presence of
Him who is the one ruler of the inactive many, and who makes the one
seed manifold – to them belongs eternal happiness, and to none else.
VI-13: He is the eternal among the eternal and the intelligent among all
that are intelligent. Though one, He grants the desires of the many. One
is released from all fetters on realizing Him, the cause of all, who is
comprehensible through philosophy and religious discipline.
VI-14: The sun does not shine there; neither the moon, nor the stars.
There these lightnings shine not – how then this fire ? Because He
shines, everything shines after Him. By His light all this shines.
VI-15: The one destroyer of ignorance in the midst of this universe, He
alone is the fire which is stationed in water. Realizing Him alone one
overcomes death. There is no other path for emancipation.
VI-16: He is the creator of everything as well as the knower of
everything. He is His own source, He is all-knowing, and He is the
destroyer of time. He is the repository of all good qualities, and the
master of all sciences. He is the controller of Matter and Spirit, and
the lord of the Gunas. He is the cause of liberation from the cycle of
birth and death, and of bondage which results in its continuance.
VI-17: He is the soul of the universe, He is immortal, and His is the
rulership. He is the all knowing, the all-pervading, the protector of
the universe, the eternal ruler. None else is there efficient to govern
the world eternally.
VI-18-19: He who at the beginning of creation projected Brahma
(Universal Consciousness), who delivered the Vedas unto him, who
constitutes the supreme bridge of immortality, who is the partless, free
from actions, tranquil, faultless, taintless and resembles the fire that
has consumed its fuel – seeking liberation I go for refuge to that
Effulgent One, whose light turns the understanding towards the Atman.
VI-20: Only when men shall roll up the sky like a skin, will there be an
end of misery for them without realizing God.
VI-21: Himself realizing Brahman by the power of self-control and
concentration of mind, as well as by the grace of God, the sage
Svetasvatara expounded well to the highest order of Sannyasins, the
truth of that supremely holy Brahman resorted to by all the seers.
VI-22: This highest mysticism, expounded in the Vedanta in a former age,
should not be taught to one whose passions have not been subdued, nor to
one who is not a worthy son, nor to an unworthy disciple.
VI-23: These truths, when taught, shine forth only in that high-souled
one who has supreme devotion to God, and an equal degree of devotion to
the spiritual teacher. They shine forth in that high-souled one only.
Om ! May Brahman protect us both together.
May He nourish us both together.
May we both work together, with great energy.
May our study be vigorous and effective.
May we not hate each other.
Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!
Here ends the Svetasvataropanishad, included in the Krishna-Yajur-Veda