Chapter I—The Infinity of
Chapter II—The Three Great
Om. Infinite is That Brahman, infinite in
this manifested universe. From the Infinite Brahman proceeds the infinite.
After the realization of the Great Identity or after the cosmic dissolution,
when the infinity of the infinite universe merges in the Infinite Brahman,
there remains the Infinite Brahman alone.
Om is the Akasa Brahman—the
primeval akasa. It is the akasa containing air, says the son of Kauravayarn.
It (Om) is the Veda—thus the knowers of Brahman know; for through it one
knows what is to be known.
Prajapati had three kinds of offspring:
gods, men and demons (asuras). They lived with Prajapati, practising the
vows of brahmacharins. After finishing their term, the gods said to him:
"Please instruct us, Sir." To them he uttered the syllable da and
"Have you understood?" They replied: "We have. You said to us,
‘Control yourselves (damyata).’ He said: "Yes, you have
Then the men said to him: "Please instruct
us, Sir" To them he uttered the same syllable da and asked:
understood?" They replied: "We have. You said to us, ‘Give (datta).’ He
said: ‘Yes, you have understood.
Chapter III—Brahman as the
Then the demons said to him: "Please
instruct us, Sir." To them he uttered the same syllable da and
"Have you understood?" They replied: "We have. You said to us: ‘Be
compassionate (dayadhvam).’ He said: "Yes, you have understood."
very thing is repeated even today by the heavenly voice, in the form of
thunder, as "Da," "Da," "Da," which means: "Control yourselves," "Give," and
"Have compassion." Therefore one should learn these three: self—control,
giving and mercy.
Chapter IV—Meditation on Satya
Prajapati is this—the heart (intellect).
It (the heart) is Brahman. It is all. Hridayam (the heart) consists of three
syllables. One syllable is hri; and to him who knows this, his own people
and others bring presents. One syllable is da; and to him who knows this,
his own people and others give their powers. One syllable is yam; and he who
knows this goes to heaven.
Chapter V—In Praise of Satya
That intellect Brahman was verily
this—satya alone. And whosoever knows this great, glorious first—born one as
the Satya Brahman conquers these worlds. And his enemy is thus conquered and
becomes non—existent—yes, whosoever knows this great, glorious first—born
one as the Satya Brahman; for Satya indeed is that Brahman.
In the beginning this universe was water
alone. That water produced Satya. Satya is Brahman. Brahman produced
Prajapati and Prajapati the gods. Those gods meditate on Satya. This name
Satya consists of three syllables. Sa is one syllable, ti is one syllable
and ya is one syllable. The first and last syllables are the truth. In the
middle is untruth. This untruth is enclosed on both sides by truth; thus
truth preponderates. Untruth does not hurt him who knows this.
Now, that which is Satya is the sun—the
being who dwells in yonder orb and the being who is in the right eye. These
two rest on each other. The former (the being in the sun) rests on the
latter (the being in the right eye) through his rays and the latter rests on
the former through his organs. When the individual self is about to leave
the body, he sees the solar orb clearly (i.e. without rays). Those rays no
longer come to him.
Of this being who is in the solar orb, the
syllable Bhuh is the head, for there is one head and there is this one
syllable; the word Bhuvah is the arms, for there are two arms and there are
these two syllables; the word Svah is the legs, for there are two legs and
there are these two syllables. His secret name is Ahar. He who knows this
destroys evil and leaves it behind.
Chapter VI—Meditation on Brahman as the
Of this being who is in the right eye, the
syllable Bhur 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 legs, for there are two legs and
there are these two syllables. His secret name is Aham. He who knows this
destroys evil and leaves it behind.
Chapter VII—Meditation on Brahman as
This being identified with the mind and
resplendent by nature is realized by yogis within the heart as of the size
of a grain of rice or barley. He is the lord of all, the ruler of all and
governs all this
—whatever there is.
Chapter VIII—Meditation on the Vedas as a
They say that lightning is Brahman. It is
called lightning (vidyut) because it scatters (vidanat) darkness. Whosoever
knows this—that lightning is Brahman—scatters the evils that are ranged
against him; for lightning is indeed Brahman.
Chapter IX——Meditation on the Vaisvanara
One should meditate upon speech (the
Vedas) as a cow. She (speech) has four teats: the sounds Svaha; Vashat,
Hanta and Svadha. The gods live on two of her teats, Svaha and Vashat; men,
on Hanta; and the Manes on Svadha. Her bull is the vital breath (prana) and
her calf, the mind.
Chapter X——The Path of the Departing
This fire which is within a man and
digests food that is eaten is Vaisvanara. Its sound is that which one hears
by stopping the ears. When a man is about to leave the body, he hears this
sound no more.
When a man departs from this world, he
reaches the air. The air opens there for him as wide as the hole of a
chariot wheel. Through this opening he ascends and reaches the sun. The sun
opens there for him as wide as the hole of a lambara. By this opening he
ascends and reaches the moon. The moon opens there for him as wide as the
hole of a drum. By this opening he ascends and reaches a World free from
grief and cold. There he dwells for endless years.
Chapter XI—The Supreme
Chapter XII—Meditation on Food and the
Vital Breath as Brahman
The supreme austerity is indeed that a man
suffers when he is ill. He who knows this wins the highest world.
supreme austerity is indeed that a man, after death, is carried to the
forest. He who knows this wins the highest world.
The supreme austerity
is indeed that a man, after death, is laid on the fire. He who knows this
wins the highest world.
Chapter XIII—Meditation on the Vital
Some say that food is Brahman; but this is
not so, for food decays without the vital breath (prana). Others say that
the vital breath is Brahman; but this is not so, for the vital breath dries
up without food. These two deities (food and the vital breath), when they
become united, attain the highest state (Brahmanhood). Thus reflecting,
Pratrida said to his father: "What good, indeed, can I do him who knows this
and what evil can I do him either?"
His father answered, stopping him
with a gesture of his hand: "Oh, no, Pratrida; for who would attain the
highest merely by being identified with these two?"
Further, he (the
father) said to him this: "It is vi; food is verily vi, for all these
creatures rest (visanti) on food. It is ram; the vital breath is ram, for
all these creatures delight (ramante) in the vital breath." All creatures
rest on him, all creatures delight in him, who knows this.
One should meditate on the vital breath as
the Uktha. The vital breath is the Uktha, for it raises up (utthapayati) all
this universe. From him who knows this there is raised a son who is a knower
of the vital breath and he wins union with and abode in the same world as
One should meditate upon the vital breath
as the Yajus. The vital breath is the Yajus, for all these beings are united
(yujyante) with one another if the vital breath is present. All beings are
united to give eminence to him who knows this and he wins union with and
abode in the same world as the Yajus (vital breath).
One should meditate upon the vital breath
as the Saman. The vital breath is the Saman, for all these beings meet
(samyanchi) if the Saman (vital breath) is present. For the sake of him who
knows this all beings are united and they succeed in giving him eminence;
and he wins union with and abode in the same world as the Saman.
Chapter XIV—The Sacred
One should meditate upon the vital breath
as the Kshatra. The vital breath is the Kshatra, for the vital breath
protects (trayate) the body from wounds (khanitoh). He who knows this
attains the Kshatra (vital breath) which needs no other protector and he
wins union with and abode in the same world as the Kshatra.
The words Bhumi (earth), Antariksha (sky)
and Dyaus (heaven) form eight syllables and the first foot of the Gayatri
consists of eight syllables. So the three worlds constitute the first foot
of the Gayatri. Whosoever knows this about the first foot of the Gayatri
wins all that is in the three worlds.
Richah, Yajumshi and Samani form eight
syllables and the second foot of the Gayatri consists of eight syllables. So
these three Vedas constitute the second foot of the Gayatri. Whosoever thus
knows the second foot of the Gayatri wins as much as that treasury of
knowledge, the three Vedas, has to confer.
Prana, apana and vyana form eight
syllables and the third foot of the Gayatri. consists of eight syllables. So
these three forms of the vital breath constitute the third foot of the
Gayatri. Whosoever knows this about the third foot of the Gayatri wins all
the living beings that are in the universe.
Now, its turiya, apparently
visible (darsata) and supramundane (paroraja) foot is this—sun that glows
yonder. That which is fourth is called turiya. He (the being in the solar
orb) is apparently visible (darsata), because he is seen, as it were, by the
yogis. He is supramundane (paroraja), because he shines alone on the whole
universe as its overlord. He who thus knows the fourth foot of the Gayatri
shines with splendour and glory.
That Gayatri rests on that fourth,
apparently visible, supramundane foot. And that, again, rests on truth. The
eye is truth, for the eye is indeed truth. Therefore, even today, if two
persons come disputing, one saying: "I saw it," and another: "I heard of
it," we should trust the one who says: "I saw it.
That truth rests on
strength. The vital breath (prana) is strength. Hence truth rests on the
vital breath. Therefore they say that strength is more powerful than
Thus the Gayatri is based on the vital breath within the body.
That Gayatri protected the gayas. The organs are the gayas; therefore the
Gayatri protected (tatre) the organs. Because it protected the organs, it is
called the Gayatri. The Savitri verse, which the teacher communicates to the
pupil, is no other than this. It saves the organs of the pupil to whom it is
imparted by the teacher.
Some impart to the pupil the Savitri which
is in the Anushtubh metre, saying: "The goddess of speech is Anushtubh; so
we shall impart it to him."
But one should not do that. One should impart
only that Savitri which is Gayatri. Verily, if one who knows this accepts
too much as a gift, as it were, it is not enough for even one foot of the
If he (the knower of the Gayatri) accepts
as a gift the three worlds full of wealth, he will be receiving the fruit of
knowing only the first foot of the Gayatri. If he accepts as a gift as much
as this treasury of knowledge, the Vedas, has to confer, he will be
receiving the fruit of knowing only the second foot of the Gayatri. And if
he accepts as a gift as much as is covered by all living creatures in the
world, he will be receiving the fruit of knowing only the third foot of the
Gayatri. While the fruit of knowing its fourth, apparently visible,
supramundane foot—yonder sun that glows—is not to be counterbalanced by any
Indeed, how could anyone receive so much as a
The salutation to the Gayatri:
Gayatri, thou art one—footed, two—footed, three—footed and four—footed. And
thou art without any feet, for thou art unattainable. Salutation to thee,
fourth foot, apparently visible and supramundane! May the enemy never attain
Should the knower of the Gayatri bear hatred towards anyone,
he should either use this mantra: "May his desired object never
flourish!"—in which case that object of the person against whom he thus
salutes the Gayatri never flourishes—or he may say: "May I attain that
cherished object of his!"
Chapter XV—The Prayer of a Dying
On this subject Janaka, Emperor of Videha,
said to Budila, the son of Asvatarasva: "Well, how is it that you, who
called yourself a knower of the Gayatri, have come to he an elephant and are
He replied: "Because, Your Majesty, I did not know its
Janaka said: "Fire is its mouth. If people put a large quantity
of fuel into the fire, it is all burnt up. Similarly, a man who knows this,
even if he commits a great many sins, consumes them all and becomes pure,
clean and free from decay and death."
The door (real nature) of the truth (Satya
Brahman) is covered by a golden disc. Open it, O Nourisher! Remove it so
that I who have been worshipping the truth may behold it.
O Nourisher! O
lone Traveller of the sky! O Controller! O Sun!
O Offspring of Prajapati!
Gather your rays. Withdraw your light. I would see through your grace that
form of yours which is the most benign. I am indeed He, that purusha who
dwells in the sun. I am immortal.
Now when my body falls may my breath
return to the all—pervading Prana! May this body, reduced to ashes, return
to the earth!
Om. O Fire, who art the symbol Om, O god of deliberations,
remember, remember all that I have done.
O Fire, lead us by the good path
towards the enjoyment of the fruit of our action. You know, O god, all our
deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit. We offer by words repeated salutations to
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