The Kausitaki Upanishad, Chapter Four

Self-realization

Translation by Jayaram V

The fourth Chapter of the Kausitaki Upanishad is a re-rendition of the dialogue between a Brahmana scholar, Gargya Balaki and a Kshatriya King Ajatashatru. It was originally mentioned in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It confirms the theory which we proposed in the first chapter that part of the knowledge of the Upanishad came to us from the Kshatriya kings, or the philosopher kings, like Ajatashatru and King Janaka. The chapter reflects the partial or rather the erroneous knowledge of Brahman, which prevailed during that period. Until he met him, Balaki was unaware of his ignorance of Brahman. When he realized that his knowledge of Brahman was incomplete and imperfect, he readily became his disciple and learned from him the true knowledge of the Self, the source and support of all.


Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four |

Chapter 4

Partial Definitions of Brahman

1. atha ha vai gargyo balakir anucanah samspasta asa so'vasad usinaresu savasan matsyesu kurupancalesu kasividehesv iti sa hajatasatrum kasyame abrajyovaca: brahma te bravaniti tam hovaca ajatasatruh sahasram dadma iti etasyam vaci janako janaka iti va u jana dhavantiti.

1. Now, Gargya Balaki was renowned as a famous person of great erudtion, for it was said of him that he lived among the people of Usinara, Matsya, Kurupancala and Kasivideha. He once went to Ajatasatru and said, "Let me speak about Brahman to you." Ajatasatru said, "A thousand I give you. For that (gift), people would rush forward saying, "O king, O king."

Notes: The same story is also found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (2.1) with some variations. Although Balaki was an erudite scholar who lived among many people and participated in many discussions, tradition identifies him as proud (drpta) Balaki because of his vanity and limited knowledge of Brahman.

22. aditye brhac candramasy annam vidyuti satyam stanayitnau sabdo, vayav indro vaikuntha akase purnam, agnau visahir it, apsu teja ity adhidaivatam; athadyatmam, adarse pratirupas-chayayam dvitiyah, pratisrutkayam asur iti sabde mrtyuh svapne yamah sarire prajaptih daksine aksini vacah sarve'ksini satyasya.

2. In the sun which is great, in the moon, in food, in lightning, in truth, in the sound of the thunder, in wind, in Indra Vaikuntha, in the space which is full, in the fire which is the vanquisher, in the water, in the light, this is with reference to the deities. Now, regarding the Self, in the reflection of the mirror, in the shadow the second, in the echos of life, in the sounds of death, in the body which is Prajapati, in the right eye which is speech and in the left eye which is truth.

Notes: This verse provides a summary of the discussion that is to follow between Balaki and Ajataasatru. /p>

33. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa aditye purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovac ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah brihatpandaravasa atisthah sarvesam bhutanam murdheti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste'atisthah sarvesam bhutanam murdha bhavati.

3. Then Balaki said, "That person in the sun, him I worship (as Brahman)." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him who is the great, who wears white garments, the highest and the head of all beings. He who meditates upon him thus, becomes the highest and the head of all beings."

Notes: In some texts, the expression "tam evaham upasa" is substituted with "tam evaham upasa brahmopasa" meaning I worship him as Brahman. In the text used here the reference to Brahman is omitted. However the implication is the same.

44. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa candramasi purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh, ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah somo raja annasyatmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste'annasyatma bhavati.

4. Then Balaki said, "That person in the moon, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the King Soma, the self of all food. He who meditates upon him thus, becomes the Self of all food."

Notes: In some texts the reference to the moon as Soma raja is not mentioned. However, I decided to keep it since the moon is popularly known in the Vedic tradition as Soma. /p>

55. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa vidyuti purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah satyasyatmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste satyastma bhavati.

5. Then Balaki said, "That person in the lightning, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the self of truth. Whoever meditates upon him thus be-comes the Self of truth."

Notes: In some texts the lighting is described as the self of light (tejasyatma) /p>

66. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa stanayitnau purusa etam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah sabdasyatmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste sabdasyatma bhavati.

6.. Then Balaki said, "That person in the thunder, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the self of the sound. Whoever meditates upon him thus becomes the Self of sound."

7. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa vayau purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah indro vaikuntho'aparajita seneti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste jisnur ha va aparajayisnur anyatastyajayi bhavati.

7. Then Balaki said, "That person in the air, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as Indra Vaikuntha, the unvanquished army. Whoever medi-tates upon him thus becomes victorious, invincible and conquerors of his enemies."

8. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa akase purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah purnam apravarti brahmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste puryate prajaya pasubhir yasasa brahmavarcasena svargena lokena sarvam ayur eti.

8. Then Balaki said, "That person in the space, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as full, transcendental Brahman. Whoever meditates upon him thus becomes filled with progeny, cattle, fame, the luster of Brah-man and the heavenly world. He lives for the full span of his life."

Notes: Apravarti means beyond nature. Hence it is translated here as transcendental. Some translated it as inactive, meaning non-reacting. /p>

99. sa hovaca balakih ya evaiso'agnau purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah visasahiriti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste visasahirva esa bhavati.

9. Then Balaki said, "That person in the fire, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the all conquering. Whoever meditates upon him thus be-comes the all conquering among others."

10. sa hovaca balakih ya evaiso'apsu purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah tejasa atmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste tejasa atma bhavati iti adhidaivatam athadhyatmam.

10. Then Balaki said, "That person in the worship, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the self of light. Whoever meditates upon him thus becomes the self of light." Thus with reference to the deities. Now with reference to the body.

Notes: In some texts "tejasatma" is replaced by "namniasyatma" meaning the Self of the name. /p>

111. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa adarse purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah pratirupa iti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste pratirupo haivasya prajayamajayate napratirupah.

11. Then Balaki said, "That person in the mirror, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the reflection. Whoever meditates upon him thus, to him is born a splitting image of him among his offspring, not one who is not his splitting image."

12. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa cchayayam purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah dvitiyo'anapaga iti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste vindate dvitiyat dvitiyavan bhavati.

12. Then Balaki said, "That person in the shadow, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the double. Whoever meditates upon him thus, begets a double and becomes a possessor of his double."

Notes: The double may be a son, a loyal disciple or follower, who follows him dutifully like his shadow. /p>

113. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa pratisrutkaya purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah asur iti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste na pura kalat sammoham iti.

13. Then Balaki said, "That person in the echo, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the life. Whoever meditates upon him thus, does not pass into unconsciousness before his time."

Notes: In some texts, it is stated that Ajatasatru worshipped echo as wife who would never leave or fail to respond. And thus who ever worshipped him thus got a second from his second (wife). /p>

114. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa sabde purusas tam vaham upasa iti, tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah mrtyur iti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste na pura kalat praititi.

14. Then Balaki said, "That person in the sound, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as death. Whoever meditates upon him thus, does die before his time."

15. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa purusah suptah svapnaya carati tam evaham upasa iti, tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah yamo rajeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste sarvam hasma idam sraisthyaya yamyate.

15. Then Balaki said, "That person who when asleep moves about in the dreams, him him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as King Yama. Whoever medi-tates upon him thus, all that is here is conquered for his wellbeing."

16. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa sarirah purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavada-yisthah prajapatir iti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upaste prajayate prajaya pasubhir, yasasa brahma varcasena svargena lokena sarvam ayur iti.

16. Then Balaki said, "That person in the body, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as Prajapati. Whoever meditates upon him thus, flourishes with offspring, cattle, fame, the luster of Brahman, the heavenly world and reaches the full span of his life."

17. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa daksine'ksini purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah vaca atmagner atma jyotista atmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upasta etesam sarvesam atma bhavati.

16. Then Balaki said, "That person in the right eye, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the self of speech, as the self of fire and as the self of light. Whoever meditates upon him thus, becomes the self of all these."

18. sa hovaca balakih ya evaisa savye'ksani purusas tam evaham upasa iti tam hovaca ajatasatruh ma maitasmin samavadayisthah satyasyatma vidyuta atma tejasa atmeti va aham etam upasa iti sa yo haitam evam upasta etesam sarvesam atma bhavatiti.

18. Then Balaki said, "That person in the left eye, him I worship." Ajatasatru said, "Please do not make me to debate on him. I meditate upon him as the self of truth and as the self of the lightning. Whoever meditates upon him thus, becomes the self of all these."

19. tata u ha balakih tusnimasa tam hovac ajatasatruh etavann u balaka iti etavad iti hovaca balakih tam hovaca ajatasatruh mrisa vai kila ma samvadistha brahma te bravaniti hovaca yo vai balaka etesam purusanam karta yasya vai tat karma sa veditavya iti tata u ha balakih samitpanih praticakrama upayaniti tam hovaca ajatasatruh pratiloma rupam eva tan manye yat ksatriyo brahmanam upanayetaihi vyeva, tva jnapayisyamiti tam ha panav abhipadya pravavraja tau ha suptam purusam ajamatuh tam hajatasatruh amantrayamcakre brihatpandaravasah somarajann iti sa u ha sisya eva tata u hainam yastya viciksepa sa tata eva samuttasthau tam hovaca ajatasatruh kvaisa etad balake puruso'sayista kvaitad pabhut kuta etad agad iti hita nama purusasya yatraitad uritatam abhipratanvanti, tad yatha sahasradha keso vipatitas tavad anvyah pingalasyanimna tisthanti, suklasya krsnasya pitasya lohitasya ca tasu tada bhavati yada suptah svapnam na kancana pasyati.

19. Thereafter, Balaki became silent. To him Ajatasatru said, "Balaki, is that all?" "That is all," replied Balaki. To him Ajatasatru said, "Vainly, did you engage me in this discussion, saying, 'Let me tell you about

Brahman.' Truly, O Balaki, who is the doer among the persons, whose work all this is, he alone should be known." Thereupon, Balaki ap-proached with fuel in his hand, saying, "I approach you as student." To him Ajatasatru said, "It is against the tradition for a Kshatriya to initi-ate a Brahmana as a student. Come, I will make you know it clearly." Then, holding his hand, he walked him to a person who was sleeping. Then Ajatasatru addressed him saying, "O great white robed one, O King Soma" He remained asleep. Then, he nudged him with a stick and he woke up immediately. Ajatasatru said, "Where was this person when he was asleep, O Balaki? What happened to him? And from where did he return?" Balaki had no answers. Then Ajatasatru said to him, "Where this person was, where it happened and from where he returned, which I asked, that place is the arteries named hita, inside a person, spreading from the heart into the body. As small as a hair di-vided into a thousand fold, they consist of a subtle matter which is white, black, yellow and red. In them one remains while sleeping and sees no dreams whatsoever."

20. athasmin prana evaikadha bhavati tad enam vak sarvair namabhih sahapyeti caksuh sarvaih rupaih sahpyeti srotram sarvaih sabdaih sahapyeti, manah sarvair dhynaih sahapyeti sa yada pratibudhyate yathgner jvalatah sarva dis visphulinga vipratistherann evam evaitasmad atmamanah prana yathaya-tanam vipratisthante pranebhyo deva devebhyo loka sa esa prana eva prajnatmedam sariram atmanam anupravista atoma-bhya anakhebhyah tad yatha ksurah ksura dhane'vopahito visvabharo va visvambharakulaya evaisa prajnatme-dam sari-ram atmanam anupravista alomabhya anakhebhyah tam etam atmanam eta atmano'nvavasyante: yatha sresthinam svas tad yatha sresthsvair bhunkte yatha va svah sresthinam bhunjanty evam evaisa prajnatmaitair atmabhir bhunktam evam evaita atmana etam atmanam bhunjanti sa yavaddha va indra etam atmanam na vijajne tavad enam asura abhibahuvuh sa yada vijajne'tha hatvasuran vijitya sarvesam ca devanam sarvesam ca bhutanam srayisthyam svarajyam adhipatyam paryait tatho evaivam vidvan sarvan papmano'pahalya sarve-sam ca bhuta-nam sraisthyam svarajyam adhipatyam paryeti ya evam veda, ya evam veda.

20. Now, in this breath only he becomes one. The speech along with all names goes to it. The eye with all forms goes to it. The ear with all sounds goes to it. The mind with all thoughts goes to it. When he wakes up, just as the sparks from a blazing fire fly in all directions, so do the breaths (organs) rush to their respective positions, from the breaths to the deities and from the deities to their worlds. This breath and so also the intelligent self enter into the body up to the end of the hairs and nails. Just as a barber's knife might be hidden in a case, or as fire in a fire place, so is the self of intelligence spread in the body up to the very end of hairs and nails. All these many organs are located inside the Self only. They depend upon it just as his men depend upon the chief. Just as the chief enjoys the services of his men, or just as they render him service, so does the intelligent self enjoy the services of these organs while they render service to the intelligent self. Truly, so long as Indra did not know the Self (which is intelligence), the demons were able to overwhelm him. When he understood it, he destroyed them and con-quered them. He achieved greatness, sovereignty and lordship among all gods and all beings. He who knows this, also overcomes all evils, and attains eminence, sovereignty and lordship among all beings, he who knows this, yes he who knows this.

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Attribution: Reproduced with permission from the Selected Upanishads, A Collection of 14 Upanishads with Devanagari Script, Translation and Notes, Editor and Translation: Jayaram V, Published by PurelifeVision Books, USA, 2013.