The Couch Of Brahman

Kitra Gangyayani, wishing to perform a sacrifice, chose Aruni Uddalaka,

to be his chief priest. But Aruni sent his son, Svetaketu, and said:

"Perform the sacrifice for him." When Svetaketu had arrived, Kitra asked

him: "Son of Gautama, is there a hidden place in the world where you are

able to place me, or is it the other way, and are you going to place me

in the world to which that other way leads?"[14]

He answered and said: "I do not know this. But, let me ask the master."

Having approached his father, he asked: "Thus has Kitra asked me; how

shall I answer?"

Aruni said: "I also do not know this. Only after having learnt the

proper portion of the Veda in Kitra's own dwelling, shall we obtain what

others give us, i.e., knowledge. Come, we will both go."

Having said this he took fuel in his hand, like a pupil, and approached

Kitra Gangyayani, saying: "May I come near to you?" He replied: "You are

worthy of Brahman, O Gautama, because you were not led away by pride.

Come hither, I shall make you know clearly."

And Kitra said: "All who depart from this world go to the moon. In the

former, the bright half, the moon delights in their spirits; in the

other, the dark half, the moon sends them on to be born again. Verily,

the moon is the door of the Svarga, i.e., the heavenly world. Now, if a

man objects to the moon and is not satisfied with life there, the moon

sets him free. But if a man does not object, then the moon sends him

down as rain upon this earth. And according to his deeds and according

to his knowledge he is born again here as a worm, or as an insect, or as

a fish, or as a bird, or as a lion, or as a boar, or as a serpent, or as

a tiger, or as a man, or as something else in different places. When he

has thus returned to the earth, someone, a sage, asks: 'Who art thou?'

And he should answer: 'From the wise moon, who orders the seasons, when

it is born consisting of fifteen parts, from the moon who is the home of

our ancestors, the seed was brought. This seed, even me, they, the gods,

mentioned in the Pankagnividya, gathered up in an active man, and

through an active man they brought me to a mother. Then I, growing up to

be born, a being living by months, whether twelve or thirteen, was

together with my father, who also lived by years of twelve or thirteen

months, that I might either know the true Brahman or not know it.

Therefore, O ye seasons, grant that I may attain immortality, i.e.,

knowledge of Brahman. By this my true saying, by this my toil, beginning

with the dwelling in the moon and ending with my birth on earth, I am

like a season, and the child of the seasons.' 'Who art thou?' the sage

asks again. 'I am thou,' he replies. Then he sets him free to proceed


"He, at the time of death, having reached the path of the gods, comes to

the world of Agni, or fire, to the world of Vayu, or air, to the world

of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Pragapati, to the

world of Brahman. In that world there is the lake Ara, the moments

called Yeshtiha, the river Vigara, i.e., age-less, the tree Ilya, the

city Salagya, the palace Aparagita, i.e., unconquerable, the

door-keepers Indra and Pragapati, the hall of Brahman, called Vibhu

(built by vibhu, egoism), the throne Vikakshana, i.e., perception, the

couch Amitaugas or endless splendor, and the beloved Manasi, i.e., mind,

and her image Kakshushi, the eye, who, as if taking flowers, are weaving

the worlds, and the Apsaras, the Ambas, or sacred scriptures, and

Ambayavis, or understanding, and the rivers Ambayas leading to the

knowledge of Brahman. To this world he who knows the Paryanka-vidya

approaches. Brahman says to him: 'Run towards him, servants, with such

worship as is due to myself. He has reached the river Vigara, the

age-less, he will never age.'

"Then five hundred Apsaras go towards him, one hundred with garlands in

their hands, one hundred with ointments in their hands, one hundred with

perfumes in their hands, one hundred with garments in their hands, one

hundred with fruit in their hands. They adorn him with an adornment

worthy of Brahman, and when thus adorned with the adornment of Brahman,

the knower of Brahman moves towards Brahman. He comes to the lake Ara,

and he crosses it by the mind, while those who come to it without

knowing the truth, are drowned. He comes to the moments called Yeshtiha,

they flee from him. He comes to the river Vigara, and crosses it by the

mind alone, and there shakes off his good and evil deeds. His beloved

relatives obtain the good, his unbeloved relatives the evil he has done.

And as a man, driving in a chariot, might look at the two wheels without

being touched by them, thus he will look at day and night, thus at good

and evil deeds, and at all pairs, all correlative things, such as light

and darkness, heat and cold. Being freed from good and freed from evil,

he, the knower of Brahman, moves towards Brahman.

"He approaches the tree Ilya, and the odor of Brahman reaches him. He

approaches the city Salagya, and the flavor of Brahman reaches him. He

approaches the palace Aparagita, and the splendor of Brahman reaches

him. He approaches the door-keepers Indra and Pragapati, and they run

away from him. He approaches the hall Vibhu, and the glory of Brahman

reaches him and he thinks, 'I am Brahman.' He approaches the throne

Vikakshana. The Saman verses, Brihad and Rathantara, are the eastern

feet of that throne; the Saman verses, Syaita and Naudhasa, its western

feet; the Saman verses, Vairupa and Vairaga, its sides lengthways, south

and north; the Saman verses, Sakvara and Raivata, its sides crossways,

east and west. That throne is Pragna, knowledge, for by knowledge,

self-knowledge, he sees clearly. He approaches the couch Amitaugas. That

is Prana, i.e., speech. The past and the future are its eastern feet;

prosperity and earth its western feet; the Saman verses, Brihad and

Rathantara, are the two sides lengthways of the couch, south and north;

the Saman verses, Bhadra and Yagnayagniya, are its cross-sides at the

head and feet, east and west; the Rik and Saman are the long sheets,

east and west; the Yagus the cross-sheets, south and north; the

moon-beam the cushion; the Udgitha the white coverlet; prosperity the

pillow. On this couch sits Brahman, and he who knows himself one with

Brahman, sitting on the couch, mounts it first with one foot only. Then

Brahman says to him: 'Who art thou?' and he shall answer: 'I am like a

season, and the child of the seasons, sprung from the womb of endless

space, from the light, from the luminous Brahman. The light, the origin

of the year, which is the past, which is the present, which is all

living things, and all elements, is the Self. Thou art the Self. What

thou art, that am I.' Brahman says to him: 'Who am I?' He shall answer:

'That which is, the true.' Brahman asks: 'What is the true?' He says to

him: 'What is different from the gods and from the senses that is Sat,

but the gods and the senses are Tyam. Therefore, by that name Sattya, or

true, is called all this whatever there is. All this thou art.' This is

also declared by a verse: 'This great Rishi, whose belly is the Yagus,

the head the Saman, the form the Rik, is to be known as being

imperishable, as being Brahman.'

"Brahman says to him: 'How dost thou obtain my male names?' He should

answer: 'By breath.' Brahman asks: 'How my female names?' He should

answer: 'By speech.' Brahman asks: 'How my neuter names?' He should

answer: 'By mind.' 'How smells?' 'By the nose.' 'How forms?' 'By the

eye.' 'How sounds?' 'By the ear.' 'How flavors of food?' 'By the

tongue.' 'How actions?' 'By the hands.' 'How pleasures and pain?' 'By

the body.' 'How joy, delight, and offspring?' 'By the organ.' 'How

journeyings?' 'By the feet.' 'How thoughts, and what is to be known and

desired?' 'By knowledge alone.'

"Brahman says to him: 'Water indeed is this my world, the whole Brahman

world, and it is thine.'

"Whatever victory, whatever might belongs to Brahman, that victory and

that might he obtains who knows this, yea, who knows this."[15]

The channels run everywhere, the creeper (of passion) stands sprouting; if The course and nature of things is such that facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail