Introduction to the Upanishads, vol. 2
Sacred Books of the East
By various Oriental scholars
and edited by
F. Max Müller
Translated by F. Max Müller
In two parts
THIS second volume completes the translation of the principal Upanishads to which Sankara appeals in his great commentary on the Vedânta-Sûtras 1, viz.:
2. Talavakâra or Kena-upanishad,
5. Vâgasaneyi or Îsâ-upanishad,
These eleven have sometimes  been called the old and genuine Upanishads, though I shomld be satisfied to call them the eleven classical Upanishads, or the fundamental Upanishads of the Vedânta philosophy.
Vidyâranya , in his 'Elucidation of the meaning of all the Upanishads,' Sarvopanishadarthânubhûti-prakâsa, confines himself likewise to those treatises, dropping, however, the Îsâ, and adding the Maitrâyana-upanishad, of which I have given a translation in this volume, and the Nrisimhottara-tapanîya-upanishad, the translation of which had to be reserved for the next volume.
[1. See Deussen,Vedânta, Einleitung, p. 38. Sankara occasionally refers also to the Paingi, Agnimhasya, Gâbâla, and Nârâyanîya Upanishads.
2. Deussen, loc. cit. p. 82.
3. I state this on the authority of Professor Cowell. See also Fitzedward Hall, Index to the Bibliography of the Indian Philosophical Systems, pp. 116 and 236.]
It is more difficult to determine which of the Upanishads were chosen by Sankara or deserving the honour of a special commentary. We possess his commentaries on the eleven Upanishads mentioned before , with the exception of the Kaushîtaki -upanishad. We likewise possess his commentary on the Mândûkya-upanishad, but we do not know for certain whether he left commentaries on any of the other Upanishads. Some more or less authoritative statements have been made that he wrote commentaries on some of the minor Upanishads, such as the Atharvasiras, Atharva-sikhâ, and the Nrisimhatâpani . But as, besides Sankarâkârya, the disciple of Govinda, there is Sankarânanda, the disciple of Ânandâtman, another writer of commentaries on the Upanishads, it is possible that the two names may have been confounded by less careful copyists 4.
With regard to the Nrisimhatâpanî all uncertainty might seem to be removed, after Professor Râmamaya Tarkaratna has actually published its text with the commentary of Sankarâkârya in the Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1871. But some uncertainty still remains. While at the end of each Khanda of the Nrisimha-pûrvatâpanî we read that the Bhâshya was the work of the Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkârya Srî-Sankara, the pupil of Govinda, we have no such information for the Nrisimha-uttaratâpani, but are told on the contrary that the words Srî-Govindabhagavat &c. have been added at the end by the editor, because he thought fit to do so. This is, to say the least, very suspicious, and we must wait for further confirmation. There is another commentary on this Upanishad by Nârâyanabhatta, the son of Bhatta Ratnâkara , who is well known as the author of Dîpikâs on several Upanishads.
[1. They have been published by Dr. Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica.
2 Dr. Weber's statement that Sankara wrote a commentary on the Kaushîtaki-upanishad has been corrected by Deussen, loc. cit. p. 39.
3. See Deussen, loc. cit. p. 39.
4. A long list of works ascribed to Sankara may be seen in Regnaud, Philosophie de I'Inde, p. 34, chiefly taken from Fitzedward Hall's Index of Indian Philosophical Systems.
5. See Tarkaratna's Vigñâpana, p. 3, 1. 5.]
I subjoin a list of thirty of the smaller Upanishads, published by Professor Râmamaya Tarkaratna in the Bibliotheca Indica, with the commentaries of Nârâyanabhatta.
1. Sira-upanishad, pp. 1-10; Dîpikâ by Nârâyana, pp. 42-60.
2. Garbha-upanishad, pp. 11-15; pp. 60-73
3. Nâdavindu-upanishad, pp. 15-I7; pp. 73-78.
4. Brahmavindu-upanishad, pp, 18-20; pp. 78-82.
5. Amritavindu-upanishad, pp. 21-25; pp. 83-101
6. Dhyânavindu-upanishad, pp.26-28; pp. 102-114
7. Tegovindu-upanishad, pp. 29-30; pp. 114-118.
8. Yogasikhâ-upanishad, pp. 31-32; pp.118-122.
9. Yogatattva-upanishad, pp. 33-34; pp.122-127.
10. Sannyâsa-upanishad, pp. 35-39; pp. 128-184
11. Aruneya-upanishad, pp. 39-41; pp.184-196.
12. Brahmavidyâ-upanishad, pp. 197-203; ibidem.
13. Kshurikâ-upanishad, pp. 203-218;
14. Kûlikâ-upanishad, pp. 219-228;
15. Atharvasikhâ-upanishad, pp-229-238;
16. Brahma-upanishad, pp. 239-259;
17. Prânâgnihotra-upanishad, pp. 260-271;
18. Nîlarudra-upanishad, pp. 272-280;
19. Kanthasruti-upanishad, pp. 281-294;
20. Pinda-upanishad, pp. 295-298;
21. Âtma-upanishad, pp. 299-303;
22. Râmapûrvatâpanîya-upanishad, pp. 304-358;
23. Râmottaratâpanîya-upanishad, pp. 359-384;
24. Hanumadukta-Râma-upanishad, pp. 385-393;
25. Sarvopanishat-sârah, pp. 394-404;
26. Hamsa-upanishad, pp. 404-416;
27. Paramahamsa-upanishad, pp. 417-436;
28. Gâbâla-upanishad, pp. 437-455;
29. Kaivalya-upanishad, pp. 456-464;
Kaivalya-upanishad, pp. 465-479; Dîpikâ by Sankarânanda,
30. Garuda-upanishad, pp. 480 seq.; Dipikâ by Nârâyana,
We owe to the same editor in the earlier numbers of the Bibliotheca the following editions:
Nrisimhapûrvatâparî-upanishad, with commentary.
Nrisimhottaratâpanî-upanishad, with commentary.
Shatkakra-upanishad, with commentary by Nârâyana.
Lastly, Harakandra Vidyâbhûshana and Visvanâtha Sâstrî have published in the Bibliotheca Indica an edition of the Gopâlatâpani-upanishad, with commentary by Visvesvara.
These editions of the text and commentaries of the Upanishads are no doubt very useful, yet there are many passages where the text is doubtful, still more where the commentaries leave us without any help.
Whatever other scholars may think of the difficulty of translating the Upanishads, I can only repeat what I have said before, that I know of few Sanskrit texts presenting more formidable problems to the translator than these philosophical treatises. It may be said that most of them had been translated before. No doubt they have been, and a careful comparison of my own translation with those of my predecessors will show, I believe, that a small advance, at all events, has now been made towards a truer understanding of these ancient texts. But I know full well how much still remains to be done, both in restoring a correct text, and in discovering the original meaning of the Upanishads; and I have again and again had to translate certain passages tentatively only, or following the commentators, though conscious all the time that the meaning which they extract from the text cannot be the right one.
As to the text, I explained in my preface to the first volume that I attempted no more than to restore the text, such as it must have existed at the time when Sankara wrote his commentaries. As Sankara lived during the ninth century A.D., and as we possess no MSS. of so early a date, all reasonable demands of textual criticism would thereby seem to be satisfied. Yet, this is not quite so. We may draw such a line, and for the present keep within it, but scholars who hereafter take up the study of the
[1. India, What can it teach us? p. 360.]
Upanishads will probably have to go beyond. Where I had an opportunity of comparing other commentaries, besides those of Sankara, it became quite clear that they often followed a different text, and when, as in the case of the Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad, I was enabled to collate copies which came from the South of India, the opinion which I have often expressed of the great value of Southern MSS. received fresh confirmation. The study of Grantha and other Southern MSS. will inaugurate, I believe, a new period in the critical treatment of Sanskrit texts, and the text of the Upanishads will, I hope, benefit quite as much as later texts by the treasures still concealed in the libraries of the Dekhan.
The rule which I have followed myself, and which I have asked my fellow translators to follow, has been adhered to in this new volume also, viz. whenever a choice has to be made between what is not quite faithful and what is not quite English, to surrender without hesitation the idiom rather than the accuracy of the translation. I know that all true scholars have approved of this, and if some of our critics have been offended by certain unidiomatic expressions occurring in our translations, all I can say is, that we shall always be most grateful if they would suggest translations which are not only faithful, but also idiomatic. For the purpose we have in view, a rugged but faithful translation seems to us more useful than a smooth but misleading one.
However, we have laid ourselves open to another kind of censure also, namely, of having occasionally not been literal enough. It is impossible to argue these questions in general, but every translator knows that in many cases a literal translation may convey an entirely wrong meaning. I shall give at least one instance.
My old friend, Mr. Nehemiah Goreh-at least I hope he will still allow me to call him so - in the 'Occasional Papers on Missionary Subjects,' First Series, No. 6, quotes, on p. 39, a passage from the Khândogya-upanishad, translates it into English, and then remarks that I had not translated it accurately. But the fault seems to me to lie entirely with him, in attempting to translate a passage without considering the whole chapter of which it forms a part. Mr. Nehemiah Goreh states the beginning of the story rightly when he says that a youth by name Svetaketu went, by the advice of his father, to a teacher to study under him. After spending twelve years, as was customary, with the teacher, when he returned home he appeared rather elated. Then the father asked him:
Uta tam âdesam aprâksho yenâsrutam srutam bhavaty amatam matam avigñatam vigñâtam iti?
I translated this: 'Have you ever asked for that instruction by which we hear what cannot be heard, by which we perceive what cannot be perceived, by which we know what cannot be known?'
Mr. Nehemiah Goreh translates: 'Hast thou asked (of thy teacher) for that instruction by which what is not heard becomes heard, what is not comprehended becomes comprehended, what is not known becomes known?'
I shall not quarrel with my friend for translating rn an by to comprehend rather than by to perceive. I prefer my own translation, because manas is one side of the common sensory (antahkarana), buddhi, the other; the original difference between the two being, so far as I can see, that the manas originally dealt with percepts, the buddhi with concepts. But the chief difference on which my critic lays stress is that I translated asrutam, amatam, and avigñâtam not by 'not heard, not comprehended, not known,' but by 'what cannot be heard, what cannot be perceived, what cannot be known.'
Now, before finding fault, why did he not ask himself what possible reason I could have had for deviating from the original, and for translating avigñâta by unknowable or
[1. Mr. Nehemiah Goreh writes aprâkshyo, and this is no doubt the reading adopted by Roer in his edition of the Khândogya-upanishad in the Bibliotheca Indica, p. 384. In Sankara's commentary also the same form is given. Still grammar requires aprâksho.
2. The Pañkadasî (I, 20) distinguishes between manas and buddhi, by saying, mano vimarsarûpam syâd buddhih syân niskâyatmikâ, which places the difference between the two rather in the degree of certainty, ascribing deliberation to manas, decision to buddhi.]
what cannot be known, rather than by unknown, as every one would be inclined to translate these words at first sight? If he had done so, he would have seen in a moment, that without the change which I introduced in the idiom, the translation would not have conveyed the sense of the original, nay, would have conveyed no sense at all. What could Svetaketu have answered, if his father had asked him, whether he had not asked for that instruction by which what is not heard becomes heard, what is not comprehended becomes comprehended, what is not known becomes known? He would have answered, 'Yes, I have asked for it; and from the first day on which I learnt the Sikshâ, the A B C, I have every day heard something which I had not heard before, I have comprehended something which I had not comprehended before, I have known something which I had not known before.' Then why does he say in reply,'What is that instruction?' Surely Mr. Nehemiah Goreh knew that the instruction which the father refers to, is the instruction regarding Brahman, and that in all which follows the father tries to lead his son by slow degrees to a knowledge of Brahman. Now that Brahman is called again and again 'that which cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be perceived, cannot be conceived,' in the ordinary sense of these words; can be learnt, in fact, from the Veda only'. It was in order to bring out this meaning that I translated asrutam not by 'not heard,' but by 'not hearable,' or, in better English, by 'what cannot be heard.'
[1. In the Vedânta-Sara, Sadânanda lays great stress on the fact that in this very chapter of the Khândogya-upanishad, the principal subject of the whole chapter is mentioned both in the beginning and in the end. Tatra prakaranapratipâdyasyarthasya tadâdyantayor upâdânam upakramasamhâram. Yathâ Khândogyashashthaprapâthake prakaranapratipâdyansyadvitîyavastuna ekam evâdvitîyam (VI, 2, 1) ityâdâv aitadâtmyam idam sarvam (VI, 16, 3) ity ante ka pratipâdanam. 'The beginning with and ending with' imply that the matter to be declared in any given section is declared both at the beginning and at the end thereof:-as, for instance, in the sixth section of the Khândogya-upanishad, 'the Real, besides which there is nought else'-which is to be explained in that section-is declared at the outset in the terms, 'One only, without a second,' and at the end in the terms 'All this consists of That.'
2 Vedânta-Sâra, No. 118, tatraivâdvitîyavastuno mânântarâvishayîkaranam.
3 See Mund. Up. I, 1, 6, adresyam agrâhyam.]
Any classical scholar knows how often we must translate invictus by invincible, and how Latin tolerates even invictissimus, which we could never render in English by 'the most unconquered,' but 'the unconquerable.' English idiom, therefore, and common sense required that avigñâta should be translated, not by inconceived, but by inconceivable, if the translation was to be faithful, and was to give to the reader a correct idea of the original.
Let us now examine some other translations,to see whether the translators were satisfied with translating literally, or whether they attempted to translate thoughtfully.
Anquetil Duperron's translation, being in Latin, cannot help us much. He translates: 'Non auditum, auditum fiat; et non scitum, scitum; et non cogniturn, cognitum.'
Rajendralal Mitra translates: 'Have you enquired of your tutor about that subject which makes the unheard-of heard, the unconsidered considered, and the unsettled settled?'
He evidently knew that Brahman was intended, but his rendering of the three verbs is not exact.
Mr. Gough (p. 43) translates: 'Hast thou asked for that instruction by which the unheard becomes heard, the unthought thought, the unknown known?'
But now let us consult a scholar who, in a very marked degree, always was a thoughtful translator, who felt a real interest in the subject, and therefore was never satisfied with mere words, however plausible. The late Dr. Ballantyne, in his translation of the Vedânta- Sâra, had occasion to translate this passage from the Khândogya-upanishad, and how did he translate it? 'The eulogizing of the subject is the glorifying of what is set forth in this or that section (of the Veda); as, for example, in that same section, the sixth chapter of the Khândogya-upanishad, the glorifying of the Real, besides whom there is nought else, in the following terms: "Thou, O disciple, hast asked for that instruction whereby the unheard-of becomes heard, the inconceivable
[1. Lecture on the Vedânta, embracing the text of the Vedânta-Sâra, Allababad, 1851, p. 69. Vedântasâra, with Nrisimha-Sarasvatî's Subodhinî and Râmatîrtha's Vidvanmanorañginî, Calcutta, 1860, p. 89. Here we find the right reading, aprâkshah.]
becomes conceived, and the unknowable becomes thoroughly known."'
Dr. Ballantyne therefore felt exactly what I felt, that in our passage a strictly literal translation would be wrong, would convey no meaning, or a wrong meaning; and Mr. Nehemiah Goreh will see that he ought not to express blam, without trying to find out whether those whom he blames for want of exactness, were not in reality more scrupulously exact in their translation than he has proved himself to be.
Mr. Nehemiah Goreh has, no doubt, great advantages in interpreting the Upanishads, and when he writes without any theological bias, his remarks are often very useful. Thus he objects rightly, I think, to my translation of a sentence in the same chapter of the Khândogya-upanishad, where the father, in answer to his son's question, replies: 'Sad eva, Somya, idam agra âsîd ekam evâdvitîyam.' I had tried several translations of these words, and yet I see now that the one I proposed in the end is liable to be misunderstood. I had translated. 'In the beginning, my dear, there was that only which is, one only, without a second! The more faithful translation would have been: 'The being alone was this in the beginning.' But 'the being' does not mean in English that which is, [tò hón], and therefore, to avoid any misunderstanding, I translated 'that which is.' I might have said, however, 'The existent, the real, the true (satyam) was this in the beginning,' just as in the Aitareya-upanishad we read: 'The Self was all this, one alone, in the beginning.' But in that case I should have sacrificed the gender, and this in our passage is of great importance, being neuter, and not masculine.
What, however, is far more important, and where Mr. Nehemiah Goreh seems to me to have quite misapprehended the original Sanskrit, is this, that sat, [tò hón], and âtmâ, the Self, are the subjects in these sentences, and not predicates. Now Mr. Nehemiah Goreh translates: 'This was the existent one.itself before, one only without a second;' and he
[1. Âtmâ vâ idam eka evâgra âsît.]
explains: 'This universe, before it was developed in the present form, was the existent one, Brahma, itself.' This cannot be. If 'idam,' this, i.e. the visible world, were the subject, how could the Upanishad go on and say, tad aikshata bahu syâm pragâyeyeti tat tego 'srigata, 'that thought, may I be many, may I grow forth. It sent forth fire.' This can be said of the Sat only, that is, the Brahman'. Sat, therefore, is the subject, not idam, for a Vedântist may well say that Brahman is the world, or sent forth the world, but not that the world, which is a mere illusion, was, in the beginning, Brahman.
This becomes clearer still in another passage, Maitr. Up. VI, 17, where we read: Brahma ha vâ idam agra âsîd eko 'nantah, 'In the beginning Brahman was all this. He was one, and infinite.' Here the transition from the neuter to the masculine gender shows that Brahman only can be the subject, both in the first and in the second sentence.
In English it may seem to make little difference whether we say, 'Brahman was this,' or 'this was Brahman.' In Sanskrit too we find, Brahma khalv idam vâva sarvam, 'Brahman indeed is all this'(Maitr. Up. IV, 6), and Sarvam khalv idam Brahma, 'all this is Brahman indeed' (Khând. Up. III, 14, I). But the logical meaning is always that Brahman was all this, i.e. all that we see now, Brahman being the subject, idam the predicate. Brahman becomes idam, not idam Brahman.
Thus the Pañkadasî, I, 18, says:
Ekâdasendriyair yuktyâ sâstrenâpy avagamyate
Yâvat kimkid bhaved etad idamsabdoditam gagat,
which Mr. A. Venis (Pandit, V, p. 667) translates: 'Whatever may be apprehended through the eleven organs, by argument and revelation, i.e. the world of phenomena, is expressed by the word idam, this.' The Pankadasî then goes on:
Idam sarvarn purâ srishter ekam evâdvitâyakam
Sad evâsîn nâmarûpe nâstâm ity Âruner vakah.
This Mr. Venis translates: 'Previous to creation, all this
[1. Sankara says (p. 398, 1. 5): ekam evâdvitîyam paramârthata idam buddhikâle 'pi tat sad aikshata.]
was the existent (sat), one only without a second: name and form were not:-this is the declaration of the son of Aruna.'
This is no doubt a translation grammatically correct, but from the philosophical standpoint of the Vedânta, what is really meant is that before the srishti (which is not creation, but the sending forth of the world, and the sending forth of it, not as something real, but as a mere illusion), the Real alone, i.e. the Brahman, was, instead of this, i.e. instead of this illusory world. The illusion was not, but the Real, i.e. Brahman, was. What became, or what seemed to change, was Brahman, and therefore the only possible subject, logically, is Brahman, everything else being a predicate, and a phenomenal predicate only.
If I were arguing with a European, not with an Indian scholar, I should venture to go even a step further, and try to prove that the idam, in this and similar sentences, does not mean this, i.e. this world, but that originally it was intended as an adverb, meaning now, or here. This use of idam, unsuspected by native scholars, is very frequent in Vedic literature, and instances may be seen in Boehtlingk's Dictionary. In that case the translation would be: 'The real ([tò hón]), O friend, was here in the beginning.' This meaning of idam, however, would apply only to the earliest utterances of ancient Brahmavâdins, while in later times idam was used and understood in the sense of all that is seen, the visible universe, just as iyarn by itself is used in the sense of the earth.
However, difficulties of this kind may be overcome, if once we have arrived at a clear conception of the general drift of the Upanishads. The real difficulties are of a very different character. They consist in the extraordinary number of passages which seem to us utterly meaningless and irrational, or, at all events, so far-fetched that we can hardly believe that the same authors who can express the deepest thoughts on religion and philosophy with clearness, nay, with a kind of poetical eloquence, could have uttered in the same breath such utter rubbish. Some of the sacrificial technicalities, and their philosophical interpretations with which the Upanishads abound, may perhaps in time assume a clearer meaning, when we shall have more fully mastered the intricacies of the Vedic ceremonial. But there will always remain in the Upanishads a vast amount of what we can only call meaningless jargon, and for the presence of which in these ancient mines of thought I, for my own part, feel quite unable to account. 'Yes,' a friend of mine wrote to me, after reading some of the Sacred Books of the East, 'you are right, how tremendously ahead of other sacred books is the Bible. The difference strikes one as almost unfairly great.' So it does, no doubt. But some of the most honest believers and admirers of the Bible have expressed a similar disappointment, because they had formed their ideas of what a Sacred Book ought to be, theoretically, not historically. The Rev. J. M. Wilson, in his excellent Lectures on the Theory of Inspiration, p. 32, writes: 'The Bible is so unlike what you would expect; it does not consist of golden sayings and rules of life; give explanations of the philosophical and social problems of the past, the present, and the future; contain teachings immeasurably unlike those of any other book; but it contains history, ritual, legislation, poetry, dialogue, prophecy, memoirs, and letters; it contains much that is foreign to your idea of what a revelation ought to be. But this is not all. There is not only much that is foreign, but much that is opposed, to your preconceptions. The Jews tolerated slavery, polygamy, and other customs and cruelties of imperfect civilisation. There are the vindictive psalms, too, with their bitter hatred against enemies,-psalms which we chant in our churches. How can we do so? There are stories of immorality, of treachery, of crime. How can we read them?' Still the Bible has been and is a truly sacred, because a truly historical book, for there is nothing more sacred in this world than the history of man, in his search after his highest ideals. All ancient books which have once been called sacred by man, will have their lasting place in the history of mankind, and those who possess the courage, the perseverance, and the self-denial of the true miner, and of the true scholar, will find even in the darkest and dustiest shafts what they are seeking for,-real nuggets of thought, and precious jewels of faith and hope.
THE Katha-upanishad is probably more widely known than any other Upanishad. It formed part of the Persian translation, was rendered into English by Râmmohun Roy, and has since been frequently quoted by English, French, and German writers as one of the most perfect specimens of the mystic philosophy and poetry of the ancient Hindus.
It was in the year 1845 that I first copied at Berlin the text of this Upanishad, the commentary of Sankara (MS. 127 Chambers), and the gloss of Gopâlayogin (MS. 224 Chambers). The text and commentary of Sankara and the gloss of Ânandagiri have since been edited by Dr. Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica, with translation and notes. There are other translations, more or less perfect, by Râmmohun Roy, Windischmann, Poley, Weber, Muir, Regnaud, Gough, and others. But there still remained many difficult and obscure portions, and I hope that in some at least of the passages where I differ from my predecessors, not excepting Sankara, I may have succeeded in rendering the original meaning of the author more intelligible than it has hitherto been.
The text of the Katha-upanishad is in some MSS. ascribed to the Yagur-veda. In the Chambers MS. of the commentary also it is said to belong to that Veda , and in the Muktikopanisbad it stands first among the Upanishads of the Black Yagur-veda. According to Colebrooke (Miscellaneous Essays, 1, 96, note) it is referred to the Sâma-veda also. Generally, however, it is counted as one of the Âtharvana Upanishads.
The reason why it is ascribed to the Yagur-veda, is probably because the legend of Nakiketas occurs in the Brâhmana of the Taittirîya Yagur-veda. Here we read (III, 1, 8):
Vâgasravasa, wishing for rewards, sacrificed all his
[1. MS. 133 is a mere copy of MS. 127.
2 Yagurvede Kathavallîbhâshyam.]
wealth. He had a son, called Nakiketas. While he was still a boy, faith entered into him at the time when the cows that were to be given (by his father) as presents to the priests, were brought in. He said: 'Father, to whom wilt thou give me?' He said so a second and third time. The father turned round and said to him: 'To Death, I give thee.'
Then a voice said to the young Gautama, as he stood up: 'He (thy father) said, Go away to the house of Death, I give thee to Death.' Go therefore to Death when he is not at home, and dwell in his house for three nights without eating. If he should ask thee, 'Boy, how many nights hast thou been here?' say, 'Three.' When he asks thee, 'What didst thou eat the first night?' say, 'Thy offspring.' 'What didst thou eat the second night?' say, 'Thy cattle.' 'What didst thou eat the third night?' say, 'Thy good works.'
He went to Death, while he was away from home, and lie dwelt in his house for three nights without eating. When Death returned, he asked: 'Boy, how many nights hast thou been here?' He answered: I Three.' 'What didst thou eat the first night?' 'Thy offspring.', 'What didst thou eat the second night?' 'Thy cattle.' 'What didst thou eat the third night?' 'Thy good works.'
Then he said: 'My respect to thee, O venerable sir! Choose a boon.'
'May I return living to my father,' he said.
'Choose a second boon.'
'Tell me how my good works may never perish.'
Then he explained to him this Nâkiketa fire (sacrifice), and hence his good works do not perish.
'Choose a third boon.'
'Tell me the conquest of death again.'
Then he explained to him this (chief) Nâkiketa fire (sacrifice), and hence he conquered death again .
This story, which in the Brâhmana is told in order to explain the name of a certain sacrificial ceremony called
[1. The commentator explains punar-mrityu as the death that follows after the present inevitable death.]
Nâkiketa, was used as a peg on which to hang the doctrines of the Upanishad. In its original form it mayhave constituted one Adhyâya only, and the very fact of its division into two Adhyâyas may show that the compilers of the Upanishad were still aware of its gradual origin. We have no means, however, of determining its original form, nor should we even be justified in maintaining that the first Adhyâya ever existed by itself, and that the second was added at a much later time. Whatever its component elements may have been before it was an Upanishad, when it was an Upanishad it consisted of six Vallîs, neither more nor less.
The name of vallî, lit. creeper, as a subdivision of a Vedic work, is important. It occurs again in the Taittirîya Upanishads. Professor Weber thinks that vallî, creeper, in the sense of chapter, is based on a modern metaphor, and was primarily intended for a creeper, attached to the sikhâs or branches of the Veda. More likely, however, it was used in the same sense as parvan, a joint, a shoot, a branch, i.e. a division.
Various attempts have been made to distinguish the more modern from the more ancient portions of our Upanishad. No doubt there are peculiarities of metre, grammar, language, and thought which indicate the more primitive or the more modern character of certain verses. There are repetitions which offend us, and there are several passages which are clearly taken over from other Upanishads, where they seem to have had their original place. Thirty-five years ago, when I first worked at this Upanishad, I saw no difficulty in re-establishing what I thought the original text of the Upanishad must have been. I now feel that we know so little of the time and the circumstances when these half-prose and half-metrical Upanishads were first put together, that I should hesitate
[1. History of Indian Literature, p. 93, note; p. 157.
2. Though it would be unfair to hold Professor Weber responsible for his remarks on this and other questions connected with the Upanishads published many years ago (Indische Studien, 1853, p. 197), and though I have hardly ever thought it necessary to criticise them, some of his remarks are not without their value even now.]
before expunging even the most modern-sounding lines from the original context of these Vedântic essays.
The mention of Dhâtri, creator, for instance (Kath. Up. II, 20), is certainly startling, and seems to have given rise to a very early conjectural emendation. But dhâtri and vidhâtri occur in the hymns of the Rig-veda (X, 82, 2), and in the Upanishads (Maitr. Up. VI, 8); and Dhâtri, as almost a personal deity, is invoked with Pragâpati in Rig-veda X, 184, I. Deva, in the sense of God (Kath. Up. II, 12), is equally strange, but occurs in other Upanishads also (Maitr. Up. VI, 23; Svetâsv. Up. I, 3). Much might be said about setu, bridge (Kath. Up. III, 2; Mund. Up. II, 2, 5), âdarsa, mirror (Kath. Up.VI, 5), as being characteristic of a later age. But setu is not a bridge, in our sense of the word, but rather a wall, a bank, a barrier, and occurs frequently in other Upanishads (Maitr. Up. VII. 7; Khând. Up. VIII, 4; Brih. Up. IV, 4, 22, &c.), while âdarsas, or mirrors, are mentioned in the Brihadâranyaka and the Srauta-sûtras. Till we know something more about the date of the first and the last composition or compilation of the Upanishads, how are we to tell what subjects and what ideas the first author or the last collector was familiar with? To attempt the impossible may seem courageous, but it is hardly scholarlike.
With regard to faulty or irregular readings, we can never know whether they are due to the original composers, the compilers, the repeaters, or lastly the writers of the Upanishads. It is easy to say that adresya (Mund. Up. I, 1, 6) ought to be adrisya; but who would venture to correct that form? Whenever that verse is quoted, it is quoted with adresya, not adrisya. The commentators themselves tell us sometimes that certain forms are either Vedic or due to carelessness (pramâdapâtha); but that very fact shows that such a form, for instance, as samîyâta (Khând. Up. I, 12, 3) rests on an old authority.
No doubt, if we have the original text of an author, and can prove that his text was corrupted by later compilers
[1. See Regnaud, Le Pessimisme Brahmanique, Annales du Musée Guimet, 1880; tom. i, p. 101.]
or copyists or printers, we have a right to remove those later alterations, whether they be improvements or corruptions. But where, as in our case, we can never hope to gain access to original documents, and where we can only hope, by pointing out what is clearly more modem than the rest or, it may be, faulty, to gain an approximate conception of what the original composer may have had in his mind, before handing his composition over to the safe keeping of oral tradition, it is almost a duty to discourage, as much as lies in our power, the work of reconstructing an old text by so-called conjectural emendations or critical omissions.
I have little doubt, for instance, that the three verses 16-18 in the first Vallî of the Katha-upanishad are later additions, but I should not therefore venture to remove them. Death had granted three boons to Nakiketas, and no more. In a later portion, however, of the Upanishad (II, 3), the expression srinkâ vittamayî occurs, which I have translated by 'the road which leads to wealth.' As it is said that Nakiketas did not choose that srinkâ, some reader must have supposed that a srinkâ was offered him by Death. Srinkâ, however, meant commonly a string or necklace, and hence arose the idea that Death must have offered a necklace as an additional gift to Nakiketas. Besides this, there was another honour done to Nakiketas by Mrityu, namely, his allowing the sacrifice which he had taught him, to be called by his name. This also, it was supposed, ought to have been distinctly mentioned before, and hence the insertion of the three verses 16-18. They are clumsily put in, for after punar evâha, 'he said again,' verse 16 ought not to have commenced by tam abravît, 'he said to him.' They contain nothing new, for the fact that the sacrifice is to be called after Nakiketas was sufficiently indicated by verse 19, 'This, O Nakiketas, is thy fire which leads to heaven, which thou hast chosen as thy second boon.' But so anxious was the interpolator to impress upon his hearers the fact that the sacrifice should in future go by that name, that, in spite of the metre, he inserted tavaiva, 'of thee alone,' in verse 19.
THIS is an Upanishad of the Atharva-veda. It is a Mantra-upanishad, i.e. it has the form of a Mantra. But, as the commentators observe, though it is written in verse, it is not, like other Mantras, to be used for sacrificial purposes. Its only object is to teach the highest knowledge, the knowledge of Brahman, which cannot be obtained either by sacrifices or by worship (upisana), but by such teaching only as is imparted in the Upanishad. A man may a hundred times restrain his breath, &c., but without the Upanishad his ignorance does not cease. Nor is it right to continue for ever in the performance of sacrificial and other good works, if one wishes to obtain the highest knowledge of Brahman. The Sannyâsin alone, who has given up everything, is qualified to know and to become Brahman. And though it might seem from Vedic legends that Grihasthas also who continued to live with their families, performing all the duties required of them by law, had been in possession of the highest knowledge, this, we are told, is a mistake. Works and knowledge can be as little together as darkness and light.
This Upanishad too has been often translated since it first appeared in the Persian translation of Dârâ Shukoh. My own copy of the text and Sankara's commentary from the MS. in the Chambers Collection was made in October 1844. Both are now best accessible in the Bibliotheca Indica, where Dr. Roer has published the text, the comcommentary by Sankara, a gloss by Ânandagñâna, and an English translation with notes.
The title of the Upanishad, Mundaka, has not yet been explained. The Upanishad is called Mundaka-upanishad, and its three chapters are each called Mundakam. Native commentators explain it as the shaving Upanishad, that is, as the Upanishad which cuts off the errors of the mind, like a razor. Another Upanishad also is called Kshurikâ, the razor, a name which is explained in the text itself as meaning an instrument for removing illusion and error. The title is all the more strange because Mundaka, in its commonest acceptation, is used as a term of reproach for Buddhist mendicants, who are called 'Shavelings,' in opposition to the Brâhmans, who dress their hair carefully, and often display by its peculiar arrangement either their family or their rank. Many doctrines of the Upanishads are, no doubt, pure Buddhism, or rather Buddhism is on many points the consistent carrying out of the principles laid down in the Upanishads. Yet, for that very reason, it seems impossible that this should be the origin of the name, unless we suppose that it was the work of a man who was, in one sense, a Mundaka, and yet faithful to the Brahmanic law.
THE Taittirîyaka-upanishad seems to have had its original place in the Taittirîya-Âranyaka. This Âranyaka consists, as Rajendralal Mitra has shown in the Introduction to his edition of the work in the Bibliotheca Indica, of three portions. Out of its ten Prapâthakas, the first six form the Âranyaka proper, or the Karma-kânda, as Sâyana writes. Then follow Prapâthakas VII, VIII, and IX, forming the Taittirîyaka-upanishad; and lastly, the tenth Prapâthaka, the Yâgñikî or Mahânârâyana-upanishad, which is called a Khila, and was therefore considered by the Brâhmans themselves as a later and supplementary work.
Sankara, in his commentary on the Taittirîyaka-upanishad, divides his work into three Adhyâyas, and calls the first Sikshâ-vallî, the second the Brahmânanda-vallî, while he gives no special name to the Upanishad explained in the third Adhyâya. This, however, may be due to a mere accident, for whenever the division of the Taittirîyaka-upanishad into Vallîs is mentioned, we always-have three, the
[1. Sankara (ed. Roer, p. 141) himself speaks of two Vallîs, teaching the paramâtmagñâna (the Sikshâ-vallî has nothing to do with this), and Anquetil has Anandbli = Ânanda-vallî, and Bharkbli = Bhrigu-vallî.]
Sikshâ-vallî, the Brahmânanda-vallî, and the Bhrigu-vallî .
Properly, however, it is only the second Anuvâka of the seventh Prapâthaka which deserves and receives in the text itself the name of Sikshâdhyâya, while the rest of the first Vallî ought to go by the name of Samhitâ-upanishad, or Samhitî-upanishad.
Sâyana, in his commentary on the Taittirîya-âranyaka, explains the seventh chapter, the Sikshâdhyâya (twelve anuvâkas), as Sâmhitî-upanishad. His commentary, however, is called Sikshâ-bhâshya. The same Sâyana treats the eighth and ninth Prapâthakas as the Vâruny-upanishad.
The Ânanda-vallî and Bhrigu-vallî are quoted among the Upanishads of the Atharvana.
At the end of each Vallî there is an index of the Anuvâkas which it contains. That at the end of the first Vallî is intelligible. It gives the Pratîkas, i.e. the initial words, of each Anuvâka, and states their number as twelve. At the end of the first Anuvâka, we have the final words 'satyam vadishyâmi,' and pañka ka, i.e. five short paragraphs at the end. At the end of the second Anuvâka, where we expect the final words, we have the initial, i.e. sîkshâm, and then pañka, i.e. five sections in the Anuvâka. At the end of the third Anuvâka, we have the final words, but no number of sections. At the end of the fourth Anuvlka, we have the final words of the three sections, followed by one paragraph; at the end of the fifth Anuvâka, three final words, and two paragraphs, though the first paragraph belongs clearly to the third section. In the sixth Anuvâka, we have the final words of the two Anuvâkas, and one paragraph. In the seventh Anuvâka, there is the final word
[1. The third Vallî ends with Bhrigur ity upanishat.
2. See Taittirîyaka-upani shad, ed. Roer, p. 12.
3. See M. M., Alpbabetisches Verzeichniss der Upanishads, p. 144.
4. The Anukramaî of theÂtreyî school (see Weber, Indische Studien, II, p. 208) of the Taittirîyaka gives likewise the name of Vârunî to the eighth and ninth Prapâthaka, while it calls the seventh Prapâthaka the Sâmhitî, and the tenth Prapâthaka the Yâgñki-upanishad. That Anukramanî presupposes, however, a different text, as may be seen both from the number of Anuvâkas, and from the position assigned to the Yâgñki as between the Sâmhitî and Vârunî Upanishads.
5. See M. M., Alphabetisches Verzeichniss der Upanishads.]
sarvam, and one paragraph added. In the eighth Anuvâka, we have the initial word, and the number of sections, viz. ten. In the ninth Anuvâka, there are the final words of one section, and six paragraphs. In the tenth Anuvâka, there is the initial word, and the number of paragraphs, viz. six. In the eleventh Anuvâka, we have the final words of four sections, and seven paragraphs, the first again forming an integral portion of the last section. The twelfth Anuvâka has one section, and five paragraphs. If five, then the sânti would here have to be included, while, from what is said afterwards, it is clear that as the first word of the Vallî is sam nah, so the last is vaktâram.
In the second Vallî the index to each Anuvâka is given at the end of the Vallî.
1st Anuvâka: pratîka: brahmavid, and some other catchwords, idam, ayam, idam. Number of sections, 21.
2nd Anuvâka: pratîka: annâd, and other catchwords; last word, pukkha. Sections, 26.
3rd Anuvâka: pratîka: prânam, and other catchwords; last word, pukkha. Sections, 22.
4th Anuvâka: pratîka: yatak, and other catchwords; last word, pukkha. Sections, 18.
5th Anuvâka: pratîka: vigñanam, and other catchwords; last word, pukkha. Sections, 22.
6th Anuvâka: pratîka: asanneva, then atha (deest in Taitt. Âr. 7). Sections, 28.
7th Anuvâka: pratîka: asat. Sections, 16.
8th Anuvâka: pratîka: bhîshâsmât, and other catchwords; last word, upasahkrâmati. Sections, 51.
9th Anuvâka: pratîka: yatak-kutaskana; then tam (deest in Taitt. Ar.). Sections, 11.
In the third Vallî the Anukramanî stands at the end.
1. The first word, bhriguh, and some other catchwords. Sections, 13.
2. The first word, annam. Sections, 12
3. The first word, prinam. Sections, 12.
4. The first word, manah. Sections, 12.
5. The first word, vigñânam, and some other words. Sections, 12.
6. The first word, ânanda, and some other words. Sections, 10.
7. The first words, annam na nindyât, prânah, sarîram. Sections, 11.
8. The first words, annam na parikakshîta, âpo gyotih. Sections, 11.
9. The first words, annam bahu kurvîta prithivim âkâsa. Sections,11.
10. The first words, na kañkana. Sections 61. The last words of each section are given for the tenth Anuvâka.
THIS Upanishad has been so often edited and discussed that it calls for no special remarks. It forms part of the Satapatha-brâhmana. In the Mâdhyandina-sâkhâ of that Brâhmana, which has been edited by Professor Weber, the Upanishad, consisting of six adhyâyas, begins with the fourth adhyâya (or third prapâthaka) of the fourteenth book.
There is a commentary on the Brihadâranyaka-upanishad by Dvivedasrînârâyanasûnu Dvivedaganga, which has been carefully edited by Weber in his great editi.on of the Satapatha-brâhmana from a MS. in the Bodleian Library, formerly belonging to Dr. Mill, in which the Upanishad is called Mâdliyandiniya-brâhmana-upanishad.
In the Kânva-sâkhâ the Brihadâranyaka-upanishad forms the seventeenth book of the Satapatha-brâhmana, consisting of six adhyâyas.
As Sankara's commentary and the gloss of Anandatirtha, edited by Dr. Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica, follow the Kânva-sâkhâ, I have followed the same text in my translation.
Besides Dr. Roer's edition of the text, commentary and gloss of this Upanishad, there is Poley's edition of the text. There is also a translation of it by Dr. Roer, with large extracts from Sankara's commentary.
THE Svetâsvatara-upanishad has been handed down as one of the thirty-three Upanishads of the Taittirîyas, and though this has been doubted, no real argument has ever been brought forward to invalidate the tradition which represents it as belonging to the Taittirîya or Black Yagur-veda.
It is sometimes called Svetâsvatarânâm Mantropanishad (p. 274), and is frequently spoken of in the plural, as Svetâsvataropanishadah. At the end of the last Adhyâya we read that Svetâsvatara told it to the best among the hermits, and that it should be kept secret, and not be taught to any one except to a son or a regular pupil. It is also called Svetâsva , though, it would seem, for the sake of the metre only. The Svetâsvataras are mentioned as a Sâkha , subordinate to the Karakas; but of the literature belonging to them in particular, nothing is ever mentioned beyond this Upanishad.
Svetâsvatara means a white mule, and as mules were known and prized in India from the earliest times, Svetâsvatara, as the name of a person, is no more startling than Svetâsva, white horse, an epithet of Arguna. Now as no one would be likely to conclude from the name of one of the celebrated Vedic Rishis, Syâvâsva, i.e. black horse, that negro influences might be discovered in his hymns, it is hardly necessary to say that all speculations as to Christian influences, or the teaching of white Syro-Christian missionaries, being indicated by the name of Svetâsvatara, are groundless.
The Svetâsvatara-upanishad holds a very high rank among the Upanishads. Though we cannot say that it is quoted by name by Bâdarâyana in the Vedânta-sûtras,
[1. Vikaspatyam, p. 1222.
2. Catal. Bodl. p. 271 a; p. 222 a.
3 See Weber, Ind. Stud. I, pp. 400, 421.]
it is distinctly referred to as sruta or revealed. It is one of the twelve Upanishads chosen by Vidyâranya in his Sarvopanishad-arthânabhûitiprakâsa, and it was singled out by Sankara as worthy of a special commentary.
The Svetâsvatara-upanishad seems to me one of the most difficult, and at the same time one of the most interesting works of its kind. Whether on that and on other grounds it should be assigned to a more ancient or to a more modern period is what, in the present state of our knowledge, or, to be honest, of our ignorance of minute chronology during the Vedic period, no true scholar would venture to assert. We must be satisfied to know that, as a class, the Upanishads are presupposed by the Kalpa-sûtras, that some of them, called Mantra-upanishads, form part of the more modern Samhitâs, and that there are portions even in the Rig-veda-samhitâs for which the name of Upanishad is claimed by the Anukramanîs. We find them most frequent, however, during the Brâhmana-period, in the Brâhmanas themselves, and, more especially, in those portions which are called Âranyakas, while a large number of them is referred to the Atharva-veda. That, in imitation of older Upanishads, similar treatises were composed to a comparatively recent time, has, of course, long been known.
But when we approach the question whether among the ancient and genuine Upanishads one may be older than the other, we find that, though we may guess much, we can prove nothing. The Upanishads belonged to Parishads or settlements spread all over India. There is a stock of ideas, even of expressions, common to most of them. Yet, the ideas collected in the Upanishads cannot all have grown tip in one and the same place, still less in regular succession. They must have had an independent growth, determined by individual and local influences, and opinions which in one village might seem far advanced, would in another be looked upon as behind the world. We may
[1. See Deussen, Vedânta, p. 24;Ved. Sûtra I, 1, II; I, 4, 8; II, 3, 22.
2. See Sacred Books of the East, vol. i, p. 1xvi.
3. Loc. cit. p. 1xvii.]
admire the ingeniousness of those who sometimes in this, sometimes in that peculiarity see a clear indication of the modern date of an Upanishad, but to a conscientious scholar such arguments are really distasteful for the very sake of their ingeniousness. He knows that they will convince many who do not know the real difficulties; he knows they will have to be got out of the way with no small trouble, and he knows that, even if they should prove true in the end, they will require very different support from what they have hitherto received, before they can be admitted to the narrow circle of scientific facts.
While fully admitting therefore that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad has its peculiar features and its peculiar difficulties, I must most strongly maintain that no argument that has as yet been brought forward, seems to me to prove, in any sense of the word, its modern character.
It has been said, for instance, that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is a sectarian Upanishad, because, when speaking of the Highest Self or the Highest Brahman, it applies such names to him as Hara (I, 10), Rudra (II, 17; III, 2; 4; IV, 12; 21; 22), Siva (III, 14; IV, 10), Bhagavat (III, 14), Agni, Âditya, Vâyu, &c. (IV, 2). But here it is simply taken for granted that the idea of the Highest Self was developed first, and, after it had reached its highest purity, was lowered again by an identification with mythological and personal deities. The questions whether the conception of the Highest Self was formed once and once only, whether it was formed after all the personal and mythological deities had first been merged into one Lord (Pragâpati), or whether it was discovered behind the veil of any other name in the mythological pantheon of the past, have never been mooted. Why should not an ancient Rishi have said: What we have hitherto called Rudra, and what we worship as Agni, or Siva, is in reality the Highest Self, thus leaving much of the ancient mythological phraseology to be used with a new meaning? Why should we at once conclude that late sectarian worshippers of mythological gods replaced again the Highest Self, after their fathers had discovered it, by their own sectarian names? If we adopt the former view, the Upanishads, which still show these rudera of the ancient temples, would have to be considered as more primitive even than those in which the idea of the Brahman or the Highest Self has reached its utmost purity.
It has been considered a very strong argument in support of the modern and sectarian character of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, that 'it inculcates what is called Bhakti , or implicit reliance on the favour of the deity worshipped.' Now it is quite true that this Upanishad possesses a very distinct character of its own, by the stress which it lays on the personal, and sometimes almost mythical character of the Supreme Spirit; but, so far from inculcating bhakti, in the modern sense of the word, it never mentions that word, except in the very last verse, a verse which, if necessary, certain critics would soon dispose of as a palpable addition. But that verse says no more than this: 'If these truths (of the Upanishad) have been told to a high-minded man, who feels the highest devotion for God, and for his Guru as for God, then they will shine forth indeed.' Does that prove the existence of Bhakti as we find it in the Sândilya-sûtras?
Again, it has been said that the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is sectarian in a philosophical sense, that it is in fact an Upanishad of the Sânkhya system of philosophy, and not of the Vedânta. Now I am quite willing to admit that, in its origin, the Vedânta philosophy is nearer to the Vedic literature than any other of the six systems of philosophy, and that if we really found doctrines, peculiar to the Sânkhya, and opposed to the Vedânta, in the Svetâsvataraupanishad, we might feel inclined to assign to our Upanishad a later date. But where is the proof of this?
No doubt there are expressions in this Upanishad which remind us of technical terms used at a later time in the Sânkhya system of philosophy, but of Sânkhya doctrines, which I had myself formerly suspected in this Upanishad,
[1. Weber, Ind. Stud. I, 422; and History of Indian Literature, p. 238.
2. The Aphorisms of Sândilya, or the Hindu Doctrine of Faith, translated by E. B. Cowell, Calcutta, 1879.]
I can on closer study find very little. I think it was Mr. Gough who, in his Philosophy of the Upanishads, for the first time made it quite clear that the teaching of our Upanishad is, in the main, the same as that of the other Upanishads. 'The Svetâsvatara-upanishad teaches,' as he says, 'the unity of souls in the one and only Self; the unreality of the world as a series of figments of the selffeigning world-fiction; and as the first of the fictitious emanations, the existence of the Demiurgos or universal soul present in every individual soul, the deity that projects the world out of himself, that the migrating souls may find the recompense of their works in former lives.'
I do not quite agree with this view of the Îsvara, whom Mr. Gough calls the Dcmiurgos, but he seems to me perfectly right when he says that the Swetâsvatara-upanishad propounds in Sânkhya terms the very principles that the Sânkhya philosophers make it their business to subvert. One might doubt as to the propriety of calling certain terms 'Sânkhya terms' in a work written at a time when a Sânkhya philosophy, such as we know it as a system, had as yet no existence, and when the very name Sânkhya meant something quite different from the Sânkhya system of Kapila. Sânkhya is derived from sankhyâ, and that meant counting, number, name, corresponding very nearly to the Greek [lógos]. Sânkhya, as derived from it, meant originally no more than theoretic philosophy, as opposed to yoga, which meant originally practical religious exercises and penances, to restrain the passions and the senses in general. All other interpretations of these words, when they had become technical names, are of later date.
But even in their later forms, whatever we may think of the coincidences and differences between the Sânkhya and Vedânta systems of philosophy, there is one point on which they are diametrically opposed. Whatever else the Sânkhya may be, it is dualistic; whatever else the Vedânta may be, it is monistic. In the Sânkhya, nature, or whatever else we may call it, is independent of the purusha; in the Vedânta it is not. Now the Svetâsvatara-upanishad states distinctly that nature, or what in the Sânkhya philosophy is intended by Pradhâna, is not an independent power, but a power (sakti) forming the very self of the Deva. 'Sages,' we read, 'devoted to meditation and concentration, have seen the power belonging to God himself, hidden in its own qualities.'
What is really peculiar in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is the strong stress which it lays on the personality of the Lord, the Îsvara, Deva, in the passage quoted, is perhaps the nearest approach to our own idea of a personal God, though without the background which the Vedânta always retains for it. It is God as creator and ruler of the world, as îsvara, lord, but not as Paramâtman, or the Highest Self. The Paramâtman constitutes, no doubt, his real essence, but creation and creator have a phenomenal character only. The creation is mâyâ, in its original sense of work, then of phenomenal work, then of illusion. The creator is mâyin, in its original sense of worker or maker, but again, in that character, phenomenal only. The Gunas or qualities arise, according to the Vedânta, from prakriti or mâyâ, within, not beside, the Highest Self, and this is the very idea which is here expressed by 'the Self-power of God, hidden in the gunas or determining qualities.' How easily that sakti or power may become an independent being, as Mâyâ, we see in such verses as:
Sarvabhûteshu sarvâtman yâ saktir aparâbbavâ
Gunâsrayâ namas tasyai sasvatâyai paresvara .
But the important point is this, that in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad this change has not taken place. Throughout the whole of it we have one Being only, as the cause of everything, never two. Whatever Sânkhya philosophers of a later date may have imagined that they could discover in that Upanishad in support of their theories, there is not one passage in it which, if rightly interpreted, not by itself, but in connection with the whole text, could be quoted in
[1. Prathamam îsvarâtmanâ mâyirûpenâvatishthate brahma; See p. 280, 1. 5.
2. Mâyî srigate sarvam etat.
3. See p. 279, 1. 5. Sârvatman seems a vocative, like paresvara.
4. See Sarvadarsanasaiigraha, p. 152.]
support of a dualistic philosophy such as the Sânkhya, as a system, decidedly is.
If we want to understand, what seems at first sight contradictory, the existence of a God, a Lord, a Creator, a Ruler, and at the same time the existence of the super-personal Brahman, we must remember that the orthodox view of the Vedânta is not what we should call Evolution, but Illusion. Evolution of the Brahman, or Parinâma, is heterodox, illusion or Vivarta is orthodox Vedânta. Brahman is a concept involving such complete perfection that with it evolution, or a tendency towards higher perfection, is impossible. If therefore there is change, that change can only be illusion, and can never claim the same reality as Brahman. To put it metaphorically, the world, according to the orthodox Vedântin, does not proceed from Brahman as a tree from a germ, but as a mirage from the rays of the sun. The world is, as we express it, phenomenal only, but whatever objective reality there is in it, is Brahman, 'das Ding an sich,' as Kant might call it.
Then what is Îsvara, or Deva, the Lord or God? The answers given to this question are not very explicit. Historically, no doubt, the idea of the Îsvara, the personal God, the creator and ruler, the omniscient and omnipotent, existed before the idea of the absolute Brahman, and after the idea of the Brahman had been elaborated, the difficulty of effecting a compromise between the two ideas, had to be overcome. Îsvara, the Lord, is Brahman, for what else could he be? But he is Brahman under a semblance, the semblance, namely, of a personal creating and governing God. He is not created, but is the creator, an office too low, it was supposed, for Brahman. The power which enabled Îsvara to create, was a power within him, not independent of him, whether we call it Devâtmasakti, Mâyâ, or Prakriti. That power is really inconceivable, and it has assumed such different forms in the mind of different Vedântists, that in the end Mâyâ herself is represented as the creating power, nay, as having created Îsvara himself.
[1. Vedantaparibhâshâ, in the Pandit, vol. iv, p. 496.]
In our Upanishad, however, Îsvara is the creator, and though, philosophically speaking, we should say that be was conceived as phenomenal, yet we must never forget that the phenomenal is the form of the real, and Îsvara therefore an aspect of Brahman. 'This God,' says Pramâda Dâsa Mitra, 'is the spirit conscious of the universe. Whilst an extremely limited portion, and that only of the material universe, enters into my consciousness, the whole of the conscious universe, together, of course, with the material one that hangs upon it, enters into the consciousness of God.' And again, 'Whilst we (the gîvâtmans) are subject to Mâyâ, Mâyâ is subject to Îsvara. If we truly know Îsvara, we know him as Brahman; if we truly know ourselves, we know ourselves as Brahman. This being so, we must not be surprised if sometimes we find Îsvara sharply distinguished from Brahman, whilst at other times Îsvara, and Brahman are interchanged.'
Another argument in support of the sectarian character of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad is brought forward, not by European students only, but by native scholars, namely, that the very name of Kapila, the reputed founder of the Sânkhya philosophy, occurs in it. Now it is quite true that if we read the second verse of the fifth Adhyâya by itself, the occurrence of the word Kapila may seem startling. But if we read it in connection with what precedes and follows, we shall see hardly anything unusual in it. It says:
'It is he who, being one only, rules over every germ (cause), over all forms, and over all germs; it is he who, in the beginning, bears in his thoughts the wise son, the fiery, whom he wished to look on while he was born.'
Now it is quite clear to me that the subject in this verse is the same as in IV, II, where the same words are used, and where yo yonim yonim adhitishthaty ekah refers clearly to Brahman. It is equally clear that the prasûta, the son, the offspring of Brahman, in the Vedânta sense, can only be the same person who is elsewhere called Hiranyagarbha,
[1. Savisesham Brahma, or sabalam Brahma.
2. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1878, p. 40.]
the personified Brahman. Thus we read before, III, 4, 'He the creator and supporter of the gods, Rudra, the great seer (maharshi), the lord of all, formerly gave birth to Hiranyagarbha;' and in IV, 11, we have the very expression which is used here, namely, 'that he saw Hiranyagarbha being born.' Unfortunately, a new adjective is applied in our verse to Hiranyagarbha, namely, kapila, and this has called forth interpretations totally at variance with the general tenor of the Upanishad. If, instead of kapilam, reddish, fiery, any other epithet had been used of Hiranyagarbha, no one, I believe, would have hesitated for a moment to recognise the fact that our text simply repeats the description of Hiranyagarbha in his relation to Brahman, for the other epithet rishim, like maharshim, is too often applied to Brahman himself and to Hiranyagarbha to require any explanation.
But it is a well known fact that the Hindus, even as early as the Brâhmana-period, were fond of tracing their various branches of knowledge back to Brahman or to Brahman Svayambhû and then through Pragâpati, who even in the Rig-veda (X, 121, 10) replaces Hiranyagarbha, and sometimes through the Devas, such as Mrityu, Vâyu, Indra, Agni , &c., to the various ancestors of their ancient families.
In the beginning of the Mundakopanishad we are told that Brahman told it to Atharvan, Atharvan to Angir, Angir to Satyavâha Bhâradvâga, Bhâradvâga to Angiras, Angiras to Saunaka. Manu, the ancient lawgiver, is called both Hairanyagarbha and Svâyambhuva, as descended from Svâyambhu or from Hiranyagarbha . Nothing therefore was more natural than that the same tendency should have led some one to assign the authorship of a great philosophical system like the Sankhya to Hiranyagarbha, if not to Brahman Svayambhû. And if the name of Hiranyagarbha had been used already for the ancestors of other sages, and the inspirers of other systems, what could be more natural than that another name of the same Hiranyagarbha
[1. Other colours, instead of kapila, are nîla, harita, lohitâksha; see IV, 1; 4.
See Vamsa-brâhmana, ed. Burnell, p. io; Brihadâranyaka-up. pp, 185, 224.
3 See M. M., India, p. 372.]
should be chosen, such as Kapila. If we are told that Kapila handed his knowledge to Asuri, Asuri to Pañkasikha, this again is in perfect keeping with the character of literary tradition in India. Asuri occurs in the Vamsas ofthe Satapatha-brâhmana (see above, pp. 187, 2-6); Pañkasikha, having five tufts, might be either a general name or a proper name of an ascetic, Buddhist or otherwise. He is quoted in the Sânkhya-sûtras, V, 32; VI, 68.
But after all this was settled, after Kapila had been accepted, like Hiranyagarbha, as the founder of a great system of philosophy, there came a reaction. People had now learnt to believe in a real Kapila, and when looking out for credentials for him, they found them wherever the word Kapila occurred in old writings. The question whether there ever was a real historical person who took the name of Kapila and taught the Sânkhya-sûtras, does not concern us here. I see no evidence for it. What is instructive is this, that our very passage, which may have suggested at first the name of Kapila, as distinct from Hiranyagarbha, Kapila, was later on appealed to to prove the primordial existence of a Kapila, the founder of the Sânkhya philosophy. However, it requires but a very slight acquaintance with Sanskrit literature and very little reflection in order to see that the author of our verse could never have dreamt of elevating a certain Kapila, known to him as a great philosopher, if there ever was such a man, to a divine rank. Hiranyagarbha kapila may have given birth to Kapila, the hero of the Sânkhya philosophers, but Kapila, a real human person, was never changed into Hiranyagarbha kapila.
Let us see now what the commentators say. Sankara first explains kapilam by kanakam  kapilavarnam . . . . Hiranyagarbham. Kapilo 'graga iti purânavakanât. Kapilo Hiranyagarbho vâ nirdisyate. But he afterwards quotes some verses in support of the theory that Kapila was a
[1. For fuller information on Pañkasikha, Kapila, &c., see F. Hall's Preface to Sânkhya-pravakana-bhâshya, p. 9 seq.; Weber, Ind. Stud. I, p. 433.
2. Weber, Hist. of Indian Literature, p. 236.
3. This ought to be Kanakavarnam, and I hope will not be identified with the name of Buddha in a former existence.]
Paramarshi, a portion of Vishnu, intended to destroy error in the Krita Yuga, a teacher of the Sânkhya philosophy.
Vigñânâtman explains the verse rightly, and without any reference to Kapila, the Sânkhya teacher.
Safikarânanda goes a step further, and being evidently fully aware of the misuse that had been made of this passage, even in certain passages of the Mahâbhârata (XII, 13254, 13703), and elsewhere, declares distinctly that kapila cannot be meant for the teacher of the Sânkhya (na tu sânkhyapranetâ kapilah, nâmamâtrasâmyena tadgrahane syâd atiprasangah). He is fully aware of the true interpretation, viz. avyâkritasya prathamakâryabhûtam kapilam vikitravarnam gñânakriyâsaktyâtmakam Hiranyagarbham ityarthah, but he yields to another temptation, and seems to prefer another view which makes Kapila Vâsudevasyâvatârabûtam Sagaraputrânâm dagdhâram, an Avatâra of Vâsudeva, the burner of the sons of Sagara. What vast conclusions may be drawn from no facts, may be seen in Weber's Indische Studien, vol. i, p. 430, and even in his History of Indian Literature, published in 1878.
Far more difficult to explain than these supposed allusions to the authors and to the teaching of the Sânkhya philosophy are the frequent references in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad to definite numbers, which are supposed to point to certain classes of subjects as arranged in the Sânkhya and other systems of philosophy. The Sânkhya philosophy is fond of counting and arranging, and its very name is sometimes supposed to have been chosen because it numbers (sankhyâ) the subjects of which it treats. It is certainly true that if we meet, as we do in the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, with classes of things', numbered as one, two, three, five, eight, sixteen, twenty, forty-eight, fifty and more, and if some of these numbers agree with those recognised in the later Sânkhya and Yoga systems, we feel doubtful as to whether these coincidences are accidental, or whether, if not accidental, they are due to borrowing on the part of those later systems, or on the part
[1. See I, 4; 5; VI, 3]
it impossible to come to a decision on this point. Even so early as the hymns of the Rig-veda we meet with these numbers assigned to days and months and seasons, rivers and countries, sacrifices and deities. They clearly prove the existence of a considerable amount of intellectual labour which had become fixed and traditional before the composition of certain hymns, and they prove the same in the case of certain Upanishads. But beyond this, for the present, I should not like to go; and I must say that the attempts of most of the Indian commentators at explaining such numbers bya reference to later systems of philosophy or cosmology, are generally very forced and unsatisfactory.
One more point I ought to mention as indicating the age of the Svetâsvatara-upanishad, and that is the obscurity of many of its verses, which may be due to a corruption of the text, and the number of various readings, recognised as such, by the commentators. Some of them have been mentioned in the notes to my translation.
The text of this Upanishad was printed by Dr. Roer in the Bibliotheca Indica, with Sankara's commentary. I have consulted besides, the commentary of Vigñânâtman, the pupil of Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkârya-srîmag-Gñânotta- mâkârya, MS. I. O. 1133; and a third commentary, by Sahkarânanda, the pupil of Paramahamsa-parivrâgakâkâryânandâtman, MS. I. O. 1878. These were kindly lent me by Dr. Rost, the learned and liberal librarian of the India Office.
THIS Upanishad is called the Prasña or Shat-prasña-upanishad, and at the end of a chapter we find occasionally iti prasñaprativakanam, i.e. thus ends the answer to the question. It is ascribed to the Atharva-veda, and occasionally to the Pippalâda-sâkhâ, one of the most important sâkhâs of that Veda. Pippalâda is mentioned in the Upanishad as the name of the principal teacher.
Sankara, in the beginning of his commentary, says: Mantroktasyârthasya vistarânuvâdidam Brâhmanam ârabhyate, which would mean 'this Brâhmana is commenced as more fully repeating what has been declared in the Mantra.' This, however, does not, I believe, refer to a Mantra or hymn in the Atharva-veda-samhitâ, but to the Mundaka-upanishad, which, as written in verse, is sometimes spoken of as a Mantra, or Mantropanishad. This is also the opinion of Ânandagiri, who says, I one might think that it was mere repetition (punarukti), if the essence of the Self, which has been explained by the Mantras, were to be taught here again by the Brâhmana.' For he adds, 'by the Mantras "Brahma devânâm," &c.,' and this is evidently meant for the beginning of the Mundaka-upanishad, 'Brahmâ devânâm.' Ânandagiri refers again to the Mundaka in order to show that the Prasña is not a mere repetition, and if Sankara calls the beginning of it a Brâhmana, this must be taken in the more general sense of 'what is not Mantra'.' Mantropanishad is a name used of several Upanishads which are written in verse, and some of which, like the Isi, have kept their place in the Samhitâs.
IN the case of this Upanishad we must first of all attempt to settle its right title. Professor Cowell, in his edition and translation of it, calls it Maitrî or Maitrâyanîya-upanishad, and states that it belongs to the Maitrâyanîya-sâkhâ of the Black Yagur-veda, and that it formed the concluding portion of a lost Brâhmana of that Sâkhâ, being preceded by the sacrificial (karma) portion, which consisted of four books.
In his MSS. the title varied between Maitry-upanishad and Maitrî-sâkhâ-upanishad. A Poona MS. calls it Maitrâyanîya-sâkhâ-upanishad, and a MS. copied for Baron von Eckstein, Maitrâyanîyopanishad. I myself in the Alphabetical List of the Upanishads, published in the journal of
[1. Mantravyatiriktabhâge tu brâhmanasabdah, Rig-veda, Sâyana's Introduction, vol i, p. 23.]
the German Oriental Society, called it, No. 104, Maitrâyana or Maitrî-upanishad, i.e. either the Upanishad of the Maitriyanas, or the Upanishad of Maitrî, the principal teacher.
In a MS. which I received from Dr. Burnell, the title of our Upanishad is Maitriyani-brâhmana-upanishad, varying with Maitriyani-brâhmana-upanishad, and Srîyagussâkhâyâm Maitrâyanîya-brâhmana-upanishad.
The next question is by what name this Upanishad is quoted by native authorities. Vidyâranya, in his Sarvopanishad-arthânubhûtiprakâsa, v. 1, speaks of the Maitrâyanîyanâmnî yâgushî sâkhâ, and he mentions Maitra (not Maitrî) as the author of that Sâkhâ. (vv. 55,150).
In the Muktikâ-upanishad we meet with the name of Maitrâyanî as the twenty-fourth Upanishad, with the name of Maitreyî as the twenty-ninth; and again, in the list of the sixteen Upanishads of the Sâma-veda, we find Maitrâyanâ and Maitreyî as the fourth and fifth.
Looking at all this evidence, I think we should come to the conclusion that our Upanishad derives its name from the Sâkhâ of the Maitrâyanas, and may therefore be called Maitrâyana-upanishad or Maitrâyanî Upanishad. Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad seems likewise correct, and Maitriyani-brilimana-upanishad, like Kaushîtaki-brâhmana-upanishad and Vâgasaneyi-samhitopanishad, might be defended, if Maitrâyanin were known as a further derivative of Maitrâyana. If the name is formed from the teacher Maitrî or Maitra, the title of Maitrî-upanishad would also be correct, but I doubt whether Maitrî-upanishad would admit of any grammatical justification3.
Besides this Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad, however, I possess a MS. of what is called the Maitreyopanishad, sent to me likewise by the late Dr. Burnell. It is very short, and contains no more than the substance of the first Prapâthaka of the Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad. I give
[1. See Cowell, Maitr: Up. pref. p. iv.
2. Calcutta, 1791 (1869), p. 4; also as quoted in the Mahâvâkya-ratnâvalî, p.2b. Dr. Burnell, in his Tanjore Catalogue, mentions, p. 35a, a Maitrâyanî-brâhmanopanishad, which can hardly be a right title, and p. 36b a Maitrâyanîya and Maitreyîbrâhmana.]
the text of it, as far as it can be restored from the one MS. in my possession:
Harih Om. Brihadratho vai nâma râgâ vairâgye putram nidhâpayitvedam asâsvatam manyamânah sarîram vairâgyam upeto 'ranyam nirgagâma. Sa tatra paramam tapa âdityam udîkshamâna ûrdhvas tislithaty. Ante sahasrasya muner antikam âgagâma  . Atha Brihadratho brahmavitpravaram munîndram sampûgya stutvâ bahusah pranâmam akarot. So 'bravîd agnir ivâdhûmakas tegasâ nirdahann ivâtmavid Bhagavâñ khâkâyanya, uttishthottishtha varam vrinîshveti râgânam abravît . Sa tasmai punar namaskrityovâka, Bhagavan nâ(ha)mâtmavit tvam tattvavik khusrumo vayam; sa tvam no brûhity etad vratam purastâd asakyam mâ prikkha prasñam Aikshvâkânyân kâmân vrinîshveti Sâkâyanyah. Sarîrasya sarîre (sic) karanâv abhimrisyamâno râgemâm gâthâm gagâda. 1
Bhagavann, asthikarmasnâyumaggâmâmsasuklasonitasreshmâsrudashikâvinmûtrapittakaphasamghâte durgandhe nihsâre 'smiñ kharire kim kâmabhogaih. 2
Kâmakrodhalobhamohabhayavishâdersheshtaviyogânishtasamprayogakshutpipâsâgarâmrityurogasokâdyair abhihate 'smiñ kharire kim kâmabhogaih. 3
Sarvam kedam kshayishnu pasyâmo yatheme damsamasakâdayas trinavan  nasyata yodbhûtapradhvamsinah. 4
Atha kim etair vâ pare 'nye dhamartharâs (sic) kakravartinah Sudyumnabhûridyumnakuvalayâsvayauvanâsvavaddhriyâsvâsvapatih sasabindur hariskandro 'mbarisho nanukastvayâtir yayâtir anaranyokshasenâdayo marutabharataprabhritayo râgâno mishato bandhuvargasya mahatîm sriyam tyaktvâsmâl lokâd amum lokam prayânti. 5.
Atha kim etair vâ pare 'nye gandharvâsurayaksharâkshasabhûtaganapisâkoragrahâdinâm nirodhanam pasyâmah. 6
Atha kim etair vânyanâm soshanam mahârnavânâm
[1. One expects âsthâya.
2. This seems better than the Maitrâyana text. He went near a Muni, viz. Sâkiyanya.
3. This seems unnecessary.
4. There may be an older reading hidden in this, from which arose the reading of the Maitrayana B. U. trinavanaspatayodbhûtapradhvamsinah, or yo bhûtapradhvainsinah.]
sikharinâm prapatanam dhruvasya prakalanam vâtarûnâm nimagganam prithivyâh sthânâpasaranam surânâm. So 'ham ity etadvidhe 'smin samsâre kim kâmopabhogair yair evâsritasya sakrid âvartanam drisyata ity uddhartum arhasi tyandodapânabheka ivâham asmin sam Bhagavas tvam gatis tvam no gatir iti. 7
Ayam  agnir vaisvânaro yo 'yam antah purushe yenedam annam pakyate yad idam adyate tasyaisha ghosho bhavati yam etat karnâv apidhâya srinoti, sa yadotkramishyan bhavati nainam ghosham srinoti. 8
Yathâ  nirindhano vahnih svayonâv upasâmyati. 9 
Sa sivah so 'nte vaisvânaro bhûtvâ sa dagdhvâ sarvâni bhûtâni prithivyapsu pralîyate , âpas tegasi lîyante , tego vâyau pralîyate, vâyur âkâse vilîyate, âkâsam indriyeshv, indriyâni tanmâtreshu, tanmâtrâni bhûtâdau vilîyante, bhûtâdi mahati vilîyate, mahân avyakte vilîyate, avyaktam akshare vilîyate, aksharam tamasi viliyate, tama ekibhavati parasmin, parastân na san nâsan na sad ityetan nirvânam anusâsanam iti vedânusâsanam.
We should distinguish therefore between the large Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad and the smaller Maitreyopanishad. The title of Maitreyî-brâhmana has, of course, a totally different origin, and simply means the Brâhmana which tells the story of Maitreyî .
As Professor Cowell, in the Preface to his edition and translation of the Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad, has discussed its peculiar character, I have little to add on that subject. I agree with him in thinking that this Upanishad has grown, and contains several accretions. The Sanskrit commentator himself declares the sixth and seventh chapters to be Khilas or supplementary. Possibly the Maitreya-upanishad, as printed above, contains the earliest framework. Then we have traces of various recensions. Professor Cowell (Preface, p. vi) mentions a MS., copied
[1. Maitr. Up. II, 6; p. 32.
2 kramishyân, m.
3 Yadhâ, m.
4. Maitr. Up. VI, 34; p. 178.
15. See Khand. Up. p. 623.]
for Baron Eckstein, apparently from a Telugu original, which contains the first five chapters only, numbered as four. The verses given in VI, 34 (p. 177), beginning with 'atreme slokâ bhavanti, are placed after IV, 3. In my own MS. these verses are inserted at the beginning of the fifth chapter. Then follows in Baron Eckstein's MS. as IV, 5, what is given in the printed text as V, 1, 2 (pp. 69-76). In my own MS., which likewise comes from the South, the Upanishad does not go beyond VI, 8, which is called the sixth chapter and the end of the Upanishad.
We have in fact in our Upanishad the first specimen of that peculiar Indian style, so common in the later fables and stories, which delights in enclosing one story within another. The kernel of our Upanishad is really the dialogue between the Vâlakhilyas and Pragâpati Kratu. This is called by the commentator (see p. 331, note) a Vyâkhyâna, i.e. a fuller explanation of the Sûtra which comes before, and which expresses in the few words, 'He is the Self, this is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman,' the gist of the whole Upanishad.
This dialogue, or at all events the doctrine which it was meant to illustrate, was communicated by Maitrî (or Maitra) to Sâkâyanya, and by Sâkâyanya to King Brihadratha Aikshvâka, also called Marut (II, 1; VI, 30). This dialogue might seem to come to an end in VI, 29, and likewise the dialogue between Sâkâyanya and Brihadratha; but it is carried on again to the end of VI, 30, and followed afterwards by a number of paragraphs which may probably be considered as later additions.
But though admitting all this, I cannot bring myself to follow Professor Cowell in considering, as he does, even the earlier portion of the Upanishad as dating from a late period, while the latter portions are called by him comparatively modern, on account of frequent Vaishnava quotations. What imparts to this Upanishad, according to my opinion, an exceptionally genuine and ancient character, is the preservation in it of that peculiar Sandhi which,
[1. See p. 303, note 1; p. 305. note 1; p. 312, note 1.]
thanks to the labours of Dr. von Schroeder, we now know to be characteristic of the Maitrâyana-sâkhâ. In that Sâkhâ final unaccented as and e are changed into â, if the next word begins with an accented vowel, except a. Before initial a, however, e remains unchanged, and as becomes o, and the initial a is sometimes elided, sometimes not. Some of these rules, it must be remembered, run counter to Pânini, and we may safely conclude therefore that texts in which they are observed, date from the time before Pânini. In some MSS., as, for instance, in my own MS. of the Maitrâyanabrâhmana-upanishad, these rules are not observed, but this makes their strict observation in other MSS. all the more important. Besides, though to Dr. von Schroeder belongs, no doubt, the credit of having, in his edition of the Maitrâyanî Samhitâ, first pointed out these phonetic peculiarities, they were known as such to the commentators, who expressly point out these irregular Sandhis as distinctive of the Maitrâyanî sâkhâ. Thus we read Maitr. Up. II, 3 (p. 18), that tigmategasâ ûrdhvaretaso, instead of tigmategasa, is evamvidha etakkhâkhâsanketapâthas khândasah sarvatra, i.e. is throughout theVedic reading indicatory of that particular Sâkhâ, namely the Maitrâyanî.
A still stranger peculiarity of our Sâkhâ is the change of a final t before initial s into ñ. This also occurs in our Upanishad. In VI, 8, we read svâñ sarîrâd; in VI, 2 7, yañ sarîrasya. Such a change seems phonetically so unnatural, that the tradition must have been very strong to perpetuate it among the Maitrâyanas.
Now what is important for our purposes is this, that these phonetic peculiarities run through all the seven chapters of our Upanishad. This will be seen from the following list:
I. Final as changed into â before initial vowel:
II, 3, tigmategasâ ûrdhvaretaso (Comm. etakkhâkhâsanketapâthas khândasah sarvatra).
II, 5, vibodhâ evam. II, 7, avasthitâ iti.
[1. I have left out the restriction as to the accent of the vowels, because they are disregarded in the Upanishad. It should be observed that this peculiar Sandhi occurs in the Upamishad chiefly before iti.]
III, 5, etair abhibhûtâ îti. IV, i, vidyatâ iti.
VI, 4, pranavâ iti; bhâmyâdayâ eko.
VI, 6, âdityl iti; âhavanîyâ iti; sûryâ iti; ahankârâ iti; vyânâ iti. VI, 7, bhargâ iti.
VI, 7, sannivishtâ iti. VI, 23, devâ onkâro.
VI, 30, prâyâtâ iti. VI, 30, vinirgatâ iti.
II. Final e before initial vowels becomes â. For instance:
I, 4, drisyatâ iti. II, 2, nishpadyatâ iti.
III, 2, âpadyatâ iti. III, 2, pushkarâ iti.
IV, i, vidyatâ iti. VI, 10, bhunktâ iti.
VI, 20, asnutâ iti. VI, 30, ekâ âhur.
Even pragrihya e is changed to â in-
VI, 23, etâ upâsita, i.e. ete uktalakshane brahmanî.
In VI, 31, instead of te etasya, the commentator seems to have read te vâ etasya.
III. Final as before â, u, and au becomes a, and is then contracted. For instance:
I, 4, vanaspatayodbhûta, instead of vanaspataya, udbhûta. (Comm. Sandhis khândaso vâ, ukâro vâtra lupto drashtavyah.)
II, 6, devaushnyam, instead of deva aushnyam. (Comm. Sandhis khândasah.)
VI, 24, atamâvishtam, instead of atama-âvishtam (Comm. Sandhis khândasah); cf. Khând. Up. VI, 8, 3, asanâyeti (Comm. visarganîyalopah).
IV. Final e before i becomes a, and is then contracted. For instance:
VI, 7, itmâ ganîted for ganita iti. (Comm. gânite, gânâti.)
VI, 28, avataiva for avata iva. (Comm. Sandhivriddhi khândase.)
V. Final au before initial vowels becomes â. For instance:
II, 6, yena vâ etâ anugrihitâ iti.
VI, 22, asâ abhidhyâtâ.
On abhibhûyamânay iva, see p. 295, note 2.
V, 2, asâ âtmâ (var. lect. asâv âtmâ).
VI. Final o of atho produces elision of initial short a. For instance:
III, 2, atho 'bhibhûatvât. (Comm. Sandhis khândasah.) Various reading, ato 'bhibhûtatvât.
VI, 1, so antar is explained as sa u.
VII. Other irregularities:
VI, 7, âpo pyâyanât, explained by pyâyanât and âpyâyanât. Might it be, âpo 'py ayanât?
VI, 7, âtmano tmâ netâ.
II, 6, so tmânam abhidhyâtvâ.
VI, 35, dvidharmondharn for dvidharmândham. (Comm. khândasa.)
VI, 35, tegasendham, i. c. tegasâ-iddhan. (In explaining other irregular compounds, too, as in I, 4, the commentator has recourse to a khândasa or prâmâdika licence.)
VI, 1, hiranyavasthât for hiranyâvasthât. Here the dropping of a in avasthât is explained by a reference to Bhâguri (vashti Bhâgurir allopam avâpyor upasargayoh). See Vopadeva III, 171.
VII, 2, brahmadhiyâlambana. (Comm. vislishtapâthas khândasah.)
VI, 35, apyay ankurâ for apy ankurâ. (Comm. yakârah pramâdapathitah.)
On the contrary VI, 35, vliyânte for viliyante.
If on the grounds which we have hitherto. examined there seems good reason to ascribe the Maitrâyana-brâhmana-upanishad to an early rather than to a late period, possibly to an ante-Pâninean period, we shall hardly be persuaded to change this opinion on account of supposed references to Vaishnava or to Bauddha doctrines which some scholars have tried to discover in it.
As to the worship of Vishnu, as one of the many manifestations of the Highest Spirit, we have seen it alluded to in other Upanishads, and we know from the Brâhmanas that the name of Vishnu was connected with many of the earliest Vedic sacrifices.
As to Bauddha doctrines, including the very name of Nirvâna (p. xlvi, 1. 19), we must remember, as I have often remarked, that there were Bauddhas before Buddha. Brihaspati, who is frequently quoted in later philosophical writings as the author of an heretical philosophy, denying the authority of theVedas, is mentioned by name in our Upanishad (VII, 9), but we are told that this Brihaspati, having become Sukra, promulgated his erroneous doctrines in order to mislead the Asuras, and thus to insure the safety of Indra, i.e. of the old faith.
The fact that the teacher of King Briliadratha in our Upanishad is called Sâkâyanya, can never be used in support of the idea that, being a descendant of Sâka , he must have been, like Sâkyamuni, a teacher of Buddhist doctrines. He is the very opposite in our Upanishad, and warns his hearers against such doctrines as we should identify with the doctrines of Buddha. As I have pointed out on several occasions, the breaking through the law of the Âsramas is the chief complaint which orthodox Brâhmans make against Buddhists and their predecessors, and this is what Sâkâyanya condemns. A Brâhman may become a Sannyâsin, which is much the same as a Buddhist Bhikshu, if he has first passed through the three stages of a student, a householder, and a Vânaprastha. But to become a Bhikshu without that previous discipline, was heresy in the eyes of the Brâhmans, and it was exactly that heresy which the Bauddhas preached and practised. That this social laxity was gaining ground at the time when our Upanishad was written is clear (see VII, 8). We hear ofpeople who wear red dresses (like the Buddhists) without having a right to them; we even hear of books, different from the Vedas, against which the true Brâhmans are warned. All this points to times when what we call Buddhism was in the air, say the sixth century B. C., the very time to which I have always assigned the origin of the genuine and classical Upanishads. The Upanishads are to my mind the germs of Buddhism,
[1. Sâkâyanya means a grandson or further descendant of Sâka; see Gauaratnâvalî (Baroda, 1874), p. 57a.]
while Buddhism is in many respects the doctrine of the Upanishads carried out to its last consequences, and, what is important, employed as the foundation of a new social system. In doctrine the highest goal of the Vedânta, the knowledge of the true Self, is no more than the Buddhist Samyaksambodhi; in practice the Sannyâsin is the Bhikshu, the friar, only emancipated alike from the tedious discipline of the Brâhmanic student, the duties of the Brâhmanic householder, and the yoke of useless penances imposed on the Brâhmanic dweller in the forest. The spiritual freedom of the Sannyâsin becomes in Buddhism the common property of the Sangha, the Fraternity, and that Fraternity is open alike to the young and the old, to the Brâhman and the Sûdra, to the rich and the poor, to the wise and the foolish. In fact there is no break between the India of the Veda and the India of the Tripitaka, but there is an historical continuity between the two, and the connecting link between extremes that seem widely separated must be sought in the Upanishads .
F. MAX MÜLLER.
OXFORD, February, 1884.
[1. As there is room left on this page, I subjoin a passage from the Abhidharma-kosha-vyâkhyi, ascribed to the Bhagavat, but which, as far as style and thought are concerned, might be taken from an Upanishad: Uktam hi Bhagavatâ: Prithivî bho Gautama kutra pratishikitâ? Prithivî Brâhmana abmandale pratishthitâ. Abmandalam bho Gautama kva pratishthitam? Vâyau pratishthitam. Vâyur bho Gautama kva pratishthitah? Âkâse pratishthitah. Âkâsam bho Gautama kutra pratishthitam? Atisarasi Mahâbrâhmana, atisarasi Mahâbrâhmana. Âkâsam Brâhmanâpratishthitam, anâlambanam iti vistarah. Tasmâd asty âkâsam iti Vaibhâshikâh. (See Brihad-Âr. Up. III, 6, 1. Burnouf, Introduction à I'histoire du Buddhisme, p. 449.)
'For it is said by the Bhagavat: "O Gautama, on what does the earth rest?" "The earth, O Brâhmana, rests on the sphere of water." "O Gautama, on what does the sphere of water rest?" "It rests on the air." "O Gautama,on what does the air rest?" "It rests on the ether (âkâsa)." "O Gautama,on what does the ether rest?" "Thou goest too far, great Brâhmana; thou goest too far, great Brahmana. The ether, O Brâhmana, does not rest. It has no support." Therefore the Vaibhâshikas hold that there is an ether,' &c.