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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Upanishads > Sri Svetasvatara Upanisad > Chapter 1

Chapter 1

 

 

Text 1

 

 

harih om brahma-vadino vadanti

 

kim karanam brahma kutah sma jata

     jivama kena kva ca sampratistah

adhisthitah kena sukhetaresu

     vartamahe brahma-vido vyavastham

 

     harih-Lord Hari; om-om; brahma-vadinah-those who know the Absolute Truth; vadanti-say; kim-what? karanm-is the cause of everything; kutah-from whence; sma jatah-were we created; jivama-we live; kena-how?; kva-where?; ca-also; sampratisthah-will we go at the time of universal anihillation; adhisthitah-directed; kena-by whom?; sukha-itaresu-in happiness and distress; vartamahe-we experience; brahma-vidah-O knowers of the Absolute; vyavastham-condition of life.

 

 

     Hari. Om. The Brahmavadis say: What is the first, the great cause? From where were we born? How do we remain alive? Where do we go at death? O knowers of Brahman, by whose will are we subject to pleasure and pain?

 

 

Text 2

 

 

kalah svabhavo niyatir yadrccha

     bhutani yonih purusa iti cintya

samyoga esam na tv atma-bhavad

     atmapy anisah sukha-duhka-hetoh

 

     kalah-time; svabhavah-the variety of natures; niyatih- destiny; yadrccha-as if without a couse; bhuatni-the five material elements; yonih-the cause; purusah-the living entity; iti-thus; cintya-may be considered; samyogah-the meeting; esam-of them; na-not; tu-but; atma-bhavat-by themselves; atma-the individual jiva soul; anisah-is not the Supreme Controller; sukha-duhkha-hetoh-becuase He experiences happiness and distress.

 

 

     Neither time, nature, destiny, chance, the material elements, the mother's womb, nor the father are the first cause. All of them taken together are not the first cause. Because he has no great control over the happiness and distress fate brings him, the individual living entity is not the first cause.

 

 

Text 3

 

 

te dhyana-yoganugata apasyan

     devatma-saktim sva-gunair nigudham

yah karanani nikhilani tani

     kalatma-yuktany adhitisthaty ekah

 

     te-they; dhyana-yoga-anugatah-engaged-in meditation; apsyan-have seen; deva-atma-saktim-the potency of the Supreme Godhead; sva-gunaih-by the attributes (goodness, passion, and ignorance); nigudham-concealed; yah-who; karanni-secondary causes; nikhilani-all; tani-these; kala-atma-yuktani-beginning with time; adhisthati-establishes; ekah-alone.

 

 

     Rapt in meditation, the sages then saw the mysterious potency and transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the first cause, who alone dominates the secondary causes, from time to the individual living entity.

 

 

Text 4

 

 

tam eka-nemim tri-vrtam sodasantam

     satardharam vimsati-ratyarabhih

astakaih sadbhir visva-rupaika-pasam

     tri marga-bhedam dvi-nimttaika-moham

 

     tam-a cakra; eka-nemim-with a single circle; tri-vratm- divided into three portions; sodasa-antam-with 16 parts; satardha-aram-with 50 spokes; vimsati-with 20; pratyarabhih- subsidiary spokes; astakaih-groups of eight; sadbhih-with six; visva-rupa-material desires; eka-one; pasam-rope; tri-marga- three paths; bhedam-divisions; dvi-two; nimitta-causes; moham-of illusion.

 

 

     They saw the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a great wheel with a single rim divided first into three and then into sixteen, with 50 spokes, 20 counter-spokes, six groups of eight, one rope, three paths, and an illusion with two causes.

 

 

     Note: Shri Ranga Ramanuja explains that the three divisions of the rim are the material modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance, the sixteen divisions are the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether), the five working senses (voice, arms, legs, belly, and genital), the five knowledge-acquiring senses (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and touch), and the mind, the 50 spokes and 20 counter-spokes are the varieties of material suffering, the six groups of eight are 1. earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false-ego, 2. the outer layer of skin, the inner layer of skin, flesh, blood, bones, marrow, fat, and semen, 3. mercy, forbearance, non-enviousness, diligence, being a source of auspiciousness for others, generosity, and freedom from material desire, 4. the eight mystic powers, 5. piety, knowledge, renunciation, opulence, sinfulness, ignorance, sense-happiness, and poverty, and 6. Brahma, the prajapatis, devas, gandharvas, yaksas, raksasas, pitas, and pisacas, the single-rope is material desire, the three paths are karma (fruitive action), jnana (the search for knowledge), and bhakti (devotional service), and the two causes of illusion are sense-pleasure and material piety.

 

 

Text 5

 

 

panca-sroto-`mbum panca-yony-ugra-vakram

     panca-pranormim panca-buddhy-adi-mkulam

panca-vartam panca-duhkaugha-vegam

     pancasad-bhedam panca-parvam adhimah

 

     panca-with five;srotah-ambum-currents; panca-with five;yoni-causes; ugra-terrible; vakram-winding; panca-five; prana-working senses; urmim-with waves; pa{.sy 241}ca-five; buddhi- knowledge-aquiring senses; adi-original source; panca-with five;vartam-whirlpools; panca-with five;duhkha-of suffering; agha-vegam-powerful currents; pa{.sy 241}casat-with 50; bhedam- divisions; pa{.sy 241}ca-and five; parvam-great divisions; adhimah-we meditate.

 

 

     We meditate on the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a river with five currents, five tortuous curves, five waves, five sources of knowledge, five whirlpools, five floods of pain, fifty parts, and five parts.

 

 

     Note: Shri Ranga Ramanuja explains that the five currents are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch, the five tortuous curves are earth, water, fire, air, and ether, the five waves are the voice, arms, legs, belly, and genital, the five sources of knowledge are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, the five whirlpools are form, sound, smell, taste, and touch, the five floods of pain are life in the womb, birth, old-age, disease, and death, the fifty parts are the many other sufferings of this world, and the five parts are ignorance, false-ego, attachment to sense-pleasures, hatred, and attachment to material life.

 

 

Text 6

 

 

sarvajive sarva-samsthe brhante

     asmin hamso bhramyate brahma-cakre

prthag atmanam preitaram ca matva

     justas tatas tenamrtatvam eti

 

     sarva-for the conditioned souls; ajive-the source of life; sarva-=samsthe-consisting of the various material ingredients; brhante-greatly expanded; asmin-in this cakra of material existence; prthak-different; ca-and; matva-having considered; justah-engaged in devotional service; tatah-then; tena-by that; amrtatvam-immortality; eti-attains.

 

 

     A swan wanders in the great circle of material life. When he learns that he is different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and becomes active in His service, the swan attains immortality.

 

 

Text 7

 

 

udgitam etat paramam tu brahma

     tasmims trayam supratistha `ksaram ca

atrantaram brahma-vido viditva

     lina brahmani tat-para yoni-muktah

 

     udgitam-glorified in the Vedic literatures; etat-that; paramam-supreme; tu-certainly; brtahma-greatest; tasmia-in whom; trayam-the individual living entities; the material universe, and the controller of the universe; supratistha-the basis and shelter of everything; aksaram-imperishable; ca-also; atra-the material universe; antaram-remaining within as the Supersoul; brahma-vidah-the knowers of the Absolute; viditva-having understood; linah-entered; brahmani-the spiritual realm of the Absolute; tat-parah-devoted to the Absolute; yoni-from the cycle of birth and dath in the material world; muktah-free.

 

 

     The Supreme Personality of Godhead is glorified in all the Vedas. In Him the three divisions of this world rest. He is the first cause. He is eternal and imperishable. Knowing that He is present everywhere in this world, the wise become devoted to Him. Free from having again to enter a mother's womb, the wise enter the spiritual world.

 

 

Text 8

 

 

samyuktam etat ksaram aksaram ca

     vyaktavyaktam bharate visvam isah

anisas catma badhyate boktr-bhavaj

     jnatva devam mucyate sarva-pasaih

         

     samyuktam-together; etat-this; ksaram-the perishable; eksaram-the imperishable; ca-also; vyakta-the manifested; avyaktam-the unmanifested; bharate-maintains;  visvam-the universe; isah-the Supreme Lord; anisah-not the Supreme Lord; ca-also; atma-the individual living entities; badhyate-is bound; bhoktr-bhavat-because of his attempt to become the enjoyer of material nature; j{.sy 241}atva-having understood; devam-the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mucyate-becomes liberated; sarva-pasaih-from the bondage of material existence.

 

 

     The Supreme Personality of Godhead maintains this universe, which consists of the temporary and eternal, the manifest and the unmanifest. The individual spirit soul is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the individual soul tries to become the supreme enjoyer he becomes bound, and when he understands the real nature of the Supreme Lord, he become free from bondage.

 

 

Text 9

 

 

jnajnau dvav ajav isanisav

     aja hy eka bhoktr-bhogyartha-yukta

anantas catma visva-rupo hy akarta

     trayam yada vindate brahmam etat

 

     jna-omniscient; ajnau-with distinctly limited knowledge; dvau-two; ajau-unborn and eternal; isa-the Supreme Lord; anisau-and he who is not the Supreme ; aja-unborn; hi- certainly; eka-single; bhoktr-of the enjoyer; bohya-of enjoyment; artha-for the purpose; yukta-engaged; anantah- unlimited; ca-also; atma-Supreme ; visva-rupah-all-pervading; hi-certainly; akarta-not the doer; trayam-these three; yada- when; vindate; brahmam-the Supreme; etat-this.

 

 

     Two, one the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the other not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal. Another, a pleasure-potency, is also eternal. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is limitless. His form fills the entire world. He is not bound to perform any work. When one understands these three, he finds the Supreme Lord.

 

 

Text 10

 

 

ksaram pradhanam amrtaksaram harah

     ksaratmanav isate deva ekah

tasyabhidyanad yojanat tattva-bhavad

     bhuyas cante visva-maya-nivrttih

 

     ksaram-endlessly mutable; pradhanam-material energy; amrta-eternal; aksaram-and imperishable; harah-the conditioned living entity who tries to exploit the resources of the material energy; ksara-both the mutable material energy; atmanau-and the eternal living entitiy; isate-controls; devah-the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ekah-sole; tasya-on Him; abhidyanat- from meditation; yojanat-from yoga-tattva-bhavate-from the perception of the truth; bhuyah-completely; ca-and; ante-at the time of death; visva-maya-from the cycle of birth and death in the material world; nivrttih-liberation.

 

    

     The material world is temporary. The individual spirit soul is eternal. The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of both temporary matter and the eternal individual soul. By meditating on the Lord, by yoga, and by understanding the truth, at the end the individual spirit soul becomes free from the illusion of the world.

 

 

Text 11

 

 

jnatva devam sarva-pasapahanih

     ksinaih klesair janma-mrtyu-prahanih

tasyabhidhyanat trtiyam deha-bhede

     visvaisvaryam kevala apta-kamah

 

     jnatva-having understood, devam-Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-pasa-apahanih-free from all varieties of material bondage; ksinah-with diminished; klesaih-material miseries; janma-of birth; mrtyu-and death; prahanih-liberated; tasya-on that Supreme Lord; abhidhyanat-from meditation; trtiyam-the third state of existence (in the spiritual world, above the two stage of material existence; deha-bhede-when seperated from both gross and subtle material coverings; visva-aisvaryam-full of spiritual opulences, the abode of the Supreme Lord; kevalah-the transcendentalist; apta-kamah-whose desires are all fulfilled.

 

 

     By understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a person becomes free from all material bondage, his sufferings perish, and he escapes the cycle of repeated birth and death. By meditating on the Supreme Lord, when one is finally separated from the material body he enters the opulent spiritual world and attains a spiritual body where all his desires are fulfilled.

 

 

Text 12

 

 

etaj jneyam nityam evatma-samstham

     natah param veditavyam hi kincit

bhokta bhogyam prepitaram ca matva

     sarvam proktam tri-vidham brahmam etat

 

     etat-this jneyam-proper object of knowledge; nityam- eternal; eva-certainly; atma-samstham-independent or, situated in everyone's heart; na-not; atah-than Him; param-superior; viditavyam-may be known; hi-certainly; kincit-anything; bhokta-the enjoyer; bhogyam-thye object of enjoyment; preritaram-the controller; ca-also; matva-considering; sarvam-everything; proktam-described; trividham-in three parts; brahmam-the Absolute; etet-that.

 

 

     The eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead should be known as the Supersoul in everyone's heart. It should be known that no one is superior to Him. The individual spirit soul who enjoys material nature, the material nature that is the object of his enjoyment, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead who dominates both individual soul and matter, are described as the three-fold Brahman.

 

 

Text 13

 

 

vahner yatha yoni-gatasya murtir

     na drsyate naiva ca linga-nasah

sa bhuya evendhana-yoni-grhyas

     tad vobhayam vai pranavena dehe

 

     vahneh-of fire; yatha-just as; yoni-gatasya-situated within wood; murtih-the form; na-not; drsyate-is seen; na- nor; eva-certianly; ca-also; linga-of its form; nasah- destruction; sah-that Personality of Godhead ; bhuyah- repeatedly; eva-certainly; indhana-of arani wood; yoni-grhyah-manifestedd fire; tat-that; va-or; ubhayam-both; vai- certainly; pranavena-with the sacred syllable om; dehe-in the body.

 

 

     As the fire in wood cannot be seen, although it is present there, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be seen, although He is also present. As fire is manifest by rubbing sticks together, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead is manifest by chanting the sacred syllable om.

 

 

Text 14

 

 

sva-deham aranim krtva

     pranavam cottararanim

dhyana-nirmathabhyasad

     devam pasyen nigudhavat

 

     sva-deham-one's own body; aranim-arani stick; krtva- making; pranavam-the sacred syllable om; ca-also; uttaram-the upper arani stick; dhyana-of meditation; nirmathana-by churning; abhyasat-by repetition; devam-the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pasyet-may see; nigudhavat-like the flame hidden within the wood.

 

 

     Making one's body the lower arani stick and the sacred syllable om the upper arani stick, and rubbing them together in the trance of meditation, one may see the Supreme Personality of Godhead as by rubbing two sticks one may see the fire hidden in wood.   

 

 

Text 15

 

 

tilesu tailam dadhiniva sarpir

     apah srotahsv aranisu cagnih

evam atmatmani grhyate sau

     satyenainam tapasa yo `nupasyatki

 

     tilesu-in sesame seeds; tailam-oil; dadhini-in yogurt; iva-just as; sarpih-butter; apah-water; srotahsu-in rivers; aranisu-in arani wood; ca-also; agnih-fire; evam-in the same way; atma the Supersoul; atmani-in the ehart of the conditioned soul; grhyate-may be known; asau-He; satyena-with spiritual activities; evam-He; tapasa-with austerity and sense-control; yah-who; anupasati-sees.

 

 

     As oil hidden in sesame seeds is extracted by pressure, as butter hidden in yogurt is extracted by churning, as an underground stream is extracted by digging a well, and as fire in arani sticks is extracted by friction, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the heart is extracted by spiritual activity. By performing austerities one sees Him.

 

 

Text 16

 

 

sarva-vyapinam atmanam

     ksire sarpir ivarpitam

atma-vidya-tapo-mulam

     tad brahmopanisat param

tad brahmopanisat param iti

 

     sarva-vyapinam-all-pervading; atmanam-the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ksire-in milk; sarpih-butter; iva-just like; srpitam-situated; atma-vidya-spiritual knowledge; tapah-and austerity; mulam-attained by; tat-He; brahma-the Supreme ; upanisat-param-revealed by the statements of the Upanisada; iti-thus.

 

 

     As butter is present in milk, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by spiritual knowledge and austerity, is present in everything. This is the Supreme Personality of Godhead described in the Upanisads. This is the Supreme Personality of Godhead described in the Upanisads.