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The Aitareya Upanishad is an ancient Upanishad that belongs to the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rig Veda. Find the Aitareya Upanishad translated in English in this article.

The Aitareya Upanishad was compiled from the thirty three verses of the last three chapters ( 4, 5 and 6 respecitvely ) of the second Aranyaka. This particular Upanishad as you will find below, reflects the beliefs, the practices and the philosophical notions of the Vedic age, and discusses regarding the nature of soul, creation, birth and reincarnation.

Aitareya Upanishad in English

( As Translated By Swami Gambhirananda )

Om ! May my speech be based on (i.e. accord with) the mind;
May my mind be based on speech.
O Self-effulgent One, reveal Thyself to me.
May you both (speech and mind) be the carriers of the Veda to me.
May not all that I have heard depart from me.
I shall join together (i.e. obliterate the difference of) day
And night through this study.
I shall utter what is verbally true;
I shall utter what is mentally true.
May that (Brahman) protect me;
May That protect the speaker (i.e. the teacher), may That protect me;
May that protect the speaker – may That protect the speaker.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !

I-i-1: In the beginning this was but the absolute Self alone. There was
nothing else whatsoever that winked. He thought, “Let Me create the
worlds.”

I-i-2: He created these world, viz. ambhas, marici, mara, apah. That
which is beyond heaven is ambhas. Heaven is its support. The sky is
marici. The earth is mara. The worlds that are below are the apah.

I-i-3: He thought, “These then are the worlds. Let Me create the
protectors of the worlds.” Having gathered up a (lump of the) human
form from the water itself, He gave shape to it.

I-i-4: He deliberated with regard to Him (i.e. Virat of the human form).
As He (i.e. Virat) was being deliberated on, His (i.e. Virat’’) mouth
parted, just as an egg does. From the mouth emerged speech; from
speech came Fire. The nostrils parted; from the nostrils came out the
sense of smell; from the sense of smell came Vayu (Air). The two eyes
parted; from the eyes emerged the sense of sight; from the sense of
sight came the Sun. The two ears parted; from the ears came the
sense of hearing; from the sense of hearing came the Directions. The
skin emerged; from the skin came out hair (i.e. the sense of touch
associated with hair); from the sense of touch came the Herbs and
Trees. The heart took shape; from the heart issued the internal organ
(mind); from the internal organ came the Moon. The navel parted; from
the navel came out the organ of ejection; from the organ of ejection
issued Death. The seat of the procreative organ parted; from that came
the procreative organ; from the procreative organ came out Water.

I-ii-1: These deities, that had been created, fell into this vast ocean. He
subjected Him (i.e. Virat) to hunger and thirst. They said to Him (i.e. to
the Creator), “Provide an abode for us, staying where we can eat food.”

I-ii-2: For them He (i.e. God) brought a cow. They said, “This one is not
certainly adequate for us.” For them He brought a horse. They said,
“This one is not certainly adequate for us.”

I-ii-3: For them He brought a man. They said “This one is well formed;
man indeed is a creation of God Himself”. To them He said, “Enter into
your respective abodes”.

I-ii-4: Fire entered into the mouth taking the form of the organ of
speech; Air entered into the nostrils assuming the form of the sense of
smell; the Sun entered into the eyes as the sense of sight; the
Directions entered into the ears by becoming the sense of hearing; the
Herbs and Trees entered into the skin in the form of hair (i.e. the sense
of touch); the Moon entered into the heart in the shape of the mind;
Death entered into the navel in the form of Apana (i.e. the vital energy
that presses down); Water entered into the limb of generation in the
form of semen (i.e. the organ of procreation).

I-ii-5: To Him Hunger and Thirst said, “Provide for us (some abode).” To
them He said, “I provide your livelihood among these very gods; I
make you share in their portions.” Therefore when oblation is taken up
for any deity whichsoever, Hunger and Thirst become verily sharers
with that deity.

I-iii-1: He thought, “This, then, are the senses and the deities of the
senses. Let Me create food for them.

I-iii-2: He deliberated with regard to the water. From the water, thus
brooded over, evolved a form. The form that emerged was verily food.
I-iii-3: This food, that was created, turned back and attempted to run
away. He tried to take it up with speech. He did not succeed in taking it
up through speech. If He had succeeded in taking it up with the
speech, then one would have become contented merely by talking of
food.

I-iii-4: He tied to grasp that food with the sense of smell. He did not
succeed in grasping it by smelling. If He had succeeded in grasping it
by smelling, then everyone should have become contented merely by
smelling food.

I-iii-5: He wanted to take up the food with the eye. He did not succeed
in taking it up with the eye. If He had taken it up with the eye, then one
would have become satisfied by merely seeing food.

I-iii-6: He wanted to take up the food with the ear. He did not succeed
in taking it up with the ear. If He had taken it up with the ear, then one
would have become satisfied by merely by hearing of food.

I-iii-7: He wanted to take it up with the sense of touch. He did not
succeed in taking it up with the sense of touch. If He had taken it up
with touch, then one would have become been satisfied merely by
touching food.

I-iii-8: He wanted to take it up with the mind. He did not succeed in
taking it up with the mind. If He had taken it up with the mind, then
one would have become satisfied by merely thinking of food.

I-iii-9: He wanted to take it up with the procreative organ. He did not
succeed in taking it up with the procreative organ. If He had taken it up
with the procreative organ, then one would have become satisfied by
merely ejecting food.

I-iii-10: He wanted to take it up with Apana. He caught it. This is the
devourer of food. That vital energy which is well known as dependent
of food for its subsistence is this vital energy (called Apana).

I-iii-11: He thought, “How indeed can it be there without Me ?” He
thought, “Through which of the two ways should I enter ?” He thought,
“If utterance is done by the organ of speech, smelling by the sense of
smell, seeing by the eye, hearing by the ear, feeling by the sense of
touch, thinking by the mind, the act of drawing in (or pressing down)
by Apana, ejecting by the procreative organ, then who (or what) am I ?

I-iii-12: Having split up this very end, He entered through this door. This
entrance is known as vidriti (the chief entrance). Hence it is delightful.
Of Him there are three abodes – three (states of) dream. This one is an
abode, this one is an abode. This one is an abode.

I-iii-13: Being born, He manifested all the beings; for did He speak of
(or know) anything else ? He realised this very Purusha as Brahman,
the most pervasive, thus: “I have realised this”.

I-iii-14: Therefore His name is Idandra. He is verily known as Idandra.
Although He is Idandra, they call Him indirectly Indra; for the gods are
verily fond of indirect names, the gods are verily fond of indirect
names.

II-i-1: In man indeed is the soul first conceived. That which is the
semen is extracted from all the limbs as their vigour. He holds that self
of his in his own self. When he sheds it into his wife, then he procreates
it. That is its first birth.

II-i-2: That becomes non-different from the wife, just as much as her
own limb is. Therefore (the foetus) does not hurt her. She nourishes
this self of his that has entered here (in her womb).

II-i-3: She, the nourisher, becomes fit to be nourished. The wife bears
that embryo (before the birth). He (the father) protects the son at the
very start, soon after his birth. That he protects the son at the very
beginning, just after birth, thereby he protects his own self for the sake
of the continuance of these worlds. For thus is the continuance of these
worlds ensured. That is his second birth.

II-i-4: This self of his (viz. the son) is substituted (by the father) for the
performance of virtuous deeds. Then this other self of his (that is the
father of the son), having got his duties ended and having advanced in
age, departs. As soon as he departs, he takes birth again. That is his
(i.e. the son’s) third birth.

II-i-5: This fact was stated by the seer (i.e. mantra): “Even while lying
in the womb, I came to know of the birth of all the gods. A hundred iron
citadels held me down. Then, like a hawk, I forced my way through by
dint of knowledge of the Self”. Vamadeva said this while still lying in
the mother’s womb.

II-i-6: He who had known thus (had) become identified with the
Supreme, and attained all desirable things (even here); and having
(then) ascended higher up after the destruction of the body, he
became immortal, in the world of the Self. He became immortal.

III-i-1: What is It that we worship as this Self ? Which of the two is the
Self ? Is It that by which one sees, or that by which one hears, or that
by which one smells odour, or that by which one utters speech, or that
by which one tastes the sweet or the sour ?

III-i-2: It is this heart (intellect) and this mind that were stated earlier. It
is sentience, rulership, secular knowledge, presence of mind,
retentiveness, sense-perception, fortitude, thinking, genius, mental
suffering, memory, ascertainment resolution, life-activities, hankering,
passion and such others. All these verily are the names of
Consciousness.

III-i-3: This One is (the inferior) Brahman; this is Indra, this is Prajapati;
this is all these gods; and this is these five elements, viz. earth, air,
space, water, fire; and this is all these (big creatures), together with
the small ones, that are the procreators of others and referable in pairs
– to wit, those that are born of eggs, of wombs, of moisture of the
earth, viz. horses, cattle, men, elephants, and all the creatures that
there are which move or fly and those which do not move. All these
have Consciousness as the giver of their reality; all these are impelled
by Consciousness; the universe has Consciousness as its eye and
Consciousness is its end. Consciousness is Brahman.

III-i-4: Through this Self that is Consciousness, he ascended higher up
from this world, and getting all desires fulfilled in that heavenly world,
he became immortal, he became immortal.

Om ! May my speech be based on (i.e. accord with) the mind;
May my mind be based on speech.
O Self-effulgent One, reveal Thyself to me.
May you both (speech and mind) be the carriers of the Veda to me.
May not all that I have heard depart from me.
I shall join together (i.e. obliterate the difference of) day
And night through this study.
I shall utter what is verbally true;
I shall utter what is mentally true.
May that (Brahman) protect me;
May That protect the speaker (i.e. the teacher), may That protect me;
May that protect the speaker – may That protect the speaker.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace !

Here ends the Aitareya Upanishad, as contained in the Rig-Veda and translated by Swami Gambhirananda.

 

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The Aitareya Upanishad in English
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The Aitareya Upanishad is an ancient Upanishad that belongs to the Aitareya Aranyaka of the Rig Veda. Find the Aitareya Upanishad translated in English in this article.
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