Aitareya Upanishad (Sri Aurobindo translation)

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Aitareya Upanishad , translated by Sri Aurobindo
One of the sacred Hindu Upanishads

Chapter I[edit]

Section I[edit]

  1. Hari OM. In the beginning the Spirit was One and all this( universe) was the Spirit; There was nought else that saw. The Spirit thought, "Lo, I will make me worlds from out my being".
  2. These were the worlds he made: ambhah, of the etheral waters, maricich, of light, mara of death and mortal things, apah, of the lower waters. Beyond the shining firmament are the etheral waters and the firmament is their base and resting-place; Space is the world of light; the earth is the world mortal ; and below the earth are the lower waters.
  3. The Spirit thought, "Lo, these are the worlds, and now will I make me guardians for my worlds". Therefore he gathered the Purusha out of the waters and gave Him shape and substance.
  4. Yea, the Spirit brooded over Him and of Him thus brooded over the mouth broke forth, as when an egg is hatched and breaketh ; from the mouth brake speech and of speech fire was born. The nostrils brake forth and from the nostrils Breath and of Breath air was born. The eyes brake forth and from the eyes Sight and of Sight the Sun was born. The ears brake forth and from the ears Hearing and of Hearing the regions were born. The Skin brake forth and from the Skin hairs and from the hairs herbs of healing and all trees and plants were born. The heart brake forth and from the heart Mind and of Mind the moon was born. The navel broke forth and from the navel apana broke forth and of apana Death was born. The organ of pleasure broke forth and from the organ seed and of seed the waters were born.

Section II[edit]

  1. These were the Gods that He created ; they fell into his great Ocean, and Hunger and Thirst leaped upon them. Then they said to him, "Command unto us an habitation that we may dwell secure and eat of food."
  2. He brought unto them the cow, but they said, "Verily, it is not sufficient for us". He brought them the horse, but they said, "verily, it is not enough for us".
  3. He brought unto them Man, and they said, "O well fashioned truly! Man indeed is well and beautifully made." Then the Spirit said unto them, "Enter ye in each according to his habitation".
  4. Fire became Speech and entered into the mouth ; Air became Breath and entered into the nostrils; the Sun became Sight and entered into the eyes ; the Quarters became Hearing and entered into the ears ; Herbs of healing and the plants and trees became Hairs and entered into the skin ; the Moon became Mind and entered into the heart; Death became apana, the lower breathing, and entered into the navel: the Waters became Seed and entered into the organ.
  5. Hunger and Thirst said unto the Spirit, "Unto us too command and habitation". But He said unto them, "Even among these gods do I apportion you; lo! I have made you sharers in their godhead." Therefore whatever god the oblation is offered, Hunger and Thirst surely have their share in the offering.

Section III[edit]

  1. The Spirit thought, "These verily are my worlds and their guardians, and now I will make me food for these"
  2. The Spirit brooded in might upon the waters adn from the waters brooded mightily over. Form was born. Lo, all this that was born as form, is no other than Food.
  3. Food being created fled back from His grasp. By speech He would have seized it, but He could not seize it by speech. Had He seized it by speech, then would a man be satisfied by merely speaking his food?
  4. By the breath He would have seized it, but He could not seize it by the breath. Had He seized it by the breath, then would a man be satisfied with merely breathing food.
  5. By the eye He would have seized it, but He could not seize it by the eye., Had He Seized it, then would a man be satisfied by merely seeing his food.
  6. By the ear He would have seized it, but He coiuld not seize it with the ear. Had He seized it by the ear, then would a man be satisfied by merely hearing food.
  7. By his skin He would have seized it, but He could not seize it by the skin. Had He seized it by the skin, then would a man be satisfied by merely touching food.
  8. By the Mind he would have seized it, but He could not seize it by the mind. Had he seized it by the mind, then would a man be satisified by merely thinking food.
  9. By organ He would have seized it, but He could not seize it by the organ. Had he seized it by the organ, then would a man be satisified by merely emitting food.
  10. By the apana He would have seized it, and it was seized. Lo, this is the seizer of food which is also Breath of the Life, and therefore all that is Breath hath its life in food.
  11. The Spirit thought, "Without Me how should all this be?" and He thought, "By what way shall I enter in". He thought also, "If utterance is by Speech, if breathing is by the Breath, if sight is by the Eye, if hearing is by the Ear, if thought is by the Mind, if the lower workings are by apana, if emission is by the organ, who then am I?"
  12. It was this bound that He cleft, it was by this door that He entered in. `Tis this that is called the gate of cleaving ; this is the door of His Coming and here is the place of His delight. He hath three mansions in His City, three dreams wherein He dwelleth, and of each in turn He said "Lo, this is my habitation" and "This is my habitation" and "This is my habitation"
  13. Now when He was born. He thought and spoke only of Nature and her creations; in this world of matter of what else could He speak or reason? Thereafter He beheld that Being who is the Brahman and the last Essence. He said, "Yea, this is He; verily, I have beheld Him."
  14. Therefore is He Idandra: for Idandra is the true name of HIm. But though He is Idandra, they call Him Indra because of the veil of unrevelation ; for the gods love the veil of the Unrevelation, yea, verily, the gods love the Unrevelation.

Chapter Two[edit]

  1. In the male first the unborn child becometh. This which is seed is the force and heat of him that from all parts of the creature draweth together for becoming ; therefore he beareth himself in himself, and when he casteth it into the woman, `tis himself he begetteth. And this is the first birth of the Spirit.
  2. It becometh one Self with the woman, therefore it doeth her no hurt and she cherisheth this self of her husband that hath got into her womb.
  3. She the cherisher must be cherished. So the woman beareth the unborn child and the man cherisheth the boy even from the beginning ere it is born. And whereas he cherisheth the boy ere it is born, `tis verily himself that he cherisheth for the continuance of these worlds and these peoples; for `tis even thus the thread of these worlds spinneth onn unbroken. And this is the second birth of the Spirit.
  4. Lo, this is the spriit and self of him and he maketh it his viceregent for the works of righteousness. Now this his other self when it hath done the works it came to do and hath reached its age, lo! it goeth hence, and even as it departeth, it is born again. And this is the third birth of the Spirit.
  5. Therefore it was said by the sage Vamadeva, "I, Vamadeva, being yet in the womb, knewall the births of these gods and their causes. In a hundred cities of iron they held me down and kept me ; I broke through them all with might and violence, like a hawk I soared up into my heavens." While uet he lay in the womb, thus said Vamadeva.
  6. And because he knew this, therefore when the strings of the body were snapped asunder, lo, he soared forth into yonder world of Paradise and there having possessed all desires, put death behind him, yea, he put death behind him.

Chapter Three[edit]

  1. Who is this Spirit that we may adore Him? and which of all these is the Spirit? By whom one seeth or by whom one heareth or by whom one smelleth all kinds of perfume or by whom one uttereth clearness of speech or by whom one knoweth the sweet and bitter.
  2. This which is the heart, is mind also. Concept and will and analysis and wisdom and intellect and vision and continuity of purpouse and feeling and understanding, pain and memory and volition and operation of thought and vitality and desire and passion, all these, yea all, are but names of the Eternal Wisdom.
  3. This creating Brahma ; this ruling Indra; this Prajapati, Father of his peoples ; all these Gods and these five elemental substances ; even earth, air, ether, water and the shining principles; and these great creatures and those small ; and seeds of either sort ; and things egg-born and things sweat-born and things of the womb and plants that sprout; and horses and cattle and men and elephants ; yea, whatsoever thing here breatheth and all that moveth and everything that hath wongs and whatso moveth not ; by Wisdom all these are guided and have their firm abiding in Wisdom. For Wisdom is the eye of the world, Wisdom is the sure foundation, Wisdom is Brahman Eternal.
  4. By the strenght of the wise and seeing Self, the sage having soared up from this world, mounted into this other world of Paradise; and there having possessed desire, put death behind him, yea, he put death behind him.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1950, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.