Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/46

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xxxvi
PREFACE TO THE

in the printed text (VI, 8, 6) is wrong, and VI, 8, 7 should begin with sa ya esho 'nimâ, i. e. that which is the subtile essence.

The question then is, what is further to be said about this subtile essence. I have ventured to translate the passage in the following way:

'That which is the subtile essence (the Sat, the root of everything), in it all that exists has its self, or more literally, its self-hood. It is the True (not the Truth in the abstract, but that which truly and really exists). It is the Self, i. e. the Sat is what is called the Self of everything[1].' Lastly, he sums up, and tells Svetaketu that, not only the whole world, but he too himself is that Self, that Satya, that Sat.

No doubt this translation sounds strange to English ears, but as the thoughts contained in the Upanishads are strange, it would be wrong to smoothe down their strangeness by clothing them in language familiar to us, which, because it is familiar, will fail to startle us, and because it fails to startle us, will fail also to set us thinking.

To know oneself to be the Sat, to know that all that is real and eternal in us is the Sat, that all came from it and will, through knowledge, return to it, requires an independent effort of speculative thought. We must realise, as well as we can, the thoughts of the ancient Rishis, before we can hope to translate them. It is not enough simply to read the half-religious, half-philosophical utterances which we find in


  1. The change of gender in sa for tad is idiomatic. One could not say in Sanskrit tad âtmâ, it is the Self, but sa âtmâ. By sa, he, the Sat, that which is, is meant. The commentary explains sa âtmâ by tat sat, and continues tat sat tat tvam asi (p. 443).