From The Mundaka Upanishad

The Upanishads, Transl. Alistair Shearer and Peter Russell

Two birds, inseparable companions, perch on the same tree.

One eats the fruit, while the other just looks on.

The first bird is our individual self, feeding on the pleasures and pains of this world; the other is the universal Self, silently witnessing all.

The individual self, immersed in the world of change, is deluded and laments its lack of freedom.

But when it discovers the Lord, full of dignity and power, it is freed from all its suffering.

So, when you meet the golden Lord, the creator, the universal spirit, the source of Brahma himself, then, knowing the highest, untainted by good or evil, you will have reached the supreme.

Truly, Brahman is life itself, through all beings.

Knowing It, the wise can talk of nothing else.

And he who, swimming in the bliss of the Self, delighting in its play, still enjoys a life of action, he is the greatest of those who know Brahman.

When the mind and body have been purified through meditation, though Truth, through understanding and simplicity, then the perfected ones behold the Self, pure and brilliant.

The unchanging prevails, not the changing.

The unchanging alone brings lasting fulfillment.

The unchanging knowledge is the divine path that takes the wise to Truth.

Beyond all conception, the universal light shines forth.

It is the great One, smaller than the smallest, farther than the farthest, nearer than the nearest.

The wise know It resting deep within.

The eyes cannot see It, speech cannot describe It, nor any sense perceive It.

It is not attained by effort, nor through austerities.

Only when meditation has purified the mind can you know the One beyond all divisions.

The mind is kept ever active by the senses.

When they have withdrawn and the mind becomes still, then the subtle Self shines forth.

When the mind rests steady and pure, then whatever you desire, those desires are fulfilled, and whatever you think of, those thoughts materialize.

So, you who desire good fortune, revere the knower of the Self.

For he who knows the Self knows the supreme abode of Brahman in which the whole universe lies resplendent.

The wise, free from all desire, devoted to this cosmic Spirit, cast off all attachment.

You who remain attached to action are bound by your desires and must be reborn continually– both during life and after death.

But when you find the Self, the goal of all desiring, you will leave both birth and death behind.

This Self cannot be realized by studying the scriptures, nor through the use of reason, nor from the words of others–no matter what they say.

By the grace of the Self the Self is known; the Self reveals itself.

It cannot be attained by the weak, nor by the halfhearted, nor by a mere show of detachment.

But as strength, stability, and inner freedom grow, so does Self-awareness grow.

Having realized the Self, the wise find satisfaction.

Their evolution complete, at peace and free from longing, they are at one with everything.

This supreme union is the goal of the Vedanta.

The wise, the unattached who live this state, are immortal and when they die remain united with the One.

At the time of death, smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing dissolve into their deities, and the five pranas return to their source.

The individual’s soul and all his deeds join with the supreme, the Immortal.

As rivers flow into the sea, losing their individuality, so the enlightened, no longer bound by name and form, merge with the Infinite, the radiant cosmic Being.

Truly, he who knows Brahman becomes Brahman, and all his descendents becomes knowers of Brahman.

He transcends suffering and the influence of evil.

Free from the chains of ignorance, he enjoys immortality.

This knowledge may be taught only to those who perform the rites, only to those who are learned in the scripture, only to those who with devotion surrender themselves, only to those who are established in Brahman.

To these alone and no one else.

This is the teaching of Brahman, expounded in ancient times by Angiras to Shaunaka.

All glory to the great seers!

Yes, all glory to the great seers!

Date created: 1-Oct-03