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Primary Source Reading - Upanishads and Daodejing
Translated from Sanskrit by Swami Paramananada, produced by J.C. Byers, full text here
(Links to an external site.)
Added clarifications by Jonathan Martin
OM! That (the Invisible-Absolute) is whole; whole is this (the visible phenomenal); from the
Invisible Whole comes forth the visible whole. Though the visible whole has come out from
that Invisible Whole, yet the Whole remains unaltered.
OM! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE!
1. All this, whatsoever exists in the universe, should be covered by the Lord. Having
renounced (the unreal), enjoy (the Real). Do not covet the wealth of any man.
2. If one should desire to live in this world a hundred years, one should live performing
Karma (righteous deeds). Thus thou mayest live; there is no other way. By doing this, Karma
(the fruits of thy actions) will not defile thee.
3. After leaving their bodies, they who have killed the Self go to the worlds of the Asuras,
covered with blinding ignorance.
4. That One, though motionless, is swifter than the mind. The senses can never overtake It,
for It ever goes before. Though immovable, It travels faster than those who run. By It the
all-pervading air sustains all living beings.
5. It moves and It moves not. It is far and also It is near. It is within and also It is without all
6. He who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings, he never turns away from It
7. He who perceives all beings as the Self' for him how can there be delusion or grief, when
he sees this oneness (everywhere) ?
8. He (the Self) is all-encircling, resplendent, bodiless, spotless, without sinews, pure,
untouched by sin, all-seeing, all-knowing, transcendent, self-existent; He has disposed all
things duly for eternal years.
9. They enter into blind darkness who worship Avidya (ignorance and delusion); they fall, as
it were, into greater darkness who worship Vidya (knowledge).
10. By Vidya one end is attained; by Avidya, another. Thus we have heard from the wise
men who taught this.
11. He who knows at the same time both Vidya and Avidya, crosses over death by Avidya
and attains immortality through Vidya.
12. They fall into blind darkness who worship the Unmanifested and they fall into greater
darkness who worship the manifested.
13. By the worship of the Unmanifested one end is attained; by the worship of the
manifested, another. Thus we have heard from the wise men who taught us this.
14. He who knows at the same time both the Unmanifested (the cause of manifestation) and
the destructible or manifested, he crosses over death through knowledge of the destructible
and attains immortality through knowledge of the First Cause (Unmanifested).
15. The face of Truth is hidden by a golden disk. O Pushan (Effulgent Being)! Uncover (Thy
face) that I, the worshiper of Truth, may behold Thee.
16. O Pushan (Effulgent Being)! O Sun, sole traveler of the heavens, controller of all, son of
Prajapati, withdraw Thy rays and gather up Thy burning effulgence. Now through Thy Grace
I behold Thy blessed and glorious form. The Purusha (Cosmic Being) who dwells within
Thee, I am He.
17. May my life-breath go to the all-pervading and immortal Prana (life-force), and let this
body be burned to ashes. Om! O mind, remember thy deeds! O mind, remember, remember
thy deeds! Remember!
18. O Agni (Fire Being)! Lead us to blessedness by the good path. O Lord! Thou knowest all
our deeds, remove all evil and delusion from us. To Thee we offer our prostrations and
supplications again and again.
Here ends this Upanishad
May my limbs, speech, Prana (life-force), sight, hearing, strength and all my senses, gain in
vigor. All is the Brahman (Supreme Lord) of the Upanishads. May I never deny the Brahman.
May the Brahman never deny me. May there be no denial of the Brahman. May there be no
separation from the Brahman. May all the virtues declared in the sacred Upanishads be
manifest in me, who am devoted to the Atman (Higher Self). May they be manifest in me.
OM! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE!
1. By whom commanded and directed does the mind go towards its objects? Commanded
by whom does the life-force, the first (cause), move? At whose will do men utter speech?
What power directs the eye and the ear?
2. It is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of the speech, the life of the life,
the eye of the eye. The wise, freed (from the senses and from mortal desires), after leaving
this world, become immortal.
3. There the eye does not go, nor speech, nor mind. We do not know That; we do not
understand how It can be taught. It is distinct from the known and also It is beyond the
unknown. Thus we have heard from the ancient (teachers) who told us about It.
4. That which speech does not illumine, but which illumines speech: know that alone to be
the Brahman (the Supreme Being), not this which people worship here.
5. That which cannot be thought by mind, but by which, they say, mind is able to think: know
that alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.
6. That which is not seen by the eye, but by which the eye is able to see: know that alone to
be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.
7. That which cannot be heard by the ear, but by which the ear is able to hear: know that
alone to be Brahman, not this which people worship here.
8. That which none breathes with the breath, but by which breath is in-breathed: know that
alone to be the Brahman, not this which people worship here.
1. If thou thinkest "I know It well," then it is certain that thou knowest but little of the Brahman
(Absolute Truth), or in what form He (resideth) in the Devas (minor aspects of Deity).
Therefore I think that what thou thinkest to be known is still to be sought after.
2. The disciple said: I do not think I know It well, nor do I think that I do not know It. He
among us who knows It truly, knows (what is meant by) "I know" and also what is meant by
"I know It Not."
3. He who thinks he knows It not, knows It. He who thinks he knows It, knows It not. The true
knowers think they can never know It (because of Its infinitude), while the ignorant think they
4. It (Brahman) is known, when It is known in every state of consciousness. (Through such
knowledge) one attains immortality. By attaining this Self, man gains strength; and by
Self-knowledge immortality is attained.
5. If one knows It here, that is Truth; if one knows It not here, then great is his loss. The wise
seeing the same Self in all beings, being liberated from this world, become immortal.
1. The Brahman once won a victory for the Devas (minor aspects of Deity). Through that
victory of the Brahman, the Devas (minor aspects of Deity) became elated. They thought,
"This victory is ours. This glory is ours."
2. The Brahman perceived this and appeared before them. They did not know what
mysterious form it was.
3. They said to Fire: "O Jataveda (All-knowing altar fire)! Find out what mysterious spirit this
is." He said: "Yes."
4. He ran towards it and He (Brahman) said to him: "Who art thou?" "I am Agni (Fire Being), I
am Jataveda (All-knowing altar fire)," he (the Fire-god) replied.
5. Brahman asked: "What power resides in thee?" Agni (Fire Being) replied: "I can burn up
all whatsoever exists on earth."
6. Brahman placed a straw before him and said: "Burn this." He (Agni, Fire Being) rushed
towards it with all speed, but was not able to burn it. So he returned from there and said (to
the Devas): "I was not able to find out what this great mystery is."
7. Then they said to Vayu (the Air-god): "Vayu (the Air-god)! Find out what this mystery is."
He said: "Yes."
8. He ran towards it and He (Brahman) said to him: "Who art thou?" "I am Vayu, I am
Matarisva (traveller of Heaven)," he (Vayu, the Air-god) said.
9. Then the Brahman said: "What power is in thee?" Vayu (the Air-god) replied: "I can blow
away all whatsoever exists on earth."
10. Brahman placed a straw before him and said: "Blow this away." He (Vayu, the Air-god)
rushed towards it with all speed, but was not able to blow it away. So he returned from there
and said (to the Devas): "I was not able to find out what this great mystery is."
11. Then they said to Indra (the Lightning-god): "O Maghavan (Worshipful One)! Find out
what this mystery is." He said: "Yes"; and ran towards it, but it disappeared before him.
12. Then he saw in that very space a woman beautifully adorned, Uma of golden hue,
daughter of Haimavat (Himalaya). He asked: "What is this great mystery?"
1. She (Uma) said: "It is Brahman. It is through the victory of Brahman that ye are
victorious." Then from her words, he (Indra, the Lightning-god) knew that it (that mysterious
form) was Brahman.
2. Therefore these Devas (minor aspects of Deity),--Agni (Fire Being), Vayu (the Air-god)
and Indra (the Lightning-god)--excel other Devas (minor aspects of Deity), because they
came nearer to Brahman. It was they who first knew this spirit as Brahman.
3. Therefore Indra (the Lightning-god) excels all other Devas (minor aspects of Deity),
because he came nearest to Brahman, and because he first (before all others) knew this
spirit as Brahman.
4. Thus the teaching of Brahman is here illustrated in regard to the Devas (minor aspects of
Deity). He dashed like lightning, and appeared and disappeared just as the eye winks.
5. Next (the teaching) is regarding Adhyatman (the embodied Soul). The mind seems to
approach Him (Brahman). By this mind (the seeker) again and again remembers and thinks
6. That Brahman is called Tadvanam (object of adoration). He is to be worshipped by the
name Tadvanam. He who knows Brahman thus, is loved by all beings.
7. The disciple asked: O Master, teach me the Upanishad. (The teacher replied:) The
Upanishad has been taught thee. We have certainly taught thee the Upanishad about
8. The Upanishad is based on tapas (practice of the control of body, mind and senses),
dama (subjugation of the senses), karma (right performance of prescribed actions). The
Vedas are its limbs. Truth is its support.
9. He who knows this (wisdom of the Upanishad), having been cleansed of all sin, becomes
established in the blissful, eternal and highest abode of Brahman, in the highest abode of
Here ends this Upanishad.
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu
translated from Chinese by Wikisource (Links to an external site.)
The Dao [that] can be stated, is not the eternal Dao;
The name [that] can be named, is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth;
The named is the mother of the myriad things.
By constantly having no [desire] one views its wonders;
By constantly having [desire], one views its limits.
These two have the same origin, but they differ in name;
Both are called Mystery.
One Mystery plus another Mystery, is the source of all wonders.
If everybody knows what beauty is,
then beauty is not beauty [anymore];
If everybody knows what goodness is,
then goodness is not goodness [anymore].
Being and nothing give birth to one another,
Hard and easy are mutually formed,
Long and short shape each other,
High and low complement each other,
Music and voice are harmonized with each other,
Front and back follow one another.
The sage focuses on non-action in his works,
Practices not-saying in his speech,
The myriad things arise but are disregarded
The sage produces but does not own
Acts but does not claim
Accomplishes work but does not focus on it
Does not focus on it, and thus it does not go.
The Dao is empty,
But when using it, it is impossible to use it up.
It is profound, seems like the root of the myriad things.
Blunts its own sharpness.
Unravels its own fetters.
Harmonizes its own light.
Mixes with its own dust.
It is unclear, but seems to have existed there.
I do not know whose son it is,
Maybe it was already created before the creator.
The best quality/character is like water.
The water's goodness is that it benefits the myriad things but does not quarrel,
and it willingly goes to where others hate,
Thus it is almost like the Dao.
It is good to be/live on the ground,
to deepen a heart,
to love people while associating with them.
to keep one's word while talking,
to be peace while governing,
to do what one is capable of,
to act at a fit time.
Because of the non-fighting-over,
there will be no problem.
To appoint the person that is ploughed under is the same as to surprise [them],
Respecting trusted subordinate is the same as respecting oneself.
Why to appoint the person that is ploughed under is the same as to surprise [them]?
Because to appoint is to regard the person as a subordinate,
Getting appointed is being surprised, Being disfavored is also being surprised,
This is why.
Why respecting trusted subordinate is the same as respecting oneself?
The reason that I have these trusted subordinate is I care about myself.
If I do not care about myself, what trusted subordinate do I have?
So, If [you] can change respecting yourself into respecting the world,
then the world will be able to be reposed in you;
If [you] can change loving yourself into loving the world,
then the world will be able to be reposed in you.
Good traveling leaves no tracks;
Good speech is without reproach;
Good strategies need no plotting;
With good fastening, even a door with no hinge cannot be opened;
The good knot is made without a rope and cannot be unraveled.
Hence the Sage never fails in saving people,
Therefore no one is rejected;
The Sage never fails at saving things,
Therefore nothing is left abandoned,
This is illumination.
Thus the good people are the teachers of the bad;
The bad people are resources for the good.
One who fails to respect his teacher,
And does not cherish his resources,
However intelligent such a one may be, he is still greatly confused.
This is the essential mystery!
Lakes and oceans can be the master of all streams,
Because they are good at staying low,
Therefore they can be master of all streams.
Hence one who desires to be honoured,
Must speak humbly of one's self;
One who desires to lead, must keep one's self behind.
Hence the master is on top yet the people does not feel the weight,
Is in front yet the people is not offended,
Hence the world finds pleasure in pushing the master ahead
Without feeling pushed aside.
It is because the master contests not,
Therefore can be uncontested.
The world says that the Dao is great, but seems useless.
I say that it is great, therefore it seems useless.
If it seemed anything useful,
Time would have diminished its greatness.
Truthful words are not pleasant,
Pleasant words are not trustworthy;
Those who are good do not dispute,
Those who are disputatious are not good;
Those who know are not learned,
Those who are learned do not know.
The Sage does not store up things,
The more he does for people, the more he has;
The more he gives, the more he gains.
The Way of Heaven,
Is benefiting, not harming.
The Way of the Sage,
Is acting, not contending