The Upanishads: Translations from the Sanskrit

As a person acts, so he becomes in life. Those who do good become good; those who do harm become bad. Good deeds make one pure; bad deeds make one impure. You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

As by knowing one tool of iron, dear one,
We come to know all things made out of iron -
That they differ only in name and form,
While the stuff of which all are made is iron -

So through spiritual wisdom, dear one,
We come to know that all of life is one.

As by knowing one tool of iron, dear one, we come to know all things made out of iron: that they differ only in name and form, while the stuff of which all are made is iron- so through that spiritual wisdom, dear one, we come to know that ll of life is one.

As long as man is overpowered by the darkness of ignorance, he is the slave of Nature and must accept whatever comes as the fruit of his thoughts and deeds. When he strays into the path of unreality, the Sages declare that he destroys himself; because he who clings to the perishable body and regards it as his true Self must experience death many times.

As the sun, revealer of all objects to the seer, is not harmed by the sinful eye, nor by the impurities of the objects it gazes on, so the one Self, dwelling in all, is not touched by the evils of the world. (The Upanishads: Breath of the Eternal, pg. 35)

Birth is but the beginning of a trajectory to death; for all their love, parents cannot halt it and in a sense have “given us to death” merely by giving us birth.

Dreams are real as long as they last. Can we say more of life?

Fire is His head, the sun and moon His eyes, space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the universe His heart. From His feet the Earth has originated. Verily, He is the inner self of all beings.

God is, in truth, the whole universe: what was, what is and what beyond shall ever be. He is the God of life immortal and of all life that lives by food. His hands and feet are everywhere. He has heads and mouths everywhere. He sees all, He hears all. He is in all, and He Is.

He who is rich in the knowledge of the Self does not covet external power or possession.

He who sees all beings in his Self and his Self in all beings, he never suffers; because when he sees all creatures within his true Self, then jealousy, grief and hatred vanish.

Human beings cannot live without challenge. We cannot live without meaning. Everything ever achieved we owe to this inexplicable urge to reach beyond our grasp, do the impossible, know the unknown. The Upanishads would say this urge is part of our evolutionary heritage, given to us for the ultimate adventure: to discover for certain who we are, what the universe is, and what is the significance of the brief drama of life and death we play out against the backdrop of eternity.

materialism leads us to lose awareness of our inner life, which is bad enough; but to be hypnotized by our own feelings and sensations and forget about others and the world around us is worse.

Meditation here is not reflection or any other kind of discursive thinking. It is pure concentration: training the mind to dwell on an interior focus without wandering, until it becomes absorbed in the object of its contemplation. But absorption does not mean unconsciousness. The outside world may be forgotten, but meditation is a state of intense inner wakefulness.

Not everyone who attains Self-realization can make a reliable guide. I have been saying “he,” but this is not a role for men alone. My own teacher is my mother’s mother.

Only he who has a co-ordinated understanding of both the visible and the invisible, of matter and spirit, of activity and that which is behind activity, conquers Nature and thus overcomes death.

Place this salt in water and bring it here tomorrow morning".

The boy did.

"Where is that salt?" his father asked?

"I do not see it."

"Sip here. How does it taste?"

"Salty, father."

"And here? And there?"

"I taste salt everywhere."

"It is everywhere, though we see it not. Just so, dear one, the Self is everywhere, within all things, although we see it not. There is nothing that does not come from it. It is the truth; it is the Self supreme. You are that, Shvetaketu.

You Are That.

That which is not comprehended by the mind but by which the mind comprehends—know that...

The desire for liberation arises in human beings at the end of many births, through the ripening of their past virtuous conduct.

The fifth-century Greek writer we know as Dionysius the Areopagite once said that as he grew older and wiser his books got shorter and shorter.

The general teaching of the Upanishads is that works alone, even the highest, can bring only temporary happiness and must inevitably bind a man unless through them he gains knowledge of his real Self.

The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.
The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars. Fire and lightening and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.

There is no joy in the finite; there is joy only in the Infinite.

The sages would say similarly, “Just for the heaven of it.” Just to reach for the highest. Human beings cannot live without challenge. We cannot live without meaning. Everything ever achieved we owe to this inexplicable urge to reach beyond our grasp, do the impossible, know the unknown. The Upanishads would say this urge is part of our evolutionary heritage, given to us for the ultimate adventure: to discover for certain who we are, what the universe is, and what is the significance of the brief drama of life and death we play out against the backdrop of eternity. In haunting words, the Brihadaranyaka declares: You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

To darkness are they doomed who worship only the body, and to greater darkness they who worship only the spirit.

Until our mind is withdrawn from the varied distractions and agitations of worldly affairs, we cannot enter into the spirit of higher religious study.

What exactly is the difference between a dream and waking experience? What happens to the sense of “I” in dreamless sleep? And they sought invariants: in the constantly changing flow of human experience, is there anything that remains the same? In the constantly changing flow of thought, is there an observer who remains the same? Is there any thread of continuity, some level of reality higher than waking, in which these states of mind cohere?

Who is better able to know God than I myself, since He resides in my heart and is the very essence of my being? Such should be the attitude of one who is seeking.

You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.

You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. [ Brihadaranyaka IV.4.5 ]