[Taken from "Wisdom of
the Ancient Sages: Mundak Upanishad / by Swami Rama. Honesdale, PA, The
Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA. 1990.]
Chapter 1-Canto 1
Brahmaa, the Creator and protector of this universe first taught this -
Brahm Vidyaa (knowledge) which is the foundation of all sciences, to his
eldest son Atharvaa.
Brahmaa taught the science of Ultimate Truth to his eldest son Atharvaa
who imparted this knowledge first to Angir, then Angir taught it to Satyavaha
Bharadwaaj and then Satyavaha Bharadwaaj taught this to Aangiras.
Once Shaunak Jee came to Aangiras and asked - "What is that after
knowing which all is known?"
Aangiras said - "As the learned say there are two types of knowledge
- Higher (Paraa) knowledge and Lower (A-Paraa) knowledge.
Of these two knowledge the Lower knowledge is to know Ved - Rig Ved,
Yajur Ved, Atharv Ved and Saam Ved; phonetics; rituals; grammar (Vyaakaran);
etymology, Poetics (Chhand); and astronomy (Jyotish); while the higher science is by which
one can know the Eternal Truth.
IT is invisible (secret), difficult to understand, without origin, and transcends
all. IT has no eyes and no ears, no hands and no feet. IT is Eternal, omnipresent,
very Subtle, that unchangeable Truth is the origin of all beings whom the wise men
Real power resides within, external world is a mere expression of ITs power. IT is
beyond the ability to know by the senses and to understand by mind. A mind can be
trained to obtain Lower knowledge and to remove all obstacles on the path of enlightenment,
but the mind itself has no power to lead one to the knowledge of the Absolute.
Higher knowledge is
secret, beyond the reach of senses and the mind, therefore it cannot be grasped easily.
The wise men perceive it in their deep meditation from the Source of all Creation.
Everything is born from IT. That is why all wise men prefer to pursue only the Higher
knowledge of Brahm - the indestructible and Immeasurable Absolute. The Nir-Gun (without
attributes) Brahm is only One, while the Sa-Gun (with attributes) Brahm is manifested
As a spider weaves its web and wanders in it; as the trees and shrubs etc
come out of the Earth; as hair grows from body; in the same way this Universe
has also come out of that Indestructible Absolute Truth.
Brahm does not need any source to be born. As the spider's web is not different from
spider, in the same way this Universe is not different from Brahm. As hair grows from
the body and cutting it does not hurt the body, in the same way this Universe grows from
His body and its destruction does not hurt Him. In the first simile (of spider), Brahm
is described as the basis of the origin and creation of this Universe; the second simile
(trees and shrubs) expresses that although the Universe emanates from Brahm's body, it
rests also in the same Brahm; the third simile (growing hair from body) says that this
manifestation of the Universe occurs without any stress and efforts.
Brahm manifests this Universe and food to nourish it through Tap (profound knowledge).
From that evolves Praan (life force), the mind and the five main elements (Earth, water,
air, fire and space), the law of Karm (actions), and the uncontrollable and unavoidable
fruits of Karm.
From Him, the Absolute Truth, who includes all knowledge and whose discipline and practice
are made up of knowledge, comes the form of Brahm, Hiranyagarbh and the principles of name,
color and substance.
END OF CHAPTER 1, CANTO 1