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Chapter 1-Canto 1

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Mundak Upanishad-1/1
[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

Shlok 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.

Shlok 2
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.

Shlok 3
Once Shaunak Jee came to Aangiras and asked - "What is that after knowing which all is known?"

Shlok 4
Aangiras said - "As the learned say there are two types of knowledge - Higher (Paraa) knowledge and Lower (A-Paraa) knowledge.

Shlok 5
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.

Shlok 6
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 see.

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 everywhere.

Shlok 7
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.

Shlok 8
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.

Comments 1-1-8

Shlok 9
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.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 11/02/11