Kena Upanishad Translation by Eknath Easwaran

Eknath Easwaran Translation

("Who Moves the World?")

[I]

1. The student inquires:
"Who makes my mind think?
Who fills my body with vitality?
Who causes my tongue to speak? Who is that
Invisible one who sees through my eyes
And hears through my ears?"

2. The teacher replies:
"The Self is the ear of the ear,
The eye of the eye, the mind of the mind,
The word of words, and the life of life.
Rising above the senses and the mind
And renouncing separate existence,
The wise realize the deathless Self.

3. "Him our eyes cannot see, nor words express;
He cannot be grasped even by the mind.
We do not know, we cannot understand,
4. Because he is different from the known
And he is different from the unknown.
Thus have we heard from the illumined ones.

5. "That which makes the tongue speak but cannot be
Spoken by the tongue, know that as the Self.
This Self is not someone other than you.

6. "That which makes the mind think but cannot be
Thought by the mind, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

7. "That which makes the eye see but cannot be
Seen by the eye, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

8. "That which makes the ear hear but cannot be
Heard by the ear, that is the Self indeed.
This Self is not someone other than you.

9. "That which makes you draw breath but cannot be
Drawn by your breath, that is the Self indeed.
This self is not someone other than you."

[II]

THE TEACHER

1. If you think, "I know the Self," you know not.
All you can see is his external form.
Continue, therefore, your meditation.

THE STUDENT

2. I do not think I know the Self, nor can
I say I know him not.

THE TEACHER

There is only one way to know the Self,
And that is to realize him yourself.

3. The ignorant think the Self can be known
By the intellect, but the illumined
Know he is beyond the duality
Of the knower and the known.

4. The Self is realized in a higher state
Of consciousness when you have broken through
The wrong identification that you are
The body, subject to birth and death.
To be the Self is to go beyond death.

5. Realize the Self, the shining goal of life!
If you do not, there is only darkness.
See the Self in all, and go beyond death.

[III]

1. Once upon a time the gods defeated
The demons; and though the victory
Was brought about through the power of Brahman,
The gods boasted, "Ours is the victory,
And ours the power and glory."

2. Brahman saw their foolish pride and appeared
Before them. But they recognized him not.
3. They said to Agni, God of fire, "Find out
Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"
4. Promised Agni and approached the being.

"Who are you?" asked the mysterious one.
"I am Agni, god of fire, known to all."
5. "Are you powerful?" "I can burn all on earth."
6. "Burn this": and Brahman placed a straw in front.
The god of fire attacked the straw, but failed
To burn it. Then he ran back to the gods
And confessed, "I have failed to discover
Who this mysterious being is."

7. They said to Vayu, god of air, "Find out
Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"
8. Promised Vayu and approached the being.
"Who are you?" asked the mysterious being.
"I am Vayu, god of air, king of space."
9. "Are you powerful?" "I can blow all away."
10. "Blow this away." Brahman placed a straw in front.
The god of air attacked the straw, but failed
To move it. Then he ran back to the gods
And confessed, "I have failed to discover
Who this mysterious being is."

11. They begged Indra, leader of gods, "Find out
Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"
Promised Indra and approached the being,
12. Who disappeared instantly. In his place
Appeared the lovely goddess of wisdom,
Uma, daughter of the Himalayas;
And Indra asked her, "Who was that being?"

[IV]

1. Uma replied, "That was Brahman, from whom
Comes all your power and glory." The gods
Realized at last (that) the Self is Brahman.
2-3. Agni, Vayu, Indra—these three excel
Among the gods because they realized Brahman.

4. The light of Brahman flashes in lightning,
The light of Brahman flashes in our eyes.
5. It is the power of Brahman that makes
6. The mind to think, desire, and will. Therefore
Use this power to meditate on Brahman.

He is the innermost Self of everyone;
He alone is worthy of all our love.
Meditate upon him in all. Those who
Meditate upon him are dear to all.

THE STUDENT

7. Teach me more of this spiritual wisdom.

THE TEACHER

I shall share with you fully what I know.
8. Meditation, control of the senses
And passions, and selfless service of all
Are the body, the Scriptures are the limbs,
And truth is the heart of this wisdom.

9. Those who realize Brahman shall conquer
All evil and attain the supreme state.
Truly they shall attain the supreme state!

O M shanti shanti shanti

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