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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



Mundaka Upanishad
Translated by F. Max Müller



Third Mundaka


He (the knower of the Self) knows that highest home of Brahman, in which all is contained and shines brightly. The wise who, without desiring happiness, worship that Person, transcend this seed, (they are not born again).




He who forms desires in his mind, is born again through his desires here and there. But to him whose desires are fulfilled and who is conscious of the true Self (within himself) all desires vanish, even here on earth.

  The meaning is that desires cause rebirth; knowledge of Brahman eliminates desire.


That Self cannot be gained by the Veda, nor by understanding, nor by much learning. He whom the Self chooses, by him the Self can be gained. The Self chooses him (his body) as his own.



Nor is that Self to be gained by one who is destitute of strength, or without earnestness, or without right meditation. But if a wise man strives after it by those means (by strength, earnestness, and right meditation), then his Self enters the home of Brahman.



When they have reached him (the Self), the sages become satisfied through knowledge, they are conscious of their Self, their passions have passed away, and they are tranquil. The wise, having reached Him who is omnipresent everywhere, devoted to the Self, enter into him wholly.



Having well ascertained the object of the knowledge of the Vedanta, and having purified their nature by the Yoga of renunciation, all anchorites, enjoying the highest immortality, become free at the time of the great end (death) in the worlds of Brahma.

  The author begins to describe how a person who knows Brahman becomes liberated when he dies.


Their fifteen parts enter into their elements, their Devas (the senses) into their (corresponding) Devas. Their deeds and their Self with all his knowledge become all one in the highest Imperishable.

  The fifteen parts of a human being are described in the Prasna Upanishad VI 4.


As the flowing rivers disappear in the sea, losing their name and their form, thus a wise man, freed from name and form, goes to the divine Person, who is greater than the great.



He who knows that highest Brahman, becomes even Brahman. In his race no one is born ignorant of Brahman. He overcomes grief, he overcomes evil; free from the fetters of the heart, he becomes immortal.


The English is so bad here that the meaning is obscured. The translator means to say:

"He who knows that Brahman, becomes that Brahman. In that man's family, nobody will be born who does not know Brahman..."


And this is declared by the following Rik-verse: 'Let a man tell this science of Brahman to those only who have performed all (necessary) acts, who are versed in the Vedas, and firmly established in (the lower) Brahman, who themselves offer as an oblation the one Rishi (Agni), full of faith, and by whom the rite of (carrying fire on) the head has been performed, according to the rule (of the Atharvanas).'


Rik-verse = a verse of the Rig Veda.

Despite its earlier criticism of Vedic ritual, the Upanishad now says that the higher knowledge of Brahman should be given only to people who know the Vedas and have performed the necessary Vedic rituals.


The Rishi Angiras formerly told this true (science); a man who has not performed the (proper) rites, does not read it. Adoration to the highest Rishis! Adoration to the highest Rishis!

  Rishis = seers or sages.


  Due to copyright restrictions we can't always publish the best existing translations. The clearest and most accurate English version of the Mundaka Upanishad is contained in this Oxford University Press edition translated by Patrick Olivelle. The book is cheap and we recommend it very highly.



This page was published on Realization.org on April 18, 2001.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.