Kena Upanishad

Kena Upanishad
Translated by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli

Om! May my limbs, speech, vital air, eyes, ears, strength,
And all the senses be fully developed.
All that is revealed by the Upanishads is Brahman.
May I never deny Brahman:
May Brahman never disown me.
Let there be no repudiation (from Brahman);
Let there be no infidelity from my side.
May all the Dharmas extolled by the Upanishads shine in me
Who am intent on knowing the Self.
May they shine in me!
Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!

I-1. Wished by whom is the mind directed to fall (on its objects)? Directed by whom does the foremost vital air move? By whom is wished this speech which the people utter? Who is the radiant being that unites the eye and the ear (with their objects)?

I-2. Because He is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the speech of speech, the vital air of the vital air, and the eye of the eye, the wise, freeing themselves (from the identity with the senses) and renouncing the world, become immortal.

I-3. The eye does not reach there, nor speech, nor mind, nor do we know (Its mature). Therefore we don't know how to impart instruction (about It). Distinct indeed is That from the known and distinct from the unknown. Thus have we heard from the ancients who expounded It to us.

I-4. That which is not uttered by speech, that by which the word is expressed, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped.

I-5. That which one does not think with the mind, that by which, they say, the mind is thought, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshipped.

I-6. That which man does not see with the eye, that by which man sees the activities of the eye, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshiped.

I-7. That which man does not hear with the ear, that by which man hears the ear's hearing, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshiped.

I-8. That which man does not smell with the organ of smell, that by which the organ of smell is attracted towards its objects, know That alone to be Brahman, and not this (non-Brahman) which is being worshiped.


II-1. If you think, 'I know Brahman rightly', you have known but little of Brahman's (true) nature. What you know of His form and what form you know among the gods (too is but little). Therefore Brahman is still to be inquired into by you. I think Brahman is known to me.

II-2. I think not I know Brahman rightly, nor do I think It is unknown. I know (and I do not know also). He among us who knows that knows It (Brahman); not that It is not known nor that It is known.

II-3. It is known to him to whom It is unknown; he to whom It is known does not know It. It is unknown to those who know, and known to those who know not.

II-4. When Brahman is known as the inner Self (of cognition) in every state of consciousness, It is known in reality, because one thus attains immortality. Through one's own Self is attained strength and through knowledge is attained immortality.

II-5. Here if one has realised, then there is accomplishment. Here if one has not realised, then there is utter ruin. Having realised Brahman in all beings, and having withdrawn from this world, the wise become immortal.


III-1. It is well-known that Brahman indeed achieved victory for the gods. But in that victory which was Brahman's the gods reveled in joy.

III-2. They thought, "Ours alone is this victory, ours alone is this glory". Brahman knew this their pride and appeared before them, but they knew not who this Yaksha (worshipful Being) was.

III-3. They said to Agni: "O Jataveda, know thou this as to who this Yaksha is". (He said:) "So be it."

III-4. Agni approached It. It asked him, "Who art thou?" He replied, "I am Agni or I am Jataveda".

III-5. (It said:) "What is the power in thee, such as thou art?" (Agni said:) "I can burn all this that is upon the earth."

III-6. For him (It) placed there a blade of grass and said: "Burn this". (Agni) went near it in all haste, but he could not burn it. He returned from there (and said:) "I am unable to understand who that Yaksha is".

III-7. Then (the gods) said to Vayu: "O Vayu, know thou this as to who this Yaksha is". (He said:) "So be it".

III-8. Vayu approached It. It said to him, "Who art thou?" He replied, "I am Vayu or I am Matarsiva".

III-9. (It said:) "What is the power in thee, such as thou art?" (Vayu said:) "I can take hold of all this that is upon the earth".

III-10. For him (It) placed there a blade of grass and said: "Take this up". (Vayu) went near it in all haste, but he could not take it up. He returned from there (and said:) "I am unable to understand who that Yaksha is".

III-11. Then (the gods) said to Indra: "O Maghava, know thou this as to who this Yaksha is". (He said:) "So be it". He approached It, but It disappeared from him.

III-12. In that space itself (where the Yaksha had disappeared) Indra approached an exceedingly charming woman. To that Uma decked in gold (or to the daughter of the Himalayas), he said: "Who is this Yaksha?"


IV-1. She said: "It was Brahman. In the victory that was Brahman's you were reveling in joy". Then alone did Indra know for certain that It was Brahman.

IV-2. Therefore, these gods viz. Agni, Vayu and Indra excelled other gods, for they touched Brahman who stood very close and indeed knew first that It was Brahman.

IV-3. Therefore is Indra more excellent than the other gods, for he touched Brahman who stood very close and indeed knew first that It was Brahman.

IV-4. Its instruction (regarding meditation) is this. It is similar to that which is like a flash of lightning or like the winkling of the eye. This is (the analogy of Brahman) in the divine aspect.

IV-5. Then (follows) the instruction through analogy on the aspect of the individual self. (It is well-known that) the mind seems to attain to It, that It is continually remembered by the mind, and that the mind possesses the thought (regarding It).

IV-6. That Brahman is known indeed as Tadvana (worshipful or adorable to all beings); That is to be worshiped as Tadvana. To him who knows It thus verily all beings pray.

IV-7. (Disciple:) "Revered sir, speak Upanishad to me." (Teacher:) "I have spoken Upanishad to thee. Of Brahman verily is the Upanishad that I have spoken."

IV-8. Of this knowledge austerity, self-restraint and action are the feet, the Vedas are all limbs and truth is the abode.

IV-9. He who knows this thus, with his sins destroyed, becomes firmly seated in the infinite, blissful and supreme Brahman. He becomes firmly seated (in Brahman).

Om! May my limbs, speech, vital air, eyes, ears, strength,
And all the senses be fully developed.
All that is revealed by the Upanishads is Brahman.
May I never deny Brahman:
May Brahman never disown me.
Let there be no repudiation (from Brahman);
Let there be no infidelity from my side.
May all the Dharmas extolled by the Upanishads shine in me
Who am intent on knowing the Self.
May they shine in me!
Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!

Here ends the Kenopanishad, as contained in the Sama-Veda.

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