Light from The Upanishads

The Upanishads, one of Hinduism’s most sacred texts, reaches through the mists of time with its gleanings about the nature of existence, the Divine Within, and the Oneness of all. Here are some glimpses from this treasure trove of ancient wisdom.

From The Katha Upanishad

Photo by Julie Reynolds

1.  A mortal ripens like corn and like corn he springs up again.  (Katha Upanishad, Part I, 1:6)

2.  Everything shines after Him. By His light all this is lighted.  (Katha Upanishad Part II, 2:15)

3.  Having realized the vast, all-pervading Atman, the calm soul does not grieve.  (Katha Upanishad Part II, 1:4)

4.  The wise man beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone.  (Isa Upanishad 6)

5.  It is He who pervades all—omniscient, transcendent and uncreated.  (Isa Upanishad 8)

From The Mandukya Upanishad

6.  He is the source of all; for from him all beings originate and in him they finally disappear. (Mandukya Upanishad 1:6)

From The Svetasvatara Upanishad

7.  That adorable God dwelling in the heart … is of many forms and is the true source of all things.  (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:5)

From The Mundaka Upanishad

8.  He is, indeed, the inner Self of all beings.  (Mundaka Upanishad, Second Mundaka,1:2 & 4)

9.  As the spider sends forth and draws in its thread, as plants grow on the earth, as hair grows on the head and the body of a living man—so does everything in the universe arise from the Imperishable.  (Mundaka Upanishad, First Mundaka, 1:7)

10.  This is the Truth: As from a blazing fire, sparks essentially akin to it fly forth by the thousand, so also, my good friend, do various beings come forth from the imperishable Brahman and unto Him again return.  (Mundaka Upanishad, Second Mundaka, 1:1)

11.  The Luminous Brahman dwells in the cave of the heart and is known to move there. It is the great support of all; for in It is centered everything that moves, breathes, and blinks.  (Mundaka Upanishad,  Second Mundaka 2:1)

12.  Take the Upanishad as the bow, the great weapon, and place upon it the arrow sharpened by meditation. Then, having drawn it back with a mind directed to the thought of Brahman, strike that mark, O my good friend—that which is the Imperishable.  (Mundaka Upanishad, Second Mundaka 2:3)

From the Kena Upanishad

13.  Having realized the Self in every being, the wise relinquish the world and become immortal.  (Kena Upanishad 2:5)

From The Isa Upanishad

14.  The wise man beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone.  (Isa Upanishad 6)

15.  Om. That is full; this is full.
This fullness has been projected from that fullness.
When this fullness merges in that fullness,
all that remains is fullness.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!
(Isa Upanishad, Invocation)


These selections are drawn from The Upanishads, Vol. I-IV, a four-volume set translated by the scholar-mystic Swami Nikhilananda (Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1959 / 1987).

Another recommended translation is The Upanishads, tr. Valerie J. Roebuck (New York and London, Penguin Books, 2003).


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