The Parable of the Gods
The Kena Upanishad (third part)
brahma ha devebhyo vijigye tasya ha hrahmano vijaye deva amahiyanta,
ta aiksantasmakamevayam vijayo smakamevayam mahimeti. 1
1. The Eternal conquered for the gods and in the victory of the Eternal the gods grew to greatness. This was what they saw, "Ours the victory, ours the greatness."
taddhaisam vijajnau tebhyo ha pradurbabhnva
tanna vyajanata kimidam yaksamiti. 2.
2. The Eternal knew their thought and appeared before them; and they knew not what was this mighty Daemon.
tegnimabmvan jataveda etadvijanihi
kimetadyaksamiti tatheti. 3.
3. They said to Agni, "O thou that knowest all things born, learn of this thing, what may be this mighty Daemon," and he said, "So be it."
ahamasmityabravijjataveda va ahamasmiti. 4.
4. He rushed towards the Eternal and It said to him, "Who art thou?" "I am Agni," he said, "I am he that knows all things born."
Tasmimstvayi kim viryamityapidam sarvam daheyam yadidam prthivyamiti. 5,
5. "Since such thou art, what is the force in thee?" "Even all this I could burn, all that is upon the earth."
Tasmai trnam nidadhavetaddaheti tadnpapreyaya sarua, javena tanna sasaka dagdhum
sa tata eva nivavrte naitadasakam vijnatum yadetadyak samiti. 6,
6. The Eternal set before him a blade of grass; "This burn," and he made towards it with all his speed, but he could not burn it. There he ceased, and turned back; "I could not know of It, what might be this mighty Daemon."
atha vayumabruvan vayav etadvijanihi kimetadyaksamiti tatheti. 7.
7. Then they said to Vayu, "O Vayu, this discern, what is this mighty Daemon." He said, "So be it."
tadahhyadravattamabhyavadat kositi vayurva
ahamasmityabravinmatarisva va ahamasmiti. 8.
8. He rushed upon That; It said to him, "Who art thou?" "I am Vayu," he said, "and I am he that expands in the Mother of things."
tasmimstvayi kim viryamityapidam sarvamadadiya yadidam prthivyamiti, 9.
9. "Since such thou art, what is the force in thee?" "Even all this I can take for myself, all this that is upon the earth."
tasmai trnam ndadhavetadadatsveti tadupapreyaya sarvajavena tanna sasakadatum sa tata eva nivavrte naitadasakam vijnatum yadetadyaksamiti. 10.
10. That set before him a blade of grass, "This take." He went towards it with all his speed and he could not take it. Even there he ceased, even thence he returned; "I could not discern of That, what is this mighty Daemon."
tatheti tadabhyadravat tasmattirodadhe.ll.
11. Then they said to Indra, "Master of plenitudes, get thou the knowledge, what is this mighty Daemon." He said, "So be it." He rushed upon That. That vanished from before him.
sa tasminnevakase striyamajagama bahusobhamanamumam haimavatim tam hovaca kimetadyaksamiti. 12.
12. He in the same ether came upon the Woman, even upon Her who shines out in many forms, Uma daughter of the snowy summits. To her he said, "What was this mighty Daemon?"
sa hrahmeti hovaca hrahmano va etadvijaye mahiya dhvamiti tato
haiva vidancakara hrahmeti, 1.
1. She said to him, "It is the Eternal. Of the Eternal is this victory in which ye shall grow to greatness." Then alone he came to know that this was the Brahman.
tasmadva ete deva atitaramivanyandevanyadagnir vayurindraste hyenannedistham pasparsuste
hyenatprathamo vidancakara hrahmeti. 2.
2. Therefore are these gods as it were beyond all the other gods, even Agni and Vayu and Indra, because they came nearest to the touch of That..*
tasmad va indrotitaramivanyandevansa hyenannedistham
pasparsa sa hyenatprathamo vidancakara brahmeti. 3.
* By some mistake of early memorisers or later copyists the rest of the verse has become hopelessly corrupted. It runs, "They he first came to know that it was the Brahman", which is neither fact nor sense nor grammar. The close of the third verse has crept into and replaced the original close of the second.
3. Therefore is Indra as it were beyond all the other gods because he came nearest to the touch of That, because he first knew that it was the Brahman.
tasyaisa adeso yadetadvidynto vyadyutada
itinnyamimisada ityadhidaivatam. 4.
4. Now this is the indication of That, as is this flash of the lightning upon us or as is this falling of the eyelid, so in that which is of the gods.
athadhyatmam yadetad gacchativa ca manonena caitad
upasmaratyabhiksnam sankalpah. 5.
5. Then in that which is of the Self, as the motion of this mind seems to attain to That and by it afterwards the will in the thought continually remembers It.
taddha tadvanam nama tadvanamityupasitavyam sa ya , etadevam
vedabhi hainam sarvani bhutani samvanchanti. 6.
6.The name of That is "That Delight"; as That Delight one should follow after It. He who so knows That, towards him verily all existences yearn.
upanisadam bho bruhityukta ta upanisad brahmim vava ta upanisadamabmmeti. 7.
7. Thou hast said "Speak to me Upanishad";* spoken to
* Upanishad means inner knowledge, that which enters into the final Truth and settles in it.
thee is Upanishad. Of the Eternal verily is the Upanishad that we have spoken.
tasyai tapo damah karmeti pratistha vedah sarvangani
8. . Of this knowledge austerity and self-conquest and works are the foundation, the Vedas are all its limbs, truth is its dwelling place.
yo va etamevam vedapahatya papmanamanante svarge loke
jyeye pratitisthati pratitisthati. 9.
9. He who knows this knowledge, smites evil away from him and in that vaster world and infinite heaven finds his foundation, yea, he finds his foundation.
Taken from The Upanishads, by Sri Aurobindo
(Centenary Edition, Pondicherry: 1972), pp. 8-11