Kena Upanishad

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Kena Upanishad - english-sanskrit

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1. Kena Upanishad
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Sanskrit/ English / Transliterated
2. Kena Upanishad | by Shankara

Kena Upanishad
By Whom?!

This Upanishad is called Kena Upanishad, because it begins with the inquiry: “By whom” (Kena) willed or directed does the mind go towards its object? From whom comes life? What enables man to speak, to hear and see?

And the teacher in reply gives him the defi­nition of Brahman, the Source and Basis of existence. The spirit of the Upanishads is always to show that no matter where we look or what we see or feel in the visible world, it all proceeds from one Source.

It is also known as the Talavakara-Upanishad because of its place as a chapter in the Talavakara Brahmana of the Sama-Veda.


Part I Verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Part II Verse ...  1 2 3 4 5

Part III Verse ...  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Part IV Verse ... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


॥ केनोपनिषत् ॥
|| kenopaniṣat ||

॥ अथ केनोपनिषत् ॥
|| atha kenopaniṣat ||

ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वाक्प्राणश्चक्षुः
श्रोत्रमथो बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि ।
सर्वं ब्रह्मौपनिषदं
माऽहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म
निराकरोदनिराकरणमस्त्वनिराकरणं मेऽस्तु ।
तदात्मनि निरते य
उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु ते मयि सन्तु ।

auṁ āpyāyantu mamāṅgāni vākprāṇaścakṣuḥ
śrotramatho balamindriyāṇi ca sarvāṇi |
sarvaṁ brahmaupaniṣadaṁ
mā'haṁ brahma nirākuryāṁ mā mā brahma
nirākarodanirākaraṇamastvanirākaraṇaṁ me'stu |
tadātmani nirate ya
upaniṣatsu dharmāste mayi santu te mayi santu |

May my limbs, speech, energy, eyes, ear and vitality,
as well as all the other senses become more vigorous!
All are that Brahman of the Upanishads.
May I never deny Brahman, nor may Brahman deny me.
Let there be no denial at all;
let there be no denial at least from me.
May all the virtues that dwell in the Upanishads reside in me,
who am devoted to the Ātman!

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||

Om Peace! Peace! Peace!

Part One

I - 1

ॐ केनेषितं पतति प्रेषितं मनः
केन प्राणः प्रथमः प्रैति युक्तः ।
केनेषितां वाचमिमां वदन्ति
चक्षुः श्रोत्रं क उ देवो युनक्ति ॥ १ ॥

auṁ keneṣitaṁ patati preṣitaṁ manaḥ
kena prāṇaḥ prathamaḥ praiti yuktaḥ |
keneṣitāṁ vācamimāṁ vadanti
cakṣuḥ śrotraṁ ka u devo yunakti || 1 ||

By whom commanded and directed
does the mind go towards its objects?
Commanded by whom
does the life-force, the first (cause), move?
At whose will do men utter speech?
What power directs the eye and the ear?

I - 2

श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनसो मनो यद्
वाचो ह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणः ।
चक्षुषश्चक्षुरतिमुच्य धीराः
प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ २ ॥

śrotrasya śrotraṁ manaso mano yad
vāco ha vācaṁ sa u prāṇasya prāṇaḥ |
cakṣuṣaścakṣuratimucya dhīrāḥ
pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti || 2 ||

It is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind,
the speech of the speech, the life of the life, the eye of the eye.

The wise, freed (from the senses and from mortal desires),
after leaving this world, become immortal.

I - 3-4

न तत्र चक्षुर्गच्छति न वाग्गच्छति नो मनः ।
न विद्मो न विजानीमो यथैतदनुशिष्यात् ॥ ३ ॥
अन्यदेव तद्विदितादथो अविदितादधि ।
इति शुश्रुम पूर्वेषां ये नस्तद्व्याचचक्षिरे ॥ ४ ॥

na tatra cakṣurgacchati na vāggacchati no manaḥ |
na vidmo na vijānīmo yathaitadanuśiṣyāt || 3 ||
anyadeva tadviditādatho aviditādadhi |
iti śuśruma pūrveṣāṁ ye nastadvyācacakṣire || 4 ||

There the eye does not go, nor speech, nor mind.
We do not know That;
we do not understand how can It be taught.
It is distinct from the known
and also It is beyond the unknown.
Thus we have heard from the ancient (teachers)
who told us about It.

I - 5

यद्वाचाऽनभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ५ ॥

yadvācā'nabhyuditaṁ yena vāgabhyudyate |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 5 ||

That which speech does not illumine, but which illumines speech:
know that alone to be the Brahman (the Supreme Being),
not this which people worship here.

I - 6

यन्मनसा न मनुते येनाहुर्मनो मतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ६ ॥

yanmanasā na manute yenāhurmano matam |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 6 ||

That which cannot be thought by mind,
but by which, they say, mind is able to think:
know that alone to be the Brahman,
not this which people worship here.

I - 7

यच्चक्षुषा न पश्यति येन चक्षूँषि पश्यति ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ७ ॥

yaccakṣuṣā na paśyati yena cakṣūɱṣi paśyati |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 7 ||

That which is not seen by the eye,
but by which the eye is able to see:
know that alone to be the Brahman,
not this which people worship here.

I - 8

यच्छ्रोत्रेण न शृणोति येन श्रोत्रमिदं श्रुतम् ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ८ ॥

yacchrotreṇa na śṛṇoti yena śrotramidaṁ śrutam |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 8 ||

That which cannot be heard by the ear,
but by which the ear is able to hear:
know that alone to be Brahman,
not this which people worship here.

I - 9

यत्प्राणेन न प्राणिति येन प्राणः प्रणीयते ।
तदेव ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि नेदं यदिदमुपासते ॥ ९ ॥

yatprāṇena na prāṇiti yena prāṇaḥ praṇīyate |
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate || 9 ||

That which none breathes with the breath,
but by which breath is in-breathed:
know that alone to be the Brahman,
not this which people worship here.

॥ इति केनोपनिषदि प्रथमः खण्डः ॥
|| iti kenopaniṣadi prathamaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

It was the first part of Kena Upanishad

Part Two

II - 1

यदि मन्यसे सुवेदेति दहरमेवापि
नूनं त्वं वेत्थ ब्रह्मणो रूपम् ।
यदस्य त्वं यदस्य देवेष्वथ नु
मीमाँस्येमेव ते मन्ये विदितम् ॥ १ ॥

yadi manyase suvedeti daharamevāpi
nūnaṁ tvaṁ vettha brahmaṇo rūpam |
yadasya tvaṁ yadasya deveṣvatha nu
mīmāɱsyemeva te manye viditam || 1 ||

If thou thinkest “I know It well,”
then it is certain that thou knowest but little of the Brahman (Absolute Truth),
or in what form He (resideth) in the Devas (minor aspects of Deity).
Therefore I think
that what thou thinkest to be known is still to be sought after.

II - 2

नाहं मन्ये सुवेदेति नो न वेदेति वेद च ।
यो नस्तद्वेद तद्वेद नो न वेदेति वेद च ॥ २ ॥

nāhaṁ manye suvedeti no na vedeti veda ca |
yo nastadveda tadveda no na vedeti veda ca || 2 ||

I do not think I know It well,
nor do I think that I do not know It.
He among us who knows It truly,
knows (what is meant by) “I know”
and also what is meant by “I know It not.”

II - 3

यस्यामतं तस्य मतं मतं यस्य न वेद सः ।
अविज्ञातं विजानतां विज्ञातमविजानताम् ॥ ३ ॥

yasyāmataṁ tasya mataṁ mataṁ yasya na veda saḥ |
avijñātaṁ vijānatāṁ vijñātamavijānatām || 3 ||

He who thinks he knows It not, knows It.
He who thinks he knows It, knows It not.
The true knowers think they can never know It (because of Its infinitude),
while the ignorant think they know It.

II - 4

प्रतिबोधविदितं मतममृतत्वं हि विन्दते ।
आत्मना विन्दते वीर्यं विद्यया विन्दतेऽमृतम् ॥ ४ ॥

pratibodhaviditaṁ matamamṛtatvaṁ hi vindate |
ātmanā vindate vīryaṁ vidyayā vindate'mṛtam || 4 ||

It (Brahman) is known,
when It is known in every state of consciousness.
(Through such knowledge) one attains immortality.
By attaining this Self, man gains strength;
and by Self-knowledge immortality is attained.

II - 5

इह चेदवेदीदथ सत्यमस्ति
न चेदिहावेदीन्महती विनष्टिः ।
भूतेषु भूतेषु विचित्य धीराः
प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ ५ ॥

iha cedavedīdatha satyamasti
na cedihāvedīnmahatī vinaṣṭiḥ |
bhūteṣu bhūteṣu vicitya dhīrāḥ
pretyāsmāllokādamṛtā bhavanti || 5 ||

If one knows It here, that is Truth;
if one knows It not here, then great is his loss.
The wise seeing the same Self in all beings,
being liberated from this world, become immortal.

॥ इति केनोपनिषदि द्वितीयः खण्डः ॥
|| iti kenopaniṣadi dvitīyaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

It was second part of Kena Upanishad.

Part Three

III - 1

ब्रह्म ह देवेभ्यो विजिग्ये तस्य ह ब्रह्मणो विजये देवा अमहीयन्त ।
त ऐक्षन्तास्माकमेवायं विजयोऽस्माकमेवायं महिमेति ॥ १ ॥

brahma ha devebhyo vijigye tasya ha brahmaṇo vijaye devā amahīyanta |
ta aikṣantāsmākamevāyaṁ vijayo'smākamevāyaṁ mahimeti || 1 ||

The Brahman once won a victory for the Devas.
Through that victory of the Brahman, the Devas became elated.
They thought, “This victory is ours. This glory is ours.”

III - 2

तद्धैषां विजज्ञौ तेभ्यो ह प्रादुर्बभूव
तन्न व्यजानत किमिदं यक्षमिति ॥ २ ॥

taddhaiṣāṁ vijajñau tebhyo ha prādurbabhūva
tanna vyajānata kimidaṁ yakṣamiti || 2 ||

The Brahman perceived this and appeared before them.
They did not know what mysterious form it was.

III - 3

तेऽग्निमब्रुवञ्जातवेद एतद्विजानीहि
किमिदं यक्षमिति तथेति ॥ ३ ॥

te'gnimabruvañjātaveda etadvijānīhi
kimidaṁ yakṣamiti tatheti || 3 ||

They said to Fire: “O Jātaveda (All-knowing)!
Find out what mysterious spirit this is.”
He said: “Yes”

III - 4

तदभ्यद्रवत्तमभ्यवदत्कोऽसीत्यग्निर्वा
अहमस्मीत्यब्रवीज्जातवेदा वा अहमस्मीति ॥ ४ ॥

tadabhyadravattamabhyavadatko'sītyagnirvā
ahamasmītyabravījjātavedā vā ahamasmīti || 4 ||

He ran towards it
and He (Brahman) said to him: “Who art thou?”
“I am Agni, I am Jātaveda,” he (the Fire-god) replied.

III - 5

तस्मिँस्त्वयि किं वीर्यमित्यपीदँ सर्वं
दहेयं यदिदं पृथिव्यामिति ॥ ५ ॥

tasmiɱstvayi kiṁ vīryamityapīdaɱ sarvaṁ
daheyaṁ yadidaṁ pṛthivyāmiti || 5 ||

Brahman asked: “What power resides in thee?”
Agni replied: “I can burn up all whatsoever exists on earth.”

III - 6

तस्मै तृणं निदधावेतद्दहेति ।
तदुपप्रेयाय सर्वजवेन तन्न शशाक दग्धुं स तत एव
निववृते नैतदशकं विज्ञातुं यदेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ ६ ॥

tasmai tṛṇaṁ nidadhāvetaddaheti |
tadupapreyāya sarvajavena tanna śaśāka dagdhuṁ sa tata eva
nivavṛte naitadaśakaṁ vijñātuṁ yadetadyakṣamiti || 6 ||

Brahman placed a straw before him and said: “Burn this.”
He (Agni) rushed towards it with all speed, but was not able to burn it.
So he returned from there and said (to the Devas):
“I was not able to find out what this great mystery is.”

III - 7

अथ वायुमब्रुवन्वायवेतद्विजानीहि
किमेतद्यक्षमिति तथेति ॥ ७ ॥

atha vāyumabruvanvāyavetadvijānīhi
kimetadyakṣamiti tatheti || 7 ||

Then they said to Vāyu (the Air-god):
“Vāyu! Find out what this mystery is.”
He said: “Yes.”

III - 8

तदभ्यद्रवत्तमभ्यवदत्कोऽसीति वायुर्वा
अहमस्मीत्यब्रवीन्मातरिश्वा वा अहमस्मीति ॥ ८ ॥

tadabhyadravattamabhyavadatko'sīti vāyurvā
ahamasmītyabravīnmātariśvā vā ahamasmīti || 8 ||

He ran towards it and He (Brahman) said to him: “Who art thou?”
“I am Vāyu, I am Mātariśva (traveller of Heaven),” he (Vāyu) said.

III - 9

तस्मिँस्त्वयि किं वीर्यमित्यपीदँ
सर्वमाददीय यदिदं पृथिव्यामिति ॥ ९ ॥

tasmiɱstvayi kiṁ vīryamityapīdaɱ
sarvamādadīya yadidaṁ pṛthivyāmiti || 9 ||

Then the Brahman said: “What power is in thee?”
Vāyu replied: “I can blow away all whatsoever exists on earth.”

III - 10

तस्मै तृणं निदधावेतदादत्स्वेति
तदुपप्रेयाय सर्वजवेन तन्न शशाकादतुं स तत एव
निववृते नैतदशकं विज्ञातुं यदेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ १० ॥

tasmai tṛṇaṁ nidadhāvetadādatsveti
tadupapreyāya sarvajavena tanna śaśākādatuṁ sa tata eva
nivavṛte naitadaśakaṁ vijñātuṁ yadetadyakṣamiti || 10 ||

Brahman placed a straw before him and said: “Blow this away.”
He (Vāyu) rushed towards it with all speed,
but was not able to blow it away.
So he returned from there and said (to the Devas):
 “I was not able to find out what this great mystery is.”

III - 11

अथेन्द्रमब्रुवन्मघवन्नेतद्विजानीहि किमेतद्यक्षमिति तथेति
तदभ्यद्रवत्तस्मात्तिरोदधे ॥ ११ ॥

athendramabruvanmaghavannetadvijānīhi kimetadyakṣamiti tatheti
tadabhyadravattasmāttirodadhe || 11 ||

Then they said to Indra:

“O Maghavan (Worshipful One)!
Find out what this mystery is.”
He said: “Yes”; and ran towards it,
but it disappeared before him.

III - 12

स तस्मिन्नेवाकाशे स्त्रियमाजगाम बहुशोभमानामुमाँ
हैमवतीं ताँहोवाच किमेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ १२ ॥

sa tasminnevākāśe striyamājagāma bahuśobhamānāmumāɱ
haimavatīṁ tāɱhovāca kimetadyakṣamiti || 12 ||

Then he saw in that very space a woman,
beautifully adorned, Umā of golden hue,
daughter of Haimavatī (Himālayā).

He asked: “What is this great mystery?”

॥ इति केनोपनिषदि तृतीयः खण्डः ॥
|| iti kenopaniṣadi tṛtīyaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

It was the Third part of Kena Upanishad.

Part Four

IV - 1

सा ब्रह्मेति होवाच ब्रह्मणो वा एतद्विजये महीयध्वमिति
ततो हैव विदाञ्चकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ १ ॥

sā brahmeti hovāca brahmaṇo vā etadvijaye mahīyadhvamiti
tato haiva vidāñcakāra brahmeti || 1 ||

She (Umā) said: “It is Brahman.
It is through the victory of Brahman that ye are victorious.”
Then from her words, he (Indra) knew
that it (that mysterious form) was Brahman.

IV - 2

तस्माद्वा एते देवा अतितरामिवान्यान्देवान्यदग्निर्वायुरिन्द्रस्ते
ह्येनन्नेदिष्ठं पस्पर्शुस्ते ह्येनत्प्रथमो विदाञ्चकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ २ ॥

tasmādvā ete devā atitarāmivānyāndevānyadagnirvāyurindraste
hyenannediṣṭhaṁ pasparśuste hyenatprathamo vidāñcakāra brahmeti || 2 ||

Therefore these Devas, — Agṇi, Vāyu and Indra — excel other Devas,
because they came nearer to Brahman.
It was they who first knew this spirit as Brahman.

IV - 3

तस्माद्वा इन्द्रोऽतितरामिवान्यान्देवान्स
ह्येनन्नेदिष्ठं पस्पर्श स ह्येनत्प्रथमो विदाञ्चकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ ३ ॥

tasmādvā indro'titarāmivānyāndevānsa
hyenannediṣṭhaṁ pasparśa sa hyenatprathamo vidāñcakāra brahmeti || 3 ||

Therefore Indra excels all other Devas,
because he came nearest to Brahman,
and because he first (before all others) knew this spirit as Brahman.

IV - 4

तस्यैष आदेशो यदेतद्विद्युतो व्यद्युतदा३
इतीन् न्यमीमिषदा३ इत्यधिदैवतम् ॥ ४ ॥

tasyaiṣa ādeśo yadetadvidyuto vyadyutadā
itīn nyamīmiṣadā3 ityadhidaivatam || 4 ||

Thus the teaching of Brahman
is here illustrated in regard to the Devas.
He flashed like lightning,
and appeared and disappeared just as the eye winks.

IV - 5

अथाध्यात्मं यद्देतद्गच्छतीव च मनोऽनेन
चैतदुपस्मरत्यभीक्ष्णँ सङ्कल्पः ॥ ५ ॥

athādhyātmaṁ yaddetadgacchatīva ca mano'nena
caitadupasmaratyabhīkṣṇaɱ saṅkalpaḥ || 5 ||

Next (the teaching) is regarding Adhyātman (the embodied Soul).
The mind seems to approach Him (Brahman).
By this mind (the seeker) again and again
remembers and thinks about Brahman.

IV - 6

तद्ध तद्वनं नाम तद्वनमित्युपासितव्यं स य एतदेवं वेदाभि
हैनँ सर्वाणि भूतानि संवाञ्छन्ति ॥ ६ ॥

taddha tadvanaṁ nāma tadvanamityupāsitavyaṁ sa ya etadevaṁ vedābhi
hainaɱ sarvāṇi bhūtāni saṁvāñchanti || 6 ||

That Brahman is called Tadvanam (object of adoration).
He is to be worshipped by the name Tadvanam.
He who knows Brahman thus, is loved by all beings.

IV - 7

उपनिषदं भो ब्रूहीत्युक्ता त उपनिषद्ब्राह्मीं वाव त
उपनिषदमब्रूमेति ॥ ७ ॥

upaniṣadaṁ bho brūhītyuktā ta upaniṣadbrāhmīṁ vāva ta
upaniṣadamabrūmeti || 7 ||

The disciple asked: O Master, teach me the Upanishad.
(The teacher replied:) The Upanishad has been taught thee.
We have certainly taught thee the Upanishad about Brahman.

IV - 8

तसै तपो दमः कर्मेति प्रतिष्ठा वेदाः सर्वाङ्गानि
सत्यमायतनम् ॥ ८ ॥

tasai tapo damaḥ karmeti pratiṣṭhā vedāḥ sarvāṅgāni
satyamāyatanam || 8 ||

The Upanishad is based on

tapas (practice of the control of body, mind and senses),
dama (subjugation of the senses),
karma (right performance of prescribed actions).

The Vedas are its limbs. Truth is its support.

IV - 9

यो वा एतामेवं वेदापहत्य पाप्मानमनन्ते स्वर्गे
लोके ज्येये प्रतितिष्ठति प्रतितिष्ठति ॥ ९ ॥

yo vā etāmevaṁ vedāpahatya pāpmānamanante svarge
loke jyeye pratitiṣṭhati pratitiṣṭhati || 9 ||

He who knows this (wisdom of the Upanishad),
having been cleansed of all sin,
becomes established
in the blissful, eternal and highest abode of Brahman,
in the highest abode of Brahman.

॥ इति केनोपनिषदि चतुर्थः खण्डः ॥
|| iti kenopaniṣadi caturthaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||

It was the fourth part of Kena Upanishad.

ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वाक्प्राणश्चक्षुः
श्रोत्रमथो बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि ।
सर्वं ब्रह्मौपनिषदं
माऽहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म
निराकरोदनिराकरणमस्त्वनिराकरणं मेऽस्तु ।
तदात्मनि निरते य
उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु ते मयि सन्तु ।

auṁ āpyāyantu mamāṅgāni vākprāṇaścakṣuḥ
śrotramatho balamindriyāṇi ca sarvāṇi |
sarvaṁ brahmaupaniṣadaṁ
mā'haṁ brahma nirākuryāṁ mā mā brahma
nirākarodanirākaraṇamastvanirākaraṇaṁ me'stu |
tadātmani nirate ya
upaniṣatsu dharmāste mayi santu te mayi santu |

May my limbs, speech, energy, eyes, ear and vitality,
as well as all the other senses become more vigorous!
All are that Brahman of the Upanishads.
May I never deny Brahman, nor may Brahman deny me.
Let there be no denial at all;
let there be no denial at least from me.
May all the virtues that dwell in the Upanishads reside in me,
who am devoted to the Ātman!

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||

॥ इति केनोपनिषत् ॥
|| iti kenopaniṣat ||