Third Adhyâya

First Brahmana

Adoration to the Highest Self (Paramatman)!

1. Ganaka Vaideha (the king of the Videhas) sacrificed with a sacrifice at which many presents were offered to the priests of (theAsvamedha). Brahmanas of the Kurus and the Paikalas had come thither, and Ganaka Vaideha wished to know, which of those Brahmanas was the best read. So he enclosed a thousand cows, and ten pâdas (of gold) were fastened to each pair of horns.

2. And Ganaka spoke to them: “Ye venerable Brahmanas, he who among you is the wisest, let him drive away these cows.

Then those Brahmanas durst not, but Yagnavalkya said to his pupil: “Drive them away, my dear.

He replied: “O glory of the Saman,” and drove them away.

The Brahmanas became angry and said: “How could he call himself the wisest among us?

Now there was Asvala, the Hotri priest of Ganaka Vaideha. He asked him: “Are you indeed the wisest among us, O Yagnavalkya?” He replied: “I bow before the wisest (the best knower of Brahman), but I wish indeed to have these cows.

Then Asvala, the Hotri priest, undertook to question him.

3. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “everything here (connected with the sacrifice) is reached by death, everything is overcome by death. By what means then is the sacrificer freed beyond the reach of death?

Yagnavalkya said: “By the Hotri priest, who is Agni (fire), who is speech. For speech is the Hotri of the sacrifice (or the sacrificer), and speech is Agni, and he is the Hotri. This constitutes freedom, and perfect freedom (from death).

4. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “everything here is reached by day and night, everything is overcome by day and night. By what means then is the sacrificer freed beyond the reach of day and night?

Yagnavalkya said: “By the Adhvaryu priest, who is the eye, who is Aditya (the sun). For the eye is the Adhvaryu of the sacrifice, and the eye is the sun, and he is the Adhvaryu. This constitutes freedom, and perfect freedom.

5. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “everything here is reached by the waxing and waning of the moon, everything is overcome by the waxing and waning of the moon. By what means then is the sacrificer freed beyond the reach of the waxing and waning of the moon?

Yagnavalkya said: “By the Udgatri priest, who is vayu (the wind), who is the breath. For the breath is the Udgatri of the sacrifice, and the breath is the wind, and he is the Udgatri. This constitutes freedom, and perfect freedom.

6. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “this sky is, as it were, without an ascent (staircase.) By what approach does the sacrificer approach the Svarga world?

Yagnavalkya said: “By the Brahman priest, who is the mind (manas), who is the moon. For the mind is the Brahman of the sacrifice, and the mind is the moon, and he is the Brahman. This constitutes freedom, and perfect freedom. These are the complete deliverances (from death).

Next follow the achievements.

7. “Yagnavalkya,”he said, “how many Rik verses will the Hotri priest employ today at this sacrifice?

Three,” replied Yagnavalkya.

And what are these three?

Those which are called Puronuvakya, Yagya, and, thirdly, Sasya.

What does he gain by them?

All whatsoever has breath.

8. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “how many oblations (ahuti) will the Adhvaryu priest employ today at this sacrifice?

Three,”replied Yagnavalkya.

And what are these three?

Those which,when offered, flame up; those which, when offered, make an excessive noise; and those which, when offered, sink down.

What does he gain by them?

By those which, when offered, flame up, he gains the Deva (god) world, for the Deva world flames up, as it were. By those which, when offered, make an excessive noise, he gains the Pitri (father) world, for the Pitri world is excessively (noisy). By those which, when offered, sink down, he gains the Manushya (man) world, for the Manushya world is, as it were, down below.

9. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “with how many deities does the Brahman priest on the right protect today this sacrifice?

By one,” replied Yagnavalkya.

And which is it?

The mind alone; for the mind is endless, and the Visvedevas are endless, and he thereby gains the endless world.

10. “Yagnavalkya,” he said, “how many Stotriya hymns will the Udgatri priest employ today at this sacrifice?

Three,”replied Yagnavalkya.

And what are these three?

Those which are called Puronuvakya, Yagya, and, thirdly, Sasya.

And what are these with regard to the body (adhyatmam)?

The Puronuvakya is Prâna (up-breathing), the Yagya the Apana (down-breathing), the Sasya the Vyana (back-breathing).

What does he gain by them?

He gains the earth by the Puronuvakya, the sky by the Yagya, heaven by the Sasya.

After that Asvala held his peace.