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Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad

Identifier

008263

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

When a caterpillar has come to the end of a blade of grass, it reaches out to another blade, and draws itself over to it. In the same way the atman, having coming to the end of one life, reaches out to another body, and draws itself over to it.

A goldsmith takes an old ornament. and fashions it into a new and more beautiful one. In the same way the atman, as it leaves one body, looks for a new body which is more beautiful.

The atman is divine. But through ignorance people often identify the atman with the mind, the senses and the emotions. Some people even identify the atman with the elements of earth, water, air. space and fire.

As people act, so they become. If their actions are good. they become good; if their actions are bad, they become bad. Good deeds purify those who perform them; bad deeds pollute those who perform them.

Thus we may say that we are what we desire. Our will springs from our desires; our actions spring from our will; and what we are, springs from our actions. We may conclude, therefore, that the state of our desires at the time of death determines our next life; we return to earth in order to satisfy those desires.

The source of the experience

Upanishads, the

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Air