Selections from the Vedas
Rig Veda 10.129
Then neither Being nor Not-Being was,
Nor atmosphere, nor firmament, nor what is beyond.
What did it encompass? Where? In whose protection?
What was water, the deep, unfathomable?
Neither death nor immortality was there then,
No sign of night or day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own energy
Nought else existed then. . . .
Who knows truly? Who can here declare it?
Whence it was born, whence is this emanation.
By the emanation of this the gods only later (came to be).
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this emanation hath arisen,
Whether (God) disposed it, or whether he did not, -
Only he who is its overseer in highest heaven knows.
(He only knows,) or perhaps he does not know!
Selected from a translation by Patrick Olivelle (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 ("I am Brahman")
In the beginning this world was only brahman, and it knew only itself (atman),
thinking: "I am brahman." As a result, it became the Whole. Among the gods,
likewise, whosoever realized this, only they became the Whole. It was the same
also among the seers and among the humans. Upon seeing this very point, the
seer Vasudeva proclaimed: "I was Manu, and I was the sun." This is true even
now. If a man knows "I am brahman" in this way, he becomes the whole world.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.14 (the origin of the Dharma)
[Brahman] still did not become fully developed. So it created the Law (dharma), a
form superior to and surpassing itself. And the Law is here the ruling power
standing above the ruling power. Hence there is nothing higher than the Law.
Therefore, a weaker man makes demands of a stronger man by appealing to the
Law, just as one does by appealing to a king. Now, the Law is nothing but the
truth. Therefore, when a man speaks the truth, people say that he speaks the
Law; and when a man speaks the Law, people say that he speaks the truth. They