“That Adorable God Dwelling in the Heart”: Excerpts from Hinduism’s Upanishads

November 2008

The Upanishads, one of Hinduism’s most sacred texts, reaches through the mists of time with its gleanings about the nature of existence and the Oneness of All. The following selections hint at the treasures to be gleaned from a fuller sampling.

From The Katha Upanishad

A mortal ripens like corn and like corn he springs up again.  (Katha Upanishad, Part I, 1:6)

The wise man, having realized Atman as dwelling within impermanent bodies but Itself bodiless, vast and all-pervading, does not grieve.  (Katha Upanishad Part I, 2:21-22)

Everything shines after Him. By His light all this is lighted.  (Katha Upanishad Part II, 2:15)

Having realized Atman, which is soundless, intangible, formless, having realized That which is without beginning and end, beyond the Great and unchanging—one is freed from the jaws of death.  (Katha Upanishad Part I, 3:10-12 and 15)

Whatever there is—the whole universe—vibrates because it has gone forth from Brahman, which exists as its Ground.  (Katha Upanishad Part II, 3:2)

From The Isa Upanishad

Om. That is full; this is full.
This fullness has been projected from that fullness.
When this fullness merges in that fullness,
all that remains is fullness.
Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!  (Invocation)

It moves and moves not; It is far and likewise near. It is inside all this and It is outside all this.  (Isa Upanishad 5)

The wise man beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings; for that reason he does not hate anyone.  (Isa Upanishad 6)

It is He who pervades all—omniscient, transcendent and uncreated.  (Isa Upanishad 8)

From The Mundaka Upanishad

As the spider sends forth and draws in its thread, as plants grow on the earth, as hair grows on the head and the body of a living man—so does everything in the universe arise from the Imperishable.  (Mundaka Upanishad, First Mundaka, 1:7)

This is the Truth: As from a blazing fire, sparks essentially akin to it fly forth by the thousand, so also, my good friend, do various beings come forth from the imperishable Brahman and unto Him again return.  (Mundaka Upanishad, Second Mundaka, 1:1)

The Luminous Brahman dwells in the cave of the heart and is known to move there. It is the great support of all; for in It is centered everything that moves, breathes, and blinks.  (Mundaka Upanishad,  Second Mundaka 2:1)

When He shines, everything shines after Him; by His light everything is lighted.  (Mundaka Upanishad, Second Mundaka 2:10)

From The Prasna Upanishad

He who knows that imperishable Being, bright, without shadow, without body, without color, verily attains the Supreme, the undecaying Purusha, O my good friend, he who knows Atman… becomes all-knowing and enters into all.  (Prasna Upanishad, Question 4:7-11)

From The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

He who inhabits all beings, yet is within all beings, whom no beings know, whose body all beings are and who controls all beings from within—He is your Self, the Inner Controller, the Immortal.  (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Part Three, 7:15)

From The Taititiriya Upanishad

My root is the Supremely Pure Brahman. I am the unstained essence of the Self, like the nectar of immortality that resides in the sun. I am the brightest treasure. I am the shining wisdom. I am immortal and undecaying.  (Taititiriya Upanishad, Part One, Chapter 10)

From The Svetasvatara Upanishad

That adorable God dwelling in the heart…is of many forms and is the true source of all things.  (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:5-6)

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.

Compiled by Rev. Jan Thomas


1.  These selections are drawn from The Upanishads, Vol. I-IV (a 4 Volume Set), tr. Swami Nikhilananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1959 / 1987. Deep gratitude to the scholar-mystic Nikhilananda, who bridged the language gap so we can share in these amazing fruits of the ancients’ spiritual discoveries.

2.  Another especially recommended (and more modern) translation is The Upanishads, tr. Valerie J. Roebuck, New York and London, Penguin Books, 2003.