[Śārīraka-Upanishad]1

Om. The body is a compound of pṛthivī (earth) and other mahābhūtas (primordial elements, as pas or water, agni or fire, vāyu or air, and ākāś). (In the body), that which is hard is (of the essence of) earth; that which is liquid is (of the essence of) water; that which is hot is (of the essence of) fire; that which moves about is (of the essence of) vāyu; that which is perforated is (of the essence of) ākāś. The ear and others are the jñānendriyas (organs of sense). The ear is of the essence of ākāś, the skin of the essence of vāyu, the eye of the essence of fire, the tongue of the essence of water, and the nose of the essence of earth; sound, touch, form, taste, and odour being respectively the objects of perception for these organs. These arose respectively out of the primordial elements, beginning with earth. The mouth, the hands, the legs, the organs of excretion and the organs of generation are the karmendriyas (or organs of action). Their functions are respectively talking, lifting, walking, excretion, and enjoyment. Antaḥkarana (or the internal organ) is of four kinds—manas, buddhi, ahaṅkāra, and chitta. Their functions are respectively saṅkalpa-vikalpa, (or will-thought and doubt), determination, egoism, and memory. The seat of manas is the end of the throat, that of buddhi the face, that of ahaṅkāra the heart, and that of chitta the navel. The bone, skin, nādis, nerves, hair, and flesh are of the essence of earth. Urine, phlegm, blood, śukla (or sperm), and sweat are of the essence of water. Hunger, thirst, sloth, delusion, and (desire of) copulation are of the essence of fire. Walking, scratching, opening and closing the gross eyes, etc., are of the essence of vāyu. Desire, anger, avarice, delusion, and fear are of the essence of ākāś. Sound, touch, form, taste, and odour are the properties of earth: sound, touch, form, and taste are the properties of water: sound, touch, and form, are the properties of fire: sound and touch are the properties of vāyu: sound alone is the property of ākāś. There are three gunas (or qualities), sāttvika, rājasa, and tāmasa. Non-killing, veracity, not stealing, continence, non-covetousness, refraining from anger, serving the guru, purity (in mind and body), contentment, right conduct, abstinence from self-praise, freedom from pompousness, firm conviction in the existence of God, and not causing any injury to others—all these are to be known as sāttvika-gunas chiefly. I am the actor, I am the enjoyer, I am the speaker, and I am the egoistic—such are said by knowers of Brahman to be rājasa-gunas. Sleep, sloth, delusion, desire, copulation, and theft are said by expounders of the Vedas to be tāmasa-gunas. Those having sattva-guna (go) up (viz., to higher spheres)—those having rājasa-guna (stay) in the middle (viz., the sphere of earth)—those having tāmasa-guna (go) down (viz., to hell, etc.). Perfect (or divine) knowledge is of sāttvika-guna; knowledge of dharma is of rājasa-guna, and mental darkness is of tāmasa. Jāgrata (waking state), svapna (dreaming state), sushupti (dreamless sleeping state), and turya (the fourth state beyond these three) are the four states. Jāgrata is (the state) having (the play of) the fourteen organs, the organs of sense (five), the organs of action (five), and the four internal organs. Svapna is (the state) associated with the four internal organs. Sushupti is (the state) where the chitta is the only organ. Turya is that state having jīva alone. Regarding jīvātmā and Paramātmā (enjoying the three states) of a person with opened eyes, with closed eyes, and with eyes in an intermediate state with neither, jīva is said to be the Kshetrajña (the lord of the body). The organs of sense (five), the organs of action (five), prānas (five), manas, and buddhi—all these seventeen are said to constitute the sūkshma or liṅga (viz., subtle) body. Manas, buddhi, ahaṅkāra, ākāś, vāyu, fire, water, and earth—these are the eight prakṛtis (or matter): ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose the fifth, the organs of excretion, the organs of secretion, hands, legs, speech the tenth, sound, form, touch, taste, and odour are the fifteen modifications (of the above eight prakṛtis). Therefore the tattvas are twenty-three. The twenty-fourth is avyakta (the undifferentiated matter) or pradhāna. Purusha is other than (or superior to) this. Thus is the Upanishad.


1. This Upanishad treats of Sarīra or the body.