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Garbha Upanishad

English Translations

(See: http://www.vedarahasya.net/garbha.htm and
http://www.geocities.com/advaitavedant/garbha.htm)

Background:
Unless man does all he can, to attain Godhead, the main pain that he is going to encounter after death, is that
he did not attain the real objective of his life, which happens to be to realize his true Spiritual Potential.

The Garbha Upanishad is a treatise. ‘Garbha means ‘Womb’

It expounds the details of what human consciousness goes through, while it still resides in the womb, in the
form of a fetus.

When the brain of the fetus forms, its active mind is more active than that of children and/or adults. The reason
is that while in the womb, the fetus is not distracted by the senses, and its connection with the attractions and
distractions of the outside world.

So now the soul, imprisoned within the mother, goes through physical and emotional turmoil.

He now realizes the fact that he is going to incarnate once again to go through trials and tribulations, whose
main objective is that he learns through pain, to become, what he intrinsically is: An image of God!

The Garbha Upanishad states that, the fetus promises God, that he will not repeat his evil deeds. But alas!
When the child is born, a force called the ‘Vaishnava Prana’ touches him, and he forgets his thoughts and
prayer.

So the learning process, continues!

Arjuna in the Bhagvad Geeta asked Krishna, what happens, if man dies while putting in his effort to learn
about Spiritual truths in one life?

It is heartening to note, that man, take off, from where he left off, in his spiritual efforts.

Look deep within you as you read these words, do they ring a bell? Do they sound true? Ask yourself! Your
SELF will reply!

Introduction:

This Upanishad explains in detail about the conception and growth of a child in the mother’s womb.
At each stage of development in the womb, the physical condition of the child’s body and the mental
state and the condition of the jeevan (the soul) within is also explained in detail in this scripture. It is
great wonder that our ancient Rishis (the seers of truth) were able to grasp and visualize such intense
secrets about the body and soul in those ancient days when there were no traces of today’s modern
science and research. To go a step ahead, we can even say that parts of this Upanishad are yet to be
physically researched and understood by the modern scientists and will remain unknown to the
Science world till such time. This Upanishad is part of the Krishna Yajur Veda.

http://www.geocities.com/advaitavedant/garbha.htm
http://www.vedarahasya.net/garbha.htm

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as a rule laid down by the Supreme.

The formation of the embryo and its stages of development

On a perfect day and on the uniting of the male and female reproductive fluids, after the lapse of one
night, the embryo is in a mixed (semi-fluid) state. After seven nights from thereon, it takes the shape
of a bubble formed out of water. At the end of a fortnight, it takes the shape of a solid lump. It gets
solidified and hardened at the end of one month.

In two months, the head takes form. At the end of three months, the legs and foot are formed. And by
the fourth month, the wrist, stomach and the hip, waist etc are formed. During the fifth month, the
spine and the adjoining bones get shaped. The Mouth, Nose, Eyes and the Ears are all formed during
the sixth month.

In the seventh month, life or the jivan enters the body shaped so far. By the eighth month, it attains
full shape and gets fulfilled with all other remaining parts. If the potency of the father (the male) is
stronger than the mother, it becomes a male and vice-versa. If the potency of both the father and the
mother are equal with no pulling force in either, it becomes a nabumsaka. (neither a male nor a
female)

It is born as a blind or as a deaf or dumb or short or with other deficiency due to any mental
confusion during the period of pregnancy. If the male reproductive fluid is split because of the air
moving around in the body, twins are born. When the body comprised of the five natural forces
acquires intelligence by the infusion of the jivan (or the soul), it also acquires the five intellectual
organs and the brain, which enables the jivan to distinguish between different forms of objects and
tastes.

Having obtained this intelligence, the jivan immediately starts contemplating on the eternal syllable
“OM”. Once he digests the essence of the same, he understands the fact that the eight basic forces
(five sense organs, the mind, intellect and ego) and their sixteen variants belong to the soul or the
jivan residing in the body.

Whatever is consumed or drunk by the mother passes through the nerves dovetailed with the child’s
to the jivan, which is satisfied with such feed.

It is during the ninth month that all the sense organs and intellect organs attain completeness. And
during this time, the jivan is reminded of its previous birth and it realizes all the good and bad deeds
it committed during such previous birth.

Thus thinks the jivan: “By me thousands of birth points (vagina) have been seen; various foods have
been tasted; and innumerable times mother’s milk has been drunk (to convey that the jivan had
various mothers during its earlier births). I have born and died again and again. All my near and dear
(of earlier births) for whom I performed various actions (in earlier births), whether good or bad, have
enjoyed the benefits of my actions and have left me all alone. I am left behind all alone. Once I come
out of this birth source (vagina), I am going to surrender myself to the destroyer of all sins and the
Salvation provider – Maheswara, also called as Naaraayana (or the Supreme Being called by various
names). I am going to chant his name and other mantras to destroy all my sins carried from my earlier
births.

Once I come out of this birth source, I am going to practice the Gnaana Yoga (the pursuit of
knowledge) strictly to destroy all my sins and to release myself from the bondings of all actions in

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this materialistic world. Once I come out of this birth source, I am going to contemplate on this
Supreme Divine Brahman.” – These are the thoughts of the jivan during the time it remains in the
womb.

However, when he reaches the birth source (vagina) and comes out of it with great difficulty on to the
earth, he is inflicted with the illusory force (Maya) created by Vishnu and immediately forgets all the
previous births and the deeds performed therein. His memory is cleansed of all the history the very
moment he first inhales the air after coming to the earth.

Why is the body called as “Sariram” ?
The body is composed of three different types of fire – viz., Gnaana agni, darsana agni and koshta
agni. Koshta agni is that fire which enables the digestion of all that is consumed by the human. It
creates the internal fire that is used to combust all the materials in taken. Darsana agni is the internal
fire that gives the power of seeing to the eyes with which we are able to see different objects. Gnaana
agni is that fire of knowledge which enables one to distinguish between the good and bad. These
three fires have taken their positions in one’s face, stomach and the heart and are referred by the
names aahavaniyaagni, kaarhapatneeyaagni and dakshinaagni respectively. With these fires present
within, an internal homa or yagna (or the ritual sacrifice) takes place within a human body regularly
and incessantly.

Atma or the soul is the performer of the homa; the mind is the Brahma (the one who makes it
happen); the bad intentions such as anger, greed, jealousy, desire etc are the sacrificial objects
(comparable to the animals sacrificed); Mental strength or control is the vow; Contentment and the
intellectual organs are the utensils that can be utilized in the homa; the sense organs are the sacrificial
objects (comparable to the Havis or the rice) to be used; the Head or the skull is the utensil; the Hair
thereon is the Darbha (the dried grass used in homa); the face is the sacrificing stage and the two lines
of teeth, the bones, nerves and tissue are comparable to the other utensils and objects used in a Homa.

Constitution of a human body:

(Apart from what is said in the earlier paragraphs), The human body consists of 107 secret spots
(comparable to the genitals), 180 junction points, 109 nerves called as “snaayu”, 700 other nerves,
500 tissue groups (muscle), 360 bones, four and a half crore hairs, 8 palam (palam is an old measure
that weighs around 35 grams) weighing Heart and 12 palam weighing tongue. The body also has got
one ser (ser is a measure weighing around 300 grams) weighing biological fire, two ser weighing
watery substance, a quarter ser weighing semen or other reproductive fluid and two-sers weighing fat.
There is no laid down measure or weight of the urinary or the other solid excretions, which are
dependent on the intake.

(Having thus known the complete constitution of a human body), one should understand his
composition and divert all his power and energy into the path of attaining salvation. This Moksha
Sastra (the scripture leading to Salvation) was enunciated by the great sage, Pippalaada. This Moksha
Sastra (the scripture leading to Salvation) was enunciated by the great sage, Pippalaada. (second
stress given in the Upanishad itself).

OM! May Brahman protect us (the Guru and Sishya) both! May he give us both (enough) to enjoy!
Efficiency may we both attain! Effective may our study prove! May we not hate (each other) at all!

Om Shanti ! Shanti ! Shanti !

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Garbha Upanishad
Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai

Om ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together; May we work conjointly
with great energy, May our study be vigorous and effective; May we not mutually dispute (or may we
not hate any). Om ! Let there be Peace in me ! Let there be Peace in my environment ! Let there be
Peace in the forces that act on me !

The body is fivefold in nature (the five elements), existing in the five, depending on the six (tastes
of food), connected with the six qualities (kama etc.,), seven Dhatus, three impurities, three Yonis (of
excretion) and four kinds of food.
Why say ‘Fivefold in nature ?’ The five elements Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Ether. In this body,
whatever is hard is of Earth, liquid is water, warm is fire, whatever moves about is air and space-
enclosed is ether. The function of the Earth is to support, water is to consolidate (digestion etc.,). Fire
is to see, wind is for moving, Ether is to give space (for vital functions).
The eyes are used in seeing form, ears for sound, tongue for taste, the skin and nose for touch and
smell respectively; genital for pleasure, Apana is for evacuation (of bowels). The person cognises
through the intellect, wills with the mind and speaks with the tongue.
The six-fold support is the six tastes (of food): sweet, acid, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
1-7. Sadja, Risabha, Gandhara, Panchama, Madhyama, Dhaivata, Nisadha – these are the seven
agreeable and disagreeable sounds. White, Red, Black smoke-coloured, Yellow, Tawny and Pale-
White – these are the colours of the seven Dhatus (primary Humours). Why ? For Devadatta (any
person) there springs up in his mind desire for enjoyment of objects. From relish of food blood is
born, from it is flesh, thence fat, bones, marrow, semen; by the combination of semen and blood the
foetus is born.
Vital warmth springs up in the womb and the belly. In the seat of the warmth bile, Prana flows – at
the proper season ordained by the creator.
8. The embryo lying (in the womb) for (a day) and night is a confused mass; after seven days it
becomes a bubble; after a fortnight, a mass and in a month, it hardens. In two months develops the
region of the head; in three months, the feet; in the fourth, belly and hip; in the fifth, the backbone; in
the sixth, nose, eyes and ears; in the seventh the embryo quickens with life and in the eighth month, it
becomes complete.
9. By the dominance of the father’s semen, the child becomes male; the mother’s – female. When
equal, a eunuch. If, at the time of impregnation, the parents are agitated, the child will be blind,
crippled, hunch-backed or stunted in growth. If the couple have vital-air-trouble, the semen enters in
two parts resulting in twins.
10. In the eighth month, in conjunction with the five vital airs the Jiva gets the capacity to know its
past affairs (of past births), conceives of the imperishable Atman as Om, through perfect knowledge
and meditation. Having known Om he sees in the body the eight Prakritis derived from it the five
elements, mind, intellect and ego and the sixteen changes [see Prasnopanishad].
11. The body becomes complete in the ninth month and remembers the past birth. Actions done and
not done flash to him and he recognises the good and bad nature of Karma.
12-17. ‘I have seen thousands of wombs, eaten several kinds of food and sucked many breasts; born
and dead often, I am immersed in grief but see no remedy. If I can get out of this, I will resort to
Sankhya-Yoga which destroys misery and yields liberation; or I resort to Maheshvara who destroys
misery. Or I resort to Narayana, who destroys misery. If I did good and bad deeds for the sake of my
dependants, I shall myself be burnt for the deeds – the others who enjoyed the fruits go away

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The six-fold support is the six tastes (of food): sweet, acid, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
1-7. Sadja, Risabha, Gandhara, Panchama, Madhyama, Dhaivata, Nisadha – these are the seven
agreeable and disagreeable sounds. White, Red, Black smoke-coloured, Yellow, Tawny and Pale-
White – these are the colours of the seven Dhatus (primary Humours). Why ? For Devadatta (any
person) there springs up in his mind desire for enjoyment of objects. From relish of food blood is
born, from it is flesh, thence fat, bones, marrow, semen; by the combination of semen and blood the
foetus is born.
Vital warmth springs up in the womb and the belly. In the seat of the warmth bile, Prana flows – at
the proper season ordained by the creator.
8. The embryo lying (in the womb) for (a day) and night is a confused mass; after seven days it
becomes a bubble; after a fortnight, a mass and in a month, it hardens. In two months develops the
region of the head; in three months, the feet; in the fourth, belly and hip; in the fifth, the backbone; in
the sixth, nose, eyes and ears; in the seventh the embryo quickens with life and in the eighth month, it
becomes complete.
9. By the dominance of the father’s semen, the child becomes male; the mother’s – female. When
equal, a eunuch. If, at the time of impregnation, the parents are agitated, the child will be blind,
crippled, hunch-backed or stunted in growth. If the couple have vital-air-trouble, the semen enters in
two parts resulting in twins.
10. In the eighth month, in conjunction with the five vital airs the Jiva gets the capacity to know its
past affairs (of past births), conceives of the imperishable Atman as Om, through perfect knowledge
and meditation. Having known Om he sees in the body the eight Prakritis derived from it the five
elements, mind, intellect and ego and the sixteen changes [see Prasnopanishad].
11. The body becomes complete in the ninth month and remembers the past birth. Actions done and
not done flash to him and he recognises the good and bad nature of Karma.
12-17. ‘I have seen thousands of wombs, eaten several kinds of food and sucked many breasts; born
and dead often, I am immersed in grief but see no remedy. If I can get out of this, I will resort to
Sankhya-Yoga which destroys misery and yields liberation; or I resort to Maheshvara who destroys
misery. Or I resort to Narayana, who destroys misery. If I did good and bad deeds for the sake of my
dependants, I shall myself be burnt for the deeds – the others who enjoyed the fruits go away
(unaffected).
18. The person being squeezed as it were by a machine is touched by all-pervading air and forgets
previous births and deeds.
19. Why is the body so called ? It has three fires: the Kosthagni ripens all that is eaten; the
Darsanagni helps one see colour etc., the Jnanagni is the mind which helps perform good and bad
deeds.
20. The Daksinagni is in the heart; Garhapatya in the belly and Ahavaniya in the mouth; the intellect
is the performer’s consort, contentment is Diksha, sense organs are the utensils, head is the jar, hair is
the sacred grass, the mouth the interior of the altar etc.
21. The heart measures 8 Palas, tongue 12, bile is one Prastha, phlegm one Adhaka. Sukla is one
Kudupa, fat two Prasthas, Urine and mala two Prasthas each, depending on what is taken in daily.
The scripture of liberation expounded by Paippalada ends.

Om ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

Here ends the Garbhopanishad belonging to the Krishna-Yajur-Veda.

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