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little), thus, my dear son, one part only of the sixteen parts (of you) is left, and therefore with that one part you do not remember the Vedas. Go and eat!

4. Then wilt thou understand me." Then Svetaketu ate, and afterwards approached his father. And whatever his father asked him, he knew it all by heart. Then his father said to him:

5. "As of a great lighted fire one coal of the size of a firefly, if left, may be made to blaze up again by putting grass upon it, and will thus burn more than this,

6. Thus, my dear son, there was one part of the sixteen parts left to you, and that, lighted up with food, burnt up, and by it you remember now the Vedas." After that, he understood what his father meant when he said: "Mind, my son, comes from food, breath from water, speech from fire." He understood what he said, yea, he understood it[1].


1. Uddâlaka Âruni said to his son Svetaketu: "Learn from me the true nature of sleep (svapna). When a man sleeps here, then, my dear son, he becomes united with the True[2], he is gone to his

  1. The repetition shows that the teaching of the Trivritkarana, the tripartite nature of things, is ended.
  2. The deep sushupta sleep is meant, in which personal consciousness is lost, and the self for a time absorbed in the Highest Self. Sleep is produced by fatigue. Speech, mind, and the senses rest, breath only remains awake, and the gîva, the living soul, in order to recover from his fatigue, returns for a while to his true Self (âtmâ). The Sat must be taken as a substance, nay, as the highest substance or subject, the Brahman. The whole purpose of the Upanishad is obscured if we translate sat or satyam by truth, instead of the True, the true one, -.