Om. Brahma, the Maker of the universe and the Preserver of the world, was the first among the devas. He told His eldest son Atharva about the Knowledge of Brahman, the foundation of all knowledge.
The Knowledge of Brahman about which Brahma told Atharva, Atharva, in olden times, told Angir. Angir taught it to Satyavaha, belonging to the clan of Bharadvaja, and the latter taught it, in succession, to Angiras
Saunaka, the great householder, approached Angiras in the proper manner and said: Revered sir, what is that by the knowing of which all this becomes known?
To him he said: Two kinds of knowledge must be known-that is what the knowers of Brahman tell us. They are the Higher Knowledge and the lower knowledge.
Of these two, the lower knowledge is the Rig-Veda, the Yagur-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Atharva-Veda, siksha (phonetics), kalpa (rituals), vyakaranam (grammar), nirukta (etymology), chhandas (metre), and jyotis (astronomy); and the Higher Knowledge is that by which the Imperishable Brahman is attained.
By means of the Higher Knowledge the wise behold everywhere Brahman, which otherwise cannot be seen or seized, which has no root or attributes, no eyes or ears, no hands or feet; which is eternal and omnipresent, all-pervading and extremely subtle; which is imperishable and the source of all beings.
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.
Brahman expands by means of austerity, and from It primal matter is produced; from matter, Prana; from Prana, mind; from mind, the elements; from the elements, the worlds; thence works, and from the works, their immortal fruits.
For him who knows all and understands everything, whose austerity consists of knowledge-from Him, the Imperishable Brahman, are born Brahma, name, form, and food.