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Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, Himalayas, India,





First Edition:                             1985

Second Edition:                        2000

Third Edition:                          2017

[ 1,000 Copies ]


The Divine Life Trust Society



ISBN 81-7052-002-9

ES 25



PRICE: 325/-




Published by Swami Padmanabhananda for The Divine Life Society, Shivanandanagar, and printed by him at the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy Press, P.O. Shivanandanagar, Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, Himalayas, India

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Table of Contents





Santi Mantra

Chapter I        







Chapter II       








Chapter III










Chapter IV








Chapter V

Om Kham Brahma-Brahmana














Suryagni Prarthana-Brahmana

Chapter VI

Prana Samvada-Brahmana





Santi Mantra




Worshipful H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj could see through the publication of his translation and commentary on the eight Upanishads,–Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna,, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya,–during his physical presence in this world. But as an ardent and devout follower of ancient tradition, he was also aware and was particular that the major Upanishads, which form the philosophical foundation of spiritual culture, ten in number, should all be presented and brought out for the benefit of seekers of Truth. For various reasons, it did not become possible to bring out the remaining two Upanishads, viz., the Brihadaranyaka and the Chhandogya, the largest ones among the whole group; and Sri Gurudev did, once or twice, hint at the Management of the Divine Life Society about the necessity to bring out the Commentaries on the remaining two Upanishads also. The circumstances at that time were somehow such that this publication did not see the light of day during his lifetime. But his disciples and devotees were acutely conscious of the wish of the great Master, which they were eager to fulfil at the earliest available opportunity.

Thus, we release this pleasant and stimulating surprise to the public, this large edition of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, may we call it a magnum opus–with the original Sanskrit text and an English translation of the same, together with an elaborate expository commentary. The first edition of this book was published in the year 1985. As there is consistent demand from the reading public, we are bringing out this edition.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is the most detailed and magnificent revelation of the ancient philosopher-seers, which, in its six chapters packed with thought and revelation, provides to the students a practically exhaustive and concentrated teaching on every aspect of life, making it an indispensable guidebook to the student of literature as well as the philosopher, the religious devotee, and the mystical and spiritual seeker engaged in meditation for divine realisation.


The holy corpus of the Veda, which is the repository of eternal knowledge and wisdom, is divided into four Books, known as Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. In each of the four Vedas a distinction, has been made according to content and form: (1) Samhita; (2) Brahmana; (3) Aranyaka; (4) Upanishad.

The Samhita is a collection of hymns or prayers, to God in various Manifestations, containing also formulae necessary in the sacrificial use of these hymns, known as Mantras. On a practical basis, the Samhita is to be considered as the chief Veda, and it is the Samhita that people have in their minds mostly when they refer to the Vedas, the study of the Vedas, the greatness of the Vedas, or holding the Vedas as the foundation of India’s spiritual and religious outlook of life. The Mantras are addressed to divinities, Devas, as the infinite forms of the Supreme Being, these forms of divinities being regarded as the gradational accessible approaches to the Creator by the corresponding levels of evolution and comprehension of the worshipper, the devotee, or the seeker.

The word ‘Samhita’ means a collection of the Mantras belonging to a particular section of the Veda, which are either in metrical verses (Rik) or sentences in prose (Yajus) or chants (Sama). The Rigveda Samhita consists of 10580 Mantras or metrical verses; the Samaveda Samhita contains 1549 verses (with certain repetitions the number is 1810) many of which are culled from the Rigveda Samhita. The Sama hymns are modulated in numerous ways for the purpose of singing during either prayer or sacrifice. The Yajurveda Samhita consists of two recensions known as the Krishna (black) and the Shukla (white), and consists of prose sentences and long verses. The Atharvaveda Samhita, while it is included among the four sections of the Veda, is generally not studied as a prayer book and is used only during certain specific forms of sacrifice and also for incantations of different kinds to receive benefits to the reciter, both material and spiritual.

The Brahmanas teach the practical use of the verses and the chants presented in the Samhitas. However, the Brahmanas, though they are supposed to be only sacrificial injunctions for purpose of ritualistic utilisation of the Mantras of the Samhita, go beyond this restricted definition and contain much more material, such as Vidhi (a directive precept), Arthavada (laudatory or eulogising explanation), and Upanishad, (the philosophical or mystical import of the chant or the performance).

The Aranyakas are esoteric considerations of the practical ritual, which is otherwise the main subject of the Brahmana. The opening passage of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, in which the horse-sacrifice is treated as a symbol, would serve as an example of how a ritualistic symbol and material is used as a cosmological concept for purpose of religious contemplation and philosophic meditation. The Panchagni-Vidya of the Chhandogya Upanishad may also be cited as an illustration of a cosmological or astronomical and physical event being taken as a spiritualised symbol for mystical contemplation.

The Upanishads, except the Isavasya, which occurs in the Samhita portion of the Yajurveda, occur as the concluding mystical import and philosophical suggestiveness of some Brahmana or the other. The philosophical sections of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas are usually detached for the purpose of study, and go by the name of Upanishads, brought together from the different Vedas to form a single whole, though it appears that originally each school of the Veda had its own specialised ritual textbook with an exegesis or practical manual. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad belongs to the Shukla-Yajurveda group and is the most elaborate of them all, touching on almost every issue relevant to human life, and rising to such heights of philosophic genius as may rightly be considered as the greatest achievement of the human mind in history.

There is also a tradition that the Brahmacharin, or the celibate student (which is the first part of the dedication of human life) occupies himself with a study of the Samhita; the Grihastha, or the householder (which is the second part of the dedication of life) is expected to diligently perform the rituals detailed in the Brahmanas in relation to their corresponding Mantras from the Samhitas. The Vanaprastha, or the recluse, the hermit (the third part of the dedication of life) rises above prayer as a chant and performance as a ritual, and busies himself with pure inward contemplation of the more philosophical and abstract realities hidden behind the outward concepts of divinity and the external performances of ritual. The Sannyasin, or the spiritually illumined renunciate (the fourth and concluding part of the dedicated life) occupies himself with direct meditations as prescribed in the Upanishads, whose outlook of life transcends all-empirical forms, outward relations, nay, space and time itself.
































ॐ । पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते ।

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

ॐ शांतिः  शांतिः  शांतिः


OM. That (Absolute) is infinite, this (universe) is infinite. (This) infinite emanates from the infinite, (the Absolute). Taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), the infinite (Absolute) alone remains. Om Peace! Peace! Peace!

This is the santi mantra, peace-chant, for not only this Upanishad, but also for other Upanishsads belonging to the same Branch of the veda as the Brihadaranyaka viz., sukla yajurveda. It is a custom which is followed even today, to recite the particular santi mantra at the beginning and end of the svadhyaya of any Upanishad or any portion of the veda. This peace-chant is generally in the form of a prayer to the Supreme about whom the Upanishad instructs, to ward off all obstacles in the path of grasping the import of the teachings. The present mantra is a unique one, as it has, within the short span of a single and simple verse, condensed the whole content of the Upanishadic philosophy. The supreme Absolute is infinite, says this verse. It is beyond the reach of the frail individual intellect of man. It also says that this universe that we see has come out of the Supreme and it is also infinite in its real nature. Thus, the cause and effect are infinite. But there cannot be two infinities. Therefore, the verse says that taking the infinitude of the infinite, i.e., by removing the apparent otherness of the universe through reasoning by the purified intellect, the otherness which is caused by nescience, what remains is the infinite Absolute alone. In other words, this universe is phenomenal. It has pragmatic reality which is transcended by the Absolute Reality which is the real nature of the world and one's own Self. This knowledge is the Saving Knowledge which frees one from the entanglements and sufferings of this world. By chanting this verse one's mind becomes attuned to the Absolute which is non-different from oneself. For further explanation of this verse, the reader is referred to mantra V-i-1. The word 'Peace' which is the shortened form of 'may peace be unto us' is repeated thrice. The first utterance of the word frees us from all pains caused by oneself, the second utterance frees us from all miseries caused by the external world, and the third from all calamities brought about by the divine forces of nature.









OM. Salutations and prostrations to the Supreme who resides in the hearts of all beings, sentient and insentient, who controls the whole universe, who manifests Himself as the universe and yet remains transcending everything, the particular and the universal.

The discriminating mind will find that this phenomenal world is controlled by two broad principles. One is the mystical principle beyond the grasp of the senses and the intellect, and therefore, considered sacred and secret. It is the mysterious divine law. And the other is its counterpart which is the external principle, graspable by the mind and intellect and fit to be communicated to the vast majority of the general public. The former is suitable only to the select few whose minds are of introverted nature. The latter regulates human conduct in all walks of life, in all secular activities including the religious. This external principle is based on the divine one which, though remains invisible and impersonal, can explain rationally all our actions in this world. The latter is unchanging, being eternal, unlike the former which is changing according to place, time and circumstance. As long as we are caught up in the current of the ever-changing world and continue to move with it, we will not be able to know the nature of the divine principle. When once we are able to stand apart as a witness of the world-process, we can know what this great mysterious principle is, and how it is at the back of everything that happens in the external world and the internal mind. How can we come out of the current of this universe and stand apart? This can be done by understanding the real nature of this world which reflects the divine principle in every condition, stage and circumstance of life. So, it becomes possible to know the divine through the world, even as the original can be known through its reflection. The conditioned phenomena can be transcended and the unconditioned Noumenon can be reached through meditation and enquiry. This is the theme of the whole Upanishad.

ॐ । उषा वा अश्वस्य मेध्यस्य शिरः । सूर्यश्चक्षुः, वातः प्राणः, व्यात्तमग्निर्वैश्वानरः संवत्सर आत्माश्वस्य मेध्यस्य । द्यौ पृष्ठम्, अन्तरिक्षमुदरम्, पृथिवी पाजस्यम्, दिशः पार्श्वे, अवान्तरदिशः पर्शवः, ऋतवोऽङ्गानि, मासाश्चार्धमासाश्च पर्वाणि, अहोरात्राणि प्रतिष्ठाः, नक्षत्राण्यस्थीनि, नभो मांसानि । ऊवध्यं सिकता; सिन्धवो गुदा, यकृच्च क्लोमानश्च पर्वताः, औषधयश्च वनस्पतयश्च लोमानि, उद्यन् पूर्वार्धः निम्लोचञ्जघनार्थ, यद्विजृम्भते तद्विद्योतते, यद्विधूनुते तत्स्तनयति, यन्मेहति तद्वर्षति वागेवास्य वाक् ॥१ ॥

1. OM. The dawn verily is the head of the sacrificial horse. The sun is the eye, the air is the breath or vital force, the fire vaisvanara is the open mouth, and the year is the body of the sacrificial horse. The heaven is the back, the sky is the belly, the earth is the hoof, the directions are the sides, the intermediate quarters are the ribs, the seasons are the limbs, the months and fortnights are the joints, the days and nights are the feet, the stars are the bones and the clouds are the flesh (of the sacrificial horse). The sands are the half-digested food, the rivers are the blood-vessels, the mountains are the liver and spleen, the herbs and trees are the hairs, the ascending sun is the forepart, the descending sun is the hind part, the lightning is yawning, thunder is the shaking of the body, raining is making water, and sound is its neighing.

The first section of the first chapter of the Upanishad deals with the meditation on the great asvamedha yaga, the horse-sacrifice. Though this sacrifice is a ritual as other sacrifices are, here it is given for the purpose of meditation.

One who meditates on the horse-sacrifice in his mind gets the same benefit as the one who actually performs the ritualistic sacrifice. The meditation is based on similarities between the symbol on which one meditates, which is here the sacrificial horse, and the object of meditation which is the virat purusha in the form of this universe. Through this meditation, the horse is deified into the virat-purusha. Time, worlds, directions, gods, etc. which are parts of the universe are superimposed on the various parts or limbs of the horse. The mantra enumerates twenty-five limbs of the sacrificial horse, which are to be meditated upon as identical with twenty-five corresponding limbs or parts of the universe, and not vice versa.

The head of the sacrificial horse is to be meditated as the dawn, the period of about forty-five minutes just preceding the sun rise. The similarity between the head of the horse and the dawn, is the importance which both have in their respective fields. The head is the most important part of the horse, and so is the dawn the most prominent part of the day, the brahma-muhurta. Similarly, the eye of the sacrificial horse is to be meditated as the sun, because of two reasons. One is that the sun is the presiding deity of the eye. The second reason is their similarity in that the sun rises just after the dawn and the eye comes just after the head. The vital force of the horse corresponds to the atmospheric air, because the breath of the horse, which functions due to the vital force, is of the nature of air. Based on this similarity, the vital force in the horse is to be identified, through meditation, with air. The mouth of the horse is to be meditated as the vaisvanara-agni, because the latter is the presiding deity of the former. The body of the sacrificial horse is the year. The word 'Atman' in this context occurring in the mantra means the body. The year consisting of twelve months, three hundred and sixty five days and their further subdivisions such as hours, minutes and seconds, may be considered as the body of which these divisions of time are limbs. This is the similarity for meditation. The back portion of the horse is to be identified with the heaven, through meditation, as both are high. The belly of the horse is the sky, both being hollow. Its hoof is the earth, as both are hard. The two sides of the horse are to be contemplated as the four quarters, north, east, south and west, as the former are in contact with the latter. Its ribs are the intermediate quarters, the north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west. The similarity here may be that both are placed in between-the intermediate quarters in between the main quarters and the ribs in between the two sides of the body. The limbs are similar to the seasons, as both are divisions of time, as the body has already been identified with the year. Therefore, the former should be meditated upon as identical with the latter. The joints of the horse are the months and fortnights, their similarity being the connecting link, the former connecting the parts of the body and the latter connecting those of time. The feet of the horse are to be meditated upon as the days and nights. The similarity that helps meditation here is that even as the horse stands on its feet, the presiding deity of time stands on days and nights. The bones are the stars, because both are white in colour. The flesh of the horse is to be identified with the clouds. The likeness here is that even as blood drops from the flesh, water drops from the clouds. The half-digested food is the sand, as both have unconnected and loose parts. The blood vessels of the sacrificial horse are to be identified with the rivers, on the resemblance that there is flow of liquids in both, blood in the former and water in the latter. Its liver and spleen (the muscles below the heart) are hard and elevated like the mountains and hence the former are to be identified with the latter through contemplation. The hairs on the body of the sacrificial horse are to be meditated as the herbs and trees, the small and large in the former corresponding to the small and large in the latter. The forepart of the horse which has an upward ascent, is to be identified with the rising sun which also ascends up till noon.

The hind part of the horse is to be meditated as the setting sun, the resemblance being that both come anterior to their respective posterior parts, viz., the forepart and the rising sun. The yawning is lightning, because the former splits the mouth and the latter splits the clouds. Its shaking the body has resemblance to thundering, because both produce sound. Therefore, the former is to be identified through contemplation with the latter. Its making water is to be meditated upon as raining, based on the similarity that both cause moistening. Lastly, the neighing of the sacrificial horse is to be contemplated as identical with sound. Here no fancying is called for because neighing produces sound.

The whole universe is an organic whole, the parts of which are vitally connected with one another. There is really no difference between one person and another person, one object and another object, because all are made up of the same five elements, - the earth, water, fire, air and ether. Man erroneously thinks that space or ether separates one object from another. But really it does not. On the other hand, it is the connecting link among the objects, being one of the gross elements containing all the five subtle elements, the same elements which go to constitute the bodies and objects. Thus, one must know that there is no physical separation. Then what is the cause of separation which every one feels in this world? The cause is psychological, created by imagination. It is this wrong imagination by the mind that causes the feeling of separation among persons, animals, plants and other objects, which feeling of segregation and individuality causes all sorrow and misery. Therefore, one who hankers after Liberation, which is destruction of sorrow once for all, has to give up the erroneous imagination of separateness and resort to right thinking and realise the one homogeneous, organic nature of this universe. The meditations which are known by the names of vidyas or upasanas in the Upanishads, aim at this great Goal of human life. In this meditation on the horse-sacrifice, the sacrificial horse, the most important item of the sacrifice, is to be meditated as the whole universe which forms the body, as it were, of the virat-purusha, also called prajapati and hiranyagarbha in this context, who is the presiding deity of the horse-sacrifice.

The second mantra completes this imagery.

अहर्वा अश्वं पुरस्तान्महिमान्वजायत, तस्य पूर्वे समुद्रे योनिः रात्रिरेनं पश्चान्महिमान्वजायत, तस्यापरे समुद्रे योनि एतौ वा अश्वं महिमानावभितः संबभूवतुः । हयो भूत्वा देवानवहत् वाजी गन्धर्वान्, अर्वासुरान्, अश्वो मनुष्यान्; समुद्र एवास्य बन्धुः समुद्रो योनिः ॥ २ ॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य प्रथमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

2. The mahima (a golden vessel which is used to hold the libations at the horse-sacrifice) in front of (the sacrificial) horse, is the day. The source of it is in the eastern sea. The mahima (a silver vessel which is also used to hold the libations) behind it (the horse), is the night. Its source is in the western sea. Verily, these two glories appeared on either side of the horse (as the two sacrificial vessels). He, after having become a haya carried the gods, as a vaji carried the celestial minstrels, as an arva carried the demons, as a horse carried the men. The sea is its companion indeed, the sea is its source.

In this mantra the term mahima is used for the two vessels made of gold and silver, which are most essential for the asvamedha sacrifice, to hold the libations. These two vessels, one made of gold and the other of silver, are always placed on either side of the horse, when the sacrifice is performed. These vessels symbolise the day and the night, respectively, which follow in our world, one after the other. The golden vessel stands for the day, because both are bright in nature. The silver vessel stands for the night, most probably to symbolise the starry nights. Or, it may be because ra is common in rajata (silver) and ratri (night), or perhaps due to the reason that both silver and night are inferior to gold and the day respectively. However, it is clear that the two vessels are symbolic of the bright day and the starry night.

It is our everyday experience, that the day dawns from the eastern sea where the sun rises, and the night falls when the sun sets in the western sea. So, it is said that the source of the first mahima is in the eastern sea, and that of the second mahima is in the western sea.

The above-mentioned glories (mahima) appear in the front and at the back of the horse. The day appears in the front (of the horse), its head representing the dawn of the day, and the upper half, the ascending sun. The night falls at the back of the horse, because the lower half of it is the region of the setting sun.

haya, vaji, arva and asva mentioned in this mantra are different types of horses, and are distinguished on account of their different characteristics.

The sea is its companion and its source. The sea here may represent the Universal Self, to whom the horse is tied. bandhu is here used to indicate bandhana, that to which the horse is tied, or the stable where the horse is tied. bandhu generally means companion. The supreme Self is also the abode of the horse, to which it owes its birth, i.e., the world has come out of the supreme Self. It is said to be the yoni, the source. The world subsists in It as the manifestation of prakriti.

"The horse has its abode in the water" - says the Taittiriya Samhita, which should never be taken in its literal sense, that the horses are born of the sea, though the sea is the well-known place of their origin. The name saindhava applied to horses is so derived. As in the previous mantra the sacrificial horse has been graphically symbolised as the world, or creation in a wider sense, in order to facilitate meditation on the asvamedha sacrifice, and to divert the external actions of man to the inner life of meditation. It will be more appropriate to understand the deep import of the above passage, by interpreting it as "the world has its abode in water". Water conveys the idea of subtle elements. Water stands for all the elements, because it is really a combination of water, fire and earth, according to the tripartite creation of the gross elements (vide Chh. Up. VI-iii-3). Water is all-pervading.


In this first section, the world is compared to a sacrificial horse, and an exhaustive description of the world is presented in comparison with the different limbs of the horse. This section aims at explaining the famous and elaborate 'horse-sacrifice', with a view to giving it an esoteric and philosophic meaning. It is a fact within the range of everybody's knowledge, that the aim of the Upanishadic philosophy is to lift the individual's mind from the lower regions of samsara to the higher planes of sublime ideals. In olden days, the asvamedha was a very well-known and popular sacrifice. The sacrificer aimed at achieving victory over the kingdoms of the earth. This was the case with all those that were desirous of earthly happiness. But, people who were endowed with higher thought and experience sought to spiritualise that sacrifice, by making it a mode of conquering the lower mind, a way of inner meditation, for gaining suzerainty over one's own self. While the followers of the karma kanda stick on to the external aspect and meaning of the sacrifice, the wise seer of the Upanishad penetrates deep into its inner spiritual significance. And, thus comes to him the vision of the cosmic Spirit which the sacrificial horse symbolises.

Thus Ends the First Section Entitled Asvamedha-Brahmana in the First Chapter















नैवेह किंचनाग्र आसीत्, मृत्युनैवेदमावृतमासीत्-अशनायया, अशनाया हि मृत्युः तन्मनोऽकुरुत, आत्मन्वी स्यामिति । सोऽर्चन्नचरत् तस्यार्चत आपोऽजायन्त; अर्चते वै मे कमभूदिति, तदेवार्कस्यार्कत्वम्; कं ह वा अस्मै भवति य एवमेतदर्कस्यार्कत्वं वेद ॥१

1. Before creation nothing was in existence. This (world) was enveloped by death (in the form) of hunger (voracity), for hunger is death. He thought: May I have mind; then He created the mind. He, worshipping Himself, moved about. During His worship, water was produced. (Then He) thus (thought): Water was produced while I was worshipping. Therefore, this is the fire so called (because, it has the nature of brightness and pleasure). One who thus knows the (origin, etc. of) fire, for him, verily, happiness comes.

In the previous brahmana or Section, the sacrificial horse has been identified with the world and world-order, and its resting place has been declared to be the supreme Self.

This brahmana opens with the unmanifested condition of this universe before the creation of the mind and the rest. Everything was devoid of name and form. The creation was in its dormant state. The five great principles were in their unmanifested state. There was neither cause nor effect, preceding the manifestation of the universe.

This mantra may give rise to many objections that are raised by the Nihilistic school of philosophy. Was it altogether void? For, the sruti says that there was nothing before creation, which indicates the absence of both cause and effect. But, when cause and effect are totally absent, the conception of non-existence cannot arise in the mind. The absence of a pot presupposes, according to the nihilists, the non-existence of that pot. If this view is to be taken as correct, if the non-existence of the effect is to mean total non-existence, then there would arise the great danger of disharmony in the sruti texts themselves. "This was verily before, the Self alone and nothing else" (Ait. Up. I-1); "Before it was the Atman alone" (Bri. Up. I.iv.1), and other similar passages in the sruti declare that though there was neither day nor night, neither being nor non-being before the emergence of the universe, yet, however, the supreme Being was existing. It is the primary Being, for no other whatsoever preceded It. If we agree with the view that nothing was existing before the creation came into manifestation, as some of the schools of philosophy hold, then there would occur an inconsistency in the subject matter of the present topic which is immediately followed by, 'this was enveloped by death in the form of voracity'

It is not correct to say that existence presupposed a universal void or total absence of the primary cause, for we have never seen a pot coming into existence without a cause, viz., clay. No effect is produced when there is no cause. Whether or not the cause is perceptible, we can infer a cause from the effect, as we infer the clay, the cause, from the effect, the pot. It is immaterial whether the cause is perceptible or not. What is significant is the production of the effect. From this, we rightly infer that before creation the universe also must have existed in its existent cause, as pot in its cause which is existent.

The sruti says that the world was covered by death, which means that death was in existence prior to creation. Then, of course, the objection is answered by the same sruti. Now we understand the passage in this way: This creation was, before it could be distinguished by name or shape, i.e., before its manifestation, enveloped by the all-enveloping death; nothing existed whatsoever, If this passage is read and explained from the mythological point of view, death here symbolises the state of adi-pralaya, the first state of cosmic deluge. Before life manifested in creation, there was total negation of it, which is characterised by the state of death. Death is the opposite of life. Death is also known by the name of hunger. Hunger is an epithet of death. Hunger is the desire to eat. It is the tendency to the death of that which is eaten. We know by our experience that hunger, in course of time, is followed by death, for on account of hunger one eats the other. If one does not eat the other, one has to die out of hunger. Therefore, hunger refers to death. Just as when we say 'there was no pot', we refer to the absence of the pot, similarly, death refers to the absence of life, the first characteristic of creation.

But death, which corresponds to the absence of life in its manifested aspect, is not capable of thinking, unless there exists some other cause, which has properties of thinking and willing. Then death must presuppose its cause in the form of iccha-sakti, i.e., the desire aspect of the creative activity. It is this iccha-sakti that impels death to think: 'Let me have a mind'.

To put the matter concisely, prior to creation, everything that was was unmanifested. The life-vibrations were in latent form. Though the supreme Principle was there, It was in an unmanifested form. Just as earth is seen in the form of a lump of clay, and clay, as a matter of fact, manifests itself in the form of a jar, similarly, the supreme Principle manifested Itself, by virtue of Its iccha-sakti (will-power) in the form of creation. Death, in this passage, refers to the unmanifested aspect of the life-principle, which, in that condition, was temporarily devoid of iccha-sakti, the power to will.

He thought: 'Let me have a mind', and then He created the mind. Mind here corresponds to the iccha-sakti, which is a characteristic of the life-principle. This is a metaphorical illustration of the process of the projection of life. After life was projected through the venues of death, it (life) animated itself throughout. As a consequence of this animation caused by the life-principle, death disappeared, just as darkness disappears with the appearance of light, or the lump of clay disappears when the form of a pot animates the whole being of the clay. This animation of the life-principle is figuratively pointed out by the statement: 'He created the mind'.

Then what happened? Life appeared, became manifest in the form of 'willing'. This view is supported more or less by all the srutis, on similar lines.

Then it is said that He went on worshipping. Here the act worship symbolises the animation of kriya-sakti, creative power. The life principle is always understood to denote activity too, inasmuch as it is the sole cause of 'willing'. 'Worship' can denote the setting of kriya-sakti in motion, dynamism or activity. From such activity, a twofold result follows: First, there is an awareness of the activity of the mind which is described as fire. Secondly, there is a consciousness of the feeling of happiness arising from such activation of the mind which is described as water. Since both owe their birth to one source, they are commonly named arka. arc means worship. kam means happiness. The combination of these two words results in the noun arka. Worship represents fire, and its outcome, happiness, represents water, these being the third and the fourth principles in the order of creation.

While the process of creation was going on, as stated above, water was produced as an effect of worship, the animation of kriya-sakti. No sooner did He see the water, the life-principle, than was He immensely delighted, for creation had taken place. He meditated on the origin of this water-whence did it come, and how? He discovered that while worshipping or setting His kriya-sakti, the power of dynamism in motion, water, the life-principle, had sprung up. He discovered or became aware of His kriya-sakti, which was animating all, throughout, as the sole-force. It gave Him delight, as it were. Thus arka is an epithet of fire derived from the performance of worship, leading to happiness (arcate kam arkam). As already stated, fire is the third principle, and water the fourth. akasa and vayu precede them in the act of creation.

The brahmana concludes its first mantra with a phala-sruti: One who thus knows the origin, etc., of the fire element as kriya-sakti in the order of creation, for him happiness (kam) comes. The meaning is that happiness is related to the life-principle in man.

The next mantra deals with the creation of the grossest and last of the principles - earth.

आपो वा अर्क; तद्यदपां शर आसीत्तत्समहन्यत । सा पृथिव्यभवत्; तस्यामश्राम्यत्; तस्य श्रान्तस्य तप्तस्य तेजो रसो निरवर्तताग्निः ॥२ ॥

2. Water, indeed, is arka (brightness). That which was froth in the water solidified. That (mass of solidified substance) became the earth. Because of it (He) became tired. (Then) the lustre and essence of the tired and distressed (prajapati) turned into fire.

Before we proceed to describe the emergence of the earth, we shall summarise the meaning of this mantra as stated in the Taittiriya Upanishad (II-i): "From the Self, verily, space arose, from space air, from air fire, from fire water, from water the earth, from the earth herbs, from herbs food, from food semen, from semen the person."

Water is fire, because it has emerged from fire. Water is the substratum for fire, for, indeed, nothing whatsoever would exist if the life-principle had not come into manifestation. In the order of creation, too, water principle follows soon after the emergence of fire. Water is the main principle on which life subsists in this creation. From water earth was formed, i.e., out of water sprang forth the embryonic state of the universe.

The mantra states that that which was froth in the water solidified. It means that the earth sprang up. This solidification was as a result of the internal and external heat which must have been enveloping the whole atmosphere in the pre-embryonic state of the earth. It will be said later on in this Upanishad: 'In the beginning this world was just water', etc. While discussing the cosmology in the Chhandogya Upanishad, Sanatkumara, by the way, tells Sage Narada: 'It is just water that is solidified, that is this earth, that is the atmosphere, that is the sky.... all these are just water solidified' (VII-x-1). Reference to this cosmological conception is found in the Aitareya Upanishad too: 'Right from the waters He drew forth and shaped a person' (I-3).

That solid substance which was formed in water is earth. the fifth and the last principle, in the order of manifestation. In its embryonic state, it must have been as big as an egg. Egg in Sanskrit language is called anda. Most probably the epithet brahmanda for the universe, is derived from this embryonic state of the universe, when the earth was as big as an egg.

After having created the earth, which was so tedious a process, He, prajapati, became tired. It is perhaps for this reason that there is no sixth principle. From the general knowledge of physics and through observation also, we know fully well that the whole universe is animated by one common principle. Through endless ages, this common principle has remained the same throughout, without any modification in its essential nature. The statement 'He became tired' opens before us a new venue for thought and research, which stands before us and confronts us with the question, "Why He became tired and how did it prevent the further emergence of a sixth principle?". The projection of the earth was no small task for prajapati, and therefore, naturally He became tired, as everyone becomes tired after -work.

Tired and distressed as He was, His essence or lustre emerged from His body and the principle of fire was born. This fire is the first-born viraj who is identified with the sum-total of all the bodies. He possessed a body and organs, for smriti says: "He is the first embodied being". Agni in this mantra stands for viraj. sara means a mass of solid substance, the cream of slightly curdled milk. This is to illustrate that the mind assumed denser and denser form and thus all material objects of the earth were created. He became tired, because He had worked much. He became distressed because He had become separated from the supreme Self, His Abode, the stable of the sacrificial horse (vide mantra I-i-2).

brahma, the Creator began to move about manifesting as the vital energy in his creation. This vital energy is spoken of as agni. Lustre came out' means that brahma functioned as prana in all beings.

The next mantra deals with the further division of life. prajapati, as fire, divided itself in threefold ways, as the sun, air and fire. Death, which was one when creation emerged, became multiplied, vitalising all through the sun, pervading all space through air, and sustaining all life in the beings through prana.

स त्रेधात्मानं व्यकुरुत, आदित्यं तृतीयम्, वायुं तृतीयम्; स एष प्राणस्त्रेधा विहितः । तस्य प्राची दिक् शिरः असौ चासौ चेम। अथास्य प्रतीची दिक् पुच्छम्, असौ चासौ च सक्थ्यौ, दक्षिणा चोदीची च पार्श्वे, द्यौः पृष्ठम्, अन्तरिक्षमुदरम्; इयमुरः, स एषोऽप्सु प्रतिष्ठितः; यत्र क्व चैति तदेव प्रतितिष्ठत्येवं विद्वान् ॥ ३ ॥

3. He (Death) divided himself threefold, making the sun the third in respect of fire and air, and the air third with respect to fire and sun. This prana also divided itself threefold. Eastern direction is his head. Yonder one and yonder one (north-east and south-east) are his two arms. (Likewise) the western direction is his tail (hind part). Yonder one and yonder one (north-west and south-west) are the thighs. Southern and northern (directions) are sides (flanks), the sky is (his) back, the atmosphere is his belly. This (earth) is (his) chest. He (Death) is resting (standing firmly) on the waters. Wherever the knower (of this fact) goes, there (he) has a resting place (he gets a resting place).

Death became divided threefold. Those divisions were the sun (vital energy), fire (life) and air (space). It may be said here that the whole of creation, during that period had become animated with these three gross factors. Naturally, the prana also became threefold, for prana is the pervading essence in the entire creation. Whenever any factor of creation is dealt with, prana is naturally included in it. When Death was divided into three, i.e., sun, fire and air, prana also followed the same process of division. It became (1) Life in the Sun, which vitalises all things, (2) Life in the Fire, which sustains the main life principle, throughout the creation, and (3) Life in the Air (space and light).

What is that Death like? The mantra replies through a metaphor. Eastern direction is its head. North-east and south-east are its arms. Western direction is its tail or hind part. Tail means the horse-tail, horse standing as a symbol of creation as envisaged in the first Section. North-west and south-west directions are its thighs. The southern and the northern directions are its two sides, right and left. The heaven is its back like the back of a horse, projecting upwards. The atmosphere or the intermediate space is the belly of this Death. The space is used to denote the belly, for the simple reason that the endless worlds are contained only within space, even as all food that is eaten is contained within the belly. This earth which is our planet, is its chest or breast. It is resting on the waters. Quite true, for all life depends on water. sruti also says: "evam ime lokah apsu-antah-thus do these worlds are in the water." The cosmic waters are supposed to be supporting the universe from endless ages. Wherever a knower of this fact goes, there he has a resting place. In other words, one who knows that the whole of the universe is but the cosmic body of the Atman, he is revered everywhere. Wherever he goes he gets a place for resting. This is to glorify the knowledge of the emanation of the universe from the Atman in its threefold aspect of adhyatma, adhibhuta and adhidaiva.

सोऽकामयत, द्वितीयो म आत्मा जायेतेति; स मनसा वाचं मिथुनं समभवदशनाया मृत्यु; तद्यद्रेत आसीत्स संवत्सरोऽभवत् । न ह पुरा ततः

संवत्सर आस; तमेतावन्तं कालमबिभः । यावान्संवत्सरः; तमेतावतः कालस्य परस्तादसृजत । तं जातमभिव्याददात् स भाणकरोत् सैव वागभवत् ॥४ ॥

4. He, (the voracity, Death) desired: 'Let me have a second body'. (Having thus desired) He became (brought about) the union of speech with the mind. The seed that was there, (it) became samvatsara (year). Prior to him (there had been) no year. (He, the Death) reared him (samvatsara) for as long as a year. After this period (he) created him. (When he was born) He (Death) opened (his) mouth (to devour him). He (babe) made a sound (uttered) bhan. That (sound) indeed, became speech.

After having manifested himself as the first organism, in the cosmic egg, he, the Death, thought of or desired for a second body (self). His first body was viraj, containing within himself the whole organism of mundane creation. The second self which he desired for, came to his mind as vak, speech. vak is the power or medium of expression. It is quite natural that what one thinks one expresses. This correlation of 'thinking' and 'expressing' is established in this mantra.

Speech is thought expressed. No form of knowledge can find expression without the medium of speech. Speech reproduces the thought in the form of sound-vibrations. How could one express himself, if there were no speech! It evidently goes to establish the fact that soon after creating the viraj, the cosmic organism, Death thought by virtue of his mind, to create 'speech' by which he (the viraj) would be enabled to express or know his existence. It will be said later on that knowledge has for its support speech (II-iv-11). What we speak is the grossest reproduction of knowledge. When knowledge springs up in the mind, certain subtle vibrations form a group. These subtle vibrations in a group express the subject of knowledge. And, when this expression takes place through the medium of sound, we call it speech. So speech presupposes a thought, a knowledge, for what is not knowledge can never find its expression in any form, whatsoever. "Verily if there were no speech, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither pleasant nor unpleasant would be known. Speech, indeed, makes all this known." (Chh. Up. VII-ii-1). Speech, thus, is the first conception of knowledge, and the first expression of thought. Before speech, thoughts must have been infinite in nature. It was only speech which gave them a definite shape, the form of knowledge.

Thus, he (the Death) brought about the union of speech with the mind. He created speech which reproduced his mind in the form of knowledge. What is that knowledge? It is the three vedas, the source of all secular knowledge, the first expression of hiranyagarbha, the first sound in creation, the first kind of knowledge.

The cosmic mind, after having caused union with speech, after having reflected upon the vedas (knowledge), conceived division in eternity. Before this, there was no division of time. This division so happened, because he reflected upon the past through his mind and effected its (mind's) union with speech. The reflection on past gave birth to the conception of the time factor, just as the reflection on ether gives the conception of space. Time factor naturally involves in it three divisions, - past, present and future.

The seed of creation was there in that embryo, the viraj. It had not manifested as yet. It was in a latent state, awaiting the completion of duration, when the egg would get broken and the first embodied soul would spring up. He was waiting so long as a period which was equivalent to our one year. It is this intermediate duration of time which is well known as a year among us.

Now, it was time for the viraj to come out of the egg. Creation took place and viraj was born, who was the first in the embodied mundane creation.

The babe is born. This new-born babe is universe in miniature. It sprang out of Death. For, every kind of life presupposes Death as its cause. Death causes life to manifest. The whole of creation owes its origin to Death.

Death now wanted to swallow the new born babe - says the Upanishad. But then, the question arises, why did It want to eat its own offspring? The reply is just simple, of course, philosophical. Life is born for Death. No sooner does one come into manifestation, he faces death which always stands before him. Life which has followed death is nothing in the vast span of eternity. Behold the life in the universe, from the view-point of the seer of this Upanishad. Is it not in the ever-devouring and voracious jaws of Death? The endless universes which are born of time and limited by space and causation, are fleeing every second towards Death. There is nothing whatsoever in this universe which does not meet with death, for the universe is ever subjected to Time (kaala) which never survives the next second, but passes away instantaneously. Time is the ruling factor of all beings. The universe is divided into infinitesimal fractions of time. The so-called span of universe-life is nothing before Infinity, as it also is bound to be devoured by Death. The wise seer of this Upanishad has foreseen the ultimate end of life, and describing it graphically, he says that the new-born babe faced Death who was intent on devouring it as soon as it was born. Continuing the graphic description, the Upanishad says that the babe cried in terror as everyone of us would do when death approaches. This also suggests that the worlds were born with a terrorised complex, with an innate and natural fear for death. It is not a poetic fancy, but a glaring truth, for everyone is afraid of death.

Terribly frightened by the presence of Death whom he had never seen before, but whose fear was in him due to the fact of primal ignorance, the babe, it is said, produced the sound bhan. It was the first manifestation of speech as sound. It is called vak, for vak is that which is spoken. 'Whatever sound is there, it is just speech' (I-v-3).

स ऐक्षत, यदि वा इममभिमंस्ये, कनीयोऽन्नं करिष्य इति; स तया वाचा तेनात्मनेदं सर्वमसृजत यदिदं किंच-ऋचों यजूंषि सामानि छन्दांसि यज्ञान्

प्रजाः पशून् । स यद्यदेवासृजत तत्तदत्तुमधियत; सर्वं वा अत्तीति तददितेरदितित्वम्; सर्वस्यैतस्यात्ता भवति, सर्वमस्यान्नं भवति, य एवमेतददितेरदितित्वं वेद ॥५ ॥

5. He thought thus: 'Verily, if I kill him (the new-born babe), I shall make little food. Thus (on this reflection) he (Death) by that speech and by that mind created all this, whatever there is (existing) here: the rigveda, the yajurveda, the samaveda, the metres, sacrifices, men and animals. Whatever he (thus) created, all that he resolved to eat. (Because Death) verily, eats all, therefore aditi is so called. He who thus knows how aditi came to have this name (he who knows him in his nature as aditi), he becomes the eater of all this, everything becomes his food.

We have seen how He manifested himself as time and space. In this mantra, the creation of the gross universe is described.

After having resolved to kill the little babe, He, the Death, thought that it would be unwise to kill him now for He would be making very little food. Creation had just sprung up. There were neither animals nor men, nothing whatsoever, except life, which had just manifested in the form of viraj. That too, Death wanted to devour. But it would be too little for him, for how can the all-devastating Death be satisfied with a meagre quantity of food! Moreover, viraj represents food and the producer of food. If the producer of food itself is eaten up, then there will be no more production of food to eat. So, Death abstained or desisted himself from killing the first-born. And at the same time, with the help of speech and mind and through their union, created all that exists here.

With the united operation of speech (knowledge) and mind (will-power), i.e., jnana and iccha combined, He manifested himself as the three vedas-rigveda, yajurveda, samaveda; the seven metres-gayatri, ushnik, anushtubh, brhati, pankti, trshtubh and jagati - in which the stotras, sastras and other scriptures are composed and sung; the sacrifices, men and animals.

In the foregoing mantra, it has been already said that Death projected viraj through the union of speech with the mind. That union of the mind with speech was then in an unmanifested state, while here the reference is to the manifestation of the already existing vedas. In the beginning the knowledge too was not in a manifested form. It was remaining unexpressed for want of a medium. It was only an idea in the mind. The mind was able to conceive knowledge, though it could not give expression to it in any form. When the knowledge (jnana-sakti) came to be expressed through the medium or channel of speech in the gross universe, life found ample scope for spontaneous evolution and expression.

Now, the knowledge expressed itself in the form of vedas, metres and sacrifices. And these, in the scheme of creation, were further expressed, in course of time, in a still grosser form, by men who possessed the knowledge so expressed and utilised it.

This development in the said universal scheme must have taken a pretty long period. And perhaps, it was much later, when man sang the vedas in different metres and started sacrificing animals for his own sake. So, it should not be argued that He created vedas, etc., to be sung, sacrifices to be performed, animals to be sacrificed and men to sacrifice those animals. We shall be losing sight of what this mantra wants to present to us, if we unjustly infer that everything was created only for the sake of man. What exactly the Upanishad aims to teach us is that everything, whether animate or inanimate, sentient or insentient, movable or immovable, big or small, was created by Him alone. Creation should not be ascribed to any other being. It is He the Creator in whom all this exists and gets dissolved at the end. The fact of creation is a sort of His self-expression, which finds an interesting explanation and description in the mystic-minded sages, This process of His self-expression is like a long chain, which, though it contains in it diverse pieces or links, is one in essence.

The mantra states that whatever He projected, He was intent on eating. It may be explained in this way: Every object which is manifested and has name and form, is bound to be victimised by Death. It is sure to perish, for it is limited by time, space and causation. It might survive the blows of time for a good number of years, but in the end it has to die, for nothing that is born can be eternal. Creation as a whole is short-lived, and everything in it is pre-resolved to be eaten away by Death. Therefore, it is but natural that Death must have intended to subject viraj to His inevitable law.

Who is this Death? Once again the sruti follows the same course of describing Death, and identifies Him with aditi whom the rigveda declares to be everything in this universe: "aditi is heaven, aditi is the sky, aditi is the mother and He is the father..... etc."

How did Death come to have this name aditi? It is because Death is all-consuming, all-enveloping and animating the whole being of creation. As stated in the just preceding paragraph, aditi is heaven, sky, mother, father, etc. He is immanent in the whole being of creation. Because of this common function of animation and immanence, the Death is identified with the aditi of the rigveda. Death possesses this characteristic and therefore he came to have this name aditi which the text refers to.

One who knows that Death is aditi, because It consumes all, becomes the eater of all. He becomes identified with everything. One who knows that there is one all-pervading factor in the entire cosmos, becomes freed from the clutches of birth and death. The text metaphorically puts this fact by saying that He becomes the eater of all this, all names and forms.

To such a man who feels himself identified with everything, everything becomes his food. He develops that cosmic vision, by which his Self becomes immanent in every speck of this vast creation. Then, all that others enjoy becomes his enjoyment, all that others eat becomes his food. So the mantra says: everything becomes His food.

सोऽकामयत, भूयसा यज्ञेन भूयो यजेयेति । सोऽश्राम्यत्, स तपोऽतप्यत; तस्य श्रान्तस्य तप्तस्य यशो वीर्यमुदक्रामत् । प्राणा वै यशो वीर्यम्; तत्प्राणेषूत्क्रान्तेषु शरीरं श्वयितुमधियत; तस्य शरीर एव मन आसीत् ॥६ ॥

6. He thus desired: 'Let me again perform sacrifice with the great sacrifice'. He became tired. He was afflicted by distress. (Then) the glory and vigour of the tired and distressed (Death) departed. The vital breaths are verily glory and vigour (of the body). (So) after the departure of the pranas (out of the body), the body began to swell. (But) his mind, indeed, was (set) on the body.

The previous mantra has explained the projection of this universe starting from vedas and ending with animals, i.e., from knowledge to ignorance. This and the succeeding mantras go to interpret the sacrificial horse and the asvamedha sacrifice concealed in etymological camouflage.

The scheme of creation has thus been perfectly set in motion. Death, who has been attempting hard to put everything in order, has become immanent in the entire creation. The term 'death' remains merely as an epithet for Him, for He is much more than Death. He is life expressed. He is now the creator, prajapati concealed, as it were, in the womb known as hiranyagarbha. He has become the cause of all subsequent creation. The process of creation is in a far advanced state. Knowledge has become manifest and has given a definite shape to the course of action. In this scheme of creation, man is born with the special privilege of thinking and contemplating on higher matters which are far beyond the reach of other beings. In him springs up the desire to know the Reality behind the gross universe and an aspiration to soar high in the sublimities of philosophical knowledge. Of course, knowledge is inherent in him, as it has followed him throughout, right from the dawn of creation. This mantra and the next present this quest of man in terms of sacrificial horse and horse-sacrifice respectively.

Sacrificial horse, as a rule, is sanctified and assigned to the gods, the divinities. The performer of this sacrifice purifies the horse by means of specific rituals and then lets it free for a year. In the same way, the individual soul has to resolve to make a greater sacrifice. He has to purify his entire being-senses, mind and his gross nature. Purification of one's own nature constitutes the first item in this sacrifice. For, without having it purified, it is unfit to be dedicated for higher purposes. Undoubtedly, the task is not a small one, because it entails great effort and continuous struggle. The individual is liable to become tired and distressed in this process. His organs may not be strong enough to co-operate with him in this great attempt. But in course of time, the entire bundle of impurities, which has shaped his nature, may depart. It is only after this sanctification that he will become fit for higher meditation which this mantra refers to in sacrificial terms.

Sacrificial horse denotes the individual soul who has to cast away the impurities of his being and get himself prepared for the highest sacrifice. He has to reject names and forms and realise his identity with the Supreme Being who transcends all, who is the prompter of Death, whom the Death does not know, whose body is Death, who rules Death from within- the Atman-Brahman.

Going deep into the mantra we find that it deals with the following points: (1) He desired to perform a greater sacrifice; (2) He performed the sacrifice and became tired; (3) His reputation and strength departed on account of the hard sacrifice that he performed; (4) after the departure of organs, his body swelled; and (5) His mind did not leave the body. The individual soul attempts at sacrificing his entire animal nature, and plunges into the task of purifying himself and becomes tired. To shed off the animal nature is not an easy affair and one has to lose one's individuality and secular relations. The individual Jiva finds, as it is natural, that his entire being is undergoing an overhauling process, and this is the intermediate state in the individual's progress to the Supreme. However, he is very careful, for he has been intently watching the overhauling that is taking place in his being.

Next follows the projection of purity and success in attempting at the horse-sacrifice.

सोऽकामयत, मेध्यं म इदं स्यात्, आत्मन्व्यनेन स्यामिति । ततोऽश्वः समभवत्, यदश्वत्; तन्मेध्यमभूदिति, तदेवाश्वमेधस्याश्वमेधत्वम् । एष ह वा अश्वमेधं वेद य एनमेवं वेद । तमनवरुध्यैवामन्यत । तं संवत्सरस्य परस्तादात्मान आलभत । पशून्देवताभ्यः प्रत्यौहत् । तस्मात्सर्वदेवत्यं प्रोक्षितं प्राजापत्यमालभन्ते । एष ह वा अश्वमेधो य एष तपति, तस्य संवत्सर आत्मा; अयमग्निरर्क, तस्येमे लोका आत्मान, तावेतावर्काश्वमेधौ । सो पुनरेकैव देवता भवति मृत्युरेव; अप पुनर्मृत्युं जयति, नैनं मृत्युराप्नोति, मृत्युरस्यात्मा भवति, एतासां देवतानामेको भवति ॥७ ॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य द्वितीयं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

7. He desired thus: May this (the swollen body) of mine become fit for sacrifice. May I become embodied through it. Because (it) swelled, therefore it became (known as) a horse; that became fit for sacrifice. Thus, that indeed, is the origin of asvamedha sacrifice. He (who) knows him thus, verily, knows the asvamedha. Letting it (the horse) remain free, he reflected upon it. After a year, he sacrificed it (the horse) for himself and (also) assigned the other animals to the gods. Therefore, they (all those who perform sacrifices) sacrifice to prajapati the sanctified (horse) which is dedicated to all the gods. That which gives forth heat (sun), that, indeed, is asvamedha. The year is his (sun's) body. This earthly fire is arka (the universal fire). These worlds are his self (body). These two (fire and the sun) are arka and asvamedha. Again, both of them are indeed, the same god, Death. (He who knows this) conquers further death. Death obtains him not. Death becomes his self (body). He becomes one (becomes identified) with these gods.

He, the hiranyagarbha desired to purify his being, as to make it fit for the great sacrifice which has been explained in the commentary of the preceding mantra. He thought of embodying through his purified being.

Because the body had undergone swelling, so it is known as asva which means 'a horse'. In spiritual terminology, it must refer to the nature of the individual, which is the vehicle of individual activity. And because it became fit for a sacrifice, therefore the horse-sacrifice came to be known as asvamedha. asvamedha sacrifice is a process of purifying one's self from the instinctive animal nature and making it fit to be consecrated to gods, i.e., fit for higher attainments, and thereby asserting an unquestioned and undisputed triumph over one's own lower self.

The text says: "He who knows it thus, indeed knows the horse-sacrifice." It further says: "Let one imagine himself as the horse and remain free for a year and then sacrifice it to himself and despatch the other animals to gods." In short, the mantra expresses through these lines, that one should perform the horse-sacrifice to himself, rather than for others whom he wants to conquer.

Horse-sacrifice is the sun that shines and gives light to all. The year is his body, that is to say, his body corresponds to the time factor. What is that for which it is called arka and used by the sacrificer? This fire is all-pervading arka, because its limbs are these three worlds. So fire and sun are arka and asvamedha. Again these two are identical with Death. Fire denotes the sacrifice and sun stands for the result of sacrifice. These two are the same god, Death. This Death is the same deity, of whom there is reference in the very beginning of this section, who was enveloping everything that existed and who subsequently became fire, etc., and divided himself in three ways.

One who knows through meditation, what has been said just now about Death, wards off death and thereby rebirth also. He is not born again, and therefore, death has no chance to operate over him. He himself becomes identical with Death, hiranyagarbha, and thereby, becomes one with these deities for whom the sacrifices are performed. He becomes the Self of all.


This section mainly deals with the topic of creation and presents a systematic scheme of world-evolution. Starting right from the unmanifested state of creation referred to by the term Death, the section, step by step, proceeds with the emergence of five great principles in the system of creation, the formation of an embryo in the water, the formation of earth, and the birth of the first-born viraj. The interesting conception of the birth of time factor and the production of sound, leads to form a definite idea about the genius of the seers of the Upanishad who so thought of it long, long ago, and whose primal knowledge all of us inherit today. Death has been philosophically brought about throughout the section and it is a true presentation of it.

The last two mantras are very deep in their import and mystic in expression. They give a beautiful representation of the famous horse-sacrifice, which is the main topic of the first section. The horse-sacrifice can be viewed from a different perspective which will be very interesting to those who wish to understand the rituals of the sacrifice in the spiritual and philosophic perspective. The importance of cosmic identification is stressed in almost every mantra at the end.

The Seer of the Upanishad seems to have tried his utmost to express a big volume of philosophical truth in an aphoristic style. Therefore, it needs a speculative and penetrating understanding to grasp the real import.


Thus Ends the Second Section Entitled

Agni-Brahmana in the First Chapter
















द्वया ह प्राजापत्याः, देवश्चासुराश्च । ततः कानीयसा एव देवाः ज्यायसा असुरा त एषु लोकेष्वस्पर्धन्त; ते ह देवा ऊचुः हन्तासुरान्यज्ञ उद्गीथेनात्ययामेति ॥१ ॥

1. The offsprings of prajapati were indeed twofold, the gods and the demons. Therefore (naturally), the gods (were) fewer in number, (and) the demons (were) numerous. They (gods and demons) rivalled with each other. (Therefore) indeed, they, the gods said: let us now surpass (these) demons in the sacrifice through udgitha.

In this mantra the philosophy of good and evil is explained allegorically. The descendants of prajapati were of two classes, gods and demons. Gods were virtuous and the demons were directed merely by secular goals. Naturally, gods were few in number and demons were numerous. Both of them rivalled with each other for the ownership of these worlds. This sort of rivalry continued for a long time, till at last gods decided amongst themselves to defeat the demons through the aid of udgitha,1 in the sacrifice.

Since the beginning of creation, there have been the good and the virtuous, as well as the bad and the vicious. Gods represent the virtuous in whom the quality of sattva is predominant and who have purified thoughts and refined actions, actions that are recommended by the laws of conduct. Demons represent that particular class or nature of people, which is influenced and goaded by the twin forces of rajas and tamas and which delights and takes pleasure in purely selfish affairs. This class or nature is very much opposed to the other one.

The gods and the demons are not different from man.

1 The udgitha is a song which occurs in the second chapter of the samaveda. The hymn begins with the mystic syllable Om. The chanter-priest is called udgata.

These twin forces exist within him and come to express themselves through the medium of speech and other organs of action and knowledge. When they are immaculate under the influence of pure thoughts and right actions, they become gods, the shining ones. When they are impelled by vicious thoughts, directed merely for one's own petty ends and sense indulgence and opposed to the gods, they are called demons. Gods perform only those actions that are enjoined in the scriptures and which do not oppose the general conduct. The demons base their actions on perception and inference and are goaded by something or other which is not of permanent moral value. In this mantra, the terms 'god' and 'demon' stand for the sum-total of sense-organs, which by virtue of good actions is named 'god', and by the force of vicious actions is known as 'demon'.

The gods were outnumbered by the demons who were numerous. It is because the senses are strongly inclined to enjoying the gross objects and give very little attention to those deeds that are recommended by the scriptures.

Goodness is very difficult and rare to achieve, whereas vice and irreligiousness are always rampant. It is because the senses have a tendency to go out into the gross, visible world of objects, and not to see what is internal and spiritual. This is the reason why the demons who represent the ordinary class and nature of creation, surpass the gods in number.

sattva is a spiritual and divine quality. When it preponderates, righteousness and virtue prevail in creation, and truth, purity, non-violence and other divine qualities are practised by people. There is then absence of wrath, anger, lust, jealousy and other demoniac qualities. People become good and sweet-natured, tranquil and simple. They do not act merely to achieve secular ends and for their own individual profit. Vulgarity and sensuality become extinct. Preponderance of sattva equally affects plants and animals too. When sattva prevails upon man, it is expressed through the medium of his senses and mind. One who is sattvic believes in things spiritual and not in enjoyments that are visible and sense-engendered. He knows that the things based on sense-perception and inference are not lasting and that they delude the senses, while matters spiritual have a permanent value. sattva expresses itself through good thoughts, good speech, good hearing, good seeing, good smelling, good touching and good deeds, while rajas and tamas have their field of operation in the gross and sensuous activities, viz., lust and the like. rajasic and tamasic people are attached to things mundane. They indulge in sensuality, vulgarity, wrath, passion and evil thoughts. While sattvic people (devas) have bright, white complexion, rajasic and tamasic people (demons) have dark red and dark black complexion, respectively. sattva stands for purity, rajas for hectic activity and tamas for total ignorance. Naturally, gods are fewer when compared to the demons who are numerous. Demons have a good following, because the majority of people are impelled by the force of ignorance, to perform vicious actions for self-indulgence. The rise of rajas and tamas (demons) is solely due to the mentality of man, which has grown grosser and grosser, in the midst of the external objects of sense-enjoyment. Gods have limited followers, because they condemn sense-enjoyment which is very pleasing to all, and practise only those thoughts and actions that are right and just.

A regular warfare is going on in the world between these two forces, gods and demons, good and evil. Whenever an individual is inclined to cultivate good thoughts and good actions according to the rules of righteousness enjoined in the scriptural texts, there emerges the god in him, and manifests himself through his entire organs. Similarly, when an individual is led by sense-perception and sense-enjoyment and is inclined to indulge in vices that are bitterly opposed to the rules of righteousness, there manifests the demon in him. When the former is prevailing over the individual, the latter is subjugated. Similarly, when the latter gets the upper hand, the former lies dormant. Since the dawn of creation, these two forces of nature have been vying with each other. Sometimes sattva prevails and people become pure and pious. At other times, rajas and tamas prevail, and there is preponderance of demerit resulting in degradation. Gods have been, for long ages, standing in combat with the demons. In Indian mythology, it has been named as deva-asura-sangrama, battle between gods and demons. Sometimes the gods were defeated and they hid themselves in jungles and caves, till some higher force like vishnu came to restore to them the kingdom of heaven. This warfare is continuing even to this day. Sometimes, divinity reigns supreme in the individual and the society, and at other times demoniacal nature catches hold of the heaven of gods and rules, till it is ousted by the higher divinity.

In the course of this rivalry, as the text puts it, once the gods thought and decided that they would perform a sacrifice and sing udgitha and thereby defeat the demons. They thought of meditating and repeating holy mantras through the vital force. Sacrifice and udgitha chanting here stand for holy actions through the senses. By the performance of righteous acts, one can ward off evil influence. Sacrifice really means, as has been already said in the previous section, the destruction of lower nature. Sacrifice denotes a process of sanctification of one's own nature. udgitha here means meditation. The impure and vicious force (demons) can be defeated only by means of sacrifice and meditation and chanting of udgitha. Therefore, the gods thought to purify themselves in entirety and become holy, so that the evil forces would become extinct. They took up the organ of speech for this purpose.

ते ह वाचमूचुः त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति, तेभ्यो वागुदगायत् । यो वाचि भोगस्तं देवेभ्य आगायत्, यत्कल्याणं वदति तदात्मने । ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन्; स यः स पाप्मा, यदेवेदमप्रतिरूपं वदति स एव स पाप्मा ॥२ ॥

2. They (gods) said to the (organ of) speech: 'sing udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (said) speech (and) sang udgitha for them. Whatever pleasure (is) in speech, (it) secured for the gods by singing, (and) whatever good speech is there, that for itself. They (demons) knew (that the gods) would surpass them through their singing of udgitha. (Thinking thus they) rushed at it (the speech), pierced (it) with sin. This indeed is that sin which speaks (what is) wrong. This indeed is that sin.

The gods asked the organ of speech, to sing udgitha. They asked speech to become the agent of warding off the evil by becoming holy: Speech obeyed their instructions. It made itself pleasant to the gods and spoke what was good. Therefore it became 'good speech'. Evil and dark forces in an individual do not allow the sattva to express and predominate. Here also they counteracted the efforts of speech and charged the speech very badly till it uttered evil words. This evil is that what we find today, when one speaks what should not be spoken and what is forbidden to be spoken. Through the promptings of this devilish force, one speaks unpleasant words, utters dreadful expressions, makes false and vulgar statements, because one's speech has been contaminated by the vicious and undivine traits of the individual.

Here, the organs of the body are identified with the gods when they manifest the divine nature in them, and with the demons when they express the undivine traits.

अथ ह प्राणमूचुः त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति, तेभ्यः प्राण उदगायत् । यः प्राणे भोगस्तं देवेभ्य आगायत्, यत्कल्याणं जिघ्रति तदात्मने। ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन् स यः स पाप्मा, यदेवेदमप्रतिरूपं जिघ्रति स एव स पाप्मा ॥३ ॥

3. Then (the gods) said to the nose: 'sing the udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (said) the nose (and) sang the udgitha for them. Whatever pleasure (is) in the nose, (it) secured for the gods by singing (and) whatever good smell is there, that for itself. They (the demons) knew (that the gods) would surpass them through that singer of udgitha. (Thinking thus they) rushed at it (the nose), pierced (it) with sin. This indeed is that sin which smells (what is) wrong. This indeed is that sin.

When the speech was struck down with evil, then the nose was asked to appear and sing hymns to purify itself. The nose also caught the infection of evil and began to smell bad odour. It is for this reason that even today the nose smells bad things.

अथ ह चक्षुरूचु; त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति, तेभ्यश्चक्षुरुदगायत् । यश्चक्षुषि भोगस्तं देवेभ्य आगायत्, यत्कल्याणं पश्यति तदात्मने । ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन् स यः स पाप्मा, यदेवेदमप्रतिरूपं पश्यति स एव स पाप्मा ॥४ ॥

4. Then (the gods) said to the eye: 'sing the udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (said) the eye (and) sang the udgitha for them. Whatever pleasure (is) in the eye, (it) secured for the gods by singing (and) whatever good sight is there, that for itself. They (the demons) knew (that the gods) would defeat them through that singer of udgitha. (Thinking thus they) rushed at it (the eye), pierced it with sin. This indeed is that sin, which sees (what is) wrong. This indeed is that sin.

Now the eye was brought forward to do the task of sacrifice and chanting. It secured the common good for the gods and retained fine seeing for itself. It, too, was struck down by vicious infection and it began looking at unholy scenes, evil objects and dirty matter. It is this evil which is persisting in the eye even today, when one sees something which is unholy or obscene.

अथ ह श्रोत्रमूचुः त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति, तेभ्यः श्रोत्रमुदगायत् । यः श्रोत्रे भोगस्तं देवेभ्य आगायत्, यत्कल्याणं शृणोति तदात्मने। ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन् स यः स पाप्मा, यदेवेदमप्रतिरूपं शृणोति स एव स पाप्मा ॥५ ॥

5. Then (the gods) said to the ear: 'sing the udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (said) the ear (and) sang the udgitha for them. Whatever pleasure (is) in the ear, (it) secured for the gods by singing (and) whatever good hearing is there, that for itself.

They (the demons) knew (that the gods) would surpass them through that singer of udgitha. Thinking thus they rushed at it (the ear), pierced (it) with sin. This indeed is that sin, which hears (what is) wrong. This indeed is that sin.

Then the gods asked the ear to come forward and do the needful to surpass the evil. But it was also pierced with the evil of hearing what should not be heard and what was improper. Therefore, even to this day, ear hears all unholy sounds.

अथ ह मन ऊचुः, त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति, तेभ्यो मन उदगायत्; यो मनसि भोगस्तं देवेभ्य आगायत्, यत्कल्याणं संकल्पयति तदात्मने । ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन्; स यः स पाप्मा यदेवेदमप्रतिरूपं संकल्पयति स एव स पाप्मा; एवमु खल्वेता देवताः पाप्मभिरुपासृजन, एवमेनाः पाप्मनाविध्यन् ॥६ ॥

6. Then (the gods) said to the mind: 'sing the udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (said) the mind (and) sang the udgitha for them. Whatever pleasure (is) there in the mind (it) secured for the gods by singing (and) whatever good thinking is there, that for itself. They (the demons) knew (that the gods) would surpass them through that singer of udgitha. (Thinking thus, they) rushed at it (the mind), pierced (it) with sin. This indeed is that sin, which thinks (what is) wrong. This indeed is that sin. Thus, (the demons) also tainted the other deities (of skin,  ́etc.) with sin, and thus pierced them with sin.

After the ear was also infected by the rajasic and tamasic tendencies, mind was asked to perform the sacrifice and sing the hymns of udgitha. That too underwent the same fate. It was contaminated by evil and it imbibed evil thinking. It is this evil that has caused the mind to think improper, unholy and wrong thoughts.

Likewise, the deities of the remaining sense-organs and the motor-organs were tried one by one. But they, too, got evil. None of them could do the task of sanctification well and transcend evil.

अथ हेममासन्यं प्राणमूचुः त्वं न उद्गायेति; तथेति तेभ्य एष प्राण उदगायत्; ते विदुरनेन वै न उद्गात्रात्येष्यन्तीति, तमभिद्रुत्य पाप्मनाविध्यन् स यथाश्मानमृत्वा लोष्टो विध्वंसेत, एवं हैव विध्वंसमाना विष्वञ्चो विनेशु, ततो देवा अभवन्, पराऽसुराः भवत्यात्मना, परास्य द्विषन्भ्रातृव्यो भवति य एवं वेद ॥७ ॥

7. Then (the gods) said to this vital force dwelling in the mouth: 'you sing udgitha for us'. 'So be it' (having said thus) the vital force sang the udgitha for them. They (demons) knew (that the gods) would surpass them through this singer of udgitha. (Having thought thus the demons) rushed at him (the vital force) (and) desired to pierce him with sin. Just as a clod of earth striking against a rock is destroyed, so destroyed and blown in all directions they (the demons) perished. Then the gods became (their own selves), the demons were defeated. He who knows thus, becomes his true Self and his envious kinsman is defeated.

Then they said to the prana, the vital force which resides in the cavity of the mouth, to sing the udgitha. The prana chanted the udgitha. When the demons (evil tendencies) tried to contaminate it with their taint, they could not, because prana is taintless. Speech, mind and the other organs have got their twofold functions, such as good speech and bad speech, good thought and bad thought, etc., but the vital force is unattached and unconcerned with sense-experiences. Though this vital force is immanent in the entire make-up of all senses, yet it remains unaffected from their evil and good tendencies. So, the evil gets perished when it tries to pierce the prana.

How the destruction of evil and sin took place is explained through an impressive simile. As a clod of earth striking against a rock gets itself shattered to small pieces, similarly, the demons were blown out in all directions and destroyed.

Soon after this destruction of demons took place, the gods were restored to their natural state, as will be said later on. After the evil force was counteracted and destroyed by the all-powerful prana, good tendency once again prevailed and the different organs started functioning properly and rightly.

Thus, the gods were restored to their proper places and the demons defeated. One who knows this, gives up the false identification with the senses and sense-perceptions and casts off seeing evil, hearing evil, speaking evil, etc. and transcends all evil. One's envious relatives, in the form of attachment to sense-objects who stand in one's way of identification with the cosmic, taintless vital force, are defeated, because they cannot any more infect evil upon one who does not identify oneself with the sense-organs and their actions, but identifies oneself with the cosmic prana, hiranyagarbha, the life of all the organs in all the bodies.

स होचुः क्व नु सोऽभूद्यो न इत्थमसक्तेति; अयमास्येऽन्तरिति सोऽयास्य आङ्गीरसः, अङ्गानां हि रसः ॥८ ॥

8. They (the gods) said: 'Where was he who has thus joined us?' (It was found later) 'he is within the mouth'. He (the vital force) is called ayasya angirasa, for, he is the essence of the limbs (of the body).

When divinity was restored to sense-organs, and illusion destroyed, they pondered and wondered over what had taken place. They investigated about the vital force and discovered that he was present within the cavity of their mouth, without assuming any particular form. Therefore, he came to be known as ayasya, his seat being within the mouth and angirasa, he being the essence of the body and its organs. angirasa is so called, because prana is verily the all-penetrating life in all the limbs. He is the common self of all the limbs. He is ever untainted by evil and he alone could restore divinity to other organs, by successfully chanting the udgitha. It will be said later on that after the departure of prana out of the body and limbs, they become dead, and that they function only as long as prana is supplying life to them.

सा वा एषा देवता दूर्नाम, दूरं ह्यस्या मृत्युः; दूरं ह वा अस्मान्मृत्युर्भवति य एवं वेद ॥९ ॥

9. That very god is (known) by the name dur, because death remains at a distance from him. He who knows thus, death certainly remains away from him.

That very god, who restored the different functions of the organs, from the grip of sins and evils, and who is immediately residing within the cavity of the mouth, is celebrated as dur, which means 'away', in the sense that he is away from death in the form of attachment to sense-objects which belong to the demons. prana is life, and therefore, death is (naturally) far away from him. It is for this reason that this vital force is celebrated as 'dur'. Thus its purity is conspicuous.

He who knows thus and meditates upon the vital force as purity, till he attains identity with it, wards off death in the form of attachment to sense-objects.

False identification with the body and senses is death, because it causes separation from the real Self. Due to this separation, one is led away into the pitfalls of evil and sin and then restoration becomes an uphill task. If one is aware of this fact and meditates upon the vital force, the common life principles pulsating in the entire body, one becomes free from the false notions of 'I' and 'mine' in relation to the body and senses, and in course of time attains identity with the cosmic vital force, the taintless and the pure prana.

सा वा एषा देवतैतासां देवतानां पाप्मानं मृत्युमपहत्य यत्रासां दिशामन्तस्तद्गमयांचकार, तदासां पाप्मनो विन्यदधात् तस्मान्न जनमियात्, नान्तमियात् नेत्पाप्मानं मृत्युमन्ववायानीति ॥१० ॥

10. That deity, indeed (who had restored divinity to them) removed the sins of these gods (mentioned above) which were death (identification due to attachment with the respective deities) and carried it there, where these quarters have an end. There (he) deposited their sins. There (one should) not go to (that) person, nor (should one) go to (those) ends (of quarters), lest sin (which is) death (he) should imbibe.

'That deity' refers to the vital force, who had joined the different organs of speech, nose and the rest, to their presiding deities, after shedding off their false identification with their respective objects.

Removed the sins' means made them free of the evil of attachment and identification with sense-objects, for through that identification, they became subjected to evil influence. What is this evil influence? It is one's innate desire to enjoy sense-pleasures, through the medium of speech, nose and other organs, in the form of good speech, good smell, and the like. Unless there is liking for the objects, attachment will not emerge. When one identifies oneself with the functions of the different senses, one becomes subjected to the demoniacal influence of lust, anger, greed and the rest, for senses are endowed with the innate quality of being attracted by things mundane, material and external. They always perceive the material side of the objects and ignore the spiritual side which is everlasting and real. So, when the senses are emptied of their respective sins, the individual soul who is none other than the cosmic hiranyagarbha, becomes free, and the identification due to attachment with the senses, sense-objects and sense-enjoyment, is rent asunder. When one identifies oneself with the pure and taintless vital force, one becomes identified with purity and taintlessness, while identification with the senses leads to attachment which in course of time, results in pain. Here, the mantra uses the epithet 'death' for this false identification. Sense-life is real death as it causes death of spiritual life. When the senses are in contact with their respective objects of enjoyment, they perform all sorts of actions, even those forbidden by the scriptures and the general law of good conduct, under the influence of ignorance. Ignorance causes false attachment. Senses are greatly attached to their objects of enjoyment. Thus the individual is so much engrossed in sensuousness that he becomes devoid of spiritual sense of life, becomes dead to godliness. Verily, evil is death, for evil kills the Self in man.

But, when man identifies himself with the pure and untainted and formless vital force, instead of with the sense-organs, he rises above the evil of attachment and enjoyment. It is just natural that evil does not affect one who is above attachment and enjoyment and who identifies himself with purity and taintlessness. So, evil or death keeps away from such an individual. The mantra presents this fact figuratively when it says: "the deity, removed death, the evil of these gods and carried it to where these quarters end".

'Quarters' here need not literally mean the four quarters, north, east, south and west, nor does it mean a territory beyond, inhabited by people of contrary views. It is just a simple way of telling the truth that the evil of sense-attachment and self-indulgence which is the death of godliness, is kept off at a good distance, beyond the reach of the individual. It also implies that the individual does not cling to sense-life, once he is elevated to the sublimities of purity and taintlessness. It is quite true, because, after having cast away the evil and sin from the self, the individual soul soars so high in the realm of goodness and godliness, that never does he think to stoop down to the sense-level once again. Free from attachment and sense enjoyments, no more prompted by the lower impulses, the individual throws off, as it were, the sin far away, as far as the end of the quarters.

The evil cannot go anywhere. It has a place in everybody's mind. The mind which has been rendered pure, of course, is free from this evil, but not immune. Therefore, it is said that one should not go to that person in whom the evil of attachment is prominent and active, for one may again catch the evil infection from him. One should not give even the slightest chance for his senses to succumb to the evils of sense-life. This is the idea which the mantras try to allegorise.

That territory of evil lies far beyond goodness. Therefore, let none try to imbibe evil. Let none associate with a man who is infected by sin and who lives in the land of evil, lest he may also develop a liking for the objects of enjoyment and manifest evil tendencies. Evil is a contagion. Man quickly and easily succumbs to its attack. Imitating others is everybody's fancy. One does not care for either good or bad. Senses drag one to enjoy an object which another is enjoying, to perceive a beautiful thing which another is perceiving, to own a costly thing which another is possessing, and so on. Hence, one has to be very careful not to contact such people and such a society, whereby one may contract the infection of evil and kill one's own self.

This person whom the text wants to be shunned is the sum-total of all evil tendencies in man, who is also well-known as papa-purusha, the evil person. To avoid going to this sinful person, means to disassociate with one's own evil tendencies which have been subjugated with great effort. Because, if the aspirant who has become pure and taintless, associates with his old evil tendencies, he may once again manifest the devil in him, who may pierce him and strike him with all vices.

सा वा एषा देवतैतासां देवतानां पाप्मानं मृत्युमपहत्याथैना मृत्युमत्यवहत् ॥ ११ ॥

11. That very same deity (the prana) after removing death, the sin of these gods (as mentioned before), next carried them beyond death.

It is not enough if the sins are merely deposited and kept off at a good distance from the aspirant. Disassociation with the evil alone will not bestow immunity to an aspirant. Therefore, after subjugating the sense-impulse and the evil tendencies, one has to transcend them. Otherwise the evil is capable of capturing the aspirant once again and hurling him down to pain and death, as it generally happens with unwary and indiscreet aspirants.

Destruction of sin is not a state of total annihilation of the entire evil. It is only disassociation of self from the sense- organs. Even after the disassociation, one may catch the infection of evil tendencies if he has not transcended them.

How to transcend the evil once for all? It is by burning its very seed, by the practice of meditation and yoga, and not merely by subjugating the evil. In this process of transcending the evil, one has to disidentify oneself with the body and organs and attachments of all sorts, and identify oneself with the cosmic prana who is ever pure and taintless, whom the evil could not touch, and who blew off the demons on all sides rendering them powerless. Hence, this prana or vital force, after destroying the sin of these gods, as has been already said, carried them beyond death, as the mantra puts it, and made them immune to all dangers of evil consequences. The next mantra and the succeeding five mantras deal with the process of transcendence.

स वै वाचमेव प्रथमामत्यवहत्; सा यदा मृत्युमत्यमुच्यत सोऽग्निरभवत्; सोऽयमग्निः परेण मृत्युमतिक्रान्तो दीप्यते ॥१२ ॥

12. Verily, he (the prana) carried first the foremost organ of speech alone (beyond death); when that (speech) was freed from death (then) it became fire; that fire (after) transcending death shines beyond (it).

First of all, the organ of speech was brought forward. Speech is foremost among all organs, because it is the best medium of self-expression. Further, speech is a better instrument to sing the holy udgitha than the other organs.

When speech was freed from death, it became fire. Fire is the presiding deity in speech. Due to the association of speech with objects, it was contaminated and it identified with fine pronunciation. Because of this identification, it was struck with evil, and thenceforward, began to utter foul speech. And now, as it disassociated itself from this false identification, it was naturally delivered from the hamperings of death and became the principle of fire. This fire is the power of speech. After having transcended death, so called because of its fatal consequences, speech became as luminous and pure as fire and shone, as it were, from beyond where it is unaffected by false identification.

In order to effect total annihilation of evils, the aspirant has to proceed step by step. After eradicating the evil, he has to purify his sense of speech which is the instrument to express his thoughts. When speech is rendered pure and immunity attained, it is no longer prone to evil influences.

Next, the sense of nose is freed from the clutches of death and conferred immunity.

अथ प्राणमत्यवहत्; स यदा मृत्युमत्यमुच्यत स वायुरभवत्; सोऽयं वायुः परेण मृत्युमतिक्रान्तः पवते ॥१३॥

13. Then (the vital force) carried the nose (which is the sense of smell). When that (nose) was freed of death (then) it (the nose) became the air. That air transcending this death, blows beyond it.

Now is stated the purification of the sense of smell. It had identified itself with the objects of good smell, and therefore, evil caught it. Thenceforward it started smelling foul odour. Fine odour and foul odour-it identified itself to these varieties and shaped itself according to their nature. When the attack of dark forces as a whole, was met with success and the demons were destroyed in combat, by the prana who is purity and power personified, the senses were restored to their original nature and the process of refinement and divinisation took place. In this process, speech was first to undergo transcendence and the nose the second.

After gaining freedom from evil consequences of sense-perception, the nose became air, became as pure as air and attained its original state. Air is the presiding deity of nose. The nose transcended the individuality and sense- experience as good and bad, and assumed its universal nature beyond the reach of ordinary sense-reaction.

अथ चक्षुरत्यवहत्; तद्यदा मृत्युमत्यमुच्यत स आदित्योऽभवत्; सोऽसावादित्यः परेण मृत्युमतिक्रान्तस्तपति ॥१४॥

14. Then (he) carried the eye. When that (eye) was freed from death (then) it (eye) became the sun. That sun transcending death blazes beyond (it).

The sun is the presiding deity of the eye. He is the luminosity in the eye, through which the act of perception takes place. When the disassociation with evil took place, luminosity, the original state of the sense of perception, transcended all limitations and became as luminous as the sun after having cast away all the darkness of evil.

अथ श्रोत्रमत्यवहत्; तद्यदा मृत्युमत्यमुच्यत ता दिशोऽभवन्; ता इमा दिशः परेण मृत्युमतिक्रान्ताः ॥१५ ॥

15. Then (he) carried the ear. When that (ear) became free of death (it) became those quarters. Those quarters transcending death remained beyond (it).

The quarters are the presiding deity of the ear. When the ear was freed of death in the form of evil, it assumed its universal form of directions which transcend death in the form of individuality.

अथ मनोऽत्यवहत्; तद्यदा मृत्युमत्यमुच्यत स चन्द्रमा अभवत् सोऽसौ चन्द्रः परेण मृत्युमतिक्रान्तो भाति; एवं ह वा एनमेषा देवता, मृत्युमतिवहति य एवं वेद ॥१६ ॥

16. Then (he) carried the mind. When that (mind) became freed from death (then) it (mind) became the moon. That moon transcending death, shines beyond it. Thus, indeed, that deity carries him beyond death, who knows thus.

Mind became moon, transcended all sense-limitations, and attained luminosity. Thus, this vital force carries one who knows what has been already said so far, beyond sense-limitations.

अथात्मनेऽन्नाद्यमागायत्; यद्धि किंचान्नमद्यतेऽनेनैव तदद्यते इह प्रतितिष्ठति ॥ १७ ॥

17. Then (the vital force) secured eatables for itself by singing, because whatever food is eaten, is eaten by it alone (and) it rests on that (food).

After carrying the aforesaid deities of speech, and the rest beyond the grip of death and restoring their original universal nature, the vital force who is purity, power and the main support of all the limbs of the body, secured edibles for itself by chanting. How did it obtain the edibles for itself? It obtained the food through other beings. For, the text says: "whatever food is eaten by other beings, is consumed by the vital force alone." It permeates all the beings. It also rests on that food. The food'is transformed into different organs of the body and the vital force resides in the body. Therefore, it is aptly said that the prana rests on food.

prana is pure, and therefore, it does not contract any evil by performing the act of securing food. It is free from attachment and sense-experience. Even though the sense- organs may be contaminated by evil, prana does not partake of that evil. On the other hand, it counteracts and nullifies the destructive action of evil.

ते देवा अब्रुवन् एतावद्वा इदं सर्वं यदन्नम्, तदात्मन आगासी; अनु नोऽस्मिन्नन्न आभजस्वेति; ते वै माऽभिसंविशतेति; तथेति, तं समन्तं परिण्यविशन्त। तस्माद्यदनेनान्नमत्ति तेनैतास्तृप्यन्ति; एवं ह वा एनं स्वा अभिसंविशन्ति, भर्ता स्वानां श्रेष्ठः पुर एता भवत्यन्नादोऽधिपतिर्य एवं वेद; य उ हैवंविदं स्वेषु प्रति प्रतिर्बुभूषति न हैवालं भार्येभ्यो भवति; अथ य एवैतमनु भवति, यो वैतमनु भार्यान्बुभूषति, स हैवालं भार्येभ्यो भवति ॥१८॥

18. Those gods (speech, etc.) said (to the prana): Whatever food is there, is all this much only, that you have got for yourself by singing. Now make us partakers in this food'. (The prana said thus): 'You (so inclined) verily sit around me'. (Gods said): 'So be it,' (and) sat around it (the prana). So, whatever food one eats through it (the prana), by that these gods (speech etc.,) are satisfied. One who knows thus, verily (his) kinsmen, thus, sit around him; (he) becomes the support for his relatives, (the) best (among them), (their) leader, (the good) eater of food (and) chief (among them). Anyone among the kinsmen who wants to rival with such a knower, certainly becomes incapable (of supporting) his dependants. But whoever follows him or wants to support the dependants under him, he indeed becomes capable of (supporting) dependants.

How is this that whatever food is eaten is eaten by the vital force alone? How are speech and other organs maintained and get benefited, if everything is consumed only by the prana alone? To say that benefit done to the organs, speech and the rest, comes through the vital force is unintelligible. Here is the answer:

Speech and other organs of the body said to the prana: "Sir, there is only this much of food which you have obtained for yourself. What are we to do? Make us sharers in this food which you have secured for yourself". The prana readily agreed to their proposal and asked all of them to sit around himself. Speech and other organs did as instructed by the prana. They were readily satisfied by the food which was eaten by the prana. Hence, the text asserts that whatever food one eats through prana satisfies all those gods, speech and other organs.

One who knows that prana is the support of the organs, becomes the supporter of his relatives. His relatives sit around him. He becomes great among them. He also becomes their leader and chief, and a good eater. Anyone who intends to surpass him in greatness and glory, becomes incapable of supporting his dependants. One who follows him, or desires to support his dependants who are under him, is alone capable of supporting them. The idea is that the prana is the sole support and refuge for all organs. That without the presence of prana, they die away, will be said in a later text. Herein, the significance of prana as the sole support is exhorted and emphasised.

सोऽयास्य आङ्गिरसः, अङ्गानां हि रसः, प्राणो वा अङ्गानां रसः प्राणो हि वा अङ्गानां रस, तस्माद्यस्मात्कस्माच्चाङ्गात्प्राण उत्क्रामति तदेव तच्छुष्यति, एष हि वा अङ्गानां रसः ॥ १९ ॥

19. He is ayasya angirasa (by name), because he is the essence of the limbs (of the body). Verily prana is the essence of the limbs. Certainly prana is the essence of the limbs. Hence, from any limb the prana departs, that there itself dries up, for verily, it is the essence of the limbs.

It has been said that the prana is the self of the body and organs and that the organs and the rest flourish on this prana. The text here deals with more details on the topic.

The prana is ayasya angirasa (this has been said in mantra 8 of this section also), because it is the essence of all the limbs of the body. Yes, it is the essence of all limbs. The text repeats this statement twice in order to lay stress upon the fact that prana is indeed the essence of all limbs. Why? Because the limbs die, if the prana departs from them. They become useless and get dried up. It is so, because the vital force is the essence, the life principle, which nourishes and enlivens the limbs of the body. If the life breath departs from any organ, that organ starts shrinking and contracting, and finally becomes devoid of life. prana is the concentrated essence of existence. It is permeating through every particle and pore of the body.

एष उ एव बृहस्पतिः; वाग्वै बृहती, तस्या एष पति, तस्मादु बृहस्पतिः ॥२०॥

20. This (prana) itself is again brihaspati. Speech indeed is brihati. This (prana) is its lord. Therefore, (this is called) brihaspati.

Again, this prana which is the self of the body and the organs, form and action, is itself brihaspati which represents the name.

Who is this brihaspati? He is the Self of all forms of knowledge, sound, e.g., rigveda, yajurveda and samaveda. He is the Self of speech. Again, speech is brihati, because it is already included in brihati, a vedic metre. Further, brihati is extolled in the srutis and declared as the well-known vital force. The lord of brihati, the controller and the lord of life is brihaspati. Without him, nobody can utter even a single word, a single sound. Therefore, again the vital force is brihaspati, the life of all forms of knowledge and sound.

एष उ एव ब्रह्मणस्पतिः, वाग्वै ब्रह्म, तस्या एष पतिः, तस्मादु ब्रह्मणस्पतिः ॥ २१ ॥

21. This (prana) itself is again brahmanaspati. Speech indeed is brahmanah. This (prana) is its lord. Therefore this again (is called) brahmanaspati.

Further, this prana which is the self of the body, organs and rik, is again to be known as brahmanaspati, the lord and controller of yajus. brahman is yajus. yajus is a kind of speech. The lord and controller of yajus or brahman is brahmanaspati. Without him no form of speech such as yajus can proceed or come to exist. Just as without essence, limbs cannot live, in the same way, without the vital force, no form of knowledge and speech can exist. Organs of the body, rik of rigveda and brahmanas of yajurveda are different fields of manifestation and operation of the vital force.

एष उ एव सामः; वाग्वै सा, अमैषः, सा चामश्चेति तत्साम्नः सामत्वम् । यद्वेव समः प्लुषिणा, समो मशकेन, समो नागेन, सम एभिस्त्रिभिर्लोकैः, समोऽनेन सर्वेण, तस्माद्वेव साम; अश्नुते साम्नः सायुज्यं सलोकतां य एवमेतत्साम वेद ॥२२॥

22. Again, this (prana) itself (is) sama. Verily sa is speech, ama is (prana). sa and ama-this is the reason of its being called sama. Or else, (this vital force is) equal to a white ant, equal to a mosquito, equal to an elephant, equal to these three worlds, equal to all this universe; therefore indeed (this is) sama. He who thus knows this sama obtains intimate union with sama and residence in the sama world with it.

Vital force is further explained. What is it? What is its form? Has it any form at all? The vital force of whom we have talked so far and so much, is again sama. The word sama is made up of two parts, sa and ama, meaning speech and vital force, respectively. It means that vital force is the central essence of sama. Without it, no hymn of sama can be uttered. Or it is because, says the text, this vital force is equal to the size of a white ant, a mosquito, an elephant, these three worlds, this universe, and this is sama. This signifies the all-pervading nature of the vital force. It acquires the shape of the body it inherits. The vital force that throbs in an ant, is the very same vital force that sustains the life of a big elephant. Size of the body is immaterial in its case, for it has no particular size. Its nature is immanent, smallest as well as biggest, and it throbs in all, right from hiranyagarbha to the smallest creation. It has also infinite forms. The conclusion of the passage is that the vital force which resides in the cavity of the mouth, is the life of the body and organs, is the lord of all forms of knowledge, speech and sound, and is of infinite forms.

The wonderful knower of this sama, obtains intimate union with sama as vital force, and also resides there in the worlds of sama. He becomes identical with the vital force, by rising above the life of sense-experience and sense- perception. By identifying oneself with the vital force, the false attachments and lower impulses are easily and successfully eradicated and annihilated. No evil force can stand in combat with this great power. Identification with such a great power and attaining intimate union with it, ends all sufferings, all sorrows and miseries that the false attachment with the sense-objects produces.

एष उ वा उद्गीथ, प्राणो वा उत्, प्राणेन हीदं सर्वमुत्तब्धम्, वागेव गीथा, उच्च गीथा चेति स उद्गीथः ॥ २३ ॥

23. Again, this (vital force) indeed is udgitha. The vital force is indeed ut, for by the vital force this all is upheld. Speech is indeed githa (because it is) ut and githa, therefore, this (vital force) is (known as) udgitha.

In this mantra, the same vital force is ascertained to be the udgitha. The word udgitha is made up of ut and githa, meaning 'holding up' and 'speech' respectively. 'Holding up' denotes a special characteristic of the vital force and therefore ut stands for the vital force. githa is sound which depends on vital force, which means 'speech', and hence these two together are denoted by udgitha.

तद्धापि ब्रह्मदत्तश्चैकितानेयो राजानं भक्षयन्नुवाच, अयं त्यस्य राजा मूर्धानं विपातयतात्, यदितोऽयास्य आङ्गिरसोऽन्येनोदगायदिति; वाचा च ह्येव स प्राणेन चोदगायदिति ॥ २४ ॥

24. About it also (there is a story) (that) Brahmadatta who was a great-grandson of Chikitana, while drinking the soma juice (once) said: may this soma juice strike off my head if (I say that) ayasya angirasa chanted udgitha through any other means than these (prana and vak). For, he chanted the udgitha through speech and through prana alone.

How are speech and vital force correlated? Regarding this there is a story: Once upon a time, Brahmadatta who was also the great-grandson of Chikitana, while drinking the celebrated soma juice said: Let this soma strike off my head if I say that ayasya angirasa chanted the udgitha through anything other than this vital force and speech. This clearly goes to establish that udgitha was chanted through speech and vital force only and through no other organs of the body. A reference is made to these together in the previous mantra in connection with the udgitha.

तस्य हैतस्य साम्नो यः स्वं वेद भवति हास्य स्वम्; तस्य वै स्वर एव स्वम्, वै तस्मादार्त्विज्यं करिष्यन्वाचि स्वरमिच्छेत, तया वाचा स्वरसंपन्नयार्त्विज्यं कुर्यात्; तस्माद्यज्ञे स्वरवन्तं दिदृक्षन्त एव, अथो यस्य स्वं भवति; भवति हास्य स्वं य एवमेतत्साम्नः स्वं वेद ॥२५ ॥

25. He who knows the wealth of the saman, for him, indeed, there is wealth. Sweet tone is indeed his wealth. Therefore, one intending to officiate as a priest, should desire to have a sweet tone in his voice. Through that voice enriched by sweet tone, he should do his priestly duties. Therefore, in a sacrifice, (people) long for one having a sweet tone and also who has wealth. Wealth is his indeed who thus knows the wealth of this saman.

He who knows the wealth of that saman, i.e., who knows the wealth of that prana described above, becomes wealthy indeed. What is that wealth? It is sweet tone, for udgitha was jointly chanted by speech and vital force. One who is desirous of becoming a priest must cultivate a musical tone. It is only then that he could discharge or perform the duties of a priest; for, people always search for a priest who can chant the holy saman in a musical tone, even as they long for rich men. Hence, one who has the wealth of sweet tone, is indeed wealthy, and such a priest is sought for to perform all the religious rites. One should, therefore, enrich his voice with sweetness and melody, so that people eager to perform sacrifices, will look up to him. The knower of this saman and its wealth, becomes wealthy.

तस्य हैतस्य साम्नो यः सुवर्णं वेद, भवति हास्य सुवर्णम्; तस्य वै स्वर एव सुवर्णम्; भवति हास्य सुवर्णं य एवमेतत्साम्नः सुवर्णं वेद ॥ २६ ॥

26. He who knows the correct sound or articulation of this said saman comes to have gold. For him, correct tone is verily gold. He who knows thus, the correct sound of saman, obtains gold (correct articulation).

In this mantra, the emphasis is laid upon correct pronunciation. The priest may have musical tone, but his pronunciation may be defective. Therefore, this mantra puts it thus: By correct pronunciation of this said saman, one comes to have gold. The previous reference was made to sweetness of the voice, whereas here the emphasis is on the correct articulation in accordance with the rules of phonetics. suvarna stands for both, good tone as well as gold. The good tone is verily gold. Thus he who knows the correct sound of saman obtains gold.

तस्य हैतस्य साम्नो यः प्रतिष्ठां वेद प्रति ह तिष्ठति; तस्य वै वागेव प्रतिष्ठा, वाचि हि खल्वेष एतत्प्राणः प्रतिष्ठितो गीयते; अन्न इत्यु हैक आहुः ॥ २७ ॥

27. He who knows the support of that saman is supported. Speech indeed is its support; for resting on speech alone this prana sings thus. Others say, resting on food (it sings).

What is this saman? It is the same prana or the vital force. This is supported by speech, for speech alone can express it. But for speech, prana cannot sing. What is speech? It is the power of self-expression. Speech is, verily, the seat of prana, for prana expresses itself through the medium of speech in the form of knowledge. Of course, there is another view also, that pranas rest on food, the body which is a product of food. This view is also correct, for pranas do reside in the body. Because the body is there, the vital force manifests itself through it. Otherwise, it would not have been able to express, for expression requires a medium.

अथातः पवमानानामेवाभ्यारोहः स वै खलु प्रस्तोता साम प्रस्तौति, स यत्र प्रस्तुयात्तदेतानि जपेत् — असतो मा सद्गमय, तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय, मृत्योर्मामृतं गमयेति; स यदाहासतो मा सद्गमयेति, मृत्युर्वा असत्, सदमृतम्, मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय, अमृतं मा कुर्वित्येवैतदाह, तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमयेति, मृत्युर्वै तमः, ज्योतिरमृतम्, मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय, अमृतं मा कुर्वित्येवैतदाह; मृत्योर्मामृतं गमयेति नात्र तिरोहितमिवास्ति । अथ यानीतराणि स्तोत्राणि तेष्वात्मनेऽन्नाद्यमागायेत्, तस्मादु तेषु वरं वृणीत यं कामं कामयेत तम्; स एष एवंविदुद्गातात्मने वा यजमानाय वा यं कामं कामयते तमागायति, तद्धैतल्लोकजिदेव; न हैवालोक्यताया आशास्ति य एवमेतत्साम वेद ॥२८ ॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य तृतीयं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

28. Now therefore the edifying utterance of the hymns pavamana. The prastota verily chants this saman. While he begins to chant, then he may repeat these (mantras): "Take me from evil to good, take me from darkness to light, take me from death to immortality". When it (the mantra) says “take me from evil to good', the 'evil' is verily death (and) the 'good' is immortality. Take me from death to immortality, make me immortal'-that is what it says. 'Take me from darkness to light'. The 'darkness' verily is death (and) the 'light' is immortality. That is what it says. 'Take me from death to immortality, make me immortal'. 'Take me from death to immortality'—there is nothing (which is) hidden here (in the meaning). Now those other hymns (that remain to be sung), let him obtain food for himself by singing (them). Therefore, through (singing) them, whatever objects he desires, let him ask for a boon; for whatever object the chanter, who knows this, either desires for himself or for the sacrificer, secures by singing. This indeed is world-conquering. Who thus knows this sama, there is certainly no chance of his being unfit for the world.

Now that we have dealt elaborately with the process of purification and divinisation, with the place and importance of vital force in the scheme of self-evolution, let us meditate upon the elevating utterance of hymns, celebrated as pavamana2. The repetition of these mantras is known as 'abhyaroha' which means ascension to a divine state. These mantras are soul-elevating. They inspire and purify the chanter as well as the hearer, and lift them up beyond the realms of darkness, death and ignorance. Though they pray for goodness, light and immortality, they really aim at immortality alone, for the text says that 'goodness' here means immortality and 'light' also means immortality. So when one sings 'take me to goodness and light', one means only 'make me Immortal'. Immortality is goodness and light.

Evil is death, for it kills, as it were, the Self in man. Succumbed to evil tendencies and engrossed in unpardonable and prohibited actions, man is no better than dead. It has been already said that sense-identification is evil and it is death. Immortality transcends death. Therefore, immortality is to be sought for. The hymn 'lead me from evil to goodness' means make me immortal by freeing me from the clutches of evil which is death.

Likewise, darkness is also death. Darkness is the primeval ignorance of the Divine. It is born of tamas. It binds the individual soul to the ever-recurring birth and death. Darkness of nescience obstructs the vision which is in search of immortality. Even as light must be brought to dispel darkness, to destroy the ignorance, knowledge is to be sought for. When the darkness of ignorance is dispelled, the

2 In the jyotistoma sacrifice the udgatr priest sings twelve hymns, of which the result of singing the first three called pavamana goes to the sacrificer while that of singing the remaining nine, goes to the priest. pavamana hymns are purificatory formulae.

individual soul is no more subjected to the recurrence of birth and death. Hence, the hymn 'lead me from darkness to light' means 'make me immortal by dispelling the ignorance which is the cause of death in the form of this samsara."

Evil, ignorance and death mean more or less the same thing. Similarly, goodness, light and immortality stand for the state of freedom, - freedom from evil, freedom from ignorance and freedom from death.

Immortality is the acme of all spiritual endeavour. It is a state of deathlessness wherein the individual soul is at once in communion with the supreme.

'Lead me from death to immortality' is not obscure in its meaning. It prays for a total cessation of all attachment and false identification. Immortality cannot be achieved unless one is free from the lower impulses of lust and other demoniac qualities. Unless the devil is blown off and divinity is restored, until all evils are annihilated and death is transcended by establishing in purity, one cannot think of acquiring the state of immortality. The aspirant has to acquire supreme goodness, walk in the light of knowledge and become immortal.

The priest, after chanting the three pavamanas for the sacrificer, should chant the other nine hymns, and obtain food for himself. Because of his identification with the vital force, he is able to obtain all desired objects.

Therefore, while those hymns are being sung, let the sacrificer ask for a boon. Because whatever object the chanter who knows this, either desires for himself or for the sacrificer, he secures by singing these hymns and meditating on them. Through this process of meditation one conquers the world. There is certainly no chance of his becoming unfit for the world.

What is this sama, the vital force, whose knowledge is extolled to such heights? It is the same pure vital force who came to destroy the evils of attachment of the senses with their objects and made the organs of speech and the rest free from their defects. This vital force is again the restorer of divinity and partaker of food in all bodies. He is ayasya- angirasa, brihaspati, brahmanaspati, udgitha and sama, pervading them entirely. That vital force is indeed the chant of saman, its musical tone and correct articulation. It has, as its support, the throat and other parts of the body. It is present in all bodies, whether big or small, low or high, finite or infinite.


This section deals with udgitha-vidya-meditation on the udgitha as prana. Hence the section is called udgitha- brahmana. Contemplation on the cosmic prana through the individual prana results in the restraint of the senses and the mind. The section starts with an allegorical story about the two forces, the divine and the demoniacal. The offsprings of prajapati, the gods and the demons, continued to rival with each other, till the gods decided to defeat the demons through the aid of udgitha in a sacrifice. These two-gods and demon's - are the twin forces within man which stand for the sum-total of sense-organs which by virtue of good actions are named gods, and by virtue of vicious actions, demons. In Indian mythology this rivalry rivalry is termed as deva-asura-sangrama. This warfare is continuing even to this day. Sometimes divinity reigns supreme in the individual and the society, and at other times, the demoniacal nature dominates and rules till it is ousted by divinity.

Sacrifice and udgitha-chanting here stand for the holy and sattvic qualities and actions of the senses. Sacrifice here means the destruction of the lower nature and sanctification of the human personality. udgitha denotes meditation on holiness.

Gods thought of purifying themselves, so that the evil forces might become extinct. They asked the organ of speech, nose, eye, ear, mind, and the rest to sing the udgitha. All of them obeyed. The demons got frightened, for they thought that the gods would defeat them. So they pierced all the senses with evil, and the dark forces did not allow the sattva to express and predominate in the individual and the society, with the result all the organs and the mind got contaminated by vicious and undivine traits. None of them could effect proper sanctification and thus transcend evil.

In the end, prana chanted the udgitha. As a consequence of that, the demons were blown out in all directions and they perished. The envious relatives in the form of attachment to sense objects, which stood in the way of cosmic identification with the taintless vital force, got defeated.

The vital force is known as dur, because death remains far away from it. prana then took away the sins of the gods and deposited them at the ends of the quarters. Persons should not go to these quarters, i.e., they should throw away the sins and keep themselves away from the papa-purusha, and behold what is internal and spiritual, than what is external and worldly.

The evil cannot go anywhere. The mind which has been rendered pure, is free from this evil but not completely immune. Therefore, after subjugating the sense-impulses, one must transcend them. For transcending evil, one must disidentify oneself from the sense-organs and identify with the prana. All the senses were restored their original nature by the prana. When speech was freed from death, it became the fire; similarly nose became the air; the eye, the sun; the ears, the quarters; and mind, the moon. They were freed from individuality and became universal.

The prana who is again known as ayasya angirasa - essence of all limbs - secured edibles for itself by chanting and transformed them to different organs of the body. Anyone intending to defeat him in greatness and glory, becomes incapable of supporting his dependants.

Prana is brihaspati, as he is the lord of brihati (a vedic metre), the self of all forms of knowledge, i.e., speech. It is all-pervading. It acquires the shape and size of the body that it inherits. prana is equated with udgitha etymologically. The inseparable relation between speech and vital force is established by the story of Brahmadatta.

He who knows the wealth of sama, viz., having a sweet tone and correct articulation, is said to be wealthy and he is sought for by men to perform sacrificial rites. prana expresses through the medium of speech and the body. One, who succumbs to evil tendencies and is engrossed in unpardonable and prohibited actions, is said to be dead. Immortality transcends death, and so it is sought for in the mantras known as pavamana mantras.

Thus Ends the Third Section Entitled

Udgitha-Brahmana in the First Chapter










आत्मैवेदमग्र आसीत्पुरुषविधः सोऽनुवीक्ष्य नान्यदात्मनोऽपश्यत् सोऽहमस्मीत्यग्रे व्याहरत्, ततोऽहंनामाभवत् तस्मादप्येतर्ह्यामन्त्रितोऽहमय- मित्येवाग्र उक्त्वाथान्यन्नाम प्रब्रूते यदस्य भवति; स यत्पूर्वोऽस्मात्सर्व- स्मात्सर्वान्पाप्मन औषत् तस्मात्पुरुषः, औषति ह वै स तं योऽस्मात्पूर्वो बुभूषति य एवं वेद ॥१ ॥

1. In the beginning, this (all) was verily the Self, in the form of a person. Observing around, He did not behold anything, other than Himself. (Then) He at first said 'I am He'. Therefore (He came to be called) by the name 'T'. Hence, even to this day (when a person is) addressed, (he says) 'it is l'; after having said this at first, then he says the other name that he has. Because, before all this, He (was) the first who burnt all evils, therefore (He came to be known as) Purusha. He who knows thus, burns him who wishes to become first in advance of him.

In the beginning, before the creation of bodies, all this was just the Self, undifferentiated from the body of viraj. How was that Self like? He was like a human being in shape, with head, hands and other limbs of the body. He was the first to have a body. He is referred to as the first-born virat, the first embodied being. sruti says: "virat was the first person", because He had a body and was endowed with the capacity of willing, acting and knowing.

He then, naturally, felt his being existent and expressed to himself thus: 'I am'. Hence, even today, among men who are his effects, when a man is asked 'who are you?', he first says, 'I', thereby identifying himself with the cause, the first embodied soul. It is only after denoting himself with the name 'I', that he says 'I am so and so', and tells the name of his individual body.

This being is now known as Purusha. How did he come to have this epithet? He was the first among all beings, who burnt the entire lot of evils in the form of attachment to sense objects and ignorance (as has been allegorised in a previous text), and therefore, he came to bear this epithet Purusha, which etymologically means 'first burned' (purvam aushat). By identifying himself with the pure vital force, he killed the evil of attachment of the senses, by the virtue of meditation and rites or meditation alone.

One who knows thus, i.e., practises this meditation and consumes the evil and sins, becomes identified with the universal spirit, the cosmic purusha, the first-born, surpassing all who want to exceed him but whose practice and meditations are deficient.

सोऽबिभेत्, तस्मादेकाकी बिभेति; स हायमीक्षां चक्रे, यन्मदन्यन्नास्ति, कस्मान्नु बिभेमीति, तत एवास्य भयं वीयाय, कस्माद्ध्यभेष्यत् ? द्वितीयाद्वै भयं भवति ॥ २ ॥

2. He was afraid; therefore when alone, one is afraid. He thought: 'Since there is none other than myself, of whom am I afraid?' From that alone his fear departed. Of whom he was afraid? Fear certainly arises from a second (entity).

When he did not see anything whatsoever, except himself, he, the first self, in the shape of a man, became afraid. It is quite natural with everyone, for when one is alone, everyone is afraid.

The term 'fear' refers to his innate desire for the preservation of the body. virat is the sum-total of all gross bodies in the universe. Therefore, the term 'fear' must apply to the universal desire of self-preservation. On account of this likeness with virat, one is afraid when alone.

Further, he observed that there was none except his own self. Since he thought thus, he became free from fear. Fear presupposes a second entity and duality. And duality is due to one's own ignorance, for really there is no such thing as duality. It was an error on the part of the virat to have conceived of a second thing in ignorance, which caused fear in him. When he ascertained the truth by self-reflection, he realised that none but he was there. At the dawn of this knowledge, fear, which was an effect of ignorance, vanished. So the text says: 'from that alone his fear departed'.

Fear arises only on account of duality. Duality is a product of ignorance, for it is a well-established fact that there is no such thing as duality. It is only due to ignorance of the nature of Truth that one feels the existence of a second entity.

स वै नैव रेमे, तस्मादेकाकी न रमते; स द्वितीयमैच्छत् । स हैतावानास यथा स्त्रीपुमांसौ संपरिष्वक्तौ; स इममेवात्मानं द्वेधापातयत्, ततः पतिश्च पत्नी चाभवताम्; तस्मादिदमर्धवृगलमिव स्व इति ह स्माह याज्ञवल्क्यः, तस्मादयाकाशः स्त्रिया पूर्यत एव; तां समभवत्, ततो मनुष्या अजायन्त ॥३ ॥

3. Verily, he did not at all feel delighted. Therefore, none feels happy when (one is) alone. He desired for a second (person as his mate). He grew as big as a man and a woman closely embracing each other. He divided this very body into two. Therefrom, husband and wife came into being. Therefore, Yajnavalkya declared thus: 'this body of oneself is like a half-fragment of a full (two-celled) seed'. Therefore, this space (void) is filled by the wife indeed. (He) united with her. And therefrom human beings were born.

However his fear left him. But he was not happy, because loneliness became monotonous to him. In the long run, it must have made him tired. He was not delightful, because he did not acquire the objects of desire. It is within the range of everybody's knowledge, that one becomes happy when one achieves the object of one's desire, and in its absence, he experiences a type of mental distress which in other words is termed unhappiness. Delight means pleasure. Pleasure is an outcome of objective perception, association with external objects and establishment of a definite relationship with them. Hence, when one is alone one feels unhappiness. It is a very common feature in man to feel unhappy when he is deprived of objects of his desire. He is normally afraid and unhappy when he is lonely and single.

Consequently, He, the first purusha, wished for a mate to remove his unhappiness which was an effect of his long and monotonous loneliness. Then what happened? The text says: He grew as big as a man and a woman and procreated human beings therefrom.

स हेयमीक्षां चक्रे, कथं नु मात्मन एवं जनयित्वा संभवति ? हन्त तिरोऽसानीति; सा गौरभवत् ऋषभ इतर तां समेवाभवत्, ततो गावोऽजायन्त, वडवेतराभवत्, अश्ववृष इतर गर्दभीतरा, गर्दभ इतर तां समेवाभवत्, तत एकशफमजायत; अजेतराभवत्, वस्त इतर, अविरितरा, मेष इतर तां समेवाभवत्, ततोऽजावयोऽजायन्त; एकमेव यदिदं किंच मिथुनम् आ पिपीलिकाभ्यः, तत्सर्वमसृजत ॥४ ॥

4. She then thought thus: After having created me from himself alone, how then he copulates with me? Well, now let me hide myself. (Having thought thus) she became a cow, the other (became) a bull (and) he did unite with her. Therefrom kine were born. The one became a mare, (and) the other (became) a stallion (and did unite with her). Then one (became) a she-ass, the other (became) a he-ass, (and) did unite with her. From that union one-hoofed animal was born. The one became a she-goat, the other (became) a he-goat (and did unite with her). The one (became) a ewe, the other (became) a ram (and) did unite with her. From that goats and sheep were born. Thus indeed, he created all that exists here as a pair, down to the ants.

It has already been said that He divided himself into two, and from this division husband and wife came into being. From their union men were born. This division of male and female has been the central topic in more than one purana, and the famous legend of incestuous marriage of manu and satarupa forms popular cosmology therein.

After procreating the human beings, she, the other half of man, reflected upon this incestuous relationship, because marriage with one's own daughter is forbidden in the scriptures. So, she intended upon concealing herself from him by means of disguise. In this process, the text says that she became a cow first, a mare, then a female-ass, then a she-goat, then a ewe; and he, too, became a bull, a stallion, a he-ass, a he-goat and a ram, respectively. Thus, by their mutual union were born kine, one-hoofed animals, goats and sheep, all animals down to the ants.

सोऽवेत्, अहं वाव सृष्टिरस्मि, अहं हीदं सर्वमसृक्षीति; ततः सृष्टिरभवत्; सृष्ट्यां हास्यैतस्यां भवति य एवं वेद ॥५ ॥

5. He knew: 'Indeed, I am the creation, for I have created all this'. Hence he became (known as) creation. He, indeed, who knows thus, becomes a creator in this creation (of viraj).

The creator was satisfied because He knew that all creation was He himself. The reasoning faculty has come after creation. Hence, everything relating to creation - why He created?, has He created?, whether creation is sudden (yugapat) or gradual (krama)?, etc., -is inscrutable. By meditation one should feel that everything is oneself, even as the Creator did in the beginning. The process of creation is complicated. Scriptures give some sidelight. Some think it is by the mere will, the fiat of isvara. Some think it is a gradual process from cause to effect. Some others would reconcile both these views and say that creation depends on potencies of the previous cycle (kalpa).

अथेत्यभ्यमन्थत्, स मुखाच्च योनेर्हस्ताभ्यां चाग्निमसृजत; तस्मादेतदुभय- मलोमकमन्तरतः, अलोमका हि योनिरन्तरतः । तद्यदिदमाहु, अमुं यजामुं यजेति, एकैकं देवम्, एतस्यैव सा विसृष्टिः, एष उ ह्येव सर्वे देवाः । अथ यत्किंचेदमार्द्रं तद्रेतसोऽसृजत, तदु सोमः एतावद्वा इदं सर्वम्, अन्नं चैवान्नादश्च; सोम एवान्नम्, अग्निरन्नादः; सैषा ब्रह्मणोऽतिसृष्टिर्यच्छ्रेयसो देवानसृजत, अथ यन्मर्त्यः सन्नमृतानसृजत तस्मादतिसृष्टिः, अतिसृष्ट्यां हास्यैतस्यां भवति य एवं वेद ॥६ ॥

6. Then he churned (his mouth) thus. He created the fire from (its) womb-the mouth and the hands. Therefore, these two are hairless within, for the womb is hairless within. There (in the sacrifice) when it is said, 'sacrifice to this god, sacrifice to that god' to each god separately, His alone is that multiple creation, for He himself is all the gods. And then, whatever is liquid here, he created from the semen, that is soma (the moon). This all is verily this much-food and the eater of food only. The moon indeed is food, fire is the eater of food. That is the super-creation of brahma, that he created the gods, superior to him, and then created the immortals, himself being a mortal. Therefore, (it is a) super-creation. He who knows thus, becomes (a creator) in this super-creation of His.

Then, after creating men and animals, he churned, as we churn curd for taking out the butter, and produced agni, the fire principle, from the mouth and the palms, and assigned him the duty of ruling over the brahmanas. Likewise, he produced indra from his arms and made him the ruling deity of the kshatriyas. Then he produced the eight vasus, viz., apa, dhruva, soma, dhara, anila, anala, pratyusha and prabhasa, from his thighs and made them the guardian deities of the vaisyas. In the same way, he created pushan, from the feet and made him the guardian deity of the sudras and earth in common. In short, he created the different gods out of him, and assigned them proper places and duties in this creation. It has been, therefore, said in the preceding mantra that He is the creation. Creation is nothing else but his nature and power of manifestation through which he goes on creating men, animals, and other beings. Therefore, creation is not different from him.

However, priests who know only mechanical rites say, on account of ignorance of the above fact, to worship a particular god only and not another. It is not the correct view, because these deities are not independent of the Creator. He manifests through all gods, like indra, agni, vasus, etc., through all castes like brahmana, kshatriya, etc., through all actions like fighting, studying, endeavouring, etc., and through all qualities and natures like strength, intelligence, endeavour, servitude, etc. He is all-penetrating and all-pervading in this multiple creation.

After the creation of gods, he produced the liquid substance out of his semen. What is this liquid substance? It is the water here. The water is moon, because moon possesses a watery body.

All this universe is this much only, i.e., food and the eater of food. Fire has got the property of consuming everything that is here. Therefore, it is considered to be the eater. Whatever is eaten by men as well as by the animals is consumed by the gastric fire. The fire in the ocean-heart goes on consuming the water which the rivers bring to the ocean. Water causes the growth of vegetation. Every kind of food grows in water only. Water nourishes the crop. Therefore, it is said that water is food and fire its eater. Another reason for this is that fire and water are dire necessities of all creatures. Life is balanced and preserved by these two great principles. Again, moon is food, because it is the ruling principle in all the food-stuffs. It is a very well-known belief that all vegetation grows at night. The moon nourishes them. Had there been no moon, the scorching sun would not have allowed life to flourish. At the same time, if there were no sun, then also life would not have survived in this form. Fire is the harsh and hot principle, whereas the moon which presides over all waters, is nourishing and cool.

What a marvellous thing it is! The Seer of this mantra with all praise and wonder, speaks out his heart: "That is the super-creation of the Creator!" Creation in general, constitutes of men, animals, food, etc., and super-creation is a system which excels it and rules over the ordinary creation of beings. That super-creation is the emergence of gods, like fire, etc., who rule over the actions and destinies of all types of beings and maintain law and order in a perfect way. They are said to be superior to the Creator, for he created everything and they manage it well as per his will. Therefore, it is super-creation. He himself is mortal, as we have surveyed in a previous text, but he created immortals after having burnt all their sins by the Supreme knowledge.

तद्धेदं तर्ह्यव्याकृतमासीत् तन्नामरूपाभ्यामेव व्याक्रियतं, असौनामायमिदं- रूप इति; तदिदमप्येतर्हि नामरूपाभ्यामेव व्याक्रियते, असौनामायमिदंरूप इति; स एष इह प्रविष्ट आ नखाग्रेभ्यः यथा क्षुरः क्षुरधानेऽवहितः स्यात्, विश्वंभरो वा विश्वंभरकुलाये; तं न पश्यन्ति । अकृत्स्नो हि सः प्राणन्नेव प्राणो नाम भवति, वदन् वाक्, पश्यंश्चक्षुः शृण्वन् श्रोत्रम्, मन्वानो मनः, तान्यस्यैतानि कर्मनामान्येव । स योऽत एकैकमुपास्ते न स वेद, अकृत्स्नो ह्येषोऽत एकैकेन भवति; आत्मेत्येवोपासीत, अत्र ह्येते सर्व एकं भवन्ति । तदेतत्पदनीमस्य सर्वस्य यदयमात्मा, अनेन ह्येतत्सर्वं वेद । यथा ह वै पदेनानुविन्देदेवम्; कीर्तिं श्लोकं विन्दते य एवं वेद ॥७ ॥

7. Verily, then this was that Unmanifested. It differentiated itself into name and form only, as it is of such and such name, of such and such form. So, even now it is differentiated only by name and form, as it is of such and such name, such and such form. That Self entered here (into all bodies) up to the nail-ends, even as a razor into the razor-case, or fire in wood. (They) do not see It, for (if viewed partially) It is incomplete. While breathing It is prana, by name, (likewise) while speaking (It is) the speech, while seeing (It is called) the eye, while hearing (It is called) the ear, while thinking (It is called) the mind. All these are merely Its names due to (Its corresponding) actions. Therefore, whoever worships one or another of these (aspects), he does not know, for being qualified by each of these (aspects), It is incomplete. One should worship It as the Self only, for in It all these unite (become one). This Self, who is the Self of this all, is to be known, for by It one knows all this, just as through the foot-print one may trace (the missing animal), in the same way (one knows this all by knowing the Self). He who knows thus obtains fame and liberation.

The undifferentiated Being became manifested through the cosmic mind. In this process of manifestation, the cosmic mind became active and cognised the objects. Perception, sensation, memory, imagination, judgement, etc., are powers of the individual mind which is a miniature form of the cosmic mind.

A ray of the cosmic mind projected out and assumed the shape of the created objects and enveloped them. It is after this that the worlds came to be perceived. Prior to this, they were in the womb of brahma. Mental image and external object produce an effect which is known as form. Whatever object we see here has got its image in the cosmic mind. The inter-action between the cosmic mind and the cosmic body, i.e., hiranyagarbha and virat, is the world that we see outside. When the cosmic mind projects itself through the eye and assumes the shape of the objects outside, it differentiates itself in form. It is to be noted here that when differentiates itself, the differentiation is not caused by any foreign power, external to it. This is how perception takes place.

Just as the spider weaves out the web from its own body, even so, the cosmic mind throws out this universe from its own body during waking state and withdraws it into its womb during deep sleep. The world is the mental projection of hiranyagarbha, externalised or objectified. The individual mind of A, although appears to be separated from the mind-substance used by other individuals such as B, C, D, etc., by thin wall of finest kind of matter, is really in touch with the other  apparently separated minds and with the cosmic mind of which it as well as the mind substance of others form a part.

Virat is the sum total of all bodies. Prior to creation, the physical universe was latent in him. The different beings were created by him, as has been already described in the foregoing mantras, and each being came to be differentiated by a name and a form. Even now, the entire world is spoken of only in terms of name and form.

However, it is clear that the manifested universe is fully animated by Him as the cosmic power. He is immanent in all the apparently different names and different forms in the universe. This very self, states the mantra, enters into all bodies up to the nail ends. A razor put in its case remains pervading the whole of the case. Fire remains pervading the whole of the wood. The one air enters into the world and becomes the different winds assuming the names such as the northern wind, eastern wind, etc. Similarly, the one inner Soul of all things resides in every body pervading it in general and particular manner and yet remains distinct from it. This Upanishad itself says that He who is dwelling in the earth, who is within the earth, whom the earth does not know, whose body is the earth, and who controls the earth from within, is the Internal Ruler, the Inner Controller, the Immortal Self (III-vii-3).

If viewed partially, it would be an incomplete cognition, as a particular object presents different perceptions from different perspectives. This mantra says that He is prana by name when He performs the function of breathing, while speaking He is speech, when He performs the action of seeing He is the eye, and so on. These names such as speech, mind, prana, etc., are merely due to His actions. "Truth is One, the wise call It variously", says the veda. It is therefore not wise to hold one or other of these aspects exclusively as the Supreme. Each of these is merely one of His qualifications. He who takes the qualifying aspect to be the Supreme is viewing the Reality from one angle only. This is the theory of exclusiveness. Everything has got infinite characters, some of which are affirmative and others negative. To judge a thing by one or a few of its characters. would be an incomplete estimate of its real nature. This Self is the unitary background of all phenomena and of all beings, because this all has come out from It and exists in It. By knowing It, Its infinite modifications become known, even as the characteristics of all jars are known by knowing the one clay out of which the jars are made. Just as we know all things made out of gold, by knowing the one gold, even so, we acquire the knowledge of the entire phenomena, the infinite projections of the Self, by knowing Him as the Self of all beings. It is not enough if we know prana to be Self, because it is an exclusive and imperfect knowledge of the Self. What we aim at is to acquire the perfect and all-inclusive knowledge of the supreme Being. At the same time, it is not possible to study the infinite nature of the Supreme objectively, for it is an impossibility. Just as by following the footprints, the shepherd traces the missing animal, even so one knows the Self through all these phenomena. By knowing this one Self, we acquire the full knowledge about Its infinite modifications. Hence arises the necessity of possessing Perfect Knowledge and rejection of all exclusive, partial estimation of the Self.

तदेतत्प्रेय पुत्रात्, प्रेयो वित्तात्, प्रेयोऽन्यस्मात्सर्वस्मात्; अन्तरतरं यदयमात्मा । स योऽन्यमात्मनः प्रियं ब्रुवाणं ब्रूयात्, प्रियं रोत्स्यतीति, ईश्वरो ह तथैव स्यात्; आत्मानमेव प्रियमुपासीतः स य आत्मानमेव प्रियमुपास्ते न हास्य प्रियं प्रमायुकं भवति ॥८ ॥

8. That Self (is) dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than all else, because this Self is most internal. He (who considers the Self as the most dear) should tell him who speaks of anything else than the Self as dear: '(That) dear (object) will perish'. It will certainly happen like that, indeed (he is) capable (of saying so). (One) should hold the Self alone (as) dear. (One) should meditate upon the Self alone as dear. He who holds the Self alone (as) dear, perishable objects do not become dearer to him.

This Self who is the unitary background of the entire manifestation, is all-pervading and animating every object and being. The son is generally held as the dearest among all, but the Self is dearer than that son, dearer than gold and other wealth, dearer than everything. One loves others because one's own Self is the Self of those others. It will be said later on that it is for the sake of the Self that everything is dear. The Self is more internal and intimate than anything else. Moreover, while all other things perish the Self alone is immortal. Therefore, it is the Self that must be considered as dearer than everything else.

He, who holds some object other than the Self as dearer than the Self and desires to possess that object, must know that that object of his desire will certainly perish, for there is nothing which is immortal except the Self. Certainly, everything will perish to him who holds the non-self as dear, as everything is non-self. It is a fact.

He who considers the Self alone as dear, the perishable objects lose their charm for him, and he is not deluded by their glittering and attractive appearance.

तदाहु, यत् 'ब्रह्मविद्यया सर्वं भविष्यन्तः' मनुष्या मन्यन्ते, किमु तद्ब्रह्मावेद्यस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवदिति ॥९ ॥

9. That (all seekers) say that men think: 'by the knowledge of Brahman, we shall become all'. What indeed is that which Brahman knew, (and) by which It became the all?

Men alone are privileged and qualified to achieve in a special manner, either a state of Salvation or of prosperity. The seekers say that men think that by the knowledge of Brahman they can become the all. What is that knowledge?

Brahman here means the supreme Soul. Knowledge by which He is known, is the knowledge of Brahman. It is direct intuitive experience. That after acquiring the knowledge of Brahman the mind is dissolved, the projection of creation ceases, and the soul is in a state of merger and identity with Brahman here and now, is the experience of many mystics from time to time, and such a factum of experience cannot be dislodged by logical arguments. The world continues to exist only for those who have not aspired for this knowledge of Brahman and acquired identity with Him. Just as rivers, which ultimately result from the aqueous vapour arising from the ocean, enter the ocean losing their names and forms, even so, when one has acquired the intuitive knowledge of Brahman, the identity of individual soul and Brahman is finally and integrally experienced, when there is only the Absolute without any tinge of duality.

Further, what indeed Brahman knew by which it became all this universe? And if It knew something and became immanent in the creation, would It not lose Its infinite, integral nature? This is answered thus:

Ether generates air and interpenetrates air, yet transcends air and is not limited by air, but maintains its own infinite and integral nature. Even so, Brahman generates the universe out of Himself and interpenetrates it, transcends it, is not limited by it, and maintains His original infinite and integral nature. Ether is the nearest and clearest analogy to Brahman. It is infinite and eternal and is unaffected by the diversity and the changing character in all its fulness, at all times and everywhere. Brahman is the efficient as well as the material cause of the universe. The manifestation of the universe in no way affects Brahman. Nor does the universe detract from Brahman His innate nature of divinity and infinity. The universe is dependent, derivative and changing, compared with Brahman. But it is a reality all the same, for Brahman Himself has become the universe and He is immanent in it, and yet transcends all his creation.

Strictly speaking, from the highest point of view, the world is not an illusion, but it is Reality itself. From the empirical point of view, we may say it is a lower order of reality, relative and ever-changing, compared with Brahman, the unrelated, unconditioned, non-changing, eternal, non-dual and transcendental Absolute. The famous santi mantra invoking peace says: ‘That is Full, this is Full, the Full is born from the Full; if you take away the Full from the Full, what remains is the Full.' This is the spiritual counterpart of the mathematical concept that infinity added to or subtracted from infinity, or multiplied or divided by infinity, is still infinity. Hence, Brahman does not lose His integral and infinite nature, though He manifests Himself as the entire universe.

The following mantra is the reply to the question advanced in this mantra and deals with that knowledge by which Brahman has become this all, the entire creation.

ब्रह्म वा इदमग्र आसीत्, तदात्मानमेवावेत्, अहं ब्रह्मास्मीति । तस्मात्तत्सर्वमभवत्; तद्यो यो देवानां प्रत्यबुध्यत स एव तदभवत्, तथर्षीणाम्, तथा मनुष्याणाम्; तद्धैतत्पश्यन्नृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे, अहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति । तदिदमप्येतर्हि य एवं वेद, अहं ब्रह्मास्मीति, स इदं सर्वं भवति, तस्य ह न देवाश्यनाभूत्या ईशते, आत्मा ह्येषां स भवति; अथ योऽन्यां देवतामुपास्ते, अन्योऽसावन्योऽहमस्मीति, न स वेद, यथा पशुरेवं स देवानाम् । यथा ह वै बहवः पशवो मनुष्यं भुञ्ज्युः एवमेकैकः पुरुषो देवान् भुनक्ति; एकस्मिन्नेव पशावादीयमानेऽप्रियं भवति, किमु बहुषु ? तस्मादेषां तन्न प्रियं यदेतन्मनुष्या विद्युः ॥१० ॥

10. In the beginning, this (embodied self) was verily Brahman. It knew only itself thus: 'I am Brahman'. Therefore It became all. Amongst the gods, whosoever knew (realised) It, he also became That. Similarly, amongst the sages and amongst men (who realised That became That). Realising this (Self) as That (Brahman), sage Vamadeva knew: 'I became manu and also surya'. Even now, whoever thus knows That as 'I am Brahman', he becomes this all. Even the gods are not able to prevent him from becoming thus, for he becomes their Self. So he who worships another god as 'He is different, I am different', knows not. As is an animal, so is he to the gods. Even as many animals serve man, even so each man serves the gods. Even one single animal, when taken away, causes unpleasantness, what to speak of many! Therefore, it is not pleasant to them, that men should know That (Self).

In the beginning, before the realisation of its eternal identity with Brahman, this embodied self, who is residing in the body, was Brahman alone. But, on account of ignorance and false identification, it feels itself as a doer, enjoyer, etc., and forgets its real and essential nature. In reality, he is the all. When the ignorance was dispelled and the false identification removed, he realised that he was not a doer and enjoyer. He knew his own Self when he became free from the false notion of difference caused by ignorance. When the false notions of all kinds were rent asunder and ignorance destroyed, he attained the knowledge of the Self. Therefore, the sruti says 'It knew itself'.

What did he know? He knew that he was the Soul of all and free from all limitations caused by ignorance, avidya. He knew his nature in essence 'I am Brahman, the Absolute whom the srutis describe through the words, 'not this', 'not this'.' Thus, after having attained the knowledge of his Self, he became identical with the entire cosmos. Therefore, in the foregoing mantra it is said that through the knowledge of Brahman, we shall attain identity with the entire cosmos, and it is quite reasonable.

And it was asked as to what that Brahman knew by which He became all. The reply is this: previously this embodied soul was Brahman alone. He knew His Self thus 'I am Brahman', and by that knowledge he became identical with all.

And, among the gods, whosoever knew the Self in the way indicated above, also became Brahman. Similarly, sages and men also became Brahman and realised their identity with it, through that knowledge.

By acquiring the knowledge of Brahman, the eternal identity with It is attained. This has been already said. Now, the sruti quotes an example to establish this. Rishi Vamadeva realised this and attained the knowledge of Brahman. Established in the realisation of himself as Brahman, he said 'I was manu and the sun. By knowing Brahman, Rishi Vamadeva attained the state of the said identity with this all.

Some may ask: On account of their superhuman power, the gods attained the state of identity with all through the knowledge of Brahman; but how is it possible for the people of this age, who are weak and imbecile, to attain such a state? sruti replies that even now, whoever knows thus as I am Brahman', becomes all this. Whosoever discards all attachment to sense-perceptions, and all differences. limitations and false notions, and realises his identity with Brahman who is unaffected by all kinds of limitations and who is pure and absolute, becomes all this. When even the most powerful gods are not capable to prevent such a knower of Brahman from obtaining the state of identity with the whole creation, what to talk of others! It is because the knowledge of Brahman destroys the primeval ignorance and brings about the realisation of his identity with Brahman. When he becomes this all, how then can the gods prevent him from knowing Brahman. Even as the correct knowledge of the rope contradicts the knowledge of the snake in the rope, the knowledge of Brahman contradicts the knowledge of duality caused by ignorance in the individual. When thus he has realised the identity of his Self with the Self in all. including the gods, how then can they put obstacles in his path!

When a man worships not his Self but another god under the false notion that that god is different from himself, he is ignorant of the truth, because he does not know the Self. He commits the fault of assuming difference in the ultimate Truth where there is no difference of any kind. Such an ignorant man is no better than an animal. Even as there are many animals which serve man, there are many men who serve the gods. On account of his delusion and ignorance, such a man identifies himself with the body and behaves like an animal.

Even if one single animal when taken away, causes unpleasantness to the owner, what to talk of losing many animals! Each ignorant man is equal to many animals. Therefore gods do not like man to know his Self, for after knowing the Self, he will no more oblige them. He will rise above the sphere of this phenomenal universe. Therefore, let none behave like an animal and serve the gods thinking they are different from oneself. These gods are the presiding deities of the senses. Acharya Sankara, in this connection, states that those men whom the gods wish to set free are endowed with faith and the like, while those whom the gods do not want to set free, are endowed with lack of faith and such other qualities. Therefore, the seeker of liberation should worship the gods with faith and devotion and propitiate them, so that they may not create any obstruction in his spiritual path, but help him in his march towards the goal. The intention of this mantra here is not to discourage worship of gods, but to encourage them.

ब्रह्म वा इदमग्र आसीदेकमेव; तदेकं सन्न व्यभवत् । तच्छ्रेयोरूपमत्यसृजत क्षत्रं, यान्येतानि देवत्रा क्षत्राणि इन्द्रो वरुणः सोमो रुद्रः पर्जन्यो यमो मृत्युरीशान इति । तस्मात्क्षत्रात्परं नास्ति; तस्माद्ब्राह्मणः क्षत्रियमधस्ता- दुपास्ते राजसूये, क्षत्र एव तद्यशो दधाति; सैषा क्षत्रस्य योनिर्यद्ब्रह्म । तस्माद्यद्यपि राजा परमतां गच्छति ब्रह्मैवान्तत उपनिश्रयति स्वां योनिम्; य उ एनं हिनस्ति स्वां स योनिमृच्छति, स पापीयान् भवति, यथा श्रेयांसं हिंसित्वा ॥ ११ ॥

11. Verily, this was Brahman in the beginning, one only. Being alone He was not able to accomplish any great task. He created a superior form, the rulership. The rulers among the gods are indra, varuna, soma, rudras, parjanya, yama, mrtyu and isana. Therefore, there is none superior to a ruler. Hence in the rajasuya, the brahmana, from below, worships the ruler, and confers that honour upon the ruler alone. The source of the ruler, is brahmana. Therefore, though the ruler attains supremacy, at the end (of the sacrifice) takes refuge in his source only. Whosoever despises him, he destroys his own source. He becomes a very great sinner, like one (who incurs sin) by injuring (one's) superior.

This mantra aims at describing the relationship between the brahmana and the kshatriya in general and the emergence of kshatriya in particular. Creation of society is dealt with in this mantra and a few succeeding ones. The society is divided according to the predominant psyche of the individuals. All such distinct nature can be brought under four main groups: the spiritual, the ruling, the economic and labour group. This grouping is universal and has started from the time of creation by the great purusha. This grouping has been designated as brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and sudra respectively. In the beginning there was no grouping. There was one only, the brahmana. In the puranas this condition is described as satya-yuga when there was no Government, as there was no necessity for it, since dharma was the spontaneous nature of the individual. Due to externalisation of consciousness, the knowledge of the brahmana was not able to control and hence the principle of kshatram came into existence. The kshatriya was seated on the throne and the brahmana sat below. There is mutual interdependence. In the absence of knowledge, power and law would work blindly. Knowledge is the source of power, and both work hand in hand.

स नैव व्यभवत् स विशमसृजत, यान्येतानि देवजातानि गणश आख्यायन्ते — वसवो रुद्रा आदित्या विश्वे देवा मरुत इति ॥१२ ॥

12. Still He was not able to accomplish greater task. He created the visa (vaisya); these gods who are mentioned in groups: The vasus, rudras, adityas, visvedevas and maruts.

Not being satisfied even after the emergence of kshatriyas, the virat projected the vaisyas, the vasus, rudras, adityas, visvedevas and maruts. The vaisyas represent the economic principle and acquirement of wealth in which one works in company with others in order to bring in success. Therefore, they are represented in groups. vasus are eight in number, the rudras eleven, the adityas twelve, the visvedevas thirteen and the maruts forty-nine.

स नैव व्यभवत् स शौद्रं वर्णमसृजत पूषणम्; इयं वै पूषा, इयं हीदं सर्वं पुष्यति यदिदं किंच ॥१३॥

13. Still the virat was not able to accomplish a great task. (Therefore) he created the sudra, (as) pushan. This (earth) is verily pushan, because it nourishes all this, whichever is here.

pushan is another vedic deity. Literally the word means nourisher. Because this earth nourishes all, it is called pushan. The sudra represents labour without which no society can flourish. The virat, originally one in which all groups in society existed in a latent form, has now become four, the brahmana, the kshatriya, the vaisya and the sudra, representing understanding, power, material wealth and labour. These are the psychological sides in the desire to manifest. The Master Will of isvara manifests itself as this whole universe.

स नैव व्यभवत्, तच्छ्रेयोरूपमत्यसृजत धर्मम्; तदेतत् क्षत्रस्य क्षत्रं यद्धर्मः, तस्माद्धर्मात्परं नास्ति; अथो अबलीयान् बलीयांसमाशंसते धर्मेण, यथा राज्ञैवम्; यो वै स धर्मः सत्यं वै तत्, तस्मात् सत्यं वदन्तमाहुः धर्मं वदतीति, धर्मं वा वदन्तं सत्यं वदतीति, एतद्ध्येवैतदुभयं भवति ॥ १४ ॥

14. He was still unable to accomplish a greater task. (So) he produced a superior form, viz., righteousness. That which is righteousness, is the ruler of the ruler. Therefore, nothing is greater than righteousness. So a weak man desires to overcome the strong man through righteousness, as (one does) through the king. That which is righteousness, that is verily truth. Hence (people) say of one speaking the truth: 'he speaks (what is) righteous', or of a man who speaks (what is) righteous: 'he speaks (what is) true'. Because this (righteousness) only becomes both (truth and righteousness).

It has been said that the virat created the four orders of society - the wise brahmana, the powerful kshatriya, the endeavouring vaisya and the serviceful sudra. But still He was not able to organise the social order, for variety without law and order would be chaos. The cosmic Creator, therefore, produced dharma, righteousness, and thereby established the divine laws to govern and control the creation and the created. This righteousness rules over even kshatriya, the most powerful and strong group of indra, varuna, soma, parjanya, rudra, yama, mrtyu and isana. Hence, righteousness is the ruler of even the rulers, the governor of all temporal powers. Therefore, it surpasses all in greatness, nobility, strength and perfection. Taking shelter under the banner of righteousness, even a weak man hopes to defeat his stronger opponents, even as one hopes to defeat the Government which rules over the whole country with the help of existing laws through the judiciary.

Righteousness is correct and scientific living according to the laws of life. It is the governing principle of earth and heaven and the economic and social laws of the people. It is a perfect pattern of life and concerns with life as a whole. Happiness is the other half of righteousness. Where there is righteousness, there happiness too resides.

A righteous king will not be unjust and cruel to his subjects. He will be very sympathetic and helpful to his people. A righteous merchant will not be greedy. He will not hoard. He will not indulge in falsehood and adulteration. He will conduct all his endeavour and business properly and in a spirit of righteousness. A righteous servant will serve his master honestly with faith and devotion and thus contribute to the peace and welfare of his master's home.

Righteousness is the code of morality, when it is put into practice. Its theoretical side is what is known as truth. Hence, it is said in the mantra that that which is righteousness is verily truth. One who speaks what is true as enjoined in the scriptures, is truly a righteous man. A righteous man is truth personified, because righteousness pre-supposes truth as its basic principle, and truth is expressed through the medium of righteousness. Therefore, righteousness is said to represent both truth and righteousness. In other words satya and dharma are one and the same. It is difficult to distinguish one from the other. dharma is the manifestation of the divine power itself. When one knows this great law, one is in harmony with the whole universe.' Ignorance of it brings in disharmony which results in weakness, failure and suffering.

तदेतद्ब्रह्म क्षत्रं विट् शूद्रः तदग्निनैव देवेषु ब्रह्माभवत्; ब्राह्मणो मनुष्येषु, क्षत्रियेण क्षत्रियो, वैश्येन वैश्यः शूद्रेण शूद्र; तस्मादग्नावेव देवेषु लोकमिच्छन्ते, ब्राह्मणे मनुष्येषु, एताभ्यां हि रूपाभ्यां ब्रह्माभवत् । अथ यो ह वा अस्माल्लोकात्स्वं लोकमदृष्ट्वा प्रैति स एनमविदितो न भुनक्ति, यथा वेदो वाननूक्तः, अन्यद्वा कर्माकृतम्: यदिह वा अप्यनेवंविन्महत्पुण्यं कर्म करोति, तद्धास्यान्ततः क्षीयत एव; आत्मानमेव लोकमुपासीत, स य आत्मानमेव लोकमुपास्ते, न हास्य कर्म क्षीयते । अस्माद्धयेवात्मनो यद्यत्कामयते तत्तत्सृजते ॥१५ ॥

15. That is this (the fourfold grouping)-the brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and sudra. He (the creator), became a brahmana among the gods through fire; among (became) a brahmana; (became) a kshatriya by means of ruling; a vaisya by means of vaisya (and) a sudra by means of sudra. Hence (all) desire (their) objective among the gods through the fire only; (and) among men in the brahmana, for by these two forms (only) virat manifested himself. So, whoever departs from this world, not realising his own objective, (the objective) being unknown, does not protect him, even as unrecited veda or unaccomplished action. Without knowing this, even if (one) performs an act of great merit, in the end that act of his merely perishes. (Therefore) one should worship the Self alone as (his) objective. He who worships the Self alone as his objective, never does his act perish for whatever he desires for, all that he creates forth.

After effecting the aforesaid social division, the brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and sudra and subjecting them to a higher law of righteousness, He the creator assigned to Fire the duty of the brahmana among the gods, i.e., he deputed the Fire to act as brahmana for the gods, because Fire is the taintless deity among the entire group of gods. Fire represents purity. It is generally said: 'he is as pure as fire'. Fire embodies in itself all purity and therefore, it is considered as brahmana among the gods.

Likewise, He, the creator, became as a brahmana among men by virtue of spirituality, a kshatriya by virtue of rulership, a vaisya by virtue of economic position, and a sudra by virtue of man-power.

Because Fire is purity embodied and is foremost among the gods by virtue of its taintlessness and sanctity, all people invoke Fire in order to obtain their desired divine objectives. And Fire grants them all their desired objectives, because of its purity and its purifying nature. Unless purity is cultivated, none can succeed in acquiring the higher divine objectives.

And among men, they invoke the brahmana who is also purity and nobility personified. brahmana embodies in himself all the great and divine qualities, such as purity, truthfulness, righteousness, self-control, wisdom, intuition, etc., and therefore, the other three sections of the society looked up to him for gaining their objective, the knowledge of the Self. In olden days, the brahmanas were divinity personified and they were imbued with all divine qualities, and they were the ideal for the other three classes of the society. Kings and merchants and the masses used to go to the brahmanas and get instruction and guidance on spiritual science.

So, even after knowing that the objective can be acquired by invoking and embodying the central virtue, i.e. purity, whoever dies without realising the Self, is not protected; because his theoretical knowledge about the Self will not help him, even as unrecited vedas do not come to one's memory, or even as an unaccomplished act does not bear any fruit. Regular recitation of the vedas is a must if one wants to reproduce it at any time. The perfect accomplishment of an act must precede the attainment of any good. Mere theoretical knowledge of the scriptures alone will not accomplish the liberation of the embodied soul from its bondage.

And those others who do not have even the theoretical knowledge of the Self, who are rank materialists, will not be able to acquire the everlasting merit through actions that they perform, because everything else other than the Self perishes. Therefore, knowing this great truth that everything except the Self is perishable, let everyone hold the Self as one's dearest object and strive and meditate to know the Self by the knowledge of which one will realise one's non-difference, the oneness with the entire cosmos.

Whatever the knower of the Self desires, that is at once fulfilled. His work is never exhausted. It never perishes, because perishability is foreign to the Self. sruti gives one more reason for this. Whatever he desires for, all he creates from his Self. It does not literally mean that he has desires for sense-objects and he fulfils them like the ignorant. He attains the state of omnipotence, which means the power to do everything, everywhere and at all times, all at once.

This subject has been elaborately dealt with in the Chhandogya Upanishad. Therein it is said: "If he becomes desirous of the world of fathers, merely out of his sankalpa, fathers arise. Possessed of that world of fathers, he is happy." (Chh. Up. VIII-ii-1). Likewise about the worlds of mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, perfumes and garlands, food and drink, song and music, women, in short whatever object he becomes desirous of, whatever desire he desires, merely out of his will it arises, and possessed of it he is happy - says that Upanishad. He becomes satya-kama, one possessed of real desires. satya-sankalpa -- one possessed of real will. He does not, however, long for things unreal. The passage carries the implication that after attaining the state of omnipotence, he becomes possessed of all powers, all desires and everything else. This great law of the universe, the divine cosmic law, if not properly understood and obeyed, will come upon one as nemesis in the forms of birth and death with all their suffering. The variety in front of us is the immanence of the Creator. He is present in every minute part of this creation. This should be understood clearly and life should be lived on this understanding. All charity performed, merit earned, philosophy studied without the knowledge of this great truth, is of no use. The world we see is really the Creator himself scintillating through every atom. It is His glory we see through our senses.

अथो अयं वा आत्मा सर्वेषां भूतानां लोकः स यज्जुहोति, यद्यजते, तेन देवानां लोकः अथ यदनुब्रूते तेन ऋषीणाम्, अथ यत्पितृभ्यो निपृणाति, यत्प्रजामिच्छते, तेन पितृणाम्; अथ यन्मनुष्यान्वासयते, यदेभ्योऽशनं ददाति, तेन मनुष्याणाम्; अथ यत्पशुभ्यस्तृणोदकं विन्दति, तेन पशूनाम्; यदस्य गृहेषु श्वापदा वयांस्या पिपीलिकाभ्य उपजीविन्ति, तेन तेषां लोकः, यथा ह वै स्वाय वै लोकायारिष्टिमिच्छेत्, एवं हैवंविदे सर्वाणि भूतान्यरिष्टिमिच्छन्ति, तद्वा एतद्विदितं मीमांसितम् ॥१६ ॥

16. Now this Self is the support (world) for all beings. Whatever he offers (in the fire), whatever (he) sacrifices, by that he (becomes) the support of the gods. Whatever he recites (or studies) by that (he becomes the support) of Rishis. Whatever offerings he makes to the manes, the progeny he desires for, by that (he becomes the support) of the manes. Then, he gives shelter to men and provides them with food, by that (he becomes the support) of men. Then, he provides fodder and water for animals, by that (he becomes the support) of animals. In his house, beasts, birds, even the ants, find their living; by that (he becomes) their support. Verily as one would desire security (welfare) for oneself, so all beings desire security for him who knows thus. All this is indeed known and analysed.

This mantra is clear and precise in its import. It bespeaks of the Self as a householder who has attained union with the Self, who has realised his own identity with the cosmic Self. But why should he perform all these rites enjoined by the karma-kanda portion of the vedas, when he has realised the highest Self? Does it not contradict the view of the sruti that after acquiring the knowledge of the Self, rituals become useless and unnecessary, and that there is no good in performing them?

It is true that the knower of the Self is not subjected to the injunctions of the sruti regarding the rituals, like sacrifice, charity, etc. But to the knower of the Self who has realised the identity of the Self with the Self of all, the rituals and sacrifices present a different meaning altogether, a higher significance in the vast scheme of creation. He sees his Self in all, and all in his Self. Rituals and other religious performances need not stand rejected by him. He merges them in the totality of their being. So, a householder fully illumined with the knowledge of the Self, may also perform all actions, but he does them in a different plane of consciousness which is beyond the grasp of the ignorant.

This householder who has realised the Self, becomes the support for the entire creation of beings. How? The text refers to the five sacrifices, those to the gods, the Rishis, the manes, the human beings, and the animals and insects in the sub-human kingdom. By whatever he offers in the sacred fire in sacrifices, he becomes the support of the gods, because it is said that gods are satisfied by the offerings in the sacrifices, just as a man's hunger is satisfied when he is given food to eat. Gods subsist on what is offered to them in the sacrifice. They partake of the sacrificial offerings. Thus he supports the gods. Likewise, by his studies and recitation of the vedas and study of scriptures, he becomes the support of the Rishis. By whatever offerings like water and rice-balls he makes to his forefathers and the progeny he desires for, he becomes the support to the manes. In the same way, he becomes the support of human beings by providing lodging for them and also food. And by giving fodder and water to the animals, he becomes the support for animals. In his house beasts and birds, even the ants, find their living. All this is expressed in a synecdochical manner. It carries the implication that he becomes the support of all beings, whatsoever, without any exception.

All beings wish the welfare of such a man. In what manner? As one wishes one's own welfare, in like manner they wish his welfare, for he is their support. Further, because he has become all this, through the realisation of his identity with the entire creation of beings, it is quite natural that all wish him good, as they wish for themselves.

The words 'ayam atma-this Self' occurring in the beginning of this mantra have been interpreted by me as the householder who has attained union with the Self and the remaining portion of the mantra has been commented upon on this meaning of these two words. Sri Acharya Sankara has interpreted the two words as referring to the householder who is qualified for rites as he has identified himself with his body due to ignorance and has become the object of enjoyment for the gods, manes, his fellow beings and the beings in the sub-human kingdom. My commentary does not claim any superiority over or any contradiction of the great Acharya's views, but gives another perspective for the Sadhaka, who can practise meditation on either or on both the meanings.

आत्मैवेदमग्र आसीदेक एव, सोऽकामयत — जाया मे स्यात्, अथ प्रजायेय; अथ वित्तं मे स्यात्, अथ कर्म कुर्वीयेति एतावान् वै काम, नेच्छंश्चनातो भूयो विन्देत्; तस्मादप्येतर्ह्येकाकी कामयते— जाया मे स्यात्, अथ प्रजायेय; अथ वित्तं मे स्यात्, अथ कर्म कुर्वीयेति; स यावदप्येतेषामेकैकं न प्राप्नोति, अकृत्स्न एव तावन्मन्यते; तस्यो कृत्स्नता — मन एवास्यात्मा, वाग्जाया, प्राणः प्रजा, चक्षुर्मानुषं वित्तम्, चक्षुषा हि तद्विन्दते, श्रोत्रं दैवम्, श्रोत्रेण हि तच्छृणोति; आत्मैवास्य कर्म, आत्माना हि कर्म करोति; स एष पाङ्क्तो यज्ञः पाङ्क्तः पशुः पाङ्क्तः पुरुषः, पाङ्क्तमिदं सर्वं यदिदं किंच; तदिदं सर्वमाप्नोति य एवं वेद ॥१७॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् ॥


17. This Self was one only in the beginning. He desired thus: 'let there be a wife to me, so that I may procreate; then let there be wealth to me, so that I may perform karmas.' This much indeed is desire. Even if one desires more than that, he would not attain. Therefore, even today, when alone he desires: 'let there be a wife to me, that I may procreate; then let there be wealth to me, so that I may perform karmas.' As long as he does not get anyone of these, so long only he thinks (he is) incomplete. (Now) his completeness (also comes thus): Mind indeed (is) his self, speech (is his) wife, vital force (is his) progeny. Eye is the human wealth, for he obtains it with the eye; ear is the divine (wealth), for he hears it with the ear. Body indeed is his karma for with this body he does the karma. This sacrifice is fivefold. The animal is fivefold. Man is fivefold. Whatever there is, it is all fivefold. He who knows thus obtains all this.

There are two natural two natural urges inherent in mankind, impelled by which he desires for wife, progeny, wealth, etc. The entire range of multiple desires can be traced to these two urges in man, which this scripture declares as a natural urge for wife and wealth.

Man, at first, felt an urge to possess a wife, so that he may be able to bring forth progeny and maintain the family traditions. Next came the urge for wealth in order to perform karmas. These are the two urges which form a basis for the entire group of desires. Wife and wealth, together with their effects, progeny and karma, constitute the entire framework of earthly and heavenly longing of man. Every other desire which is not mentioned here, falls within the scope of these main urges. Therefore the text says, even if one desires for more than these, he would not attain, for desire is only this much. In other words, it may be said that whatever one desires, has its cause in the said twin-currents of desire.

Therefore, every man is impelled to give expression to these urges for wife and wealth, in order to produce progeny and perform karma. When he is alone, devoid of these two, he feels a sense of incompleteness and void, until he gets anyone of these, either wife or wealth. When he has achieved wife and also wealth, or anyone of them, he feels that he has attained fulfilment of all his desires. But is it true?

No. Even after having fulfilled these inner urges, he is haunted by a sense of dissatisfaction. Wife and children, wealth and accomplishments of actions, name and fame and all objectives, which he had acquired through them, do not give him satisfaction and completeness. How to get complete satisfaction? This mantra gives a meditation by which these natural impulses can be converted into spiritual energy. Objects, which  Are now considered external and disconnected, should be brought within the realm of one's own Self.

Verily the mind, which is the source of all desires, is the self, the man. And who is the wife who always follows her husband and is the medium of progeny? It is speech because it always follows the mind. Mind and speech in mutual union represent the pair, the husband and wife, and bring forth the progeny of prana in manifestation. It will be said later on that earth is the body of speech, heaven is the body of mind, and through their union the vital force, i.e., prana was born, who has water for its body. It implies that one should not desire for earthly objects such as wife, wealth, etc., but should realise his identity with the cosmic mind and express himself as cosmic vital force, through cosmic speech, even as a man expresses himself through his wife in the form of an offspring. Just as heaven, earth and water pervade the whole universe, even so the cosmic mind, speech and prana constitute the whole framework of creation in its entirety.

Similarly, eye is the human wealth and ear the divine wealth. It is because, from the eye arises the perception of all forms, i.e., it supports all forms; and from the ear arises the sound, which is the material for all names, i.e., it supports all names. (This topic will be discussed by the sruti in the forthcoming section elaborately). Body indeed is his karma which he longs for to accomplish. It is because, the general activity in the body is the source of all particular actions. Body supports all actions, for it is the common factor in all actions. Again, the body although one, is the support for all, the mind, speech, prana, eye and ear. Hence, is said that this sacrifice is fivefold, i.e., comprising five factors, viz., mind, speech, prana, eye and ear. Similarly animals, as well as men and the whole universe are fivefold, i.e., comprising mind, speech, prana, eye and the ear in their cosmic form.

This is the completeness of man. By knowing this, he no longer desires for wife, wealth, etc., which did not bestow completeness, satisfaction and fulfilment on him. He becomes identical with the entire universe. He, who attains identity with the whole comprising of above-mentioned five cosmic factors, becomes free from the sense of dissatisfaction and imperfection. He acts in tune with the cosmic plan and accomplishes all karmas, by virtue of his omnipotence, as has already been stated in (mantra 15 of) this section. This is brought about by meditation.


This fourth section of the opening chapter of the Upanishad deals with the very important subject of creation of the universe. It is a very difficult subject to grasp by those of extroverted mind. For, the very word 'creation' when applied to the phenomenon of this universe, has a special connotation. The word loses its ordinary meaning. The concept of three different things as the creator, the created and the act of creation, which we have with reference to the empirical matters, does not exist in the creation of the universe. Here, the created is not essentially different from the Creator. Even so, is the act of creation non-different from the Creator. The Creator does not stand outside his creation, but remains non-different from what he creates and his act of creation. Another fact to be remembered in this unique creation of the world by the Creator is that it is not an incident in the sense that it took place somewhere, at some time. It is not like the incidents recorded in human history. Time and space, speech, thought and action and everything that is imaginable by the human mind, are products of this mysterious creation.

Before creation, the Upanishad says that the supreme Self alone was. This Self, the Atman or Brahman - all these names have come into being only subsequently, after creation -- the nameless, formless, we may call it the Being, alone was. And That alone is and That alone will be. But, we perceive a world of variety in the place of the non-dual Reality, the Absolute. Hence, we ask for a cause for this world. To satisfy us, the Upanishad states that the characteristics of the effect are potentially present in the cause, although the truth is that the supreme Atman cannot have anything other to It. Hence comes the concept of purushavidha - like a person - by the Seer of this Upanishad. This section is therefore known as purushavidha brahmana.

The purusha becomes conscious of himself. Besides this Self-consciousness, 'I am', there is nothing outside and therefore, there was no consciousness of object or objective consciousness. This first 'I' principle is not the ego-ridden consciousness which is adulterated and which is a reflection, as it were, of the pure 'I'. When the Reality is reflected on itself, it comes out first as the 'I', the subject. It is present in every being, even in an atom. Nothing can be more dear than this 'I', because it is a reflection of the original 'I', the purushavidha. This is an injunction for meditation on the purusha.

This purusha, who is not even one but non-dual, becomes the first cause. The Upanishad gives a picturesque description of this unique transformation of the Absolute into the first cause. It says that this single cause became of the size of a man and wife in embrace, two in one. The single underwent a split in itself and that became two. In spite of this two, the one remained as the one. Therefore, we have to understand that all the subsequent multiplicity also is without losing the original unity. In this creation of the universe, the first cause, the purusha, is not destroyed, nor depleted, not even touched or affected in the least, and yet He is present in every atom of His vast creation. This is the great mystery of creation, a mystery because human logic and reasoning cannot explain this apparent projection of the universal phenomena in the non-dual Absolute.

The desire in man is a psychological contradiction. This contradiction was perhaps in the original Being itself. Our desire for an object presupposes that the object of desire is outside, external and distinct from us. If it is external and different from us, how can we possess it and make it one with us? On the other hand, if we presume that the object is within us, why should we desire for it! The urge for reproduction, which is a part of the original cosmic urge, is to become two and at the same time to remain one, both simultaneously. For effecting indivisibility, divisibility is accepted. There is both pain and pleasure in desire and fulfilment, as with husband and wife perhaps. Everybody is only one half, and one half is always dissatisfied, for it wants to grab the other half and thus become the whole. The subject which is manu, the first man, is one half, and the object which is satarupa, the first woman, is the other half. In other words, when the one split into two, the split part which has now become the 'other' was in an embarrassed condition. Both are brother and sister, as it were, having come from the same one purusha. The consciousness of the one purusha is in both, even as the same blood flows in the brother and sister, and hence they have the same status. One is not superior to the other. But, the subject always wants to possess the object. And the object tries to escape by assuming another form. Now the subject also assumes that form, and there is always the commingling of both, and creation of the various species of living beings is the result.

The Upanishad wants to point out, through this allegorical description, that one who wants to get out of this samsara, should know that It is the purusha himself that is the subject, it is He himself the object, the desire and also fulfilment. This knowledge is the Saving Knowledge which will cut all desire at its root, which is otherwise irresistible.

After creating the world of pairs, the purusha created the heavenly gods such as agni from his mouth, indra and others from his arms, vasus and the like from his thighs and pushan and the rest from his feet. Every deity has been projected by the cosmic Being. Hence they are non-different from Him. We may consider them as the several limbs of the supreme Being. This supreme Self which is dearer than everything, is alone to be meditated upon and realised. It is this very same Self that is called by the name 'life' when It does the function of breathing, by the name 'speaker', 'hearer', 'seer', 'thinker', and 'doer', when It does the function of speaking, hearing, seeing, thinking, doing, respectively. All distinctions of agent, action and result are superimposed on the non-dual Reality due to primordial ignorance which terminates only through the knowledge of this Truth. All names and forms are the manifestation of the supreme Being, which was in an unmanifested condition before the projection of this phenomena. Just as the shape taken by a number of bricks is given the appellation a house', and the bricks even then remain as bricks, so is the case with this world of names and forms assumed by the supreme Self. This eternal non-dual Being may be said to have entered into every being in this world and remains filled from the top of the head up to the toes. So, touching any part of an object is really touching Him alone. Seeing any form or colour, is seeing Him verily. To differentiate one form from another is, therefore, a great mistake, a sin. All our suffering in this samsara is due to this sin of seeing differentiation and distinction where there is nothing of such kind, where everything is that non-dual Being. Every atom of His creation is He only. Therefore, anyone who clings to any particular name or form alone as the whole, commits a mistake. He is ignorant of the truth and he becomes an animal, a slave to the deity he worships under a limited name and form as external to himself. The Upanishad thus clarifies that great truth about the Reality that It is the Self of all beings, which will never admit objectification. But worship of cosmic deities in the early stages is necessary to propitiate them and get their help in the onward march, before one starts meditation on the Absolute.

It is also the dearest. All human love is a fraction, a distorted reflection of the love of the Self, the deepest core in every being. The Upanishad warns us that while the truth is like this, if anyone considers through ignorance that something else is dearer than the dearest Self, then that something is sure to perish. And therefore, one should meditate on the Self alone as dear and not any object other to it.

The Upanishad then gives the nature of this great knowledge by which one can know everything, possess everything by becoming everything. This knowledge, the knowledge of Brahman, always remains revealed and it is never obscured. For, the Absolute, which Brahman is, cannot be other than Brahman under any condition of space, time and causation. To say that one attains Brahman after realisation, would presuppose that one was something other than Brahman before. How can there be something other than the Absolute at any time! All difficulties and doubts crop up in 'understanding' and 'knowing the Absolute. When such and other verbs are appended to the 'Absolute', they lose their ordinary grammatical sense. Such transitive verbs cannot have the Absolute as their 'object'. Even so, is the case of other adjectival words. No adjective can qualify the Absolute. Nouns, which are equated or placed in apposition with or used as synonyms, also lose their usual significance. Thus, whatever be the object or concept or name, when it contacts the Absolute, it is burned into ashes by the fire of knowledge of the Absolute, and what remains is the Absolute alone.

Continuing the story of creation, the Upanishad deals with the division of society into four main groups, depending on the predominant psyche of the individual. They are the spiritual group, the ruling group, the economical group and the labour group. This grouping is universal. It is not particular to any country or any period. It started with the creation of the world by the Creator. It is in the cosmic mind. This grouping, somehow happened to be given the unfortunate name of 'caste' in India, with a strong stigma attached to it. The four groups are the brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and sudra. In the satya-yuga, the original condition, there was no grouping, as the principle of dharma was complete. It was the spontaneous nature of each and every individual. As externalisation of consciousness increased, identification with the body intensified in treta-yuga and the principle of kshatram manifested itself as indra, varuna, soma, rudra, parjanya, yama, mrityu and isana among gods. The knowledge of the brahmana was not able to control and kshatram was seated on the throne to rule and there was harmony with mutual dependence between the two. Knowledge and power worked hand in hand. Knowledge is the source of power. Power without knowledge is self- destructive. The urge for creation in the purusha then manifested itself as the principle of material wealth, the vaisya, having as their deities the eight vasus, the eleven rudras, the twelve adityas, the thirteen visvedevas and forty-nine maruts. World cannot exist without work or action and hence the fourth principle of sudra, with its presiding deity of pushan, the god of nourishment who nourishes all, manifested itself from the supreme Creator.

For the proper maintenance of the world that has manifested itself, the Creator then projected himself as the great principle of dharma which rules all the four social groups equally. This is the law of the world, the relentless law divine, the immanence of the creator himself in the created. In every part of the creation, the Creator is present. This great truth is the saving truth, which should be understood clearly and life lived on this understanding. All charity performed, merit earned, scriptures studied and yoga practised without the knowledge of this great truth is of no avail even as oblations offered on ashes do not produce any result. The universe we see is the Atman scintillating through every atom thereof. It is the glory of the Atman that we perceive with our senses. It is His hand that is working in every act that is done by any one, at any time, at any place.

One has to realise this truth through stages. None can jump to this stupendous height all of a sudden. The presence of one's own Self should be recognised in the various forms of creation. With this end are prescribed the pancha mahayajnas, the five great sacrifices which have to be performed daily. They are part of the life we lead. By worshipping and meditating on the cosmic deities, we can propitiate the gods and thus perform deva-yajna. Being in harmony with the thoughts of the sages of yore, through the study of the scriptures and disseminating that knowledge among others, is rishi-yajna, nowadays called jnana-yajna. The third is pitr-yajna, propitiating the forefathers by performing sraaddhas, charities and leading the householders' life and propagating progeny. Looking after the welfare of human beings, serving the sick and the needy with food, clothes, medicines, etc., is manushya-yajna. Extending this to the sub-human beings, is bhuta-yajna. The result that accrues to one who performs all these five sacrifices, is protection from all living beings from the celestials down to the ants and insects.

The proper performance of the five sacrifices prepares one for the next higher step in the ladder of spiritual progress, the sublimation of desires. Desires are mainly three, - for progeny, for wealth and for name and fame.

Every one has got these three desires. These have to be properly dealt with. Through wise means they have to be sublimated by one who aims at perfection. Even one of them can make a man miserable in life and the fate of one who is under the grip of all the three, as the majority of mankind is, can better be imagined. These natural impulses in man must be converted into spiritual energy.

Mind is the source of all desires. Speech follows the mind like a faithful servant. prana is the driving force behind all actions. These three are rooted in one's own consciousness. Ears and eyes which are responsible for sound or name, and form, the invisible and the visible, engage our attention. These five faculties viz., mind, speech, vital force, ear and eye, which are the main five avenues for action, should be integrated through meditation. The spiritual principle, the Consciousness, is the basic substratum for every action which effects contact between the subject and object. Meditation is enjoined on their unifying principle of Consciousness. This meditation effects fulfilment of all desires.

Thus Ends the Fourth Section Entitled

Purushavidha Brahmana in the First Chapter





















यत्सप्तान्नानि मेधया तपसाजनयत्पिता ।

एकमस्य साधारणम्, द्वे देवानभाजयत् ॥

त्रीण्यात्मनेऽकुरुत, पशुभ्य एकं प्रायच्छत् ।

तस्मिन्सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितं यच्च प्राणिति यच्च न ॥

कस्मात्तानि न क्षीयन्तेऽद्यमानानि सर्वदा ।

यो वैतामक्षितिं वेद सोऽन्नमत्ति प्रतीकेन ॥

स देवानपिगच्छति, स ऊर्जमुपजीवति ।

इति श्लोकाः ॥१ ॥

1. Of the seven (kinds of) foods, which the father produced by (the virtue of) knowledge and action, one of them was common (for all); two he divided among the gods; three (kinds of food) he kept for himself, (and) one he bestowed to the animals. All (beings) that which live and that which do not (live), are subsisting on that (food alone). These (foods), even though they are always eaten, why they do not get exhausted? Whoever knows that (cause for) inexhaustibility, he eats the food through mouth; he attains gods; he lives upon nectar. Thus are the verses.

This section is entirely devoted to the production of sevenfold food which sustains all life. It has been said in the previous section that the multiple creation was projected and different social orders were organised by the Creator himself. On what food does this projected creation exist? It is a fact that none can exist without a support for life. That very support is verily the food which maintains and sustains all His creation. It is through food that life exists here in this universe. Food is an essential factor for the accomplishment of all actions, and effecting progeny. As soon as the child is born, it needs food for its sustenance. If, however, no food is supplied, it is certain to die. Because food maintains life in the body as well as in the entire universe, it holds a place of importance next to creation.

Now, we must understand the nature of this food. Is it the grain that men and animals eat, or is it the part by which the celestial beings are satisfied and maintained? Or is it the milk with which the life is at first nourished? Here, we have to take into consideration everything, every type of food, which supports life in its different phases. We know grain, the gross food, is the support for the gross physical body. Milk is the prime nourisher of all, men and animals, when they are babes. There are still subtler types of foodstuffs, that support the life of subtler creations. These are, in this Upanishad, denoted by the term 'sacrifice' and 'oblation'. It is the common and popular view that gods are constituted of subtle elements, unlike the human beings and animals. They do not, therefore, need the gross food. They are satisfied by the subtler portions of the food offered to them in sacrifice. To make it more clear, we shall take the physical body and the sense-organs. Though it is the physical body that eats the food and digests and assimilates it, the senses are satisfied. If no food is supplied to the gross body, the senses begin to wither and eventually die. Just as by supplying water to the root of a tree, different parts of the tree receive the nourishment, in a like manner, by supplying gross food to the physical body, the sense-organs receive their part of nourishment and live.

The food is an essential requirement for all beings to live. The Upanishad classifies them under seven headings, which cover up the entire range of foods. The classification of sevenfold food is hereunder:

First, the common food for all, second and third for gods, fourth for animals, and fifth, sixth and seventh for prajapati.

The production of these sevenfold food, which was effected by the Creator, will be dealt with elaborately in the following mantras, which may be said to be an explanation of this terse mantra. The universe which the ignorant man projects through ignorance, desire and action, as his object of enjoyment, is here divided into seven groups and given the epithet 'food', because it is an object of experience. Man is, therefore, said to be the father of the seven kinds of food.

'यत्सप्तान्नानि मेधया तपसाजनयत्पिता' इति इति मेधया हि तपसाजनयत्पिता । 'एकमस्य साधारणम्' इतीदमेवास्य तत्साधारणमन्त्रं यदिदमद्यते । स य एतदुपास्ते न स पाप्मनो व्यावर्तते, मिश्रं ह्येतत् । 'द्वे देवानभाजयत्' इति हुतं च प्रहुतं च, तस्माद्देवेभ्यो जुह्वति च प्र च जुह्वति; अथो आहुर्दर्शपूर्णमासाविति । तस्मान्नेष्टियाजुकः स्यात् । 'पशुभ्य एकं प्रायच्छत्' इति तत्पयः । पयो ह्येवाग्रे मनुष्याश्च पशवश्चोपजीवन्ति; तस्मात् कुमारं जातं घृतं वै वाग्रे प्रतिलेहयन्ति, स्तनं वानुधापयन्ति; अथ वत्सं जातमाहुरतृणाद इति । 'तस्मिन् सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितं यच्च प्राणिति यच्च न' इति  पयसि हीदं सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितं यच्च प्राणिति यच्च न । तद्यदिदमाहुः संवत्सरं पयसा जुह्वदप पुनर्मृत्युं जयतीति, न तथा विद्यात्; यदहरेव जुहोति तदहः पुनर्मृत्युमपजयत्येवं विद्वान्, सर्वं हि देवेभ्योऽन्नाद्यं प्रयच्छति । 'कस्मात्तानि न क्षीयन्तेऽद्यमानानि सर्वदा' इति पुरुषो वा अक्षिति, स हीदमन्त्रं पुनः पुनर्जनयते । 'यो वैतामक्षितिं वेद' इति पुरुषो वा अक्षिति, स हीदमन्नं धिया धिया जनयते कर्मभिः यद्धेतन्न कुर्यात्क्षीयेत ह; 'सोऽन्नमत्ति प्रतीकेन' इति मुखं प्रतीकम्, मुखेनेत्येतत् । 'स देवानपिगच्छति, स ऊर्जमुपजीवति' इति प्रशंसा ॥२॥

2. Of the seven (kinds of) food, which the father produced by (virtue of) knowledge and action, i.e., the father produced the food verily by knowledge and action, one of them was common (for all) i.e., whatsoever is eaten here, that alone is this common food. Whosoever worships this (food), he is not freed of evil, for this is common (food for all ). Two he divided among the gods, i.e., (making of) offering (in the fire), and (making of) sacrifice. Therefore (one) sacrifices and makes offerings for the gods. But (some) say (it means) new moon and full moon (sacrifices). Therefore (one) should not be a sacrificer for material ends. One (food) he gave for animals. It is milk, for in the beginning men and animals live upon milk only. Therefore (they) make the new-born babe to lick ghee or to suckle the breast only, in the beginning and (they say) about the new-born calf 'it does not eat grass'. All (beings) which breathe, which do not, subsist on that (food) alone i.e., all this, whatsoever breathes or does not, lives upon milk. Therefore (some) say this: 'one overcomes further death by offering milk for (a period of) one year'. (But) it should not be understood in such a manner. (It is said) on whichever day, such a knower makes offering, on that day itself, he overcomes the death, for he offers all eatable food for the gods. Why these foods, even though they are always eaten, do not get exhausted, i.e., the man is verily inexhaustibility, for he produces this food again and again. Whoever knows that (cause for) inexhaustibility i.e, that man is verily inexhaustibility, for he produces this food through understanding and through works. If he did not do that, then it would get exhausted. He eats the food through the mouth, mouth is the pratika (principal organ), (therefore) it means by the mouth. He attains gods, he lives upon nectar. Thus is the praise.

The seven kinds of food the father produced by virtue of knowledge and action. He effected this production through his jnana-sakti and kriya-sakti. By virtue of his knowledge, He knew that the creation must have something to live upon. He understood that something was essential which might nourish the entire creation and support it. As a result of such understanding or knowledge, He set himself to create that which He thought might support his creation. Hence, the mantra uses the two terms medha and tapa, denoting the above-said two processes involved in the production of food.

The division or classification of food is given. One food was common for all. Whatever is eaten here, that is the common food. This common food is verily the grains, corns, fruits and the like upon which all beings have their sustenance. It is common for all living beings, whether men or animals. All without any exception, eat food and thereby support their physical body.

This common food refers to the fruits of actions of every individual. Everyone enjoys the fruits of his actions which he has done in his past lives. In this case, one common law operates on all beings, and they enjoy the fruit of their individual actions referred to here as one common food. This common food which is the fruit of actions, is responsible for supporting the creation. In this sense, all beings without any exception, become the enjoyers, and the fruits of their actions become the one common food for their enjoyment. All naturally live upon this enjoyment and cherish these enjoyments more and more. These very enjoyments continue to live and they let live the creation, till at last they are completely annihilated by the Knowledge of the Supreme which fact the Upanishad later on declares while dealing on brahma-vidya in the subsequent chapters.

Further, those who apply themselves in enjoying these fruits and cherish a longing to enjoy them more and more, no doubt, maintain their existence, as it were. They are never released from evil. It is so because enjoyment nourishes craving, and craving produces further enjoyment, and the chain of craving and enjoyment, desire and action continues. The enjoyer has no scope for final salvation and freedom. The term papa which means sin or evil, as usual in such contexts, stands for sense-enjoyment which leads to further recurrence of birth and death. Enjoyment through the senses, of their respective objects, is common for all beings. Animals also enjoy through their senses. They enjoy pleasure and also suffer pain, as human beings do. Eating, sleeping, fear and excretion are common in both. Therefore, the mantra states that this food is common to both men and animals. If men who are endowed with the special privileges of discrimination, spiritual advancement and salvation, also just enjoy everything in common with animals and do not strive hard for spiritual progress, then they would never become free from the evil in the form of birth and death with all their pain and suffering.

Next come the two kinds of food provided for the gods. We have observed just now that gods are constituted of subtle elements, which are subtler than the gross elements out of which He projected the other grosser type of creation. Gods are shining ones. They do not have physical bodies, as human beings, animals and others have. They do not enjoy anything through their sense-organs. Still they partake of the enjoyments of every being. It is said sometimes that these gods do not eat through their mouth anything gross as we do, but are satisfied by merely looking at them. It is an age-old belief which is current even to this day, that gods live in the heaven which is full of pleasure, where they eat and enjoy what is offered to them in the sacrifice. The subtle essence of the gross offerings reaches them. Sometimes, when invoked, they come to the place of sacrifice and partake their share, of course, only the subtle essence of what is offered to them.

There is another view that the gods reside in the body itself, being the guardian deities of the individual organs. For example, hands have as their presiding and guardian deity, indra. Whatever enjoyment is acquired by the hands, goes to its deity indra. Likewise, all the other organs also have got their individual guardian deities who become the enjoyers of actions done by the respective organs. Hence, it is said that these gods are supported or rather maintained by the different organs.

But the popular belief, though a mystical one, is that gods are in heaven solely depending upon the offerings that are specially made for them, and upon those made in the sacrifices performed for their sake. In this way, they find their living and sustain their existence, and in turn, bless the sacrificer with appropriate rewards. Therefore, the text says that one sacrifices and makes offerings for the gods.

But some say that the terms 'huta' and 'prahuta' really mean 'New Moon' and 'Full Moon' sacrifices, respectively. These two sacrifices, enjoined by the scriptures to be performed on the new moon and full moon days, are of special value, as they form the model for all sacrifices of the types called ishti, which include a large number of offerings for achieving special ends. Hence, they should be performed for the sake of gods, without any selfish motive such as progeny, wealth and heaven, by the aspirants for liberation. The sacrificer who is a spiritual sadhaka should not, as a special rule, desire for son, wealth or heaven, but perform them in a selfless spirit. If he performs them for his material ends, then he will be under obligation to those gods who fulfil his wishes. He will be a slave to those gods, as animals are to men. And they will obstruct his becoming free by achieving salvation. Therefore, let him perform sacrifices and make offerings to the gods without any selfish motive and thus support their existence, and thereby command mastership over them.

The one food which the Creator gave for animals refers to milk given to all men and animals by the mother. The term 'animal' stands for human babies as well as the young ones of animals, because both receive their nourishment from milk alone. It is a custom to make the new-born babe lick ghee (clarified butter) which is a product of milk or to suckle the breast. And about the new-born calf indicative of the young ones of all animals, it is said that it does not eat grass, to denote that all of them subsist on milk.

That which breathes and which does not, verily subsists on milk. How can it be said that even inanimate things, like mountains and forests live upon milk? It is because milk here is taken to mean the primary cause. Milk is the essential offering in almost all the sacrifices. It is declared and established by srutis as well as smritis that the entire universe has been created as a result of the offerings made in the sacrifices. It is the result of previous action that is the cause of worldly existence. It is said that one overcomes further death by offering milk for a period of one year. It is also said that on the day on which one makes the milk-offering with the knowledge of this great truth of existence, he overcomes death. Such a knower need not continue to offer 360 or 720 oblations, at the rate of 1 or 2 oblations respectively, every day. Through this sacrifice and offering, one attains identity with the Creator and thus overcomes further death.

The above-mentioned view in the Upanishad is a mystical camouflage, and therefore, very difficult to comprehend. Perhaps it means that all beings, whether animate or inanimate, live upon some kind of food. Milk, in this case, should not be interpreted literally. Of course, in case of human babes and animals, it can be applied literally to mean milk itself. But, in other cases it should be taken to mean the source of existence. Water and air are milk for plants and trees. Heat and earth are milk for minerals, and so on. The term paya in the text, which literally means 'milk', at the same time stands for water and food in general. So then the entire creation is supported by nourishment which is milk among the men and animals, and earth, manure, water, air, heat and so on in the case of plants, minerals, etc. This passage is to be understood thus.

Therefore, it is not correct to say that merely by making offering of the milk in fire for a full year, one overcomes death. The statement should not be understood in its literal sense. He who knows its implication, the truth about food that brings about immortality, becomes identical with the Creator and thus overcomes death, for he offers all eatable foods to the gods. He does not consume to satisfy the cravings of his sense-organs like the animals and the ignorant.

The three foods, which the Creator kept for himself will be explained in the next mantra, because they do not belong to physical sphere to which the other four belong.

Now the question is, why and how these foods do not get exhausted, even though they are being constantly consumed by men, animals, gods and the Creator himself. Anything that is consumed must come to an end. This should have happened in the case of these foods also. The answer is that this man is verily the cause for its inexhaustibility. It is like this:

The impressions of all experiences, pleasurable and miserable, are embedded in each individual, in the chitta, the sub-conscious and unconscious levels of the mind. Owing to the force of stimuli, either from within or from without, these impressions rise up to the conscious level, expand and express themselves as speech and actions and give rise to further experiences. The individual mind is a storehouse of impressions, pre-dispositions and predilections even at the time of its birth within a physical frame. While enjoying the objects of senses during the life in one particular body, it gains many more impressions, and these are added to the store which it has inherited right through all its past lives. So long as these impressions are there, the individual will be bound to add many more to their store. Every sense-experience leaves back in the chitta a specific impression. The memory of a particular sense-experience springs from that impression which has thus been formed.

Just as a seed gives rise to a tree and a tree in turn brings forth seeds, even so, an impression gives rise to a craving and a craving in turn results in a fresh impression. A craving first results in enjoyment, the enjoyment produces an experience in the mind, that experience forms an impression, and that impression in turn causes again the craving for further enjoyment. Thus there is the cyclic chain of cause and effect. Hence, this inexhaustibility of food is explained with the help of the analogy of seed and tree.

Even though the individual dies, this so-called inexhaustibility of food continues. The unfulfilled desires in the form of thoughts and impressions of actions and enjoyments, follow the individual even after death. These are the variable upadhis that accompany the individual after death. They are variable, because the individual carries different kinds of sense-impressions, each time when he dies. In different incarnations, he stores up innumerable sense-impressions by virtue of his ceaseless experiences. These are the permanent upadhis, that accompany the individual after death. They are the five jnanendriyas, five karmendriyas, five pranas, the four-fold mind constituting the astral body and the karana-sarira which is the support for the astral body. In this way, the individual creates new venues of experience every time, in every incarnation, maintains the inexhaustibility of his experiences which are responsible for the continuity of his individuality. Therefore, the text says that the Creator produces this food through understanding and through works. If the impressions of the sense-enjoyments are obliterated by the acquisition of brahma-jnana, then the food on which the individuality is maintained would be exhausted, completely annihilated.

Now the process of eating is mentioned. He eats the food through this mouth. The term 'mouth' is to be taken in the sense of all organs of perception and experience. Just as one eats the ordinary food through one's mouth, even so, one experiences the different perceptions such as form, sound, smell and touch through the respective sense-organs. All objects are the food of the organs. Here, the 'mouth' stands for all organs of sense-perception.

In praise of this meditation, it is stated that he who knows thus attains the celestial worlds and lives on nectar.

'त्रीण्यात्मनेऽकुरुत' इति मनो वाचं पारणम्, तान्यात्मनेऽकुरुत; 'अन्यत्रमना अभूवम्, नादर्शम्,’‘अन्यत्रमना अभूवम्, नाश्रौषम्' इति, मनसा ह्येव पश्यति, मनसा शृणोति । कामः संकल्पो विचिकित्सा श्रद्धाऽश्रद्धा धृतिरधृतिर्हीींर्धीर्भीरित्येतत्सर्वं मन एव; तस्मादपि पृष्ठत उपस्पृष्टो मनसा विजानाति यः कश्य शब्दो वागेव सा । एषा ह्यन्तमायत्ता, एषा हि न; प्राणोऽपानो व्यान उदानः समानेऽन इत्येतत्सर्वं प्राण एव एतन्मयो वा अयमात्मा, वाङ्मयो मनोमयः प्राणमयः ॥ ३ ॥

3. He kept three (kinds of foods) for himself, the mind, speech and prana-these (three) he kept for himself. (So they say) 'I was absent-minded (therefore) did not see; I was absent-minded, (therefore) did not hear'. Verily, with the mind alone (one) sees, with the mind (one) hears. Desire, resolution or determination, doubt or uncertainty, faith and no-faith, steadiness and unsteadiness, modesty, intelligence and fear-all this is mind alone. Therefore, when touched even from behind, (one) knows by the mind. Whatever sound (is there) it (is) speech alone, for it extends up to the end. But it is not (subjected to revelation). prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana (and) ana all this is prana only. This body is composed of these-composed of speech, composed of mind (and) composed of prana.

The three kinds of food which the Creator kept for himself were mind, speech and the vital force.

Between the individual and the organs of sense, a connecting link is necessary. If we do not admit the mind, there would occur either perpetual perception or perpetual non-perception. There would be perpetual perception when there is a conjunction of the individual, the senses and the objects, the three constituting the factors of perception. If on the conjunction of these three causes, the effect does not follow, there would be perpetual non-perception. But, neither is the case. We have, therefore, to acknowledge the existence of an internal organ, on whose intervention and non-intervention, perception and non-perception respectively take place.

Moreover, sense-knowledge is the product of the connection between the mind and the sense-organs, That is why there is no simultaneity of knowledge of the impressions received through the various sense-organs. The text cites the instance of our saying: 'my mind was elsewhere and therefore I did not see; my mind was elsewhere and therefore I did not hear', and so on. The impossibility of the simultaneity of knowledge through various sense-organs, is an indication of the existence of mind which supports all types of cognitions. When your mind is wholly absorbed in deep study of some interesting book, you cannot hear even if a man shouts, because the mind is not there. When you seriously think of a problem, you can neither see, nor hear, nor feel. The senses, despite their existence, do not receive attention from the mind simultaneously. If the mind is once for all disconnected from the senses, then the individual activities will die, out of starvation. Therefore, to sustain the life in an individual as well as in the cosmic counterpart, mind is an indispensable factor. Mind underlies all cognitions. Without the mind no form of cognition could have existed, and eventually no creation could have been possible. Hence, the mind is considered as the food of the Creator. Through the cosmic mind alone, the Creator is able to effect cognition. If it were not so, and the mind were absent, then no perception, no cognition would have been rendered possible. Verily, says the text, with the mind alone one sees, with the mind alone one hears. In the same way, every possible sense-experience takes place with the mind alone. This internal organ which is called mind in the individual as well as in the cosmic Being, has different characteristics. They are desire, resolution or determination, doubt or uncertainty, faith and absence of faith, steadiness and unsteadiness, modesty, intelligence, fear, etc. All these are mind alone in its different modes of expression and cognition.

There is one more proof for the existence of the mind as the sole support of all cognitions and experiences. Even when the object does not come face to face before you as in the case when you are touched on your back by someone, you are able to discriminate, whether the touch is by the hand or by the knee or by something else. This is due to the mind only, because you are not seeing with your eyes the object which comes in contact with your skin at the back. If this discriminating factor called mind were not there, the skin could not have known anything by itself. Mind, therefore, is the support for all cognitions and responsible for all sense-perceptions.

Now that we have known about the mind and its part in the scheme of cognition and perception, let us analyse speech, which is the second support of creation. Speech is the power or medium of expression. It is the sole support for name, the first of the triple cause of creation, viz., name, form and action. Whatever sound there is here, whether articulate produced by the mouth or inarticulate like the sound of a drum or clouds, comes under speech. Speech underlies all forms of sound vibrations. It is the revealer of knowledge, and hence, it is said to be the cause of all types of revelations. "If there were no speech, then", says the Chhandogya Upanishad, "neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither pleasant nor unpleasant would be known and speech indeed makes all this known" (VII-ii-1), "Revelation of all knowledge has for its support the speech" - says this Upanishad in II-iv-11.

Speech is the expression of consciousness in the process of creation. Without it, creation would be empty, and life meaningless. The entire order of creation depends upon speech. Culture and civilisation flourish in the bosom of speech. It is not simply onomatopoeic or interjectional. It is divine and infinite. "Speech is what is expressed or revealed" - states another Upanishad. "When the sun has set and the moon also does not shine, when the fire blazes no more, what is that which illumines the being? Verily, it is speech that illumines"-states mantra IV-iii-5 of this Upanishad wherein a beautiful description about speech is given, which makes the present topic very clear. Again Yajnavalkya says to Janaka: "Verily, by speech, Your Majesty, a friend is recognised. By speech alone, Your Majesty, the rigveda, the yajurveda, the samaveda, the hymns of atharvaveda, itihasas, puranas, sciences, Upanishads, verses, aphorisms, explanations, commentaries, what is offered in sacrifice as oblation, food and drink, this world and the other, and all beings are known" IV-i-2. Speech is the only medium for the expression of thought. The two are, of course, thus correlated. Heyse and Max Mueller have supported this view with staunch arguments, like Bhartrihari who says: "no form of knowledge can be comprehended without the medium of speech". If we go deep into the mystic nature of speech, then we will find that this speech is not the ordinary speech we are engaged in our everyday life which is the grossest expression and goes by the name of vaikhari. There are two subtler forms called madhyama and pasyanti. Real speech is not even these two. It is para which is the subtlest and infinite. It is the primary cause of the entire creation. It is immanent in the entire creation, in the form of very subtle vibrations, the essence of the sum-total of which is the mystic-syllable OM, the pranava. The pranava is the main principle of sound or speech. The entire wealth of speech is the immanence of pranava which has expressed itself in the form of perceptible creation. And this pranava is the bosom for the space-time factor, and yet transcendent. This is what the Upanishad means by the term vak which is translated as speech. It will be said later on "Speech is indeed the supreme Being" (IV-i-2). So then speech supports the entire show of the cosmos, in the form of this expressed and revealed universe of umpteen names, but itself remains unrevealed. It is not subjected to revelation by another, just like a glowing lamp which illumines other things does not require to be illumined by any other lamp.

prana is the vital force which sustains all types of actions. It has no form of its own. It has been said (I-iii-22) that the vital force is equal to the size of a white-ant, equal to the size of a mosquito, equal to the size of an elephant, equal to the body of these three worlds, equal to this universe, etc. This clearly indicates that the vital force is all-pervading. It acquires the shape of the body it pervades.

Prana represents the expression of the universe. Had there been no prana, how could all things in the creation exist and grow! It is verily prana which supports the entire manifestation, and therefore, it is considered to be the food of prajapati, the Creator. Just as one cannot live without food, even so, this manifested universe cannot exist in the absence of prana. This very prana is named differently, while functioning in different centres of the microcosm, the individual. prana is that vital force which is responsible for inhalation. It has its seat in the lungs. Its range of movement is towards the mouth and nostrils and therefrom it issues in front. apana is that vital force which is responsible for expiration. It moves downwards and out at the anus. It is situated in the anus region. It carries excrements and urine out of the body. vyana is that vital force which is responsible for circulation. It is diffused through the whole body and causes energetic actions. It regulates prana and apana. That vital force called udana is responsible for eructation. It is situated in the throat. It enters into the head and causes departure from the body. samana is that vital force which is responsible for digestion. It has its seat in the cavity of the navel. ana is that vital force which is the general form of these functions. It is responsible for all activities of the body. It is united with the common efforts of the body. This is the analysis of prana in its microcosmic aspect.

Its activities with reference to the macrocosm are given in the Prasna Upanishad III-8 and 9. It states that the sun rises externally as prana; the divinity which is in the earth is the out-breath, apana; that which is between the sun and the earth, viz., space is the equalising breath, samana; the wind is the diffused breath vyana; and luminosity is the up-breath, udana. ana is the energy responsible for all activities in the macrocosmic plane.

This body of the individual, as well as of the virat is composed of mind, speech and prana. The entire creation has for its support these three- the mind, speech and prana. As is the case with the microcosm, so with macrocosm too. The divine mind, the divine speech and the divine prana keep going the macrocosm. Likewise, the individual mind, the individual speech and the individual prana sustain life in the microcosm. So, these three are said to be the food of the Creator in the mystic terminology of the Upanishad.

The Upanishad now explains the aforesaid threefold forces which sustain the existence of every individual, in terms of the macrocosm. In mantras 4 to 10, the Upanishad identifies the mind, speech and the prana with the three worlds, three vedas, threefold beings, threefold progeny, and threefold knowledge. These are for purposes of meditation.

त्रयो लोक एत एव; वागेवायं लोकः मनोऽन्तरिक्षलोकः प्राणोऽसौ लोक

4. These (three) indeed are the three worlds. Speech is verily this world. Mind is the sky (and) prana is that world (heaven).

The mind, speech and prana are verily immanent in all the worlds. This world, the earth, is identical with speech. The sky is identical with the mind. And the heaven is identical with the prana. These three, i.e., mind, speech and prana, support, as it were, these three worlds. Through this meditation, the aspirant becomes one with the whole of the outer world. He is no more a separate entity, and the world is not distinct from and external to him, as it used to be before. The world is he and he is the world. This is the result of this meditation.

त्रयो वेदा एत एव; वागेवर्वेदः मनो यजुर्वेदः प्राणः सामवेदः ॥५ ॥

5. These (three) indeed are the three vedas. Speech is verily rigveda, mind is yajurveda and prana is samaveda.

देवाः पितरो मनुष्या एत एव; वागेव देवाः, मनः पितरः प्राणो मनुष्याः ॥६ ॥

6. These (are) verily the gods, the manes and the men. Speech indeed is the gods, mind the manes, and prana the men.

पिता माता प्रजैत एव; मन एव पिता, वाङ्माता, प्राणः प्रजा ॥७ ॥

7. These indeed are the father, the mother (and) the offspring. Mind is the father, speech is the mother and prana is the offspring.

Again, these three-speech, mind and prana - are to be meditated as (i) the rigveda, yajurveda and samaveda, (ii) gods, manes and men, and (iii) mother, father and the offspring, respectively.

rigveda is the source of all mantras and speech is their expression, and therefore, they are identical. yajurveda is the extract from rigveda and the relation between the two is similar to the relation between the speech and the mind. Hence, the mind is identical with the yajurveda. samaveda is the essence of the rigveda set in tune, and it is more difficult to understand even as prana is very inscrutable. Thus the three vedas have to be identified with the speech, mind and prana through meditation. The result of this meditation is possession of all knowledge which becomes one within him.

The second meditation is on the speech, mind and prana as identical with the denizens of the three worlds, the gods in the heavens, the manes in the intermediate region, and men in this world. This meditation sets in tune everything perceived through the organs, the mind and one's own being.

The third meditation on speech, mind and prana as mother, father, and progeny effects identification of oneself with the members of the family.

Thus, these three meditations do away with the distinctions of oneself from the knowledge outside, the inhabitants of the three worlds, and the family members, leaving nothing to remain outside one's Self. The existence of the 'Subject' to the exclusion of the 'object', is asserted through these meditations.

The above four mantras, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are meant to glorify the immanence of mind, speech and prana in the entire cosmos, in the universal knowledge, in the entire beings and in the entire scheme of creation. The Upanishad will say later on: 'all this is infinite', meaning these three forces constitute everything in this universe.

विज्ञातं विजिज्ञास्यमविज्ञातमेत एव; यत्किंच विज्ञातं वाचस्तद्रूपम्, वाग्घि विज्ञाता; वागेनं तद्भूत्वावति ॥८ ॥

8. These indeed are (what is) known, (what is) to be known, and (what is) unknown. Whatever is known is of the nature of speech. For, speech is the knower. Speech protects him by becoming that.

This mantra makes a broad classification of the whole universe into three categories - the already known, that is yet to be known, and the unknown. The Upanishad says that whatever is already known, comprehended or enlightened, is to be identified with speech. Because, speech itself underlies all knowledge and all revelation. It is said elsewhere: "speech illuminates everything", and "speech is the only support for knowledge". More about speech has already been said in mantra 3 of this section.

One who knows the above-mentioned nature of speech, him speech protects, by becoming his support. Nothing in this known world stands as an obstruction before him. He himself becomes identified with the visible world.

यत्किंच विजिज्ञास्यं मनसस्तद्रूपम्, मनो हि विजिज्ञास्यम्; मन एवं तद्भूत्वावति ॥९ ॥

9. Whatever is to be known, is of the nature of the mind. For, mind is (what is) to be known. Mind protects him by becoming that.

In the same manner, whatever is to be known is to be identified with the mind. Because mind has a distinct characteristic which is the desire to know more and more. Mind is never satisfied with any amount of knowledge. Its nature is to know something more than it already knows. However, some hold that the mind has the nature of doubting about things yet to be known. Mind is not as easily understood as speech. So, it is identified with what is yet to be known, which remains vague and less clear than what is already known.

यत्किंचाविज्ञातं प्राणस्य तद्रूपम्, प्राणो ह्यविज्ञातः; प्राण एनं तद्भूत्वावति ॥१० ॥

10. Whatever is unknown is of the nature of prana. For, prana is unknown. prana protects him by becoming that.

prana, the vital force is unknown. It is extremely subtle and not comprehensible. And so is all that is unknown. This is the similarity for the purpose of meditation. Further, prana which is the same as hiranyagarbha in the cosmic aspect, is generally unknown by the individual mind. Hence it is identified with the unknown. He who meditates thus is protected by the cosmic prana.

तस्यै वाचः पृथिवी शरीरम्, ज्योतीरूपमयमग्नि; तद्यावत्येव वाक्, तावती पृथिवी, तावानयमग्निः ॥ ११ ॥

अथैतस्य मनसो द्यौः शरीरम्, ज्योतीरूपमसावादित्यः तद्यावदेव मन तावती द्यौः, तावानसावादित्य, तौ मिथुनं समैताम्, ततः प्राणोऽजायत, स इन्द्रः स एषोऽसपत्नः, द्वितीयो वै सपल, नास्य सपनो भवति य एवं वेद ॥१२॥

अथैतस्य प्राणस्यापः शरीरम्, ज्योतीरूपमसौ चन्द्र; तद्यावदेव प्राणः तावत्य आपः, तावानसौ चन्द्रः; त एते सर्व एव समाः सर्वेऽनन्ताः स यो हैतानन्तवत उपास्तेऽन्तवन्तं स लोकं जयति; अथ यो हैताननन्तानुपास्तेऽनन्तं स लोकं जयति ॥१३॥

11. (This) earth is the body of that speech. This fire (is its) luminous nature. Therefore, as far as the speech (extends), so far (is) the earth (and) so far (is) this fire.

12. Now, the heaven is the body of this mind. That sun is (its) luminous nature. Therefore, just as far as the mind (extends) so far (extends) the heaven (and) so far that sun. Both of them came to unite. From that (union) prana was born. It is the indra. It is without a rival; verily, a second (entity) is a rival. He has no rival, who knows thus.

13. Now, the waters (are) the body of this prana. That moon (is) its luminous nature. Therefore, just as far as the prana (extends) so far (extend) the waters, (and) so far that moon. Verily these are all alike. All are infinite. He who worships these as finite, conquers finite world. And, he who worships these as infinite, conquers infinite world.

One should meditate on earth as the body of speech, and on fire which is the presiding deity of speech as its luminous organ or content. Thus, the vocal organ of hiranyagarbha should be meditated upon as having two forms, one the body, the non-luminous effect, and the other, the organ, its luminous content. Similarly, Heaven is the non-luminous body of the mind and the sun its form or luminous organ. And water is the body of prana and the moon its form or luminous organ. The prana was born, as a result of union of speech with the mind, as fire and sun. This prana should be meditated as the secondless one throughout. All these, speech, mind and prana and their respective bodies and luminous organs extend only as far as the relative universe. As far as there are the speech, the mind and prana, so far are earth, heaven and waters, as also fire, sun and moon. All these are equal in extent and infinite. Each of these is infinite, for it pervades the whole universe in its aspect of the body and the elements. If one meditates upon these which are really not different from the universal hiranyagarbha, as finite in their aspects relating to either the body or the elements, then he is born as finite, a result commensurate with the meditation practised. On the other hand, one who meditates upon them as infinite wins the infinite world of hiranyagarbha.

स एष संवत्सरः प्रजापतिः षोडशकलः, तस्य रात्रय एव पञ्चदश कलाः, धुवैवास्य षोडशी कला; स रात्रिभिरेवा च पूर्यतेऽप च क्षीयते; सोऽमावास्यां रात्रिमेतया षोडश्या कलया सर्वमिदं प्राणभृदनुप्रविश्य ततः प्रातर्जायते; तस्मादेतां रात्रिं प्राणभृतः प्राणं न विच्छिन्द्यात्, अपि कृकलासस्य, एतस्या एव देवताया अपचित्यै ॥१४॥

14. That prajapati (who is known as) the year, has sixteen kalas. Nights are alone its fifteen kalas. Its sixteenth kala is fixed. He waxes and wanes by nights. Penetrating into all these living beings, through this sixteenth kala on the new moon night, it is born therefrom in the morning. Therefore, in honour of this very deity, one should not cut off the life of any living being on this night, not even of a chameleon.

This prajapati who has speech, mind and prana as his food or support, is here described as the year or time-factor. He is composed of sixteen units (aspects), just as the lunar fortnights consist of sixteen digits, fifteen lunar days and one constant digit which does not fluctuate like the other fifteen. Out of these sixteen units of the Creator, the fifteen units represent the entire relative time factor (past, present and future), and the sixteenth unit represents Eternity which is the invariable concomitance.

Just as the lunar days and nights increase and decrease by the waxing and waning of the moon, in the same way the entire time-principle which represents prajapati, is fluctuating. But, there is that constant unit, like the new-moon night which neither waxes nor wanes and which is a link between the threefold divisions of time, permeating the entire body of time.

In the vajasaneyi samhita, prajapati is referred to as having sixteen units (aspects). The same prajapati is here said to have sixteen parts. To explain it further, the Upanishadic seer presents us the analogy of lunar days which increase during bright fortnight by virtue of the moon's waxing, and decrease during dark fortnight, leaving the fixed unit on the new-moon night.

This wonderful conception of sixteen-foldness of the Creator has found a prominent place in other Upanishads also. In the sixth chapter of the Prasnopanishad, the Person with sixteen units has been discussed in detail. In the seventh section of the 6th chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad, this sixteen-foldness is adduced to a man who is His most distinct manifestation.

This sixteen-foldness of the Creator which is also known as the microcosm, merges back into the macrocosm, the Creator, when the knowledge of the Supreme dawns. Here, prajapati represents the macrocosm and its sixteen-foldness is parallel to the microcosm, this creation consisting of time, space and their other invariable concomitants.

The fifteen parts of prajapati undergo fluctuation, increase and decrease in this creation, but the sixteenth unit is the fixed and constant one which permeates the entire creation and at the same time is transcendent. It is a link which is the unitary basis of the manifold world and its entire phenomena. Through this constant and eternal aspect, the universe is projected again and again at the beginning of every cycle, just as the lunar day is born after the total waning of the moon on the new-moon night and emerges in the next morning.

Therefore, in honour of this deity prajapati, who is compared with the moon here, no one should cut off the life of any living being on this night. No one should kill any living creature here in this world, not even a chameleon which is considered generally as quite vicious and inauspicious. Just as one should not cause any death on the new-moon night, not even of a very vicious creature, in the same way causing death to any creature is forbidden for all, at all times. There is no exception, whatsoever, because the entire manifold universe consisting of time and other factors, is permeated by the sixteenth, eternal aspect of prajapati.

यो वै स संवत्सरः प्रजापतिः षोडशकलः, अयमेव स योऽयमेवंवित्पुरुषः तस्य वित्तमेव पञ्चदश कला; आत्मैवास्य षोडशी कला, स वित्तेनैवा च पूर्यतेऽप च क्षीयते; तदेतन्नभ्यं यदयमात्मा, प्रधिर्वित्तम्; तस्माद्यद्यपि सर्वज्यानिं जीयते, आत्मना चेज्जीवति, प्रधिनागादित्येवाहुः ॥१५ ॥

15. That prajapati who is (known as) samvatsara and is possessed of sixteen kalas, is indeed this person who knows this. Wealth indeed is his fifteen kalas. The body is verily his sixteenth kala. Verily by (virtue of) wealth he waxes as well as wanes. That which is this body is (like) the nave of a wheel. Wealth is (like) the periphery. Therefore, even though (one) suffers wholesale loss, if the body lives, they say: '(He) is only deprived of (periphery-like) outfit'.

Now, that prajapati who is identified with time and whose fifteen parts are these manifold universes and the constant part is eternity, is here in the microcosm, this person who has identified himself with prajapati through the knowledge of the above-mentioned relation between the eternal and non-eternal.

And this person who is human in form consists of sixteen parts, as has been said in the Chhandogya Upanishad, and also in the Prasna Upanishad. Even here within the body is that person from whom they say the sixteen parts arise. So, the prajapati is sixteenfold, and so is this human person also.

What are the fifteen parts of this human person which fluctuate like the lunar days, i.e., increase and decrease, and which is the constant and unfluctuating unit? The text says that wealth indeed is his fifteen parts and this body is the sixteenth part. This wealth is cattle, money, property and such other possessions of man by which he is able to perform actions and accomplish his desires in this earth. These possessions of man sometimes increase and sometimes decrease. There is a regular fluctuation in the nature of these earthly possessions. The sixteenth part of the individual is non-fluctuating, because it is the unitary ground for all actions and accomplishments in this earth.

This is again explained through the analogy of a wheel. This analogy occurs in more than one Upanishad (See Mun. Up. II-ii-6, Pra. Up. II-6, Chh. Up. VII-xv-1, Kau. Up. III-8, and Sv. Up. 1-4). This body, which is the fixed unit, corresponds to the nave of a wheel, and the wealth to its periphery (felloe). Therefore, even though one is deprived of the material wealth and suffers the loss of all his earthly possessions, if his body is alive, safe and sound, it is said that he has lost only his outfit. That is to say, if the man is alive, he will again make good the loss that he has suffered, just as the carpenter fits up the periphery easily, if the nave is in tact.

This is the completeness of man. With this completeness, he performs fivefold actions and sacrifices, effects progeny and accomplishes wealth and possession, vide mantra I-iv-17. The next mantra deals with those mediums by which one conquers the different phases of this universe.

अथ त्रयो वाव लोकाः - मनुष्यलोकः पितृलोको देवलोक इति; सोऽयं मनुष्यलोकः पुत्रेणैव जय्य, नान्येन कर्मणा; कर्मणा पितृलोकः, विद्यया देवलोकः; देवलोको वै लोकानां श्रेष्ठ, तस्माद्विद्यां प्रशंसन्ति ॥१६ ॥

16. Now, worlds are three only-the world of men, the world of manes, the world of gods. This world of men is attainable through a son and not by any other karma. The world of manes (is attainable) by karma. The world of gods (is attainable) by knowledge. Of (all) the worlds the world of gods is the best. Therefore (they) praise knowledge.

It has been observed by the seers that there are three worlds where beings flourish and live in three different levels of consciousness. They are the worlds of men, this physical world; of manes where the forefathers reside; and of gods where celestials live. The world of men can be attained through progeny as the next mantra explains, because the son alone becomes the means of accomplishing all karmas which the father has been unable to perform. A dutiful son earns name and fame for the father. Even after death, his name is remembered through progeny. Therefore, all wish for a son who would take charge of their duties and perform them and thus keep up the family's greatness. The father transmits the duties to the son for the same purpose. It is further said that this world is attained through no other means but through son alone, which means that the completion of actions is accomplished by the son only and not through the father's performance of karmas or meditation.

The world of forefathers is to be attained through karma alone, and not through son, nor through meditation. It has been already said: 'Insofar as he offers libations to the manes and raises progeny, he becomes their support' (I-iv-16), which means that by performing rites and sacrifices, he attains to the world of the manes, after death. There he enjoys the merits of his karmas and on their exhaustion, he takes another body in this world.

Similarly, the world of the shining ones, the gods, is attainable through knowledge, understanding and meditation, and by no other means such as progeny or sacrifice. It is so, because this world of gods is very subtle. It cannot be acquired by material and gross instruments or means such as the son and rituals. Those who are able to meditate and understand the subtle meaning of the scriptures and practise meditation, attain to the world of gods and become identified with those shining ones, by virtue of their purity and knowledge. The scriptures speak of seven worlds of the celestials, bhuh, bharvah, svah, mahah, janah, tapah, and satya, of which the first three are said to be mortal and the last four divine. "Not by progeny, nor through rituals, nor again through wealth, but by renunciation alone is immortality attained", is the bold declaration of the Mahanarayana Upanishad. As one rises to the higher realms of Consciousness, which are symbolised by these worlds, one approaches one's own Self nearer and nearer and actions become lesser and lesser. These higher realms are reached through meditation after understanding the truth about the nature of oneself, the world and the divine.

As regards the world of men which is attainable through progeny, the text says:

अथातः संप्रत्तिः – यदा प्रैष्यन्मन्यतेऽथ पुत्रमाह्न त्वं ब्रह्म, त्वं यज्ञः, त्वं लोक इति; स पुत्रः प्रत्याह अहं ब्रह्म, अहं यज्ञः अहं लोक इति; यद्वै किंचानूक्तं तस्य सर्वस्य ब्रह्मेत्येकता। ये वै के च यज्ञास्तेषां सर्वेषां यज्ञ इत्येकता; ये वै के च लोकास्तेषां सर्वेषां लोक इत्येकता; एतावद्वा इदं सर्वम्ः एतन्मा सर्वं सन्नयमितोऽभुनजदिति, तस्मान् पुत्रमनुशिष्टं लोक्यमाहुः तस्मादेनमनु- शासति; स यदैवंविदस्माल्लोकाौति, अथैभिरेव प्राणैः सह पुत्रमाविशति । स यद्यनेन किंचिदक्ष्णयाऽकृतं भवति, तस्मादेनं सर्वस्मात्पुत्रो मुञ्चति, तस्मात्पुत्रो नामः स पुत्रेणैवास्मिल्लोके प्रतितिष्ठति, अथैनमेते दैवाः प्राणा अमृता आविशन्ति ॥ १७ ॥

17. Now, therefore, handing over (of the duties). When (the father) thinks he is to die (he) then says to the son: "you are Brahman, you are the sacrifice, you are the world". (Having heard this) that son repeats: "I am Brahman, I am the sacrifice, I am the world". (Then the father once again instructs him) "Whatever has been read, all that is identified with (the word) 'Brahman', whatever sacrifices (there are) all those are identified with (the word) 'sacrifice', whatever worlds (there are), all those are identified with (the word) 'world'. Just this much is all this. He will protect me from this, by being all this." Therefore, an instructed son is said to be useful in attaining the world. Therefore (father) instructs him. When such a knower departs from this world, then he, together with these very organs, enters (into) the son. If anything is undone by him through negligence, this son liberates him from all that. Therefore, a son is so called. He continues to exist in this world through the son alone. These divine and immortal organs enter (in) him.

A similar type of description occurs in the Kaushitaki Upanishad, mantra II-10, where the father about to die, calls his son and transmits to him, his speech, breath, eye, ear, taste, karmas, pleasure and pain, bliss, delight and procreation, departure, mind, intelligence and lastly, if perchance he becomes unable to speak, his prana, and thus shifts or hands over his entire being to his son, in order to complete the undone and the incomplete karmas which have been left off for some reason or the other. Here, the father when he feels that he is about to die, calls his son and tells him thus: "You are Brahman, you are the sacrifice, you are the world", and the son in turn replies: "I am Brahman, I am sacrifice and I am the world". Then, the father explains to him the import of these triplets thus: "Whatever has already been read by me or remains to be read, belongs to you, because with the word 'Brahman' all studies are identified. Whatever sacrifices I have already performed, or remain yet to be performed, belong to you, because with the word 'sacrifice' all sacrifices are identified. Whatever worlds I have already won or remain yet to be won by me, belong to you, because with the word 'world' all the worlds are identified." This is a ritual combined with contemplation called samprattih in this mantra.

The father thus transfers all his studies, sacrifices and worlds to his son and entrusts him with the duty of continuing and completing them himself. Then the Upanishad says: "Just this much is all this", meaning study, sacrifice and attaining the worlds - these are the only duties that the son takes charge of for their accomplishment. By transferring these threefold duties to the son and by his taking charge of them, the father is freed of all sorts of earthly and unearthly obligations which he owes to sages, forefathers and gods, in the form of study, sacrifice and meditation. Therefore, the son who is thoroughly instructed, becomes a medium in attaining all the three worlds.

When the father departs, he enters into the son, says the mantra. He together with his entire organs, the speech, mind and prana becomes identified with his son. In this case, if anything that has remained undone by the father through some reason or the other and which might tie him to this earth, the son fulfils that unaccomplished task and liberates his father from those obligations. It is said that the father who has no son and who dies with his duties unfulfilled, attains the hell, known as put. Because a son delivers his father from that hell called put, he is called putra. Through discharging the appointed and unfulfilled duties, the son helps the departed spirit of his father to attain a higher world than would otherwise be possible, and hence is a son called putra. The relation that exists between the father and the son is a spiritual one. In this way, the father, even after his death, continues to live in the world in the body of his son and attains the world of men. This is the case with ordinary people who do not practise meditation. But in the case of those who practise meditation, these divine and immortal organs, speech, mind and vital force permeate him. He becomes identical with hiranyagarbha and is no longer bound to the earthly ties. This result reveals that this ritual-cum-meditation is a spiritual one, unlike others which yield only temporal results.

How does this identification take place? The process is mentioned in the following three mantras.

पृथिव्यै चैनमग्नेश्च दैवी वागाविशति; सा वै दैवी वाग्यया यद्यदेव वदति तत्तद्भवति ॥ १८ ॥

18. From the earth and fire the divine speech enters (into) him. That indeed is the divine speech by which whatever (he) says, all that happens.

From the earth and fire, which are the body and nature of speech respectively, the divine speech enters into this father, who has been freed of all earthly ties by his able and instructed son. His vocal organ, having been disconnected from all evils, becomes identical with the cosmic speech, just as a river becomes merged in the ocean, or the light of a lamp merges with the light outside when the obstruction placed before it is removed. This divine speech is of cosmic form, and therefore, a highly potential one. It has been rendered pure by the removal of individuality, attachment, falsehood, etc. Through this purified speech, whatever is said comes to happen, because it is infallible and irresistible. This is to show the all-powerful nature of the cosmic speech and the glory of one who identifies with it through this meditation.

दिवश्चैनमादित्याच्च दैवं मन आविशति तद्वै दैवं मनो येनानन्द्येव भवति, अथो न शोचति ॥१९॥

19. From the heaven and the sun, the divine mind enters (into) him. That indeed is the divine mind by which (one) becomes joyful and henceforth grieves not.

Similarly, from sky and earth which are the body and nature of the mind respectively, the divine mind enters into the father, and his finite mind becomes identical with the cosmic mind which is capable of instilling joy in him, and therefore, all grief leaves him. This is to show the all-powerful nature of the cosmic mind and the glorious result that accrues to one who practises this meditation.

अद्भ्यश्चैनं चन्द्रमसश्च दैवः प्राण आविशति स वै दैवः प्राणो यः संचरंश्चासंचरंश्च न व्यथते, अथो न रिष्यति, स एवंवित्सर्वेषां भूतानामात्मा भवति; यथैषा देवतैवं सः; यथैतां देवतां सर्वाणि भूतान्यवन्ति, एवं हैवंविदं सर्वाणि भूतान्यवन्ति । यदु किंचेमाः प्रजाः शोचन्ति, अमैवासां तद्भवति, पुण्यमेवामुं गच्छति, न ह वै देवान् पापं गच्छति ॥२०॥

20. The divine prana from water and the moon enters (into) him. He indeed is the divine prana who moving and not moving does neither suffer nor perish. He, such a knower becomes the soul of all beings. Just as this deity is, so is he (too). Just as all beings worship that deity, so also all beings worship such a knower. Whatever these beings grieve, that (grief) indeed remains with them. Good alone goes to him, sin indeed does not go to the gods.

Likewise, from water and moon, the divine prana enters into the father and his mortal vital breath becomes unified with the cosmic prana. The cosmic prana does neither suffer nor perish because it is infinite in nature. Whether it is permeating individually or collectively, or is stationary in insentient objects or moving in sentient beings, it is not affected by their material nature. We have observed before that this vital force is taintless and is never affected by the evils of the objects which it is permeating.

Now, whoever knows this, understands well about these threefold division of the food in its cosmic nature, and identifies himself with it, naturally becomes the Self of all beings. He becomes their speech, mind and vital force. Just as this deity, the cosmic prana is, so is he also, because of the fact of his union with the cosmic prana. He attains the state of hiranyagarbha. Therefore, all beings worship and take care of this man who has become identified with the cosmic prana, even as they would worship the cosmic prana which is none other than hiranyagarbha.

But, by becoming the Self of all, will he not be tainted or affected by their evils and sorrows? The answer is 'no'. Because, he has disidentified himself from all limited objects and the senses. Sorrow or joy emerges as a consequence of the relation or contact between the senses and their respective objects and the attachment arising therefrom. When this attachment is destroyed, and the Self is one with the cosmic Being, then there remains in him not even an iota of the notion of identity with the objects and the agency of enjoyment and suffering. Once he has identified himself with the unlimited and the infinite One, the notion of limitation and finiteness cannot exist. Hence, he who has attained oneness with the infinite, cosmic Being, can never grieve, even though he has become identified with the all. It is to convey this idea that the text says that when these beings grieve, that grief remains with them alone and does not go to this sage who has identified with the cosmic Self. And that which is good and free from all evils and attachment, only goes to him, because he is the source of all that is good in this universe. Sin indeed does not go to gods, because they have destroyed it by virtue of their good actions here in this earth. They have destroyed individuality and separateness which are the root causes of all sin. Therefore sin cannot go to them.

अथातो व्रतमीमांसा; प्रजापतिर्ह कर्माणि ससृजे, तानि सृष्टान्यन्योन्ये- नास्पर्धन्त—वदिष्याम्येवाहमिति वाग्दधे, द्रक्ष्याम्यहमिति चक्षुः श्रोष्याम्यह- मिति श्रोत्रम्, एवमन्यानि कर्माणि यथाकर्म; तानि मृत्युः श्रमो भूत्वोपयेमे, तान्याप्नोत् तान्याप्त्वा मृत्युरवारुन्ध; तस्माच्छ्राम्यत्येव वाक्, श्राम्यति चक्षुः श्राम्यति श्रोत्रम्; अथेममेव नाप्नोद्योऽयं मध्यमः प्राणः; तानि ज्ञातुं दधिरे । अयं वै नः श्रेष्ठो यः संचरंश्चासंचरंश्च न व्यथते, अथो न रिष्यति, हन्तास्यैव सर्वे रूपमसामेति; त एतस्यैव सर्वे रूपमभवन्, तस्मादेत एतेनाख्यायन्ते प्राणा इति; तेन ह वाव तत्कुलमाचक्षते यस्मिन्कुले भवति य एवं वेद; य उ हैवंविदा स्पर्धतेऽनुशुष्यति, अनुशुष्य हैवान्ततो म्रियत इत्यध्यात्मम् ॥२१॥

21. Now, therefore the analysis of duties. prajapati, verily created (the organs of) actions. They, after having been created, rivalled with each other. 'I alone shall speak'-thus the speech determined its function. 'I shall see'-thus the eye (determined); 'I shall hear' – thus the ear (determined). Likewise, the other (organs of) actions (determined) according to (their) actions. Death seized them, having become exhaustion (and) made them his own. Having made them his own, death arrested (them). Therefore, indeed, speech gets exhausted, the eye gets exhausted, the ear gets exhausted. But, that which is the central prana-(death) indeed did not make his own. Those (organs) determined to know (him). "This is verily the best among us, which moving or not moving, neither suffers nor perishes. Well, then let all of us become of his nature alone. (Thinking) thus all of them became of his nature alone. Therefore they are known by this (name) prana". After him indeed that family is called, in which family such a knower is born. Whosoever rivals with such a knower, dries up. After becoming dried up, certainly, in the end he dies. This is pertaining to this body (the physical sphere).

It was said in the last mantra that the prana neither suffers nor perishes. In this mantra, the glory and greatness of the prana is extolled through an illustration which is self-explanatory. However, we will summarise it in a few lines: prajapati created the organs of action. They vied with each other. Each one of them wanted to establish his own superiority over the others. The eye wanted to boast of its superiority, because it did the most important function of seeing, which no other organ could do and which underlies all gross perceptions. The ear boasted of its power of audition. The rest boasted of their respective functions. But, when death in the form of tiresomeness seized them, they could function no more. It was only prana whom death could not arrest, because it has no individuality and separateness like the organs but functions equally through all the organs in all beings. Thereby, the senses realised that it was prana alone that is their support, but for whom all of them would die out. They started to function in unison with prana. Consequently, they adopted the nature of that prana in them. Therefore, they function under the mastership of prana. They are called pranas, because prana alone is responsible for their respective functions.

अथाधिदैवतम् — ज्वलिष्याम्येवाहमित्यग्निर्दधे, तप्स्याम्यहमित्यादित्यः भास्याम्यहमिति चन्द्रमा, एवमन्या देवता यथादैवतम्; स यथैषां प्राणानां मध्यमः प्राणः, एवमेतासां देवतानां वायु; निम्लोचन्ति ह्यन्या देवताः, न वायुः; सैषानस्तमिता देवता यद्वायुः ॥ २२ ॥

22. Now as regards the cosmic sphere-'I alone shall burn'-thus the fire determined. 'I shall heat'-thus the sun (determined). 'I shall shine'-thus the moon (determined).

Likewise the other gods (determined) according to their cosmic nature. As is the prana the chief among these organs, so is the air among these deities. For, other gods decline, not the air. The air is that deity which does not set.

In the previous mantra, the glory of prana was extolled in relation to its activities in the individual body, the physical sphere. This mantra speaks about its activities in the cosmic sphere. It can be summarised in this way: prajapati created the gods. They vied with each other. Each wanted to establish his superiority over the other gods. Fire boasted that he alone could burn everything. The sun said that he alone could emit heat and light to the world. The moon said that she alone could shine at night. In this way, each of the gods boasted of their respective abilities which the other gods do not possess. But, when they sank down by the blows of death and could function no more, it was only vayu, cosmic prana, that could remain unaffected. It never ceases to function. As the prana continued to function despite the death of the organs in the individual body, even so, vayu in the universal counterpart, continued functioning despite the cessation of the activities of fire, sun and other gods. The other gods do decline, but vayu does not. It is the cosmic prana or hiranyagarbha. The same fact is revealed through another interesting story in the Kenopanishad, the story of the yaksha and the celestials, indra, agni and vayu. These stories reveal the great truth that none in this relative world, the world of space, time and causation, be he the lord of the three worlds like indra, can even hope to approach the unconditioned Absolute. How can the personal see the Impersonal! The related can never experience the Unrelated. The universal represented by the celestials, is only the counterpart of the individual, and cannot have access to the Absolute. Both should vanish. If indra and other gods had shed their personality, both the individual and the universal, then the yaksha would have remained. But that did not happen. indra and other gods remained as they were, and therefore, they could not know the Absolute. The whole universe functions under the command, as it were, of the Supreme. It is all a mystery to a non-discriminating mind which depends on the individual intellect detached from its universal, the cosmic counterpart. By meditation on the cosmic prana, which is the same as the cosmic speech, the cosmic mind and the cosmic intellect, the individual gets merged in it, and thus becomes one with the whole universe.

अथैष श्लोको भवति—'यतश्चोदेति सूर्यः अस्तं यत्र च गच्छति' इति प्राणाद्वा एष उदेति, प्राणेऽस्तमेति; 'तं देवाश्चक्रिरे धर्मम्, स एवाद्य, स उ श्वः' इति । यद्वा एतेऽमुर्ह्यधियन्त तदेवाप्यद्य कुर्वन्ति । तस्मादेकमेव व्रतं चरेत् प्राण्याच्चैवापान्याच्च, नेन्मा पाप्मा मृत्युराप्नुवदिति; यद्यु चरेत्समापिपयिषेत् तेनो एतस्यै देवतायै सायुज्यं सलोकतां जयति ॥२३॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य पञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

23. Now there is this verse: Whence the sun rises, where does it set! Verily, from the prana it rises, in the prana it sets. The gods observed this law; that indeed is today, that also tomorrow. What they observed then, that only they observe even today. Therefore, one should follow only one duty. Let him only breathe and expel, lest the evil death catch hold of him. If one follows, let him strive to accomplish it. Thereby, one acquires union with (and) dwelling in the same world as that deity.

This verse deals with the same subject. There is another similar verse in the Kathopanishad also (II-i-9). This mantra says that verily from the prana the sun rises and into the prana he sets. prana or life-force is the basis of all activities like the rising and setting of the sun and the moon and the functions of all other deities. It has been already said that in the individual sphere of this body, the sense-organs owe their capacity to discharge their functions to the unfailing power of prana, and in the cosmic sphere all deities continue their function in an unbroken manner due to the cosmic prana. Here, the mantra gives the example of the sun and declares that it rises from the prana and sets therein. The prana is the unitary basis for all the activities and because it is eternal, it will remain same for ever, in the past, present and future.

Therefore, one should follow only the sacred duty just as the gods do, of identifying oneself with the cosmic vital energy. If one does not do it, but continues to be attached to the sense-organs and their objects, then death will arrest that one, as it did in the case of sense-organs and the gods. So, one says with an apprehension: 'I shall observe only that cosmic Law which the gods have observed, lest I may be arrested by death'. Let one follow and observe this universal law and try one's level best to accomplish it through meditation on the cosmic prana. By the observance of this universal law, one becomes identified with hiranyagarbha and dwells in His world. He becomes the Self of all including the gods who perform his duties remaining as the presiding deities in the organs. This is the import of the mantra.


In this Section, called saptanna brahmana, dealing with seven kinds of food, the term 'food' stands for the objects of the senses. The whole universe is the food of prana, the cosmic vital force. The object may be said to be the food for the subject, because the former is eaten, as it were, i.e., experienced by the latter. The experiencer is the eater and that which is experienced or the eaten, the food. In this sense, the prakriti is to be considered as the food of the purusha. The supreme Creator, the divine Father has created the food, as it were, for His enjoyment. This world of subject and object, of the eater and the eaten, of the cause and effect, is created out of desire born of ignorance. It is divided into seven groups which give seven kinds of satisfaction. One is the common food for all, two are for the gods in the form of sacrifices, one for animals, and three for one's own self. All this is symbolic. As long as ignorance lasts, the external world of pleasure and pain would persist, and this is figuratively expressed by saying that even though all consume food, it never gets exhausted. Only through the knowledge of the real nature of this universe as an unreal projection of the cosmic mind, hiranyagarbha, this food of this universe would get exhausted.

The common food is meant for all. Therefore none should appropriate the food of another. The Upanishad here hints at the sound principle behind the prohibition of hoarding any article. It is a sin, because everything here belongs to all. No one has any special right to say that a particular object is 'mine', inasmuch as God has created it as the food of all. Hence, nature revolts against hoarding and misappropriation, and the result is suffering which is but the working of the universal law to restore equilibrium and balance.

The two kinds of food allotted to the gods are the two oblations offered in sacrifices. Here also, the motive behind the performance of sacrifices is very important. One should not perform sacrifices with selfish aims. Real sacrifices are those performed for purposes which transcend them.

The one food for animal is the milk. It is a well-known fact that calves and young ones of animals live on their mother's milk. Human babies are also included among the animals.

The last three kinds of food on which meditation is enjoined are the results of actions in the form of speech, mind and vital force, the principal factors in human life. In others words, they are the words spoken through the organ of speech, the thoughts thought of by the mind, and the actions performed by the prana. These three have their adhyatmic, adhibhautic and adhidaivic aspects. They relate to the physical, astral and celestial worlds. Through meditation, these three kinds of food constituting the whole life, have to be tuned with the outer world in its three aspects, the gross, the subtle and the divine.

This section enjoins meditation on these three, the speech, mind and prana as (1) earth, sky and heaven, constituting the physical world of objects, (2) rigveda, yajurveda and samaveda, forming the whole realm of knowledge, (3) the gods in the heavens, the manes in the intermediate region and the human beings in this world, (4) mother, father and child, constituting the family, and (5) what is known, what is yet to be known and what is unknown, respectively. We have here symbols for meditation on the world outside, the whole field of knowledge, the denizens of the worlds, the family members and all that is known, to be known and the unknown. Thus there is nothing left to stand outside one's speech, mind and vital force. These meditations help one to assert the existence of the 'Subject' to the exclusion of the objective world, by absorbing the whole of objectivity into one's Self which is the pure Subject itself. The individual 'I' has to become the cosmic 'I', by absorbing into it the whole of the universe in all its aspects without allowing anything to remain outside. The whole of creation in its gross and subtle forms may be said to be brought in, in this meditation, enabling the individual to identify himself with the universal.

Having enjoined the meditation on the adhibhautic manifestations of speech, mind and prana, the Upanishad gives the meditation on the adhidaivic side. The earth and the terrestrial fire are to be meditated as the body and its content of speech; similarly heaven and the sun, as the body and its content of the mind; and water and moon as the body and content of prana. When speech is based on Truth, it becomes all-powerful. The mind gets immense power when it attaches itself to the one universal Consciousness. And so also the prana becomes invincible when it identifies with the Truth. These three lose their powers and become weak only when they are attached and limited by the individual, bodily condition. The result of meditation depends on the nature of meditation. If one meditates upon these as finite, one attains finite results, while if one meditates upon them as infinite, the result that accrues also would be infinite. In the case of one who practises meditation on the above lines, any one of the three, viz., speech, mind and prana, can do the functions of the other two, because such a one identifies himself with all the three which, in turn, become one with the whole universe.

Another meditation on the identity of the creative principle with the time factor is given next. The lunar month constituted of the sixteen days and nights of the bright and dark fortnights, representing the sixteen digits of the moon, is the symbol for meditation on the Creator, prajapati, having sixteen parts or digits. Of the fifteen days in each fortnight, each day has connection with one digit of the moon and one digit of the mind which is presided over by the deity of the moon. The influence of the moon on the mind can be felt by one who is not influenced by sense desires. All the sixteen digits are not generally manifest in all. Only a few are seen manifested in ordinary men, while in God-men and incarnations all the sixteen are fully manifest. While the fifteen come under the relative and temporal, the sixteenth is transcendent, represented by the invisible conjunction between the new moon and the next day, and that between the full moon and the succeeding day. The mind is, therefore, supposed to attain the sixteenth digit on the new-moon and full-moon nights which are considered to be of great significance for a religious and spiritual sadhaka. Incidentally, an instruction is given to the aspirants that on these two days, as a part of adoration and meditation on the sixteenth digit, one should not kill or even hurt any being, be it the most insignificant creature such as a lizard or a mosquito or a gnat.

A similar meditation given is on the sixteen digits constituting the Creator identified with the time principle, as identical with oneself. Wealth, cattle and all the rest that one possesses are the fifteen digits, and the Self is the sixteenth. The fifteen are temporal, transitory, coming under space and time, while the sixteenth is the eternal and transcendent. Though the 'fifteen' appears to be larger than the 'one' the sixteenth, the latter is like the axle in a wheel supporting the former which are similar to the spokes. The one is, therefore, definitely superior to the fifteen. While the spokes and the circumference of the wheel go on moving up and down, the nave is steady and motionless. So is the Atman changeless supporting the changing phenomena. When a man loses all his possession, he stands firm and unmoving because he rests on the Atman. One should meditate thus: "While everything of mine is transient, 'I' am verily the eternal Being". Through this meditation, one overcomes all greed and passion. The need for any possession itself vanishes.

After referring to the three worlds, the world of human beings, the world of the manes and the world of the gods, and the means of mastering them, through progeny, karmas and meditation respectively, the Upanishad describes the rite of transferring one's power to one's son or successor in the case of one who practises meditation on the three kinds of food, viz., the speech, mind and prana as identical with oneself. After transferring all his powers, his speech, mind and prana merge in the cosmic speech, the cosmic mind and the cosmic prana or hiranyagarbha. He identifies himself with all beings and all beings take care of him by helping him in all possible manner. But, no grief and sorrow of others touch him, for the simple reason that the feeling of individuality and separateness which is the cause of all grief and sorrow has been transcended by him.

The section concludes with a beautiful anecdote about the organs and the presiding deities, to prescribe a meditation on the cosmic prana, the chief among them. Each of the organ and the deities took a vow to confine itself to its own respective function. The eye went on seeing, the ear kept to its function of hearing, and so did all the other organs. Each of them asserted itself and wanted to establish its supremacy over the others, on the ground that they cannot do its function. The eye cannot hear, the ear cannot see and so are the incapacity of each of the organs with regard to the functions of others. Now, death in the form of tiresomeness possessed them. Death is the principle of cosmic law that operates in this universe, a harmoniser who restores the equilibrium whenever it is disturbed, also appearing as the punishing rod of the Lord to the wrong-doer. Thus affected by death, the organs stopped functioning. As the prana which has no individuality and separateness like the organs, being the universal force behind every activity in this world, both in the individual and the universal, death could not possess it and, therefore, went on functioning without stopping. Therefore, the organs identified themselves with the prana and became immortal even in this mortal body. Through this story, the Upanishad instructs that one should meditate thus: "All the organs in all beings, as well as their presiding deities are really a part and parcel of 'Me' and 'I' who is the prana, the Self of all, is the source of all their movements." The result of this meditation is identification with the cosmic prana, if the meditation is perfect, or the attainment of the world of prana if it is defective.

Thus Ends the Fifth Section Entitled

Saptanna-Brahmana in the First Chapter












त्रयं वा इदम्-नाम रूपं कर्म; तेषां नाम्नां वागित्येतदेषामुक्थम्, अतो हि सर्वाणि नामान्युत्तिष्ठन्ति । एतदेषां साम, एतद्धि सर्वैर्नामभिः समम्; एतदेषां ब्रह्म, एतद्धि सर्वाणि नामानि बिभर्ति ॥१ ॥

1. This (world) is a triad-name, form (and) action. This speech is the uktha, the cause for these names, because from it all names spring forth. This (sound) is their sama, commonness, for it is common to all the names. It is their Brahman, for it supports all names.

This section explains the entire world as a threefold appearance of the one Cosmic Soul which is the unitary basis of all phenomena. This relative world in its entirety is analysed and it is found to be composed of only three things, the three factors of name, form and action.

So far, we have dealt with the creation in its manifold aspects. Now we shall see what this creation actually is. The spiritual analysis of this world starts from here. The Seer penetrates into the secret of the world and discusses its nature. He reduces it to the triad of name, form and action. This world, which is perceived by the senses, is not real. It is an effect of avidya. It is a triad, threefold, constituted by name, form and action which are being discussed. This world is full of forms, which have some name or other distinguishing them from each other. It has also some form of action to which every one normally reacts. One of the commonest things we do about an object is to give it a name. You pick up a thing and express its shape, colour and characteristics in terms of names. Things have no meaning, if they have no name and if they have no quality or action. So fundamental is the dependence of the world on name, form and action, that they have become the background of the manifold creation. Therefore, the text says that this world is a triad of name, form and action.

Among these three, name has for its cause speech which is mere sound. For, all names are spoken by the organ of speech. Sound is common in all names. Why is it said that sound is their common factor? It is because sound expresses all names, as the eye expresses all forms, and the body all actions. It conveys the idea that sound is the common property which underlies the expression of all names.

Speech is said to be Brahman for all names. Why is it their Brahman? The mantra gives a reason. Speech is their Brahman because it supports or sustains all names, all sounds. They owe their existence to speech or sound, and do not have any independent reality apart from it.

अथ रूपाणां चक्षुरित्येतदेषामुक्थम्; अतो हि सर्वाणि रूपान्युत्तिष्ठन्ति;

एतदेषां साम, एतद्धि सर्वे रूपैः समम्; एतदेषां ब्रह्म, एतद्धि सर्वाणि रूपाणि बिभर्ति ॥२॥

2. Now of forms. This eye is the uktha, the cause of these (forms), because from it all forms spring forth. This (eye) is their sama, commonness, for 'it is common to all forms. It is their Brahman, for it supports all forms.

Perception of particular forms is the second link in the chain which leads from stimulus to action. It is the experience of objects through the medium of the eye or the general form. As a rule, perception is dependent on the difference and multiplicity of objects. We may say that shape is the differentiating factor. Generally, a form is something which fills a certain part of your visual field and is defined by means of its difference from other objects or forms. This manifoldness and difference of objects around us seem so tangible and so concrete that we believe that the world exists just as we perceive it. Our visual experience mirrors what is outside the eye. Since all forms spring forth from or are caused by the eye, the organ of perception, we are told, is the common factor of all forms. No form can exist without the eye, as a person born blind whose optic nerve is destroyed, sees nothing. Hence, this eye is said to be the Brahman for all forms, because it is their support and sustenance.

अथ कर्मणामात्मेत्येतदेषामुक्थम्, अतो हि सर्वाणि कर्माण्युत्तिष्ठन्ति; एतदेषां साम, एतद्धि सर्वैः कर्मभिः समम् एतदेषां ब्रह्म, एतद्धि सर्वाणि कर्माणि बिभर्ति; तदेतत्त्रयं सदेकमयमात्मा, आत्मो एकः सन्नेतत्त्रयम्; तदेतदमृतं सत्येन छन्नम्; प्राणो वा अमृतम्, नामरूपे सत्यम्, ताभ्यामयं प्राणश्छन्नः ॥३ ॥

॥इति प्रथमाध्यायस्य षष्ठं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

॥ इति प्रथमोऽध्यायः ॥

3. Now of these actions. This body is the uktha, the cause of these (actions), because from it all actions spring forth. It is their sama, commonness, for it is common to all actions. It is their Brahman, for it supports our actions. Despite their being three, they are one, this body. Again despite its being one, the body is this triad. That immortal is veiled by the satya. Verily, the prana is immortal. Names and forms are satya. This prana is veiled by those two (names and forms).

Similar to the name and form is the case of action. This body which is the medium for the performance of different actions, is their origin, for it stimulates all actions. Since all actions can be accomplished only through the body, it is their common factor. Just as the eye underlies all forms, the body underlies all actions. It will be proper to say that this body is only to accomplish certain actions which it is destined for. It is meant to experience the actions. Hence, it is their Brahman - the supporter and sustainer.

Though we know them as three different entities, as name, form and action, yet they are said to be body alone, because all bodies have in them this threefoldness. The physical and earthly existence can be divided into these parts. This is the idea.

Again, this body which is an aggregate of all senses, forms, attributes, elements, etc., is these three alone, viz., name, form and action.

That immortal prana of whom we have already explained in the last section, is veiled, as it were, by the gross body which is represented here by the word satya. satya is name and form. The idea is that name and form have limited, as it were, the cosmic prana in the individual body. Just as in the cosmos, the cosmic mental body of hiranyagarbha is covered or enwrapped, as it were, by the physical body of virat, in the same way, the individualised vital force in each body is veiled, as it were, by the physical body. Because of its or functions therein through the several organs, it is distinguished by different names and forms. In this way, the entire cosmic life is individualised by these two, the name and form.



The import of this brahmana in short, is that this world is constituted of name, form and action having respectively sound, eye and body as the uktha (cause), sama (equalising force) and Brahman (the support). All names are permutations and combinations of speech. The expressed speech is the grossest form called vaikhari, its subtler forms being madhyama, pasyanti and para which are in the deeper layers of consciousness. para which may be compared to the amatra or ardhamatra of the omkara, is the transcendental form of speech or sound in general and it is the cause. As it is common in all languages, in all sounds and in all names, it is the equalising force. As it supports all names it is said to be Brahman. Similarly, for all particular forms, the eye or the general form is the cause, the equalising force and support. This general form contains all particular forms. It is like a block of granite containing all the different statues in it, for any statue can be carved out of that one piece of granite. This world is one of the particular forms carved out of the general form. The general form being present in all particular forms, it is the equalising force. Being the support for all particular forms it is also Brahman. So is the case of the body with reference to actions. It is the cause, the equalising force and support for all kinds of activity of all people. The cosmic body of the virat is the reservoir from which all particular forms of action are drawn out. He is the equalising factor, for he is the cosmic prana the main source of all activity. He is also Brahman, the conditioned Brahman, as He is the support of the whole universe, from whom the universe has come out, in whom it exists, and into whom it dissolves. The cosmos which is one only, appears as the three, -name, form and action. The subtle is hidden by the gross. All names, all forms and all actions are contained in this universal cosmic Being. The general is veiled by the particular. The supreme is covered by the world. Therefore, one sees the name and form and not the Being. It is like one seeing the waves, foam and bubbles on the surface of the ocean missing the vision of the great majestic ocean that lies beneath the surface. The Upanishad indirectly exhorts the aspirants to detach themselves from the sense-objects of this transient, phenomenal, perishable, unreal world of names, forms and actions and attach themselves to the eternal, never-changing, immortal Brahman, their own innermost Atman.

Thus Ends the Sixth Section Entitled

Uktha-Brahmana in the First Chapter












In the foregoing chapter, the subject matter relating to the realm of ignorance has been explained and an attempt has been made to differentiate knowledge from ignorance.

What is ignorance? It is to hold that the Supreme Self is relative and is bound by the factors of time, space and causation, that it is born as individual beings, that it experiences pain and pleasure and the like through the body and mind, and that it perishes in the end. All this is in the realm of ignorance, whereas knowledge is the realisation of the unity underlying all this diversity of the world, through which one attains tranquil union with the Soul, the transcendental principle that is the essence of every being. This principle which is known by the term 'Brahman' with reference to the world, and the 'Atman' with reference to the individual, is the subject matter of knowledge.

The story introduced here to inculcate the knowledge of Brahman takes the form of a conversation between Gargya also called Balaki and Ajatasatru. Gargya (the son of Balaka), a very learned brahmana, hailing from the gargya family, who is said to have dwelt among the usinaras, satvans, matsyas, kurus, panchalas, kasis and videhas, and has obtained skill in eloquent speech, goes to Ajatasatru, the then king of Kasi, to teach him about Brahman. He approaches the king and puts before him, the prima facie view about Brahman in twelve definitions all of which relate to the conditioned Brahman, whereas the latter, king Ajatasatru, does not agree to his imperfect conception and presentation of the Reality, and gives his conclusive view at the end. Both of them proceed with a progressive definition and determination of the nature of Reality, through a discussion of the phenomena of waking, dreaming and deep sleep states, till at last the conversation ends with the final truth declared by the king that Brahman is his Self and the Self of all. Thus the discussion in the form of a conversation becomes highly illuminating and interesting, and presents the abstruse subject in a manner which is easily comprehensible. This dialogue appears in the Kaushitaki Upanishad also, with a few variations.

ॐ । दृप्तबालाकिर्हानूचानो गार्ग्य आस, स होवाचाजातशत्रुं काश्यम्, ब्रह्म ते ब्रवाणीति स होवाचाजातशत्रुः सहस्रमेतस्यां वाचि दद्म, जनको जनक इति वै जना धावन्तीति ॥१ ॥

1. So goes the narrative (once upon a time) there was an eloquent speaker, proud Balaki by name, belonging to gargya gotra. He, it is said, (once) spoke to Ajatasatru, the king of Kasi: "(Your Majesty) I will speak to you regarding Brahman". Ajatasatru (having heard this) said: "For such a statement I offer you a thousand (cows); (why then) people run (saying) 'Janaka', 'Janaka'."

The story goes that, once upon a time, there was an eloquent speaker who was proud of his vast erudition. He hailed from gargya family. He was known by the name of Balaki, after his father's name, Balaka. It is said, once he went to the king of Kasi, by name Ajatasatru, and offered to teach him about Brahman. Hearing his intention, Ajatasatru said: "For such a mere promise, whether or not you be able to explain Brahman, I offer you a thousand cows. Why people run to Janaka, (a very learned and liberal king of those days) saying that Janaka is generous, and he is very much fond of hearing about the supreme Brahman. I liberally offer you a thousand cows for your mere proposal to teach me about that supreme Truth and I also agree to listen to your explanation".

स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवासावादित्ये पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; होवाचाजातशत्रुः मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, अतिष्ठाः सर्वेषां भूतानां मूर्धा राजेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्तेऽतिष्ठाः सर्वेषां भूतानां मूर्धा राजा भवति ॥२ ॥

2. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), verily that being who is in the sun, him alone, I hold (worship) as Brahman." (To this) he, Ajatasatru replied: "(Please) do not talk of him. I hold him only as pre-eminent, as the head of all beings and as resplendent; he who meditates on him thus, becomes pre-eminent, the head of all beings and resplendent.

That Gargya who was proud and eloquent, said to the king that he held that being who is in the sun, in the eye and in the heart in the form of the ego, the experiencer and agent, as Brahman, and that therefore he (the king) also should meditate upon that being as Brahman. When addressed thus, Ajatasatru stopped him by saying that he (Gargya) should not talk of that Person who is in the sun and elsewhere, because it was only a definition of conditioned Brahman, the experiencer and agent in this body, whom he (Ajatasatru) already knew very well.

Gargya might have a doubt that Ajatasatru only knew that Brahman explained by the former, but did not know His particular attributes and the results of meditation on them. In order to remove this doubt, the king narrated the attributes of that Brahman he meditated upon: 'I hold that Brahman as pre-eminent, all-surpassing, as the head holding sway over all beings, and as resplendent.' The king also meditated upon the sun, but not like Gargya. To Gargya, the sun was a conditioned form of Brahman. There is the unconditioned Reality behind the conditioned form of the sun, which is the Atman-Brahman. It is on this latter the king meditated. And about the results, following the meditation, the king said that he who meditates upon Him thus, becomes pre-eminent, the head of all beings and is endowed with resplendence. This result is in accordance with the sruti passage: 'One becomes exactly as one meditates upon Him'. Whoever meditates upon him as pre-eminent becomes pre-eminent; as head of all beings, becomes the head of all beings; and as resplendent, becomes resplendent.

The definition about the Person in the sun as Brahman, presented by Gargya was not completely accepted by Ajatasatru because it is partial and does not encompass the whole which Brahman is. Gargya now gives eleven other definitions in the following mantras from no. 3 to 13.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवासौ चन्द्रे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, बृहन्पाण्डरवासाः सोमो राजेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्तेऽहरहर्ह सुतः प्रसुतो भवति, नास्यान्नं क्षीयते ॥ ३ ॥

3. That Gargya said: (Your Majesty) that Being who is in the moon, verily Him I worship and meditate as Brahman. (To that) he, Ajatasatru, replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily I meditate on him as the great, as the white-robed one, as the soma creeper and as resplendent. For him who meditates on him thus, (the soma) is produced in abundance every day, his food does not get exhausted."

Having had a set back in the discussion about Brahman, Gargya said that he had practised upasana on that being who is in the moon and also in the individual mind as the doer and the experiencer, as Brahman.

Ajatasatru contradicted this view of Gargya on the simple ground that it was an imperfect and prima facie conception of the supreme Being. Because, the statement meant that Brahman is the experiencer of the results of action and the agent of all karmas in the body and elsewhere. Thus the Brahman conceived of by Gargya was conditioned and not the Absolute. Moreover, Ajatasatru himself was well aware of this kind of definition about the conditioned Brahman. He also knew all about the attributes which help one to meditate upon that Brahman and to acquire the corresponding results therefrom. Instead of the moon and the Person in the moon identified with the mind, the king was meditating on the cosmic prana behind the mind and the moon.

What are His attributes and what are the corresponding results arising therefrom? He is great in size because the conditioned Brahman or hiranyagarbha is the greatest amongst the manifested beings, as He is the first universal being from which these innumerable worlds have come out. He is described as dressed in white garment, symbolising purity. For, the moon which is identified with the vital force has got a watery body and water is also a symbol for purity. He is soma, the moon, as well as a drink-yielding creeper called by the name of soma that is an auxiliary in the sacrifices. He is resplendent and radiant as the moon is. These are the attributes of the Person who is in the moon. The results by meditating upon them, are production and reproduction of soma, the auxiliary in sacrifices, and also of food for all beings. 'The moon indeed is food' has been already said in mantra I-iv-6. The moon is considered to be the deity producing food and the soul of all food. His food becomes inexhaustible, who meditates upon him as above.

स होवाच गार्ग्य; य एवासौ विद्युति पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, तेजस्वीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते तेजस्वी ह भवति, तेजस्विनी हास्य प्रजा भवति ॥४ ॥

4. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed that being who is in the lightning, I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. I meditate on him as brilliant. He who meditates on him thus, becomes brilliant. Brilliant indeed his progeny becomes."

Once again defeated by Ajatasatru, the learned Gargya shifts his definition to the person in the lightning and declares him to be Brahman of his meditation. Ajatasatru, in turn, stops him and reveals his superior knowledge of all attributes of the person in the lightning and also the result issuing by meditating upon them. This meditation of Gargya is defective inasmuch as it is limited. Lightning is only one form of luminosity drawn from that great reservoir of resplendence, the supreme Light of all lights. Lightning is sometimes compared to the flash of illumination of Brahman-Knowledge, as both destroy darkness, the one the darkness of the night, and the other, the darkness of nescience. That Person who is in lightning as well as in the skin and heart, is to be meditated upon as the Brilliant One, for brilliance due to power is His attribute.

Whosoever meditates upon this attribute of power and brilliance becomes identified with it and his progeny also attains the same result, viz., power and brilliance.

स होवाच गार्ग्य, य एवायमाकाशे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, पूर्णमप्रवर्तीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते पूर्यते प्रजया पशुभिः नास्यास्माल्लोकात्प्रजोद्- वर्तते

5. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed that being who is in the sky, him alone I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily, I meditate on him as full and immovable. He who meditates thus, is filled with cattle and progeny (and) his progeny does not become extinct from this world."

Now the learned brahmana proclaims the Person in the ether as Brahman. By the Person in the ether, he means Brahman identified with the element ether, the subtlest among the five elements, as well as the ether within the heart of an individual, i.e., the space outside and the space within a person, and also the heart. A similar instruction is given in the Chhandogya Upanishad also (III-xii-7).

But, this definition of Brahman was already known to the wise king who also knew its two attributes, viz., fullness and immovability, and the results that accrue from the meditation, viz., abundance of cattle and progeny and their continuity without break. Both the ether in the atmosphere and that in the heart are limited, being the manifestation of the Supreme which is also referred to as 'ether' in the scriptures. The meditation should be on the latter, the Supreme.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायं वायौ पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रु, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः इन्द्रो वैकुण्ठोऽपराजिता सेनेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति, स य एतमेवमुपास्ते जिष्णुर्हापराजिष्णुर्भवत्यन्य- तस्त्यजायी ॥६॥

6. That Gargya said: " (Your Majesty), indeed that being who is in the air, I meditate on him alone as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily, I meditate on him as indra, as irresistible, and as unconquerable army (of maruts). He, who meditates on him thus, becomes a conqueror, unconquerable and conqueror of enemies."

Then, about the being in the air or wind who is prana, the vital force in the individual body and the heart, the eloquent brahmana gives instructions for meditation as Brahman.

Ajatasatru already knew Him as having such attributes of sovereignty, irresistibility and invincibility as the air-gods, the forty-nine maruts, who are like an invincible army. He also knew the results of meditating upon these three attributes, as the attainment by the meditator, of sovereignty, irresistibility and invincibility over one's enemies. Here also, the king's instruction is to meditate on the universal prana, the cosmic Energy, and not on its limited manifestation in the body and the heart.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायमग्नौ पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, विषासहिरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते विषासहिर्ह भवति, विषासहिर्हास्य प्रजा भवति ॥७ ॥

7. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed, that being who is in the fire, him alone I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily I meditate on him as tolerant. He who meditates on him thus, becomes tolerant. Verily his progeny becomes tolerant."

The person in the fire whom Gargya mentions is also in the organ of speech and the heart. He is limited and conditioned, and hence the king did not accept that too.

Tolerance is attributed to him, because fire consumes anything which is thrown into it by accepting it. It tolerates, as it were, everything given to it and never rejects anything. This unlimited tolerance is the characteristic of the supreme Subject in which all objects get themselves merged. He who meditates thus does not find anything intolerable in the world, and he has therefore no need to resist or oppose or refuse. All criticism and cavil cease in his case. His progeny also inherits this benefit of his meditation.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायमप्सु पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, प्रतिरूप इति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते प्रतिरूपं हैवैनमुपगच्छति, नाप्रतिरूपम् अथो प्रतिरूपोऽस्माज्जायते ॥८ ॥

8. That Gargya spoke. "(Your Majesty), verily, that being, who is in water, him I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk about him, I meditate on him verily as agreement (which is in accordance with and not contrary to the srutis and smritis). He, who meditates on him thus, only agreeable things go to him, never which is not agreeable. Also from him agreeable is born."

That being who is in water, in the semen of an individual and in the heart, is the person about whom Gargya speaks, i.e., the conditioned Brahman, not the Supreme One. The king, here also, suggests the highest form of meditation on the universal characteristics of agreeableness, for water is liked by everyone, as it is an unavoidable necessity to continue life.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायमादर्शे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, रोचिष्णुरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते रोचिष्णुर्ह भवति रोचिष्णुर्हास्य प्रजा भवति, अथो यैः सन्निगच्छति सर्वास्तानतिरोचते ॥ ९ ॥

9. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed that Person, who is in the mirror, him alone I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. I meditate on him only as resplendent. He who meditates on him thus becomes resplendent. His progeny becomes resplendent; also with whosoever he meets, he surpasses all of them in resplendence."

That being who is in the mirror, also in all shining objects, and in the intellect, is not the supreme Brahman, because he is characterised by resplendence which is his attribute. Moreover, he becomes the experiencer and the agent, through the corresponding objects and the intellect. It is a matter of common experience that every one enjoys at the reflection of his face in the mirror and never gets tired of seeing it. This simple fact is made use of by the Upanishad for meditation. It is sometimes called darpana yoga, yoga of the mirror. Because one likes one's own face, concentration becomes easy. If this is meant by Gargya, the king says that what is to be meditated is not the form in the mirror, nor the reflecting surface of the mirror, but the Principle behind both and which is different from both. In other words, it is the ultimate cause and not any effect that should be the object of meditation, which is the 'effulgence' behind the mirror, the reflection and the intellect. The result of meditation is similar. He becomes shining and effulgent. His progeny also becomes shining. Everyone will see oneself in the meditator. Himself and his progeny will outshine everybody else.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायं यन्तं पश्चाच्छब्दोऽनूदेत्येतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, असुरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते सर्वं हैवास्मिँल्लोक आयुरेति नैनं पुरा कालात्प्राणो जहाति ॥ १० ॥

10. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), verily, that sound which issues behind one who goes, that alone I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk about him. I meditate on him as life alone. He who meditates on him thus, indeed attains the full span of life in this world. His life does not leave him before the (appointed) time."

Gargya next instructs meditation on the sound which issues from behind a man as he walks. This sound is heard when one walks alone at night, in a solitary place when there is no other sound. It would be like someone closely following. This sound is produced by the thud of one's own feet on the earth. The object of meditation here according to the king, is the vital force which is the ultimate cause of the sound, and not the sound itself as Gargya had understood. The vital force which sustains the life in an individual also is not the ultimate supreme Brahman. It is only a manifestation of Brahman. The result of meditation on the life force is long life without any cause for premature death.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायं दिक्षु पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः द्वितीयोऽनपग इति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते द्वितीयवान् ह भवति, नास्माद्गणश्छिद्यते ॥११॥

11. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed that being who is in the quarters, him alone I meditate as Brahman." (Then) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily I meditate on him as twin gods inseparable. He who meditates on him thus becomes possessed of a second. His follower does not part from him."

Likewise, the person in the quarters, the twin-gods- the asvins-who are the tutelary deities of the quarters, in the ears, as well as in the heart of an individual, whom Gargya defines as Brahman to be meditated upon, is characterised as twins and inseparable. Here also, the meditation should be on the divinities and not on the name and form of the quarters. One should see the Real behind the unreal, the inseparable in the separables, the unchanging and the permanent in the ever-changing and the transient, which is the hidden principle behind the quarters, the ear and the mind. Meditation on this as Brahman brings in corresponding results. The meditator will be attended upon by companions and will not be deserted by them. He will become inseparable from everything.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायं छायामयः पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रु, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, मृत्युरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते सर्वं हैवास्मिँल्लोक आयुरेति, नैनं कालान्मृत्यु- रागच्छति ॥ १२ ॥

12. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), indeed that being who is possessed of shadow, him alone I meditate as Brahman.” (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. Verily, I meditate on him only as death. He, who meditates on him thus, indeed attains the full span of life in this world. Death approaches him not before the (appointed) time."

When refuted again and again by the wise king Ajatasatru, Gargya proceeds to define another phenomenon for meditation as Brahman. He suggests the person in the shadow, in ignorance and in the heart. It is said that meditation on the shadow of an object can move the original object. Externally, it is darkness and internally it is individual ignorance. His attribute is death. But the king sees something else in the meditation. The shadow is unreal, while the original is real. So is this universe which is a shadow, a phenomenon while Brahman is Noumenon. All appearance is death and the shadow is a symbol of death, for by seeing the shadow of the world one loses sight of one's own Self which is the worst death. The result of this meditation is the same as that of meditation in the mantra 10 above, viz., completion of the full term of life, with the additional result that he will be free from suffering due to disease and the like.

स होवाच गार्ग्यः य एवायमात्मनि पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रु, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठा, आत्मन्वीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्त आत्मन्वी ह भवति, आत्मन्विनी हास्य प्रजा भवति; स ह तूष्णीमास गार्ग्यः ॥१३॥

13. That Gargya spoke: "(Your Majesty), verily that being who is in the self, him alone I meditate as Brahman." (To that) Ajatasatru replied: "Do not talk of him. I indeed meditate on him as one who is possessed of the self. He who meditates on him thus, becomes possessed of the self. His progeny becomes possessed of the self." (Then) Gargya became silent.

Now, Gargya places his trump card. He says he meditates on the selfhood of his personality as Brahman. The king points out that it is not the real self, being a partial manifestation. It is only an expression or a part of the real Self, the Self of even hiranyagarbha. The meditation on this real Self will result in the possession of the Supreme, which result will extend to his progeny also.

So far, Gargya has put forth his progressive definitions regarding the conditioned Brahman. When the king who was a knower of the supreme Brahman revealed that all these so far said by Gargya, were known to him already and that none of them is the correct and complete knowledge of the supreme Brahman, Gargya could say no more for he has not realised the Absolute, the unconditioned Brahman. So he remained silent.

स होवाचाजातशत्रुः एतावन्नू ३ इति एतावद्धीति; नैतावता विदितं भवतीति; स होवाच गार्ग्यः उप त्वा यानीति ॥१४ ॥

14. Ajatasatru asked: "Do you know this much only?" (Gargya replied): "I know this much only". (Again Ajatasatru said): "By this much (of knowledge, Brahman) is not comprehended." (Then) said that Gargya: "Let me approach you (for more knowledge about Brahman)."

Gargya was not an ignorant person. He had practised meditation on the several progressive phases of Brahman, up to hiranyagarbha, the cosmic Being, the first manifestation of the Supreme. But, he has not known the Absolute which transcends all the manifested and the unmanifested. King Ajatasatru had realised that unconditioned Brahman. Therefore, he could not accept all these lower forms of meditation suggested by Gargya. He had practised all of them and transcended them. Gargya who was proud of his knowledge, now realised his ignorance about the supreme Brahman and being aware of the tradition that the supreme knowledge could not be imparted unless one is a regular disciple, he offered himself to be the disciple of the king and prayed for instruction on the supreme, unconditioned Brahman.

स होवाचाजातशत्रुः प्रतिलोमं चैतद्यद्ब्राह्मणः क्षत्रियमुपेयात्, ब्रह्म मे वक्ष्यतीति, व्येव त्वा ज्ञपयिष्यामीति; तं पाणावादायोत्तस्थौ, तौ ह पुरुषं सुप्तमाजग्मतुः तमेतैर्नामभिरामन्त्रयांचक्रे, बृहन् पाण्डरवासः सोम राजन्निति; स नोत्तस्थौ, तं पाणिनाऽऽपेषं बोधयांचकार, स होत्तस्थौ ॥१५ ॥

15. (Then) Ajatasatru said: "This is quite contrary to the custom in vogue, that a brahmana should approach a kshatriya (thinking) he will tell me about Brahman. (However) I will instruct you (about Brahman)". (Then Ajatasatru) got up, taking him by the hands, both came to a man who was sleeping. (He) called him by these names: "O great One, O clad in white garments, O radiant one, O Soma". He did not rise. (Then) he pushed him by the hand and roused. He got up.

Gargya who knew only the conditioned Brahman, approached Ajatasatru, as a suppliant pupil and prayed for the supreme instruction about that phase of Brahman which he was unaware of, and by knowing which the unconditioned Brahman could be known.

Though it was against the then prevailing custom, that kshatriya teacher should impart knowledge to a brahmana disciple, at the humble and sincere request of Gargya, the learned Ajatasatru agreed to instruct him on the supreme Brahman, the unconditioned One, presumably thinking that he could give the knowledge as a gift to the brahmana, which is allowed by the scriptures.

Then Ajatasatru took Gargya who had not yet recovered from the shock of his defeat, by his hands, and got up from his seat. Both of them went to a man who was fast asleep and the king addressed the sleeping man thus: "O great one, O thou in white garment, O Soma, O radiant One!" But the person did not wake up from his sleep, in spite of being loudly addressed thus. Then the king woke him up by pushing him with his hand.

स होवाचाजातशत्रुः यत्रैष एतत्सुप्तोऽभूद्य एष विज्ञानमयः पुरुषः, क्वैष तदाभूत्, कुत एतदागादिति; तदु ह न मेने गार्ग्यः ॥१६॥

16. Ajatasatru said: "When this person was in deep sleep then where was this person who identified himself with the intellect; whence thus it came back?" This Gargya knew not.

After waking up the sleeping man, the king put two questions to Gargya: (i) where was the consciousness of this man while he was asleep? and (ii) from where did this consciousness come back when he woke up?

Gargya did not know, and therefore could not give the answer.

Seeing that Gargya could not answer the questions, Ajatasatru instructed him further. Gargya who posed himself as a knower of Brahman had now become a disciple to the king who, though a real knower of the supreme Truth, was so humble that at first he allowed Gargya to teach him, himself remaining as the student.

स होवाचाजातशत्रुः यत्रैष एतत्सुप्तोऽभूद्य एष विज्ञानमयः पुरुषः, तदेषां प्राणानां विज्ञानेन विज्ञानमादाय य एषोऽन्तर्हृदय आकाशस्तस्मिञ्छेते; तानि यदा गृह्णात्यथ हैतत्पुरुषः स्वपिति नाम, तद्गृहीत एव प्राणो भवति, गृहीता वाक्, गृहीतं चक्षुः गृहीतं श्रोत्रम्, गृहीतं मनः ॥ १७ ॥

17. That Ajatasatru said: When this person was asleep then this person consisting of consciousness (as it were), withdrawing the consciousness of these sense-organs by its consciousness, lies in that space within the heart. When (he) withdraws them, then that person is said to be asleep (merged in his own Self). Then verily the organ of smell is withdrawn, the organ of speech is withdrawn, the eye is withdrawn, the ear is withdrawn, (and) the mind is withdrawn.

As Gargya could not answer the two questions, the king himself gave the answer. The ultimate unity is in the Self who is creative, pervasive, supreme and universal. When the man was asleep, the consciousness in him together with the function of all the sense-organs, was resting in that place which is referred to as the space in the heart. This space within the heart is the place wherein resides the Consciousness during the time of deep sleep and wherefrom it operates through the sense-organs in the form of individual awareness, when one wakes up.

The space in the heart where the Consciousness dwells, as it were, is the unitary background for all sense-activities. The word vijnanamaya means that which is perceived through, by, and in the individual intellect and which perceives through the intellect. The heart is identical with Brahman. The word hridayam is derived from hridi-ayam (He here in the heart). The different channels of consciousness spring forth from the centre of the heart, and herein they are brought together when the consciousness withdraws its different and manifold operations. It is like the spokes fastened to the hub of a wheel and fixed with the felly. It is like an eternal effulgent lamp from which unending rays arise and extend above, below and in all directions in manifold forms. From this centre of the heart, the rays of consciousness go forth through innumerable channels and manifest themselves through the sense-organs as sense knowledge and objectify themselves in all names, forms and actions.

"Verily, He is the great, unborn, birthless Soul who is this (person) consisting of knowledge among the senses. In the space within the heart, lies the Ruler of all, the Lord of all, the King of all" (IV-iv-22). Moreover, this consciousness which is in an individual is really cosmic and infinite by nature. Although sometimes it is said that the individual consciousness has its cosmic counterpart in the universal consciousness, both are identical. If, however, one should doubt about their identity, the Seer of the Upanishad declares: If those who doubt about this truth ask him who knows this identity, there which should be searched out, and which should be understood as existing in this abode, the small lotus-like city of Brahman, the small space within that, the knower of the Truth should reply: 'As far as this world-space extends, so far, verily extends the space within the heart. Within it, indeed, are contained both heaven and earth, both fire and wind, both sun and moon, lightning and the stars; both what one possesses here and what one does not possess; in short everything here is contained within it' (Chh. Up. VIII-i-2 & 3). This space within the heart is same as the space which is all-pervading' (Chh. Up. III-xii-7). The creativity, pervasiveness, supremacy and universality of the supreme is in the Self which is the ultimate Reality.

When this consciousness withdraws the sense-perceptions, i.e., the functions of the senses, then the person falls asleep. The sense-consciousness is then unified with the self-consciousness and there is a mass of Bliss which the individual consciousness may be said to experience as it were. Eventually, the organ of speech, eye, ear, mind and the rest are withdrawn to their source. So, the answer to the first question is that during deep sleep, the individual consciousness of the sleeping man was unified with its source, the universal consciousness, which is identical with the homogeneous supreme Consciousness.

The answer to the second question is that the individual consciousness came back from the supreme Consciousness which is its ultimate source and where it stayed while the man was asleep.

Gargya knew only the cosmic prana, hiranyagarbha, the conditioned Brahman. Even this is beyond the ordinary human intellect, for this individual intellect has to be transcended to grasp what the Cosmic intellect is, which is the same as the cosmic prana. One must transcend hiranyagarbha - the universal counterpart also to reach the Absolute which transcends everything here in all the three planes, - the physical, the subtle and also the causal, both in the individual and universal aspects. In deep sleep as every one knows, the individuality ceases. The scriptures and the sages tell us that along with the individuality, its other aspect, the universality, also ceases to be. It is a very reasonable and logical conclusion, for individuality and universality are mutually interdependent. Without the one the other cannot exist, and with the birth of either, the other would also come into existence. In deep sleep the Atman draws forth into itself all the five kosas in the individual, and together with them the whole universe also goes into the Atman. So, the Atman is said to rest in the Atman in its pristine purity, without communion with anything else, for nothing else exists. Therefore the scriptures often cite the state of deep sleep of which everyone has daily direct experience, as most approximate to the Absolute, to be reflected upon in the waking state.

It will be said later on in this Upanishad (IV-iii-19), that this space within the heart is like the nest of an eagle, where the eagle, after having flown around, becomes weary, folds its wings and hastens down to its nest for perfect rest. Even so, the individual self being tired of its experiences in the waking and dreaming states, hastens to the heart where it falls asleep leaving off all desires and dreams. This Upanishad in the subsequent mantras, from 20 to 30 of that section (IV-iii) gives an elaborate account of the state of dreamless deep sleep.

Having said about the withdrawal of sense-activities in deep sleep state and their unification in the ether of the heart, the central Consciousness in an individual, Ajatasatru proceeds to enumerate the individual experiences in the state of dream.

स यत्रैतत्स्वप्यया चरति ते हास्य लोकाः तदुतेव महाराजो भवति, उतेव महाब्राह्मणः, उतेवोच्चावचं निगच्छति; स यथा महाराजो जानपदान् गृहीत्वा स्वे जनपदे यथाकामं परिवर्तेत, एवमेवैष एतत्प्राणान् गृहीत्वा स्वे शरीरे यथाकामं परिवर्तते ॥१८॥

18. When he moves in the dream state, these are his worlds; then he becomes, as it were, a great king or a great brahmana, or attains high and low states, as it were. Just as a great king, taking his citizens (with him) moves about in his city as he pleases, even so, this one, having withdrawn the sense-organs, moves about in his own body as he pleases.

When this man in sleep moves in the dream-state, he takes along with him the subtle impression of the material of this world. These are his mental creations, and not those his gross senses actually perceived in the waking state. The nature of the dream consciousness is closely connected with that experienced in the waking state. It thus forms the material, as it were, on which the soul acts. The whole process of dreaming is a review of what has been experienced in the waking state (Vide Pra. Up. IV-5). He projects from himself, by his own power, the various objects. He objectifies himself in his own sphere through his self-contained power.

Some may say that it is the same as his waking state, for whatever object he perceives when awake, the same alone he sees in the dream also. But this is not so, because there, in dream, the person is self-illumined. Whatever he perceives there in dream, none of them he brings with him from the waking state.

During dream-state, the consciousness moves, as it were, wherever it pleases, and projects from it whatever it desires. He becomes as though a great king, or a learned brahmana, or something else. He attains high and low states, as it were. Where there are no chariots, horses and roads, he projects them from himself (IV-iii-10). Whatever object has been seen, heard, experienced in the waking state, he, as though, sees, hears and experiences again in the dream state. Also, what has been seen and not seen, what has been heard and not heard, what has been experienced and not experienced, the real and the unreal, in short he sees all, he sees everything, himself being the all-says the Prasna Upanishad mantra cited above.

Just as a great king, explains Ajatasatru to Gargya, collects all his citizens, and with them moves about in his city and not outside, even so, this Self in the individual, withdraws the sense-organs from their objects experienced in the waking state, and moves about with the vital forces inside this body and not outside, as subjective consciousness, and enjoys pleasure and pain.

Scriptures like the karika of the Mandukya Upanishad, have established beyond any doubt, through logical reasoning, that there is really no difference between the waking and dreaming states, for in both there are the two factors, the non-apprehension of the Reality and the misapprehension of this world phenomena. A sage alone can fully grasp this truth as he has awakened from both the dream states and is in full apprehension of the Reality. This mind which is a mysterious something, which cannot stand the test of philosophical enquiry, is the cause of both the waking and dream states. That it is so for the ordinary dream state, is admitted by all. But when it is extended to the waking state also, the ordinary mind finds it difficult to agree. The scriptures say that this mind is like a mirror which shines not by itself but through borrowed light. When a mirror reflects the light of the midday sun, the mirror itself is not seen, for it assumes the very form of the light and shines as though it is sun itself, veiling its original dark, inert nature. Even so, the mind, due to its proximity to the Self, reflects the consciousness of the Self, and thereby, it appears as though it is conscious. So, ordinarily the mind is mistaken for the subject, while the fact is that it is an object like other objects.

अथ यदा सुषुप्तो भवति, यदा न कस्यचन वेद, हिता नाम नाड्यो द्वासप्ततिः सहस्राणि हृदयात्पुरीततमभिप्रतिष्ठन्ते, ताभिः प्रत्यवसृप्य पुरीतति शेते; स यथा कुमारो वा महाराजो वा महाब्राह्मणो वातिघ्नीमानन्दस्य गत्वा शयीत, एवमेवैष एतच्छेते ॥१९॥

19. Again, when (this person) in fast asleep, when (he) knows nothing whatsoever (then) returning in the body with the seventy-two thousand nerves by name hita which proceed from the heart to all parts of the body, he sleeps. Just as a baby or a great king or a great brahmana having reached the summit of the bliss may sleep, even so, this (Self) thus sleeps.

When this person goes to deep sleep from the state of dream, he is profoundly calm, composed and serene and knows neither the waking nor dream world, has neither the objective nor the subjective perception. The Self becomes conscious of itself. There is no longer any gulf between subject and object. Normal consciousness of the Subject as I and the object as the world, is superseded for the time being, by the unitary consciousness of the Self. It is said that he has crept through those seventy-two thousand nerves named hita which proceed forth from the heart to every part of the body, and has rested in the heart.

These channels of the heart are filled with the finest essence, says the Chhandogya Upanishad (VIII-vi-1). The Kaushitaki Upanishad also states that from the heart these nerve channels spread forth to the pericardium, they are as minute as a hair sub-divided a thousandfold, they consist of minute essence, reddish brown, white, black, yellow and red and in these, one remains while asleep seeing no dream whatsoever (IV-19).

A more clear expression of this mystic phenomena is given in the Pra. Up. III-6. It states that in the heart, truly, is the Self; here there are those one hundred and one nerve currents, to each one of which belong a hundred smaller ones, and to each of these branches belong seventy-two thousand still subtler ones. Thus there are 727,210,201 nerve currents in the human body. The Chhandogya Upanishad mantra VIII-vi-6 also makes mention of these subtle nerve channels.

These subtle nerves, which branch off from the ether of the heart and spread throughout the body, keep the consciousness moving in all directions during the waking state. When the consciousness returns to the heart, the sense-intelligence is withdrawn, sense-experience is absorbed, these nerves contract, and finally the person falls asleep.

Sense-intelligence prompts the organs to work in various directions. In the waking state, it objectifies with the aid of sense-organs, moving along these nerve-channels to all parts of the microcosm, as well as the macrocosm. The individual Self pervades it with a reflection of its own consciousness. That is the state when the person keeps awake. And when the sense-intelligence contracts and unification with the consciousness takes place, the individual also contracts. That is the state when the person sleeps without dreaming. Where these seventy-two thousand nerves are brought together in the pericardium, like the spokes in the hub of a wheel, therein the person rests and is said to be in deep sleep.

All sense-functions become unified in the heart during sleep, and proceed therefrom when consciousness flows through these nerves in the waking state. It is like the rays of the setting sun becoming unified in the orb and going forth again when it rises. Everything becomes one in the heart which is the highest God. In this condition, just as a passionate man in the rapture of embrace by his dear wife, does not have any consciousness of the outer world, or his inner world of thoughts, even so, the individual spirit embraced by the Self, has no particular consciousness of the outer universe or the inner mental world. In that condition, the person does not hear, does not smell, does not see, does not taste, does not speak, does not take, does not enjoy, eject or move (Pra. Up. IV-2). At this juncture, he is said to be in the state of deep sleep. When he is overcome with sound sleep, then, here in this body, arises that happiness (Pra. Up. IV-6). A baby after being suckled by the mother lies on her lap and enjoys a degree of happiness. An emperor whose country is in peace, enjoys a similar degree of happiness. A learned and virtuous brahmana, due to his knowledge, also enjoys a degree of happiness. All these arise out of contentment and absence of desire. Even so, the individual Self remains in a state of Bliss in deep sleep, being in its own natural state, transcending the attributes of the waking and dreaming states. There is a fundamental change in the individual consciousness in deep sleep. It is the unconditioned state similar to nirvikalpa-samadhi. The wise, in giving expression to the actual condition in deep sleep, seem to differ, due to the incapacity of language to express that state, which is beyond all thought and word. Being unconditioned, there is no particular consciousness. But it is not an unconscious state, as it would appear to the ignorant in the waking state. All expression and discussion are done only in the waking state or in the dreaming state. These two states are, for all empirical purposes, considered to be the result of nescience. And hence, anything said or expressed in these two states could be stamped with the seal of ignorance. Therefore, it is said that in deep sleep where there is no experience of duality and no particular consciousness, there is ignorance, for one does not 'know' then that he is experiencing the non-dual state of bliss. This is the view, of course, expressed while remaining under the influence of duality. But, when one knows that the absence of particular consciousness is due to the absence of duality and not due to the absence of consciousness, then one would leave off the former view and come to the conclusion that in deep sleep one is in the state of pure, unmoded Consciousness. And this conclusion would be followed at its heels by the next most surprising but saving knowledge that even in the waking and dreaming states, one is really in that same pure state of unmoded Consciousness. The experiences of the presence of duality in the waking and dream states and of the absence of duality in the deep sleep state are mere passing shadows over the infinite, indivisible sky of one's own Atman, and even these shadows are also the expressions of that supreme Brahman, the Absolute.

Thus, Ajatasatru enumerated to Gargya the different phases of consciousness-gross sense-consciousness in the waking state, subtle mental consciousness in the dream state, Self-consciousness in dreamless sleep state,- through which the supreme Soul seems to be active and non-active, even when there is really no multiplicity or duality.

Now, the king explains in a metaphorical language, the projection of the world from the supreme Consciousness, which though appears as manifold, is really the non-dual ultimate Absolute. It is the substratum for the manifold world which the individual experiences in the three states.

स यथोर्णनाभिस्तन्तुनोच्चरेत्, यथाग्नेः क्षुद्रा विस्फुलिङ्गा व्युच्चरन्ति, एवमेवास्मादात्मनः सर्वे प्राणाः सर्वे लोकाः सर्वे देवाः सर्वाणि भूतानि व्युच्चरन्ति; तस्योपनिषत् — सत्यस्य सत्यमिति; प्राणा वै सत्यम्, तेषामेष सत्यम् ॥२० ॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य प्रथमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

20. Just as a spider may move about on its web, or small sparks come forth from the fire, even so all sense-organs, all worlds, all gods, all beings come forth from this Atman (and It moves about on it, as if it were a web). Its secret name is 'The Truth of truth'. The pranas are truth. This is their Truth.

This consciousness moves in every individual, in the sun, moon and stars and in the entire cosmos, as a spider moves on its web made up of the thread which it has emitted from its own body. Just as herbs arise on the earth, and the hairs of the head and body grow from a living person, so the entire phenomena arise from this Self. The Self seems to be manifesting and projecting Himself through the person in the sun, moon, wind and others enumerated by Gargya, which are not different from one another, as it may appear because of names, forms and actions, the means and the end.

They are His diverse fields of operation and He is the common, all-pervasive and unitary factor in them. As the fire or the wind, though one, enters the world and assumes separate forms corresponding to the limiting adjuncts with which it comes in contact, so this one, inner Soul of all things- of the sun, moon, wind, etc., - assumes different forms according to the form of each being which It projects. (Kath. Up. II-ii-9 and 10). "He warms as agni, He is the sun, He is the bountiful rain, He is indra, He is the wind, He is the earth, matter, the celestials, being and non-being, and He is Immortal" (Pra. Up. II-5). This universal Self should be recognised as one's own Self. Again, all selves, manifold as they seem to be, should be realised as one unitary, universal Self, immanent and yet transcendent.

The source of the entire world, of the human person, of the cosmic elements, of all forms of existence, of all activity of the organs of all beings, is this supreme Self who is the inner Self of the man whom the wise Ajatasatru roused up from sleep, and of all types of phenomena narrated by the learned brahmana, Gargya. To make it further clear, the mantra gives another analogy, viz., of fire and sparks. As small sparks come forth by thousands from a blazing fire and issue forth in all directions, even so the entire creation- sense-organs, all worlds, all gods, all beings - come forth from this supreme Self and into It they again merge. All these move about, as it were, in this vast creation like a spider in its own web.

After stating all about the individual Self in relation to the cosmic Self, the wise king declared the secret name of this Being so far discussed. It is Truth of truth. It is the Self of the individual and of the world. The individual Self is the same as the supreme Self. This unitary Self is immanent in all things of this world. It is their pervasive reality. The multi-projection of the universe is not something which is different from Him, but is his immanence. The individual Self of a person which projects forth itself through the venues of perception, and sports itself in its own creation, as the spider projects its web and moves in it, is in essence identical with the cosmic Self. The individual consciousness, which appears to sleep in the man, again appears to wake up when he is roused, has its source and substratum in the supreme Self who is immanent as well as transcendent. Therefore, that causeless-Cause is the Truth of this truth, because this relative truth whose attribute is immanence, has its source in the supreme Self, the transcendental principle. This point will be elaborately dealt with in the forthcoming two sections.

No analogy can completely represent creation of this world phenomena by the Supreme Lord. The analogy of the spider and its web illustrates that the material of this world comes out of God and, therefore, the world is non-different and identical with God. The next analogy of fire and sparks proves that the created world is fundamentally of the same nature of God, even as sparks and fire are essentially of the same nature. Everything in creation is, therefore, non-different in essence from the Supreme. The empirical reality of this waking world, and the illusory reality of the dream world have the Absolute Reality at their bottom, but for which they could not have existence. While commenting on this mantra, Acharya Sankara has cited a very interesting and instructive parable to establish the identity of the individual self and the Supreme Self and to prove that no change or modification really takes place when the individual self appears to come out of the supreme Self, or when the world phenomena is projected from the Absolute. A certain prince who was somehow lost in childhood, was brought up by a hunter in the forest. He grew up into adolescence, all the while thinking that he was a hunter and following the hunter's profession. After the lapse of a number of years, someone who knew about the boy's royal birth, accidentally met him and informed him that he was the prince of the country. The boy immediately left his false notion of being a hunter, assumed his original royalty, went to his palace and assumed the sovereignty of the land. Did any change take place in the prince actually, while he was in the palace before he was lost, while he was in the forest leading the life of a hunter, and after he was crowned as a king subsequently? The prince was the prince all along. But the false notion that he was a hunter resulted in the temporary life of a forest hunter and the right knowledge of his real birth restored to him the kingship. Even so, this individual Self, nay the whole world, is really the Absolute, which knowledge somehow appears to be lost. This has resulted in the suffering of transmigratory existence, and when the right knowledge of the real nature of oneself and this world is known from one's preceptor and the scriptures, the individual regains, as it were, its lost Self sovereignty, the Absolute Existence. Just as the prince was a prince even when in the forest, the individual and the world are really the Absolute, even when they appear as such. Everything here is the Absolute always.


This section named after king Ajatasatru and therefore called ajatasatru-brahmana, instructs meditation on both the lower forms of the Reality as well as its higher forms. In other words, it gives the method of contemplation on saguna or the qualified, the conditioned Brahman and nirguna or the unqualified, the unconditioned Brahman. Leaving off the garb of the story, one gets here the very essence of all spiritual contemplation. The contemplation on the sun, moon, lightning, ether, air, fire, water, reflection in the mirror, the sound that is heard while walking alone, the directions or quarters, one's shadow, and the selfhood are dealt with, and their results are also enumerated. All the results are shown to be transient when the meditation is on a conditioned and limited object, be it the greatest. Starting from the sun and ending with the selfhood in its individual and universal aspects, the Upanishad gives twelve objects for meditation as Brahman. It is pointed out that in each case, the meditation should not be limited to the object, but should be on that Principle which is behind the object, which gives the object its very existence, which remains unseen when the object is present and continues to exist unseen even when the object ceases to exist. To put it in the metaphysical language, contemplation should be on the asti, bhati and priya - Existence, Consciousness and Bliss aspects of the object, and not on its nama and rupa- the name and form. It is not obligatory on the part of the spiritual aspirant to confine himself to one of these twelve objects alone. He can choose any other object of his liking. There is however a gradation in the objects mentioned in this section to help meditation. Starting from the gross, the objects mentioned become more and more subtle to approximate the Absolute which is the subtlest of all subtle and remains transcending the gross, subtle and the causal. The ultimate Truth is arrived at, through the analysis of the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. After showing that the Self, which appears to be veiled by the mind and umpteen objects in the waking state, is self-resplendent in the dreaming state where the waking world ceases to exist, the Upanishad shows that It is still more self-resplendent in the deep sleep state because therein duality is completely absent. While the experience in the waking state is through the mind and the senses, that in the dreaming state is by the mind alone, all the sense organs and their objects having merged themselves in the mind, and that in the deep sleep is by the pure Consciousness freed of all limitations. What is there to experience in deep sleep, for duality has ceased to exist and even the subject of the waking and dreaming state appears to be non-existent! It is the Self experiencing the Self. It is experience in the mystical sense, and not in the ordinary empirical view, for there is no triad of the experiencer, the experienced and the experience. No language can express that supreme State.

Thus Ends the First Section Entitled

Ajatasatru-Brahmana in the Second Chapter












यो ह वै शिशुं साधानं सप्रत्याधानं सस्थूणं सदामं वेद सप्त ह द्विषतो भ्रातृव्यानवरुणद्धि । अयं वाव शिशुर्योयं मध्यमः प्राणः, तस्येदमेवाधानम्, इदं प्रत्याधानम्, प्राणः स्थूणा, अन्नं दाम ॥१ ॥

1. Verily one, who knows, the new-born babe, with (its) abode, support, peg (and) rope, destroys seven hostile relatives. Verily, the prana in the body is this babe. This (body) alone (its) abode, this (head) is (its) special resort, energy is (its) peg, and food is (its) rope.

'I will teach you Brahman' - thus was introduced the topic in the previous section. And it has been declared in that section itself, through the story of Ajatasatru that He from whom the world has come forth, in whom it subsists and is dissolved at the end, is Brahman. This world, again, is produced from, maintained by and dissolved in the five great principles, viz., sky, air, fire, water and earth which are but name and form alone. And, this name and form are truth in the empirical realm. Brahman is the Truth of this truth. All this has been said so far.

The question 'why these elements are called truth', will be answered in the next section where the subject matter of discussion is about the gross and subtle nature of objects. The elements and the prana are truth on account of their being perceived by the senses and the mind either as gross or subtle in form. So the next two sections first determine the truth of the elements and then declare Brahman as the Truth of that truth. In the present section, the vital force is explained, its secret names are enumerated and its nature determined. The section commences with an illustration of a new-born babe, a calf, and explains the (subtle body) which is mainly constituted of the vital force with the help of that illustration.

He who knows the new-born calf together with its abode, special resort, peg and rope obtains this result. What is this result which he obtains? He destroys his seven hostile relatives. These seven hostile relatives refer to the seven orifices, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth, through which objective perceptions take place. They are referred to as hostile relatives, because appearing as though friendly, they divert one's vision away from the Self and attach it to sense-objects. They are extrovert by nature. "The Self-existent Lord made the tendency of the senses flow outward and therefore one beholds what is external, but not the internal Self" (Kath. Up. II-i-1). The senses run towards the objects and cling to them. "And the men of little intelligence (baalah) walk into the net of outspread death" (Kath. Up. II-i-2). Just as one's hostile relatives putting on a friendly garb, conspire to take one's life away, even so, these sense-organs as though helping him with all sense enjoyments, delude the individual, and entangle him in the network of desire and action, causing pain and sorrow, misery and anxiety, desperation and delusion which is practically extinction or death of the soul in the individual.

But, that individual who knows this new-born calf, the prana, the subtle body, dwelling in the midst of the body, to whom the sense-organs are attached, becomes free from the evil of sense-enjoyment. How? Because, it has been said in mantra I-v-21 that death did not take possession of the chief prana, and that seeing it unperturbed and unperished, the senses identified themselves with that prana and came to be known after it. Similarly, one who knows this central prana, explained here through the symbology of a calf, and who meditates upon it and identifies oneself with it, wards off the hostile attachment of the above-mentioned seven relatives in the form of the sense-organs and becomes free from death in the shape of sense-attachment, just as the senses themselves became free from death, by becoming identical with the chief prana.

The prana under discussion is compared to a new-born calf, because both cannot directly contact the sense-objects, like the sense-organs. The chief prana cannot go out like the senses, and hence, it is compared to the calf which also cannot move out of its abode. Senses are attached to their objects, while prana has no attachment to any particular object. The new-born calf and the prana are alike in nature, because their attitude to external objects is similar, being one of indifference.

A place or an abode is where something is placed or some one abides. The prana has this body for its abode, because it abides there. Hence, this body, the dwelling place of the vital force, is here likened to the abode of a new-born calf, because only when the pranas (sense-organs) are staying in the body, they function as channels of sense-perception, and not when they are absorbed as while in deep sleep. This has been made clear by Ajatasatru in the preceding section. When the eye, ear and other senses are withdrawn during deep and profound sleep, the individual consciousness is united in its source and is not perceived. It is only when the respective senses are active in different centres of this body, the individual consciousness is seen to experience objective perception. This has been proved by arousing the man by shaking his body with the hands.

The abode of the vital force has been determined and defined. Now its special resort is discussed. This special resort refers to the head with its seven orifices. It is said that prana has its special seat in particular parts of the head. So the head in the body is the special resort. When the man is about to die, the prana absorbs in it the various sense-organs which are centred in the brain.

The energy which is produced by food and which maintains life by means of respiration, is the peg to which this prana is tied to the body. The rope with which it is tied is the food which maintains the gross body and helps the subtle body, the aggregate of the inner organs, to live in it.

Food is the concatenating link which keeps the vital force fixed in the body, as a rope keeps the calf tied to a post.

By comparing food with the rope of the calf, the Upanishad refers to all perceptions or cognitions through all organs which sustain the individuality, either directly by themselves or indirectly. An object that is presented to an individual is the food of that individual. That which supports, maintains or preserves a thing is the food for that thing. In short, food is that which feeds and sustains individuality. It is said that individual consciousness exists in the midst of matter which is food. He is the enjoyer, because he enjoys the food of matter. Even this individual body is food for him. The enjoyer is the person who exists in the midst of matter or food. Matter or food is that which is enjoyed. Pleasure, pain, delusion-everything is food. There is no knowledge of the essence or quality of the source when it is not manifest. The manifest is food and the unmanifest also is food.

Further, the intellect and the other organs manifest themselves only to enable the conscious subject to experience the objects which are food. Food is experienced as an object when it is manifest, and as ignorance of that object when it is unmanifest as in deep sleep. Everything lives upon food. prana lives in the body upon food. The sun takes food for himself through his rays, fire blazes up with food - says another Upanishad.

The Seer in the Prasna Upanishad describes the creation of food and life-rayi and prana - as two aspects of the one creator. The whole universe is the effect of the interaction of food and life, matter and energy, which are again food and the eater of food, respectively. Life which is prana is the same as energy. Food is converted into energy, and hence energy which is prana is said to eat food.

"Sun is energy and moon is matter. All this is merely food, whatever seen or not seen" (Pra. Up. I-5). Here the sun is compared to the eater of food, the prana, whose food is the moon. Moon is controlled and enlivened by the light and energy of the sun. Hence, sun is said to be the eater of the moon which is his food. The whole universe is only a manifestation of food or matter and its eater which is prana. Accordingly, time, as controlled by the sun and as manifest in the forms of uttarayana and dakshinayana, the bright and dark fortnights, day and night, is described as constituting food and the eater of food, respectively, the bright half being the effect of sun's light and the dark half the effect of moon.

The food which is eaten, which is said to be sustaining life in the individual body, gets divided into three parts. "That which is the grossest becomes faeces; that which is medium, the flesh; and that which is subtlest, the mind. And, water which is drunk, also gets divided into three parts. That which is grossest becomes urine, that which is medium, blood, and that which is subtlest, the prana. Similarly, fire in its grossest form becomes bone, in the medium form becomes marrow, and in the subtlest form becomes speech" - says the Chhandogya Upanishad. Thus the food plays an important part in the scheme of individual life. When food is not eaten, the body decays and life leaves the body, just as the calf becomes free and goes away when its rope is loosened. After a fast for fifteen days, Svetaketu lost his memory and could not recite the vedas. Afterwards when he ate food, he regained his memory and recited the vedas. This is also stated in the Chhandogya Upanishad. This shows to what extent the body owes its existence to food and how it is able to sustain life within the body.

So, this body is said to be dwelling place of prana, this head is its special resort in the body, and energy of the individual is the post to which the prana is tethered by means of food.

तमेताः सप्ताक्षितय उपतिष्ठन्ते; तद्या इमा अक्षन् लोहिन्यो राजयस्ताभिरेनं रुद्रोऽन्वायत्तः अथ या अक्षन्नापस्ताभिः पर्जन्य; या कनीनका तयादित्य; यत्कृष्णं तेनाग्निः यच्छुक्लं तेनेन्द्रः, अधरयैनं वर्तन्या पृथिव्यन्वायत्ता, द्यौरुत्तरया; नास्यान्नं क्षीयते य एवं वेद ॥ २ ॥

2. These seven imperishable beings stand near it. These red streaks which are in the eye, by them rudra is united to it. Then, what is water in the eye, by it parjanya (is united to it). (Likewise) that which is pupil (of the eye) by it the sun, that which is black (in the eye) by it, the fire, that which is white (in the eye) by it, indra (is united to it). The earth is united to it by the lower eyelash, the heaven (is united to it) by the upper (eyelash). Who knows thus, his food does not perish.

It has been explained in the preceding mantra how this body is the abode of prana. Now in the present mantra the Upanishad reveals the special abode of the prana where it manifests itself clearly when it is in the body.

The eye is the centre of perception. During the waking state outward cognition takes place mainly through this centre. indra by name is this person here in the right eye-says this Upanishad in mantra IV-ii-2. When Vaisvanara, the Self in the waking state, identifies himself with the enjoyment of gross objects, it is known by the name indra. Even though this self in the waking state pervades throughout the body and all the organs, it is specially manifest in the eye as the perceiver of objects. Hence, it is said to be the special abode of the vital force.

The seven imperishable beings who stand near this vital force in the eye are: (1) rudra to be identified through meditation with the red lines in the eye; (2) parjanya to be identified similarly through meditation with water in the eye; (3) the deity in the sun to be identified with the pupil in the eye; (4) the deity of fire to be identified with the black portion in the eye; (5) indra to be identified with the white portion in the eye; (6) the presiding deity in the earth to be identified with the lower eyelash in the eye; and (7) the deity in the heaven to be identified, in meditation, with the upper eyelash in the eye.

Thus the seven deities, rudra, parjanya, sun, fire, indra, earth and heaven are united with the vital force whose main centre of manifestation is the eye. The eye is the predominant among the senses which receive objective perceptions relating to the universe of the waking state.

He who knows that these seven gods always serve the vital force as its food, will have his food never exhausted. It is an eulogy on this meditation.

तदेष श्लोको भवति ।

अर्वाग्बिलश्चमस ऊर्ध्वबुध्नः,

तस्मिन्यशो निहितं विश्वरूपम् ।

तस्यासत ऋषयः सप्त तीरे,

वागष्ठमी ब्रह्मणा संविदाना ॥ इति ॥

'अर्वाग्बिलश्चमस ऊर्ध्वबुध्नः' इतीदं तच्छिरः, एष ह्यर्वाग्बिलश्चमस ऊर्ध्वबुध्नः; 'तस्मिन्यशो निहितं विश्वरूपम्' इति प्राणा वै यशो विश्वरूपम्, प्राणानेतदाह; 'तस्यासत ऋषयः सप्त तीरे' इति प्राणा वा ऋषयः प्राणानेतदाह; 'वागष्ठमी ब्रह्मणा संविदाना' इति वाग्घ्यष्ठमी ब्रह्मणा संवित्ते ॥३॥

3. There is this verse on this subject: There is a bowl with its mouth below and its bottom above. In it is placed the cosmic knowledge. On the sides (of this bowl) seven seers sit. Speech is the eighth (which) is associated with the veda. The bowl with its mouth below and its bottom above is the head, for it is (like) a bowl with its opening below and bottom above. In it is placed all knowledge (because) the sense-organs who are the seers in it. Thus (the mantra) refers to the sense-organs. Seven seers sit by its sides, (refers to the seven deities of the organs in the head). The organ of speech is the eighth (which) is associated with the veda, for the speech is the eighth (with reference to the other seven), which utters the vedas.

On this subject, the Upanishad reproduces a mantra in verse form, from the atharva-veda, where the head is compared to a drinking bowl, with seven seers sitting on its sides in the form of two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the tongue, with the eighth in the form of speech. The mantra itself explains its meaning and import. The bowl with its mouth below and its bottom above, corresponds to the head, since the head is bowl-shaped, has a hole below which is the mouth, and its bottom above refers to the skull which is above.

In it is placed all forms of knowledge. Even as the soma juice is contained in a bowl, just so all sense-organs which are the sources of all forms of knowledge, are located in the head. The vital force manifesting itself as the sense-organs, with its seven orifices, is the cause of all forms of knowledge, because through them alone perception takes place. Hence, the mantra refers to the sense-organs which are the instruments of the acts of touching, perceiving, hearing, tasting and smelling, as all knowledge. The seven seers are to be identified with the pranas which are of vibratory nature. Speech is the eighth which is associated with the veda. The tongue, being the organ of taste and also speech, counts as two. As the organ of taste, it has been included among the seven sages, and as the organ of speech it is said as the eighth sage. Vital force is the source of all sounds and the speech is, therefore, associated with it.

इमावेव गोतमभरद्वाजौ, अयमेव गोतमः अयं भरद्वाज, इमावेव विश्वामित्र- जमदग्नी, अयमेव विश्वामित्रः अयं जमदग्नि, इमावेव वसिष्ठकश्यपौ, अयमेव वसिष्ठः अयं कश्यपः वागेवात्रिः वाचा ह्यन्नमद्यते, अत्तिर्ह वै नामैतद्यदत्रिरिति; सर्वस्यात्ता भवति, सर्वमस्यान्नं भवति य एवं वेद ॥४ ॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य द्वितीयं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

4. These two (ears) indeed are Gotama and Bharadvaja. The (right ear) indeed is Gotama, this (left one) is Bharadvaja. These two (eyes) indeed are Visvamitra and Jamadagni. This (right eye) indeed is Visvamitra, this (left one) is Jamadagni. These two (nostrils) indeed are Vasishtha and Kasyapa. This (right nostril) indeed is Vasishtha, this (left one) is Kasyapa. The mouth (tongue) indeed is Atri, because, by mouth food is eaten. Thus Atti indeed is the name, which is (known as) Atri. He who knows thus, becomes the eater of everything (and) everything becomes his food.

Now the names of the sages who sit by the side of that bowl in the form of this head, are mentioned. Pointing out to each of the organs one by one, the Guru explains to the disciple:

This right ear is Gotama and this left ear is Bharadvaja. This right eye is Visvamitra and this left eye is Jamadagni. This right nostril is Vasishtha and this left nostril is Kasyapa. This tongue is Atri. Here it is said that the derivation of the name Atri is from the word Atti (eats).

The head which is a storehouse of manifold knowledge through perception, hearing, smelling and tasting, has got seven orifices by which it acquires the knowledge of objects. The organs are to be identified with the seven great sages of yore, through meditation.


This section called sisu-brahmana describes meditation on prana through the analogy of a sisu, baby, the young one of a cow. prana is identified with the creative principle hiranyagarbha. Both the sentient and the insentient are included in it, the difference between the two being that in the former prana is manifest, while in the latter it remains unmanifest. The whole creation may be said to be the manifestation of this cosmic prana in different degrees, least in the so-called inert objects of the mineral kingdom, greater in the vegetable and animal kingdom, and still greater in the human beings, and in higher and higher degrees in the superhuman beings such as manes, celestials and others. It is manifest in some degree in all thoughts and actions, in the latent forces in inorganic substances which is known as chemical affinity, the power of cohesion, the gravitational pull among the heavenly bodies, as well as the forces that propel the motion of sub-atomic particles such as the electrons, protons, neutrons and the like. This prana residing in one's own body, is the object of meditation in this section. It manifests itself specially in the sense-organs and the motor organs. It is, as it were, tied to the energy in the system, by the food that one takes in through the several organs. One who knows this truth about the prana, that the two bodies- the gross and subtle, the four kosas - the physical, vital, mental and intellectual sheaths-as also their functions are the manifestation of this prana, is freed from the clutches of the senses and the mind which bind man to this earth.

In the second mantra, the Upanishad gives the seven secret names of prana manifesting itself especially in the eye. They are rudra, parjanya, aditya, agni, indra, prithivi and dyau. These gods who prevent decay, who are indestructible, worship the prana manifesting in the eye. These seven gods preside over the seven things connected with the eye, viz. the red streaks, the watery portion, the pupil, the dark iris, the white portion, the lower eyelash and the upper eyelash, respectively. One should meditate on these divinities as present in one's own eye, waiting upon the prana. All divinities take care of such a meditator who, through meditation, realises that the divine prana is that unifying factor, the support for all his limbs and organs together with their actions.

The last two mantras give another meditation on prana. Here, the seven orifices in one's own head, viz., the two ears, the two eyes, the two nostrils and the mouth (tongue) are to be contemplated as the abode of the seven sages, the saptarishis, Gotama and Bharadvaja, Visvamitra and Jamadagni, Vasishtha and Kasyapa, and Atri. The organ of speech which communicates with the vedas is to be meditated upon as the eighth sage. The entire manifested creation is to be meditated as located in the head. The seven sages and the vedas are not only outside, but they are inside the meditator also. They can be invoked at any time through contemplation on one's head as the seat of all power of knowledge. Similar meditations are given elsewhere also. For instance the Chhandogya Upanishad instructs inter alia the meditation on one's heart as containing all that is contained in the universe with its vast akasa, the sun and moon, all the stars and planets, and the innumerable solar systems. The scriptures put this great truth in the most simple manner when they say that the microcosm contains verily the macrocosm.

Thus Ends the Second Section Entitled

Sisu-Brahmana in the Second Chapter
























द्वे वाव ब्रह्मणो रूपे-मूर्तं चैवामूर्तं च, मर्त्यं चामृतं च, स्थितं च यच्च, सच्च त्यच्च ॥ १ ॥

1. Indeed, Brahman has two forms. (One) with form (gross), and (the other) formless (subtle); (one) mortal, and (the other) immortal; (one) limited, and (the other) unlimited; (one) perceptible, and (the other) imperceptible.

The present section is devoted to explain the nature of the five elements, which are designated as truth, and their effects, viz., the body and organs. After explaining and analysing their nature, the conclusion is stated through the aphoristic expression neti-neti - 'not this, not this', a breath- taking expression which denies in the Absolute all possibility of definition in terms of human language. By this process of complete negation, the sruti intends to eliminate the aforesaid limiting adjuncts and reveal the real nature of Brahman.

Just as an object presents two different colours when viewed through two transparent glasses of different colours, even so, the supreme Reality seems to possess two different and contradictory attributes, on account of the limiting adjuncts superimposed upon It through ignorance. These two are grossness, perishability, finitude, and perceptibility on the one side, and subtlety, imperishability, infinity and imperceptibility on the other.

The above-mentioned characteristics imply the predi-cation of four sets of two contradictory attributes to the one Reality. It would appear that such pairs of contradictory characteristics, superimposed on the one Reality, may lead one to confusion and perplexity, because any object which is gross, perishable, finite and perceptible cannot be at the same time subtle, imperishable, infinite and imperceptible, since each of the attributes of the first set nullifies and completely negates each mentioned in the second set taken in their serial order.

Then, are we to assume that both are true of Brahman according as they are or are not superimposed due to the limiting adjuncts, or have we to posit a hypothesis that only one in each group is true and the other false?

Both cannot be predicated of one and the same Brahman, because it is against experience. One and the same thing cannot have two contradictory natures at the same time. Brahman cannot, at the same time, have form and formlessness.

But, if Brahman is formless, then all scriptural texts, which treat of Brahman with form, would become meaningless and superfluous. It cannot happen, since scriptures have a purport all throughout. If it be said that Brahman has no form whatsoever, then the question arises, what these empirical forms are, about which the text is discussing and trying to assert the invalidity? The answer is this:

Scriptural texts which treat of Brahman with form have a purpose. The light of the sun has no form, but it appears to be big or small, according to the size of hole through which it passes into a room and is possessed of the quality and power of dispelling the darkness of the room. In like manner, Brahman which is formless, appears to be subjected to empirical conditions, viz., gross and subtle, perishable and imperishable, limited and unlimited, perceptible and imperceptible, due to the limiting adjuncts, viz., elements and their effects as is explained in the succeeding mantras. Just as the formless light of the sun assumes the corresponding form of the object which it contacts, so also Brahman appears as possessed of the qualities of the limiting adjuncts which are superimposed and with which it identifies itself.

This however does not contradict the view that Brahman, though apparently subjected to empirical conditions, does not possess opposite characteristics, since limiting adjuncts cannot constitute an attribute of a substance. However, empirical forms are posited to be identical with the Absolute, the formless Reality, for purposes of meditation. It is not merely to reflect upon the absolute Brahman and to have an intelligible apprehension that we postulate empirical reality, but also to reveal and establish the omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence and other qualities of Brahman which bespeak of His immanence. We also reconcile the immanence and the transcendence of Brahman. When we say that Brahman is subtle, imperishable, infinite and imperceptible, at the same time gross, perishable, finite and perceptible, we look at Him from the empirical standpoint, and this is His accidental description (tatastha-lakshana). When we describe Him from the acosmic standpoint, we say He is sat-chit-ananda - Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-which is His essential description (svarupa-lakshana). Even though the conception of two infinities is an impossible feat, we have also to admit that Infinity cannot exclude the aggregate of the many finite realities from It. Ultimate Truth is inclusive of all and exclusive of none. Thus two propositions are significantly asserted with reference to the one Reality and both the propositions are certainly logically valid. Brahman, although essentially uniform and changeless, does participate, as it were, in the attributes and states of the body and the other limiting adjuncts which He pervades through and through and in which He abides. He grows with them, as it were, decreases with them, as it were. From the transcendental point of view, He is beyond subject-object distinctions and relative conditions, and all kinds of differences and, therefore, indeterminate. He forms the substratum for the empirical reality, and is also conceived as the subject confronting the object.

Therefore, the Upanishad says: Brahman has indeed two forms in relation to the body and organs which are the products of the five elements. What are those two forms? They are the gross and the subtle forms, perishable and imperishable forms, finite and infinite forms, perceptible and imperceptible forms. Thus the two forms have each four characteristics.

तदेतन्मूर्तं यदन्यद्वायोश्चान्तरिक्षाच्च, एतन्मर्त्यम्; एतत्स्थितम् एतत्सत्; तस्यैतस्य मूर्तस्य, एतस्य मर्त्यस्य एतस्य स्थितस्य एतस्य सत एष रसो य एष तपति, सतो ह्येष रसः ॥२ ॥

2. Whatever is different from air and ether, that is this one (earth, water and fire) with form (gross). This is mortal, this is limited, this is perceptible, of that with form, mortal, limited and perceptible one, this (sun) is the essence, that which shines, for this is the essence of the perceptible.

The entire creation is the result of the five fundamental, subtle elements, designated as truth in this section. The five elements are ether, air, fire, water and earth. From these five great principles, the five organs of action, the five organs of perception, the five pranas, thought and intelligence were produced. These seventeen principles constitute the subtle body of the microcosm, as well as of the macrocosm. The five sheaths which are produced from the five elements consist of food, vital air, mind, intelligence and bliss. The five subtle elements have their properties, viz., sound, touch, form, taste and smell. The property of ether is the transmission of sound. The properties of air are sound and touch. The properties of fire are sound, touch and form. The properties of water are sound, touch, form and taste. The properties of earth are sound, touch, form, taste and smell. In this series of five elements, the first two, i.e., ether and air, are formless. They are subtler than the remaining three which have form and which are grosser in nature, being perceptible to the sense-organs. Hence, in this context they are classified in two groups according to their gross and subtle nature.

The text says: Those which are different from ether and air, i.e., fire, water and earth, are possessed of gross forms This triad of gross elements is mortal, limited (finite) and perceptible to the sense organs, since it has form. We can see the fire, water and earth. The above-mentioned four attributes, viz., grossness, mortality, finitude, and perceptibility are interdependent and they do not contradict one another. Hence, anyone of these four attributes may represent the other three in relation to the three elements to which belong the four attributes.

That which shines, namely the sun, is the essence of these three elements. The sun, in fact, supports all forms. These three elements, viz., fire, water and earth, having three, four and five properties respectively, as mentioned above, have their essence in the sun which stands for the cosmic body. In this mantra the text refers to the physical shining orb of the sun which has a gross form, and not the deity which is residing in the sun and is the subtle principle therein. This is the essence of perception. It is the physical sun which illumines all forms and which is the quintessence of the three elements.

अथामूर्तम्—वायुश्चान्तरिक्षं च; एतदमृतम्, एतद्यत्, एतत्त्यत्; तस्यैतस्यामूर्तस्य, एतस्यामृतस्य, एतस्य यतः, एतस्य त्यस्यैष रसो य एष एतस्मिन्मण्डले पुरुषः, त्यस्य ह्येष रसः - इत्यधिदैवतम् ॥३ ॥

3. Now about the formless. (It is) air and ether. This is immortal, this is unlimited, this is imperceptible. Of this formless, immortal, unlimited and imperceptible, this is the essence, that Being which is in this orb of the sun. Because this is the essence of the imperceptible. This is (with reference to) the divine realm.

As regards the subtle and formless, they are the air and the ether. Since these two are comparatively subtler in nature, they are said to be possessed of formlessness, immortality (relatively), infinitude and imperceptibility. Ether and air are not comprehended by the gross eyes. No form can be attributed to them. Formlessness, immortality, infinitude and imperceptibility are interdependent. Hence, any one of them may stand for all in relation to these two elements. One of these four attributes represents the remaining three also.

Just as the physical sun was considered to be the supporting ground for all forms, in the same way, the subtle body of hiranyagarbha, represented by the principle or being in the solar orb, i.e., the presiding deity in the sun, is the supporting ground for these two subtle elements, since they are the principal ingredients of the cosmic subtle body. Of course, the other three elements also are there, but they play only a subordinate part.

In the order of creation, these two subtle elements were the first to emanate from the undifferentiated principle, one after the other, in order to form the subtle body of hiranyagarbha. Hence, it is said to be their essence. Just as these two elements are imperceptible, in the same way, that being which is in the sun, is also imperceptible. Therefore, on account of the similarity between the imperceptibility of the being residing in the sun and that in the two elements, the text says that it is the essence of the imperceptible, for purposes of meditation.

This is with reference to the attributes of Brahman in relation with the cosmic phenomena, subtle as well as gross. Next the text deals with the individual self.

अथाध्यात्मम्—इदमेव मूर्तं यदन्यत्प्राणाच्च यश्चायमन्तरात्मन्नाकाशः; एतन्मर्त्यम् एतत्स्थितम्, एतत्सत्; तस्यैतस्य मूर्तस्य, एतस्य मर्त्यस्य, एतस्य स्थितस्य, एतस्य सत एष रसो यच्चक्षुः सतो ह्येष रसः ॥४ ॥

4. Now about the individual selves. The gross form is only this, that which is different from the prana and from the ether in this body. This is mortal, this is finite, this is perceptible. Of this gross, of this mortal, of this finite, of this perceptible, this is the essence, that which is the eye, for, this is the essence of the perceptible.

The gross form of Brahman, in relation to the individual bodies, is corporeal earth, water and fire, since they are grosser in nature. This gross form is mortal, finite and perceptible. These three constitute the physical bodies of beings whether organic or inorganic. The essence or the support for this physical body is the eye, for by the eye alone the whole body assumes any value. And, according to the sruti, the eyes are the first that are formed in the embryo. In addition to that, the eye is the seat of phenomenal perception and its place in the microcosm is like that of the sun in the macrocosm. Therefore this is the essence of the perceptible.

अथामूर्तम् — प्राणश्च यश्चायमन्तरात्मन्नाकाश; एतदमृतम्, एतद्यत्, एतत्त्यत्; तस्यैतस्यामूर्तस्य एतस्यामृतस्य, एतस्य यतः एतस्य त्यस्यैष रसो योऽयं दक्षिणेऽक्षन्पुरुषः, त्यस्य ह्येष रसः ॥५ ॥

5. Now about the formless. That is the prana and the ether within this body. That is immortal, that is infinite, that is imperceptible. Of that formless, of that infinite, of that immortal, of that imperceptible, this is the essence-the principle which is in the right eye, because this is the essence of the imperceptible.

The subtle form of Brahman in the individual body is constituted of the two remaining elements, i.e., the vital air and the intracardiac space within the body. They are subtle in nature. They form the main ingredients in the composition of the subtle body.

The substance of this subtle, immortal, infinite and imperceptible form is that principle which resides in the right eye. This view is in accordance with other sruti passages which declare that the subtle body is specially manifest in the right eye. It is said that during waking state, perception takes place in the right eye first and then only it is circulated to other sense-organs. This right eye is the place where the principle in the subtle body specially manifests itself.

तस्य हैतस्य पुरुषस्य रूपम् । यथा माहारजनं वासः, यथा पाण्ड्वाविकम्, यथेन्द्रगोपः यथाग्न्यर्चिः, यथा पुण्डरीकम्, यथा सकृद्विद्युत्तम्; सकृद्विद्युत्तेव ह वा अस्य श्रीर्भवति य एवं वेद: अथात आदेशः - नेति नेति, न ह्येतस्मादिति नेत्यन्यत्परमस्ति; अथ नामधेयम् — सत्यस्य सत्यमिति, प्राणा वै सत्यम्, तेषामेष सत्यम् ॥६ ॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य तृतीयं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

6. The form of this being (is described). (It is) like the saffron-coloured robe, like the grey-colour of sheep-wool, like indragopa insect (of deep red colour), just as fire-flame, just as white lotus, just as a sudden flash of lightning. He who knows thus, to him comes the glory like a sudden flash of lightning. Then, therefore, the definition (of Brahman)-not this, not this. For, there is no other higher (definition) than this 'not this'. Now (its) name is Truth of truth. The prana is truth, (and) this is their truth.

It has been said that there are two forms of Brahman, gross and subtle, mortal and immortal, finite and infinite, perceptible and imperceptible. The entire group of elements with their effects, the body and the senses, forms the phenomenal existence which is the empirical reality, subtle as well as gross, individual as well as cosmic, from the relative point of view. This is the ground for phenomenal existence. The entire apparent reality is the manifestation or effects of these elements and their further manifestation. This is the relative reality which we see, understand and posit to be the concrete structure of the manifold existence, due to the force of ignorance. This relative existence to us is truth. A little later, the text declares the basis and background for the empirical reality, in terms of the Truth of the truth which is the subject-matter under discussion.

This being who is the sum-total of all gross and subtle bodies in the form of viraj and hiranyagarbha, the pervasive principle in the microcosm and in the macrocosm, is the immanent principle in the entire creation, conditioned as it were, by the accidental qualities of omnipresence and the rest.

The form of this person consists of impressions of gross and subtle objects, due to the presentation of the objects to the mind. The variegated colours of gross and subtle impressions are metaphorically presented by the text. The form of this person is said to be like the saffron-coloured robe, like the grey colour of sheep wool, like the deep red colour of the insect called indragopa, like a fire flame, like a white lotus and like a sudden flash of lightning. These variegated colours and attributes of the said person are presented only as examples of the infinite variety of impressions. This person has infinite colours, forms and impressions. The examples cited are only a few of those numerous types of impressions all of which cannot be cited here for reasons obvious. Then the sruti negates every quality which is related to the empirical self and through this negation points out to the Truth. After having ascertained the absolute reality of Brahman as the basis for the empirical reality, the Upanishad negates all attributes, the limiting adjuncts, which are superimposed on Brahman due to ignorance. The Upanishad first described the two forms of Brahman, i.e., the gross constituting of earth, water and fire, and the subtle constituting of air and ether, and then denies the predication of every attribute in Brahman, because to predicate any attribute is to limit Brahman. The ultimate Reality cannot be described in any positive and determinate term. Every determination is limitation.

In some, there may arise a doubt whether the negation repeated twice in 'not this', 'not this' negates both the world as well as Brahman, or only one of them.

A few maintain the view that both are negated. This would result in a complete void. In this case, Brahman which becomes a non-entity, cannot be the basis for the empirical universe which is also false. We may negate Brahman, because we have not seen it, but not the empirical reality, which we experience through all the senses. But their argument is quite unreasonable, because the main purpose of the text is the establishment of the non-dual Brahman. And, if that Brahman itself is negated, it would contradict the intention of the sruti which has made a solemn promise to teach Brahman (vide mantra II-i-1) and certainly stultify the whole theme of this chapter.

If it be asked how by these negations Brahman is described, the answer is that it is indicated by the exclusion of all definitions which may be made with regard to the nature of Brahman. For, if He is defined, He will be limited as all definitions refer only to qualities which are superimposed upon Him. His nature can, in no manner, be determined except by denying any and every attribute to Him. To define Brahman is to deny Him. The negative predication, 'not this, not this' negates the entire limiting adjuncts which have been superimposed on Brahman and also all possible specifications which may be made about Him. It, however, does not negate Brahman Himself, who is the basis of all the unreal superimpositions in the forms of the gross and the subtle, as well as all distinguishing marks. It means that Brahman is transcendent, and hence different from all this manifested world, beyond gross and subtle bodies, beyond the elements, beyond all subtle impressions, and beyond all possible assumptions that can be made by the mind and the intellect. We, therefore, decide that the clause 'not this, not this' negates not absolutely everything, but only everything except Brahman.

Moreover, if everything is negated, we arrive at a point, where we have nothing but a non-entity. Hence, it is not so. What has been mentioned up to this is denied by the words, 'not this, not this'. And the sruti says something more than that. After predicating the negation, the text determines the ultimate Reality as the substratum for everything, as the Truth of truth. This affirmation of existence of something higher than all empirical phenomena, asserts non-entity, but the essential Reality. It only denies the limitation of Brahman.

In short, this negative expression which denies every attempt to define the Absolute in terms of human language, affirms the transcendental Reality which is misunderstood by the ignorant from the empirical point of view as a non-entity. It is in reality the negation of diversity and the affirmation of transcendence. This Atman-Brahman is Consciousness- Absolute which defies all positive definitions and, hence, described as 'not this', 'not this'. The Upanishad itself says that there is no other and more appropriate description than this 'not this, not this'. In order to have some kind of intelligible conception of Brahman, empirical attributes are attributed to Him at first, and in the end all of them are completely negated, leaving the ultimate Reality in its pristine purity and sublime transcendence. All conceptual moulds break down under the weight of that Reality. All relative, particular and finite appearances merge in the highest Truth. The implication of the declaration of the Upanishad is that Brahman cannot be delimited by the pluralistic and dualistic attributes, qualities and actions known to human understanding. While trying to understand this mantra, we must construe it along with the positive attribute which explicitly affirms a super-phenomenal concept of Brahman as the Truth of truth, the highest and the only possible concept to indicate the nature of the supreme Being which is beyond the realm of speech and mind. The teaching is that Brahman is the non-dual basis of the dualistic relative reality. At the end, the sruti once again says: Its secret name is Truth of truth, because the sense-organs and the elements, in reality, constitute and make up the immanent form of the cosmic reality (sa-prapancha) and the acosmic Reality (nish-prapancha) is the Truth transcendental, the unbroken one essence, the akhanda-eka-rasa.


This section prescribes another meditation. The Universe constituted of the five elements, the earth, water, air, fire and ether, is divided into two broad divisions, the murta (with form) and amurta (without form). Brahman, the ultimate Reality has two aspects. One is gross, perishable, limited, and perceivable, consisting of the first three elements, the earth, water and fire, along with all their further ramifications and modifications in the form of the umpteen objects objects formed by the permutation and combination of the elements. The other aspect is subtle, imperishable, unlimited and unperceivable, consisting of the remaining two elements, the air and ether. These two elements are comparatively subtler than the other three. They may be said to be imperishable, unlimited and unperceivable compared to the other three elements. The physical sun is to be meditated as the essence of the three gross elements, as everything physical is reducible to the constituents of the solar orb. The divinity within the sun is the essence of the two subtle elements. This purusha is the subtle aspect. He is the eye, as it were, of the universe, the virat-purusha. So far, is the meditation on the adhibhautic and adhidaivic aspects, the macrocosmic counterpart of the Reality.

In the other counterpart, the microcosm, that adhyatmic aspect, the body is the gross, mortal, limited and defined part and the eye is the essence thereof. The body is constituted of the three gross elements. The eye is said to be the first organ to develop in the embryo when it is in the womb of the mother. It is, therefore, to be meditated as the quintessence of all the physical limbs in the body. The subtle body consisting of the three sheaths, the vital, mental and intellect sheaths, is the essence of the two elements, the air and ether. It is made up of the subtle impressions of the innumerable past lives. Even as the thread which goes to form the cloth, is called cloth, and cloth is thread alone, the past impressions alone are the subtle body, and vice versa, the subtle body is the past impressions alone. These subtle impressions are constituted of the three gunas, the sattva, rajas and tamas by their permutations and combinations. Three colours white, red and black are attributed to the three gunas. The impressions are, therefore, symbolically said to be of different colours, also a combination of these three main colours in different proportions. The essence of the subtle body is the purusha in the right eye, who is subtle, immortal, unlimited or infinite and imperceivable. One who meditates on the constituents of the gross and subtle body of oneself, as identical with the gross and subtle universe, in other words, one who contemplates on the identity and non-difference among the adhyatmic, adhibhautic and adhidaivic aspects of the creation and thus brings in harmony of the individual, the universal and the transcendental, becomes glorious and shines like the flash of lightning.

His glory which is the same as the glory of the Absolute is described in this section by negating all that is conceivable and not conceivable, through the terms 'neti neti' 'not this, not this' or 'not thus, not thus'. When one negates all that is phenomenal, one is left with one's own Self, the Atman, which is the same as the Self in all, Brahman. Anything that speech can express and the mind can think is negated to arrive at this great supreme Truth. The Upanishad says that there is no other better way to describe the Truth, and this 'neti, neti' method is the best. One who meditates thus, becomes That which is meditated upon. All pairs of opposites and the triads of experience are transcended. The three bodies, the physical, subtle and causal, and their essence, the visva, taijasa and prajna in the individual, together with virat, hiranyagarbha and isvara in the universal, are transcended and the meditator is established in the immortal, eternal, all-pervasive Consciousness, the turiya.

Thus Ends the Third Section Entitled

Murta-Amurta-Brahmana in the Second Chapter





















Till the end of the preceding section, the absolute unity of Brahman has been established, and all attributes predicated of It have been denied, and a further step towards the cosmic conception of Reality has been made. It is due to sheer ignorance on the part of the individual that he holds the sense-manifoldness as real, and makes a distinction between the empirical self and the transcendental Reality. The universe, with its fivefold categories of actor, action, rite, means and end, and the attainment of different planes of phenomenal existence, constitute for him, as it were, the only solid, practical and apprehensible reality. He holds that perception or cognition effected by the sense-organs is the only abiding and concrete factor. Progeny should be begotten, works should be accomplished and sense- happiness enjoyed here, rites should be performed and higher worlds attained after death for enjoying happiness- these become the guiding factors in his life. All this pertains to ignorance or absence of true knowledge, the knowledge about the true nature of the Absolute. The Upanishad has elaborately dealt with this subject in the first chapter.

Through a long and circuitous process, the Upanishad has negated the phenomenal universe and has proclaimed the non-difference of subject and object, the unity of the Atman with Brahman. From this, we have to understand that this unity alone is to be regarded as the supreme attainment. Therefore, after having known this much about the Atman, one should renounce all desires and give up running after worldly pursuits. When one has known the nature of Reality, the Self, and through reflection within identified oneself with It, then with what desire and for whose sake would one keep on clinging to the body?, - asks this Upanishad in mantra IV-iv-12. By entertaining desires for progeny and wealth here and the higher worlds after death, which constitute the entire range of desires, and by resorting to feverish activities for the fulfilment of those desires, one prevents oneself from attaining union with the desireless, infinite and blissful Atman. If we view impartially, we will find that these desires are the cause of the series of births and deaths of the individual, which bind him to the ever-revolving wheel of action and reaction.

It is not merely the metaphysical speculation and rational positivism of the ultimate development and unity of the phenomenal with the cosmic Reality that materialises into the union of the finite individual Self with the infinite supreme Self and effects freedom from the trammels of birth and death, desire and bondage, limitations and ignorance, but it is the result of the practical application of the Upanishadic Truth and strict adherence to that principle by means of renunciation of all finitude, - worldly ambitions, petty accomplishments, sense-attachments and similar other lower pursuits, - and finally being in tune with the absolute Reality, sat-chit-ananda. It is for this purpose, the sruti says that the aspirants lived the life of renunciates. Those great ones, after having abandoned all that is earthly, finite and perishable, disconnected themselves from the world of desires and attachments, lived the pure life of a mendicant and practised yoga, in the calm and serene atmosphere of the forest-environment, and finally attained union with the non-dual blissful Self. By tranquil contemplation, the yogi obliterates the seeds of both good and evil actions, and, after becoming one with the supreme Self, enjoys eternal Bliss.

To show that renunciation is a pre-requisite for the quest for Self-realisation, this section introduces the story of a famous ritualist and sage by name Yajnavalkya and one of his wives, Maitreyi, and emphasises the need for and the place of renunciation in the scheme of the knowledge of the Self.

In the course of his discourse, Yajnavalkya asserts the nature of the Absolute now and again. He reveals to Maitreyi that the real hearer, the seer, the understander, the knower, is beyond the category of intellectual apprehension and is divine in essence. This knowledge is the unifying factor which effects the identity of all diverse phenomena. The appearance of the sun and moon in water is a mere reflection and not real. Similarly the appearance of redness in a pure white crystal is a mere reflection from a red substance nearby and not real. Because on removing the water, the sun and the moon only remain and not their reflection, and on removing the red substance, the white crystal alone remains and not the red colour. Even so is this world phenomenon including the elements and the individual souls. It is a reflection of the one Self in ignorance, and not real, for on the annihilation of the ignorance through the knowledge of Brahman, the Self alone remains, and the whole of the world reflection is realised to be non-different from one's Self, the pure Consciousness.

Therefore, despite the attributing of hearership, knowership and the like to the Absolute, Yajnavalkya maintains uniformly the view of non-duality, all throughout, and warns Maitreyi of the complicated consequences of the dualistic conception in the famous mantra: "All reject one who considers the all as different from the Self." For, in reality, there is no differentiation of any kind apart from the non-dual Self; and that Self, says Yajnavalkya, is to be realised through hearing, reflection and meditation.

The aim of this section is to show that renunciation is indispensable for attaining the knowledge of Brahman, the Absolute, which is non-dual and which transcends all phenomena. The same conversation between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi reoccurs in the 5th section of the 4th chapter also of this Upanishad, with slight variations in the mantras. मैत्रेयीति होवाच याज्ञवल्क्यः, उद्यास्यन्वा अरेऽहमस्मात्स्थानादस्मि, हन्त तेऽनया कात्यायन्यान्तं करवाणीति ॥१ ॥

1. O Maitreyi, thus said Yajnavalkya, I am about to step out from this place (to become an anchorite). Let me make a final settlement (of my property) for you and that Katyayani.

Yajnavalkya, a famous ritualist and a sage, after having performed all the duties of an ideal householder, decided to renounce and become a sannyasin. He was vastly learned in spiritual science, as will be seen in this section as well as in the 3rd and 4th chapters of this Upanishad as well as other scriptures. What he wanted was to free himself from his household duties, which involve all and sundry kinds of ceremonies and rituals, and desires and their accomplishment, and to enter into the fourth order of sannyasa which is indispensable for deep meditation and direct realisation of the supreme Self. However much one may be learned in the spiritual science, unless he practises what he has learnt and realises his own Self, he cannot attain the supreme Goal. It is not the dry intellectual erudition that takes one to the ultimate Reality, but it is something more than that. It is for this reason that Yajnavalkya set himself to renounce all his earthly possessions and wander from place to place as a monk, a parivrajaka. Such a life would remind him of his aim all throughout. He will also be able to disseminate the soul-saving and sacred knowledge to the populace wherever he goes. This is considered to be one of the duties of a monk. Some say that Yajnavalkya abandoned his dear wives and children who were dependent on him in the forest, to seek his own personal welfare. They charge him with extreme selfishness, the narrow selfishness of a worldling, as he cared for his own salvation, and considered his wives and children as hindrance to the attainment of his selfish purpose. All this is perverted view of those who are completely ignorant of what the supreme state of Liberation is. His true ideal was that of the knower of Brahman, and his renunciation was the renunciation of the wise, vidvat- sannyasa in the scriptural parlance. It is to be borne in mind that he was quite unlike those who roam about here and there aimlessly, and do not at all mind leaving the world with the spiritual duty unfulfilled and their Self unrealised. The highest ideal of human life is nothing less than the realisation of the one, non-dual nature of the Reality, whose expression is this universe. It is this that prompted Yajnavalkya to renounce the world and embrace sannyasa. This great truth, the sane minds must accept and adhere to.

Deciding thus, he called his two wives and addressed the elder one, Maitreyi: "I propose to leave this place and embrace the order of sannyasa. Let me make a final settlement of my property, by dividing it between you and Katyayani, so that my relationship with both of you may end."

सा होवाच मैत्रेयी, यन्नु म इयं भगोः सर्वा पृथिवी वित्तेन पूर्णा स्यात् कथं तेनामृता स्यामिति, नेति होवाच याज्ञवल्क्यः, यथैवोपकरणवतां जीवितं तथैव ते जीवितं स्यात्, अमृतत्वस्य तु नाशास्ति वित्तेनेति ॥ २ ॥

2. Maitreyi said: "Sir, if now this whole earth filled with wealth were mine, would I be immortal thereby?" Yajnavalkya replied: "No, as is the life of those who are rich, even so would be your life. Certainly there is no hope of immortality through wealth."

Maitreyi, the first wife of Yajnavalkya, was spiritual-minded. She heard the declaration of her husband and thought: "Generally one does not abandon or renounce any of his possession, except when one has acquired something superior and more valuable than that which one already possesses. Now that my husband is intent upon renouncing all his property and is going to enter into the order of sannyasa, there must be assuredly something more significant, something more valuable which he must have acquired. What that thing could be, except the soul-redeeming sacred Knowledge, and an intense thirst for the ultimate Freedom." Having thought so, she put the following question to her husband: "Revered Sir, please tell me, if this whole earth filled with bounteous riches comes under by possession, would I become immortal thereby?"

Hearing from his wife such a question of great spiritual significance, Yajnavalkya replied that Immortality could never be acquired by means of riches, as all wealth only helps one to lead a so-called affluent life in this world, at best to attain heavenly enjoyments after death through the performance of ritualistic sacrifices. It is true that wealth and material prosperity are useful in worldly life. If you wish to perform rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies, and wish to enjoy a luxurious life in this world, you need wealth and property. In order to earn name and fame, you have to possess riches and amass wealth. But do all these give you satisfaction and peace? Do you feel contented and happy? No; on the other hand, wealth begets desire for more wealth. Fresh cravings and multiplied desires hover upon your mind. The more the riches, the more are the wants and much more is the feverishness to fulfil them. Where then is the happiness and contentment, peace and immortality! So, Yajnavalkya said that akin to the life of rich people would be the life of his wife also even if she was to possess the whole world with all its wealth. Her life would be full of wants and cravings, disappointments and dissatisfaction. There is not even the least hope for Immortality through wealth, since Immortality is the total cessation of all types of desires, and establishment in the state of 'perfect satisfaction' under all conditions.

Wealth co-exists with feverishness, begets cravings and dissatisfaction and finally destroys the mental and spiritual peace of the individual.

सा होवाच मैत्रेयी, येनाहं नामृता स्यां किमहं तेन कुर्याम् ? यदेव भगवान्वेद तदेव मे ब्रूहीति ॥ ३ ॥

3. Maitreyi said: "What shall I do with that, through which I would not be immortal? What indeed, you know, O Lord, that alone tell me."

Having heard what her husband told her, Maitreyi asked: "Then what shall I do with that by which I could not become immortal? My spiritual aspiration will remain unfulfilled. On the other hand, my material wants will only grow more, cravings will play havoc in me, my peace will be disturbed and I shall be as miserable as other rich people are. Please therefore instruct me, my Lord, on that which you know, on that Immortality for which you are readily renouncing all wealth, property and the family and entering into the highest order of life."

स होवाच याज्ञवल्क्यः, प्रिया बतारे नः सती प्रियं भाषसे, एहि, आस्स्व, व्याख्यास्यामि ते, व्याचक्षाणस्य तु मे निदिध्यासस्वेति ॥४ ॥

4. Yajnavalkya said: "My dear, having been dear to me, you say (what is) dear (to me). Come, sit down. I shall explain to you. But, while I am expounding, do meditate (upon what I say)."

Noticing that Maitreyi is greatly interested to know about the means of attainment of Immortality, and seeing in her a qualified pupil endowed with the spirit of renunciation, tranquillity, patience, collectedness and competence of assimilating the instructions on the most difficult subject of brahma-vidya, Yajnavalkya promised to impart to her the sacred teachings about the supreme Self, whose nature is immortality, the subject matter of all the vedas.

Maitreyi being his own wife, Yajnavalkya does not formally initiate her. The supreme Knowledge can be imparted to every one possessing the necessary qualification prescribed in the scriptures, such as discrimination, dispassion, the six-fold virtues and ardent yearning for liberation, without any distinction of colour, creed or sex. However, Yajnavalkya tells Maitreyi to be keen and meditative, for this is the prerequisite for a student who wishes to hear the instructions on Brahman.

स होवाच, न वा अरे पत्युः कामाय पतिः प्रियो भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय पतिः प्रियो भवति । न वा अरे जायायै कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति । न वा अरे पुत्राणां कामाय पुत्राः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय पुत्राः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे वित्तस्य कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे ब्रह्मणः कामाय ब्रह्म प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय ब्रह्म प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे क्षत्रस्य कामाय क्षत्रं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय क्षत्रं प्रियं भवति । न वा अरे लोकानां कामाय लोकाः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय लोकाः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे देवानां कामाय देवाः प्रिया भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय देवाः प्रिया भवन्ति । न वा अरे भूतानां कामाय भूतानि प्रियाणि भवन्ति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय भूतानि प्रियाणि भवन्ति । न वा अरे सर्वस्य कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति । आत्मा वा अरे द्रष्टव्यः श्रोतव्यो मन्तव्यो निदिध्यासितव्यो मैत्रेयि, आत्मनो वा अरे दर्शनेन श्रवणेन मत्या विज्ञानेनेदं सर्वं विदितम् ॥५ ॥

5. He said: "Verily, not for the love of the husband, my dear, is the husband dear (to his wife), but for the love of the Self, the husband is dear (to his wife). Verily, not for the love of the wife, my dear, is the wife dear (to her husband), but for the love of the Self, is the wife dear (to her husband). Verily, not for the love of the sons, my dear, are sons dear (to their parents), but for the love of the Self, are the sons dear (to their parents). Verily, not for the love of wealth, my dear, is wealth dear (to a rich man), but for the love of the Self, is wealth dear (to a rich man). Verily, not for the love of the brahmana, my dear, is a brahmana dear, but for the love of the Self is the brahmana dear. Verily, not for the love of the kshatriya, my dear, is kshatriya dear, but for the love of the Self, is the kshatriya dear. Verily, not for the love of the worlds my dear, are the worlds dear, but for the love of the Self, are the worlds dear. Verily, not for the love of gods, my dear, are the gods dear, but for the love of the Self, are gods dear. Verily, not for the love of the beings, my dear, are the beings dear, but for the love of the Self, are the beings dear. Verily, not for the love of all, my dear, is all dear, but for the love of the Self is all dear. O Maitreyi, verily, the Self should be seen; heard, reflected on, and meditated upon. Verily, through the realisation of the Self, by hearing, reflecting and meditating, this all becomes known."

It has already been said in mantra I-iv-8 that the Self is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than all other objects. Here is an elaboration of that theme, showing that in truth, our love for the Self is the basis for our love of all other objects. One should understand this fact clearly. One should not, therefore, love objects due to desire for pleasure and for one's own sake. It must be well understood beyond doubt that all objects are united in Him, the Self, just as the diverse limbs are to the body. Empirical selfishness which is based on erroneous distinction between oneself and another, between one object and another object, is a mistake, since it cares only for one's own individual personality. Generally, we love others because we think that they give us pleasure and joy and remove some kind of dissatisfaction. For instance, we feed a starving beggar, because we cannot bear the sight of his starvation. So, in order to remove our own inner pain, we feed him and, thereby, get rid of our mental pain. This inner selfish motive lies at the bottom of the so-called humanitarian actions of almost all people, which they themselves are not aware of. Our actions are either motivated by an urge for subjective happiness, the happiness of our own selves, or impelled by selflessness which seeks objective happiness through the happiness of others. To cite an instance, a beggar knocks at our door at odd hours. He goes on knocking and crying, till at last we get bored up and give him something and thereby get rid of him. Now mark: this act of ours is motivated by a subtle selfishness. We gave him a few coins only to get ourselves freed from him. This is what is termed subjective happiness. Whereas, when we readily and willingly give food to a starving man, we ourselves feel happy and he also is freed of the pangs of hunger. This is objective happiness, since this act of ours tends to the happiness arising from the object, the starving man.

But, there is a superior kind of love, which knows no subject-object distinction. It is not that love which is directed for the sake of our psychological self. It is not that love which one directs for the sake of the physical body, or even one's life, nor is it that love which one has for a particular object of his choice and utility. This love is due to the underlying and all-encompassing Soul which is non-different from and inextricably identical with everything here. Husband, wife, son, wealth, brahmana, kshatriya, these different worlds, these celestial gods, these beings, all this, as also everything else not enumerated here, are the objects of love to the subject, for the mere fact of their mutual oneness and identity.

Hence, the text enumerates nine objects and includes everything else that has not been mentioned, by the use of the word 'all'. It brings to our mind that the Self is the primary object of love and that our love for other objects is secondary. So then, in this love, subject-object distinction falls flat, and the essential unity of the Self is comprehended, which is declared previously as the dearest of all.

Therefore, says Yajnavalkya to Maitreyi, this Self which is the primary object of love, should be realised by renouncing all mundane objects. It is said that one should renounce even the whole world for the sake of the Atman. By making the Self as the object of your realisation, you must get yourself initiated into and then instructed about It by a preceptor. After that, you must reflect upon those instructions which have been given to you by your preceptor and then meditate deeply on the conclusion arrived at as a result of hearing and reflection. Thus, by means of hearing, reflection and meditation you will realise the Self. These three constitute the main spiritual practice for a student of jnana-yoga. The whole edifice of jnana-yoga, and practice of vedanta rest upon these three strong pillars, viz., hearing the instructions on the Supreme from the teacher, reflection on which is thus heard, and deep meditation on the Truth arrived at through reflection (sravana, manana and nididhyasana). When the aspirant is well established in meditation, then the vedantic truth becomes vivid in his mind, and his individual consciousness merges in the supreme Experience. He is then said to have transcended empirical consciousness and become established in the Self. At such a stage, when he becomes identical with the Self which is the Whole, there remains nothing unknown to and uncomprehended by him. This entire relative universe of name, form and action, like the false perception of a snake in the rope, does not exist for him, distinct from the Self in the three periods of time. Hence, it is said that all this becomes known, in order to denote that this knowledge reveals to him the real nature of this relative universe of thought, emotion and action, and about which others in ignorance want explanations and proofs after investigation, and scoff at those who assert its non-existence apart from the Self.

ब्रह्म तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो ब्रह्म वेद, क्षत्रं तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनः क्षत्रं वेद, लोकास्तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो लोकान्वेद, देवास्तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो देवान्वेद, भूतानि तं परादुर्योऽन्यत्रात्मनो भूतानि वेद, सर्वं तं परादाद्योऽन्यत्रात्मनः सर्वं वेद: इदं ब्रह्म, इदं क्षत्रम्, इमे लोकाः, इमे देवा, इमानि भूतानि, इदं सर्वं यदयमात्मा ॥६ ॥

6. Yajnavalkya continued: "The brahmana rejects him who knows the brahmana as something other than the Self. The kshatriya rejects him who knows the kshatriya as something other than the Self. The worlds reject him who knows the worlds as something other than the Self. The gods reject him who knows the gods as something other than the Self. The beings reject him who knows the beings as something other than the Self. All reject him who knows all as something other than the Self. This brahmana, this kshatriya, these worlds, these gods, these beings, this all is this Self."

To those who consider the Self as something different from the object, to those who involve themselves in the duality of a knowing subject and knowable objects, Yajnavalkya sounds a note of warning and points out the serious consequence of such dualistic conception.

From the standpoint of the Absolute, there is no universe apart from the Self. Wherever the scriptures deal with a second entity, it is only to instruct the truth of non-difference. There is no difference whatsoever really.

The empirical reality is an appearance and not real, not the 'thing-in-itself'. It has been characterised to be mere names, verbal expressions (Chh. Up. VI-i-4). So then the ultimate Reality is not the subject with which a second entity called the object is inextricably united. But, It is That which underlies both the so-called subject and object. To be more plain, it is termed as the One-without-a-second. No doubt, It is the all-inclusive ground of the universe from our point of view (sa-prapancha), but from the Absolute standpoint, It is the Reality of which the universe is but an appearance (nish-prapancha).

On the other hand, those who assert that the Absolute and the universe are two realities, one different from the other, or that the universe is an evolute of the Absolute, or a part, are not aware of the real import of the scriptures. The view that the Self and the universe are both real, is a destructive and disastrous view which would make it impossible to bridge the gulf between the two, a prerequisite for the advaitic realisation of the Absolute.

Hence, those who postulate that a brahmana, a kshatriya, these worlds, these gods, these beings, and everything else are something different from the Self, will find themselves rejected by them. Their views should be considered as not fully developed, and therefore discarded by earnest aspirants. The fact is that there is only one Self without-a- second. The text has given here a few examples - kshatriya and brahmana castes, worlds, gods and beings of all types - and reviews them in the last sentence. This brahmana, the superior caste, this kshatriya, the warrior caste, these worlds, earth, heaven and the intermediate worlds, these gods, agni, indra, and others, these beings, the organic and inorganic, and everything else not mentioned here in the text, are not different from the Self. Those who assert the difference between the Self and the universe comprising all men, animals, worlds, gods and others, must be held as ignorant, and their doctrine of duality should be rejected, lest they may spread this contagion in the society and contaminate the hearts and minds of others who follow the true non-dual doctrine. If one is given to understand that the world is something different from the Self and that it exists as a separate entity, then he will grow worldly-minded seeking sense-pleasure and endeavouring for earthly riches and heavenly ambitions. For, the general tendency of all people is to yield to the gravitational pull of sense- enjoyment and petty mundane pleasures, as a result of which they see only what is external and not what is internal. The doctrine of and belief in the distinction between the Self and the universe, lead the individual to perceive the sense-universe only which is at once perceivable to the senses and not the Self who is beyond the reach of all perception and sense-experience. On the other hand, the knowledge of the unity of the Self and the universe, makes the individual speculative, rational and contemplative about that Reality which the senses and other finite instruments are unable to perceive, cognise and apprehend. By this speculation, by this quest, he ceases to be extroverted and sense-deluded, sees the entire world from a different level of consciousness when he beholds unity and secondlessness. He leaves off the world of joy and pain, heat and cold, birth and death and attains immortality. Reject duality and realise Unity - this is what the mantra says. Any thing in this world or the higher world shall leave you if you consider it as different from you, other to you, the Self.

स यथा दुन्दुभेर्हन्यमानस्य न बाह्याञ्छब्दाञ्छक्नुयाद्ग्रहणाय, दुन्दुभेस्तु ग्रहणेन—दुन्दुभ्याघातस्य वा-शब्दो गृहीतः ॥७ ॥

स यथा शङ्खस्य ध्यायमानस्य न बाह्याञ्छब्दाञ्छक्नुयाद्ग्रहणाय, शङ्खस्य तु ग्रहणेन — शङ्खध्मस्य वा — शब्दो गृहीतः ॥८ ॥

स यथा वीणायै वाद्यमानायै न बाह्याञ्छब्दाञ्छक्नुयाद्ग्रहणाय, वीणायै तु ग्रहणेन-वीणावादस्य वा-शब्दो गृहीतः ॥९ ॥

7. Yajnavalkya continued: "It is like one not able to grasp the external sounds of a drum which is being beaten, but by grasping the drum or strokes of beating, the sound is grasped;

8. "It is like one not able to grasp the external sounds of the conch-shell which is being blown, but by grasping the conch-shell or the blowings on the conch, the sound is grasped;

9. "It is like one not able to grasp the external sounds of a lute which is being played upon, but by grasping the lute or the playings upon the lute, the sound is grasped."

But then, an explanation may be demanded. How by knowing the Self, everything else becomes known? And moreover, if this all, -the universe of name, form and action, made up of elements and their compounds, the body, the senses and others-is Brahman and not something different from It, then why we are not able to acquire a fuller knowledge of It, and know everything thereby? Since Brahman is incomprehensible and imperceptible by the mind and the senses, whereas this perceptible universe can be known as it appears through our sense and mental experience, why not we accept the latter, the universe, as the object of our quest and knowledge? By analysing the gross components of a substance, we know easily the substance as a whole, and it is quite contrary to all accepted practice to start the analysis of a substance from its atomic ingredients, it being very difficult on account of their atomic subtlety. In the same way, we must know these varieties which are seemingly real, and are experienced by the senses. If all this is the Atman and not different from it, why is particular emphasis laid on the knowledge of the Atman, and this apparent reality which is inextricably united with the Atman, ridiculed? These three mantras give the answer to these questions of the materialist raised against the doctrine of the oneness and the non-dual nature of the Self.

One standing at a distance is not able to grasp or stop the external sounds of a drum produced therefrom, even though he hears them quite distinctly. But, by going to the place where the drum is being played upon and by stopping it or its strokes, by his hand, one is able to grasp the drum and stop the sound. Here, in this analogy, the drum stands for the supreme Self from whom different universes emanate like the different notes from the drum. Similar is the case with the sound produced by blowing a conch shell. Exactly in the same manner, by attaining the knowledge of the Absolute which is the totality of all fragmentary knowledge, one can grasp the basis or the cause for all that is to be known.

So is the case with the sound produced by a lute, cited as the third example. In a like manner, says Yajnavalkya to his wife Maitreyi, one can, by knowing the Self alone, obtain the full knowledge, and thereby, stop all diverse phenomena in the form of birth and death, pain and pleasure, and the like.

It is not enough, if we merely have a full knowledge of the sounds of the drum or the conch-shell or the lute, since we cannot stop any of them with that knowledge. Similarly, our knowledge of the universe which belongs to the lower category cannot grasp the subtle Reality which is the ultimate cause for this vast creation. If you wish to stop the sound of the drum, then go and catch hold of the drum or its strokes. Apply these comparisons to the knowledge and realisation of the Self, and the cessation of diversity and ignorance thereby. When the individual soul becomes identical with Brahman through direct realisation, like the grasping of the drum or its strokes in the analogy of the drum, the diversity ceases to exist, even as the sound of the drum stops by grasping it. The supreme Self is comprehended as the subject emanating in the form of the objective world, like the drum objectifying itself in the form of sounds emanating from it.

The underlying idea of these metaphors is that the knowledge of the phenomenal universe cannot confer upon us the full and complete knowledge. It is only by grasping the Reality, through direct realisation, we can know all about the universe which is like the strokes of the drum, or the sounds of the conch-shell or the notes of the lute. Even as by knowing gold, all objects made up of gold are known in their essence, even as by knowing clay all objects made up of clay are known in their essence, the names of objects being mere verbal expressions, so by knowing the Self, all worlds, all knowledge, and everything else become known in their essence, their names being mere verbal expressions, a mode of speech.

Just as the several strokes on the drum are not different from the drum from which they emanate, just as different sounds of the conch-shell are not distinct from the conch-shell from which they are produced, just as the various notes of the lute are essentially non-different from the lute in which they remain in an unmanifested state before it is played, even so this entire universe is not something apart from the supreme Self from which it has emanated. As sounds are non-existent apart from their cause, the drum and the like, so also the objective universe should be considered as non-existent apart from Brahman. The particular sounds of the drum are its expressions and are included in the drum. Likewise, the different degrees of phenomenal consciousness are to be taken as the expressions of the supreme Consciousness alone and are to be included in It, as non-different from It. Know the Self and you will know everything - this is the import of these mantras.

स यथार्थैधाग्नेरभ्याहितात्पृथग्धूमा विनिश्चरन्ति, एवं वा अरेऽस्य महतो भूतस्य निःश्वसितमेतद्यदृग्वेदो यजुर्वेदः सामवेदोऽथर्वाङ्गिरस इतिहासः पुराणं विद्या उपनिषदः श्लोकाः सूत्राण्यनुव्याख्यानानि व्याख्यानानि; अस्यैवैतानि निःश्वसितानि ॥ १० ॥

10. Yajnavalkya continued: "It is like the smoke (which) separately issues forth from a fire kindled with damp fuel, even so, verily, my dear, that which is rigveda, yajurveda, samaveda, atharvaveda, histories, ancient lores, sciences, Upanishads, verses, aphorisms, explanations, commentaries, all these are breathed out of this great Being."

Some may say: "You conceive this universe as a modification of Brahman and, therefore, different in nature and form, like a gold nugget converted into various ornaments differ in name and form from its cause, the gold nugget. In that case your doctrine falls into the category of parinama-vada, the theory of complete transformation, which involves a change to your changeless Brahman. Either the universe is a part of Brahman or identical with the whole of Brahman. If you say that the universe is a part of Brahman, then Brahman becomes possessed with parts or limbs and He would be liable to change and destruction like limited objects. And, if you say that the whole universe is identical with Brahman, that would mean that Brahman has wholly transformed into the universe, He is wholly reduced to the universe in the process of creation and nothing of Brahman would be left after creation. In both cases, Brahman would cease to be Brahman, the Absolute."

In addition to this, the following has been the subject matter of discussion by many schools of thought. They argue: If there is such a vast distinction between the universe which is considered as definable, and Brahman which is considered as undefinable, how then can one assert their identity, and call Brahman 'one-without-a-second' by such arguments suggested so far in defence and support of their sameness.

The reply is: Following the light shed by the mantra through the interesting analogy, we can exercise our reasoning, analyse and understand that the entire universe is not something distinguishable from its cause. The apparent gulf between the secondary, phenomenal reality of the universe, and the Absolute, is bridged by the declaration in this mantra, about the relation of identity between fire and smoke, the cause and effect.

Answering this very same question about the relation of the universe with the Absolute Reality, which is one of essential identity, the sruti declares 'Thou art That' (Chh. Up. VI-viii-7) and adopts a novel method altogether, to bridge this seeming gulf of difference between the definable and the undefinable. And here in this mantra, it is established through an analogy, that the universe is not a transformation of Brahman.

As the smoke (which also suggests embers and flames) separately issues forth from a fire ignited with damp fuel, in the same way, O Maitreyi, says Yajnavalkya, all this emanates out of this great Being. All this is like the breath of this infinite Reality, the supreme Self. Just as a man breathes, even so, this infinite Reality breathes out all this. What are those that are breathed out of this infinite Reality?

All that is in the form of knowledge which again is the cause for actual empirical perception, since the conception of universe has knowledge for its basis. And knowledge, which takes the form of universal appearance, is represented by the vedas and other scriptures, for they are the authorities on the subject. Just as the existence of a particular object is dependent upon the knowledge of that object, even so, the existence of this relative universe is dependent on the vedas.

The rigveda, yajurveda, samaveda and atharvangirasa (atharvaveda), are the four diversions of the one veda. By itihasa is meant historical dialogues such as those between Urvasi and Pururavas and the like. puranas are ancient lores furnishing such valuable information, as for example, 'This universe was in the beginning unmanifest'. The term vidya in this mantra refers to sciences dealing with music, dancing and such other arts. Upanishads mean secret and sacred doctrines pertaining to the nature of the universe and the Absolute. sloka meaning verses, refer to the mantras occurring in the brahmanas which are regarded as authoritative references. sutrani, aphorisms, are those passages which present the truths in the vedas in a nut-shell, such as the badarayana sutras on vedanta, jaiminiya sutras on karma-kanda, and so on. anu-vyakhyani are explanations referring to those portions which treat of mantra and aphorisms in a simpler way. vyakhyani are commentaries or corroborative statements of aphorisms and mantras which deal with them thoroughly.

These mentioned above represent in themselves all forms of knowledge and authority which give us a thorough idea about the universe and the supreme Soul and their relation with each other, which is one of complete identity without any trace of distinction. Thus, they cover the entire range of universal knowledge and sum up in themselves the whole concept of relative existence.

Even as breaths come out of man naturally and without any thought or effort on his part, so do these eternally existing forms of knowledge issue spontaneously out of the supreme Self. It is like the smoke, embers and flames spontaneously issuing forth from fire.

Hence, this universe prior to its manifestation, was Brahman only. And even after origination, when it is differentiated, as it were, by name, form and action, it is to be accepted as not distinct from its original substance, viz., Brahman. It is said in the next mantra that at the time of dissolution it again becomes one with Brahman. Before origination, the universe was but Brahman, and after dissolution it is one with Brahman. Naturally, in the intermediate state of its apparent existence, it must be reasonably accepted to be nothing apart from Brahman. It is as in the case of foam and bubble which are identical with water at all periods of time, despite the illusory and seemingly different name and form that we superimpose upon water.

Therefore, this universe should be rationally accepted to be the expression of the supreme Being, neither different from Him nor an evolute of Him, nor even a conscious or unconscious part of Him. By realising so, one will not behold duality or plurality, or diversity of any kind. Duality is unreal and unity is real-is the doctrine revealed by this mantra.

स यथा सर्वासामपां समुद्र एकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां स्पर्शानां त्वगेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां गन्धानाम् नासिके एकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां रसानां जिह्वैकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां रूपाणां चक्षुरेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां शब्दानां श्रोत्रमेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां संकल्पानां मन एकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां विद्यानां हृदयमेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां कर्मणां हस्तावेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषामान्दानामुपस्थ एकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां विसर्गाणां पायुरेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषामध्वनां पादावेकायनम्, एवं सर्वेषां वेदानां वागेकायनम् ॥११॥

11. Yajnavalkya continued: "It is as the sea is the only abode of all waters, as the skin is the only abode of all touches, as the nostrils are the only abode of all odours, as the tongue is the only abode of all tastes, as the eye is the only abode of all forms, as the ear is the only abode of all sounds, as the mind is the only abode of all deliberations, as the intellect is the only abode of all knowledge, as the hands are the only abode of all actions, as the generative organ is the only abode of all pleasures, as the anus is the only abode of all excretions, as the feet are the only abode of all motions, as the speech is the only abode of all vedas."

At the time of dissolution, the universe which is the expression of the Absolute, merges as it were, in its cause. This is here illustrated through thirteen examples. The Self is pictured as the abode of all sense-activities. These examples illustrate that not only before creation and during continuance, but also at the time of dissolution and after, the universe is nothing but Brahman, just as foam and waves are nothing but water.

Sound, touch, form, taste and smell are the manifestations of the five organs of knowledge, viz., ear, skin, eye, palate and nostril, respectively. Speech, motion, action, excretion and enjoyment are the expressions of five organs of action, viz., the organ of speech, feet, hands, anus and the generative organ, respectively. Thought and knowledge are the expressions of the mind and the intellect respectively. The five organs of knowledge, the five organs of action, the mind and the intellect are the abodes for their respective expressions. According to the text, the skin is the only abode of all sorts of touches, the nostril is the only abode of all kinds of odours, and similarly all the remaining organs are the only abodes of their respective objects. Just as the ocean is the only abode of all waters and the above-mentioned twelve organs are the only abodes of their objects, even so, the Self is the only abode of all phenomena. Again, as these sense-activities are only expressions and not something different from their organs, so is the universe an expression and not something apart and distinguishable from the Self which is its abode, as it were.

स यथा सैन्धवखिल्य उदके प्रास्त उदकमेवानुविलीयेत, न हास्योद्ग्रहणायेव स्यात्, यतो यतस्त्वाददीत लवणमेव, एवं वा अर इदं महद्भूतमनन्तमपारं विज्ञानघन एव । एतेभ्यो भूतेभ्यः समुत्थाय तान्येवानु विनश्यति, न प्रेत्य संज्ञास्तीत्यरे ब्रवीमीति होवाच याज्ञवल्क्यः ॥१२ ॥

12. "It is as a piece of salt when thrown into the water is dissolved into the water only, one would not be able to pick it up at all; but from whencesoever one might take (and taste it would be) salty only. So, my dear, verily this infinite, unlimited great Being is indeed a solid mass of Consciousness. Having sprung forth from these elements, with them verily (Its separate existence) is destroyed. Having departed there is no (particular) consciousness. This, my dear, I say"-thus spoke Yajnavalkya.

This identity which has been discussed in the previous mantras is further explained through the analogy of salt and water. A lump of salt thrown in water dissolves in it and one is not able to pick up the salt from the water. But from whichever part one might take a few drops and sip, they will taste saline. This is the analogy to illustrate the great truth. Here, the empirical self stands in comparison with a lump of salt. Even as the lump has no inner or outer aspect being salt throughout, so also, the individual consciousness has no inner or outer aspect. It is essentially one homogeneous unit all throughout. When the individual consciousness is merged in the totality of its source, the Absolute, it loses its individuality and separateness like the lump of salt dropped in water. Consequently, the concept of the division as the subject and object falls in the category of erroneous judgment, since the so-called solid empirical reality is only a matter of words, a simple name. The truth is only the Absolute which is infinite, unlimited, a mass of  consciousness in which the empirical reality is merged, like the lump of salt in water.

Having sprung forth from these elements, appearing as the body and organs, the Absolute appears as an individualised entity. But, as soon as these elements are annihilated through the knowledge of the Self, the individual existence is also destroyed. It is like the reflection of the sun being destroyed when the reflecting medium is removed, or as a lump of salt losing its individuality when it is dissolved in water. When the differences created by ignorance are gone, the universe becomes one with the Absolute, a solid mass of Consciousness which is infinite, unlimited and non-dual. Having been freed from phenomenal consciousness and such other limiting adjuncts, the individual soul loses its particular consciousness which relates to the body, senses and the mind, and exists as a homogeneous mass of knowledge - so said Yajnavalkya to his wife Maitreyi.

सा होवाच मैत्रेयी, अत्रैव मा भगवानमूमुहत्, न प्रेत्य संज्ञास्तीति; स होवाच न वा अरेऽहं मोहं ब्रवीमि, अलं वा अर इदं विज्ञानाय ॥१३॥

13. Maitreyi said: "Just here (by telling) 'having departed there is no consciousness,' my Lord, (you have) bewildered me." He said: "My dear, I verily speak nothing bewildering. I say, my dear, this indeed is sufficient for knowing."

Having heard thus from her husband, Maitreyi was confused and could not understand the correct implication of the final statement of Yajnavalkya on the subject, who said that the individual having departed from here, has no consciousness. She therefore sought further explanation of the statement. The epithet 'Consciousness', has been used to signify the Pure Consciousness and the individual consciousness as well. Yajnavalkya said that the great Being who is infinite and unlimited is a mass of Consciousness, but when the individual soul realises its identity and frees itself from the fetters of the body and senses, it loses consciousness. Maitreyi demanded reconciliation of these two apparently contradictory statements.

Yajnavalkya had used the latter term 'consciousness' to denote and characterise particular and particular and individual consciousness which Maitreyi could not grasp. When Yajnavalkya said that having departed from here, there is no consciousness, he meant that after the death of individuality, there is no consciousness of individuality. Individuality presupposes duality and duality always co-exists with individuality, and it is an essentiality for all objective consciousness. This is what sage Yajnavalkya meant. On the other hand, the great Reality is Knowledge itself, the transcendental Consciousness freed of all objectivity and also subjectivity. It has no particular consciousness, except when It, due to ignorance, appears as identified with the body and organs. When the individuality of the self which is superimposed by ignorance, is destroyed by the knowledge of the Self, the individual consciousness, the false perception of the phenomena, is as it were destroyed. But nevertheless, the supreme Consciousness which is the transcendental Brahman remains unchanged. even as the sun remains as it is, in spite of the disappearance of its reflection in water when the water is dried up.

यत्र हि द्वैतमिव भवति तदितर इतरं जिघ्रति, तदितर इतरं पश्यति, तदितर इतरं शृणोति, तदितर इतरमभिवदति, तदितर इतरं मनुते, तदितर इतरं विजानाति; यत्र वा अस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्तत्तेन कं जिघेत्, तक्तेन कं पश्येत्, तक्तेन कं शृणुयात्, तक्तेन कमभिवदेत्, तक्तेन कं मन्वीत, तक्तेन कं विजानीयात् ? येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति तं केन विजानीयात् ? विज्ञातारमरे केन विजानीयादिति ॥१४॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य चतुर्थं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

14. (Yajnavalkya continued:) "For, where there is duality, as it were, there one smells another, there one sees another, there one hears another, there one speaks with another, there one thinks of another, there one knows another. Where, of course, everything has become his Self alone, there whereby and what would (one) smell; there whereby and what would (one) see; there whereby and what would (one) hear, there whereby and whom would (one) speak with, there whereby and what would (one) think of, there whereby and whom would (one) know? Whereby would one know Him by whom one knows all this? My dear, whereby would one know the Knower?"

More about the absence of particular consciousness, after attaining oneness with the supreme Consciousness is given in this mantra.

In order to see another, smell another, hear another, and so forth, duality has necessarily to be presupposed. In this context, when Yajnavalkya says that there is duality, as it were, it is very clear that he is not prepared to accept duality at any cost and under any condition even in the present state of our consciousness. Moreover, the Absolute Self requires the negation of all dualistic predications, and therefore, it cannot be known at all, like knowing other objects, for knowledge of an object presupposes an object of knowledge, besides the one who is the knower of the object and also the act of knowing. And when there is only one subject, devoid of a second, then who is to know whom and with what? Can fire burn the fire itself, when there is no more fuel left within its bosom? The answer is an emphatic 'no'. This then is the answer to the question about the unknowability of the Self. The Self is unknowable, not because it is unknown, but because it is the basis of all knowledge, nay, knowledge per se. It cannot be known as objects are known. Therefore, the Self, who is the knowing subject and who is devoid of the knowable object and the process of knowing, does not fall in the category of knowledge known to human thought and reasoning. The Self, the eternal Subject, does not know Itself as an object other to It. Thus the hearer, the seer, the understander, the knower, are unheard, unseen and ununderstood, since they are the one self within, in essence Divine and Absolute, one-without-a-second. Hence, Yajnavalkya puts this great truth in the form of a question, the answer to which is obvious. Where everything has become the Immutable Intelligence, the Witness, whose expression alone makes all phenomenal consciousness possible, there, through what instrument, the subject would smell, see, hear, speak, think of and know the subject, when the instruments of perception and knowledge themselves fall within the category of objects which have lost their objectivity and become one with the non-dual subject? Is He not 'other than the known and above the unknown' (Ke. Up. I-3), 'that from which words and mind turn back, not being able to attain It' (Tai. Up. II-4)! Our words and thoughts are relevant to the realm of plurality and they fail when they try to approach the Supreme Self, since in that Realm there is a complete cessation of the triad of seer, seeing and sight; knower, knowing and knowable, and so on. Everything merges in the One and the non-dual. This is what Yajnavalkya meant by saying na pretya samjnasti iti that there is no consciousness after death, 'death' referring to the cessation of duality and 'consciousness' to objective knowledge. Thus the sage asserted through reasoning that there is no objective knowledge after the cessation of duality.


This section maitreyi-brahmana called after the name of the wife of sage Yajnavalkya, the recipient of brahma-vidya, containing the most sublime instructions on the Atman, is the quintessence of the whole Upanishad. It is the crest jewel in the crown of Upanishadic literature. Here, we have an ideal couple, a husband-preceptor and a wife-disciple, the former a srotriya-brahmanishtha-guru, a teacher who is a master of the Scriptures and also established in the Supreme Brahman, and the latter an adhikari-sishya, a disciple possessing the fourfold qualifications prescribed for an ideal student of Atma-vidya. Leaving off the garb of the story, we get at the outset, a glimpse of the nature of dispassion an aspirant should have, before he approaches his spiritual teacher. This whole world filled with all wealth is to be treated as mere straw by the seeker after the supreme Truth, for it is of no use to him in his march towards the Goal. This is an echo of the scriptural definition of vairagya, dispassion, which states that it is the complete absence of desire for the pleasures of this world as well as the heavenly worlds. To the possessor of the necessary qualifications, the teacher prescribes first, hearing of the truth from him, then reflection on what is heard, and lastly deep meditation, sravana, manana and nididhyasana as they are termed in vedantic parlance.

The instructions given in this section are from the two standpoints of the transcendental and the immanent. The svarupa-lakshana, the description of the essential nature of the Absolute, is first given, which is followed by the tatastha-lakshana, relative characteristics which help to understand the Truth and to have a firm conviction about It. The homogeneous, blissful, eternal nature of the Atman is beautifully brought out through the usual anvaya and vyatireka methods. A wife who considers her husband as her own Self enjoys all happiness. And when she starts treating him as different from her Self, she gets a kick from him. This is the case with every object in this world. The one Self is present in the umpteen objects and the recognition of this truth is productive of eternal happiness which is the essential nature of the Self. The source of all joy is the Atman, and not the objects outside as is wrongly conceived by the non-discriminative mind. It is the mistaken notion that persons like husband, wife, son and other relatives, objects like dainty dishes, sweet smelling flowers and garlands, are the sources of joy, and the resultant effort to possess them at all costs, that are the wombs of all pain and sorrow. Every object is a source of joy as long as it remains non-different from the Atman, and the very same object turns into the cause of misery, the moment it is separated from the Self and treated as an external entity to be possessed and enjoyed. The reason is simple. The love for an object is really the love for that which is eternal in that object, the Self, and we wrongly think that it is for the temporal name and form. So long as the selfhood of objects is not recognised, the expected happiness and satisfaction never comes, and it shall never come. That which is admitted to be external through ignorance, can, by the very reason of our own mistaken thought, never be possessed really. It shall always remain external. All external objects are sure to leave one, by the very nature of their externality. What is one's own really, the Self, that alone can never leave one. It is the dearest of all, being one's own Self. It is the Atman that masquerades as these objects and beings.

This universe is really the supreme Self even now when it appears as though external to oneself, which fact is established through three analogies of a drum, a conch and a lute and the sounds produced by them. Whatever is perceived by the senses and the mind is an effect, and an effect cannot be known unless the cause is known. All effects have a series of causes, so much so, the universe may be said to be a circular chain of never-ending links of cause and effect. We may say that these links are the finite parts, as it were, of the infinite universe. These finite objects themselves are a mystery which the limited, individualised intellect of man cannot fathom. The incapacity of the senses to pierce the name and form of an object and perceive the 'subject' within the object, its Self, creates a false impression on the mind that objects are separated by space and time. The space which man in his ignorance thinks as empty is as concrete and substantial as any other object, being a manifestation of the Atman, like other objects. It is one of the elements which go to constitute the universe. Even as the different notes of musical instruments are the effects of the principle of general sound which is their ultimate cause, and the latter is the substratum on which the former make their appearance, so is the Atman the substratum on which the world appearance rests. As the different notes are only expressions of the general sound, even so, the universe is the expression of the Atman alone.

Next, this section of the Upanishad establishes through the illustration of fire and smoke, that the world has emanated from the Atman. As smoke naturally arises from fire ignited with wet fuel, without any effort on the part of any of the factors involved, so the phenomenal world emanates from the Supreme effortlessly. All knowledge is breathed out of this great Being. Creation is as effortless and natural to the Absolute as breathing is to living beings. As fire does not change its nature due to the loss of smoke, even so, the non-dual Absolute does not change its essential nature by the creation of this vast universe. The effect carries with it the characteristics of the cause. So the universe that is the effect of the infinite Brahman is also said to be infinite. purnamadah purnamidam -That Brahman is infinite and this creation is also infinite-is the statement of this Upanishad in mantra V-i-1. But, due to ignorance of the true nature of the Absolute, if one considers the world as separate and external to the Atman, then it is unreal, as unreal as the pot that is a manifestation of clay, and non-existent like the waters of a mirage.

Having thus proved that the world is essentially the supreme Brahman, even now when it appears as the world, and that it was Brahman before creation, this section of the Upanishad, through a series of illustrations, confirms that the world remains as Brahman, after dissolution also. All effects merge in their respective causes. This is the law of nature, a divine law that holds good at all times. All waters are traceable to its source, the ocean. So are all the forms of touch, smell, colour, taste and sound, as also the function of the motor organs and of the mind and the intellect, traced to their respective organs in the body. Following the process of merging the effect into its cause, the sound, to cite one instance only, is merged into the ear, which in its turn is identified with the mind. The mind again is dissolved into its cause, the intellect, and the intellect into mahat or hiranyagarbha, hiranyagarbha into isvara and isvara into the Absolute, the ultimate cause of everything. This ultimate Supreme, the causeless Cause, can be attained through meditation starting with any object in this world. When through such meditation, one's mind merges in the ultimate cause, there comes the flood of illumination like the lightning. One now perceives only the Absolute in every object seen or unseen, heard or unheard, smelt or not smelt, tasted or not tasted, touched or not touched, thought of or not thought of. One experiences, in a mysterious manner, the truth of the vedic dictum sarvam-khalvidam-brahma-all this is certainly the Absolute.

That the whole universe is a mass of Consciousness is shown through the analogy of salt and water. A lump of salt that is dissolved in water which is its source (salt being taken from sea water) though not visible to the eyes, is present in every drop of that water, which fact is easily known through tasting. The lump of salt has lost its individuality and separateness alone. The salt is not lost completely, but has become one with its cause. As in this illustration, the individual self which has been separated, as it were, from the supreme Self, through identification with the limiting adjuncts of the aggregate of this body and thus became a mortal, subject to birth and death with all their concomitant pain and pleasure, loses its separate existence, when it contacts with its source, the Absolute, through meditation, and becomes one with that undecaying, immortal, fearless, pure, homogeneous Reality. The universe which is a projection of the mind of the individual due to delusion, also dissolves and loses its distinctness. Individual or particular consciousness no more exists, as the cause thereof which is the limiting adjunct projected by ignorance is destroyed through the knowledge Absolute.

At this point, a doubt is raised as to how consciousness which is indestructible and non-dual can be said to be destroyed along with the destruction of the limiting adjuncts. There is no room for any such doubt which arises in one's own mind due to want of clarity of knowledge. The usual conception of knowledge is knowledge of 'something' which comes and goes. It has birth and death. With the destruction of that 'something' along with the destruction of all duality, that particularised or objective knowledge also ceases to exist. When there is no 'something', there can be no knowledge of that 'something'. But, the Knowledge "there is no 'something' and therefore, there is no knowing of 'something' still persists. This knowledge has no distractions. None can know or understand this Knowledge. When there is 'something' as it were, outside the eye, the latter can see that 'something'. So is the case with all the organs, including the mind and the intellect. When there is only Knowledge and no objects, what is there to know! The object of Knowledge has, as it were, merged into the Knowledge and become one with It, so that there is no more any object apart from Knowledge. Who is there to know the Knowledge which is now the Knower alone. Any attempt to posit a second knower to know this ultimate Knower would result in the logical fallacy of regressus ad infinitum, and therefore, should be avoided. Thus is established the absolute nature of the ultimate Reality which is expressed as Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute.

This particular aspect of the nature of the Absolute Plenum is continued in this Upanishad in mantras 23 to 32 of section iii of chapter IV.

Thus Ends the Fourth Section Entitled

Maitreyi-Brahmana in the Second Chapter
























It has been explained in the preceding section that this universe prior to its manifestation, was Brahman only, that even after manifestation as the apparently differentiated name and form, continues to be nothing distinct from Brahman, and that after dissolution also it remains as Brahman alone. In the present section, it is shown how this manifold universe with its divergent phenomena, is Brahman only on further grounds.

If the entire universe is an effect of the ultimate Cause, then how these different and various effects are correlated among themselves? Is their correlation like the relation that exists among the numerous leaves and the fruits in a tree which is their common cause? If it is so, then how can the effects in their varieties and multiplicities be said to help each other to form a single unit? Moreover, the effects have necessarily to part with their cause, which again adds weight to our question. For, we have never seen the effects of a tree, the leaves, flowers and fruits merging back into the tree, their cause. Then, if the universe with its gross and subtle elements, name, form and action, numerous organisms and varieties of substances, has the one Self for its genus, how can any one explain these varieties and manifoldness of the creation? If the whole creation has sprung from one source, the Self, then the former must have only one uniform nature. All objects of the world must be akin in their nature and action, name and form, just as the children born of human parents are human beings only, never cats and dogs. The fruits of a mango tree are mango fruits only, never apples or apricots. Hence, how can one accept that this universe with its numerous constituents and their different modes which do not at all have any resemblance among one another, has for its subsistence the one Self, and also that the whole universe dissolves back into the Self?

It has been stated that there is only one Self who is Absolute, and the entire manifested universe is His expression. This manifested relative universe is like a human body or the body of any other living being composed of various limbs, each of them responding to its respective action. Even though hands do nothing but their work such as grasping, giving, taking etc., eyes do nothing but perceiving, feet do nothing but moving the body, and similarly other limbs of the body do nothing but their respective duties, however, despite such kinds of existing dissimilarities among themselves and their functions, there exists, undoubtedly, perfect co-operation, correlation and mutual helpfulness among them. But for the eyes, one could not see and without the ear one could not hear. So, then, the eyes, ear and the other organs stand in co-operation and correlation with the body which is an aggregate of all the limbs. They are mutually helpful to each other. Even if one of the limbs stops functioning, the body feels its absence and ceases to do the duty of that particular organ.

Similarly, the entire creation, akin to a human body, is an aggregate of the five great principles, the subtle elements which again manifest themselves in the forms of gross and subtle bodies of beings, as also the cosmic bodies, all of which may be compared with the different limbs of a living being. Now, we are told in this section that all these manifestations are mutually helpful and innumerable manifestations co-operative, being the limbs in the body of virat or hiranyagarbha. Even as the foundation supports the pillars of a house, again the pillars in their turn support the roof, and all of them together go to make up the full structure of a house, just so, the multifold organisms, numerous modes of substances, the cosmic bodies and all other objects form the aggregate of this empirical universe which has the Self for its support, which exists in the Self and which in the end merges back in the Self.

The present section shows that there is a correlation among different parts of the universe and that they spring from the same cause, the Self, that they are of the same essence, the Self, and that they dissolve into the Self. It also explains how the objects of the universe, though they appear quite distinct in nature and are experienced as such, are rooted in the Self, even as a tree consisting of many leaves, stems, branches and flowers, is rooted in the earth. The section introduces the topic of madhu-vidya - honey- meditation. The bees collect the honey from various kinds of flowers and the honey serves them as nourishment. Even so, all beings are nourished by earth, water, fire and other elements, and all beings nourish the elements. Since each of the gross elements contains a definite proportion of the remaining elements also in addition to itself, there is no real difference among them, despite the variety and dissimilarity which appear to exist among them.

The term madhu in the present section is used to convey the sense of correlation, mutual co-operation and interdependence existing among the earth and other elements and all creatures, in their gross and subtle, and in their individual and cosmic forms. The terms earth, water, etc., occurring in this section, denote and represent the presiding deities therein. Even though the bodies of all creatures are composed of the five elements, - ether, air, fire, water and earth, - however, due to preponderance of the earth element, they are said to be composed of earth. The gross elements form the gross body, the subtle elements or principles constitute the astral or the subtle body, and the cosmic form of the elements goes to make up the cosmic bodies. The earth, water, fire, air and ether are helpful for the creatures to perform actions and enjoy the fruits thereof. So far as the performance of actions and enjoyment of their fruits are concerned, the sun and moon, the five elements, law and truth, directions, lightning, sound, beings and the cosmic body enumerated in this section assist all creatures, and all creatures, in their turn, are helpful for their existence. The Upanishad refers to the unconscious and gross form of the limiting adjuncts in the earth and the rest, as objects of enjoyment, but not the conscious and subtle principle in them. The enjoyer is their conscious and subjective aspect. Similarly, all creatures must be taken to be the objects of enjoyment in their gross form, and their conscious and subjective aspect the enjoyer. The gross body is an object of enjoyment to the subtle subject who enjoys it. Here, in this section, the body, semen, speech, breath, eye, ear, mind, skin, sound, heart, moral order, truthfulness and human being are considered in their gross forms, since they are chiefly composed of the earth principle which is grossest of all. Hence, their activities may be said to be limited to the physical sphere only. Thus, the co-relativity and non-difference between subject and object, gross and subtle, individual and cosmic, is established by declaring the interdependence, interaction and interrelation amongst them. The entire creation, being an effect of a single cause, is one only even in its varying stages. On account of certain apparent difference in their nature reported by the sense organs, we should not conclude that those varying effects have their respective individual causes, independent of one another, nor should we determine that the diversity, which marks the distinct existence of every object, presupposes duality or multiplicity, nor again should we hold that manifoldness and plurality really exist. Do not all organs of the body with all their respective and distinct marks and different functions, belong to a single entity? Yes, definitely. Similarly, all the objects of this universe should be included in the totality of the unitary Self. Just because the sun emits heat and moon cannot, fire burns and water cannot, mind thinks and ear cannot, what one organ can perform the other cannot, are we to assume that they are effects of different causes, or they are completely different and independent of each other? That would be like the absurd conclusion that numerous fruits and leaves of a tree, which are decidedly different and varying in quantity, quality, shape, etc., presuppose for their existence and cause not one seed, but many seeds. The truth is not so. The microcosm is interrelated with the macrocosm, the constituents of the earth are interdependent, the individual deities interact with the cosmic deities, and thus everything from hiranyagarbha down to the minutest particle of an invisible atom, is interlinked. Every object is related to every other object, even as each part of the body is inseparably connected with the other parts.

But, according to some, the present section is set forth for the purpose of meditation (nididhyasana), the passages preceding the illustration of drum, in the previous section are for hearing (sravana), and those passages following the illustration up to the end in the preceding section are meant for reflection (manana). The present section supports the previous proposition 'All this is the Self only', by setting forth the reasons, which are in accordance with the scriptural rules.

इयं पृथिवी सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्यै पृथिव्यै सर्वाणि भूतानि मधुः यश्चायमस्यां पृथिव्यां तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं शारीरस्तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥१ ॥

1. This earth is the honey of all beings. All beings are the honey of this earth. (So also) that which is this shining, immortal person in this earth, and which is this shining immortal incorporeal being in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

This mantra forms the basis upon which the whole theme elaborated in the present section rests. Herein is put up the fundamental concept of the unity of existence. The Upanishad has attempted to draw out this unity from the fact of the close interdependence and undeniable mutual correlation among the component aspects that go to make up this phenomenal existence as a whole. Here, the existence is inclusive of its two aspects, the conscious and the unconscious. And both of these aspects are again considered in their individual as well as cosmic standpoints.

Commencing thus, the first mantra posits the unity of the gross universe, the macrocosm, and the body of the individual, the microcosm. The five great elements in their permutation and combination, constitute the common factors behind both. Then, taking the conscious aspect, the sruti considers the mutual correlation of the cosmic Being, isvara, and the individual jiva dwelling in the body, and establishes the identity of the two. This is done by pointing out the mutual cause and effect relationship, based upon the analogy of the honey and the bee. In view of the previously established unity of cause and effect, this fact of identity is arrived at. Lastly, the over-all identity of this phenomenal existence and the Absolute Being out of whom all things have sprung, by whom all things are sustained, and into whom all things are ultimately unified, is declared.

This earth which is the grossest of all elements, is the support for all creatures, being helpful to them. By 'creatures' is meant all that moves and that moves not. Just as a bee-hive is the abode of very many bees, even so this earth is the abode of all beings, where they perform karmas and enjoy the fruits thereof. The earth being unconscious and gross, is the object of enjoyment for all creatures who are conscious and therefore, called the subjects who enjoy

Just as the earth is like honey to all creatures, even so, all creatures are honey or effect of this earth. All creatures are chiefly composed of earth, the other four elements being only the minor ingredients therein. All creatures have earth as their cause, because physical life springs from earth, of course with the admixture of water and other elements. These two, earth and creatures, are composite effects of each other. Thus from the view-point of cause and effect, they are mutually related and interdependent.

Similar is this person, i.e., the subtle body composed of seventeen principles, which shines with the light of consciousness and which, from the moment of release from mortal fetters, attains immortality. It is like honey to all creatures. It is because the subtle body is an essential factor in every creature. Even after the death or destruction of the physical body, the subtle body lives, and moves from one body to another. Till the subtle body attains final release by the knowledge of the Self, it causes fresh embodiments to creatures. When the subtle body attains freedom, further incarnations would not materialise. Keeping this point in view, the text refers to the subtle principle in every creature and indicates its inevitable nature of reincarnation and gives it the name madhu.

Just as the subtle principle is essential for all beings, even so, all beings are essential for this subtle principle. It has to be borne in mind that all creatures are essential, since they represent the field of reincarnation and action of this subtle principle. The subtle principle cannot become embodied, if there are no creatures, no beings. Hence, the beings sustain the reincarnation of the subtle principle in physical bodies. And so they are interrelated. We cannot see any creature without the subtle principle in it. In the same way, the subtle principle cannot incarnate and manifest itself in the absence of a physical medium. Therefore, the text says that that which is this shining immortal Person in the earth is the honey of all creatures, and all creatures are honey to Him. The mantra is abstruse, and only through meditation one can grasp its true import.

And about the physical being, who is identified with the subtle body, the text says that it is also the honey for all creatures, because all creatures have got bodies. There is no being as such, who is devoid of a body consisting of gross elements. There can be no being without a physical body and no physical body without a creature, a being. It is like a table and wood. The table is inseparably related with wood, and they are not two different objects. The physical being is inseparably connected with the creatures, and creatures are identical with the physical being. Thus, these two effects are composite and blended in each other.

These four-the earth, the beings, the subtle principle in the earth, and that in the beings, - stand as composite effects in relation to the Soul, though, for the time being, they are described as having mutual relation of cause and effect among themselves, each becoming the cause of the other in turn. Everything is a cause of certain effect, and effect of a certain cause. Every object in this universe is the effect of the supreme Cause. But, by itself it makes subject-object distinction on account of its relation with other objects. When a man experiences, he becomes the subject, and when he is experienced, he becomes an object. Thus both subject and object are blended in a single personality. Similar is the case with cause and effect also.

The seed is the cause of the tree and the tree in turn is the cause of the seed. Thus both cause and effect are blended in each. From this, we postulate that all objects which are effects of some causes and which in turn are causes for some effects, are essentially the effects of the ultimate, causeless Cause. This analogy of 'honey' brings home to us that all objects, despite their mutual cause and effect relationship, are nothing but the composite effects of the supreme Cause. The creatures, the earth, the consciousness in the creatures and the consciousness in the earth-these fourfold effects are blended in one cause, and are denoted by the interrelated and honey-relationship, interblended, interdependent.

But, this relationship is ascribed to them due to ignorance of the fact that they have one cause. And this cause is the Self who is, in this context, seen as fourfold.

The declaration in this mantra 'ayameva sah - this is verily That' reveals the essential nature of all objects. The fourfold division which represents the condition that exists in this phenomenal creation, is denoted by the word 'this' in this passage. And, this creation which is an effect of interaction among the above-mentioned fourfold entities, is none but that Self who is the essential, real, inner Consciousness denoted by the term 'That'. But declaring 'this is That', the essential and underlying Reality of the empirical universe is set forth, and we are reminded of the declaration in mantra II-iv-6 of this Upanishad where the Self is the subject matter of discussion and decision, and the term 'That' here refers to the Self about which it has been declared 'this all is this Self', therein.

Again, the four sentences - 'this is indeed that which is the Self', 'this is Immortal', 'this is Brahman', and 'this is the All' - remind us that this universe, represented by the said fourfold division, in essence, is the Self which is Brahman, the Immortal, the All. In the course of Yajnavalkya's instructions to his wife Maitreyi, it has been said that this Atman is to be realised through hearing, reflection and meditation. The same Atman is to be identified with the Self which is under discussion now. And that Immortal who has been referred to by Maitreyi and explained by Yajnavalkya, in the preceding section, is the same as this Immortal who is declared to be the ultimate Cause of this fourfold division. Similarly, Brahman who was dealt with in murta-amurta brahmana and was denied of all predications, by the declaration of 'not this, not this', is the same here, whom the present mantra reviews to be the ultimate causeless Cause of all interrelated cause and effects. Again, this ultimate Cause of the entire universe is the same through whose knowledge, the knowers of Brahman, such as Vamadeva, attained identity with all. Thus the terms 'Self', 'the Immortal', 'Brahman' and 'the All' are identical and they refer to the non-dual Reality. That ultimate Reality should be the cause behind the entire co-relativity which exists among the above-said fourfold division. Just as we superimpose a person on a distant stump on a moonlit night by erroneous perception, even so, the co-relativity among earth and the rest, is also a superimposition due to the ignorance about the Reality. The reality is Brahman. There is no duality, no separate entity other to It.

Thus, through the meditation on the vital connection that exists among earth, beings, the consciousness in the earth and the consciousness in the beings, we come to the conclusion that all the four are the Self and Self alone.

The succeeding thirteen mantras up to mantra 14 deal with similar meditations. In the place of the earth mentioned in this section, the remaining four elements, and other subtler and abstract as well as cosmic entities are taken up, discussed, and the same conclusion arrived at.

इमा आपः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, आसामपां सर्वाणि भूतानि मधुः यश्चायमास्वप्सु तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः यश्चायमध्यात्मं रैतसस्तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम् इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥२ ॥

2. These waters are honey to all beings. All beings are honey to these waters. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in these waters and also that which is this shining immortal person identified with the semen in this body, this indeed is that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Water is now taken up for meditation. According to another sruti, the water has its special abode in the semen. It says: 'Water became semen and entered the virile member' (Ai. Up. II-4). In this present mantra, the fourfold divisions for contemplation are: the gross principle in water, that in the beings, the subtle principle in water, and that in the semen, which sustain and help each other. The gross form of water and the creatures are vitally connected. The subtle consciousness in the water and that in the creatures specially manifested in the semen are like honey to all beings and all beings are honey to them. All these are effects of the supreme Cause. Their essential nature is Brahman, the Self, the Immortal.

अयमग्निः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्याग्नेः सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु यश्चायमस्मिन्नग्नौ तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं वाङ्मयस्तेजो- मयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥३ ॥

3. This fire is the honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this fire. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this fire and also this shining immortal person identified with speech in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Likewise is fire. It has its special abode in the organ of speech in this body of man. It is said: 'Fire became speech and entered the mouth' (Ai. Up. II-4). Here, the meditation is on the identification of the gross form of fire, the beings, the consciousness in fire, and the consciousness in the beings specially manifest in the organ of speech. Each one of these is like honey to the other. All the four are correlated, and all the four are nothing but the Atman-Brahman.

अयं वायुः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य वायोः सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्वायौ तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं प्राणस्तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥४ ॥

4. This air is honey of all beings. All beings are honey to this air. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this air and also this shining immortal person identified with the vital force in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Likewise is air. Air resides in the body as prana, the vital force, and enlivens it. So long there is prana, the body lives and moves, and in its absence, it falls dead and motionless. The element air is called honey, because it helps body by furnishing it with the necessary materials. This is the gross aspect of air. The subtle aspect is the consciousness in the air and in the prana in the body. 'Wind became breath and entered the nostrils' - says the Aitareya Upanishad (II-4). The gross form of air, the beings, the consciousness in the air, and the consciousness in the beings specially manifest as prana, are identical with the Atman.

अयमादित्यः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्यादित्यस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्नादित्ये तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः यश्चायमध्यात्मं चाक्षुषस्तेजो- मयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥५ ॥

5. This sun is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this sun. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this sun and also this shining immortal person identified with the eye in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman. this is All.

This visible and gross sun is meant here at the first instance. The subtle principle in the sun is denoted by the term the shining immortal person. In the body, the principle in the sun is identified with the consciousness in the eye. 'The sun became sight and entered the eyes' (Ai. Up. II-4). Meditation is prescribed on the identity of the gross form of the sun, the beings, the conscious principle in the sun, and that in the beings which manifests specially in the eye.

इमा दिशः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, आसां दिशां सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमासु दिक्षु तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं श्रौत्रः प्रातिश्रुत्कस्तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥६ ॥

6. These quarters are honey to all beings. All beings are honey to these quarters. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in these quarters and also this shining immortal person identified with the ears and every act of hearing, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Similar is the meditation on the quarters and the beings, both in their gross and subtle aspects all of which are identical with the Atman. "The quarters became the hearing and entered the ears' (Ai. Up. II-4). The presiding deities of the quarters are identified with the principle in the ears and every act of hearing, since it is specially manifest in them.

अयं चन्द्रः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य चन्द्रस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिंश्चन्द्रे तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं मानसस्तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥७ ॥

7. This moon is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this moon. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this moon and also this shining immortal person identified with the mind in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal. this is Brahman, this is All.

The moon refers to the gross and visible moon. The shining immortal person refers to the subtle, conscious principle in the moon. Moon in its subtle conscious aspect is identified with the consciousness in the mind. 'Moon became mind and entered the heart' (Ai. Up. II-4).

इयं विद्युत्सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्यै विद्युतः सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु यश्चायमस्यां विद्युति तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं तैजसस्तेजो- मयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥८ ॥

8. This lightning is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this lightning. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this lightning and also this shining immortal person identified with light and heat in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

The lightning refers to its gross and visible form and the shining immortal person refers to the subtle conscious principle indwelling the lightning. Lightning in its subtle form is identical with light and heat in the cosmic sphere, and with the organ of touch in the beings.

अयं स्तनयित्नुः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य स्तनयित्नोः सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्स्तनयिलौ तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं शाब्दः सौवरस्तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥९ ॥

9. This cloud is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this cloud. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this cloud and also this shining immortal person identified with the sound and voice in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

'This cloud' refers to the gross and visible form of the cloud. 'The shining immortal person' refers to the subtle principle in the cloud. Cloud in its subtle form is identified with sound generally and voice particularly.

अयमाकाशः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्याकाशस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्नाकाशे तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं हृद्याकाश- स्तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥१० ॥

10. This ether is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this ether. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this ether and also this shining immortal person identified with the space in the heart in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

'This ether' refers to the empty space which lies in between two objects, the atmospheric space. The shining immortal person refers to the subtle conscious principle in the ether. It is specially manifest in the space of the heart in beings.

अयं धर्मः सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य धर्मस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्धमें तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः यश्चायमध्यात्मं धार्मस्तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥११॥

11. This moral order is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this moral order. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this moral order and also this shining immortal person in this body is moral order, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Moral order is invisible, but nevertheless it can be seen in its effects. Although moral order is not directly visible to the senses and the mind, its existence is felt through its visible effects, the elements such as the earth and the rest. And because of the essential non-difference between cause and effect, it is stated here as though it is directly perceived.

This moral order, which controls the entire universe, and which is in accordance with the universal law, causes different elements to move according to definite law and presents different worlds, different beings, gods, and the like through their transformation and interaction.

This moral order is the embodiment of the principle of universal law and order which is called rita. The great cosmic activities are carried on according to this principle which is conceived as immutable and inviolable. The regularised course of action of every atom of the universe is directed by this moral order. The moral order invests the universe with sublimity, and its working with supreme justice. Thus the course of universal activity is ordained with justice and accuracy through the principle of dharma. The regularity in the particular positions, movement and behaviour of different phenomena such as earth, sky, fire, water, wind, sun, moon, lightning and others, is attributable to this moral order which manifests itself as all these entities and nourishes life in this vast universe.

This moral order is generally conceived to mean 'vows' or 'conduct', refraining from falsity, and agreement with divine merits in moral contexts. It, therefore, means virtue consisting of honesty, rectitude, fellow-feeling, charity, non-violence, truthfulness, sweet and agreeable speech, continence and control of senses, reverence, faith and austerities. Here, however, it must not be taken in a general sense of morality, but must mean to denote the cosmic order and divine ordinance. Although in a previous context (I-iv-14) truth and righteousness (moral order) have been spoken as identical, here, however, they are treated as separate, since their respective effects are distinct, visible and invisible. Moral order invisibly produces twofold effects which may be termed as general and particular. In its general or cosmic form, it causes action and regularised movement in the elements and cosmic bodies such as sun, moon and others. In its particular or physical form, it is responsible for the existence of the individual body and organs and decides the course of their movement and behaviour. It may very well be said that this moral order, in the cosmic realm, directs the aggregate of all heavenly bodies, and in the individual sphere directs the aggregate of the gross body and organs. Moral order and truth, though inseparable and identical, have different duties to perform. It is something like a person as the king and also as the father of his children, having twofold different duties to discharge and twofold personalities in different realms of his activities, though really he is only one. That general or cosmic form of moral order which directs the actions of elements, is described in this passage as the shining immortal principle. Its particular or individual form is identified with the shining immortal principle in the body that fashions the aggregate of the body and organs. All these are to be meditated upon as interdependent, correlated and vitally connected with each other, as the manifestation of the one, non-dual Atman.

इदं सत्यं सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य सत्यस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्सत्ये तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं सात्यस्तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥१२ ॥

12. This truth is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this truth. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this truth and also this shining immortal person identified with the truth in this body, indeed this is that which is this Self, this is Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

Although it is said in mantra (1-iv-14) that that which is righteousness is Truth, and thereby, their non-difference is asserted, however the truth is set forth separately and is not held identical with righteousness from the viewpoint of effect and action.

It has been said in the preceding passage, that moral order is invisible and produces its effects in general and in particular, in its relations with the cosmos and the individual. Here, 'truth' may be defined as that which is visible in and agreeing with the moral order and conduct of thought, speech, and deed. The term 'truth' should not be restricted to 'non-falsity' in speech alone, as it is commonly understood. It represents the entire field of goodness and negation of vice such as absence of bad intentions, imprecation, calumniation, dishonesty, gambling, sensual enjoyment, adulteration, thieving, inflicting injury to life and other sins or vices. The term 'truth' sums up in it, the entire code of right conduct which, of course, varies in degree according to the standard of individual understanding and development. Thus, truth has an independent value for every individual, every object of this universe.

This truth also, like moral order, is twofold and produces its effects general and particular. The shining immortal principle in this truth is its general form which is responsible for the movement of gross elements and which is inherent in them. Its particular effect is inherent in the body and the organs and is responsible for their behaviour and movement.

All these, the truth, the beings, the principle in the truth, and the principle identified with the truth in the body are composite effects and thus interrelated. They are honey for each other. They are effects of each other and undeniably interdependent.

इदं मानुषं सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्य मानुषस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि मधु; यश्चायमस्मिन्मानुषे तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, यश्चायमध्यात्मं मानुषस्तेजो- मयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥१३ ॥

13. This human being is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this human being. (So also) that which is this shining immortal person in this human being and also this shining immortal person identified with the human being in this body, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

"This human being' mentioned here, includes all other beings belonging to every kind of organism. There is mutual relation of helpfulness which exists in all beings. All these are, therefore, correlated.

The beings are indicated as twofold with reference to the astral and the gross body. That which is subtle or astral is indicated by the term 'this shining, immortal person in this human being' and that which is gross by the term 'this shining immortal person identified with the human being in this body,' thus identifying both with the ultimate principle, the Atman.

All these, the sum-total of all species, the subtle principle abiding in them, their individual gross forms and all beings in general, are helpful to one another, since they are inseparable and non-different from the viewpoint of their ultimate cause and from the fact of their being effects of a common cause.

अयमात्मा सर्वेषां भूतानां मधु, अस्यात्मनः सर्वाणि भूतानि मधुः यश्चायमस्मिन्नात्मनि तेजोमयोऽमृतमयः पुरुषः यश्चायमात्मा तेजोमयो- ऽमृतमयः पुरुषः, अयमेव स योऽयमात्मा; इदममृतम्, इदं ब्रह्म, इदं सर्वम् ॥१४ ॥

14. This self (cosmic body) is honey to all beings. All beings are honey to this Self (cosmic body). (So also) that which is this shining, immortal person in this self (cosmic body) and also this shining immortal person in the (individual) self, this is indeed that which is this Self, this is the Immortal, this is Brahman, this is All.

'This self' in this mantra refers to the cosmic body which has been defined so far, beginning from the earth mentioned in the 1st mantra of this section and ending with the human being in the just preceding mantra. The aggregate of all bodies, devoid of all distinctions, is meant here by the expression 'this self'. It refers to virat, the sum-total of all gross bodies in the macrocosm.

This shining immortal principle in the body' refers to the subtle principle which is in the cosmic body of virat, hiranyagarbha, the cosmic totality of all mind, the essence of the subtle. It was mentioned as being identical with the shining, immortal principle in the earth in mantra II-v-1, where the reference is only to one element, viz., the earth. The sum-total of all astral bodies is represented by hiranyagarbha, the inner principle in virat, the cosmic body, indicated in all the preceding passages through the expression 'this shining immortal person'.

'This shining immortal person in this individual self' refers to the chidabhasa, the individual consciousness which is an effect of or reflection through the gross and subtle bodies and a product of individualisation by the limiting adjuncts. It is self-luminous, and therefore, it is referred to as shining. It is eternal, and therefore, referred to as immortal.

स वा अयमात्मा सर्वेषां भूतानामधिपतिः सर्वेषां भूतानां राजा; तद्यथा रथनाभौ च रथनेमौ चाराः सर्वे समर्पिताः एवमेवास्मिन्त्रात्मनि सर्वाणि भूतानि सर्वे देवाः सर्वे लोकाः सर्वे प्राणा, सर्व एत आत्मानः समर्पिताः ॥ १५ ॥

15. Verily, this Atman is the Ruler of all beings (and) the King of all beings. Just as all the spokes are held together in the hub and the felly of a chariot-wheel, even so all beings, all gods, all worlds, all organs, all these individual selves are held together in this Atman.

By setting forth the mutual cause and effect relationship based upon the analogy of honey, and establishing the unity of cause and effect, the discussion on the identity of the universe and the Absolute is concluded here. The attainment by one, of this identity, is not becoming something which one is not, but realising an existing fact, Brahman with which the Self is identical in essence. On account of ignorance, it appears to be distinct through the limiting adjuncts, but when true knowledge dawns, this ignorance is removed and the individual Self becomes free of all distinctions. This universe of the fourfold division of mutual cause and effect in the gross and subtle realms, so far described in this section, is merged in the true Self. It is realised that hiranyagarbha, virat and the reflected consciousness in the form of the individual and everything else, have always been the non-dual Brahman. How this apparent process of individualisation and unification takes place in the non-dual Absolute, has already been explained in the previous sections.

The present mantra says that this Self which is the underlying Reality of all diverse phenomena referred to so far in relation to the cosmic and the individual realms and in their gross and subtle forms, is the ruler and the king of all beings, the ruling king of all beings. He is independent of all duality, since the epithet 'all' excludes none and includes everything. Through the knowledge of Brahman, one attains ruling kingship of the universe.

Just as in a wheel, all spokes are held together in the hub and the felly, even so, all beings, from the cosmic hiranyagarbha down to the minutest invisible atom, all gods stated in different religious texts, all worlds such as this earth and others mentioned in the several mythologies, all organs of action and knowledge, all these individual selves subject to ignorance, limitation and bondage, also everything else other than those mentioned here, are fastened, as it were, to the supreme Self. They are nothing but the Self. This is the declaration on the over-all identity of this phenomenal existence and the Absolute Being from whom the creation has sprung up, by whom it is sustained and in whom it is unified, an existing, eternal fact which is realised at the dawn of Self-Knowledge.

Thus, from the first to the fifteenth mantras in this section, the knowledge of Brahman has been explained, and the question raised by Maitreyi in mantra II-iv-3, 'What you know certainly about Immortality, that alone tell me', has been answered here: 'the knowledge of the Self leads to Immortality'. Now, the Upanishad introduces four mantras with a view to eulogise the so-far-said secret and sacred 'honey-doctrine' which is capable of dispelling the ignorance and establishing the overall identity of the world and the Absolute. These mantras in aphoristic language refer to the well-known story connected with this secret knowledge. This story narrated elsewhere in a different context runs thus:

Sage Dadhyach was the disciple of Daiva Atharvana and was well-versed in the atharva-veda and also in brahma- vidya. Once, indra the king of the celestials went to the sage's ashram, in the disguise of a guest in order to get instructed on brahma-vidya by him. The sage at first refused to teach Indra, since the former knew that the latter was not qualified and fit to receive the instructions on the supreme Brahman. However, considering his obligation to the guest, the sage yielded to indra's suppliant request and started instructing him on the subject. In the course of his instructions, the sage while explaining the necessity of dispassion for a spiritual aspirant, strongly condemned sense enjoyments in the three worlds and depicted one who revels in sense objects as worse than a dog. Misunderstanding these remarks of the sage and taking them as a personal insult, indra got enraged. He could not tolerate the sage's observations that heavenly enjoyments are to be despised and rejected. indra did not kill the sage for fear of his curse and the sin that would result from killing a brahmana, a knower of Brahman.

Nevertheless, he warned the sage that if he ever happened to teach the knowledge of Brahman to anyone else, he would strike his head off.

Once the two asvins, the physicians of the celestials, approached the sage for getting instructed into brahma- vidya. When they were informed by the sage of the dire consequences that would follow if he imparted the instructions, they promised to save him. They removed the sage's human head and fixed an equine head in its place. And the sage imparted brahma-vidya to the two asvins through the horse's head. When indra came to know of this, he went and struck off the sage's head. It was the horse's head that was separated and the asvins replaced it by his original human head which they had carefully preserved.

This shows the greatness of the knowledge of Brahman which is so difficult of attainment even by the gods and also that this knowledge should not be imparted to one who does not possess the necessary qualifications, such as, dispassion, serenity, control of the senses, discrimination and the like. Should this knowledge be given to an unqualified aspirant, one may rest assured that the instructions would be misunderstood and misused. The sensual and passionate people are afraid that through this knowledge, they will be compelled to forego their sense enjoyments. Unqualified students give an erroneous and misguiding connotation to this great Self-knowledge, by holding that this world is Brahman and, therefore, worthy of all enjoyments. They say: "This world is as real as Brahman. It is not false and non-existent. Hence it should not and could not be renounced, but should be enjoyed in its fulness. Renunciation is out of place." Further, they, citing the Upanishad, hold that the whole creation is like honey to all creatures and, therefore, an object of enjoyment, and that everything in this universe is to be enjoyed and not to be renounced. To those who hold such perverted view, this honey-doctrine or brahma-vidya does not reveal its real import but remains concealed by their own ignorance. Hence, it is said that this supreme Knowledge should be carefully preserved and should be given only to those who are spiritual-minded and who consider the Self alone as the over-all Reality. Never should this knowledge be imparted to those who seek for lower sense pleasures. To those who run for sensual happiness and indulge in gross enjoyments, dispassion and renunciation must be taught first by declaring the unreal and transient nature of the world and worldly pleasures. They must be told that the enjoyments of this world, even of the heaven, obtainable through wife and children, wealth and property, and ritualistic sacrifices, cannot confer Immortality. They will then cultivate distaste for earthly as well as heavenly pleasures and strive for attaining immortality by leaving all desire-motivated rites and karmas.

Thus brahma-vidya taught in the present section is extolled and praised, because it frees one from this mortal world and bestows Immortality. Take the instance of sage Yajnavalkya. Although he was like any other man, he gave up attachment to worldly objects and attained the knowledge of the Self.

इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच । तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् ।

तद्वां नरा सनये दंस उग्र-

माविष्कृणोमि तन्यतुर्न वृष्टिम् ।

दध्यङ्ह यन्मध्वाथर्वणो वा-

मश्वस्य शीर्णा प्र यदीमुवाच ॥ इति ॥ १६ ॥

16. This verily is that honey (doctrine) which Dadhyach versed in atharva-veda taught the asvins. Seeing that, the Seer spoke thus: O men, as thunder (reveals) the rain, (likewise) I make known that mighty and fearful deed you both (did) for your gain, which is (the doctrine of honey and) that which Dadhyach Atharvana declared to you through the head of a horse.

This mantra says that what has been said so far is that madhu-vidya, honey meditation which Dadhyach, versed in atharva-veda, taught the twin-gods, the asvins, in a different context dealing with the rite called pravargya, where it was only hinted, but not clearly expressed.

What he said there is reproduced here in this mantra and also in the following mantras 17 to 19.

The Seer said: O asvins in human form, just as thunder reveals the forthcoming rain, even so, I declare here that mighty and fearful deed of yours, the cutting off the head of Dadhyach and fixing in its place the equine head, which you did for gaining the knowledge of the Honey meditation, and which sage Dadhyach revealed to you through the head of the horse which you had fixed in place of his human head.

This mantra is eulogistic, even though it may seem condemning the action of the asvins. It reveals the glory of the Self-knowledge and the difficulty of its attainment.

इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच । तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् ।

आथर्वणायाश्विना दधीचे-

ऽश्व्यं शिरः प्रत्यैरयतम् ।

स वां मधु प्रवोचदृतायन्

त्वाष्ट्रं यद्दस्रावपि कक्ष्यं वाम् ॥इति ॥१७॥

17. This verily is that honey (doctrine) which Dadhyach Atharvana taught the twin asvins. Seeing that, the Seer spoke thus: O asvins! (both of you) substituted an equine head on Dadhyach Atharvana. O Mighty ones! he, true to his promise, declared to you both, the honey (meditation) relating to the sun and (declared) to you (that) which is to be kept secret.

The sage, Kakshivat by name, seeing the deeds of the two asvins, speaks:

O asvins, both of you substituted an equine head on Dadhyach, in order to get instructed on the madhu-vidya. O Mighty asvins! The sage Dadhyach, true to his promise made to you when you approached him first for instructions, revealed to you both the doctrines. Those two doctrines are: The first is that relating to the sun. It is enjoined in order to restore the head of vishnu, the deity identified with sacrifice, which he is said to have lost on account of his pride of superiority and excellence over other gods. In order to restore the head, the rite called pravargya was started. All the rites connected with pravargya sacrifice are for restoring the head of this yajna-purusha, the person identified with the sacrifice. The head of vishnu severed due to the mischievous conspiracy played by the other gods, became the sun. Hence, this rite is connected with the sun.

The second doctrine is relating to the Self, which is dealt with in the present section, in fact, throughout the whole chapter. This doctrine should be kept secret - this is the instruction of the Seer of this mantra. The reason for secrecy has already been stated.

इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच । तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् ।

पुरश्चक्रे द्विपदः पुरश्चक्रे चतुष्पदः ।

पुरः स पक्षी भूत्वा पुरः पुरुष आविशत् ॥इति ॥

स वा अयं पुरुषः सर्वासु पूर्षु पुरिशयः नैनेन किंचनानावृतम्, नैनेन किंचनासंवृतम् ॥१८॥

18. This verily is that honey doctrine which Dadhyach Atharvana taught the two asvins. Seeing that, the Seer spoke thus: (He) created bodies with two feet, created bodies with four feet. Having become a bird first, that Person entered the bodies. This verily is the Person (who) dwelling in all bodies (is called) purusha. There is nothing which is not enveloped by Him. There is nothing which is not penetrated by Him.

Now, this mantra briefly declares the unity of the Self, and sums up the knowledge of the Self elaborately dealt with so far. The Seer reveals the unity of existence, the homogeneous nature of the Self in all beings. How is this meditation to be practised? This is being said:

He, the supreme Lord created the bodies in this universe, as described in the fourth section of the first chapter. He created human beings with two feet and animals with four feet. Having thus created different bodies comparable to citadels, the Lord entered into them as the subtle principle. 'Bird' in this mantra represents the subtle body, and 'bodies' stand for the gross bodies. On account of his dwelling in all bodies, He is designated as purusha. Since the purusha also fills or pervades all alike, He is identical with Brahman. To support this view, the mantra adds that there is nothing which is not enveloped by Him and that there is nothing which is not penetrated by Him. Everything is pervaded by Him from inside as well as from outside.

इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच । तदेतदृषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् ।

रूपं रूपं प्रतिरूपो बभूव,

तदस्य रूपं प्रतिचक्षणाय ।

इन्द्रो मायाभिः पुरुरूप ईयते,

युक्ता ह्यस्य हरयः शता दश ॥ इति ॥

अयं वै हरयः अयं वै दश च सहस्राणि, बहूनि चानन्तानि च; तदेतद्ब्रह्मापूर्वमनपरमनन्तरमबाह्यम्, अयमात्मा ब्रह्म सर्वानुभूः इत्यनुशासनम् ॥१९ ॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य पञ्चमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

19. This verily is that honey (doctrine) which Dadhyach Atharvana taught the two asvins. Seeing that the Seer spoke thus: (He) became similar in form to each form. That form of His is for making Himself known. The supreme Being, through maya, appears manifold, for ten and hundreds of his organs are yoked (as horses to the chariot). He indeed is (these) organs. He indeed is ten and thousands, many and endless. He, Brahman, is without cause, effect, interior and exterior. This Self who is all-experiencing, is Brahman. Thus is the supreme instruction.

Now, the entire madhu-vidya, meditation on the identity of this phenomenal existence and the Absolute Being, set forth through various references to the close inter- dependence and mutual correlation among the component aspects that go to make up this phenomenal existence as a whole, is being concluded.

It has been stated in various contexts, how the supreme Being projected this phenomenal universe of names and forms. Whichever form He projected, He assumed the likeness of that form. He assumes the shape of an ant and resembles the ant. He assumes the form of an elephant and looks like an elephant. In short, He appears in accordance with all the limiting adjuncts.

And, this appearance which is due to the limiting adjuncts, the names and forms, is for visualisation, for the sake of meditation. Although He is formless, for realising Him through meditation and worship, He is to be visualised in some form or other, according to the taste and temperament of the aspirant, since the nameless and formless nature of Brahman is difficult of conception by the ordinary mind. This is the reason why He has put on the manifold appearances. Now the how of it is said: Through maya, His own illusory power, a false identification with one's own body, results in the false notions superimposed by ignorance, and the supreme Being appears manifold, although He is ever the same pure non-dual Consciousness in essence.

The nature of maya by which He appears as manifold, is briefly stated. Just as horses are yoked to a chariot, even so, the ten organs are yoked to the individual body which is compared to a chariot. Nay, hundreds of organs are yoked, because individual bodies are many, and to every one, ten organs of action and knowledge are yoked.

He indeed is these organs, and He indeed is the ten, thousand, many and endless numbers as well as objects. The large number of individual bodies, the senses and sense-objects are but the supreme Self. He seems to be possessing manifold forms and since there are infinite number of bodies, the mantra uses the term 'endless'.

But, it is due to ignorance, superimposition and false knowledge, that we hold the Self as something different from the organs, and wrongly believe that there are as many souls as there are individual bodies and organs. The organs always perceive the outer name and form, and are not accustomed to see the inner Truth. Hence arises this erroneous conception of many souls corresponding to the many bodies. With a view to avoid any misunderstanding of the import of the sruti passages, this concluding mantra of this section reconciles all apparent contradictions by saying that Brahman is without cause and effect, without interior and exterior, and thus transcends all duality.

Now the final declaration and conclusion of the theme of this section is stated: The Self who is the all-experiencer, the inner Self in all, is Brahman about whom the Upanishad in mantra II-i-1 promised to teach us in the words: 'I will teach you Brahman', and by the knowledge of whom men thought that they would become the All as declared in mantra I-iv-9. This is the meditation known as madhu-vidya, the teaching of Upanishad which confers immortality.


Everything is dependent on everything else. The infinite number of objects and concepts of this universe are inextricably connected with one another, as the threads in a network. All this is verily nothing but the supreme Reality, the Atman-Brahman. This is, in short, the essence of the instruction in this section of the Upanishad called the madhu-brahmana. madhu is honey and honey is considered as the sweetest thing. The sweetest and the dearest to oneself is one's own Self, the Atman. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons to name this section as madhu-brahmana, the Atman, the honey of honey, being the subject matter directly dealt with in this section. We get here a sublime and magnificent description of the true nature of the universe and the Reality, its essence. Everything from the Creator brahma down to the so-called most insignificant beings like the worms and ants, as also that which we in our ignorance designate as insentient matter such as the rocks and mountains, is organically and vitally connected. To consider them as separate, unconnected entities, is the height of human folly, a sin which brings with it the suffering of this mortal existence. It is, therefore, wisely said by Masters that all this is Brahman. The so-called particular object does not really exist. When one touches an object, one touches the whole cosmos and when one sees something, it is not an isolated object one sees, but it is the whole universe. Everything here and everywhere is honey, the Atman, one's own Self that which one loves most, the Self of all.

The earth element contains all other elements which go to make up this universe and everything including beings, contains earth. The conscious luminous principle in the earth is the same that is present in all. These four, viz., the earth element, the beings including every object, the consciousness in the earth, and the consciousness in the beings and objects, are nothing but the Atman. This is the meditation prescribed in this section. One can substitute in the place of 'earth' any other element or heavenly bodies as the sun and the moon or the directions, lightning or sound or any abstract principle like law and truth, or all the beings and the cosmos. The realisation of the immanence of the Consciousness in this microcosm as well as the macrocosm, is the result of this meditation, wherein the subject and the object coalesce, the pairs of opposites disappear and the triads, like the seer, seen and the sight, the knower, the known and the knowledge, merge into the non-dual experience.

All pain and sorrow is due to our forgetting the ultimate cause that is present in all the effects, the individual objects or incidents. This forgetfulness is bondage. One should remember the cosmic entity as the essence of anything and everything, and the connecting link between any two objects, thoughts and ideas. The interconnection and interdependence in this universe are likened to those existing between the spokes of a wheel, its felly and the hub. The last mantra gives the conclusion, by saying that it is the supreme Being who appears, through his power of maya, as the umpteen beings and objects and concepts. This is the secret truth. To say that the world veils Him is ignorance, and to realise that the world reveals Him is knowledge. How does the world reveal Him? But for Him, how can the world exist! Existence is He. Creation is He and destruction is He. The creator is He and the created is He alone. He does not change by His creation. He is non-different from His creation which is not external to Him. This is the great mystery of God and His creation. The meditation on 'Honey' reveals this mystery, reconciles all apparent contradictions, resolves all problems, and brings about the supreme peace and bliss.

Thus Ends the Fifth Section Entitled

Madhu-Brahmana in the Second Chapter





















अथ वंशः । पौतिमाष्यो गौपवनात्, गौपवनः पौतिमाष्यात्, पौतिमाष्यौ गोपवनात्, गौपवनः कौशिकात्, कौशिकः कौण्डिन्यात्, कौण्डिन्यः शाण्डिल्यात्, शाण्डिल्यः कौशिकाच्च गौतमाच्च, गौतमः - ॥१ ॥

1. Now, the line of teachers (for the first two chapters contained in the madhu-kanda): Pautimashya (received this doctrine) from Goupavana, Goupavana from (another) Pautimashya, (this) Pautimashya from (another) Goupavana, (this) Goupavana from Kausika, Kausika from Kaundinya, Kaundinya, from Sandilya, Sandilya from (another) Kausika and Goutama, Goutama from-

आग्निवेश्यात्, आग्निवेश्यः शाण्डिल्याच्चानभिम्लाताच्च, आनभिम्लात आनभिम्लातात्, आनभिम्लात आनभिम्लातात् आनभिम्लातो गौतमात्, गौतमः सैतवप्राचीनयोग्याभ्याम्, सैतवप्राचीनयोग्यौ पाराशर्यात्, पाराशयों भारद्वाजात्, भारद्वाजो भारद्वाजाच्च गौतमाच्च, गौतमो भारद्वाजात्, भारद्वाजः पाराशर्यात्, पाराशर्यो बैजवापायनात्, बैजवापायनः कौशिकायने;, कौशिकायनिः - ॥ २ ॥

2. ( Goutama) from Agnivesya, Agnivesya from (another) Sandilya and Anabhimlata, Anabhimlata from (another) Anabhimlata, (this) Anabhimlata (from still another) Anabhimlata, (this latter) Anabhimlata from (another) Goutama, (this) Goutama from Saitava and Prachinayogya, Saitava and Prachinayogya from Parasarya, Parasarya from Bharadvaja, Bharadvaja from (another) Bharadvaja and (another) Goutama, (this) Gautama from (still another) Bharadvaja, (this) Bharadvaja from (another) Parasarya, (this) Parasarya from Baijavapayana, Baijavapayana from Kausikayani, Kausikayani from—

घृतकौशिकात्, घृतकौशिकः पाराशर्यायणात्, पाराशर्यायणः पाराशर्यात्, पाराशर्यो जातूकर्ण्यात्, जातूकर्ण्य आसुरायणाच्च यास्काच्च, आसुरायणस्त्रैवणे, त्रैवणिरौपजन्धने, औपजन्धनिरासुरे; आसुरिर्भारद्वाजात्, भारद्वाज आत्रेयात्, आत्रेयो माण्टे; माण्टिगतमात्, गौतमो गौतमात्, गौतमो वात्स्यात्, वात्स्यः शाण्डिल्यात्, शाण्डिल्यः कैशोर्यात्काप्यात्, कैशोर्यः काप्यः कुमारहारितात्, कुमारहारितो गालवात्, गालवो विदर्भीकौण्डिन्यात्, विदर्भीकौण्डिन्यो वत्सनपातो बाभवात्, वत्सनपाद्बाभ्रवः पथः सौभरात्, पन्थाः सौभरोऽयास्यादाङ्गिरसात्, अयास्य आङ्गिरस आभूतेस्त्वाष्ट्रात्, आभूतिस्त्वाष्ट्रो विश्वरूपात्त्वाष्ट्रात्, विश्वरूपस्त्वाष्ट्रोऽश्विभ्याम्, अश्विनौ दधीच आथर्वणात्, दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽथर्वणो दैवात्, अथर्वा दैवो मृत्योः प्राध्वंसनात्, मृत्युः प्राध्वंसनः प्रध्वंसनात्, प्रध्वंसन एकर्षे; एकर्षिर्विप्रचित्ते; विप्रचित्तिर्व्यष्टेः व्यष्टिः सनारो; सनारुः सनातनात् सनातनः सनगात्, सनगः परमेष्ठिनः, परमेष्ठी ब्रह्मणः, ब्रह्म स्वयंभु, ब्रह्मणे नमः ॥३ ॥

॥इति द्वितीयाध्यायस्य षष्ठं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

॥ इति द्वितीयोऽध्यायः ॥

3. (Kausikayani) from Ghrtakausika, Ghrtakausika from Parasaryayana, Parasaryayana from (another) Parasarya, (this) Parasarya from Jatukarnya, Jatukarnya from Asurayana Yaska, Asurayana from Traivani, Traivani from Aupajandhani, Aupajandhani from Asuri, Asuri from (another) Bharadvaja, (this) Bharadvaja from Atreya, Atreya from Manti, Manti from (another) Goutama, (this) Goutama from (still another) Goutama, this Goutama from Vatsya, Vatsya from (another) Sandilya, (this) Sandilya from Kaisorya Kapya, Kaisorya Kapya from Kumaraharita, Kumaraharita from Galava, Galava from Vidarbhikaundinya, Vidarbhikaundinya from Vatsanapadbabhrava, Vatsanapadbabhrava from Pathin Saubhara, Pathin Saubhara from Ayasya Angirasa, Ayasya Angirasa from Abhutistvashtra, Abhutistvashtra from Visvarupastvashtra, Visvarupastvashtra from the two Asvins, the two Asvins from Dadhyach Atharvana, Dadhyach Atharvana from Atharvana Daiva, Atharvana Daiva from Mrityu-pradhvamsana, Mrityu-pradhvamsana from Pradhvam- sana, Pradhvamsana from Ekarshi, Ekarshi from Viprachitti, Viprachitti from Vyashti, Vyashti from Sanaru, Sanaru from Sanatana, Sanatana from Sanaga, Sanaga from Parameshthin, Parameshthin from Brahman. Brahman is self-born. Salutations to Brahman.

This is the list of teachers of madhu-kanda, which has been expounded in the first four chapters of satapatha- brahmana, of which the third and the fourth chapters (according to Kanva recension) form the first and second chapters of this Upanishad. It is through the grace of these great Masters that we have got these vidyas or meditations. Two more lists of teachers of yajnavalkya-kanda and khila-kanda are given in chapter IV, section vi, and chapter VI, section v.

Parameshthin here means viraj. Brahman coming just after Parameshthin refers to hiranyagarbha, in whose mind the vedas were revealed. The supreme Brahman is eternal, self-born, and vedas are but His form. This secret Self-knowledge is rooted in the eternal Being.

The theory about this Supreme enunciated in the first two chapters of this Upanishad called madhu-kanda, named after the madhu-brahmana, the essence of the two chapters, is further elucidated and elaborated through logical reasonings and profuse illustrations in the succeeding muni-kanda or yajnavalkya-kanda, consisting of the third and fourth chapters.

Thus Ends the Sixth Section Entitled

Vamsa-Brahmana in the Second Chapter
































In order to expound the philosophy of sacrifices in spiritual light, and meditations in their inner aspect, the yajnavalkya-kanda begins. This kanda, consisting of the third and fourth chapters, deals with the same subject discussed in the previous kanda, the madhu-kanda, viz., the supreme Self, the Atman-Brahman. While the first kanda abounds in scriptural testimony, the present one is replete with logical argumentation. The performance of sacrifices as an aid to meditation, is conducive to spiritual evolution of man. By realising the correct import of sacrifices, one learns that one is not a separate entity or an isolated creature, but is identical with God who is worshipped in the sacrifice, who in turn, is a manifestation of the supreme Being.

If sacrifices are performed with feeling, faith, devotion and with proper understanding of their secret, they will purify the mind of the sacrificer and fill his entire being with sattva. What is wanted is right spirit, right mental attitude and right will.

Sacrifices have got an inner meaning. A sacrifice symbolically stands for the annihilation of egoism, lust, greed and such other demoniacal qualities through acquiring divine virtues.

If we make a general study of sacrifices such as asvamedha, rajasuya, jyotishtoma and the like, we will not only get a clear idea about their philosophical richness and spiritual significance, but also will be coming in closer contact with the particular divinity to whom offerings are made in those sacrifices. Sacrifices aim to bring to the sacrificer as well as to the priests, a correct conception of the supreme Being in His divine and conceivable aspect without which meditation would prove futile. In other words, the sacrifice provides the material for higher contemplation and meditation on the supreme Being, of course, with anthropomorphism to start with.

Sacrifice, in general, has its own psychological bearing upon the human mind. It convinces the human intellect that the Truth is beyond the reach of the senses, which have only finite scope of action. By transcending sense-activities and their effects, one can conceive the super-sensual and supra-phenomenal. There are those deities dealt with in detail in the treatises on rituals, such as aerial gods, terrestrial gods, celestial gods, nature gods, abstract gods and so on, who are imperceptible to the gross senses of man, but who exert great influence on this universe. The sacrifices prescribed in the scriptures to propitiate them are, therefore, beneficial and they are conducive to a happy and peaceful life on this globe. They are also symbolic expressions which fill the human psyche with a glorious conception of divinity.

In addition to this, the all-round purity that the sacrifice demands on the part of the sacrificer and others concerned, the charity that it aims at, the socio-spiritual intercourse that it effects, go to explain the sacrifice in a wider sense. With all its imperfections, defects and difficulties, the system of ritualistic sacrifices, undoubtedly, open before us the door to the discovery of the philosophical, spiritual Principle in every object in this entire creation which manifests itself in its best in the human being.

The first section of this third chapter, known as asvala-brahmana attempts to set forth the means to determine the inter-relation and the essential identity among the sacrificer, the priests engaged in the sacrifice, the sense-organs, and the deity to whom the sacrifice is meant for. It is mainly argumentative and accompanied by scriptural evidence and attempts at the ultimate unity of the Self. The main problem of ritualistic philosophy, the dual conception of sacrificer and the deity in whose honour the sacrifice is performed, is discussed in this section, by introducing the incident of a grand sacrifice performed by Janaka, the king of Videha, wherein had assembled the learned brahmanas of the Kuru and Panchala countries. The discussion that ensues between Yajnavalkya and Asvala, establishes the essential unity between the sacrificer and the divinity by the removal of the limitation by time and rites and referred to by the term 'death'.

That the sacrificer should always bear in mind the spiritual significance of the four officiating priests, the four presiding deities and the four factors in the human body, which is nothing but their essential identity, being the immanent aspect of the one, non-dual Reality, is the gist of the whole section.

ॐ । जनको ह वैदेहो बहुदक्षिणेन यज्ञेनेजे; तत्र ह कुरुपञ्चालानां ब्राह्मणा अभिसमेता बभूवुः तस्य ह जनकस्य वैदेहस्य विजिज्ञासा बभूव, कः स्विदेषां ब्राह्मणानामनूचानतम इति, स ह गवां सहस्रमवरुरोध; दश दश पादा एकैकस्याः शृङ्गयोराबद्धा बभूवुः ॥१ ॥

1. (It is said) Janaka of Videha performed a sacrifice with (the distribution of) profuse gifts. There, brahmanas of Kuru and Panchala had assembled. In that Janaka (the king) of Videha, (there) arose a desire to know who among these brahmanas is the most learned. He set apart a thousand cows; on the horns of each (cow) were fixed ten padas (of gold).

Janaka, the king of Videha, performed a great sacrifice at the end of which he distributed profuse gifts to the learned brahmanas. It is said that the name Janaka was something like a title accepted by the emperors in those vedic days. So we get references to a number of Janakas in the scriptures, who were all depicted as great knowers of Brahman. The Janaka here referred to may perhaps be the first among them. bahu-dakshina occurring in the mantra is the rite involving distribution of enormous charitable presentations at the termination of the sacrifice, such as asvamedha or rajasuya. It might be that Janaka might have performed the great horse-sacrifice, at the successful termination of which he might have invited the learned brahmanas from the various parts of the country, in order to perform the said rite.

The brahmanas who were invited for the purpose, mostly hailed from Kuru and Panchala, since these two kingdoms were then famous for their large number of vedic scholars.

Vastly learned as he himself was, king Janaka sought to know the most learned brahmana from amidst the assembly. For this purpose, he set apart a thousand cows, as presentation to the one who proved himself as the most erudite among them. Each of the cows carried on its horns, gold weighing ten padas (one pada = 1/3 of an ounce).

तान्होवाच, ब्राह्मणा भगवन्तः, यो वो ब्रह्मिष्ठः स एता गा उदजतामिति । ते ह ब्राह्मणा न दधृषु; अथ ह याज्ञवल्क्यः स्वमेव ब्रह्मचारिणमुवाच, एताः सोम्योदज सामश्रवा३ इति; ता होदाचकार; ते ह ब्राह्मणाश्चक्रुधः, कथं नो ब्रह्मिष्ठो ब्रुवीतेति; अथ ह जनकस्य वैदेहस्य होताश्वलो बभूव; स हैनं प्रपच्छ, त्वं नु खलु नो याज्ञवल्क्य ब्रह्मिष्ठोऽसी३ इति, स होवाच, नमो वयं ब्रह्मिष्ठाय कुर्मः, गोकामा एव वयं स्म इति; तं ह तत एव प्रष्टुं दध्रे होताश्वलः ॥२ ॥

2. (King Janaka) said to them thus: "Venerable brahmanas, he who is thoroughly proficient in the vedas among you, may take these cows." Those brahmanas did not dare. Now, Yajnavalkya said to his own pupil thus: "O dear Samasrava, take these (cows) home." He drove them home. Those brahmanas became angry, "How can he declare himself to be the best and thoroughly proficient in the vedas, among us?" Now (there) was Asvala, the hotr priest of Janaka of Videha (in that assembly). He then asked him: "Are you, indeed, O Yajnavalkya, the best vedic scholar among us?" He said thus: "We (1) pay tribute to the best scholar. Really we are (I am) desirous of cows only." Thereupon, Asvala, the hotr priest, decided to question him.

After having resolved to give those cows in presentation to the most erudite among the assembled brahmanas, the king openly declared in the assembly that he who was most learned in the scriptures might take away the cows. There was silence in the Assembly for a few minutes. None in the assembly did dare to declare himself to be the most learned. How could any one do it when king Janaka, himself the greatest scholar, was present there, presiding over the whole proceeding? It was, therefore, not easy for any one to challenge his learning and wisdom. Moreover, the assembly was full with numerous well-known scholars such as Yajnavalkya, Sakalya, Kahola and others. Who could dare to rise up to combat with those great giants in the knowledge of the scriptural lore? When none of them rose rose up, Yajnavalkya, a great sage, boldly took the step of calling one of his disciples by name Samasrava, who had studied samaveda, under him, and gave the order to drive the cows to his (Yajnavalkya's) ashram.

Yajnavalkya himself was a teacher of yajurveda. It is also evident from the name of his disciple whom he ordered to drive away the cows, that he was also versed in samaveda. When the mantras of the rigveda are set to music and sung, they are termed sama-mantras. Hence, Yajnavalkya must have been a master of these two vedas also. atharva-veda is subsidiary to these three. Thus the great sage was, no doubt, proficient in all the four vedas.

Samasrava accordingly drove all the thousand cows to his guru's ashram. The whole assembly was enraged at this daring act of sage Yajnavalkya. How could Yajnavalkya challenge their learning, by announcing himself to be the unsurpassing scholar among them! There was, in that assembly, the hotr priest (the priest versed in the rigveda, and who recites the mantras thereof in a sacrifice) of Janaka, Asvala by name, who was one among those enraged by the unexpected and sudden act of Yajnavalkya in driving away the cows without establishing his superiority over others in vedic erudition. hotr to the king that he was, Asvala insolently called upon Yajnavalkya and asked him in insulting and detesting tone if he (Yajnavalkya) alone was the best vedic scholar in that assembly. To his rude approach, Yajnavalkya unassumingly reacted, by saying that he never meant to challenge the supremacy of their learning. He also said: "I bow down before and pay tribute to the best vedic scholar; however I am desirous of possessing the cows and, therefore, my disciple has, under my directions, driven the cows home." By these remarks, he indirectly wanted Asvala and others present there, to question him if necessary, and get themselves satisfied about his superior wisdom. Yajnavalkya was then questioned by Asvala, the hotr priest of Janaka, and the sage replied all his questions.

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच यदिदं सर्वं मृत्युनाप्तम्, सर्वं मृत्युनाभिपन्नम्, केन यजमानो मृत्योराप्तिमतिमुच्यत इति; होत्रर्त्विजाग्निना वाचा; वाग्वै यज्ञस्य होता, तद्येयं वाक् सोऽयमग्निः स होता, स मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥ ३ ॥

3. "O Yajnavalkya!" thus (Asvala) said, "since all this is pervaded by death, (since) all is overpowered by death, by what does the sacrificer transcend the realm of death?" (Yajnavalkya replied): "By the hotr priest, by fire, by speech. Speech indeed is the hotr priest. That which is this speech is this fire; that (fire) is the hotr priest. That (fire) is liberation and that (liberation) is supreme release."

Generally, one performs a sacrifice with desire for wife, wealth, children, heaven and such other sources of sense-happiness, and is bound by attachment to those desires. Any ritualistic work which is performed due to attachment and desire for sense pleasure leads the sacrificer into the clutches of death in the form of transmigration, with its concomitant effects of pleasure and pain. Because of the predominant attachment which manifests itself in the form of desires for progeny, wealth and higher heavenly worlds, the sacrifices do not confer freedom upon the sacrificer.

Meditation combined with sacrifice performed with the accessories such as the priest and the fire, also, does not become fruitful unless they are freed from attachment.

Now that we know that the performance of a sacrifice with the motive of fulfilment of an objective, leads an individual to attachment which is a form of death, we have to discover the means of transcending this attachment and make the sacrifice, or meditation combined with sacrifice, a success.

And, the sacrifice which is an aid to higher meditation, which is the concrete and conceivable ground helpful to higher meditation, is conceived here in the text, as twofold, - one with reference to ritualistic sacrifice, and the other with reference to the individual.

Hence, Asvala questioned Yajnavalkya as to the way of release from death by means of sacrifice, knowing very well that all ritualistic works performed due to ignorance are overpowered and overtaken by death. What is that death? To hold on to the view that the sacrificer is different from the deity of the sacrifice, to perform the sacrificial rite for material gain, to remain contented with the external show and result of the sacrifice, and lastly to view the sacrificial rites as the bestower of prosperity and gain, either in this world or in the higher worlds, is death.

To this question of Asvala, Yajnavalkya replies that by meditating on the hotr priest, the individual organ of speech through which the mantras are chanted, and fire, the presiding deity of that organ, as one and not different, one is liberated from attachment and is freed from death. How is that? It is being stated.

Speech, which is the means of chanting, is identical with the hotr priest. Again, this speech is verily the fire which is its cosmic counterpart. Thus, the divine form of fire which is manifest in the individual as the organ of speech, is also the hotr priest in the external sacrifice. In other words, it means that the sacrificer should look upon these two auxiliaries of the sacrifice, the hotr priest and the organ of speech, as fire only. It is thus that one has to be freed from attachment which is death. In the meditation on the divine form of fire manifesting itself as the hot and speech, the sacrificer finds the means of liberation. This meditation upon the identity of individual speech, the hotr priest and fire, results in final release. When one looks upon the priest and speech, as identical with the fire principle, one no longer considers the sacrifice merely as an external ritual directed towards material attainments, but views it as an aid to meditation on fire, the divine and unblemished priest who is identified, in the scriptures, with the seven hotrs, as well as with sacrificer. This conception of unity in the manifold nature of sacrifice, leads the sacrificer to liberation from individuality and separateness. The meditation on fire makes the sacrificer pure like fire and helps him to transcend the external and ritualistic performances and show. Thereby, the sacrificer ceases to be a slave of attachment and desire, represented by the term death in the text. In addition to this, the sacrificer who is now identical with fire, attains wisdom, power of memory and eloquence. It is through these that the sacrificer has the advantage of freedom from guiles, crimes and faults, since he develops within himself by meditation identification with the god of fire who is purity personified. This meditation on fire is thus a means to liberation and final release. What is this final release like? Assertion of identity with fire and speech is termed as final release here, since the conception of the unity alone can be the means of freedom from ignorance and its effect of differentiation. If the sacrificer meditates upon speech and the invoking priest as fire, their cosmic counterpart, he attains liberation from the above-mentioned death.

(Compare this mantra with mantra I-iii-12 where the vital force is identified with organ of speech and fire, its presiding deity.)

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदं सर्वमहोरात्राभ्यामाप्तम्, सर्वमहोरात्राभ्या- मभिपन्नम्, केन यजमानो अहोऽरात्रयोराप्तिमतिमुच्यत इति । अध्वर्युणर्त्विजा चक्षुषादित्येन; चक्षुर्वै यज्ञस्याध्वर्युः तद्यदिदं चक्षुः सोऽसावादित्यः सोऽध्वर्युः स मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥४ ॥

4. "O Yajnavalkya!" thus said (Asvala), "since all this is overtaken by day and night, (since) all is overpowered by day and night, by what a sacrificer transcends the realm of day and night?" (Yajnavalkya replied): "By the eye, by the sun, by the adhvaryu priest. Eye indeed is the adhvaryu priest of sacrifice. That which is this eye, is the yonder sun; (and) that (sun) is adhvaryu. That (sun) is liberation. That (liberation) is supreme release."

The first question concerning the transcendence of rites performed by the force of natural attachment caused by ignorance, has been replied, and meditation together with its details has been set forth. Now, another form of meditation is being introduced by which the sacrificer overcomes the limitation caused by the time-factor.

Everything in the sacrifice undergoes a continual change, another form of death, due to the passage of time. The means by which the sacrificer might overcome the time-factor is the subject matter of the next question raised by Asvala.

Everything, not only in the sacrifice but also elsewhere in the world, is born, grows and undergoes change on account of the passage of time. Here, we are informed that time which changes and which causes changes in objects is not a homogeneous entity. The continual change in 'time' causes change in the universe in general and in sacrifices in particular. Since this 'time' is not a permanent and eternal factor, everything else subjected by it also undergoes change. And change does not confer stability to the rites and their accessories.

Now, the only way out for the sacrificer to transcend the factor of 'time' is through meditation. Time is conceived of in two forms. The first is what we term the solar days and nights, and the second is that which consists of lunar days and fortnights. This mantra deals with the transcendence of time represented by the solar days and nights. How to transcend this 'time' factor consisting of days and nights through meditation, is explained here.

Yajnavalkya replies that the sacrificer can transcend the changing phenomena which occur in sacrificer as well as in the universe, by meditating upon the identity, the unity in essence of the adhvaryu priest (the priest well-versed in the yajurveda who attends to the practical performance of the sacrifice by reciting hymns from yajurveda), the eye, the organ of perception by which he performs his main duty in the sacrifice, and the sun who is the divine counterpart of the eye and the guardian deity presiding in the eye. Just as the adhvaryu priest offers oblations in the external fire, even so, the eye offers all objective perceptions in the internal fire, and the sun represents the concrete background of all perception. Without the aid of adhvaryu, the oblations cannot be offered into the fire, and without the aid of the eye, perception cannot take place, and the sun is the eye of the universe, the onlooker of every action therein. In the purusha-sukta, the sun is said to have manifested itself from the eye of the supreme Person. It may be said that the sun is identical with the cosmic eye. The most appropriate epithet that we can give to the sun is 'cosmic eye'. Eye and the sun are always considered identical. They appear as different, as one is in relation with the microcosm and the other with the macrocosm. The sun is the cosmic counterpart of the individual organ of perception. Based on these resemblances and their mutual interconnection, the sacrificer should identify the microcosmic eye with its macrocosmic counterpart, the sun, and with the adhvaryu priest of the sacrifice. The eye is identical with the sun and the sun alone is the adhvaryu priest, for the reasons furnished above.

After having asserted the identity of these three, and holding the sun to be the priest, and other materials of sacrifice to be identical with the sun, let the sacrificer feel the cosmic significance of the rite and rise above the so-called natural attachment, desires and the like and transcend the limitations of 'time' in the form of day and night by becoming identified with the sun in whom there is neither day nor night. Through meditation on the sun and identifying everything with it, the sacrificer naturally transcends the limitations of 'time', bondage of desires and actions. He is no more affected by the fluctuating and impermanent modes of 'time'. Thus he attains final release. This is the spiritual benefit of this meditation. (Compare this with mantra I-iii-14, where identity between the eye and the sun is explained in a general way.)

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदं सर्वं पूर्वपक्षापरपक्षाभ्यामाप्तम्, सर्वं पूर्वपक्षापरपक्षाभ्यामभिपन्नम्, केन यजमानः पूर्वपक्षापरपक्षयोराप्तिमति- मुच्यत इति । उद्गात्रर्त्विजा वायुना प्राणेन; प्राणो वै यज्ञस्योद्गाता, तद्योऽयं प्राणः स वायुः, स उद्गाता, स मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥ ५ ॥

5. "O Yajnavalkya!" thus said (Asvala), "since all this is overtaken by the bright and dark halves of the month, (since) all is overpowered by the bright and dark halves of the month, by what a sacrificer transcends the realm of bright and dark halves of the month?" (Yajnavalkya replied): "By the vital power, by the air, by the udgatr priest. The vital power indeed is the udgatr priest of the sacrifice. That which is this vital-power is that air, (and) that (air) is udgatr. That (air) is liberation. That (liberation) is supreme release."

Now, the process of transcending another form of 'time' is explained. That another form consists of bright and dark halves of the month, caused by the movement of the moon. This form of 'time' is also the cause of death through limitation, like the other form of day and night, for reasons explained under the previous mantra.

The meditation that this mantra introduces is on the identification of the udgatr priest (the priest who chants hymns from sama-veda), with the cosmic vital force referred to here as vayu, and the vital-force in the individual referred to as prana. The term vayu refers to the cosmic vital-force and it should be identified with the moon occurring in the madhyandina recension in place of vayu, because moon is said to be the luminous organ of the cosmic vital force in mantra I-v-13.

The vital-force or prana in the individual is the udgatr priest of the sacrifice, since that alone is capable of chanting the udgitha (I-iii-24). Just as the chanters of sama-veda chant the hymns before the altar, even so, the vital-force lives and enlivens the body of an individual. Hence, the vital-force which chants the song of life, which vibrates in beings and sets the rhythm of life in them is identical with the udgatr priest. Even as the udgatr priest fills the sacrificial altar with the musical notes of sama-veda, even so, this vital-force, the udgatr in these bodies, causes the rhythmic flow of life. It vibrates and pulsates in the entire world of living beings. This vital-force is the individualised counterpart of the cosmic vital-force. This cosmic vital force which causes changes in the lunar movements and causes the division of 'time' according to the lunar system, is identified with the moon itself, and with the time factors caused by it. The cosmic vital-force identified through meditation with the accessories of sacrifice, is the means to attain liberation, and this meditation ultimately culminates into the final release referred to in this mantra.

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदमन्तरिक्षमनारम्बणमिव, केनाक्रमेण यजमानः स्वर्ग लोकमाक्रमत इति; ब्रह्मणर्त्विजा मनसा चन्द्रेण; मनो वै यज्ञस्य ब्रह्मा; तद्यदिदं मनः सोऽसौ चन्द्रः स ब्रह्मा, स मुक्ति, सातिमुक्तिः - इत्यतिमोक्षाः; अथ संपदः ॥६ ॥

6. "Yajnavalkya," thus said (Asvala), "since this sky seems to be supportless, by what means of ascent does this sacrificer ascend to the heavenly world?" (Yajnavalkya) replied: "By the brahma-priest, by the mind, by the moon. Mind indeed is the brahma of the sacrifice. That which is this mind, is the yonder moon and that (moon) is brahma. That (moon) is liberation. That (liberation) is supreme release. Thus (with reference to the ways of) supreme liberation. Now (about) the acquirements."

The meditative process of transcending death in the form of ritual and time factor, has been stated in the preceding mantras. Now, the support by which the sacrificer ascends to the beyond is being explained.

This sky which seems to be supportless, has some support although unknown. Otherwise, attainment of the world of heaven would be impossible. What is that support through which the sacrificer attains heaven as a result of his rites? If he is released through meditation, what is the support with which he transcends death and is released? This is the question of Asvala, to which sage Yajnavalkya replies by prescribing another meditation. The means of ascent to the heavenly world are the brahma-priest who is the superintendent and caretaker of the rites in the sacrifice, the mind and the moon. That is to say, the meditation on the unity of these three provides the sacrificer with the support with which he ascends to and acquires the heavenly world.

Just as in a sacrifice, the priest named brahma is responsible for the superintendence of the offerings and is vested with the duty of taking care of the rites as a whole and repairing every flaw in the sacrifice, even so, is the mind the caretaker and the supervisor of all actions of an individual with reference to the body. The mind has the moon as its presiding deity, for its cosmic counterpart. What mind is to the body, the same is the moon to the gods. Just as brahma has a place of highest importance in the sacrifice and is seated near the altar and is mainly engaged in supervision, even so, the mind of an individual has a place of supreme importance among all organs.

Moon is said to be the mind of the cosmic being. Sometimes it is said to be an offspring of the supreme purusha, as we have it in the purusha-sukta. The individual mind is identical with the cosmic mind and the moon. This cosmic mind has an important place in cosmic bodies, since it is engaged in supervision and has a prominent part to play in the working of the world. The cosmic mind is assigned the duty of successfully carrying out the world-order. Meditation on the identity of this cosmic Being as the yonder moon in the universal realm, the mind in an individual, and the brahma-priest in the sacrificial rite, is an aid to attain liberation.

Thus there are various ways of liberation from death. There are many more meditations on similar lines.

With the word iti in the concluding portion of this mantra, the topic regarding transcendence is concluded, and with the word atha, the text introduces another topic regarding the acquirements or attainments by meditation, based on resemblance in the sacrifices.

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कतिभिरयमद्यभिहतास्मिन्यज्ञे करिष्यतीति; तिसृभिरिति; कतमास्तास्तिस्र इति; पुरोनुवाक्या च याज्या च शस्यैव तृतीया; किं ताभिर्जयतीति; यत्कि