The Praśnopaniṣat – Part 5
The other organs continue their praise of Prāṇa whom they have acknowledged to be the superior power:
इन्द्रस्त्वं प्राण तेजसा रुद्रोऽसि परिरक्षिता ।
त्वमन्तरिक्षे चरसि सूर्यस्त्वं ज्योतिषां पतिः ॥ ९ ॥
इन्द्रः Indra त्वं thou art प्राण O Prāṇa तेजसा by power रुद्रः Rudra असि you are परिरक्षिता the protector त्वम् you are अन्तरिक्षे in the sky चरसि moveth सूर्यः sun त्वं you are ज्योतिषां of lights पतिःlord
Indra thou art, O Prāṇa and Rudra, too, in prowess. Thou art the Protector. Thou movest in the sky; thou art the sun, the lord of lights.
Further, O Prāṇa, you are Indra, the supreme Lord. You are Rudra, who in all destructive power, engage in the dissolution of the world. You are also the preserver during the existence of the created universe, in your benign form. In the sky it is you, by the acts of rising and setting, the Sun, the lord of all forms of luminaries. Prāṇa, who is prajāpati, is the creator of the beings. He alone, in the form of Rudra and Viṣṇu engages in dissolution and preservation of the created universe. The Upaniṣad teaches the Trimūrti (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva) oneness. It is one power that takes the various roles in the cosmic management. Every function that happens in the cosmos is the manifestation of this one power.
यदा त्वमभिवर्षसि अथेमाः प्राण ते प्रजाः ।
आनन्दरूपास्तिष्ठन्ति कामायान्नं भविष्यतीति ॥ १० ॥
यदा when त्वम् You अभिवर्षसि shower rain अथ then इमाः these प्राण O Prāṇa ते your प्रजाः creatures आनन्दरूपाः delighted तिष्ठन्ति they are कामाय desire अन्नं food भविष्यति will be had इति thus
When, O Prāṇa, thou showerest down rain, these creatures of thine are delighted, thinking there will be as much food as they desire.
When you pour down becoming rain, O Prāṇa, then all creatures attain food and live, expressing their dependence on food. Alternatively the mantra could mean: when O Prāṇa at the very sight of you pouring down rain, the creatures are delighted with the thought that they will have enough food to eat and thereby become nourished. This is quite natural for living beings.
व्रात्यस्त्वं प्राणैकर्षिरत्ता विश्वस्य सत्पतिः ।
वयमाद्यस्य दातारः पिता त्वं मातरिश्व नः ॥ ११ ॥
व्रात्यः ‘vrātya’ त्वं you are प्राण O Prāṇa एकर्षिः ‘Ekarṣi’ अत्ता devourer विश्वस्य of the world सत्पतिः existing Lord वयम् we आद्यस्य the first one दातारः givers पिता father त्वं you are मातरिश्व Mātariśva नः our
Thou art vrātya, O Prāṇa and the Ekaṛṣi Fire that devours the offering in oblation. Thou art the Supreme Lord of all. We are the givers of the food that you consume, O Mātariśva! Thou art our father.
Also, O Prāṇa, since you are the prathamaja, first-born, there is no ‘parent’ to you who could purify you by ‘samskāra-s’, you are unpurified. [The word ‘vrātya’ is used to the one who has not undergone any religious purificatory acts called samskāras.] In other words, having no explicit samskāra performed on you, you are naturally pure. You are a fire, agni called ‘Ekaṛṣi’, that is popular among the ‘Ātharvā-s’, who devour all the sacrificial offerings. You are the existing Lord of the entire creation. Or the word ‘satpatiḥ’ could mean ‘an exalted lord’. We are the ones that offer you, the First One, that which is fit to be consumed. You are the father, O Mātariśva. Or, you are the father of Mātariśva, who is vāyu, air. Therefore, it is certain that you are the father of the entire creation.
या ते तनूर्वाचि प्रतिष्ठिता या श्रोत्रे या च चक्षुषि ।
या च मनसि संतता शिवां तां कुरु मोत्क्रमीः ॥ १२ ॥
या That ते your तनूः form वाचि in speech प्रतिष्ठिता abides या that श्रोत्रे in hearing या that च too चक्षुषि in the eye या that च also मनसि in the mind संतता forever शिवां auspicious तां that कुरु make मा never उत्क्रमीः forsake
That form of thine which abides in speech, which abides in the ear, which abides in the eye and which pervades the mind, make propitious. Go not away!
O Prāṇa, that form of yours that residing in the speech-organ performing the function of speech, which presides over the organ of hearing, in the eye, and in pervading the mind, make that form auspicious. Do not ever take the destructive form of deserting these organs and mind. The prayer addressed to Prāṇa is to remain in the body without forsaking it and thereby enabling the speech, etc. organs to carry out their functions, signifying auspiciousness. If the Prāṇa leaves the body, signifying destruction, the organs fail, resulting in death of the body.
प्राणस्येदं वशे सर्वं त्रिदिवे यत्प्रतिष्ठितम् ।
मातेव पुत्रान्रक्षस्व श्रीश्च प्रज्ञां च विधेहि न इति ॥ १३ ॥
प्राणस्य of Prāṇa इदं this वशे control सर्वं all त्रिदिवे heaven यत् that प्रतिष्ठितम् exists माता इव as a mother पुत्रान् sons रक्षस्व protect श्रीः prosperity च and प्रज्ञां wisdom च also विधेहि bestow न on us इति thus
All that exists here is under the control of Prāṇa and also what exists in heaven. Protect us as a mother her sons; bestow upon us prosperity and wisdom.
To put it in brief, whatever is in this world is under the control of Prāṇa. And all that is for the enjoyment of the celestials in the heavens, is under Prāṇa’s protection. Therefore protect us as a Mother would her sons. All the glories that are native to the Brāhmaṇas and Kṣatriyas rest in your command and hence bestow upon us all prosperity. Thus, by the praise of Prāṇa by the organs such as speech, as the all-pervasive entity, it is established that it (Prāṇa) is verily the Prajāpati, the Lord of all creatures and the consumer of all food.
Here ends the Second Question
The Third Question
अथ हैनं कौसल्यश्चाश्वलायनः पप्रच्छ भगवन्कुत एष प्राणो जायते कथमायात्यस्मिञ्शरीर आत्मानं वा प्रविभज्य कथं प्रातिष्ठते केनोत्क्रमते कथं बाह्यमभिधत्ते कथमध्यात्ममिति ॥ १ ॥
अथ then ह एनं this Pippalāda कौसल्यः Kausalya च आश्वलायनः who is Āśvalāyana पप्रच्छ asked भगवन् Sir कुतः whence एषः this प्राणः prāna जायते is born कथम् how आयाति comes अस्मिन् into this शरीरे body आत्मानं oneself वा indeed प्रविभज्य dividing कथं how प्रातिष्ठते established केन by what means उत्क्रमते depart कथं how बाह्यम् external अभिधत्ते support कथम् how अध्यात्मम् internal इति thus
- Then Kausalya, the son of Āśvala, asked Pippalāda: Sir, whence is this Prāṇa born? How does it come into this body? How does it abide in the body after it has divided itself? How does it depart? How does it support the external and how the internal?
Now it is the turn of Kausalya, the son of Āśvalāyana, to engage in a dialogue with the Ācārya Pippalāda. Since it was determined in the previous dialogue that Prāṇa, though endowed with great glory, owing to its being an assemblage, must necessarily be an effect of some cause. Hence with a view to know its cause and other related functions of Prāṇa he asked: Venerable Sir, from which source this Prāṇa of the nature determined in the foregoing, emerge? Having born, by what method it comes to be present in the body, that is, why indeed it takes the body to be its abode? Upon entering the body, how does Prāṇa divide itself manifold and by what manner abides in the body? Why which specific means does Prāṇa depart from the body upon death? How does Prāṇa support the external cosmos (adhibhūtam), the divine realm (adhidaivam), and the internal body-mind complex (adhyātmam)? These are the questions the disciple posed to the Teacher.
One is able to see that the questions posed by each aspirant increasingly getting deeper and closer to the revealing of the truth.
तस्मै स होवाचातिप्रश्नान्पृच्छसि ब्रह्मिष्ठोऽसीति तस्मात्तेऽहं ब्रवीमि ॥ २ ॥
तस्मै to him स he ह उवाच replied अतिप्रश्नान् difficult questions पृच्छसि you ask ब्रह्मिष्ठः असि devoted to Brahman इति thus तस्मात् therefore ते to you अहं I shall ब्रवीमि instruct
2. To him the teacher replied: You are asking difficult questions; you must be exceedingly devoted to Brahman. Therefore I will answer you.
The revered Ācārya replied to the aspirant: ‘Prāṇa is an entity that is extremely difficult to know and therefore worthy of intricate questioning. Further, you inquire about the birth, etc. of Prāṇa and hence these are indeed questions beyond normal grasp. From the kind of questions you pose it is evident that you are a supreme knower of Brahman.’ This is being stated by sage Pippalāda by way of encouragement. What he means is that the aspirant has set his mind on knowing the Supreme Brahman. The preceptor too is greatly enthused by the ardor of the disciple and agrees to quench his thirst.
The aspirant has asked about the exalted entity Prāṇa that is taught to be superior to everything else in creation. In Prāṇa is manifest the great power that enlivens every sentient being and fuels the sense and motor organs and even the mind, intellect, etc. in every being. In short, all activity that is observed in the creation owes its power to Prāṇa.