The Praśnopaniṣat – Part 7
तेजो ह वाव उदानस्तस्मादुपशान्ततेजाः पुनर्भवमिन्द्रियैर्मनसि संपद्यमानैः ॥ ९ ॥
तेजः fire ह verily वाव is उदानः udāna तस्मात् therefore उपशान्ततेजाः fire-extinguished पुनर्भवम् rebirth इन्द्रियैः senses मनसि in the mind संपद्यमानैः absorbed
Fire, verily, is udāna; therefore he whose fire has been extinguished goes out for rebirth, with the senses absorbed in the mind.
That well-known general tejas, light, of the cosmos, in the individual body, blesses the udāna-air with its own light. Therefore the individual is of the nature of light/heat. When the inner udāna propels the exiting, utkrānti, of the jīva from the body at the time of death, the worldly person becomes devoid of this natural light/heat of his, then he is to be known to have exhausted his life, āyuḥ, ready to die and depart. He takes up a different body for living out another life. He is then endowed with the sense/motor organs such as speech that go along with him to enter the appropriate gross body that is destined for him for the next birth.
यच्चित्तस्तेनैष प्राणमायाति प्राणस्तेजसा युक्तः । सहात्मना यथासङ्कल्पितं लोकं नयति ॥ १० ॥
यत् that चित्तः thought तेन with that एष this प्राणम् prāṇa आयाति enters प्राणः prāṇa तेजसा along with the light/heat युक्तः endowed सह along आत्मना jīvātman यथासङ्कल्पितं appropriate resolve लोकं that loka नयति leads
Whatever one’s thinking, with that one enters into prāṇa. Prāṇa joined with fire, together with the soul, leads to whatever world has been fashioned by thought.
At the time of death, the jīva is endowed with that particular thought-propensity that is dictated by his vāsanā that has been predominantly nurtured over the several lives. That is when the moment to depart from this body arrives. He is then joined by all the sense/motor organs, mind and the prāṇa. When all the sense/motor organs have ceased to be active at that time, he is ‘alive’ with just the prāṇa, the life force. Those relatives around him then say ‘he is breathing and alive’.
That prāṇa then endowed with the tejas that is udāna, a particular mode of the main prāṇa, along with the jīva, the lord, the bhoktā (enjoyer/experiener), leads the jīva to the particular abode, loka, life-form, that has been long contemplated upon by the jīva. The idea is that the jīva is led by the udāna to the destined loka.
य एवंविद्वान्प्राणं वेद न हास्य प्रजा हीयतेऽमृतो भवति तदेष श्लोकः ॥ ११ ॥
यः he एवंविद्वान् the knower प्राणं prāṇa वेद knows न not ह indeed अस्य his प्रजा offspring हीयते lost अमृतः immortal भवति becomes तत् that एष is श्लोकः verse
The wise man who thus knows prāṇa does not lose his offspring and becomes immortal. As to this there is the following verse.
Whoever acquires the knowledge of prāṇa as stated in the foregoing along with its origin gets to enjoy certain fruits both in this life and in the other world. The fruit accruing in this life is that his offspring, both immediate such as son and that of the next generation such as grandson, will not be lost. Upon his own death he becomes one with prāṇa and becomes immortal. To explicate this, the next mantra says:
उत्पत्तिमायतिं स्थानं विभुत्वं चैव पञ्चधा ।
अध्यात्मं चैव प्राणस्य विज्ञायामृतमश्नुते विज्ञायामृतमश्नुत इति ॥ १२ ॥
उत्पत्तिम् origin आयतिं entry स्थानं place विभुत्वं all-pervading nature च and एव also पञ्चधा five-fold अध्यात्मं individual body च and एव also प्राणस्य of prāṇa विज्ञाय having known अमृतम् immortality अश्नुते experiences विज्ञाय having known अमृतम् immortality अश्नुते experiences इति thus
He who knows the origin of prāṇa, its entry, its place, its fivefold distribution, its internal aspect and also its external, obtains immortality; yea, he obtains immortality.
The origin of the supreme Self that is prāṇa and its entry into this body which is an effect of the mental resolve and its position in the body in the various places such as the anus and genital organs, as also its status of the Lord in respect of the five-fold manifestation such as prāṇa and apāna, so also its existence in the cosmos, external (outside the body), in the form of the Āditya (sun), etc. and existence inside the individual body in the form of the eye, etc. All this is the object of knowledge of such a one who, as a result of such knowledge, experiences prāṇa that is immortal. The repetition in the mantra of this last part is to indicate the end of this (third) discourse consisting of the question and the reply.
Here ends the Third Praśna
The Fourth Praśna (Question)
अथ हैनं सौर्यायणी गार्ग्यः पप्रच्छ भगवन्नेतस्मिन्पुरुषे कानि स्वपन्ति कान्यस्मिञ्जाग्रति कतर एष देवः स्वप्नान्पश्यति कस्यैतत्सुखं भवति कस्मिन्नु सर्वे संप्रतिष्ठिता भवन्तीति ॥१॥
अथ next ह indeed एनं the Ācārya सौर्यायणी Sauryāyaṇī गार्ग्यः of Garga पप्रच्छ asked भगवन् Sir एतस्मिन् in this पुरुषे person कानि which स्वपन्ति sleep कानि which अस्मिन् in this body जाग्रति wakes कतर which एष this देवः deity स्वप्नान् dreams पश्यति sees कस्य of which एतत् this सुखं happiness भवति occurs कस्मिन् नु in whom सर्वे all संप्रतिष्ठिताः established भवन्ति remain इति thus
Next Sauryāyaṇī, belonging to the family of Garga, asked: Sir, what are they that sleep in the person and what are they that remain awake in him? Which deity is it that sees dreams? Whose is the happiness? In whom, again, are all these gathered together?
It was the turn of the aspirant named Sauryāyaṇī, belonging to the family of Garga, to pose his question to the eminent Ācārya Pippalāda. Thus far, in the three question-answer discourses all that pertains to the created world coming under the broad nomenclature of ‘aparavidyā’, lower knowledge, has been covered. This creation, samsāra, is characterized by ephemerality, manifestness, and is of the nature of means and ends. Now, in the remaining three question-answer dialogues, that transcendental Truth called Puruṣa, that is beyond the means-and-ends duality, that is devoid of prāṇa, not knowable through manas and the senses, Śiva, Auspicious, tranquil, that which is both internal and external and unborn is to be delineated. In effect, the two halves of this six-part Upaniṣad are classified into anātmā, the not-self, and ātmā, the Self. The anātmā has a lower level of reality being dependent upon the ātmā which is independent.
In the second question was denoted the mode of creation as issuing forth from the Akṣara, Brahman, the Supreme, just as sparks from fire and the dissolution in that very source, the Akṣara. In order to address the questions: what are these effects that issue forth separating themselves from the Akṣara? How do they remain separated (during sustenance, sthiti) and finally dissolve into Akṣara? What indeed is the nature of Akṣara? Sauryāyaṇī commences his question with the idea of obtaining answers to these questions.
Respected Sir, in this puruṣa, the person endowed with head, legs, etc., which are the instruments (organs) that sleep, that is, take respite from their respective functions? Which are the ones that are awake in him? The waking state, when the sense and motor organs are active, is distinct from the sleep. Who is the divine being of the two – body and mind – perceives dreams? Dream is that phenomenon that is perceived, experienced, by the one who has retired from the waking-experience, internally as though it were the waking. The question seeks to know for certain whether the dream experience is produced by the divine entity related to the effect, kārya (the body or prāṇa) or by someone who is connected to the instruments (karaṇa). It is to be noted that the term ‘kāryakaraṇa’ in Vedānta is used to denote the body-organs complex. The body is the gross body, the effect of the five gross elements. The ‘organs’ denote the subtle body consisting of the sense/motor organs, the mind and intellect (which too are effects of the five elements, subtle).
When the two states of waking and dream have ended, that bliss which is placid, effortless and unobstructed obtains. Who is the one that experiences this blissful state? In that state, retired from the waking and dream, where exactly all the organs, remaining well united, are established? The state, situation, is akin to the juices drawn from the various flowers when deposited by the bees in the hive, become indistinguishable as to their flower-sources. It is one mass of juice with a mixed fragrance/flavor. It is akin, again, to the various rivers with distinct names and forms merging into the ocean thereby becoming unidentifiable by their erstwhile names and forms.
Objection: It is reasonable to hold that just as in the case of a discarded implement (tool), a scythe for instance, the organs, withdrawing from the activity of the waking and dream, rest in their source during deep sleep as distinct entities. Such being the case, how indeed is it reasonable for the questioner to even doubt with regard to the organs of the sleeping persons attaining unity with a certain entity during deep sleep?
Reply: The doubt is quite in order. The organs are a group that serve an entity distinct from them and are also subservient, dependent, during the waking. Hence, in the state of deep sleep as well this group of organs should remain subservient, dependent, united in someone. This is the doubt that forms the source of the question posed by Sauryāyaṇī. To be more specific, the questioner wants to know the exact identity and nature of that entity in whom, during the everyday sleep and the occasional pralaya, dissolution, the group of body-mind organs rest. Curious to know this the question is worded: ‘In whom all these organs remain established?’