COMMENTARY ON PRASHNOPNISHAD, PART 3 AND PART 4, BY SRI ANIRVAN,,TRANSLATED BY SRI GOUTAM DHARMAPAL, COPYRIGHT
Samvatsaro vai prajapatistasyayane daksinam cottaram ca | tadye ha vai tadistapurte krtamityupasate te candramasameva lokamabhijayante | ta eva punaravartante tasmadeta rsayah prajakama daksinam pratipadyante | esa ha vai rayiryah pitryanah | || 9 ||
Athottarena tapasa brahmacaryaena sraddhaya vidyaya tmanamanvisyadityamabhijayantel etadvai prananamapurnaravartanta
ityesa nirodhastadesa slokah || 10 ||
Pancapadam pitaram dvadasakrtim diva ahuh pare ardhe purisinam | atheme anya u pare vicaksanam saptacakre sadara ahurarpitamiti || 11 ||
Maso vai prajapatistasya krsnapaksa eva rayih suklah pranastasmadeta rsayah sukla istam kurvantitara itarasmin || 12||
Ahoratro vai prajapatistasyahareva prano ratrireva rayih pranam va ete praskandanti ye diva ratya samyujyante brahmacaryameva tadyadratrau ratya samyujyante || 13 ||
Annam vai prajapatistato ha vai tadretastasmadimah prajah prajayanta iti || 14 ||
Tadye ha vai tat prajapativratam caranti te mithunamutpadayante tesamevaisa brahmaloko yesam tapo brahmacaryam yesu satyam pratisthitam || 15 ||
Tesamasau virajo brahmaloko na yesu jihmamanrtam na maya ceti || 16 ||
Iti prasnopanpishadi prathamah prasnah ||
Verses 9 to 13:
Now in the next five verses we get the description and divisions of the time, signifying their importance in human life.
The vedic Rishis correlated these divisions of time with different stages of growth of inner consciousness. They have therefore to be understood symbolically and not literally.
First, the year is divided in the northern and southern solstices (summer & winter solstices) uttarayana-dakshinayana.
Then the month is divided into two parts – the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight (shuklapaksha-krishnapaksha) and lastly the day is divided into day and night – ahah-ratri. When the light is whole and undivided, the time is eternal and timeless. The consciousness is saturated in complete unity. It is beyond all differentiation, division and discord. There is no sense of separateness. This sense of separation comes in time, when there is movement of time. Creation itself is a process of differetiation in time. Then the one eternal is divided into hundreds of parts (satadha vartamanah). The goal of human life is to reach that eternal time or timelessness, from divisions to unity (from kala to akala) and established into that eternal time to sport in time.
Though during the movements between northern & southern solstices there is difference in the play of light, the sun is always there. It is therefore called day of gods. But in the bright and dark fortnights there is regular waxing and waning of light. The days are then called the day of the manes. And the day and night when light and darkness alternate quickly, the days are called the days of human being – our mundane life.
Our consciousness during the process of sadhana grow in these three passages of time.
The northern and southern solstices (uttarayana-dakshnayana0 respectively classified as the path or vehicle of gods (devayana) and the path or vehicle of manes (pitryana). They are also called (archismarga) the way of light and the smoky way (Dhumamarga). Those who depart by the path of gods go to the abode of Brahman and do not return.
There is no rebirth for them. Those who depart by the other way, go to the abode of moon (candraloka) and return to earth. They are reborn. These two ways were again equated with the way of knowledge and the way of works. These sharp divisions developed later on in Upanishads and we find a clear echo of it in the Gita- when again a synthesis is arrived at. But in the rig veda where the division between knowledge and works is not so sharp, both were of equal importance and both led to the highest abode (parama dhama). In this Upanishad we find some hesitation on the part of the Rishi. Though in the beginning the way of northern solstice (Utarayana) is given predominance, in the end of the chapter the other way also is eulogized as leading to the same brahmaloka – the abode of Brahman.
Creation is the play of two powers – prana and rayi. Prana is the steady background, rayi is the everchanging formulations. This play of rayi is compared with the way of the manes. This way of manes is also of two types: the ordinary human way of the manes and the way of the manes of the enlightened beings (siddhaugha pitryana – manavaugha pitryana). When the consciousness is enlightened there is no fall even if one goes by the way of manes –through works (Istapurti). Works can be performed in ignorance as well as in knowledge with an illumined mind. Works when done with an illumined mind are no bondage. On the contrary they are also an equally powerful way to lead to the highest truth. This was the idea behind the sacrifices (yajna) of the vedas.
Istaputra: these are works of sacrifices and charity.
Nirodha: it means here – the movement is obstructed. It goes to transcendence where there is no movement.
9. The year is verily prajapati. It moved in two solstices – the southern and the northern – now those who worship him through works such as sacrifices and charity (Isapurta) – they attain the world of the moon and they return. Therefore, the Rishis who are desirous of progeny, (they) take (the way of) the southern (solstice). This is verily rayi (matter) – the way of the manes.
10. Now those (Rishis) who seek atman (alone) through penance, celibacy, faith and knowledge go by the northern (solstice) way and attain the sun (Aditya). This is verily the abode of the pranas (all energy). Here is immortality, fearlessness. This is the highest zenith, and they do not return and (there everything ends), all (movement) ends there.
Thereon is this verse (sloka).
12. The month is verily prajapati – its dark fortnight is rayi (matter) and bright one prana (Energy). Therefore some Rishis perform sacrificial works etc. in the bright fortnight and some others in other one.
The duration of the time is slowly narrowed down. The process of sadhana in the bright and dark periods is the same.
In the previous verses the year was symbolized as prajapati. Now the month is prajapati. The month and its two fortnights suggest the moon and the sadhana connected with the waxing and waning of moon. There were different types of sacrifices connected with different periods of time.
The sacrifice performed during the bright fortnight was called paurnamasa yajna and it culminated on the full moon day.
The sacrifices performed during the dark fortnight was called darsha-yajna and it culminated on the new moon day.
Agnihotra: The agnihotra sacrifice was performed during the period of ahoratra – one full day. (The mantra for agnihotra was in the morning jyotih suryah suryah jyotir swaha and in the evening, when the light of the sun will pass away, the fire (Agni) was kept as the symbol of sun and the mantra was agnih jyotih jyotiragni swaha)
Mark here the stress on the sacrificial works ista. Both types of Rishis are supposed to perform the sacrifice – some in the dark period and some in the bright period.
12. Day and night together, the full day is the prajapati. Its day part is prana and night part is rayi. They dissipate energy only who unite in sexual love during the daytime. Those who unite by night verily (practise) celibacy.
The Rishis considered the whole life as a sacrifice to be offered to the gods and as a reward for sacrifice they enriched the whole life. The life-shunning asceticism had not taken hld of the Rishis in general. And therefore nothing was left to chance or seen as ugly or unholy. If life is to be lived, why not live it fully and in the finest way possible? If children (progeny) are desired why not beget them as a grace of gods and make even sexual act an act of sacrifice, a holy act, done with all its solemnity, seriousness and sense of responsibility. This is the reason why we find in the vedic literature unhesitating references to the sexual life. They are as natural as when they are describing the sunrise, the blooming of a flower or the cultivation of mother earth.
Sexual indulgence was considered a lowly act and as a loss of brahmacarya – celibacy, but the sexual act when performed as a sacrifice for begetting children with prior common consent was not considered as a fall from the state of brahmacarya.
14. Food is verily prajapati. From it comes semen – the seed. From that again all these creatures are born.
The Rishis, while answering the question, whence all these creatures are born, makes a long betour and first taking us to the highest and most subtle regions brings us down to the grossest cause. The creation is not a small matter, it starts from god, the great father, the creator, sustainer and destroyer of all creations – past, present and future. We have to understand the whole complex process, the idea behind it and then continue the process amongst ourselves like the father that is in heaven. What is there is here. We have to realize that the act always in the knowledge and consciousness of that realization.
15. Therefore those who follow the religious act of prajapati, beget a pair (a son and a daughter). For them is verily this world of Brahman in whom there is austerity, celibacy and in whom truth is established.
16. For them is that (highest stainless transcendent) world of Brahman in whom crookedness, untruth and selfdeception (ignorance) do not exist.
Esah Brahmalokah: This world of Brahman and asau virajo brahmalokah – that stainless-pure-world of Brahman:
Sri Shanker makes a distinction between these two worlds and says in the first verse by this world of Brahman is meant the world of the moon- the path of the manes – but this does not seem to be proper. Three pronouns are generally used etat, idam and adah. Etat is used when it is referred to as very close. Idam is used when it is referred for the whole universe – isa vasyam idam sarvam – ishopanishad. Asau or adah is used for the transcendent or that which is above –yah asau asau purusah so hamasmi – ishopanishad. Esah means here and is equivalent to idam. It means that the persons who follow the (householder’s) family life experience. Brahman even here – on this very earth, provided they follow their way with austerity, proper celibacy and truthfulness. All these qualities are essential even for those who aspire for the Brahman that is above and beyond asau brahma. Tapas – penance occupied the first position in the requisite of a sadhaka. From penance truth was a natural step. Truth and harmony (satyam rtam) went together. Tapas– heat of spiritual fire was the result of penances including celibacy. The heat that radiates for or from truth is tapas.
The studies of vedas in all its parts, understanding the hidden mystic meaining behind them and with spiritual practices
under the guidance of a guru were a part of these penances. The knowledge required for good progeny also formed a part of these vedas. Even this suprajanana vidya – the art of good progeny had its two sides – one of karma, works – by a sexual act and the other of knowledge, for progeny of knowledge – one was called putramantha or srmantha and the other urdhvamantha. The followers of urdhvamantha were the pioneers of the cult of ascetics (munidhara) sramanah urdhvamanthinah. Buddha and Shankar come in that lineage. Suprajanana, (good offspring’s), sampradana (passing on life or knowledge) and sampradaya (sect, followers of the same ideal) – convey a similar idea. Following the vows of prajapati, to beget children was not considerd a hindrance or against brahmasadhana.
Virajah: Beyond all worlds – this word ordinarily means (Vi+rajah) that which is without the quality of rajas – nonattached.
But this is the meaning of the sankhya philosophy. In veda, rajah is equivalent to loka e.g. parthivam rajah = parthiva loka. So like srstih-visrstih, Virajah also refers to Atisristhi – the worlds beyond or beyond creation. To shoot beyond sun was considered the highest ascendance, the movement beyond all the worlds. We find in katha Upanishad
a mention of this shooting above – first to reach the sun, from sun to moon, from moon to nakshatra – constellation or meteors and from there to shoot beyond in the great utter void – mahasunya.
This great void or this shooting beyond all the worlds, is referred to by the word viraja brahmaloka. The world of Brahman is beyond all worlds and so it is referred to as asau that, instead of esah. This, of the previous verse.
Psychologically the process will be somewhat like this. Our mundane consciousness gets illuminated by the heat of tapas, symbolized by agni. From fire we go up in the midregions (antariksa) where we have the flashes of intuitions in the form of lightning’s (vidyut). Rising still higher, we reach the sun in the heavens. The intuition is then wellestablished.
We rise to the universal – cosmic consciousness. Beyond this is the ananda caitanya – the blissconsciousness
symbolized by soma – moon transformed into ananda-caitanya. When we go beyond this blissconsciousness we enter the transcendent supra-cosmic consciousness. Then we reach the constellations. This is akas, athe sky which contains all light, kasyapa-cetana. Satksatra – positive experience. Naksatra - negative experience. From here starts neti neti – the negative realisations. And even beyond this is the great void which is neither sat nor asat –
which cannot be called existence nor non-existence. The goal placed before them by the Rishis was to reach these staggering heights and then to return and get established as aditya, the sun, in aditya-cetana in the world to bestow life, hope and faith to the millions as a beacon light, a guiding star.
Jihmam Crookedness: Dhwargati Avartagati – moving in a zigzag way, in a crooked way, in a circular motion. There are three types of movements in the sadhana (1) Avarta-gati – circular movement (2) utkranti – the upward spiral movement (3) pragati – the shooting up or all-pervasive movement.
First is the circular movement of thought, our talking birth again and again; then the movement from light to light. To rise above slowly – but still taking rounds and then final flooding of consciousness or shooting up above in a straight line leaving the circular movement. All movement then ends in the great void, in the parama dhama – tad vishnoh paramam padam – that highest abode, that highest place of vishnuh.
Maya: self-deception -illusionMaya: self-deception –illusion
The word maya is used only in two places in upanishads. Here and in the swetaswatara Upanishad. In rigveda the word is often used. It has two meanings there. One is the creative power. The root ma from which the word mata (mother) is derived. Mata and maya are synonymous. The maya of varuna is his eternal mate, aditi – aditi devatamayi. She is maya, the eternal cause of creation. Varuna, the father – avyakta caitanya, the unmanifest consciousness – spirit. Aditi – the mother – the material cause upadana – sakti. In some vedantic thoughts both these are considered as one.
This world is the manifestation of that one consciousness. Sri Shankar had interpreted this word always in the sankhya
tradition. According to yaska, maya means both knowledge (prajna) and actions (karma). But maya is never prajna according to Shankar. For him, maya and avidya – ignorance are synonymous. In rigveda this other meaning is also alluded to as asurasya maya, anirvacaniya. The maya of the asuras –daemons – which is deceptive, indescribable. As ignorance when she envelops us in illusion, then also it is the maya shakti. According to the tantra the mother is mahavidya, mahamaya, mahadevi, mahasuri, etc. – she is the highest knowledge, the cause of liberation and she again is the cause of bondage in the world. She is both mata and maya, vidya and avidya. Of couse here in this verse the word maya is used as meaning ignorance, self-deception.
Atha hainam bhargavo vaidarbhih prapaccha | bhagavan katyeva devah prajam vidharayante, katara etat prakasayante,
kah punaresam varistha iti || 1 ||
Tasmai se hovacakaso ha va esa devo vayuragnirapah prthivivammanascaksuh srotram cal te prakasyabhivadanti
vayametadbanamavastabhya vidharaayamah || 2 ||
Tan varisthah prana uvaca | ma mohamapadyatha ahamevaitat pancadhatmanam pravibhajyaitadbanamavastabhya
vidharayamiti te sraddhana babhuvah || 3 ||
Sobhimanadurdhvamutkramata iva tasminnutkramatyathetare sarva evotkramante tasmimsa pratisthamane sarva eva
pratisthante. Tadyatha maksika madhukararajanamutkramantam sarva evotkramante tasmimsca pratisthamane sarva
eve pratisthanta evam vammanascaksuh srotram ca te pritah pranam stunvanti || 4 ||
Eso gnistapatyesa surya
Esa parjanyo maghavanesa vayuh |
Eso prthivi rayirdevah
Sadasaccamrtam ca yat || 5 ||
Ara iva rathanabhau prane sarvam prastisthitam |
fco yajumsi samani yajnah ksatram brahma ca || 6 ||
prajapatiscarasi garbhe tvameva pratijayase |
tubhyam prana prajastvima balim haranti
yah pranaih pratisthitam || 7 ||
devanamasi vahnitamah pitrnam prathama svadha |
rsinam caritam satyamatharvangirasamasi || 8 ||
indrastvam prana tejasa rudro’is pariraksita |
tyanamtarikse carasi suryastvam jyotisam patih || 9 ||
yada tvamabhivarsasyathemah prana te prajah |
anandarupastisthanti kamayannam bhavisyatiti || 10 ||
vratyastvam pranaikarsirtta visvasya satpatih |
vayamadyasya datarah pita tvam matarisva nah || 11 ||
y ate tanurvaci pratisthita ya srotre ya ca caksusi |
ya ca manasi santata sivam tam kuru motkramih || 12 ||
pranasyedam vase sarvam tridive yat pratisthitam
mateva putran raksasva srisca prajnam ca vidhehi na iti || 13 ||
The next three questions are mainly the eulogy of prana, pranopasana – sadhana based on prana, the life=forceoccupied a very important place in the vedic sadhana. Prana in its highest conception is the consciousness-force of Brahman (cit=sakti). The primordial stir in brahman (Brahma-kshobha) is prana. Creation, manifestation proceed from this first primal vibration. The sun, moon, the lightnings, the fire, these are the adhidaivata cosmic manifestion – representation of the great prana (Maha Prana).
In the first four verses of this chapter, a story in an allegorical form is narrated showing the prominence of prana amongst all forces. And the rest of the chapter is an eulogy of prana suggesting all its glorious forms and majesty. It is almost the vibhuti yoga of prana.
1. Now bhargava of vidarbha asked him, “o great master! How many gods (powers) maintain or organize the creatures? How many (gods) illumine it? Who again is the greatest among them?
2. To him, he said, “sky indeed is this god, (and also) the air, the fire, the water, the earth and the speech, the mind, the eye and the ear. They having illumined (the body) said, we organize and control this body.”
3. To them the supreme central prana (mukhya prana) said, “do not remain in that illusion. I organize and control this body by dividing myself into five parts (panca-prana). But they remained doubutful.”
4. Offended, he as if made a move to go out or above (to leave the body). When he started leaving, others also began to leave. When he is established all are established. It was just as when the king bee goes out (the bees) get settled. So also the speech, the mind, the eye and the ear, being pleased (having understood the greatness of prana), began topraise the prana.
Devah: gods – these are the powers of consciousness. They are spiritual-principles governing all creation.
Vidharayante- Vidhrutah from vi+dhru – to organize the disintegrated principles. Prajah: the creation is in chaos. It is the gods who organize them. Two sets of principles are placed. The first set is the base – on which the play of consciousness functions.
One is stable (sthanu) in a sense – the other is moving. Pancamahabhuta: the five great physical principles form this substratum. They are the different forms of matter – the material cause of everything. The most rarefied of matter is akasa – in a sense. Akasa is at the root of both matter and energy. From akasa are formed both vayu and prana – the air and energy, the material and spiritual forces. And so amongst all the gods, akasa is given a special referene, the rest are mentioned as following Akaska is given a special reference, the rest are mentioned as following akasa.
Akasa, Vayu, Agnih, Apah, Prthivi. These form the cosmic stuff or matter. All the creation is a combination of these five principles. They are one in essence. The difference is only in the degree of density.
The Earth is the principle if solidity. In ourselves it is the body. Finer than earth is water (Apah). There is fluidity in it. In us it is the rasah, the fluids. Then comes fire (heat) – this is our tapas, the fire of aspiration, austerity. When it takes a further finer form it turns into air (Vayu-prana). Matter now changes into pure energy. When this air stops moving the
concentration gets still rarefield into akasha. This is the prajna, the spiritual goal of our life.
Vak, Manah, caksuh, shrotra, prana: these are five conscious principles. Consciousness is manifested through these principles. They are called five door-keeprs of Brahman (Brahma-dvarapala). Special spiritual disciplines are enjoined,
taking each of these, as an aid. With speech-the mantra sadhana-with mind, the yogas (Bhakti, karma and jnana according to the three functions of mind – feeling willing and thinking – with the eye, jyoti-light-sadhana – with ear, the nada-sound-sadhana and pranava-upasana – sadhana with the word OM; with prana, pranayama – kundalini yoga etc.
Similarly there are disciplines pertaining to pancamahabhuta also culminating in the meditation on akasha. Allpervasiveness, sense of infinity is the fruit of this sadhana. Prana being the chief of all these, it is left out in the beginning. That prana is the chief of all conscious principles is evident from all our experience. Life is prana. When we die, it is prana that leaves the body. In sleep all the senses of our body stop functioning, prana alone functions. Without prana there is no manifestation. He is therefore the prajapati – the lord of praja, all beings.
Our sadhana is the gradual rise of consciousness – from material ordinary consciousness (prakrta cetana) to divine consciousness (Divya cetana). So the Rishis took matter as a matter of fact. Only the conscious principles were dealt upon with greater emphasis and their evolution as a greater necessity. In fact, they considered matter as involved spirit.
There is a progressive evolution of spirit, from matter to life, from life to mind and onward.
Banah: Body: Reed-shaft-Arrow. As bahan it also meant a flute. Body is like a flute with seven apertures or holes to play the divine music. [actually nice holes with two lower ones – also called doors (Dwara). The body is called a city with nine doors (navadwarapura). ]
Body is also compared with a beehive. This simile is often used in the vedic literature. Honey is compared with the blissconsciousness (Ananda-cetana). Prana is here called the king of bees.
Now the adoration of prana.
5. This (Prana) is fire, that burns, he is the sun. He is parjanya (the raincloud). He is Indra and he is vayu (Air). This (Prana) is the earth, the matter, the shining one (Devah) and what exists and what exists not (Existence as well as nonexistence) and the immortal.
Prana is verily all the gods. In gradual order from below, they are the earth, agni (Fire), Vayu (Air), indra (god of the mind), parjanya (rain-cloud) and surya (sun). As abstract principles prana is rayi, energy; existence (sat), non-existence (asat) and immortality (amritam). Let us observe the functions of the gods subjectively.
The earth is the base, the physical matter-it is our body. The conscious force in it is Agni (The fire). It is also the fire of aspiration, lying dormant in us. The air (vayu) is the god or deity of mid-region. Vayu and Indra are a pair (Mithuna).
Vayu is our life-force-the prana that we breathe in and out. When this is controlled the powers of pure mind are awakened. No the soma- bliss-consciousness that purs down from heaven is parjanya (rain-cloud). It is hidden in the clouds. Vritra-the demon whom Indra kills – is obstructing its way. By the powers of pure mind that are now awakened
in the form of Indra, these forces of darkness are to be pierced, so that bliss can pour down from the heavens in our body-consciousness. This flooding of our consciousness with infinit is signified by parjanya. And when dark clouds have passed away, the light of sun shines forth brightly in the sky above. Peace, Infinity, bliss, illumination, knowledge of everything is ours if prana is worshipped. This Prana is again the principle of motion. He is Rayi; he is being and nonbeing, sat and asat. Asat is the great void. Akasa-which contains everything and yet is beyond everything. It is the one or zero. Sat is the being, the infinite consciousness – the aditya and rayi is the gushing forth of rays – of light – the finite innumerable formulations. All the three are immortal. They are eternal. The soul, universe, and god-all the three are eternal and immortal.
6. The riks, the yajus, the samas, the sacrifice, the kshatra and the brahma – everything is established in prana, just as the spokes are fixed in the navel of a chariot.
Prana is the source of everything. All came out of prana just as the spokes from the navel and rays from the sun. Without prana there is no life and therefore no sacrifice. The vedas – rigveda, yajurveda or samaveda are the collections of mantras used in sacrifices. In that sense they are all dependant on prana. Brahma and Kshatra : The arya society was divided in three main divisions. Visa, ksatriya and brahmana. They were called dwijas – the twice born. The second birth was the time when the sacred thread (Upavita) was given. Only the above three classes were allowed to wear the sacred thread. The rest of the people were considered as shudras, the uncultured people.
Visas are the common people.
Kshatra-Brahma: These two terms can be taken as symbols of attributes necessary for spiritual evolution. Visas are those who have entered the spiritual path. Visas are those who have entered the spiritual path. Visas are the common men. Then by the force of austerity the fire within has to be reared. This is the work of kshatra-virya. Tapas (austerity,strength and vigour) is this kshatra. And Sraddha – Faith and the power of knowledge is the power of brahma. These are also prana.
7. You are verily Prajapati who move about in every womb and are born again and again. O, Prana! All these people bring their offerings to you only, who dwells in the body as (five) pranas.
The natural life is nothing but the action of prana. Prana takes birth as a child in the womb. All the creatures take food only to strengthen this life-force. All our life is a sacrifice and whatever we take in is an offering in that sacrifice.
8. You are the best vehicle (carrier) of gods, the first offering of the manes. You are the truth behind the works of Rishis like Atharva and Angiras.
We get here the three steps – states of Life – the gods, the manes and the Rishis.
Vahnitamah: The best of vehicles: The vehicle of gods is fire (agni). Vahni also means fire. The oblations given in fire go up to the sun-world (adityaloka). The oblations given in fire go up to the sun-world (adityaloka). The oblations given to the fire within us, in the form of austerities, rise up to the cosmic and supracosmic consciousness. The individual attains universal and infinite expansion.
There were two kinds of mantras for offerings – swaha and swadha. When the gods were invited and the oblations were offered to them, the swaha mantras were used. When the manes were invited, svadha mantras were used. This developed into two kinds of sadhana. The worship of gods (Devopasana) and the worship of the self (Atomopasana).
The Rishis were the torchbearers of knowledge (vidya). Their sadhana was the sadhana of liberation, of ascent and expansion of consciousness. Atharva and angiras are the names of two very well known Rishis who are mentioned at many places in rigveda and other scriptures. Atharva was the pioneer of agni vidya – the science of fire. Angira was the
pioneer of yajna vidya – the science of sacrifice.
Psychologically Atharva symbolizes the overhead consciousness- Murdhanyacetana and Angira symbolizes the flow of light from overhead consciousness (Agnisrota) that floods the nerves. When the consciousness is concentrated in the overhead region, when the ‘kundalini shakti’ rises up and joins with shiva in the sahasrara centre, it is called the atharva consciousness and when the bliss – consciousness – the nectar of the sahasrara center (ananda-amrita-cetana) flows down in all the parts of the body through the nervous system, it is the angiras consciousness.
Prana is the force behind all these spiritual disciplines.
Prana! Thou art Indra, Thou art Rudra as force (and also) the protector. Thou art the sun moving in the sky. Thou art the lord of all lights.
Prana is the lord of the three worlds. The godheads of the three worlds are Agni (Fire) on the earth (bhuloka), vayu and indra in the midregions (antariksa) and Aditya – the sun in the heavens (Dyuloka).
Rudra is the godhead who destroys. But the same godhead when pleased is shiva – the bestower of bliss – the protector. The stormy sky represents the rudra –form and the calm sky shiva-form of the same godhead. As sky he is covering everything. He destroys what is crooked and wicked and protects the good, the innocent. Rudra is the godhead of midregions (antariksa).
Psychologically, Vayu – the air is the pure Prana, Life-force and Indra is the pure mind, agni is the fire of aspiration. The goal is the sun (Surya cetana), the light of all lights (Jyotisam patih). It is pure self (Atma).
10. O Prana! When thou rainest (thou art rain also) all these people dance in delight with the hope that there will be food (in abundance).
Prana is the god of rains – Parjanya as well. It is the power behind the pouring down of rains. The physical rain symbolizes a spiritual pouring down of truth-knowledge consciousness. The spiritual evolution was compared with the changes in the seasons. The spring brings the first sprouting of the spiritual consciousness. There is light, joy everywhere, vasanta vyas – to shine. It is the season of joy and sweetness – Madhumaya ritu like our childhood and adolescence. Then comes the summer (grisma). It is the time of purification, of austerity, the period of struggle. The tremendous head burns, dries and sometime even destroys the aspirant. This is the time of youth and gown-ups. But it is soon followed by the rainy seasons. The struggle brings the joy of victory. There is joy and bliss everywhere. If the life is lived well, then the old age brings another childhood and adolescence – the joy and sweetness of spring appear again in life.
11. O Prana, thou art vratya, the ekarsi, the eater; thou art the one existent, the lord of the universe; we bring food (offered as oblations to the fire). O matarisva, thou art our father.
Vratya – Vratyas were aryas who did not perform sacrifices and did not believe in vedic gods. They were ayajnah
Adevah Avedah – did not believe in vedas as well. They worshipped Akasha-the void. The munis, the shaivas, the Buddha and the jaina came from these vratyas. In certain vedic literature they were severely condemned as Mantrahinah – those who had no mantras and those who usurped the rights of brahmanas. But their spiritual powers were undisputed and as such slowly a synthesis was created. Eka Vratya – a name for siva and varuna was accepted inthe Aryan pantheology and was given a very prominent place. The 15th kanda (Chapter) of atharva veda is called vratya kanda and there the vratya is praised as siva – ekadeva – the one god. Hence-Prana as Rudra or Siva is also called vratya here.
Ekarsi-the one seer. The word Rishi has three meanings- (1) motion as in purvam arshat (Isa Upanisad). Who moves forward, (2) one who pierces risti, (3) the seer, one who sees in a vision – the intuitive seeing. In the movement of the sun (cosmically) it comes next to pushan – pushan ekarse yama surya etc. (Isa Upanisad). Its psychological place is between the brows – Ajna Cakra. The word is also used for shiva. The yogic power of shiva is Ekarsi. Agradhi-whose intelligence is pointed.
Atta adyasya – the root ad, to eat. Both the words are derived from the same root, anna-annada. In the spiritual terminology the world – the matter all that is manifested – created is anna. The lord, the self (atma) is the annada – the eater of food – atta and annada are synonymous. Adyasya – of that which is eatable.
Visvasya Satpati – sat – whatever exists – existence. He is the lord of all that exists in the universe. The whole universe exists in him and he is the ruler, the lord of the universe as well.
Matarisva Tvam pita: matarisva – one who has increased in the (womb) of the mother. The son is the father. Prana is the mahat. He is purusha, hiranyagarbha. But maha-prakrit, avyakta – aditi – is his mother. So though bourn as a son, yet he is our father – our creator.
12. O (Prana)! Do not leave us. May your body which is established in the speech, in the ear, in the eye and which pervades the mind by propitious.
All the powers which are extrovert should be turned inwards and everything should be merged in the spirit of the sky – in the void (akasha, sunyata) so that there is the condition of prapancopasamanm santam shivam advaitam amritam – pure existence, the supreme bliss and immortality (Cf. mandukya Upanishad). The superiority of prana is affirmed by all the lower powers (sense organs). One established in this undivided unified consciousness (Ekarasi cetana) in Samadhi (consciously) and in deep sleep (in ingnorance) or in death (yogis, consciously, the rest unconsciously) or at the time of total destruction. This is the condition of Shiva.
13. Whatever exists here or whatever is established in the three worlds is under the control of Prana. (O Prana) protect us as mother (protects) her children; ordain for us prosperity and supreme knowledge.
Prana who is Shiva is Vasi – the controller, One who has merged everything within ones self is ones own master –Swarata. He is also the master of his surroundings – Samrat. The three worlds are interwoven as tribhuvana where there is samsaragati, where there is the whirling of the wheel of the world. Psychologically these three worlds are the three
qualities – Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. The three worlds are the three states of consciousness – the waking (Jagrat), the dream (Swapna) and the deep sleep (susupti) as well. The three worlds are also the physical, the vital and the mental worlds.
Sri Prjna – one is the boon of abhyudaya – material welfare. Sri – wealth and prosperity in this world – the other prajnais for the supreme beatitude, for liberation. Nihsreyas – spiritual welfare.
To be continued in June or July 2009, when the translation becomes available