The kenopaniShat – Part 8
Upon hearing Agni’s reply, the Yakṣa, the Effulgent One, responded:
तस्मै तृणं निदधावेतद्दहेति तदुपप्रेयाय सर्वजवेन तन्न शशाक दग्धुं स तत एव निववृते नैतदशकं विज्ञातुं यदेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ ६ ॥
तस्मै to him (agni) तृणं straw निदधौ placed एतद् this दह burn इति thus तत् towards it उपप्रेयाय rushed सर्वजवेन with all his ardour तत् but it न not शशाक succeed दग्धुं in burning स he तत एव from there alone निववृते returned न एतत् not this अशकं was able to विज्ञातुं comprehend यत् that एतत् यक्षम् इति who this spirit is
Brahman put a straw before him and said: “Burn this.” He rushed toward it with all his ardour but could not burn it. Then he returned from the Spirit and said to the gods: “I could not find out who this Spirit is.”
When Agni boasted of his stature, Brahman, in the form of the effulgent being, Yakṣa, placed a straw in front of Agni and said: ‘Burn this mere straw in front of Me. In case you are incapable of burning it, then give up your pride of your ability to burn everything everywhere.’ Agni, on hearing the challenge, moved close to the straw, in all speed and enthusiasm. But, Alas! He could not incinerate it. Smitten by shame due to his failure to prove his much-bragged fame and strength, Agni, crestfallen, turned away from the Yakṣa, and returned to his companions, the other deva-s, only to report to them his misadventure in knowing the identity of the effulgent being.
Mantras 3.7 to 10
अथ वायुमब्रुवन् वायवेतद्विजानीहि किमेतद्यक्षमिति तथेति ॥ ७ ॥
अथ then वायुम् अब्रुवन् they addressed Vāyu वायो O! Vāyu एतत् विजानीहि know this किम् what एतत् this यक्षं effulgent one इति is तथा (Vāyu replied) Alright इति thus
तदभ्यद्रवत्तमभ्यवदत्कोऽसीति वायुर्वा अहमस्मीत्यब्रवीन्मातरिश्वा वा अहमस्मीति ॥ ८ ॥
तत् अभ्यद्रवत् Vāyu approached the effulgent one तं him अभ्यवदत् said कः असी who are you इति thus वायुः वा अहम् अस्मि ‘I am Vāyu’ इति अब्रवीत् thus he replied मातरिश्वा I am Mātariṣvā वा indeed अहम् अस्मि am I इति thus
तस्मिंस्त्वयि किं वीर्यमित्यपीदं सर्वमाददीय यदिदं पृथिव्यामिति ॥ ९ ॥
तस्मिन् त्वयि in you किं what वीर्यम् capacity इति thus अपि also इदं सर्वम् all this आददीय carry off यत् इदं पृथिव्याम् इति whatever is on this earth
तस्मै तृणं निदधावेतदादत्स्वेति तदुपप्रेयाय सर्वजवेन तन्न शशाकादातुं स तत एव निववृते नैतदशकं विज्ञातुं यदेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ १० ॥
तस्मै to him तृणं straw निदधौ placed एतत् this आदत्स्व carry off इति thus तत् It उपप्रेयाय approached सर्वजवेन with all speed तत् it न शशाक could not आदातुं carry away स he तत from there एव indeed निववृते moved away न not एतत् this अशकं could not विज्ञातुं identify यत् एतत् यक्षम् इति who this effulgent being is.
7—10 Then they said to Vāyu (Air): “O Vāyu! Find out who this great Spirit is.” “Yes,” he said and hastened to It. Brahman asked him: “Who are you?” He replied “I am known as Vāyu; I am also called Mātariśvā.” Brahman said: “What power is in you, who are so well known?” Vāyu replied: “I can carry off all — whatever there is on earth.” Brahman put a straw before him and said: “Carry this.” He rushed toward it with all his ardour but could not move it. Then he returned from the Spirit and said to the gods: “I could not find out who this Spirit is,”
अथेन्द्रमब्रुवन्मघवन्नेतद्विजानीहि किमेतद्यक्षमिति तथेति तदभ्यद्रवत्तस्मात्तिरोदधे ॥ ११ ॥
अथ then the gods इन्द्रम् अब्रुवन् addressed Indra मघवन् “Maghavan एतत् this विजानीहि know किम् एतत् what this यक्षम् Yakṣa इति is तथा ‘Alright’ इति saying so तत् towards it अभ्यद्रवत् hastened तस्मात् (the Yakṣa) from (Indra) तिरोदधे disappeared.
Then the gods said to Indra: “O Maghavan! Find out who this great Spirit is.” “Yes,” he said and hastened to It. But the Spirit disappeared from him.
Asked by the gods to go and find out the identity of the Effulgent being, Indra, the Lord (of gods), known as Ṁaghavā due to his strength, approached the Yakṣa. But the Effulgent One disappeared from Indra’s presence. Resolving to dispel Indra’s pride born of his cosmic position, the Yakṣa did not even offer a dialogue with him.
स तस्मिन्नेवाकाशे स्त्रियमाजगाम बहु शोभमानामुमां हैमवतीं तां होवाच किमेतद्यक्षमिति ॥ १२ ॥
स He (Indra) तस्मिन् in that एव very आकाशे space स्त्रियम् a woman आजगाम approached बहु very शोभमानाम् beautiful उमां Umā हैमवतीं the daughter of Himavān तां her ह उवाच he indeed किम् who एतत् this यक्षम् इत्ति Yakṣa is
Then Indra beheld in that very region of the sky a Woman highly adorned. She was Umā, the daughter of the Himālayas. He approached Her and said: “Who is this great Spirit?”
Indra stood steadfast, meditating, in that very place from where the Effulgent one had appeared and subsequently disappeared. He did not leave the place like the other gods did. Recognizing Indra’s devotion, perseverance in knowing the identity of the Yakṣa, verily vidyā, in the form of Umā, appeared there as a woman. She was exquisitely beautiful even as Knowledge, vidyā, is the most beautiful of all things lovely, thus justifying the adjective accorded by the Upaniṣad. She was adorned with ornaments made of gold and hence ‘haimavatī’. Or this word could mean Umā, the daughter of Himavān, the King of the Himalayas, who is ever in association with the Omniscient Lord Shiva and therefore capable of knowing the Supreme Truth. Hence Indra approached her and asked “Tell me who this Effulgent One is, who appeared and disappeared.’
‘Vidyā’ signifies brahmavidyā, the knowledge of Brahman, in the form of a vṛtti, transformation of the mind-apparatus. It is this transformation that results in the aspirant turning into an enlightened one. This vidyā, in the feminine form, is depicted as the consort of the Lord, the very embodiment of Knowledge. Appealing to the vidyā to confer the benefit of beholding, apprehending, the Truth, is the supreme devotion. Upon experiencing this Truth, through the medium of the vidyā, one never returns to samsāra, the trammel of transmigrating existence.
Here ends the Third Section of the Kenopaniṣat. The Fourth Section starts with Indra becoming enlightened.
सा ब्रह्मेति होवाच ब्रह्मणो वा एतद्विजये महीयध्वमिति ततो हैव विदांचकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ १ ॥
सा she ब्रह्म इति ‘This is Brahman’ ह उवाच replied ब्रह्मणः वा indeed Brahman’s एतत् विजये this victory महीयध्वम् you bask इति thus ततः ह एव विदांचकार thereafter he knew ब्रह्म इति It is Brahman.
She replied: “It is, indeed, Brahman. Through the victory of Brahman alone have you attained glory.” After that Indra understood that It was Brahman.
Umā informed Indra that the Yakṣa, the Effulgent One, that made an appearance and abruptly disappeared, is indeed Brahman. It is due to the victory caused by Brahman that Indra and others came to be regarded as victorious. While such is the truth, you have wrongly appropriated the victory to your own ability as ‘It is indeed our victory, it is verily our glory.’ Thereafter, from Umā’s words alone, and not independently, did Indra come to know of the truth.
Since Agni, Vāyu and Indra, the deva-s, came close to Brahman by way of perceiving and conversing with (the Yakṣa), they excelled other deva-s:
तस्माद्वा एते देवा अतितरामिवान्यान्देवान्यदग्निर्वायुरिन्द्रस्ते ह्येनन्नेदिष्ठं पस्पर्शुस्ते ह्येनत्प्रथमो विदांचकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ २ ॥
तस्मात् therefore वा indeed एते these देवाः deva-s अतितराम् इव as though excelled अन्यान् other देवान् deva-s यत् अग्निः which Agni वायुः Vāyu इन्द्रः Indra ते they हि indeed एनत् this नेदिष्ठं closely पस्पर्शुः contacted ते they हि indeed एनत् this प्रथमः first विदांचकार knew ब्रह्म इति as Brahman.
Since they approached very near Brahman and were the first to know that It was Brahman, these devas, namely, Agni, Vayu and Indra, excelled the other gods.
These gods namely Agni, Vāyu and Indra, are as though much above other gods. This is because owing to their own merit they were able to come very close to the Brahman in the form of Yakṣa. Since these gods came into close contact with Brahman by way of perceiving and conversing with Brahman, being foremost for this reason, they came to know of Brahman.
तस्माद्वा इन्द्रोऽतितरामिवान्यान्देवान्स ह्येनन्नेदिष्ठं पस्पर्श स ह्येनत्प्रथमो विदांचकार ब्रह्मेति ॥ ३ ॥
तस्मात् वा Since इन्द्रः Indra अतितराम् इव as though excelled अन्यान् other देवान् deva-s स he हि indeed एनत् this नेदिष्ठं very closely पस्पर्श contacted स he हि indeed एनत् this प्रथमः first विदांचकार knew ब्रह्म इति as Brahman.
Since Indra approached Brahman nearest and since he was the first to know that It was Brahman, Indra excelled the other gods.
Since Indra did not give up like the other gods even when the Yakṣa disappeared without even conversing with him and persisted and succeeded in knowing its identity, he is the foremost among the deva-s.