The muNDakopaniShat – Part 8
तस्मादग्निः समिधो यस्य सूर्यः सोमात्पर्जन्य ओषधयः पृथिव्याम् ।
पुमान्रेतः सिञ्चति योषितायां बह्वीः प्रजाः पुरुषात्संप्रसूताः ॥ ५ ॥
तस्मात् From Him अग्निः Fire समिधः the fuel यस्य for which सूर्यः is the sun सोमात् from moon पर्जन्यः rain ओषधयः herbs पृथिव्याम् on the earth पुमान् man रेतः seminal fluid सिञ्चति places योषितायां in the womb बह्वीः many प्रजाः beings पुरुषात् from Puruṣa संप्रसूताः are born
From Him comes the Fire whose fuel is the sun; from the moon comes rain; from rain, the herbs that grow on the earth; from the herbs, the seminal fluid which a man pours into a woman. Thus many living beings are born of the Puruṣa.
From the Supreme Puruṣa is born the particular form of being, Agni. The fuel, as it were, for this Agni is the Sun. The Sun indeed is illumining the heavens, the first fire. From the heavens the moon is produced from which the second fire namely the rain, the second fire, emerges. From rain grow the herbs on earth, the third fire. By the sacrificial oblations made in the male, the fourth fire, by the herbs that are the basic material, the man pours in the seminal fluid into the womb which is yet another, the fifth, fire. In this manner countless
beings are generated with distinctions such as brāhmaṇa.
तस्मादृचः साम यजूंषि दीक्षा यज्ञाश्च सर्वे क्रतवो दक्षिणाश्च ।
सम्वत्सरश्च यजमानश्च लोकाः सोमो यत्र पवते यत्र सूर्यः ॥ ६ ॥
तस्मात् From the Puruṣa ऋचः the Ṛks साम the sāman यजूंषि the yaju-s दीक्षाः the wows यज्ञाः the sacrifices च also सर्वे all क्रतवः vedic rituals दक्षिणाः the sacrificial fee च too सम्वत्सरः the year च and यजमानः the sacrificing-person च and लोकाः the worlds सोमः soma यत्र where पवते purifies यत्र where सूर्यः the sun
6. From Him have come the Ṛks, the Sāman, the Yajus, the Dīkṣā, all sacrifices, the Kratus, gifts, the sacrificial fee, the year, the sacrificer and the worlds which the moon sanctifies and the sun illumines.
From that Puruṣa, the specific category of mantras called Ṛk is born. The Ṛk is characterized by having a fixed number of syllables, feet and length which are seen in the meters such as the gāyatrĪ. The sāman is that which is divided into five parts or seven parts, and is embellished with stobha etc. and specific tunes for recitation. The Yajus is discernible by syllables, feet and length that are not fixed and are in the form of sentences. These three types of mantras emanate from the Puruṣa. Dīkṣā refers to restrictions to be followed by the sacrificer by wearing the girdle made of the muṇjā grass, etc. Yajña-s are all of the type of agnihotra, etc. Kratu-s are the sacrifices where the yūpa, the sacrificial stake is present. Dakṣiṇā refers to the fee/gift in the form consisting variedly of one cow up to one’s everything. Samvatsara refers to the unit of time, which is a part of the ritual. ‘Yajamānaḥ’ refers to the one who performs the sacrifice. ‘Loka-s’ refer to the worlds that one attains as a result of actions. Of these ‘Soma’ loka refers to where the moon deity sanctifies and those loka-s where the sun illumines. These two categories are the ones named ‘dakṣiṇāyana’ and ‘uttarāyaṇa’ which are respectively attained by the ignorant and the meditative. The idea is that all that is part of one’s life is taught to be originating from Brahman.
तस्माच्च देवा बहुधा सम्प्रसूताः साध्या मनुष्याः पशवो वयांसि ।
प्राणापानौ व्रीहियवौ तपश्च श्रद्धा सत्यं ब्रह्मचर्यं विधिश्च ॥ ७ ॥
तस्मात् च from Him देवाः the gods बहुधा varied सम्प्रसूताः are born साध्या: the sādhya-s मनुष्याः humans पशवः animals वयांसि birds प्राणापानौ prāṇa and apāna व्रीहियवौ rice and barley तपः austerity च and श्रद्धा faith सत्यं truth ब्रह्मचर्यं celibacy विधिः rules च as well
7. By Him are begotten the various devas, the sādhyas, men, cattle, birds and also prāṇa and apāna, rice and barley, penance, faith, truth, continence and rules.
From that Puruṣa the deva-s namely the groups of vasu-s, rudra-s, āditya-s, etc. who form part of rituals are born. The sādhya-s are specific categories of deva-s. The humans are the ones that are eligible to engage in action. Animals are both domestic and wild. Birds too are born from this Puruṣa alone. The very life of men is dependent on the prāṇa and apāna which have the Puruṣa alone for their source. Grains like rice and barley are used for the purpose of vedic sacrifices. ‘Tapas’ is penance forming part of a greater ritual, which is aimed at cleansing the one engaged in it or aimed at bringing a specific fruit to the performer. All human objectives called dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa have as their precondition for success what is known as faith, śraddhā which is characterized by unshakable faith in the words of the scripture. Satyam is truth which manifests as avoidance of falsehood as also uttering facts as they are, not causing injury to the hearer thereof. ‘Brahmacharyam’ is the avoidance of carnal physical relation. The manner of performing a vedic act is called ‘vidhi’, method, in this context. All these are born of the Supreme.
The intention of the Upaniṣad in saying these is that everything in our life namely objects, events, persons, etc. is nothing but Brahman, being born of Brahman. This knowledge helps us get the realization that by knowing one, everything is known. That is the question with which the Upaniṣad started. By knowing the fundamental cause, the entire range of effects becomes known. The knower is able to appreciate that there is no separate entity called effect apart from the cause.
सप्त प्राणाः प्रभवन्ति तस्मात्सप्तार्चिषः समिधः सप्त होमाः ।
सप्तेमे लोका येषु चरन्ति प्राणा गुहाशया निहिताः सप्त सप्त ॥ ८ ॥
सप्त seven प्राणाः senses प्रभवन्ति are born तस्मात् from that Puruṣa सप्त seven अर्चिषः flames समिधः and fuel सप्त seven होमाः oblations
सप्त seven इमे these लोकाः worlds येषु in which चरन्ति move प्राणाः the senses गुहाशयाः residing in the cave निहिताः placed सप्त seven सप्त seven.
8. From Him have sprung the seven prāṇa-s, the seven flames, the seven kinds of fuel, the seven oblations and also the seven planes where move the prāṇa-s, lying in the cave, which are seven in each living being.
The seven sense organs in the head namely the two eyes, two nostrils, two ears and mouth emanate from the Puruṣa alone. These senses have their fire which is none other than their capacity to sense. The senses have their respective fuels that are nothing but the various objects of the world. These are to be understood as: form (for the eyes), smell (for the nostrils), sound (for the ears) and taste (for the tongue, mouth). These objects too are born of the Puruṣa. The imagery is of a vedic sacrifice where the objects of the senses are the oblations poured into the sense organs. There are the seven sacrifices, homa-s, which are the knowledge arising from the sense organs operating through their capacity to sense the sense objects. The entire operation can be stated as: the pramāṇa-s knowing the prameya-s and getting the knowledge thereof, pramiti. This tripuṭī, the triad, is what is being taught here as having the Puruṣa for its source. In other words, it is this Supreme Being that appears in creation as the knower, the knowing instruments, the knowing power, the knowable objects and the knowledge arising thereof. Shankaracharya cites a passage from the Mahānārāyaṇa upaniṣad 24.1: यदस्य विज्ञानं तज्जुहोति (२४.१) [‘That which is his sense-perception is what he offers as an oblation.’]
Also, these seven worlds are the ones, figuratively, the orifices of the sense organs, where the senses operate from. The Upaniṣad takes care to specify the ‘places’ so as to avoid anyone mistaking the word ‘prāṇas’ in the mantra to be referring to the distinct airs such as prāṇa, apāna, etc. These prāṇa-s (sense organs) are placed by the Creator in the cave, which could be taken to be the body or the intellect/mind where these rest/resolve during deep sleep.
The purport of these mantras is: All the actions and the instruments thereof along with their results that are involved in the ‘Sacrifice related to the Self’ performed by the knowers as well as the ones pertaining to the ignorant persons – these are effects of the Supreme Cause, the Omniscient Puruṣa alone. Thus, to reiterate, the Upaniṣad is specifying these to drive home the message that the effect is non-different from the cause. The created world, in all its variety, is none other than Brahman. One can discern this message in all the Upaniṣads of which the Chandogya Upaniṣad’s sixth chapter is a classic example.
अतः समुद्रा गिरयश्च सर्वेऽस्मात्स्यन्दन्ते सिन्धवः सर्वरूपाः ।
अतश्च सर्वा ओषधयो रसश्च येनैष भूतैस्तिष्ठते ह्यन्तरात्मा ॥ ९ ॥
अतः from this समुद्राः oceans गिरयः mountains च too सर्वे all अस्मात् from this Puruṣa स्यन्दन्ते flow सिन्धवः rivers सर्वरूपाः of every kind अतः from च also सर्वाः all ओषधयः herbs रसः juice च too येन by एष him भूतैः elements तिष्ठते supported हि indeed अन्तरात्मा the inner Self
9. From Him come all the oceans and the mountains; from Him flow rivers of every kind; from Him have come, as well, all plants and flavours, by which the inner self subsists surrounded by the elements.