The Praśnopaniṣat – Part 2
अथादित्य उदयन्यत्प्राचीं दिशं प्रविशति तेन प्राच्यान्प्राणान्रश्मिषु संनिधत्ते । यद्दक्षिणां यत्प्रतीचीं यदुदीचीं यदधो यदूर्ध्वं यदन्तरा दिशो यत्सर्वं, प्रकाशयति तेन, सर्वान्प्राणान्रश्मिषु संनिधत्ते ॥ ६ ॥
अथ now आदित्यः the sun उदयन् rising यत् that प्राचीं eastern दिशं quarter प्रविशति enters तेन by that प्राच्यान् the eastern प्राणान् beings रश्मिषु in its rays संनिधत्ते enfolds यत् that दक्षिणां southern यत् that प्रतीचीं western यत् that उदीचीं northern यत् that अधः below यत् that ऊर्ध्वं above यत् that अन्तराः intermediate दिशः quarters यत् that सर्वं everything प्रकाशयति illumines तेन by that सर्वान् all प्राणान् beings रश्मिषु in its rays संनिधत्ते enfolds
Now the sun, when it rises, enters the eastern quarter and thereby enfolds the living beings of the east in its rays. And when it illuminates the southern, the western, the northern, the lower, the upper and the intermediate quarters—when it illumines everything—it thus enfolds all living beings in its rays.
Even though formless, prāṇa is the ‘eater’ and all else is the ‘eaten.’ How is this made possible? When the Sun rises and becomes visible to the beings, it pervades the entire eastern quarter by its own light. By this it absorbs within its rays which are its own pervasive light, all the creatures that live in the eastern quarter, by its very pervasion, making them one with itself. In other words, the Sun, with its luminosity, bathes the entire eastern quarter, thereby making itself the ‘eater’ and the beings in the eastern quarter, the ‘eaten.’ In the same manner as the Sun illumines the south, the north, the western and the intermediate quarters, it makes all the beings there in all those quarters, one with itself by the very means of its pervading those quarters with its luminosity.
स एष वैश्वानरो विश्वरूपः प्राणोऽग्निरुदयते । तदेतदृचाभ्युक्तम् ॥ ७ ॥
स: He एषः this वैश्वानरः the soul of all विश्वरूपः soul of all forms प्राणः prāṇa अग्निः fire उदयते rises तत् that एतत् this ऋचा by the mantra अभ्युक्तम् stated
That sun rises every day—the sun, which is the soul of all creatures, the soul of all forms, which is life and fire. This has been described by the following ṛk.
This prāṇaḥ who is the ‘eater’ of everything, the soul of all, and the self of the entire world too, who is the prāṇa and fire as well, he alone is the ‘eater’ who rises, manifests himself to the world, by making the entire world his own. This very prāṇa is being stated by the ṛk, mantra, too.
विश्वरूपं हरिणं जातवेदसं परायणं ज्योतिरेकं तपन्तम् ।
सहस्ररश्मिः शतधा वर्तमानः प्राणः प्रजानामुदयत्येष सूर्यः ॥ ८ ॥
विश्वरूपं all-formed हरिणं rayed जातवेदसं knowledgeable परायणं supreme abode of all ज्योतिः light एकं one only तपन्तम् warmer सहस्ररश्मिः thousand-rayed शतधा as hundreds वर्तमानः exists प्राणः life प्रजानाम् of all beings उदयति rises एष this सूर्यः sun
He who is in all forms, full of rays, all-knowing, non-dual, the support of all life, the eye of all beings, the giver of heat. There rises the sun, the thousand-rayed, existing in a hundred forms, the life of all creatures.
This Sun who is of all forms since he is all-pervading, endowed with rays, omniscient, secondless, the support of all life on earth, the organ/deity eye of all beings, the one who warms the creation, is realized as oneself by the Knowers of Brahman. Who is the one that is known thus? He is the thousand-rayed one, that is, his rays are innumerable. He exists in several forms of all beings, the very life of all beings, who rises. That is this Sūrya, the Sun, that is being discussed in these mantras.
संवत्सरो वै प्रजापतिस्तस्यायने दक्षिणं चोत्तरं च । तद्ये ह वै तदिष्टापूर्ते कृतमित्युपासते ते चान्द्रमसमेव लोकमभिजयन्ते । त एव पुनरावर्तन्ते तस्मादेत ऋषयः प्रजाकामा दक्षिणं प्रतिपद्यन्ते । एष ह वै रयिर्यः पितृयाणः ॥ ९ ॥
संवत्सरः year वै verily प्रजापतिः is prajāpati तस्य his अयने two paths दक्षिणं southern च and उत्तरं northern च too तत् that ये those ह verily वै indeed तत् that इष्टापूर्ते pious actions कृतम् performed इति thus उपासते perform ते they चान्द्रमसम् the lunar एव certainly लोकम् world अभिजयन्ते win ते they एव certainly पुनः again आवर्तन्ते return तस्मात् therefore एते these ऋषयः ṛṣis प्रजाकामाः desirous of offspring दक्षिणं southern प्रतिपद्यन्ते attain एषः this ह verily वै indeed रयिः food यः that पितृयाणः the path of manes.
The year, verily, is Prajāpati and there are two paths thereof: the Southern and the Northern. Those who perform sacrifices and engage in pious actions, as duties to be done, win only the World of the Moon; verily they return hither again. Therefore the ṛṣis who desire offspring travel by the Southern Path. This Path of the manes is rayi, food.
How does this single pair that is the moon which is formed and constitutes the food, and the prāṇa, the sun, the consumer, by a single union, bring about the entire progeny? This is being stated herein. This element of time, kāla, that is the year (samvatsara), is the prajāpati since the year is brought about by him. The year, samvatsara, is produced by the moon, Chandra and sun, Āditya and is a collection of lunar days, tithi, the solar day and solar night. [A ‘tithi’ is enumerated as first, second, third, etc. in a lunar fortnight.] Since the year is non-different from the sun and the moon, it is called the union of the food (moon) and the eater (sun, prāṇa). How is this so? The reply is: The two paths of a year, samvatsara, the prajāpati, are the two popular ones namely dakṣiṇa-ayana and uttara-ayaṇa, the southern and northern half-years (six-month periods). The savitā, the sun god, passes through these two halves of the year, bestowing the respective fruits to the performers of mere scriptural actions (dakṣiṇāyana) and those that engage in scriptural actions combined with meditations (uttarāyaṇa). The mere actions consist of sacrifices and actions oriented to public good such as setting up water reservoirs, parks, planting trees, building temples and so on. Since these are mere actions and not acquiring the knowledge of the uncreated Brahman, the fruit thereof will also lie only in the perishable realm. This realm is stated as the world of the moon, constituted by food known as ‘rayi’ (food) which is only a portion of the Lord of creatures, Prajāpati, who comprises a pair. The reason for this is that the moon is an effect, a product, kṛta, of action. When the stock of their fruit-yielding karma ends, they return to this or even lowly states as stated by the Muṇḍakopaniṣat 1.2.10. Those ṛṣis, the householders, desirous of offspring engage in that action that will beget them perishable fruits, thereby produce the kingdom of Chandra, the moon. This is the dakṣiṇāyanam, the southern path, which they attain to, having earned it by their actions, to end up in such a loka (abode of the moon). This indeed is the food, annam, rayi, that they have created by their actions. This path is called the ‘pitṛyānaḥ’, the path of manes, the world of the moon as suggested by the term ‘path of the manes.’
अथोत्तरेण तपसा ब्रह्मचर्येण श्रद्धया विद्ययात्मानमन्विष्यादित्यमभिजयन्ते । एतद्वै प्राणानामायतनमेतदमृतमभयमेतत्परायणमेतस्मान्न पुनरावर्तन्त इत्येष निरोधः । तदेष श्लोकः ॥ १० ॥
अथ on the other hand उत्तरेण by the northern path तपसा by austerity ब्रह्मचर्येण chastity श्रद्धया faith विद्यया knwoledge आत्मानम् self अन्विष्य seeking आदित्यम् the Sun अभिजयन्ते attain एतत् this वै indeed प्राणानाम् of the lives आयतनम् support एतत् this अमृतम् immortal अभयम् fearless एतत् this परायणम् the supreme एतस्मात् from this न do not पुनः again आवर्तन्त return इति thus एष this निरोधः blocked तत् that एषः this श्लोकः verse
But those who seek the Self through austerity, chastity, faith and knowledge travel by the Northern Path and win the Sun. The Sun, verily, is the support of all lives. He is immortal and fearless; He is the final goal. Thence they do not return. This path is blocked for the ignorant. Concerning it there is the following verse (in the next mantra).
By the northern path they attain the sun, Āditya, (the counterpart of Prajāpati), the prāṇa, the Eater. How? By austerity characterized by sense control, especially, chastity. Faith accompanied by knowledge pertaining to the nature of Prajāpati, they attain to the self, the Āditya, the prāṇa, the support of the entire world. This is accomplished by seeking it and knowing it as ‘I am that’. This is indeed the support of all prāṇas, it is the immortal, imperishable, and therefore alone fearless since the fear of waxing and waning pertaining to the moon is not there in this state. This abode is the supreme, of the knowledgeable, that is, the performers of actions and meditations. From this abode they do not return (to samsāra, transmigratory life), unlike those who have performed mere scripture-ordained actions without engaging in meditations, who will, however, return to samsāra from the abode they reach. Therefore these ignorant ones are barred from the supreme abode of the Sun, Āditya. These do not attain the ‘year’ (samvatsara) that is Āditya, which is prāṇa. This samvatsara which is the kāla, time, is the limit, obstruction, to the ignorant. With this as the purport there is a verse, mantra, in the sequel.