The Prashna Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary
स प्राणमसृजत प्राणाच्छ्रद्धां खं वायुर्ज्योतिरापः पृथिवीन्द्रियं मनः अन्नमन्नाद्वीर्यं तपो मन्त्राः कर्मलोका लोकेषु च नाम च ॥ ४ ॥
sa prāṇamasṛjata prāṇācchraddhāṃ khaṃ vāyurjyotirāpaḥ pṛthivīndriyaṃ manaḥ annamannādvīryaṃ tapo mantrāḥ karmalokā lokeṣu ca nāma ca || 4 ||
4. He created Prâna; from Prâna faith, âkâsa, air, fire, water, earth, senses, mind and food; and from food, strength, contemplation, mantrâs, karma and worlds; and in worlds name also.
Com.—By the Purusha, i.e., Isvara alone, is Prâna the chief functionary created. How? He, the Purusha by seeing, i.e., contemplating as explained, created Prâna called Hiranyagarbha, the support of the active instruments of all living beings and the internal Âtman of all. From Prâna, he created faith, which is the stimulus for all living beings, to perform good karma. Then he created the great Bhûtâs which help to the enjoyment of the fruits of karma in here and which are causes in themselves; the âkâsa having the attribute of sound; air having two attributes, its own—touch—and that of its cause; so, fire having three attributes, its own—form—and the two previous—sound and touch; so, water having four attributes, its own peculiar one—taste—and the three previously named; so, earth having five attributes, its own—smell—combined with the previous four; so the senses formed by these, ‘Bhûtâs (rudiments) ten in number, of two classes—intelligent and active; the mind, lord of these, situate within and characterised by doubt and volition. Having thus created for living beings the effects and causes, he created for their support food consisting of grain, corn, etc.; from the food eaten, efficiency—strength—a help towards the performance of all karma; and for the living beings having such strength, and being led astray from virtue, tapas contemplation—a help to the purification of the mind. Mantras, for those whose internal and external senses have been purified by tapas, the Riks, Yajus, Sâma, Atharva and Angirasa mantrâs, helps to karma from them karma consisting in agnihôtra, etc.; from them, worlds, fruits of karma; and of living beings therein created, names, such as Dêvadatta, Yagnadatta, etc.; thus all these kalâs created with the aid of the seed, the faults of ignorance, etc., in living beings, as the vision of the double moon, gnats, fly, etc., created by the pressure of the finger on the eyes, and as the vision of all objects created in dreams, are again absorbed into Him alone, having dropped all distinctions of name and form.
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