Prashna Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary

by S. Sitarama Sastri | 1928 | 19,194 words

The Prashna Upanishad is a series philosophical poems presented as questions (prashna) inquired by various Hindu sages (Rishi) and answered by Sage Pippalada. The questions discuss knowledge about Brahman, the relation of the individual (Purusha) with the universal (Atman), meditation, immortality and various other Spiritual topics. This commentar...

ओं सुकेशा च भारद्वाजः शैब्यश्च सत्यकामः सौर्यायणी च गार्ग्यः कौसल्यश्चाश्वलायनो भार्गवो वैदर्भिः कबन्धी कात्यायनस्ते हैते ब्रह्मपरा ब्रह्मनिष्ठाः परं ब्रह्मान्वेषमाणा एष ह वै तत्सर्वं वक्श्यतीति ते ह समित्पाणयो भगवन्तं पिप्पलादमुपसन्नाः ॥ १ ॥

oṃ sukeśā ca bhāradvājaḥ śaibyaśca satyakāmaḥ sauryāyaṇī ca gārgyaḥ kausalyaścāśvalāyano bhārgavo vaidarbhiḥ kabandhī kātyāyanaste haite brahmaparā brahmaniṣṭhāḥ paraṃ brahmānveṣamāṇā eṣa ha vai tatsarvaṃ vakśyatīti te ha samitpāṇayo bhagavantaṃ pippalādamupasannāḥ || 1 ||

1. Sukesa, son of Bharadvaja, and Satyakama, son of Sibi, and Gargya, a son of the son of the sun, and Kausalya, son of Asvala, and Bhargava of Vidarbha, and Kabandhi, son of Katya,—all these intent on Brahman and centred in Brahman, seeking the highest Brahman, approached the revered Pippalada, samit (sacrificial fuel) in hand, thinking that he would explain all to them.


Shankara’s Commentary:

Com.—Om, adoration to the Paramatman, This Brahmana is begun for the purpose of explaining at length the drift that has been expressed by the mantras. The story of the sage questioning and the sage replying is for the purpose of eulogising knowledge. Thus it praises knowledge, by saying that it should be acquired by men who have been observing Brahmacharya and residing in the house of the preceptor for a year, and who have performed tapas, and that it should be imparted by preceptors but little short of omniscient, like Pippalada, etc., and not by anybody whosoever; and by the indication of such means as Brahmacharya their observance is directed; Sukesa by name and son of Bharadvaja; Saibyah, son of Sibi; Satyakama by name; Sauryayani ] the son of Surya (sun) is Saurya and his son is Sauryayani. This form (with a long vowel ending) is Vedic license; Gargya, one born of the family of Garga; Kausalya by name. Âsvalayana, the son of Asvala; Bhargava, one born of the family of Bhrigu; strictly the gotrapatyam of Bhrigu (vide, Panini); Vaidarbhi, born in Vidarbha; Kabandhi by name; Katyayana, son of Katya; his great-grandfather being alive, the suffix denoting uva pratyayam is used (vide, Panini). All these intent on Brahman, i.e., believing in the Apara Brahman as supreme and devoted to its practice seeking after the highest Brahman, i.e., wishing to attempt, as they could, to attain that eternal knowable, approached the worshipful preceptor Pippalada, with loads of samit in their hands, for the purpose of knowing that, thinking that he would explain all to them.

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