The Prashna Upanishad with Shankara’s Commentary
स यथेमा नध्यः स्यन्दमानाः समुद्रायणाः समुद्रं प्राप्यास्तं गच्छन्ति भिध्येते तासां नामरुपे समुद्र इत्येवं प्रोच्यते । एवमेवास्य परिद्रष्टुरिमाः षोडशकलाः पुरुषायणाः पुरुषं प्राप्यास्तं गच्छन्ति भिध्येते चासां नामरुपे पुरुष इत्येवं प्रोच्यते स एषोऽकलोऽमृतो भवति तदेष श्लोकः ॥ ५ ॥
sa yathemā nadhyaḥ syandamānāḥ samudrāyaṇāḥ samudraṃ prāpyāstaṃ gacchanti bhidhyete tāsāṃ nāmarupe samudra ityevaṃ procyate | evamevāsya paridraṣṭurimāḥ ṣoḍaśakalāḥ puruṣāyaṇāḥ puruṣaṃ prāpyāstaṃ gacchanti bhidhyete cāsāṃ nāmarupe puruṣa ityevaṃ procyate sa eṣo'kalo'mṛto bhavati tadeṣa ślokaḥ || 5 ||
5. Just as these rivers flowing towards the sea, their goal, having reached the sea, disappear, their name and form are destroyed and all is called sea; so of him that sees the Purusha around, the sixteen kalâs whose goal is the Purusha, having reached Purusha, disappear; their name and form are destroyed and all is called, Purusha alone. He becomes devoid of parts and immortal. There is this verse.
Com.—How is that illustrated? Just as in this world, these rivers flowing, whose goal is the sea, having reached the sea, suffer a disappearance of their name and form, and when they so disappear their name and form as the Ganges, the Jumna, etc., disappear, and in the absence of all distinction is called ‘the sea,’ and expanse of water; as in this illustration, so of the seer who sees around the Purusha already described treated of here and who has become the self (the active agent ‘seer’ is here used, as the sun is said to be the giver of light everywhere, although his form is light itself) the sixteen kalâs, Prâna and the rest already described, whose goal is Purusha, as the sea is of the rivers, having reached Purusha, i.e., being absorbed into Purusha, disappear; accordingly, their name and form, i.e., their name as Prâna, etc., and their distinct nature are destroyed. The entity that survives understroyed when name and form are destroyed is called Purusha by the knowers of Brahman. He who knows thus, being instructed by the preceptor, how the kalâs are absorbed, becomes devoid of kalâs, when the kalâs produced by ignorance, desire, and karma have been absorbed by knowledge, and becomes immortal, the kalâs produced by ignorance, the cause of death, having been destroyed. To convey that drift is the following verse.
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