The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (with the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya)

by Swāmī Mādhavānanda | 1950 | 272,359 words | ISBN-10: 8175051027

This Upanishad is widely known for its philosophical statements and is ascribed to Yajnavalkya. It looks at reality as being indescribable and its nature to be infinite and consciousness-bliss. Ethics revolve around the five Yajnas or sacrifices. This book includes the english translation of the Bhāṣya of Śaṅkara. The Shankara-Bhashya is the most ...

Section I - Yajnavalkya and Asvala

With ‘Janaka, Emperor of Videha,’ etc., the portion relating to Yājñavalkya begins. Though it treats of the same subject as the preceding one, viz. the Madhukāṇḍa, yet it is not a mere repetition, being mainly argumentative, whereas the preceding portion was mainly of the nature of scriptural evidence. When both scriptural evidence and argument start to demonstrate the unity of the Self, they can show it as clearly as a bael fruit on the palm of one’s hand, for it has been said, ‘(The Self) should be heard of, reflected on,’ etc. (II. iv. 5; IV. v. 6). Therefore it is to test the meaning of the Śrutis in the light of arguments that this portion relating to Yājñavalkya, which is mainly argumentative, is commenced.

The story may be taken either as a eulogy on knowledge or as prescribing the way to acquire it; for it is a well-known fact, which scholars also notice in the scriptures, that the making of presents is one such way. Through presents people are won over; and here we see that plenty of gold and a thousand cows are presented. Therefore, though this section has another main purpose, the story is introduced to show that the making of presents is a way to the acquisition of knowledge. Another customary way of acquiring it, as observed in the system of logic, is the association with adepts in that line, and discussion with them; that too is amply shown in this chapter. And it is a common experience that association with scholars adds to our knowledge. Therefore we must- conclude that the story is meant to point out the way to acquire knowledge.

 

Verse 3.1.1:

ॐ । जनको ह वैदेहो बहुदक्शिणेन यज्ञेनेजे; तत्र ह कुरुपञ्चालानां ब्राह्मणा अभिसमेता बभूवुः; तस्य ह जनकस्य वैदेहस्य विजिज्ञासा बभूव, कः स्विदेषां ब्राह्मणानामनूचानतम इति; स ह गवां सहस्रमवरुरोध; दश दश पादा एकैकस्याः शृङ्गयोराबद्धा बभूवुः ॥ १ ॥

oṃ | janako ha vaideho bahudakśiṇena yajñeneje; tatra ha kurupañcālānāṃ brāhmaṇā abhisametā babhūvuḥ; tasya ha janakasya vaidehasya vijijñāsā babhūva, kaḥ svideṣāṃ brāhmaṇānāmanūcānatama iti; sa ha gavāṃ sahasramavarurodha; daśa daśa pādā ekaikasyāḥ śṛṅgayorābaddhā babhūvuḥ || 1 ||

1. Om. Janaka, Emperor of Videha, performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed. Vedic scholars from Kuru and Pañcāla were assembled there. Emperor Janaka of Videha had a desire to know, ‘Which is the most erudite of'these Vedic scholars?’ He had a thousand cows confined in a pen, and on the horns of each cow were fixed ten Pādas[1] (of gold).

There was a ruler of Videha named Janaka, who was an Emperor. He performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed. Or the sacrifice itself may have had that name, referred to elsewhere in the Vedas. Or the horse sacrifice may here be so called because of the abundance of gifts in it. Vedic scholars from Kuru and Pañcāla —which are famous for their large number of scholars— were assembled in that sacrifice, either on invitation or as spectators. Seeing that large assembly of scholars, Emperor Janaka of Videha, the sacrificer,. had a desire to know which was the greatest Vedic scholar among them. He thought like this: ‘Which is the most erudite of these Vedic scholars? They are all versed in the Vedas, but which is the greatest of them?’ Being desirous of knowing this, he, as a means to finding it out, had a thousand young cows confined in a pen. The cows are being described. On the horns of each cow were fixed ten Pādas —a Pāda being a quarter of a Pala—of gold, five on each horn.

 

Verse 3.1.2:

तान्होवाच, ब्राह्मणा भगवन्तो, यो वो ब्रह्मिष्ठः स एता गा उदजतामिति । ते ह ब्राह्मणा न दधृषुः; अथ ह याज्ञवल्क्यः स्वमेव ब्रह्मचारिणमुवाच, एताः एतास् सोम्योदज सामश्रवा3 इति; ता होदाचकार; ते ह ब्राह्मणाश्चुक्रुधुः, कथं नो ब्रह्मिष्ठो ब्रुवीतेति; अथ ह जनकस्य वैदेहस्य होताश्वलो बभूव; स हैनं पप्रच्छ, त्वं नु खलु नो याज्ञवल्क्य ब्रह्मिष्ठो'सी3 इति; स होवाच, नमो वयं ब्रह्मिष्ठाय कुर्मः, गोकामा एव वयं स्म इति; तं ह तत एव प्रष्टुं दध्रे होताश्वलः ॥ २ ॥

tānhovāca, brāhmaṇā bhagavanto, yo vo brahmiṣṭhaḥ sa etā gā udajatāmiti | te ha brāhmaṇā na dadhṛṣuḥ; atha ha yājñavalkyaḥ svameva brahmacāriṇamuvāca, etāḥ etās somyodaja sāmaśravā3 iti; tā hodācakāra; te ha brāhmaṇāścukrudhuḥ, kathaṃ no brahmiṣṭho bruvīteti; atha ha janakasya vaidehasya hotāśvalo babhūva; sa hainaṃ papraccha, tvaṃ nu khalu no yājñavalkya brahmiṣṭho'sī3 iti; sa hovāca, namo vayaṃ brahmiṣṭhāya kurmaḥ, gokāmā eva vayaṃ sma iti; taṃ ha tata eva praṣṭuṃ dadhre hotāśvalaḥ || 2 ||

2. He said to them, ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, let him who is the best Vedic scholar among you drive these cows (home).’ None of the Brāhmaṇas dared. Then Yājñavalkya said to a pupil of his, ‘Dear Sāmaśravas, please drive these cows (home).’ He drove them. The Brāhmaṇas were enraged. ‘How does he dare to call himself the best Vedic scholar among us?’ There was a Hotṛ[2] of Emperor Janaka of Videha named Aśvala. He now asked Yājñavalkya, ‘Yājñavalkya, are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us?’ Yājñavalkya replied, ‘I bow to the best Vedic scholar, I just want the cows.’ Thereupon the Hotṛ Aśvala determined to interrogate him.

Having the cows thus confined, he said addressing those Brāhmaṇas, ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, you are all Vedic scholars; let him who is specially so among you drive these cows home.’ None of the Brāhmaṇas thus addressed dared to announce his surpassing Vedic scholarship. When they were thus silenced Yājña-valkya said to a pupil of his, ‘Dear Sāmaśravas, please drive these cows home.’ ‘Sāmaśravas’ means one who learns how to chant the Sāman. Hence by implication Yājñavalkya is made out to be versed in all the four Vedas.[3] He drove the cows towards his teacher’s home. Yājñavalyka, by accepting the prize meant for the best Vedic scholar, indirectly declared himself as such; so the Brāhmaṇas were enraged. The reason for their anger is being stated: How does he dare to call himself the best Vedic scholar among us who are each a great scholar? Among the Brāhmaṇas thus enraged, there was a Hotṛ of Janaka, the sacrificer, named Aśvala. He prided himself upon being the greatest Vedic scholar, and was insolent owing to royal patronage. So he challenged Yāiṅavalkva as follows: ‘Yājñavalkya, are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us?’ The prolonged accent signifies censure. Yājñavalkya replied: 'I bow to the best Vedic scholar, now I just want the cows.’ Thereupon, i.e. when he accepted the prize meant for the best Vedic scholar and thereby declared himself to be one, the Hotṛ Aśvala determined to interrogate him.

 

Verse 3.1.3:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदं सर्वं मृत्युनाप्तं, सर्वं मृत्युनाभिपन्नम्, केन यजमानो मृत्योराप्तिमतिमुच्यत इति; होत्रर्त्विजाग्निना वाचा; वाग्वै यज्ञस्य होता, तद्येयं वाक् सोऽयमग्निः, स होता, सा मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥ ३ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, yadidaṃ sarvaṃ mṛtyunāptaṃ, sarvaṃ mṛtyunābhipannam, kena yajamāno mṛtyorāptimatimucyata iti; hotrartvijāgninā vācā; vāgvai yajñasya hotā, tadyeyaṃ vāk so'yamagniḥ, sa hotā, sā muktiḥ, sātimuktiḥ || 3 ||

3. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘since all this is overtaken by death, and swayed by it, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of death?’ ‘Through the organ of speech—through fire, which is the (real) priest called Hotṛ. The sacrificer's organ of speech is the Hotṛ. This organ of speech is fire; this fire is the Hotṛ; this (fire) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation.’

Yājñavalkya,’ said he. In the section on the Udgītha (I. iii.) comprised in the Madhukāṇḍa it has been briefly explained how a sacrificer can escape death thröugh the rite with five factors coupled with the meditation about it. The present section being an examination of that, a rather detailed treatment is being given here in order to introduce some particulars about that meditation. ‘Since all this, the accessories of this rite such as the priests and the fire, is overtaken by death, i.e. by ritualistic work attended with our natural attachment—not only overtaken, but also swayed by death, by what means, or meditation, does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of death, become independent of it?’

Objection: Has it not already been said in the section on the Udgītha that he transcends death by identifying himself with the vital force in the mouth?

Reply: Yes, but the particulars that have been omitted there will be given here. So there is nothing wrong in it.

Yājñavalkya said, ‘Through the organ of speech —through fire, which is the (real) priest called Hotṛ.’ The explanation follows. Who is that Hotṛ through whom the sacrificer transcends death? ‘The sacrificeds organ of speech is the Hotṛ.’ ‘Sacrifice’ here means the sacrificer. Witness the Śruti, ‘The sacrifice is the sacrificer’ (Ś. XIV. n. ii. 24). The sacrificed organ of speech is the Hotṛ with reference to sacrifices. How? This organ of speech of the sacrificer is the well-known fire, with reference to the gods. This has already been explained under the topic of the three kinds of food (I. v. 3, 11). And that fire is the Hotṛ, for the Śruti says, ‘Fire is the. Hotṛ’ (Ś. VI. iv. ii. 6). These two auxiliaries of a sacrifice, viz. the priest called Hotṛ with reference to sacrifices, and the organ of speech with reference to the body, be^ng limited, are ‘overtaken by death,’ i.e. are continually changed by ritualistic work directed by our natural attachment due to ignorance, and are therefore ‘swayed by death.’ If the sacrificer looks upon them as fire, their divine form, it conduces to his[4] liberation from death. So the text says: This is liberation, i.e. the Hotṛ who is fire is liberation. In other words, looking upon the Hotṛ as fire is that. As soon as the sacrificer looks upon the two auxiliaries as fire, he is freed from death consisting in his limited natural attachment relating to the body and the elements. Therefore that Hotṛ, when looked upon as fire, is ‘liberation,’ i.e. the means of liberation, for the sacrificer. This is emancipation: That which is liberation is emancipation, i.e. a means to it. To look upon those two limited auxiliaries as fire, which is their unlimited divine form, is liberation. This liberation which consists in looking upon (the Hotṛ and the organ of speech) in their divine aspect is also spoken of as the resulting emancipation—becoming one with fire, their divine form—which takes one beyond the death that consists in attachment to limitations relating to the body and the elements. It is called emancipation, because that liberation itself is a means to it. It has already been explained in the section on the Udgītha that the identification of the organ of speech etc. with fire and so on is itself the emancipation of the sacrificer. There it has been said in a general way that identity with the vital force in the mouth is the means of liberation, but the particulars have not been given. Here some details, viz. the viewing of the organ of speech etc. as fire and so on, are given. The emancipation from death here dealt with is the same as that which has been described as a result in the section on the Udgītha in the words, í(That fire) having transcended death shines,’ etc. (I. iii. 12).

 

Verse 3.1.4:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदं सर्वमहोरात्राभ्यामाप्तं, सर्वमहोरात्राभ्यामभिपन्नं, केन यजमानोऽहोरात्रयोराप्तिमतिमुच्यत इति । अध्वर्युणर्त्विजा चक्शुषादित्येन; चक्शुर्वै यज्ञस्याध्वर्युः, तद्यदिदं चक्शुः सोऽसावादित्यः, सोऽध्वर्युः, सा मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥ ४ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, yadidaṃ sarvamahorātrābhyāmāptaṃ, sarvamahorātrābhyāmabhipannaṃ, kena yajamāno'horātrayorāptimatimucyata iti | adhvaryuṇartvijā cakśuṣādityena; cakśurvai yajñasyādhvaryuḥ, tadyadidaṃ cakśuḥ so'sāvādityaḥ, so'dhvaryuḥ, sā muktiḥ, sātimuktiḥ || 4 ||

4. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘since all this is overtaken by day and night, and swayed by them, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of day and night?’ ‘Through the eye—through the sun, which is the (real) priest called Adhvaryu.[5] The eye of the sacrificer is the Adhvaryu. This eye is the sun; this sun is the Adhvaryu; this (sun) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation.’

Yājñavalkya,’ said he. The emancipation from death,, which is another name for ritualistic work directed by our natural attachment due to ignorance, has been explained. Time is the cause of changes in the accessories of rites such as the new and full moon sacrifices, on which death, that is to say, ritualistic work with attachment, rests. This paragraph is introduced, as emancipation from that time should be separately indicated; because even without the performance of rites, we notice before and after it the action of time as the cause of changes in the accessories of the rites. So the text goes on: Since all this is overtaken by day and night. That time has two forms: one consisting of day, night, etc., and the other consisting of lunar days etc. The emancipation from the former type of time is being first indicated, since everything is born, grows and dies because of the day and night; so also with the means of a sacrifice. The eye of the sacrificer is the Adhvaryu; here too ‘sacrifice’ means the sacrificer. The rest of the paragraph is to be explained as before. When the two accessories viz. the sacrificer’s eye and the Adhvaryu, are stripped of their limitations relating to the body and the elements, and are looked upon in their divine aspect, this is liberation. In other words, the viewing of the Adhvaryu as the sun is liberation. This liberation is emancipation, as in the preceding paragraph; because there can be no day and night for one who has identified himself with the sun.

 

Verse 3.1.5:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदं सर्वं पूर्वपक्शापरपक्शाभ्यामाप्तम्, सर्वं पूर्वपक्शापरपक्शाभ्यामभिपन्नम्, केन यजमानः पूर्वपक्शापरपक्शयोराप्तिमतिमुच्यत इति । उद्गात्रर्त्विजा  वायुना प्राणेन; प्राणो वै यज्ञस्योद्गाता; तद्योऽयं प्राणः स वायुः, स उद्गाता, सा मुक्तिः, सातिमुक्तिः ॥ ५ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, yadidaṃ sarvaṃ pūrvapakśāparapakśābhyāmāptam, sarvaṃ pūrvapakśāparapakśābhyāmabhipannam, kena yajamānaḥ pūrvapakśāparapakśayorāptimatimucyata iti | udgātrartvijā  vāyunā prāṇena; prāṇo vai yajñasyodgātā; tadyo'yaṃ prāṇaḥ sa vāyuḥ, sa udgātā, sā muktiḥ, sātimuktiḥ || 5 ||

5. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, 'since all this is overtaken by the bright and dark fortnights, and swayed by them, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the bright and dark fortnights?’ ‘Through the vital force—through air, which is the (real) priest called Udgātṛ.[6] The vital force of the sacrificer is the Udgātṛ. This vital force is air, and it is the Udgātṛ; this (air) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation.’

Now the emancipation from time represented by lunar days etc. is being indicated: Since all this, etc. The sun is the cause of the days and nights, which are alike, but not of the lunar days from the first to the fifteenth; these are subject to increase and decrease, and are caused by the moon. Therefore through identification with the moon one goes beyond the bright and dark fortnights, just as through identification with the sun one goes beyond day and night. Now the vital force of the sacrificer is air. It again is the Udgātṛ, as we know from the section on the Udgītha, where it has been settled: ‘Indeed he chanted through speech and the vital force’ (I. iii. 24). Also, ‘Water is the body of this vital force, and that moon is its luminous organ’ (I. v. 13). Since the vital force, air and moon are one, the Śruti considers that there is no difference between summing up with the moon[7] and summing up with air, and mentions air aâ the divine form. Moreover, the changes of the moon are due to air.[8] Therefore air is the cause even of that (moon) which makes the division of time into lunar days etc. Hence it all the more stands to reason that one who has identified oneself with air goes beyond time as divided into lunar days etc. For this reason another Śruti (the Mādhyandina recension) states that the viewing (of the accessories of a sacrifice) as the moon is liberation and emancipation; while here, in the Kāṇva recension, the viewing of the two accessories as their cause, viz. air, is called liberation and emancipation. So there is no contradiction between the two Śrutis.

 

Verse 3.1.6:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यदिदमन्तरिक्शमनारम्बणमिव, केनाक्रमेन यजमानः स्वर्गं लोकमाक्रमत इति; ब्रह्मणर्त्विजा मनसा चन्द्रेण; मनो वै यज्ञस्य ब्रह्मा; तद्यदिदं मनः सोऽसौ चन्द्रः, स ब्रह्मा, सा मुक्तिः सातिमुक्तिः—इत्यतिमोक्शाः; अथ संपदः ॥ ६ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, yadidamantarikśamanārambaṇamiva, kenākramena yajamānaḥ svargaṃ lokamākramata iti; brahmaṇartvijā manasā candreṇa; mano vai yajñasya brahmā; tadyadidaṃ manaḥ so'sau candraḥ, sa brahmā, sā muktiḥ sātimuktiḥ—ityatimokśāḥ; atha saṃpadaḥ || 6 ||

6. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘since the sky is, as it were, without a support, through what support does the sacrificer go to heaven?’ ‘Through the mind—through the moon, which is the (real) priest called Brahman.[9] The mind of the. sacrificer is the Brahman. This mind is the moon; the moon is the Brahman; this (moon) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation.’ So far about the ways of emancipation; now about the meditation based on resemblance.

The way the sacrificer transcends the form of death known as time has been explained. Now what is that support by means of which he attains a result transcending death, which is a limitation—in other words, is emancipated? This paragraph answers the point: Since ihe sky, so familiar to us, is, as it were, without a support, etc. The words ‘as it were’ indicate that there is a support to it, but it is not known. An inquiry is being made about this unknown support by the use of the pronominal adjective ‘Kena’ (through what); otherwise the attainment of result would be impossible. What is that support by means of which the sacrificer attains the result of his rites and is released?—is the question. Through what support does the sacrificer go to heaven as the result (of his rites)—in other words, is released? Through the mind —through the moon, which is the (real) priest called Brahman; this is to be explained as before. Now what is familiar to us as the mind of the sacrificer with reference to the body, is the moon with reference to the gods; for it is a well-known fact that the mind in the body is the same as the moon among the gods. The moon again is the priest called Brahman. Hence the sacrificer beholds the limited form of the Brahman among the elements, and that of his own mind in the body, as the unlimited moon. That is to say, through the support of the mind viewed as the moon he attains heaven as the result of his rites—in other words, is released. The word ‘iti’ indicates the conclusion of the topic; that is, such are the various ways of emancipation from death. The topic is concluded, because all kinds of meditation regarding the accessories of a sacrifice have been dealt with in this connection. So far about the ways of emancipation, i.e. such are the various ways of emancipation.

Now the meditation based on resemblance is being spoken of. By this is meant a meditation, by virtue of some point of resemblance, on rites with inferior results like the Agnihotra, as rites with superior results, in order to obtain these results; or it is a meditation on some part of the lesser rite as those very results. Even when people try with all their ardour to undertake measures to bring about certain ends, they may fail of their object through some defect. So a man who regularly tends the sacrificial fire takes up any rite such as the Agnihotra that suits him, and if he happens to know the results of particular rites, meditates that the rite before him will produce the results he seeks. Otherwise it would be impossible for people of even the upper three castes, who are qualified for them, to perform the Rājasūya,[10] Aśvamedha, Naramedha and Sarvamedha sacrifices. And even the reciting of scriptures relating to them would merely be devotional study, unless there be some means of attaining the results of those rites. Those people can attain these results only by means of the meditation based on resemblance; hence such meditation is fruitful, and is therefore being described.

 

Verse 3.1.7:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कतिभिरयमद्यर्ग्भिर्होतास्मिन्यज्ञे करिष्यतीति; तिसृभिरिति; कतमास्तास्तिस्र इति; पुरोनुवाक्या च याज्या च शस्यैव तृतीया; किं ताभिर्जयतीति; यत्किंचेदं प्राणभृदिति ॥ ७ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, katibhirayamadyargbhirhotāsminyajñe kariṣyatīti; tisṛbhiriti; katamāstāstisra iti; puronuvākyā ca yājyā ca śasyaiva tṛtīyā; kiṃ tābhirjayatīti; yatkiṃcedaṃ prāṇabhṛditi || 7 ||

7. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘with how many kinds of Ṛc will the Hotṛ do his part in this sacrifice to-day?’ ‘With three kinds.’ ‘Which are those three?’ ‘The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third.’ ‘What does he win through them?’ ‘All this that is living.’[11]

Yājñavalkya,’ said he, to draw his attention, ‘with how many kinds of Ṛc will the Hotṛ do his part —recite hymns—in this sacrifice to-day?’ The other said, ' With three kinds of Ṛc.’ When he said this, Aśvala asked him again, ‘Which are those three?’ The first question was about the number, the second about the Ṛces themselves. The preliminary, that class of hymns which are used before a sacrifice; the sacrificial, those hymns that are used for the purpose of the sacrifice; and the eulogistic hymns, that class of hymns which are used in praise. Every kind of Ṛc, whether used in praise or otherwise, is included in these three classes. ‘What does he win through them?’ ‘All this that is living.’ On account of this parity of number he wins whatever is living (in the three worlds). On account of the similarity in number etc. he obtains all this result through meditation.

 

Verse 3.1.8:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कत्ययमद्याध्वर्युरस्मिन्यज्ञ आहुतीर्होष्यतीति; तिस्र इति; कतमास्तास्तिस्र इति; या हुता उज्ज्वलन्ति, या हुता अतिनेदन्ते, या हुता अधिशेरते; किं ताभिर्जयतीति; या हुता उज्ज्वलन्ति देवलोकमेव ताभिर्जयति, दीप्यत इव हि देवलोकः; या हुता अतिनेदन्ते पितृलोकमेव ताभिर्जयत्य्, अतीव हि पितृलोकः; या हुता अधिशेरते मनुष्यलोकमेव ताभिर्जयति, अध इव हि मनुष्यलोकः ॥ ८ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, katyayamadyādhvaryurasminyajña āhutīrhoṣyatīti; tisra iti; katamāstāstisra iti; yā hutā ujjvalanti, yā hutā atinedante, yā hutā adhiśerate; kiṃ tābhirjayatīti; yā hutā ujjvalanti devalokameva tābhirjayati, dīpyata iva hi devalokaḥ; yā hutā atinedante pitṛlokameva tābhirjayaty, atīva hi pitṛlokaḥ; yā hutā adhiśerate manuṣyalokameva tābhirjayati, adha iva hi manuṣyalokaḥ || 8 ||

8. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘how many kinds of oblations will the Adhvaryu offer in this sacrifice to-day?’ ‘Three.’ ‘Which are those three?’ ‘Those that blaze up on being; offered, those that make a great noise, and those that sink.’ ‘What does he win through them?’ ‘Through those that blaze up on being offered he wins the world of the gods, for this world shines, as it were. Through those that make a great noise he wins the world of the Manes, for this world is full of uproar. And through those that sink he wins the human world, for this world is lower.’

Yājñavalkya,’ said he, etc. This has already been explained. ‘How many kinds of oblations will the Adhvaryu offer in this sacrīfice to-day?’ ‘Three.’ ‘Which are those three?’ etc.—already explained. Yājñavalkya replied: Those that blaze up on being offered, such as oblations of wood and clarified butter. Those that make a great noise, such as flesh. And those that sink in, penetrate the earth, e.g. milk and Soma juice. ‘What does he win through them,’ through the oblations thus offered? Through those that blaze up on being offered, etc.—The offerings made are bright, and the result, the world of the gods, is also bright. On account of this similarity he meditates that the bright offerings he is making are the very form of the result he seeks through his rites, viz. the world of the gods—that he is achieving that very result, the world of the gods. Through those oblations that make a great noise he wins the world of the Manes. because of the similarity in producing horrible noises. For, attached to the world of the Manes is the city of Yama, where people subjected to tortures by him cry, ‘Alas, we are undone, release us, oh, release us!’ So also do the offerings of meat etc. make a noise. On account of this similarity with the world of the Manes he meditates that he is actually attaining that world. Through those offerings that sink he wins the human worldt because both are equally related to the surface of the earth. For this world is lower than the higher worlds, which are to be attained; or 'lower' because of the similarity in going down.[12] Therefore, while offering oblations of milk or Soma, he meditates that he is actually attaining the human world.

 

Verse 3.1.9:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कतिभिरयमद्य ब्रह्मा यज्ञं दक्शिणतो देवताभिर्गोपायतीत्य्; एकयेति; कतमा सैकेति; मन एवेत्य्, अनन्तं वै मनः, अनन्ता विश्वे देवाः, अनन्तमेव स तेन लोकं जयति ॥ ९ ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, katibhirayamadya brahmā yajñaṃ dakśiṇato devatābhirgopāyatīty; ekayeti; katamā saiketi; mana evety, anantaṃ vai manaḥ, anantā viśve devāḥ, anantameva sa tena lokaṃ jayati || 9 ||

9. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘through how many gods does this Brahman from the right protect the sacrifice to-day?’ ‘Through one.’ ‘Which is that one?’ ‘The mind. The mind is indeed infinite, and infinite are the Viśvadevas. Through this meditation the aspirant wins an infinite world.’

Yājñavalkya,’ said he, etc., is to be explained as before. Through how many gods does this priest called Brahman from the right, sitting in his particular seat, protect the sacrifice? The plural number in ‘gods’ is merely for the sake of conformity. To explain: The priest protects the sacrifice through one god only; so one who knows this should not put a question using the plural. But because the plural number was used in the questions and answers in the two preceding paragraphs—‘Through how many?’ ‘Through three.’ 'How many?’ ‘Three’—here too the plural is used in the question; or the plural form is used in order to puzzle the opponent. ‘Through one,’ replied Yājñavalkya; the god through whom the Brahman protects the sacrifice from his seat on the right is one. ‘Which is that one?’ The mind is that god; it is through the mind, through meditation, that the Brahman does his function. 'The mind and speech are the two ways of a sacrifice; the Brahman rectifies one of them (speech) through the mind (or silence),’ so says another Śruti (Ch. IV. xvi. 1-2). Therefore the mind is that god, and through it the Brahman protects the sacrifice. And that mind is indeed infinite, because of its modifications. The word ‘indeed’ signifies that it is a well-known fact. Everybody knows that the mind is infinite. The gods identify themselves with its infinity: And infinite are the Viśvadevas; for another Śruti says, ‘In which (mind) all the gods become one,’ etc. Through this meditation the aspirant wins an infinite world, because of the similarity as regards infinitude.

 

Verse 3.1.10:

याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कत्ययमद्योद्गातास्मिन्यज्ञे स्तोत्रियाः स्तोष्यतीति; तिस्र इति; कतमास्तास्तिस्र इति; पुरोनुवाक्या च याज्या च शस्यैव तृतीया; कतमास्ता या अध्यात्ममिति; प्राण एव पुरोनुवाक्या, अपानो याज्या, व्यानः शस्या; किं ताभिर्जयतीति; पृथिवीलोकमेव पुरोनुवाक्यया जयति, अन्तरिक्शलोकं याज्यया, द्युलोकं शस्यया; ततो ह होताश्वल उपरराम ॥ १० ॥
इति प्रथमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥

yājñavalkyeti hovāca, katyayamadyodgātāsminyajñe stotriyāḥ stoṣyatīti; tisra iti; katamāstāstisra iti; puronuvākyā ca yājyā ca śasyaiva tṛtīyā; katamāstā yā adhyātmamiti; prāṇa eva puronuvākyā, apāno yājyā, vyānaḥ śasyā; kiṃ tābhirjayatīti; pṛthivīlokameva puronuvākyayā jayati, antarikśalokaṃ yājyayā, dyulokaṃ śasyayā; tato ha hotāśvala upararāma || 10 ||
iti prathamaṃ brāhmaṇam ||

10. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘how many classes of hymns will the Udgātṛ chant in this sacrifice to-day?’ ‘Three classes.’ ‘Which are those three?’ ‘The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third.’ ‘Which are those that have reference to the body?’ ‘The Prāṇa is the preliminary hymn, the Apāna is the sacrificial hymn, and the Vyāna is the eulogistic hymn.’ ‘What does he win through them?’ ‘Through the preliminary hymns he wins the earth, through the sacrificial hymns he wins the sky, and through the eulogistic hymns he wins heaven.’ Thereupon the Hotṛ Aśvala kept silent.

Yājñavalkya,’ said he, etc., is to be explained as before. ‘How many classes of hymns will the Udgātṛ chant?’ By the word ‘hymns' is meant a collection of Ṛces that can be chanted. All Ṛces whatsoever, whether capable of being chanted or not, are comprised in just three classes, says Yājñavalkya; and they are explained as the preliminary, the sacrificial and the eulogistic hymns as the third. It has already been said that the aspirant wins ‘All this that is living.’ One may ask, ‘Through what similarity?’ The answer is being given: ‘Which are those three Ṛces that have reference to the body?’ ‘The Prāṇa is the preliminary hymn,’ because both begin with the letter p. ‘The Apāna is the sacrificial hymn,’ because it comes next in order. Also, the gods eat the oblations offered through the Apāna[13], and a sacrifice is also an offering. ‘The Vyāna is the eulogistic hymn,’ for another Śruti says, ‘He utters the Ṛc without the help of the Prāṇa or the Apāna’[14] (Ch. I. iii. 4). ‘What does he win through them?’—already explained. The similarity with regard to particular relations that was not mentioned before is being given here; the rest has already been explained. Because of the similarity[15] of relation to a particular world (viz. the earth), through the preliminary hymns he wins the earth; through the sacrificial hymns he wins the sky, because both occupy an intermediate position; through the eulogistic hymns he wins heaven, because both occupy the highest position. Thereupon, i.e. when his questions were answered, the Hotṛ Aśvala kept silent, realising that his opponent was too deep for him.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

A Pāda is about one-third of an ounce.

[2]:

A priest who has the duty of invoking the gods in a sacrifice, reciting from the Ṛg-Veda.

[3]:

He is principally a teacher of the Yajur-Veda; the pupil in question learns from him how to chant the Sāman, which iś the Rc set to music; so he must also know these two Vedas; and the Atharva-Veda is subsidiary to the other three.

[4]:

As also the Hotṛ’s.

[5]:

Whose duty it is to get ready the various accessories of a sacrifice and offer the oblations, reciting from the Yajur-Veda.

[6]:

Who chants hymns from the Sāma-Veda.

[7]:

As the Mādhyandina recension does:

[8]:

Really, cosmic force (Sūtrātman), of which air is the conventional symbol.

[9]:

Who supervises the functions. In this sense the word is masculine.

[10]:

A sacrifice usually performed by emperors. The other three are sacrifices in which a horse, some substitute for a man, and animals in general are respectively sacrificed. All the four are elaborate and expensive undertakings beyond the means of most people.

[11]:

That is, the three worlds.

[12]:

Too often men having evil tendencies degrade.

[13]:

Which has its seat between the# heart and the navel (p. 216), and carries things down.

[14]:

That is, through the Vyāna.

[15]:

Both come in first.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: