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 XV - The Prayer of a Dying Person

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् ।
तत् त्वम् पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ।
पूषन्नेकर्षे यम सूर्य प्राजापत्य व्यूह रश्मीन् ।
समूह तेजः; यत्ते रूपं कल्याणतमं तत्ते पश्यामि ।
यो'सावसौ पुरुषः सो'हमस्मि ।
वायुरनिलममृतमथेदं भस्मान्तं शरीरम् ।
ओं क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर, क्रतो स्मर कृतं स्मर ।
अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान्,
       विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्वान् ।
युयोध्यस्मज्जुहुराणमेनः,
       भूयिष्ठां ते नम उक्तिं विधेम ॥ १ ॥ 
इति पञ्चदशं ब्राह्मणम् ॥
इति पञ्चमो'थ्यायः ॥

hiraṇmayena pātreṇa satyasyāpihitaṃ mukham |
tat tvam pūṣannapāvṛṇu satyadharmāya dṛṣṭaye |
pūṣannekarṣe yama sūrya prājāpatya vyūha raśmīn |
samūha tejaḥ; yatte rūpaṃ kalyāṇatamaṃ tatte paśyāmi |
yo'sāvasau puruṣaḥ so'hamasmi |
vāyuranilamamṛtamathedaṃ bhasmāntaṃ śarīram |
oṃ krato smara kṛtaṃ smara, krato smara kṛtaṃ smara |
agne naya supathā rāye asmān,
       viśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |
yuyodhyasmajjuhurāṇamenaḥ,
       bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama uktiṃ vidhema || 1 || 
iti pañcadaśaṃ brāhmaṇam ||
iti pañcamo'thyāyaḥ ||

1. The face (nature) of Satya (Brahman) is hidden (as it were) with a golden vessel. O Pūṣan (nourisher of the world—the sun), remove it, so that I, whose reality is Satya, may see (the face). O Pūṣan, O solitary Ṛṣi (seer or traveller), O Yama (controller), O Sūrya (sun), O son of Prajāpati (God or Hiraṇyagarbha), take away thy rays, curb thy brightness. I wish to behold that most benignant form of thine. I myself am that person; and I am immortal. (When my body falls) may my vital force return to the air (cosmic force), and this body too, reduced to ashes, (go to the earth)! O Fire, who art the syllable ‘Om,’ O Deity of deliberations, recollect, recollect all that I have done, O Deity of deliberations, recollect, recollect all that I have done. O Fire, lead us along the good way towards our riches (deserts). O Lord, thou knowest everybody's mental states; remove the wily evil from us. We utter repeated salutations to thee.[1]

The man who has combined meditation with rites is praying to the sun in his dying moments. This is topical too, for the sun is the fourth foot of the Gāyatri, and the salutation to him is under consideration; hence he is being prayed to. The face, or real nature, of Satya, or the Satya-Brahman, is hidden, as it were, with a golden or shining vessel, the solar orb, as something held dear is kept hidden with a vessel. ‘Hidden,’ because no one whose mind is not concentrated can see it. O Pūṣan—the sun is so called because he nourishes the world—remove it, that vessel serving as a cover, as it were, because of its obstructing vision, i.e. remove the cause of obstruction to the vision, so that1, whose reality is Satya (Satya-Brahman), in other words, who am identical with thee, may see (the face). The names Pūṣan etc. are for addressing the sun. O solitary Ṛṣi, or seer, because of his vision, for he is the soul of the universe and as the eye sees everything. Or the word may mean ‘O solitary traveller,’ for the Śruti says, ‘The sun roams alone’ (Tai. S. VII. iv. xviii. i). O Yama (controller), for the control of the whole world is due to thee. O Sūrya, literally, one who efficiently directs the liquids, or his rays, or the vital force or intellect of all beings. O son of Prajāpati or God, who is the Lord of all beings, or of Hiraṇyagarbha. Take away thy rays, curb thy brightness, so that I may see thee; for I cannot see thee as thou art, being blinded by thy dazzling light, as one cannot see things when it lightens. Hence withdraw thy radiance. I wish to behold that most benignant form of thine. ‘I wish’ should be changed into ‘we wish.’ I myself am that person whose limbs are the syllables of the Vyāhṛtis, ‘Bhūr’ (earth), ‘Bhuvar’ (sky) and ‘Svar’ (heaven), called ‘person’ (Puruṣa) because of his having the form of a man. ‘Ahar’ (day) and ‘Aham’ (I) have been mentioned (V. v. 3, 4) as the secret names of the being in the sun and the being in the eye respectively (who are identical). That is referred to here. And I am immortal. The word ‘immortal’ should be thus construed. When my body falls—while I am immortal and identified with the Satya-Brahman—may my vital force in the body return to the external air (cosmic force). Similarly, may the other deities return to their respective sources. And this body too, being reduced to ashes, go to the earth!

Now he is praying to the deity, Fire, who is identified with his deliberations and presides over the mind: O Fire, who art the syllable ‘Om’ —the words ‘Om’ and ‘Krato’ are both used here as vocatives—for ‘Om’ is his symbol, O Deity of deliberations, being identified with the mind, recollect what is to be recollected, for a desirable goal is attained through thy recollection at the time of death; hence I pray to thee: Recollect all that I have done. The repetition is expressive of earnestness. Also, O Fire, lead us along the good way towards our riches, i.e. for receiving the fruits of our work; not along the southern, dark way that leads to return, but along the good, bright way. O Lord, thou knowest everybody’s mental states. Remove all the wily evil from us. Freed from it through thy grace, we shall go along the northern way. But we are unable to serve thee; we only utter repeated salutations to thee. That is to say, we shall serve thee through the utterance of salutations, for we are too weak to do anything else.

Footnotes and references:

1.

These verses form the last four verses of the Iśāväsya Upaniṣad also.

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