The Taittiriya Upanishad

1903 | 206,351 words | ISBN-10: 8185208115

The Taittiriya Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads, part of the Yajur Veda. It says that the highest goal is to know the Brahman, for that is truth. It is divided into three sections, 1) the Siksha Valli, 2) the Brahmananda Valli and 3) the Bhrigu Valli. 1) The Siksha Valli deals with the discipline of Shiksha (which is ...

Chapter XII - Prāṇamaya-kośa

The purpose of the sequel.

Now the śāstra proceeds to shew,—by means of wisdom, i.e., by way of removing the five sheaths of the Self which avidyā has set up,—that Brahman, who is behind all the illusory selves from the Annamaya down to the Ānandamaya, is one’s own true Inner self, in the same way that, by threshing the many-sheathed seed of kodrava (Paspalum scrobiculatum), one brings to view the grain within.

First, with a view to lead the mind—which has lost its longing for external objects—to the inner being which is behind food and the food-sheath, the śruti proceeds to expound the nature of Prāṇa or vital air and the Prāṇamaya-kośa or the vital body—(S)


The Prāṇamaya-kośa.

तस्माद्वा एतस्मादन्नरसमयात् । अन्योऽन्तर आत्मा प्राणमयः । तेनैष पूर्णः ॥ २ ॥

tasmādvā etasmādannarasamayāt | anyo'ntara ātmā prāṇamayaḥ | tenaiṣa pūrṇaḥ || 2 ||

2. Than that, verily,—than this one formed of food-essence,—there is another self within, formed of Prāṇa; by him this one is filled.

Distinct from that,—from the gross physical body (piṇḍa) formed of food-essence, which has been described above,[1]—there is a self within formed of Prāṇa or vital air, and quite as falsely imagined to be the self as the gross body. The self formed of Prāṇa, the vital air (vāyu), fills the self which is formed of food-essence, as the air fills the bellows.


The effect is one with the cause.

Than that”—:here ‘that—refers to the Virāj, being the one at a distance, i. e., manifested as food or gross physical matter which is external to the individual being formed of that food. “Verily”: This particle serves to call back to memory the Virāj described. “Than this one”: The word ‘this’ here denotes the immediate, individual being. By this appositional use of ‘than that’ and ‘than this one’ the śruti teaches that the individual being (the effect, the product,) is one with the Virāj, the Cosmic Being, is in truth identical with the cause. So, too, in similar contexts in the sequel, the appositional use of ‘than that’ and ‘than this one’ shews the oneness of the effect (such as the Prāṇamaya) with the cause (such as Prāṇa).[2] Otherwise,— i. e., if the effect be not one with the cause,—Brahman and the universe would be two distinct things: and this is nothing but the duality of the Sāṅkhya system.—(S). Moreover, the cause, such as the Prāṇamaya, is said to exist independently of the effect, such as the Annamaya, while the effect cannot exist independently of the cause. This also points to the same conclusion, namely, that the effect is one with the cause, is not distinct from the cause, is the cause itself—.(S)


The composition of the Prāmaya-kośa

And the Prāṇamaya-kośa is of a distinct nature from the Annamaya, and is within it as its basic substance. It is a. self, because like the Annamaya it is also falsely identified with the Self.—(S)

Now the first mentioned sheath, the Annamaya-kośa, is permeated by four kośas, by the Prāṇamaya and the rest. Similarly the Prāṇamaya is permeated by three kośas, the Manomaya by two kośas, and the Vijñānamaya by one kośa.—(S)

The Annamaya is filled by the Prāṇamaya as the serpent is filled by the rope, (where the latter is mistaken for the former). The Annamaya is an effect of the Prāṇamaya; it is a mere imagination, as the śruti says “all effect is a mere name, a creation by speech.”[3]—(S).

In the words of the Brāhmaṇa it was declared that the Paramātman (the Supreme Self) Himself attained the state of the Annamaya-kośa in the course of evolution beginning with ākāśa; and the same truth was then confirmed by quoting a verse. Distinct from the self first spoken of in the words of the Brāhmaṇa, and then in the verse, as the one experienced in the consciousness “I am a man”,—distinct from this self is the Prāṇamaya self, dwelling within it. By the Prāṇamaya self the Annamaya is filled. Within the physical body dwells the body of vital airs, pervading it from head to foot.

In the Liṅga-śarīra, there are two śaktis or potentialities, jñāna-śakti and Kriyā-śakti, the potentiality of consciousness, and the potentiality of action. What we call Prāṇa is a substance evolved from the kriyā-śakti of the Liṅga-śarīra. A form built of Prāṇa is tbe Prāṇamaya-kośa, the aggregate of the five vṛttis or functions of Prāṇa. These vṛttis are peculiar functions of the principle of Prāṇa, known as prāṇa (out-breathing), apāna (ih-breathing), vyāna (diffused breathing), udāna (up-breathing), and samāna (essential or complete breathing). And the functions are manifested each in its appropriate region, such as the heart. Accordingly, it is said: “In the heart lies prāṇa; in the anus lies apāna; samāna is established in the navel; udāna lies in the throat; vyāna pervades the whole body.” This aggregate of vital functions,—this Prāṇamaya-kośa—is falsely ascribed to the Self, and we see it identified with the Self by him who thinks ‘I breathe’; it is therefore here spoken of as ātman, the self. Now, just as sons and other external objects are regarded as non-self when the idea of self has been confined to one’s own physical body,—which, when compared with sons, etc., is the immediate self of man,—so also, the physical body ceases to be regarded as the self when the Prāṇamaya self within the Annamaya has been clearly presented to view. Though neither the son nor the physical body is the real Self, still, in common parlance, they are distinguished from each other. The son is gauṇa-ātman; that is to say, a man speaks of his son as the self only in a figurative sense; whereas when a man speaks of his body as the self, he actually mistakes the body for the real Self; that is to say, the body is a mithyā-ātman, is a false self, is actually mistaken for the real self. In the one case, man is conscious that the son is distinct from himself, while, in the other, he is not conscious that the body is distinct from himself. This difference is referred to by the Bhāṣyakāra (Śrī Śaṅkarāchārya) in the following words:

“When the son and the body are regarded as the non-self, the figurative self and the false self cease to be. On the rise of the knowledge that ‘I am Brahman, the Existence,’ where is room for action?”[4]


The physical body is not the Self.

The philosophers of the Lokāyata or materialistic school, as well as those among the laity who are not aware of the distinction between the body and the Self, regard the body itself as the Self. That this view is false is here indirectly taught by the śruti teaching of the Prāṇamaya self. This point has been discussed in the Vedānta sūtra III. iii. 53.

(Question):—In the article preceding the one under reference, it has been determined that the contemplation of the sacred fires constituted of manas, etc., does nof form part of any sacrificial rite, and that a man may practise it independently of any sacrificial rite. Then the question arises, What is man? This question has to be answered in connection with the Ritualistic section as well as in connection with the section of Brahmavidyā; for, it deals with the existence of the Self independent of the body and [attaining svarga and mokṣa.

(The Materialist):—The body itself is the Self; for consciousness is invariably found in connection with the body and the body alone. Consciousness is manifested only where there is a body, but not in the absence of a body. It should not be urged that consciousness is a thing quite distinct from the body and that therefore the Self is quite independent of the body. For, like the power, of intoxication arising from a combination of arecanut and betel leaf and lime, consciousness, too, is born of the elements of matter combining together so as to form the physical body; how can consciousness be quite a different kind of thing? Wherefore, the Self is no other than the physical body which is found to have the power of sensation.

(The Vedāntin)The consciousness we have of earth and other elements of matter must be distinct from those elements of matter, because it is their perceiver. In every case of perception, the perceiver must be distinct from the thing perceived; the sense of sight, for instance, is distinct from colour. Such being the case, when a person says that the perceiving consciousness is the Self, how can the Self ever be identified with the body which is made up of matter? As to the argument that consciousness is found where there is a body, and that it is not found where there is no body, we say that the negative part of the argument cannot be maintained, inasmuch as the scriptures speak of the intelligent Self passing into the other world without the physical body. And the authority of the scriptures must be upheld by all.


Prāṇa has a birth.

That the vital principle (Prāṇa) dwelling within the physical body—which has been proved to be the non-self —has a birth has been determined as follows in the Vedānta-sūtra II. iv. 8:

(Question):—In man there is the vital air traversing the aperture of the mouth and causing him to breathe in and out. Has it a beginning or no beginning?

(Primafacie view):—It has no beginning; for, in speaking of the state of things prior to creation, the śruti refers to the activity of Prāṇa in the words “It breathed airless.”

(Conclusion):—The word ‘breathed’ does not here denote the action of the vital air, inasmuch as the existence of the air has been denied by the śuti in the words “it breathed airless.” There the śruti speaks only of the existence of Brahman; for, that passage is of the same tenor as many other passages of the śruti speaking of the state of things prior to creation, such as “Existence alone this at first was.”[5] And the passage “Hence come into being Prāṇa,”[6] etc., speaks very clearly of the birth of Prāṇa. Therefore, like the senses, Prāṇa has a birth.


Prāṇa is a distinct principle.
(Vedānta-sūtras II. iv. 9 — 12).

(Question):—Is Prāṇa, the vital air, identical with Vāyu, the air outside? Or is it a mere function of the five senses? Or is it something else?

(Prima facie view):—The external air itself, entering through the aperture of the mouth into the body just as it enters into the aperture of a bamboo stick, is termed Prāṇa. There exists no distinct principle (tattva) called Prāṇa; for, the śruti says “What we call Prāṇa is the air itself.”[7]

Or, just as the several birds that are confined in one cage cause that cage to move while they themselves are moving, so also the eleven senses—the five organs of sensation, the five organs of action, and manas—cause the body to move while they are engaged in their respective activities. This common function of all the senses, which results in the bodily motion, is what is called Prāṇa or vitality. And accordingly, the Sāṅkhyas teach that “the common function of the senses constitutes the five airs such as prāṇa or out-breathing.”[8] Therefore, Prāṇa is not a distinct principle.

(Conclusion):—“Prāṇa, verily, is Brahman’s fourth foot; it shines by the light of Vāyu.”[9] In these words, the śruti, speaking elsewhere of the contemplation of the four-footed Brahman, clearly points out a distinction between the ādhyātmika Prāṇa (the vital principle in the individual organism) and the ādhidaivika Vāyu (the cosmic principle of air), the one being helped by the other. Therefore the unity declared in the words “what we call Prāṇa is the air itself” should be explained as referring to their unity as cause and effect. As to the contention of the Sāṅkhyas, we say that it is quite untenable, since there can be no function which is common to all the senses. In the case of the birds, however, the motion generated by them all is of one kind and contributes to the motion of the cage. Not so, indeed, are the functions of seeing, hearing, thinking, etc., all offone kind. Neither are they all such as can contribute to the movement of the body. Therefore, we conclude—as the only alternative left—that Prāṇa is a distinct principle.


The limited size of the principle of Prāṇa.
(Vedānta-sūtra I. iv. 13.)

(Question):—Is this principle of Prāṇa (in the individual organism) all-pervading, or small in size?

(Prima facie view):—Prāṇa pervades all bodies, from that of the lowest animalcule up to that of the Hiraṇyagarbha, as the śruti says:

“He is equal to a grub, equal to a gnat, equal to an elephant, equal to these three worlds, equal to this universe.”[10]

Therefore Prāṇa is all-pervading.

(Conclusion):—The cosmic principle, the Prāṇa of the Hiraṇyagarbha, exists—as the śruti says “Vāyu (the air) itself is the Cosmic Being”—both as a principle in the Cosmic Being and as a principle in the separate individual beings, and it may therefore be regarded as all-pervading. It is this all-pervadingness that the śruti quoted above refers to, for the purpose of contemplation. The principle of Prāṇa in the individual being is, like the senses, invisible and limited in size.


Contemplation of the Prāṇamaya.

Now with a view to enjoin another contemplation on him who, in virtue of the strong sub-conscious idea (vāsanā)—that the body itself is his own self—which has been cherished through many births, feels unable to shake off that notion, the śruti proceeds to present the form in which the Prāṇamaya-kośa should be contemplated.

स वा एष पुरुषविध एव । तस्य पुरुषविधताम् । अन्वयं पुरुषविधः । तस्य प्राण एव शिरः । व्यानो दक्षिणः पक्षः । अपान उत्तरः पक्षः । आकाश आत्मा । पृथिवी पुच्छं प्रतिष्ठा ॥ ३ ॥

sa vā eṣa puruṣavidha eva | tasya puruṣavidhatām | anvayaṃ puruṣavidhaḥ | tasya prāṇa eva śiraḥ | vyāno dakṣiṇaḥ pakṣaḥ | apāna uttaraḥ pakṣaḥ | ākāśa ātmā | pṛthivī pucchaṃ pratiṣṭhā || 3 ||

3. He, verily,—this one,—is quite of man’s shape. After his human shape, this one is of man’s shape. Of him prāṇa itself is the head, vyāna is the right wing, apāna is the left wing, ākāśa is the self, the earth is the tail, the support.

He, verily,—namely, this Prāṇamaya self—is certainly of man’s shape, having a head, wings, etc.—Is it in itself (possessed of a head, etc)?—No, says the śruti. The self made of food-essence (anna-rasa) is human in form, as every one knows. This Prāṇamaya self is fashioned in human form not by himself,[11] but only after the human shape of the Annarasamaya self; just as an idol is fashioned after the mould into which the melted metal is poured. Similarly, every succeeding self becomes fashioned in human form after the human form of the preceding one; and the latter is filled by the former.

That one, who has been said to dwell within the physical body, is verily this one, namely, the Prāṇamaya self, who presents himself to consciousness in the idea “I breathe.” This one, no doubt, is devoid of a head and other members; still, one should imagine these members and contemplate him as human in form. It should not be supposed that even this imagining is impossible. For, it is quite possible to imagine that the Prāṇamaya self, abiding within the Annamaya in full, is moulded into human form after the human form of the Annamaya, just as the melted copper poured into a mould assumes the form of an idol.

How, then, is he of human form?—The śruti answers; The head of the Prāṇamaya is prāṇa itself. The Prāṇamaya self is formed of Vāyu (the vital air), and prāṇa (the outward breath), that particular aspect (vṛtti) of the vital air in which it traverses through the mouth and nostrils, is to be imagined as the head, on the authority of the scriptural teaching. The imagining of wings, etc., is in all cases here based entirely on the scriptural teaching. The vyāna aspect (of the vital air) is the right wing, and the apāna aspect is the left wing. The ākāśa is the self: that is to say, that particular aspect of vitality which is known as samāna is the self as it w'ere. ‘Ā kāśa’ here denotes samāna,—which abides in ākāśa or the middle of the body,—as the word occurs in a section treating of Prāṇa-vṛttis or aspects of vitality. As occupying a central position with reference to the other aspects of the vital air, samāna is the self; and that the trunk or the central part is the self is declared by the śruti in the words, “Indeed the middle one of these members is the self.” The earth is the tail, the support. The earth, i, e., the Devatā or Intelligence so called, is the support of the principle of Prāṇa in the individual organism, as the cause of its stay. The śruti elsewhere says “She props up man’s apāna,”[12] etc. But for this support, the body may be carried aloft by the udāna aspect of vitality, or it may have a fall owing to its weight. Therefore the Pṛthivī-Devatā, the Intelligence called Earth, is the prop of Prāṇamaya self.

The prāṇa (out-breathing) aspect of the Prāṇamaya-kośa is represented as its head because of its eminence as abiding in the mouth. The vyāna aspect is represented as the right wing because of its superior strength (as pervading the whole body), while the apāna aspect is represented as the left wing because it is not quite so strong. The samāna aspect is termed ākāśa because of its similarity to ākāśa (as all-pervading), and it is said to be the self of the prāṇas or life-functions, because therein, according to the śruti, abide all prāṇas.—(S)

The vitality in its prāṇa (out-breathing) aspect passes upward from the heart and traverses through the mouth and the nostrils. This should be contemplated as the head of the Prāṇamaya. In its vyāna aspect the vital principle traverses through all the nāḍis; and in its apāna aspect it passes from the heart downwards. These two aspects should be regarded as the right and left wings. ‘Ākāśa’ here denotes the space in the middle of the belly about the navel, and it stands for the vital principle in its samāna aspect abiding in that region. The samāna-vāyu is the centre of the Prāṇamaya-kośa. The word ‘earth’ stands for the remaining aspect of Prāṇa, namely, the udāna-vāyu.[13] To understand here the word ‘ākāśa’ in its primary meaning would be to depart from the main subject of discourse, namely, the Prāṇamaya-kośa. The earth is the preserver of all living beings and is therefore said to be their support. Similarly, the udāna air preserves prāṇa and other vital airs in the body, these last remaining in the body only so long as the udāna-vāyu does not depart. It is therefore said to be their support. The independence of the vital principle in its udāna aspect, as causing the stay or departure of the principle in all its aspects, is declared by the Ātharvaṇikas in the following words:

“He thought: on what now going out, shall I go out; or, on what staying, shall I stay? Thus thinking, He evolved life.”[14]

Therefore the udāna aspect of the Prāṇa principle forms the tail of the Prāṇamaya-kośa represented for the purposes of contemplation in the form of a bird. The principle of Prāṇa as well as its five aspects,—represented as the head, wings and so on,—are clearly described in the Maitreya-upaniṣad as follows:

“In the beginning, Prajāpati (the lord of creatures) stood alone. He had no happiness when alone. Meditating on himself, he created many creatures. He looked on them and saw they were, like a stone, without understanding, and standing like a lifeless post. He had no happiness. He thought, I shall enter within, that they may awake. Making himself like air (vāyu), he entered within. Being one, he could not do it. Then dividing himself five-fold, he is called Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Udāna, Vyāna. Now, that air which rises upwards is Prāṇa. That which moves downwards is Apāna. That by which these two are supposed to be held is Vyāna. That which carries the grosser material of food to the Apāna and brings the subtler material to each limb has the name Samāna. That which brings up or carries down what has been drunk and eaten is the Udāna.”[15]

That is to say, having found no amusement in Himself when He was alone, the Prajāpati created bodies for the purpose, and with a view to attain conscious experience in those bodies, He has entered into them as their Jīvātman in the upādhi of the vital air, and he leads a conscious life in the upādhi in its five aspects.


Prāṇa, the Universal Life.

तदप्येष श्लोको भवति ॥ ४ ॥
                        [इति द्वितीयोऽनुवाकः]

tadapyeṣa śloko bhavati || 4 ||
                        [iti dvitīyo'nuvākaḥ]

4. On that, too, there is this verse:

As to the teaching concerning the Prāṇamaya self, there is the following verse:

                        [अथ तृतीयो'नुवाकः]

प्राणं देवा अनु प्राणन्ति । मनुष्याः पशवश्च ये । प्राणो हि भूतानामायुः । तस्मात् सर्वायुषमुच्यते । सर्वमेव त आयुर्यन्ति । ये प्राणं ब्रह्मोपासते । प्राणो हि भूतानामायुः । तस्मात् सर्वायुषमुच्यत इति ॥ १ ॥

                        atha tṛtīyo'nuvākaḥ

prāṇaṃ devā anu prāṇanti | manuṣyāḥ paśavaśca ye | prāṇo hi bhūtānāmāyuḥ | tasmāt sarvāyuṣamucyate | sarvameva ta āyuryanti | ye prāṇaṃ brahmopāsate | prāṇo hi bhūtānāmāyuḥ | tasmāt sarvāyuṣamucyata iti || 1 ||


(Anuvaka III.)

1. After Prāṇa do Devas live, as also men and beasts. Prāṇa, verily, is the life-duration of beings; thence it is called the life-duration of all. The whole life-duration do they reach, who Prāṇa as Brahman regard. Prāṇa, verily, is of beings the life-duration; thence it is called the life-duration of all. Thus (ends the verse).

After Prāṇa,—after Vāyu in whom inheres the life-potentiality, i. e., ensouled and informed by Prāṇa,—do Agni and other Gods (Devas) breathe, i. e., they do the act of breathing, i e., again, they become active by way of breathing.[16]—Or, since the present section deals with microcosmic or individual (ādhyātmika) organisms, [17] ‘Devas’ here denotes senses (indriyas). Only when the life proper functions, the senses also can function. So also do men and beasts[18] function only when the life-principle functions. So that the living creatures have their being, not in the Annamaya self alone, which is heterogeneous (parichchhinna) or made up of distinct and well-defined parts; on the other hand, men, etc., have their being in the Prāṇamaya self also, which lies within the Annamaya self, and which (unlike the other) is a homogeneous undivided whole (sādhāraṇa), permeating the whole physical body (sarva-piṇḍa-vyāpin).[19] Similarly, all living creatures are informed by the Manomaya and other subtler and subtler selves,—one abiding within another,—inclusive of the Ānandamaya; the internal permeating the external selves which lie outside, and all of them alike being set up by avidyā and formed of ākāśa and other elements of matter. And they are ensouled also by the true Self lying within them all like the Kodrava grain in its many coats,—that Self who is All, the cause of ākāśa and all the rest, who is eternal, unchanging, all-pervading, who has been defined as “Real, Consciousness, Infinite,” who transcends the five kośas. He, indeed,—that is to say,— is really the Self of all.[20]

It has been said that “after Prāṇa do Devas live.”— How so?—The Śruti says: because Prāṇa is the life-duration of all beings. The Śruti elsewhere says, “Life is possible only so long as Prāṇa dwells within this body;”[21] and therefore Prāṇa is the life-duration of all. On the departure of Prāṇa death takes place, as everybody knows; and everybody understands that Prāṇa is the life-duration of all. Wherefore, those who, departing away[22] from this external Annamaya self,—which is asādhāraṇa[23] or made up of various distinguishable parts,—retire to the Prāṇamaya self within, which is sādhāraṇa[24] or made up of homogeneous parts, and contemplate him as Brahman,—i. e. those who contemplate “I am Prāṇa who, as the source of life, as the life-span of all, is the Self[25] of all beings,”—they attain the full life-period in this world, they do not die an unnatural death before the allotted period.[26] By the full life-period, we should, of course, understand one-hundred years, as the śruti[27] declares.—How so?—The śruti says “Prāṇa, verily, is of beings the life-duration; thence it is called the life-duration of all.” This repetition is intended to explain how this Vidyā (upāsana) can yield the fruit mentioned here. The explanation lies in the principle that with whatever attributes a man contemplates Brahman, he is, as the result, endued with the same attributes.

As in the case of the Annamaya self, there is a verse treating of the Prāṇamaya self also. Devas live only when Prāṇa breathes; they do not live by themselves. “When thou rainest here, then alone do these live.”[28] Others, too, such as men and beasts, depend for their life on Prāṇa. The śruti says that all senses, both in the microcosm and in the macrocosm, have cast off death by attaining to the being of Prāṇa or Cosmic Life (Adhidaivata)[29] All this does, in truth, apply to Prāṇa, because a creature lives only so long as there is Prāṇa informing it. Thence Prāṇa is often called by sages the life-duration of all. Those who devoutly contemplate the Prāṇamaya self as endued with the attribute of being the life of all attain to that very Prāṇa who is the life of all.—(S)

The Sāttvic beings such as Agni, Indra and other Gods, the Rājasic beings such as the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and other men, the Tāfnasic beings such as beasts, all these discharge their functions only so long as the prāṇa-vāyu or the vital air, abiding within their respective bodies, functions. It is indeed the vital air that puts the body in motion. Accordingly, the Kauṣītakins declare:

“But Prāṇa alone is the conscious self (prajñātman) and has laid hold of this body; it makes it rise up.”[30]

In the course of His speech concerning His part in the support of the body which the God of Prāṇa addressed to the Gods of the elements of matter such as ākāśa, and to the Gods of the senses such as speech, the Ātharvaṇikas declare:

“Life—and life is best—said unto them: ‘Straight into error do not step. It is I who by this quintuple division of myself together keep and hold this arrow up.’”[31]

Just as an arrow is propelled by a bowman, so this body is propelled by Prāṇa and is therefore denoted by the word ‘arrow.’ Because Prāṇa produces activity in the bodies of Devas, men and beasts, and because thereon depends the life-duration of all creatures, therefore it is called the life-duration of all. Those who, by this mere knowledge of the Prāṇamaya-kośa, are unable to give up altogether their tendency to regard the Annamaya-kośa as the Self, and who, with a view to get rid of that tendency, resort to the contemplation of Brahman in the upādhi of Prāṇa,—they attain full life-duration in this birth without meeting an unnatural death, as the result of their contemplation of Brahman in the upādhi of the microcosmic (ādhyātmika) Prāṇa; and by their contemplation of Brahman in the upādhi of the Hiraṇyagarbha,—the Ādhidaivika or macrocosmic Prāṇa—they become themselves the Hiraṇyagarbha in the future birth and attain full life-period reaching up to Mahāpralaya, the Great Cosmic Dissolution, “Prāṇa, verily, is of beings” etc: in these words, at first, the Prāṇamaya-kośa has been extolled; here again they are repeated with a view to extol the upāsana or contemplation taught here.


The outcome of the study of the Prāṇamaya-kośa.

Now, the śruti shews the aim of all this teaching regarding the Prāṇamaya-kośa:

तस्यैष एव शारीर आत्मा । यः पूर्वस्य ॥ २ ॥

tasyaiṣa eva śārīra ātmā | yaḥ pūrvasya || 2 ||

2. Thereof,—of the former,—this one, verily, is the self embodied.

Thereof,—of the former, i.e. of the Annamaya,—this one—namely, the Prāṇamaya—is the self, having the Annamaya for his body.

The Prāṇamaya which has been just described is the self dwelling in the Annamaya-kośa. When the idea that the Prāṇamaya is the self is deeply ingrained, the illusion that the Annamaya is one’s own self disappears. Then there arises the conviction that the Annamaya is the body, and that the Prāṇamaya is one’s own self dwelling in that body, there being no room for two selves.

The Prāṇamaya just described is the self of the Annamaya,—is the self embodied therein,—because the latter is ensouled by the former.—(S)

Or,[32] the ‘self’ refers here to the one described above as “Real, Consciousness, Infinite.” Any self other than the one thus defined in the śruti is such only in a secondary sense of the word. That Self alone lies within all.—This interpretation gives a rational meaning to the words “yaḥ pūrvasya (the Self of the former)” in the original.[33] We hold that the real Self underlying all false selves is the öne described above as “Real” etc., who is devoid of all saṃsāra. Certainly, the real basis of the illusory serpent is in the rope; it cannot be in any other false appearance such as a rod which illusion may set up in the place of the real rope—(S).


Footnotes and references:


and represented as a bird.


For, on the principle of the oneness of effect with the cause, the whole external universe can be resolved into Brahman, the Cause. And on realising the identity of Brahman with the Self as taught by Revelation, Brahman the Cause becomes the Infinite Being who is neither the cause nor the] effect.—(S)


Chhā. 6-1-4.


Vide commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra I. i. 4.


Chhā. 6–2–1.


Muṇḍ, Up. 2-1-3,


Bṛ. Up. 3-1-5.


Sāṅkhya-Kārikā, 29.


Chhā-Up. 3-18-4,


Bṛ. Up. 1–3–22.


because the Prāṇamaya is incorporeal—(S).


apāna here stands for the Prāṇamaya-kośa—(V)


Here Sāyaṇa differs from Śaṅkarāchārya,


Praś. Up. 6–3.


Op. cit. 2–6.


I. e., the other Gods are only different aspects of the Sūtrāt-man, as the Śākalya-Brāhmaṇa says. Or, these Gods have attained to the state of the sūtrātman in virtue of their past contemplation of the Sūtrātman. Or, like ourselves, these Gods have, for their upādhi, Prāṇa, the seat of Kriyā-śakti.


i. e., the Prāṇamaya-kosa.


i. e., their physical bodie


That is to say, the Prāṇamayakosa is not cut oft' into distinct regions as the piṇḍa or microcosmic physical body is. Unlike the latter, it has no specialised organs, each discharging a specific function. It is a unity present in every part of the body. Or, the idea here intended may be that the Prāṇamaya, in the cosmic aspect as the sūtrātman, pervades all the piṇḍas or individual physical bodies.


One kośa has been spoken of as the self of another only relatively, i. e., without reference to the absolute truth. In reality all kosas are illusory aspects of the one real Self.—(A)


Kauṣītaki. Up. 3-2.


i. e., abandoning tbe idea that the Annamaya is the self.


Vyāvṛtta-svarūpa, not of one and the same nature in all its parts.


i. e., common to all senses (indriyas), because tbe food eaten by Prāṇa serves to nouṛṣ all the senses.


in the form of the Sūtrātman—(A).


At birth, the present body is allotted a Certain length of life-duration.


“Man lives on hundred years.”—[Taittirīya Saṃhita]


Praśna. Up. 2-10.


Bṛ. Up.


Kau. Up. 5–3.


Praśna. Up. 2–3.


Śrī Śaṅkarāchārya has interpreted this passage in accordance with the view of the Vṛttikāra, who holds that the Ānandamaya is Brahman. Here, as in the Vedānta-sūtras (I. i. 12-19). the Bhāṣyakāra first gives the Vṛttikāra’s interpretation, only to set it aside later on.


Then the whole passage should he rendered as follows: The same Chit-dhātu or Principle of Consciousness that is the real Self of the former (Annamaya) is the Self of the Prāṇamaya (A).

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: