44. There is option with regard to what precedes (i.e. the altar made of bricks) on account of subject-matter, and hence there is action; as in the case of the mânasa cup.
In the Vâgasaneyaka, in the Agnirahasya chapter, there are references to certain altars built of mind, 'built of mind, built of speech,' &c. The doubt here arises whether those structures of mind, and so on, which metaphorically are called fire-altars, should be considered as being of the nature of action, on account of their connexion with a performance which itself is of the nature of action; or merely of the nature of meditation, as being connected with an activity of the nature of meditation. The Sûtra maintains the former view. Since those things 'built of mind, and so on,' are, through being built (or piled up), constituted as fire-altars, they demand a performance with which to connect themselves; and as in immediate proximity to them no performance is enjoined, and as the general subject-matter of the section is the fire-altar built of bricks--introduced by means of the clause 'Non-being this was in the beginning'---which is invariably connected with a performance of the nature of outward action, viz. a certain sacrificial performance--we conclude that the altars built of mind, &c., which the text mentions in connexion with the same subject-matter, are themselves of the nature of action, and as such can be used as alternatives for the altar built of bricks. 1. An analogous case is presented by the so-called mental cup. On the tenth, so-called avivâkya, day of the Soma sacrifice extending over twelve days,
there takes place the mental offering of a Soma cup, all the rites connected with which are rehearsed in imagination only; the offering of that cup is thus really of the nature of thought only, but as it forms an auxiliary element in an actual outward sacrificial performance it itself assumes the character of an action.
668:1 So that for the actual outward construction of a brick altar there may optionally be substituted the merely mental construction of an imaginary altar.