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The Upanishads, Part 2 (SBE15), by Max Müller, [1879], at


1. Then Bhârgava Vaidarbhi asked him: 'Sir, How many gods 1 keep what has thus been created, how many manifest this 2, and who is the best of them?'

2. He replied: 'The ether is that god, the wind, fire, water, earth, speech, mind, eye, and ear. These, when they have manifested (their power), contend and say: We (each of us) support this body and keep it 3.

4. Then Prâna (breath, spirit, life), as the best, said to them: Be not deceived, I alone, dividing myself fivefold, support this body and keep it.

4. They were incredulous; so he, from pride, did as if he were going out from above. Thereupon,

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as he went out, all the others went out, and as he returned, all the others returned. As bees go out when their queen 1 goes out, and return when she returns, thus (did) speech, mind, eye, and ear; and, being satisfied, they praise Prâna, saying:

5. He is Agni (fire), he shines as Sûrya (sun), he is Parganya (rain), the powerful (Indra), he is Vâyu, (wind), he is the earth, he is matter, he is God--he is what is and what is not, and what is immortal.

6. As spokes in the nave of a wheel, everything is fixed in Prâna, the verses of the Rig-veda, Yagur-veda, Sâma-veda, the sacrifice, the Kshatriyas, and the Brâhmans.

7. As Pragâpati (lord of creatures) thou movest about in the womb, thou indeed art born again. To thee, the Prâna, these creatures bring offerings, to thee who dwellest with the other prânas (the organs of sense).

8. Thou art the best carrier for the Gods, thou art the first offering 2 to the Fathers. Thou art the true work of the Rishis 3, of the Atharvâṅgiras.

9. O Prâna, thou art Indra by thy light, thou art Rudra, as a protector; thou movest in the sky, thou art the sun, the lord of lights.

10. When thou showerest down rain, then, O Prâna, these creatures of thine are delighted 4, hoping that there will be food, as much as they desire.

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11. Thou art a Vrâtya 1, O Prâna, the only Rishi 2, the consumer of everything, the good lord. We are the givers of what thou hast to consume, thou, O Mâtarisva 3, art our father.

12. Make propitious that body of thine which dwells in speech, in the ear, in the eye, and which pervades the mind; do not go away!

13. All this is in the power of Prâna, whatever exists in the three heavens. Protect us like a mother her sons, and give us happiness and wisdom.'


274:1 Devâh, powers, organs, senses.

274:2 Their respective power.

274:3 This is Saṅkara's explanation, in which bâna is taken to mean the same as sarîra, body. But there seems to be no authority for such a meaning, and Ânandagiri tries in vain to find an etymological excuse for it. Bâna or Vâna generally means an arrow, or, particularly in Brâhmana writings, a harp with many strings. I do not see how an arrow could be used as an appropriate simile here, but a harp might, if we take avashtabhya in the sense of holding the frame of the instrument, and vidhârayâmah in the sense of stretching and thereby modulating it.

274:4 On this dispute of the organs of sense, see Brih. Up. VI, 1, p. 201; Khând. Up. V, 1 (S. B. E., vol. i, p. 72).

275:1 In Sanskrit it is madhukararâga, king of the bees.

275:2 When a srâddha is offered to the Pitris.

275:3 Explained as the eye and the other organs of sense which the chief Prâna supports; but it is probably an old verse, here applied to a special purpose.

275:4 Another reading is prânate, they breathe.

276:1 A person for whom the samskâras, the sacramental and initiatory rites, have not been performed. Saṅkara says that, as he was the first born, there was no one to perform them for him, and that he is called Vrâtya, because he was pure by nature. This is all very doubtful.

276:2 Agni is said to be the Rishi of the Âtharvanas.

276:3 Instead of the irregular vocative Mâtarisva, there is another reading, Mâtarisvanah, i.e. thou art the father of Mâtarisvan, the wind, and therefore of the whole world.

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