Man is composed of such elements as vital breath, deeds, thought, and the senses-all of them deriving their being from the Self. They have come out of the Self, and in the Self they ultimately disappear-even as the waters of a river disappear in the sea.
With our ears may we hear what is good.
With our eyes may we behold thy righteousness.
Tranquil in body, may we who worship thee find rest.
OM . . . Peace-peace-peace.
OM . . . Hail to the supreme Self!
Sukesha, Satyakama, Gargya, Kousalya, Bhargava and Kabandhi, devotees and seekers after the truth of the supreme Brahman, with faith and humility approached the sage Pippalada.
Said the sage: Practice austerity, continence, faith for a year; then ask what questions you wish. If I can, I will answer.
After a year Kabandhi approached the teacher and asked:
“Sir, how did the creatures come into being?”
“The Lord of beings,” replied the sage, “meditated and produced Prana, the primal energy, and Rayi, the giver of form, desiring that they, male and female, should in manifold ways produce creatures for him.
“Prana, the primal energy, is the sun: and Rayi, the form-giving substance, is the moon.
“Be it known that all this universe, that which is gross and that which is subtle, is one with Rayi. Therefore is Rayi omnipresent.
“In like manner is the universe one with Prana. The rising sun pervades the east, and fills with energy all beings that there inhabit; and likewise when his rays fall on the south, the west, the north, the zenith, the nadir, and the intermediate regions, to all beings that there inhabit he gives life.
“Prana is the soul of the universe, assuming all forms; he is the light that animates and illumines all: even as it is written-
“The wise know him who assumes all forms. who is radiant, who is all-knowing, who is the one light that gives light to all. He rises as the sun of a thousand rays, and abides in infinite places.”
“Prana and Rayi, uniting, divide the year. Two are the paths of the sun-two are the paths that men travel after death. These are the southern and the northern.
“Those who desire offspring and are devoted to almsgiving and rituals, considering these the highest accomplishment, attain the world of the moon and are born again on earth. They travel by the southern path, which is the path of the fathers, and is indeed Rayi, the maker of forms.
“But those who are devoted to the worship of the Self, by means of austerity, continence, faith, and knowledge, go by the northern path and attain the world of the sun. The sun, the light, is indeed the source of all energy. It is immortal, beyond fear: it is the supreme goal. For him who goes to the sun there is no more birth nor death. The sun ends birth and death.
“Prana and Rayi, uniting, form the month. Its dark fortnight is Rayi, and its bright fortnight is Prana. Sages perform their devotional rites in the light, with knowledge; fools, in the dark, in ignorance.
“Food is Prana and Rayi. From food is produced seed, and from seed, in turn, are born all creatures.
“Those who worship the world of creation produce children: but those alone attain the world of Brahman who are steadfast in continence, meditation and truthfulness.
“The pure world of Brahman is attainable by those only who are neither deceitful, nor wicked, nor false.”
Then Bhargava approached the teacher and asked:
“Holy sir, how many several powers hold together this body? Which of them are most manifest in it? And which is the greatest?”
“The powers,” replied the sage, “are ether, air, fire, water, earth-these being the five elements which compose the body; and, besides these, speech, mind, eye, ear, and the rest of the sense organs. Once these powers made the boastful assertion: ‘We hold the body together and support it,’ whereupon upon Prana, the primal energy, supreme over them all, said to them: ‘Do not deceive yourselves. It is I alone, dividing myself fivefold, who hold together this body and support it.’ But they would not believe him.
“Prana, to justify himself, made as if he intended to leave the body. But as he rose and appeared to be going, all the rest realized that if he went they also would have to depart with him; and as Prana again seated himself, the rest found their respective places. As bees go out when their queen goes out, and return when she returns, so was it with speech. mind, vision, hearing, and the rest. Convinced of their error, the powers now praised Prana, saying:
” ‘As fire, Prana burns; as the sun, he shines; as cloud, he rains; as Indra, he rules the gods; as wind, he blows; as the moon, he nourishes all. He is that which is visible and also that which is invisible. He is immortal life.
” ‘As spokes in the nave of a wheel, so is everything thing made fast in Prana -the Rik, the Yajur, the Sama, all sacrifices, the Kshatriyas, and the Brahmins.
” ‘O Prana, lord of creation, thou movest in the womb, and ‘art born again. To thee who, as breath, dwellest in the body, all creatures bring offerings.
” ‘Thou, as fire, dost carry oblations to the gods: and through thee the fathers receive their offerings. To every organ of sense thou givest its function.
” ‘Prana, thou art the creator; thou art the destroyer by thy prowess: and thou art the protector. Thou movest in the sky as the sun, and lord of lights art thou.
” ‘Prana, when thou showerest down rain, thy creatures rejoice, hoping that they will find food, as much as they desire.
” ‘Thou art purity itself, thou art the master of all that exists, thou art fire, the eater of offerings. We, the organs of sense, offer to thee thy food-to thee, the father of all.
” ‘ That power of thine which dwells in speech, in the ear, and in the eye, and which pervades the heart-make that propitious, and forsake us not.
” ‘Whatsoever exists in the universe is dependent on thee, O Prana. Protect us as a mother protects her children. Grant us prosperity and grant us wisdom.’ ”
And when it was the turn of Kousalya, he put this question:
“Master, of what is Prana born; how does he enter the body; how does he live there after dividing ing himself; how does he go out; how does he experience what is outside; and how does he hold together the body, the senses, and the mind?”
To which the sage replied:
“Kousalya, you ask very difficult questions; but since you are a sincere seeker after the truth of Brahman, I must answer.
“Prana is born of the Self. Like a man and his shadow, the Self and Prana are inseparable. Prana enters the body at birth, that the desires of the mind, continuing from past lives, may be fulfilled.
“As a king employs officials to rule over different portions of his kingdom, so Prana associates with himself four other Pranas, each a portion of himself self and each assigned a separate function.
“The Prana himself dwells in eye, car, mouth, and nose; the Apana, which is the second Prana, rules the organs of excretion and generation: the Samana, which is the third Prana, inhabits the navel, and governs digestion and assimilation.
“The Self dwells in the lotus of the heart, whence radiate a hundred and one nerves. From each of these proceed one hundred others, which are smaller, and from each of these, again, seventy-two two thousand others, which are smaller still In all these moves the Vyana, which is the fourth Prana.
“And then at the moment of death, through the nerve in the center of the spine, the Udana, which is the fifth Prana, leads the virtuous man upward to higher birth, the sinful man downward to lower birth, and the man who is both virtuous and sinful to rebirth in the world of men.
“The sun is the Prana of the universe. It rises to help the Prana in the eye of man to see. The power of earth maintains the Apana in man. The ether between the sun and the earth is the Samana, and the all-pervading air is the Vyana. The Udana is fire, and therefore he whose bodily heat has gone out dies, after which his senses are absorbed in the mind, and he is born again.
“Whatever his thought at the moment of death, this it is that unites a man with Prana, who in turn, uniting himself with Udana and with the Self, leads the man to be reborn in the world he merits.
“The progeny of him who knows Prana as I have revealed him to you is never cut off; and he himself becomes immortal.
“It was said of old: One who knows the Prana -whence he has his source, how he enters the body, how he lives thereafter dividing himself fivefold, fold, what are his inner workings-such an one attains to immortality, yea, even to immortality.”
Gargya then asked:
“Master, when a mans body sleeps, who is it within that sleeps, and who is awake, and who is dreaming? Who then experiences happiness, and with whom are all the sense organs united?”
“As the rays of the sun, O Gargya, when he sets,” replied the sage, “gather themselves up in his disk of light, to come out again when he rises, so the senses gather themselves up in the mind, the highest of them all. Therefore when a man does not hear, see, smell, taste, touch, speak, grasp, enjoy, joy, we say that he sleeps.
“Only the Pranas are then awake in the body, and the mind is led nearer to the Self.
“While in dream, the mind revives its past impressions. Whatever it has seen, it sees again; whatever ever it has heard, it hears again; whatever it has enjoyed in various countries and in various quarters of the earth, it enjoys again. What has been seen and not seen, heard and not heard, enjoyed and not enjoyed, both the real and the unreal, it sees; yea, it sees all.’
“When the mind is overpowered by deep slumber, it dreams no more. It rests happily in the body.
“As birds, my friend, fly to the tree for rest, even so do all these things fly to the Self: earth and its peculiar essence, water and its peculiar essence, fire and its peculiar essence, air and its peculiar essence, ether and its peculiar essence, the eye and what it sees, the ear and what it hears, the nose and what it smells, the tongue and what it tastes, the skin and what it touches, the voice and what it speaks, the hands and what they grasp, the feet and what they walk on, the mind and what it perceives, the intellect and what it understands, the ego and what it appropriates, the heart and what it loves, light and what it illumines, energy and what it binds together.
“For verily it is the Self that sees, hears, smells. tastes, thinks, knows, acts. He is Brahman, whose essence is knowledge. He is the immutable Self, the Supreme.
“He who knows the immutable, the pure, the shadowless, the bodiless, the colorless, attains to Brahman, 0 my friend. Such an one becomes all-knowing, and he dwells in all beings. Of him it is written:
“He who knows that immutable Self. wherein live the mind, the senses, the Pranas, the elements -verily such an one knows all things, and realizes the Self in all.”
Whereupon Satyakama, coming near to the master said:
“Venerable sir, if a man meditate upon the syllable OM all’ his life, what shall be his reward after death?”
And the master answered him thus: “Satyakama, OM is Brahman-both the conditioned and the unconditioned, the personal and the impersonal. By meditating upon it the wise man may attain either the one or the other.
“If he meditate upon OM with but little knowledge edge of its meaning, but nevertheless is enlightened thereby, upon his death he will be immediately born again on this earth, and during his new life he will be devoted to austerity, continence, and faith, and will attain to spiritual greatness.
“If, again, he meditate upon OM with a greater knowledge of its meaning, upon his death he will ascend to the lunar heaven, and after he has partaken taken of its pleasures will return again to earth.
“But if he meditate upon OM in the full consciousness that it is one with God, upon his death he will be united with the light that is in the sun, he will be freed from evil, even as a snake is freed from its slough, and he will ascend to God’s dwelling place. There he will realize Brahman, who evermore abides in the heart of all beings-Brahman Brahman Supreme!
“Concerning the sacred syllable OM it is written:
“The syllable OM, when it is not fully understood, does not lead beyond mortality. When it is fully understood, and meditation is therefore rightly directed, a man is freed from fear, whether he be awake, dreaming. or sleeping the dreamless sleep, and attains to Brahman.
“By virtue of a little understanding of OM a man returns to earth after death. By virtue of a greater understanding he attains to the celestial sphere. By virtue of a complete understanding he learns what is known only to the seers. The sage, with the help of OM, reaches Brahman, the fearless, the undecaying, the immortal!”
Lastly, Sukesa approached the sage and said:
“Holy sir, Hiranyanabha, prince of Kosala, once asked me this question. ‘Sukesa, do you know the Self and his sixteen parts?’ I replied, ‘I do not. Surely, if I knew them, I would have taught them to you. I will not lie, for he who lies perishes, root and all.’ The prince silently mounted his chariot and went away. So now I ask of thee, Where is the Self?”
The sage replied:
“My child, within this body dwells the Self, from whom sprang the sixteen parts of the universe and in this manner they came into being:
“If, creating. I enter my creation,” the Self reflected, “what is there to bind me to it; what is there to go out from it when I go out, to stay within it when I stay?” Pondering thus, and in answer to his thought, he made Prana; and from Prana he made desire: and from desire he made ether, air, fire, water, earth, the senses, the mind, and food; and from food he made vigor, penance, the Vedas, the sacrificial rites, and all the worlds. Thereafter, in the worlds, he created names. And the number of the elements he thus created was sixteen.
“As the flowing rivers, whose destination is the sea, having reached it disappear in it, losing their names and forms, and men speak only of the sea: so these sixteen parts created from out his own being by the Self, the Eternal Seer, having returned turned to him from whom they came, disappear in him, their destination, losing their names and forms, and people speak only of the Self. Then for man the sixteen parts are no more, and he attains to immortality.
“Thus was it said of old:
“The sixteen parts are spokes projecting from the Self, who is the hub of the wheel. The Self is the goal of knowledge. Know him and go beyond death.”
The sage concluded, saying:
“What I have told you is all that can be said about the Self, the Supreme Brahman. Beyond this there is naught.”
The disciples worshiped the sage, and said:
“You are indeed our father. You have led us beyond the sea of ignorance.
“We bow down to all the great seers!
“Obeisance to the great seers!”
OM . . . Peace-peace-peace.