atha aitareyopaniShadi prathamAdhyAye tRitIyaH khaNDaH
Chapter I - Section 3
Descent of Consciousness in Man
After creating the fields for the functioning of the universe and the human beings which were both empowered by the cosmic forces, the third step in the creative process is said to be the creation of food. This is the reason why even today we consider food, clothing and shelter as the fundamental necessities of human beings to sustain life. The interesting allegory relating to this process is described in this section of the Upanishad.
Different senses urged by hunger and thirst run after food to catch it like a cat running after a mouse. None of them could succeed in their attempt as otherwise it would have resulted in a competition among the senses for the fulfillment of their desires. Finally food was caught by the out-breath called Apana which is one of the five forms of life-breath. It regulates the digestive system.
The incident of senses running after food made Consciousness to think about the need to have a unifying force in the body. So Consciousness or Atman itself entered the body from the suture in the skull. This point of entry called Vidriti is considered to be the door of bliss. The soul passing through this at the time of death attains progressive liberation.
Consciousness pervades the whole body. However by way of illustration, it is stated that It has three abodes and three states of existence. It is stated to reside in the eyes during waking state, in the mind during dream state and in the heart during deep sleep state.
Having descended in man, Consciousness (Atman) looked around to see if there were any other principles different from it. It saw the same Atman or Self in all beings. It realized that this Atman manifested as Cosmic Person (Purusha) was in fact all-pervading Brahman. The Self in man is nothing but Cosmic Consciousness. It is called Idandra - or Indra as a mark of respect. This narration signifies the realization by individual Self that the same Brahman, Cosmic Consciousness, pervades in all beings.
CREATION OF FOOD BY THE SUPREME SELF
sa IkShateme nu lokAshcha lokapAlAshchAnnamebhyaH sRijA iti .. 1..
He bethought Himself: "Here now are the worlds and the world-guardians. Let Me cerate food for them."
After creation of these gods, the Supreme Self thought It should create food for them because hunger and thirst are co-existent with them.
so.apo.abhyatapattAbhyo.abhitaptAbhyo mUrtirajAyata .
yA vai sA mUrtirajAyatAnna.n vai tat.h .. 2..
He brooded over the waters. From the waters, thus brooded over, there emerged a condensed form. The form that so emerged is indeed food.
The Lord intensely meditated over the five elements from which there emerged a form as food which include cereals, animals and other living and non-living beings.
EATER OF THE FOOD
tannAshaknodvAchA grahItum.h .
sa yaddhainadvAchA.agrahaiShyadabhivyAhRitya haivAnnamatrapsyat.h .. 3..
The food so created wished to flee away. He sought to grasp it with speech. But He was not able to grasp it with speech. If, indeed, He has grasped it with speech, one would then have been satisfied by merely uttering the word food.
In order to quench the hunger and thirst of the worlds, gross food was created. That food thought that they would eat it away and to escape from the eater, it started running away. Then jivatma in the form of human being tried to catch hold of it by speech but failed to grasp it by speech. At that time if that Purusha could hold the food by speech, now the men also could feel satiated by simply uttering the word food but it does not happen like that.
In the following Mantras from 4 to 9, similar examples of different organs of the body trying to catch the food are given and it was concluded that none could catch them.
tatprANenAjighRikShat.h tannAshaknotprANena grahItu.n sa
haivAnnamatrapsyat.h .. 4..
The Creator sought to grasp it with the breath. But He was not able to grasp it with the breath. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the breath, one would then have been satisfied by merely smelling food.
tachchakShuShA.ajighRikShat.h tannAshaknochchakShuShA grahItu/n sa
yaddhainachchakShuShA.agrahaiShyaddRiShTvA haivAnamatrapsyat.h .. 5..
He sought to grasp it with the eye. But He was not able to grasp it with the eye. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the eye, one would then have been satisfied by merely seeing food.
tachChrotreNAjighRikShat.h tannAshaknochChrotreNa grahItu.n sa
yaddhainachChroteNAgrahaiShyachChrutvA haivAnnamatrapsyat.h .. 6..
He sought to grasp it with the ear. But He was not able to grasp it with the ear. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the ear, one would then have been satisfied by merely hearing of food.
tattvachA.ajighRikShat.h tannAshaknottvachA grahItu.n sa
yaddhainattvachA.agrahaiShyat.h spRiShTvA haivAnnamatrapsyat.h .. 7..
He sought to grasp it with the skin. But He was not able to grasp it with the skin. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the skin, one would then have been satisfied by merely touching food.
tanmanasA.ajighRikShat.h tannAshaknonmanasA grahItu.n sa
yaddhainanmanasA.agrahaiShyaddhyAtvA haivAnnamatrapsyat.h .. 8..
He sought to grasp it with the mind. But He was not able to grasp it with the mind. If, indeed, He had grasped it with the mind, one would then have been satisfied by merely thinking of food.
tachChishnenAjighRikShat.h tannAshaknochChishnena grahItu.n sa
yaddhainachChishnenAgrahaiShyadvitsRijya haivAnamatrapsyat.h .. 9..
He sought to grasp it with the sexual organ. But He was not able to grasp it with the sexual organ. If, indeed, He had grasped it with that organ, one would then have been satisfied by merely having sex.