taan.h varishhthah praana uvaacha | maa mohamaapadyatha aham evaitat.h pajnchadhaa.a.atmaanam pravibhajya etadbaanam avashhtabhya vidhaarayaami iti te ashraddadhaanaa babhuuvuh || 3 ||
To them Prana, the chief most said: "Do not fall into delusion. I alone, dividing myself into five parts, support this body and uphold it." But they were incredulous.
Prana, the Chief, in its sense as life-breath, told the organs: ‘Do not boast like that. I divide myself into five different powers and use them to keep the body going. I am responsible for its maintenance’. When the sense organs did not believe this statement, Prana protested and warned them of their delusion and told them that it alone by dividing itself into five parts supports the body. These five parts and their functions and locations in the body are given the following table. Through these five functions, Prana controls all our physical movements and makes our activities possible.
so.abhimaanaaduurdhvam utkraamata iva tasminnutkraamaty athetare sarva evotkraamante tasminshcha pratishhthamaane sarva eva pratishhthante | tadyathaa makshikaa madhukara raajaanam utkraamantam sarva evotkramante tasminshhcha pratshhthamaane sarva eva pratishhtanta evam.h vaanmanashhchakshuh shrotram cha te priitaah praana.n stunvanti || 4 ||
Prana, got irritated, pretended as if it was going to rise, as it were, leaving from the body. Now, when it started to leave, the other organs followed suit. When it settled down they all settled down with it. As bees go out when their queen goes out and return when she returns, even so did speech, mind, eye, ear and the rest. They, being satisfied, praised Prana.
Prana got offended by the disregard shown to it by the other sense organs. In order to teach them a lesson it pretended to leave the body. As soon as Prana made a gesture of leaving the body, all the organs followed it and when Prana settled back they also did the same. The Upanishad compares this episode to a queen bee. When the queen leaves the bee-hive, all the other bees follow her. She is their leader and without her they cannot function being dependent on her. In the same way, all other organs are dependent on Prana without whom they cannot serve any purpose. So the organs were humbled and realized Prana’s superiority and began to praise it.
PRAISE OF PRANA
eshha parjanyo maghavaaneshha vaayuh|
eshha prithivii rayirdevah
sadasachchaamritam cha yat.h || 5 ||
It gives heat as fire, it is the sun, it is the rain; it is Indra, it is the wind, it is the earth, it is the moon (food). It is being and non - being; it is immortality.
Prana is conceived as the nucleus of all energy both within the body and without in the universe. It is the power that vitalizes the matter in life and is not confined to the air we breathe in and breathe out.
Prana is the sign of life and all that sustains life as well as the eater and the eaten. Prana is also gross when it is the effect and subtle when it is the cause. It is also said to be amruta, the nectar of immortality that supports gods and human beings.
Prana is the truth behind all that have “form” like fire, water and earth as well as are “formless” like space and air.
araa iva rathanaabhau praane sarvam pratishhthitam.h |
richo yajuumshhi saamaani yagyah kshatram brahma cha || 6 ||
As spokes in the hub of a wheel, everything rests on Prana, including the Rig - Veda, the Yajur - Veda, the Sama - Veda, the kshattriyas and the brahmanas.
Here prana is being compared to the hub of a wheel. Between the hub and the rim there are spokes in the wheel. Without the hub there can neither be spokes nor the wheel. This universe, this cosmos, is like a big wheel and the organs are like the spokes. The organs (spokes) rest on the prana (hub). Prana sustains the organs and everything rests on prana (prane sarvam pratishthitam).
All the Vedas are knowledge and the supporter of this knowledge is prana, the life energy. Whether one is kshatriya or a brahmana, everybody is sustained by prana. Sanakara says ‘pranah sarvam’; all that we see, all that exists, is nothing but a manifestation of prana.