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Vedas And Upanishads

Prasna Upanishad (Part-2)- Who Supports The Created Beings
By T.N.Sethumadhavan, July 2011 [[email protected]]

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Mantra 3

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.

Mantra 4

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

Mantra 5

eshho.agnistapatyeshha suurya
    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.

Mantra 6

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.

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