(MANTRAS 21-23)


Our organs of perception and action – five gyana indriyas and five karma indriyas – are dependent on Life Principle, prana, for their functioning. Life Principle is supreme, not just at the individual level but also at the cosmic level. It is said to be the premier among the other principles like energy and mind. The Upanishad regards air, fire and sun as the symbols of principles of life, energy and knowledge (light) respectively.

Life Principle is eternal, changeless and always the same. It has no individuality, it supports all body functions. Using sun as a simile, the mantra says that everything rises from prana and also sets therein.

The theme here is the position of the senses and the mind in the universal state, as distinguished from their condition in the individual form. This subject is discussed by means of an anecdote. The great Creator, Prajapati, projected the senses and the mind. He diversified Himself into the form of this world, and each form He took became an individual by itself. Each individual felt a necessity to come in contact with other individuals. The necessity of one individual to come in contact with another brought forth another necessity as a corollary thereof, namely, the projection of certain instruments of contact. How can one come in contact with another? There must be a means of communication. The means are the senses and the mind.

The diversification of Prajapati into the universe of manifestation implies the individuality of these parts and the need of each one to contact others, as well as the rise of the senses and the mind. There was the world of senses and of meditation. These senses are presided over by certain deities. On account of there being different deities, or divinities, superintending over different senses, there is likely to be a tendency on the part of the senses to assert themselves as independent functions. Just as every part of the Creator who diversified Himself into the many asserted itself as an individual, there could be a subsequent situation when each sense organ also may assert itself.

It did so, actually. The senses asserted themselves independently, so that the eye cannot hear, the ear cannot see, and so on. There is no mutual give-and-take spirit between the senses. The harmonization of the functions of these senses has to be effected by another principle altogether. The senses themselves cannot do this. As we require a Governor or an Administrator to harmonize the individualities of persons working in an organization of people, to avoid mutual conflict and chaos, there is a need for a synthesizing principle within us, without which each sense would work in its own way and there would be no co-ordination of one with the other.

Egoism entered all the senses. And, what is the consequence of this sort of egoistic affirmation? Death possessed them! Everyone who has this self-affirming ego shall be possessed by death. Death is the law of God operating in a world of egoistic individualities. It is not some terrible spectre in the form of a Yama, or Yama-dutas that come and threaten us. The law of the universal justice raises the rod of punishment upon the ego which has sprung as an upstart in this creation.

The ego has really no place to exist, but, somehow, it has usurped the place of cosmic powers and asserted its own independence, a false freedom, a vain glorious existence. Death operating and affecting individuals means the universal law acting in an inexorable manner, not in the form of a punishment or as a seeking of vengeance upon anybody, but as an automatic function of the balancing power of the universe. Such a law took possession of the senses. So, the eye went on seeing, but got tired. How, long can you go on seeing? The ear went on hearing, but got fed up. It could not hear anymore. The speech gets exhausted by endlessly speaking. They get fatigued on account of excessive activity. This fatigue that comes upon oneself is a tendency to exhaustion, debility and destruction. This is the incoming of death.

The Upanishad says that everything sensuous was affected by death, but that hidden Power, the central Prana within, works as the force of the soul. It is the soul within us that can be equated with the Cosmic Prana, in the end, which is not affected by death. Everything that is personal is subject to destruction, not the soul which cannot be so destroyed. That alone remained unaffected by the sway of death, because the soul does not assert itself egoistically. The ego is an external function; it is not the soul, or the essence of being in us. This essence in us is not affected, but the external appearance in the form of the ego, the senses, etc. was overpowered. Therefore, when one takes resort to the soul i.e., this central Prana, one neither increases nor decreases, neither exerts nor feels grief in the mind. That is the permanent nature in us, which temporal forms and influences cannot touch.

The senses conferred among themselves and decided: "There is no use of our asserting independence like this. Without this central being we are nowhere. So, let us collaborate with this central function, the Prana, the soul force."  Thenthey acted in conformity with this divine force. Therefore, the senses also are called Prana.

Justas the head of a family rules the tradition of a family, the central Prana rules the tradition of the senses. The surname of a person who is leading the family is continued by the progeny and everyone who comes afterwards. Likewise, in a similar tradition, as it were, the term Prana is applied to the senses also, in the Upanishads particularly, because they follow this central Prana, work together with it and harmonize themselves with it.

Therefore, we do not see any conflict of sensations in one's personality. The eyes see, but do not hear; the ears hear, but do not see, and so on, but, yet, we are able to synthesize their functions in ourselves. It is the central 'I' which feels, "I see," and "I am the same person that hears also," and "I can taste and smell and touch" etc. The differentiated functions of the senses are brought together into a synthesis by an eternal principle within, which is the Prana-Sakti, representative, or the ambassador, we may say, of the Cosmic Prana, the Self in all.

Oneperson who is a meditator on the cosmic Prana has no opponents. But, if anyone opposes that person, this opponent shall dry up, says the Upanishad. One who meditates on the Universal Prana has no enemies. He does not oppose any person, or anything. If, by any indiscretion, someone else starts opposing this person, that person shall not survive any more. Antato mriyate: He dries up and perishes. So, hate not, oppose not, insult not, or harm not a being who is in union with cosmic forces. Iti adhyatmam: This is an anecdote in respect of our internal function the senses.

Now, the same analogy is continued in respect of the higher forces called divinities, or deities, Devatas, who superintend over the senses. In the same way as the senses started asserting their independence, the deities also began asserting themselves. Agni, the deity of fire, who is the presiding divinity over speech, began asserting himself. "I shall burn always." The sun asserted himself, "I shall shine forever." So was the case with other celestial divinities, also. But this is not the truth, narrates the Upanishad. There is no such thing as individual importance, finally, either in the case of the senses or the divinities, much less with ordinary mortals.

The deities, Agni, Aditya, Chandra, and the others, are only an expression, a functional part of the Universal Cosmic Prana. That being alone is free from the tendency to self-assertion. Everyone else has this urge to assert oneself. Neither Aditya, nor Agni, nor Chandrama can be said to be independent deities. They are all His names. They do not shine of their own accord. They are supplied with energy from elsewhere. Bhayad agnis tapati, bhayat tapati suryah, says the Upanishad. Fire burns due to fear of this Supreme Being, as it were; Sun shines due to fear, Wind blows due to fear, Rain falls due to fear of this Being. There is the uplifted thunderbolt of the eternal Reality without fear of which nothing would be in harmony in this world. The universal justice is there like a raised terror. One who knows this terror of the Absolute, which is the eternal justice prevailing everywhere, he alone is free from this devilish urge to assert oneself, the ego, which is the Asura in everyone.

So it is the Cosmic Being alone, the Prana-Sakti, the Sutra-Atman, Isvara, who is real. Everyone else is just partaking of a facet or an aspect of this Divinity even when one feels an importance in respect of oneself.

The sun rises and sets on account of the operation of this Cosmic Prana. If the planets move round the sun due to the gravitational pull of the latter, who assists the sun to occupy its position? The sun also has a status in the astronomical universe. It has an orbit of its own. And, likewise, everything has a function and an orbit and a place in this universal structure. There is a harmonious rotation and revolution of everything in respect of everything else. There is a relativity of motion in the entire universe. How comes this relativity of motion? Why should there be this harmony? Why this following the course, or the orbit of each one? Why not jump from one course to another? Why does this not happen? Because there is that Power which holds everything in unison.
Why does not one hand of a person fight with his other hand? You have never seen your right hand or left hand fighting with each other, because there is something in you, the 'you' which keeps both these in position, in harmony. So is everything in creation held in harmony by this invisible Being, that is the God of the universe. On account of its working alone, the sun rises and sets; else he could go anywhere. There is that Law, that Dharma, which has its own principle of working, of which no one has knowledge, but without which no one can exist. Tam devas cakrire dharmam: That is the Dharma, or the Supreme justice which every god has to obey, to which every individual bows, and every sense-organ works in accordance with it. That law is unchangeable, not-amendable. It is an eternal constitution. It was, it is and it shall be the same at all times - sa eva adya sa usvah.

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