Prasna Upanishad, Class 13


Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Prasna Upanishad.

Third Question

Summarizing his talks from last week, Swamiji says, the last part of the third question was how does this Prana (Samasthi) sustain the external universe? How does the Prana, as Vyashthi, sustain the individual?

Prana does not sustain Atma, it only sustains Anatma. Vyashthi Prana sustains Vyashti and Samashthi Prana sustains Samashthi. The Pancha pranas (Apana, Udana, Samana and Vyana) sustain the Vyashthi. How it
sustains the Samashthi Prana is described in shloka # 8.

Shloka # 8:

Vyashti                       Samashthi
Prana                           Aditya Devatha
Apana                          Prithvi Devi
Samana                       Akasha Devatha (Antar Akasha or Anthariksham)
Vyana                           Vayuhu Devatha, all pervading.
Udanaha                      Agni Devata or Tejaha.

Adithya is the external expression of Prana, also called Bahya Prana. Adithya blesses the eye as well.  Prithvi is Bahya Apana. Anthariksha or intermediate world (Bhuvar Loka) is Samana. Bahya Vayu is Vyana and Tejas or Agni Devata is Udana.

Shloka # 9:

Vava means indeed. The fire principle pervades at the cosmic (virat) level and is the external expression of Udana. In form of Udana it sustains whole cosmos and individual Udana. So, the question of how does Prana sustain the external universe has been answered. It sustains the universe as the Pancha Prana named Adithya, Prithvi, Akasha, Vayuhu and Agni.

The next question is how does Prana get out of the body?

Although it was answered in shloka # 7 that Prana goes out of Susushmna Nadi, this process is elaborated in Shloka 9. At time of death all five Pranas are withdrawn and absorbed in Udana. All pancha pranas start failing. This Udana now leaves body as Agni Tatvam. Thus, the heat of the body also leaves. The body becomes cold. One whose body has become cold moves to another body along with same Indriyas or organs.

Udana Vayu takes the fragrance of life away with Indriyas. Indriyas are resolved or packed in the mind. The moment Udana enters another body the mind unpacks.  The life goes to another body through the Susushmna Nadi.

In which direction does Prana go upon death?
It depends upon what Sankalpa is in the mind.

Shloka # 10:

The Sankalpa is the innate craving deep in each one of us. Everyone has a deep ambition called Bhavana or Sankalpa. Sankapla comes about from thinking deeply about an idea all the time. Thus, all four pranas go out with Udana. The Jivatma also goes with the Sankapla.  Thus:

At death, Chidabhasha Comes to Prana> All four Pranas+Jivatma+Sankapla come to> Udana>Goes out in search of a Loka.

Tejas means Udana. This Udana is packed with everything and takes Jivatma to various Lokas. According to Sankapla, the Udana takes one to a particular Loka. In case of Jivatma’s, the Udana gets confused, as they do not have any Sankalpa and does not know where to go. “ I have no intention of going anywhere as I have no Sankapla,”

With this, all questions raised by student have been answered. How Prana goes out of body has been answered as well.

Now Pipillada comes to Prana Upasana. Everything so far has been leading to this Upasana. Utkrishta means superior object. Until now Prana’s superiority has been described. So, now, Samashthi Prana Upasana starts.

Shloka # 11:

Swamiji says, here a carrot is held as to why one has to perform the Prana Upasana or what phalam they will get from it.

That person who knows Prana in this manner, as described in questions 2 and 3, is a Vidwan. One who meditates on Samshthi prana , Hiranyagarbha, his children will have a long life.

The description of the phalam is as follows: After death the Upasaka goes to Brahma Loka, attains knowledge there and obtains Krama mukthi or relative immortality and then gets real immortality as well. This shloka also quotes another shloka in support. This shloka comes from Brahmanas. Vedas are divided into Mantra, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishads. Brahmana is a commentary on Mantra portion. The mantra bhaga is quoted for support. Prasna Upanishad also is a part of Brahmana.

The meaning of the Brahmana Shloka is:

One who knows the following details of Prana attains immortality. They are the answers to the five questions asked by students. Thus, they are:

  1. How does Prana come into existence? It comes out of Atma like a shadow.
  2. How Prana arrives in body? It arrives in body because of our purva karmas through the mind.
  3. How are Pranas positioned? The pancha pranas, Apana, Udana, Samana, Vyana and Prana have their roles defined.
  4. How is Pranas power distributed? Like an Emperor it delegates powers to other Pranas.
  5. How does it function? By dividing itself into the fivefold pranas.

How does it sustain at individual and cosmic levels? At individual level, through the pancha pranas. At Samashthi level, through Adithya, Prithvi, Akasha, Vayu and Agni Devatas.

Having known these answers and having meditated upon them, one gets Brahma Loka. The result is definite and this concludes this chapter.

For one interested in Jivan mukthi, one obtains Vedantha and a proper teacher to teach it.

Some definitions:
Upashantham means cold or colder.
Mumukshuhu means dying person.

With best wishes,
Ram Ramaswamy