Prasna Upanishad, Class 14


Greetings All

Swamiji continued his talks on Prasna Upanishad.

Fourth Question

Summarizing the gist of last chapter (Question 3) Swamiji says, the Student asked Pippallada five questions.

  1.  Where does Prana come from? It comes out of Atma like a shadow.
  2. How Prana arrives into the body? It arrives into the body due to Manokrithe from our Sankapla or Karma. So, it comes through our mind because of our Purva karmas.
  3. How does Pranas divide itself? It divides into the pancha pranas known as: Apana, Udana, Samana, Vyana and Prana and each has its role defined. Shlokas 4,5 and 6 address this.   Like an Emperor it delegates powers to other Pranas.
  4. How does Pranas go out of the body? This is addressed in mantras 7, 9 and 10 respectively. Prana goes out through the susuhmna nadi, in case of Upasakas. In a Gyani and non-Upasaka it does not go through the Susuhmna Nadi. At time of death, all pranas are absorbed in Udana with the sense organs. So, Udana and Sankalpa are the only one’s left and they together lead the Jivatma to various Lokas.
  5. How does it function?  This is addressed in mantra 8.

How does it sustain at individual and cosmic levels? At individual level, through the pancha pranas although the individual level is not specifically mentioned. At Samashthi level, through Adithya, Prithvi, Akasha, Vayu and Agni Devatas.

Then Mantras 11 and 12 concluded with Prana Upasana. The benefits of the Upasana are described. In this world the person’s children will not die due to an accident. In the next world one gets Krama Mukthi.

Second chapter was also Prana Upasana. Karma Kanda knowledge does not bring benefits unless it is used to perform Upasana. Vedas give a command or ask one to act and it is called Vidhivakyam. In Chapter 2, it was only glorification and there were no commands. In chapter 3 until mantra 10 it is glorification. Only mantras 11 and 12 are
Vidhivakyam’s and as such are an important part of the Upanishad.

In Chapter 1, Shukla and Krishna Gathi was discussed in context of Sristhi Prakaranam. In Chapter 2 and 3, it is glorification of Prana. In chapter 3 we got Purva Bhaga (Karma kanda) of the Veda. Now comes the Gyana Kanda or Vedanta from Chapter 4.

Chapter 4

Shloka 1: Beginning Chapter 4, Question 4, the fourth student Sauryayini Gargyaha asks five questions.  They are:

  1.  At time of dream what are the organs that are sleeping or not functioning? This is about the Swapna Avastha.
  2. Related to dreams what are the organs that are awake?
  3. Related to dreams, which Devaha (Karanam or Chetana Tatvam) is seeing the dream (Swapna Padarthaha)
  4. To which person this sukham belongs? The benefit of Susushupthi avastha?
  5. What is that Adishthanam on which all organs are supported (Turiya Rupa). This question, says Swamiji, makes it Vedanta.

Jagrithi is not considered. If it is included we are discussing Avastha Trayam.

Shloka # 2: Teacher Pippallada now answered the questions.

Q 1: What organs are sleeping or are resolved or in dormant condition during dream state?

The five Gyana indriyas and five Karma indriyas, 10 in all, are all dormant. The Karma Indriyas are: Vak (organ of speech), Pani (hands), Pada (feet), Upashtam (organ of generation) and Payu or Guda (anus, the organ of excretion) are the five organs of action. All ten are resolved in the mind. It is not a permanent resolution. The 10 indriyas come forth during the Jagrithi Avastha. This is a daily affair.  Giving example of the Sun and its rays, Sun is the mind and
the rays are like the 10 indriyas. In early morning we are able to see the sun. As it rises the rays come in all directions. At sunset the rays are withdrawn. At sunset you can see the orb of the sun. You can see the same at dawn.

Similarly, in the morning the sense organs spring out and reaction becomes brighter and at sunset sense organs are withdrawn and everything becomes less bright. They are partially active until fully withdrawn.

In same manner all 10 sense organs resolve into the mind. What kind of a mind is it? It is the great mind, the effulgent one.

Mind, by itself, is Jadam. However, it is pervaded by Chetana or reflected consciousness ( Chidabasha), hence it is consciousness now. Blessed by the mind, sense organs arise, as well as, get resolved. Hence, mind is supreme.  Just like the moon gets its light from the sun, so also the sense organs get their light from the mind. Mind is Paraha or Supreme. Sense organs are Aparaha. All ten organs stop functioning when resolved during dream state.

During dream there is no taste, smell, touch, sight, all five gyanaindri yas are shut. The Krama indriyas of hold, grasp, movement, etc are also resolved.  One is considered to be sleeping by other waking people.

With this the first question has been answered.

Q 2: What are the one’s that are awake?

The Pancha Pranas are awake.

With best wishes,
Ram Ramaswamy