Prasna Upanishad Class 15


Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Prasna Upanishad.

Fourth Question

Summarizing last week’s discussions, Swamiji says, the fourth student asked Pippallada five questions centered on the dream state:

  1. What are the things that are asleep?
  2. What are the things that are awake?
  3. Who experiences the dream?
  4. When everything is resolved, who is enjoying the sleep?
  5. It deals with Turiyam, an adhishtanam, when everything is resolved.

First question was answered in the second mantra.

What are the organs that are sleeping? Which organs are nonfunctional at time of dream? The five Gyana indriyas and five Karma Indriyas go to sleep. How do we know they are not functioning? Their experiences are not coming. As an example, there is no rupa darshanam, as the eyes are not functioning.

Second question was, what organs are awake during dream state?  Third and fourth mantras answer the second question.

Mantra 3:

Answer is the Pancha Pranas are awake or functioning. Here Upanishad uses an imaginary situation to describe the answer to this question. It looks at this state as an Agni Hotra Yaga. In this yaga Grahastha pours oblation into fire twice, daily. Thus, two ahuthis are given. In a Yagya, fire is always involved. Fire is three fold in nature. Different rituals require different fires. Different fires mean different methods of kindling and different kinds of Homa kunda and different kinds of mantras are chanted. The moment a man gets married he is supposed to kindle a fire and this fire will have to be maintained through out his life. This fire can be removed or extinguished twice. The fire in such a case is ritually removed. First, when he takes Sanyasa then he becomes Nir-Agni. The fire can be used to burn the body as well. In case of Sanyasi, upon death, the body cannot be burned. He cannot be burned or cremated as he does not have a house hold, as such, there is no house hold fire as well to burn. For a householder Anyeshthi samsakara is performed.

Agniadhanam is a fire kindled during a wedding, which is maintained by Grihastha. The fire in the house is called Gahyapathya Agni and is maintained by a grihastha. If this fire is put out due to some reason, the second case, a prayaschittham has to be performed. He has to light a new fire from another Grihastha. From Grahyapathya Agni a fire is kindled in a separate homa, performed daily, and is called  Aahavaniyagnihi. The remaining fire is put back into Grahyapathya Agni.

Dakshina Agnihi is another fire. This fire is always kept on the right hand side of Yajamana or southern side.

The above are the three fires. Dakshina Agni is also known asAnvaryahapacana. During rituals some oblations have to be cooked and such an oblation is called Anvaryaha.

The fourth factor is any ritual requires the Hota, the Priest.

The fifth factor is Yajamanha or Grihastha for whom (sponsor) the ritual is performed.

The sixth factor is Punyam, the immediate phalam of the ritual.

The seventh factor is the goal attained by the punyam.

These are the seven factors involved in Agni Hotra Ritual.  The pancha pranas and the mind are compared to these seven factors.

Apana is connected to Grahyapathya Agni, the inhalation air and later becomes the excretory air.

Prana is compared to Aahavaniyagnihi. Grahyapathya Agni is the first fire. From it the Ahavaniya fire is taken out. Similarly Apana goes in and the exhaled air, ahavaniya, comes out.

Grahyapathya Agni> Aahavaniyagnihi.
(Apana)                         (Prana)

Dakshina Agni is compared to Vyana, the circulatory system. Vyana comes out of Hridayam from a special right hand hole in the heart.

Samanaha is compared to the Hota, the priest. The priest performs two oblations. He places them in the right ahuthi, in the right place. Inhalation and exhalation are the two ahuthis in us that has to be operated properly also called nithyakarma. Samana maintains these inhalations and exhalations by keeping our body healthy. If Samana is
not maintained the prana will go away, (samam nayathi).

The fifth factor is Manaha and it is compared to Yajamanha.

Udanaha is compared to Punya Phalam.

Swarga Loka is compared to Sushupthi Ananda or Phalam. (I think Swamiji means from punya phalam we get the phalam of swarga loka.)

So, when Manas, the Yajamanha, performs the agnihotra yaga, then Udana takes the mind out of Sukshma Shariram to Sushupthi. In Sushupthi it is resolved into Brahman or Brahmandam.  Thus, Manas performs Agni Hotra Yaga and enjoys the Sushupthi.

In this body the Prana’s are awake during dream. Garhyapathya is the Apana. Vyana coming out of right hand side of Hridayam, is Dakshina Agni. Ahavaniyagni, born out of Garhyapathya Agni is nothing but Prana or exhaling air. Thus inhalation is Garhyapathya and exhalation is Ahavaniyagni.

Mantra # 4:

Samana’s definition is now given. It is that digestive prana that maintains Uchvasam and Nishvasam. The airs (Uchvasam and Nishvasam) are like ahuthi oblations. Therefore, Samana is compared to Hota.

Manaha Vav Yajamanha. Yajamana alone handles all equipment. So also, mind alone handles all types of Karanams.

Ishta phalam is the punyam in Udanaha. Punyam leads a person from one place to another world.

Swapna Loka>Sushupthi Avastha is led by Udana. Udana takes the mind to sushupthi. In sushupthi we are supposed to be with Brahman. In sushupthi we are not identified with any AnAtma. In waking state we identify with the body. In this state, Sushupthi, however, we do not know that we are with Brahman. We enjoy without knowing.

Aharaha, meaning daily, the Udana takes one to the Sushupthi due to the Agnihotra ritual. All people are dreaming and going to sleep. It does not mean all people are doing Agni Hotra Yagya. Shankara says Pipilllada’s statement applies only to Upasakas. Like two people visiting a temple, one comes with Bhakti and gets spiritual pleasure and other comes to take pictures and gets materialistic pleasure. Only an Upasaka has the right attitude. With this the second question has been answered.

With best wishes,
Ram Ramaswamy