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Brihadaaranyak - 3-9

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Brihadaaranyak Upanishad - 3-9

3-9 (Yaagyavalkya and Vidagdh - On Gods)
1. Then Vidagdh, the son of Shakal, asked him: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
Yaagyavalkya ascertained the number through the group of Mantras known as the Nivid and said: "As many as are mentioned in the Nivid of the Vishwe-dev - three hundred and three and three thousand and three."
"Very good," said Vidagdh Shaakalya (the son of Shakal) and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"Thirty-three."
"Very good," said Shaakalya and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"Six." "Very good," said Shaakalya and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"Three." "Very good," said Shaakalya and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"Two." "Very good," said Shaakalya and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"One and a half." "Very good," said Shaakalya and asked again: "How many gods are there, Yaagyavalkya?"
"One."
"Very good," said Shaakalya and asked: "Which are those three hundred and three and those three thousand and three gods?"

2. Yaagyavalkya said: "There are only thirty-three gods. Those others are but manifestations of them."
"Which are these thirty-three gods?"
"The eight Vasu, the eleven Rudra and the twelve Aaditya - these are thirty-one. And Indra and Prajapati make up the thirty-three."

3. "Which are the Vasu?" asked Shaakalya.
"Fire, the earth, the air, the sky, the Sun, heaven, the Moon and the stars - these are the Vasu; for in them all this universe is placed (Vasavah). Therefore they are called Vasu.

4. "Which are the Rudra?" asked Shaakalya.
"The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make one's relatives weep. Because they make them weep (Rud), therefore they are called Rudra.

5. "Which are the Aadityas?" asked Shaakalya.
"There are twelve months in the year. These are the Aaditya, because they move along carrying (Adadanah) all this with them; therefore they are called Aaditya."

6. "Which is Indra and which is Prajaapati?" asked Shaakalya.
"The thunderclap is Indra and the sacrifice is Prajaapati."
"Which is the thunderclap?"
"The thunderbolt."
"Which is the sacrifice?"
"The animals."

7. "Which are the six gods?" asked Shaakalya.
"Fire, the earth, the air, the sky, the Sun and the Heaven; for these six comprise all those."

8. "Which are the three gods?" asked Shaakalya.
"These three worlds, because all those gods are comprised in these three."
"Which are the two gods?"
"Matter and the vital breath (Praan)."
"Which are the one and a half?"
"This air that blows."

9. Yaagyavalkya said: "Concerning this some say: "Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half (Adhyaardh)?" The answer is: It is one and a half because by its presence everything attains surpassing glory (Adhyaardhnot)."
"Which is the one God?"
"The vital breath (Hiranyagarbh); it is Brahm which is called That (Tyat)."

10. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is the earth, whose organ of vision is fire, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in this body. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity (cause)?"
"Nectar (chyle)," said Yaagyavalkya.

11. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is lust (Kaam), whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya." "I know that Being of whom you speak who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with lust. Go on, Shaakalya." "Who is His deity?" "Women," said Yaagyavalkya.

12. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is colors, whose organ of vision is the eye, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in the Sun. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"Truth (the eye)," said Yaagyavalkya.

13. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is the Aakaash, whose organ of vision is the ear, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with the ear and with the time of hearing. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"The quarters," said Yaagyavalkya.

14. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is darkness, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with shadow (ignorance). Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"Death," said Yaagyavalkya.

15. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is particular colors, whose organ of vision is the eye, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the being who is in the mirror. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"The vital breath," said Yaagyavalkya.

16. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is water, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is in water. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"Varun (rain)," said Yaagyavalkya.

17. Shaakalya said: "Verily, whosoever knows that Being whose body is semen, whose organ of vision is the intellect, whose light is the mind and who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety, he indeed knows, O Yaagyavalkya."
"I know that Being of whom you speak - who is the ultimate support of the body and organs in their entirety. It is the Being who is identified with the son. Go on, Shaakalya."
"Who is His deity?"
"Prajaapati (the father)," said Yaagyavalkya.

18. When Shaakalya kept silent Yaagyavalkya addressed him thus: "Shaakalya, have these Braahman made you their instrument such as tongs for burning charcoal?"

19-20. "Yaagyavalkya," said Shaakalya, "What Brahm do you know, that you have thus flouted these Vaidik scholars of Kuru and Paanchaal?"
Yaagyavalkya replied: "I know the quarters, with their deities and supports."
Shaakalya said: "If you know the quarters, with their deities and supports, what deity are you identified with in the East?"
"With the deity Sun."
"In what does the Sun find its support?"
"The eye."
"In what does the eye find its support?"
"Colors, for one sees colors with the eye."
"In what do colors find their support?"
"The heart (mind)," said Yaagyavalkya, "for one knows colors through the heart. Therefore it is in the heart that colors find their support."
"Just so, Yaagyavalkya."

21. "Yaagyavalkya," said Shaakalya, "What deity are you identified with in the South?"
"With the deity Yam (the god of justice)."
"In what does Yam find his support?"
"The sacrifice."
"In what does the sacrifice find its support?"
"The remuneration of the priests."
"In what does the remuneration find its support?"
"Faith, for when a man has faith he remunerates the priest. Therefore it is in faith that the remuneration finds its support."
"In what does faith find its support?"
"The heart (mind)," said Yaagyavalkya, "for one knows faith through the heart. Therefore it is in the heart that faith finds its support."
"Just so, Yaagyavalkya."

22. "Yaagyavalkya," said Shaakalya, "What deity are you identified with in the West?"
"With the deity Varun (the god of rain)."
"In what does Varun find his support?"
"Water."
"In what does water find its support?"
"Semen."
"In what does semen find its support?"
"The heart," said Yaagyavalkya. "therefore they say of a new-born child who resembles his father that it seems as if he has sprung from his father's heart - that he has been created of his father's heart, as it were. Therefore it is in the heart that semen finds its support."
"Just so, Yaagyavalkya."

23. "Yaagyavalkya," said Shaakalya, "What deity are you identified with in the North?"
"With the deity Som (the Moon and the creeper of that name)."
"In what does Som find its support?"
"The initiatory rite."
"In what does initiation find its support?"
"Truth. Therefore they say to the one who is initiated: "Speak the truth"; for it is in the truth that initiation finds its support."
"In what does the truth find its support?"
"The heart," said Yaagyavalkya, "for through the heart one knows the truth; therefore it is in the heart that the truth finds its support."
"Just so, Yaagyavalkya."

24. "What deity," said Shaakalya, "are you identified with in the fixed direction (i.e. overhead)?"
"With the deity Fire."
"In what does fire find its support?"
"Speech."
"In what does speech find its support?"
"The heart."
"In what does the heart find its support?"

25. "You ghost," said Yaagyavalkya, "that you think that the heart should be elsewhere than in ourselves! If it were elsewhere than in ourselves, dogs would eat this body or birds tear it to pieces."

26. "In what do the body and the heart find their support?" asked Shaakalya.
"In the Praan."
"In what does the Praan find its support?"
"In the Apaan."
"In what does the Apaan find its support?"
"In the Vyaan."
"In what does the Vyaan find its support?"
"In the Udaan."
"In what does the Udaan find its support?"
"In the Samaan."
Here the Upanishad itself states - This self is That which has been described as "Not this, not this." [Neti, Neti] It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered, for It never feels pain and never suffers injury.
Yaagyavalkya said: "These are the eight abodes, the eight organs of vision, the eight deities and the eight beings. "Now I ask you about that Person who is to be known only from the Upanishad, who definitely projects those beings and again withdraws them into Himself and who is at the same time transcendental. If you cannot clearly explain Him to me, your head shall fall off?"
Shaakalya did not know Him; his head fell off; and robbers snatched away his bones, mistaking them for something else.

27. Then Yaagyavalkya said: "Venerable Braahman, Whosoever among you wishes to question me may now do so, or all of you may. Or whosoever among you desires it, I shall question him, or I shall question all of you. But the Braahman did not dare.

28. Yaagyavalkya interrogated them with the following verses:
1. As is a mighty tree, so indeed is a man: this is true. His hairs are the leaves and his skin is the outer bark.
2. From his skin blood flows and from the bark, sap. Therefore when a man is Wounded blood flows, as sap from a tree that is injured.
3. His flesh is its inner bark and his nerves are its innermost layer of bark, which is tough. His bones lie within, as does the wood of the tree. His marrow resembles the pith.
4. A tree, when it is felled, springs again from its root in a new form; from what root, tell me, does a man spring forth after he is cut off by death?
5. Do not say: From the semen, for that is produced from the living man. A tree springs from the seed as well; after it is dead it certainly springs again.
6. If a tree is pulled up with its root, it will not spring again. From what root, tell me, does a mortal spring forth after he is cut off by death?
7. If you think he is indeed born, I say: No, he is born again. Now who should again bring him forth? The Upanishad states: It is Brahm, which is absolute Knowledge and Bliss, the ultimate goal of him who offers wealth and also of him who has realized Brahm and stands firm in It.

 

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
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Updated on 10/05/13