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Ch-3-Prajaapati and Indra

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Chhaandogya Upanishad

Prajaapati and Indra

This story teaches that it is not the external shape or form that distinguishes a god from a demon, but it is the inner attitude of a person that decides his class and category. Both Indra, the king of gods and Virochan, the leader of demons heard Prajaapati declare one day, "Aatman is untouched by old age, death and sorrow, hunger or thirst etc, He does not desire anything. He who understands Aatmaa becomes a master of all the worlds." So both of them decided to seek that knowledge and requested Prajaapati only to teach them that. Prajaapati asked both to stay with him for 32 years observing strict Brahmcharya.

After the 32 years passed, Prajaapati said - "One must search out and must try to understand the Self or Aatmaa which is free from sin, old age, death, grief, hunger and thirst, with true desires (Sat-Kaam), and true will (Sat-Sankalp). Then only he will obtain eternal bliss and immortality."
Prajaapati said - "Adorn yourself well; dress yourself well; clean yourself well and then look at yourself in the basin of water." Indra did so.

Prajapati said- "O Indra, What do you see?"
He replied - "I behold myself in the basin of water well-adorned, well-dressed and clean.
Prajaapati said - "That is the Self, the Immortal, the Fearless that is Brahm."

Raajaa Bali was satisfied with this answer so he went to his kingdom and taught his people that this self is to be glorified in order to control and enjoy both the worlds etc.

Indra also went back but he was not satisfied with this instruction. He reflected within himself - "The Aatmaa also will be blind, if the body is blind; lame, if the body is lame; one-eyed, if the body is one-eyed; crippled, if the body is crippled; and will perish if the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this doctrine." So he again went to Prajaapati and expressed his doubts.
Prajaapati now asked Indra to stay with him for another 32 years.

After 32 years Prajaapati and said - "He who is great and wanders like a Lord in the dream consciousness is the Aatmaa. The Self that dreams is the Immortal, Fearless, Brahm."
Indra was not satisfied with this explanation also and expressed his doubt that in the dream also there is suffering etc, and so, The fearless, sinless Aatmaa cannot undergo sufferings.

Indra was not satisfied with this doctrine also. He reflected again, "Though the dream self is not blind when the body is blind, not one-eyed when the body is one-eyed, is not destroyed when the body is destroyed yet it becomes conscious of pain and sheds tears even in dream. Therefore I see no good in this doctrine too. So he again went to Prajaapati and expressed his doubts.

Prajaapati was kind enough now to ask Indra to stay only for 5 years more.
After 5 years, at the end of this stay of 101 years, Prajaapati said - "Now you deserve the highest truth. This body is a perishable piece of matter. This is the mortal abode of the immortal, bodyless spirit which is beyond all dualities. Like the wind, the cloud, lightning etc, body takes shape and form and perishes once the Aatmaa leaves it. The Aatmaa goes wandering freely in the infinite worlds. Aatmaa is the truth and the final repository of all existence."

Now Indra was satisfied. he went back and imparted this knowledge to his subjects and they learnt that all that leads man towards this knowledge is good and all that leads man away from it is evil. Indra meditated on Brahm and attained Eternal Bliss and Immortality through Brahm-Gyaan or knowledge of the Brahm.

Prajapati said - "The Self that enjoys deep sleep is the Immortal, Fearless, Brahm."

Indra again reflected, "In deep sleep there is utter annihilation. I do not get any intuitional knowledge, I see no good in this doctrine also." So he again went to Prajaapati.
Prajaapati said - "O Indra, This body is mortal. The embodied Self is subject to pleasure and pain. The eye is the instrument of seeing. The nose is the instrument of smelling. The ear is the instrument of hearing; but the Aatmaa or Brahm is the silent witness (Saakshee). He is immortal, fearless. He is distinct from the three bodies, the three Avasthaa or states of consciousness the mind, body and senses."


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 07/27/12