Author Topic: CHAPTER 6 - SECTION 1  (Read 228 times)

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CHAPTER 6 - SECTION 1
« on: April 06, 2019, 04:41:54 PM »
6.1.1. It has been stated that Gayatri is the vital force. But why is Gayatri the vital force, and not the organs such as that of speech?
Because the vital force is the oldest and greatest, which the organs are not. How is it the oldest and greatest? The present section is introduced to settle this point. Or, meditation on the vital force alone as the ‘Uktha,’ ‘Yajus,’ ‘Saman,’ ‘Ksatra,’ etc. has been described, although there are other things such as the eye. The present section gives only the reason, which is its connection with the preceding chapter, on account of its immediate sequence. But this section is not a part of that chapter. These two chapters being of the nature of a supplement, such meditations on the vital force, with specific results of their own, as have not been mentioned before, have to be described; this is what the Sruti intends to do.

He who knows that which is the oldest and greatest, i.e. has the attributes of priority in age and greatness --- what is is will be presently mentioned --- surely becomes the oldest and greatest among his relatives. The particles ‘ha’ and ‘vai’ are emphatic. The pupil, tempted by this mention of the result, is eager to put his question, when the teacher says to him: The vital force is indeed the oldest and The vital force is indeed the oldest and greatest. But how is one to know that it is such, since at conception all the organs (of the embryo) are equally connected with the formative elements contributed by the parents? The answer is that nevertheless the seed, if lifeless, will not develop; which means that the vital force begins to function earlier than the eye and other organs; hence it is the oldest in age. Besides, the vital force goes on fostering the embryo from the moment of conception, and it is only after it (the vital force) has begun to function that the eye and other organs begin their work. Hence the vital force is legitimately the oldest of the organs. But one may be the olest member in a family without being the greatest, because of his lack of good qualities; and the second, or the youngest member may be the greatest by reason of his superior qualities, but not the oldest. Not so, however, with the vital force. It is indeed the oldest and greatest. How is it known to be the greatest? It will be shown through the ensuing conversation. In any case, he who knows, or meditates upon the vital force as the oldest and greatest, becomes the oldest and greatest among his relatives, by virtue of meditation on a thing that is oldest and greatest, as well as among those other than his relatives, of whom he wants to be the oldest and greatest. The man who meditates upon the vital force as the oldest and greatest attains this result. It may be questioned how a person can be oldest as will, since it depends on age. But the answer is that there is nothing wrong in it, since ‘being the oldest’ here means functioning (before the rest) as the vital force does.

6.1.2. He who knows the Vasistha becomes the Vasistha among his relatives. The result is according to the meditation. He also becomes the Vasistha among those other than his relatives, of whom he wants to be the Vasistha. ‘Then please tell me what this Vasistha is.’ The organ of speech is indeed the Vasistha. The derivative meaning of the word is ‘that which helps one to dwell, or covers one splendidly.’ For people who have the gift of speech become rich and live in splendour; or the word may be derived from the root ‘Vas,’ meaning ‘to cover,’ for speaks overcome others through their eloquence. Hence by realising the organ of speech as the Vasistha one becomes such. The result is in accordance with the realisation.

6.1.3. He who knows Pratistha, that which has the attribute of steadiness --- lit. that by means of which one lives steadily --- has this result: He lives steadily in smooth places and times, as also in difficult or inaccessible places and difficult times such as those of famine. ‘If it is so, please tell me what that Pratistha is.’ The eye indeed is Pratistha. How? For by seeing them through the eye one lives steadily in difficult as well as smooth places and times. Hence the results are quite appropriate; He who knows it as such lives steadily in difficult as well as smooth places and times.

6.1.4. He who knows Sampad, that which has the attribute of prosperity, gets this result: He attains whatever object he desires. But what is it that has got this attribute? The ear indeed is Sampad. How is the ear endowed with this attribute? For all Vedas are acquired when one has the ear, because only one who has the organ of hearing can study them, and objects of desire depend on the performance of rites that are enjoined by the Vedas. Therefore the ear is possessed of prosperity. Hence the result is in accordance with the meditation: He who knows it to be such attains whatever object he desires.

6.1.5. He who knows the abode becomes the abode of his relatives as well as of other people. What is that abode? The Manas indeed is the abode of the organs and objects. The latter become objects of enjoyment for the self only when they get an abode in the Manas; and the organs start and stop their work in accordance with the deliberations of the Manas. Hence it is the abode of the organs. Therefore the results are according to the meditation: He who knows it to be such becomes the abode of his relatives as well as of (other) people.

6.1.6. He who knows Prajati is enriched with children and animals. The seed has this attribute; the word ‘seed’ refers to the organ of generation. The result is in keeping with the meditation: He who knows it to be such is enriched with children and animals.

6.1.7. These organs, that of speech and the rest, disputing over --- lit. giving contradictory accounts of ---- their respective greatness, each claiming that it was the greatest, went to Brahman, or Prajapati denoted by the word ‘Brahman,’ and said to him,’ ‘Which of us is the Vasistha --- (best) lives and overcomes others?’ He, Brahman, being asked by them, said, ‘That one of you will be the Vasistha, who departing from the body from among yourselves, people consider this body far more wretched than before’ --- for the body, being an aggregate of many impure things, is wretched even while a person is alive; it will be more so then. This is said for creating a feeling of disgust in us. Prajapati, although he knew it, did not say, ‘This is the Vasistha,’ to avoid offending the rest.

6.1.8. Being thus addressed by Brahman, the organs went out one by one to try their power. Of them the organ of speech went out of the body first. Then after staying a whole year out it came back and said, ‘How did you manage to live without me?’ Thus addressed, they said, ‘We lived just as in the world dumb people do, without speaking through the organ of speech, but living, doing the vital function, through the vital force, seeing, doing the function of vision, through the eye, similarly, hearing through the ear, knowing, considering what should or should not be done, and so on, through the mind and having children through the organ of generation.’ Being thus answered by the organs, the organ of speech, realising that it was not the Vasistha in the body, entered.

6.1.9. – 6.1.12. Likewise the eye went out, etc. All this is to be explained as before. The ear, the mind, the organ of generation.

6.1.13. Then as the vital force was about to go out, the vocal and other organs were immediately dislodged from their places. This is being illustrated by an example: It uprooted those organs from their places, just as in life a great, large-sized fine, noble-featured, horse from Sind, the place of his origin, simultaneously pulls out the pegs to which his feet are tied, when the rider mounts on him to test him. They, the organ of speech etc., said, ‘Please do not go out, sir, for we cannot live without you.’ (The vital force said:) ‘If you have thus understood my eminence, then, as I am the chief here, give me tribute.’ This conversation among the organs is an imaginary one devised to teach how a wise man should test the greatness of his peers. It is thus that a wise man finds out who is the greatest among them. That mode of testing is presented in the form of a conversation; for otherwise it is absurd to think that each one of the organs, which work together, can actually go out by turns for the space of a year, and so on. Therefore, only the wise man who wants to know, for purposes of meditation, which is the greatest of the organs, reasons in this way. The organs, when demanded tribute, agreed saying, ‘All right.’

6.1.14. The organ of speech came forward first to offer the tribute and said, ‘That attribute of the Vasistha which I have is yours. With that you are the Vasistha.’ The eye: ‘That attribute of steadiness which I have is yours. You are that steadiness.’ The rest is similar. The other organs gave one by one their attributes of prosperity, abode and generation. (The vital force said:) ‘If it is so, you have handsomely paid me tribute. Now tell me, endowed with such attributes that I am, what will be my food and my dress?’ The others said, ‘Whatever is known in the world as food, including dogs, worms, insects and mouths whatever is food for dogs etc., and with that every food that is eaten by other creatures --- is all your food.’ We are here enjoined to look upon everything as the food of the vital force.

Some say that he who knows the food of the vital force can eat anything with impunity. This is wrong, for it has been forbidden by other scriptures.
Objection: May this not be an alternative to them (Meaning that ordinary people must abide by that restriction, but he who knows the food of the vital force may eat anything.)?
Reply: No, for this is not an injunction in favour of promiscuous eating. The passage, ‘He never happens to eat anything that is not food,’ is merely a eulogy on the meditation enjoined about regarding everything as the food of the vital force, for it should be treated as a part of that injunction. It has no power to contradict what has been enjoined by other scriptures, for it has quite a different meaning (viz to extol the above meditation). What is sought to be enjoined here is the idea that everything is the food of the vital force, not that one should eat everything. Your assumption that the eating of everything is allowable is totally false, for there is no authority to support it.

Objection: The man who knows about the food of the vital force is identified with the latter, and as such everything can be regarded as his food; hence the eating of everything is surely allowable in his case.
Reply: No, for anything and everything cannot be one’s food. It is true that this sage is identified with the vital force, but he possesses a body through which he has attained his knowledge, and the eating of every kind of food such as those of worms, insects and gods is incongruous with it (Nobody can possibly want to eat anything and everything.). Hence it is meaningless to declare in that connection that the eating of all sorts of food is free from blame, for the blame in question would never arise.

Objection: But as identified with the vital force, he does eat the food of even worms, insects, etc.
Reply: True, but there is no scriptural prohibition regarding it. So it would be quite in order, like the Palasa flower (Butea Frondosa), which is naturally red. Hence it would be meaningless to say that he is allowed to eat everything as the vital force, for the eating of everything would not in that case amount to a blame. But the prohibition is with regard to the sage in relation to a particular body, and no exception has been made in his favour. Therefore he will certainly incur blame if he transgresses that prohibition, for the passage, ‘He never happens to eat anything that is not food,’ has a different meaning.
Moreover, the meditation on everything as the food of the vital force is being enjoined here not for the vital force as associated with the body of a Brahmana etc., but for the vital force in general. Just as, although everything may be food for the vital force in a general way, some kind of food helps to sustain the life of certain creatures, as poison does for the worm born in it, but it would do palpable harm in the form of death etc. to others in spite of its being the food of the vital force, similarly, although everything is food for the vital force, yet, if it eats forbidden food while associated with the body of a Brahmana etc., it will certainly incur blame. Therefore it is entirely misleading to think that the eating of forbidden food is harmless.
‘And water that is drunk will stand for your dress.’ Here too we are enjoined to look upon water as the dress of the vital force. It cannot of course be used as dress. Therefore the natural act of drinking water should be meditated upon as dressing the vital force. He who knows the food of the vital force to be such --- that everything is its food --- never happens to eat anything that is not food. Even if he eats something that should not be eaten, that too becomes regular food, and he is not touched by the blame due to it. It is a eulogy on this meditation, as we have said. Similarly he never happens to accept anything that is not food. Even if he accepts something that is forbidden, an elephant, for example, that too becomes the kind of food that it is allowable to accept. There too he is not touched by the blame of accepting something that is unacceptable --- which is also said by way of eulogy. The result of the meditation, however, is identification with the vital force, for what has just been stated is not meant to be a result of the meditation, but simply a eulogy on it.

Objection: Why should not this itself be the result?
Reply: It cannot, for he who sees the vital force as his own self attains identity with it as its result. And since he is identified with the vital force, and has thus becomes the self of all, even a forbidden food becomes allowable food; similarly even unacceptable gifts becomes acceptable. This is a eulogy (As a matter of fact, such acts are just as much forbidden for this sage as for any other person.) on the meditation, taking the acts just as they occur in life. Hence that passage has not the force of an injunction directed to a definite result.
Since water is the dress of the vital force, therefore wise men, Brahmanas, who are versed in the Vedas sip a little water just before and after eating. What do they mean by it? This is being stated: They regard it as removing the nakedness of the vital force. It is a fact that a person giving a dress to another thinks that he is removing tha nakedness of the latter; and it has already been said that water is the dress of the vital force. The passage means that while drinking water one should think that one is giving a dress to the vital force.

Objection: But a person sips water just before and after meals with the objects of purification. If that also means removing the nakedness of the vital force, the act of sipping would have a double effect. But one and the same act of sipping should not have a double effect. It it is for purification, it is not for dressing the vital force, and vice verse. Under the circumstances there should be another sipping of water to dress the vital force.
Reply: No, for it can be explained by the twofoldness of the action. These are two separate actions. The sipping of water by one before and after eating enjoined by the Smrti is for the sake of purification, and is simply an act; there the purification does not require any meditation etc.
Here we are enjoined to look upon the water that forms part of the act of sipping as dress for the vital force. But if that is done, it will not contradict the purpose of purification attaching to the act of sipping, for it will be a different act (from meditation). Therefore in the act of sipping water before and after eating, we are simply enjoined to meditate upon the water as being the dress of the vital force. It is an injunction, since it is not known from any other source.
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