1. OM. The fire-building of the ancients was a sacrifice of
brahman: so after building the fires, the patron of the sacrifice
should meditate on the self. Then the sacrifice becomes full
and complete. Who is the one that should be meditated
upon? The one called 'breath'. To explain further:
2. A king called Brhadratha established his eldest son in
the kingship: then, considering that this body is not eternal,
he attained dispassion and went out to the forest. There,
embarking on the highest asceticism, he stood, arms held
upwards, gazing at the sun. At the end of a thousand days,
there came into the presence of the sage the blessed
6akayanya, a knower of the self, seeming to blaze with
energy like a fire without smoke- He said to the king, 'Stand
up, stand up! Choose a boon!'
Brhadratha paid homage to him, and said, 'Blessed one,
I am not a knower of the self. We hear that you are a
knower of the entity: so teach us.'
'This boon was of old difficult to achieve: do not ask
the question, Aiksvaka. Choose other desires.'
Touching Sakayanya's feet with his head, the king uttered
3. 'This body comes into being from sexual intercourse,
and, devoid of understanding, comes out through the gate
of urine into a Hell-realm.6 It is constructed of bones, smeared
with flesh, bound up with hide, filled with faeces, urine,
bile, phlegm, marrow, fat, marrow of the flesh, and many
other impurities. When one exists in such a body—
Blessed one, in this body, an evil-smelling insubstantial
mass of bone, skin, muscle, marrow, seed, blood, mucus,
tears, water of the eyes, faeces, urine, wind, bile, phlegm,
what is the use of indulging in desires? In this body, afflicted
with desire, anger, greed, delusion, fear, despondency, envy,
being apart from what one likes and being with what one
does not like, hunger, thirst, old age, death, disease, grief
and so on, what is the use of indulging in desires?
4. 'We see that all this is transient, like the gadflies,
mosquitoes and so on, and the grass and trees that grow
up and perish.
'But what of these? There are others yet—great archers,
some of them wheel-turning monarchs, Sudyumna,Bhuridyumna, Indradyumna, Kuvalayasva, Yauvanasva,
Vadhryasva, Asvapati, Sasabindu, Hariscandra, Ambarisa,
Nanaktu, Saryati, Yayati, Anaranya, Uksasena and so on.
Kings Marutta, Bharata and others, though their whole tribes
of relations looked on, left their great splendour and departed
from this world to that world.
'But what of these? There are others yet. We see the
demise of gandharvas, demons, yaksas, ogres, ghosts, imps,
vampires, serpents, ghouls and so on,
'But what of these? Among the rest, there is the drying
up of great oceans, the tumbling down of mountains, the
precession of the Pole Star, the cutting of the ropes of
wind, the submergence of the earth, the departure of gods
from their place. In a samsara like this, what is the use of
indulging in desires, when we see that the one who depends
on them returns here again and again? You must lift me out
of it. In samsara I am like a frog in a sealed well. Blessed
one, you are our way out. You are our way out.'