Prasna Upanishad: Question II

1. Then Bhargava Vaidarbhi asked him, 'Blessed one, how many gods maintain the creature? Which ones illuminate this?16 And again, which is the finest of them?'

2. He told him, 'Space is the god: so are air, fire, water, earth, speech, mind, the eye and the ear. They illuminate it, and proclaim: "We establish and maintain this shaft."

3. 'Breath, the finest, said to them, "Do not fall into delusion. I establish and maintain this shaft, dividing myself into five."

4. 'They did not believe it. In its pride, it made to move upward. When it moved upward, all the others moved upward, and when it settled down, they all settled down. Just as, when the king bee moves upward, all the bees move up with him, and when it settles down, they all settle down, so do speech, mind, the eye and the ear. Satisfied, they praise the breath:

5. "It bums as fire; it is the sun; It is Parjanya Maghavan; it is air; It is earth, matter, the god, Both being and not-being, and that which is immortal.

6. "Like spokes in a chariot's wheel-hub Everything is based in breath: Re, yajus and saman verses, Sacrifice, royalty (ksatra) and priesthood (brahman).

7. "As Prajapati, you move in the womb: It is you who are reborn; The creatures bring tribute to you, breath, Who rule over the breaths.

8. "You are the greatest bearer to the gods, The first SVADHA to the ancestors, The true way of the Rsis, The Atharvans and Angirases.

9. "Breath, you are Indra with your brightness; You are Rudra, the protector; You move in middle-air; You are the sun, the lord of lights.

10. "When you rain on them, Creatures breathe easy; They stand with joyful looks, Thinking, "There will be food at our wish".

11. "Breath, you are the Vr5tya, the One Rsi, The eater of all, the lord of being. We are the givers of what is fit to eat: Matarisvan, you are our father.

12. "Make that form of yours, which is established On speech, on the ear, on the eye— Which spreads over mind—gracious; Do not depart.

13. "All this that is established in the triple sky Is in the power of breath: Protect us, as a mother does her children. Establish splendours and wisdom for us."'

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