Prasna Upanishad: Question I

1. OM. Sukesan Bharadvaja, $aibya Satyakama, Sauryayanin Gargya, Kausalya Asvalayana, Bhargava Vaidarbhi and Kabandhin Katyayana, intent on brahman, established in brahman, seeking the supreme brahmin, approached the blessed Pippalada, fuel in hand, thinking, 'He will teach us all about it'.

2. The rsi said to them, 'Live with us another year in asceticism, celibacy and faith: then ask whatever questions you wish, and if we know we will teach you all about it.'

3. Then Kabandhin Katyayana approached him and asked, 'Blessed one, from where are all these creatures (praja) born?'

4. He told him, 'Prajapati desired offspring (praja). He raised heat.2 Raising heat, he gave rise to a couple,3 matter and breath, thinking, 'They will produce offspring of many kinds for me,'

5. 'The sun is breath; matter is the moon. Matter is all this, both the shaped and the unshaped. So shape is matter.

6. 'When the sun, rising, enters the eastern direction, it holds the living beings4 in the east in its rays. When it illuminates the southern, the western," the northern direction, the nadir, the zenith, the intermediate directions, everything, it holds all living beings in its rays.

7. 'This same breath, Vaisvanara, which takes all forms, rises as fire. It has been said in a verse:

8. '. . . Of all forms, yellow, all knowing, The supreme goal, the one light, giving heat. Thousand-rayed, existing in a hundred forms, The sun rises as the breath of creatures.

9. 'The year is Prajapati: it has two paths, the southern and the northern. Those who worship sacrifice and merit as action7 win the moon as their world. They come back again. So Rsis, desiring offspring, go to the south. This, the way to the ancestors, is matter.

10. 'But seeking the self by the northern path, by asceticism, celibacy, faith, and knowledge, they win the sun. This is the support of living beings:8 this is the immortal, the fearless; this is the supreme goal. From this they do not come back. So this is cessation. There is a verse about it:

11. 'They call him the five-footed father, with twelve aspects, In the upper half of the sky, possessing the land: Others call him the shining one in the lower half, Fixed on a chariot with seven wheels and six spokes.

12. 'The month is Prajapati. Its dark half is matter, its bright half breath. So the Rsis perform sacrifice in the bright half, and other folk in the other half.

13. 'Day-and-night is Prajapati. Its day is breath, its night matter. Those who join in lovemaking by day spill their breath, but when folk join in lovemaking by night, that is chastity.

14. 'Food is Prajapati. From it comes seed, and from that all creatures are produced.

15. 'Those who practise Prajapati's vow Give rise to a couple. The world of Brahma belongs to them, In whom asceticism, chastity and truth are establish

16. 'The stainless world of Brahma belongs to them, In whom there is no crookedness, falsehood or artifice

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