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Fourth Prapathaka

1. The Valakhilyas, whose passions were subdued, approached him full of amazement and said: “O Saint, we bow before thee; teach thou, for thou art the way, and there is no other for us. What process is there for the elemental Self, by which, after leaving this (identity with the elemental body), he obtains union with the (true) Self?” Pragâpati Kratu said to them:

2. It has been said elsewhere: Like the waves in large rivers, that which has been done before, cannot be turned back, and, like the tide of the sea, the approach of death is hard to stem. Bound by the fetters of the fruits of good and evil, like a cripple; without freedom, like a man in prison; beset by many fears, like one standing before Yama (the judge of the dead); intoxicated by the wine of illusion, like one intoxicated by wine; rushing about, like one possessed by an evil spirit; bitten by the world, like one bitten by a great serpent; darkened by passion, like the night; illusory, like magic; false, like a dream; pithless, like the inside of the Kadali; changing its dress in a moment, like an actor; fair in appearance, like a painted wall, thus they call him; and therefore it is said:

Sound, touch, and other things are like nothings; if the elemental Self is attached to them, it will not remember the Highest Place.

3. This is indeed the remedy for the elemental Self: Acquirement of the knowledge of the Veda, performance of one's own duty, therefore conformity on the part of each man to the order to which he happens to belong. This is indeed the rule for one's own duty, other performances are like the mere branches of a stem. Through it one obtains the Highest above, otherwise one falls downward. Thus is one's own duty declared, which is to be found in the Vedas. No one belongs truly to an order (asrama) who transgresses his own law. And if people say, that a man does not belong to any of the orders, and that he is an ascetic, this is wrong, though, on the other hand, no one who is not an ascetic brings his sacrificial works to perfection or obtains knowledge of the Highest Self. For thus it is said:

By ascetic penance goodness is obtained, from goodness understandino, is reached, from understanding the Self is obtained, and he who has obtained that, does not return.

4. “Brahman is,” thus said one who knew the science of Brahman; and this penance is the door to Brahman, thus said one who by penance had cast off all sin. The syllable Om is the rnanifest greatness of Brahman, thus said one who well grounded (in Brahman) always meditates on it. Therefore by knowledge, by penance, and by meditation is Brahman gained. Thus one goes beyond Brahman (Hiranyagarbha), and to a divinity higher than the gods; nay, he who knows this, and worships Brahman by these three (by knowledge, penance, and meditation), obtains bliss imperishable, infinite, and unchangeable. Then freed from those things (the senses of the body, &c.) by which he was filled and overcome, a mere charioteer, he obtains union with the Self.

5. The Valakhilyas said: “O Saint, thou art the teacher, thou art the teacher. What thou hast said, has been properly laid up in our mind. Now answer us a further question: Agni, Vayu, Aditya, Time (kala) which is Breath (prâna), Food (anna), Brahma, Rudra, Vishnu, thus do some meditate on one, some on another. Say which of these is the best for us.” He said to them:

6. “These are but the chief manifestations of the highest, the immortal, the incorporeal Brahman. He who is devoted to one, rejoices here in his world (presence), thus he said. Brahman indeed is all this, and a man may meditate on, worship, or discard also those which are its chief manifestations. With these (deities) he proceeds to higher and higher worlds, and when all things perish, he becomes one with the Purusha, yes, with the Purusha.


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