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Second Question

1. Then Bhargava Vaidarbhi asked him: “Sir, How many gods keep what has thus been created, how many manifest this, and who is the best of them?

2. He replied: “The ether is that god, the wind, fire, water, earth, speech, mind, eye, and ear. These when they have manifested (their power), content and say: We (each of us) support this body and keep it.

3. “Then Prâna (breath, spirit, life), as the best, said to them: Be not deceived, I alone, dividing myself fivefold, support this body and keep it.

4. “They were incredulous; so he, from pride, did as if he were going out from above. Thereupon, as he went out, all the others went out, and as he returned, all the others returned. As bees go out when their queen goes out, and return when she returns, thus (did) speech, mind, eye, and car; and, being satisfied, they praise Prâna, saying:

5. “He is Agni (fire), he shines as Surya (sun), he is Parganya (rain), the powerful (Indra), he is Vayu (wind), he is the earth, he is matter, he is God—he is what is and what is not, and what is immortal.

6. “As spokes in the nave of a wheel, everything is fixed in Prâna, the verses of the Rig-veda, Yagur-veda, Sama-veda, the sacrifice, the Kshatriyas, and the Brahmans.

7. “As Pragâpati (lord of creatures) thou movest about in the womb, thou indeed art born again. To thee, the Prâna, these creatures bring offerings, to thee who dwellest with the other prânas (the organs of sense).

8. “Thou art the best carrier for the Gods, thou art the first offering to the Fathers. Thou art the true work of the Rishis, of the Atharvangiras.

9. “O Prâna, thou art Indra by thy light, thou art Rudra, as a protector; thou movest in the sky, thou art the sun, the lord of lights.

10. “When thou showerest down rain, then, O Prâna, these creatures of thine are delighted, hoping that there will be food, as much as they desire.

11. “Thou art a Vratya, O Prâna, the only Rishi, the consumer of everything, the good lord. We are the givers of what thou hast to consume, thou, O Matarisva, art our father.

12. “Make propitious that body of thine which dwells in speech, in the ear, in the eye, and which pervades the mind; do not go away!

13. “All this is in the power of Prâna, whatever exists in the three heavens. Protect us like a mother her sons, and give us happiness and wisdom.

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