Basic Spiritual Primer 8 (Inward Contemplation of Reality)


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We always think in terms of something. That something is what we call life, or at least an aspect of life. We never see at any time our own mind contemplating its own self. The inward contemplation of Universal Reality is the theme of this Primer.

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Basic Spiritual Primer 8 (Inward Contemplation of Reality)

  1. 1. Basic Spiritual Primer 8 (From Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Sukla-Yajur-Veda) IntroductionUpanishad texts are records of experiences and explanations of Masterswho set themselves in tune with ultimate Truth. Upanishad means a secretknowledge, not to be imparted to the uninitiated or to the common public who arewedded to the exoteric approach only, who are totally conditioned in their life, andwho cannot rise above the bias of sense life and social regulations.Hence the Upanishad wisdom was kept very secret. It was never imparted toanyone except the near disciples who went to the Masters for training andunderwent discipline for a protracted number of years, and made themselves fit toreceive this knowledge which is unconditional.‘Sit near’—that is the literal meaning of the term, Upaniṣhad. Sit near theGuru, the Master, and receive the wisdom by attunement, at-one-moment of being.This is the peculiarity of Upaniṣhad knowledge. It is but a wisdom that iscommunicated to the soul by the soul. It is a conversation between soul and soul. Itis a light that is to mingle with another light. Hence, the Upanishads were kept asgreatly guarded secrets.This Upaniṣhad should be studied with great reverence and holiness ofattitude. It is Spirit that manifests itself in language, not merely a word that isspoken. Such is this Upaniṣhad, the Brihadaranyaka Upaniṣhad.The hymns, known as the Samhitas in the Veda, are applied for twopurposes for meditation, as well as for ritual. When they become instrumentsof meditation or contemplation, they are known as the Aranyakas; and whenthey become the guidelines for action, ritual, sacrifice, and worship, they arecalled the Brahmanas.Aranyakas, tell us that a sacrifice need not necessarily be outward; it canalso be inward; and the inward is more powerful than the outward. Theritual that is performed by the mind, say the Aranyakas, is more puissant in theproduction of effect than the ritual that is outwardly performed through the sacredfire, or in the holy altar.The entire range of the Aranyakas is filled with this meaning, that mentalaction is a greater action than outward action. Its capacity is greater thanexternal activity. Thought is more potent than word and deed. This principle iscarried to its logical limit in the Upanishad.We always think in terms of something. That something is what we calllife, or at least an aspect of life. Since every thought is an involvement in a
  2. 2. particular aspect of outward existence, thought never finds time to understanditself.We never see at any time our own mind contemplating its own self. Italways contemplates other persons, other things and other aspects of life. There isa peculiar proclivity of thought by which it rushes outward into the objects ofsensual life, externally, into persons and things, and never can know what it isitself.How can the mind know what another thing is when it cannot know what ititself is? If you cannot know what you are, how can you know what others are?But this is life a great confusion and a mess and a conglomeration ofinvolvements in the objects of sense.We are to free ourselves from this mess of involvement, through a deeperdiagnostic technique applied to our own life; and this is the purpose of Upaniṣhad.The difficulty of this achievement is well-known. Just as you cannot peel yourown skin from the body, you cannot dissociate yourself from the conditions of life.But such a feat has to be performed in this super-psychic technique known asUpaniṣhadic contemplation of ‘being’.The beginning of the Brihadaranyaka Upaniṣhad is, thus, a rise of thoughtinto the inward principles of outward sacrifice. What is a sacrifice; what is aritual; what is a performance; and what is an action? When this is understood in itsprinciple, its inward significance, it becomes commensurate with humanthought; it becomes inseparable from mind; it becomes a part of one’s psychic life.The Upaniṣhad is a revelation of the inner principles of life as manifest inactions of a variegated nature. The Vedic sacrifice, or, for the matter of that,any kind of religious performance, is a symbol, ultimately, which is the point ofdeparture in all esoteric approaches to religion. External religion is symbolic ofan internal principle which is true religion, towards which the Upaniṣhaddrives our minds.The activities of human life are symbolic in the sense that they are notrepresentative of the whole Truth, but manifest only certain aspects ofTruth.We always think that an action is motivated by an individual or a group ofindividuals towards a particular relative end which is visible to the eye andconceivable by the mind, but never do we imagine for a moment that there can befarther reaches of the tentacles of this action, beyond the reach of the human eyeand mind and our little action can really be a cosmic deed, that God can see whatwe do, and the whole universe can vibrate with the little word but that isdifficult thing for us to understand; and the Upaniṣhad explains it to bring tothe purview of our consciousness these inward secrets of outward action,telling us that the outward sacrifice is symbolic of an inward contemplationof Universal Reality.
  3. 3. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Chapter 1, Section 3From the cosmic creative process and cosmic manifestations in thepreceding two sections, this section of the Upanishad now takes us to moresubtle subjects and nearer to our own selves and to more intelligible forms ofmanifestation as Prana, mind, senses, etc.The senses are internally operative, even as gods are externally operative.The gods are the superintending principles over the senses and the mind, etc., ofthe individuals. If the gods were not to perform their functions, the senseswould not act; just as, if the electricity is not to flow from the power house, theelectric bulbs are not going to shine.The cosmic forces are responsible for the operation and action of allindividual principles including the mind, the Prana, and the senses. But asan individual we have lost all contact with the cosmic forces. We have noconsciousness of even the existence of these divinities.When we look at things with our eyes, we never for a moment imagine ourconnection with the Sun, for instance. We are oblivious of the existence ofthese superintending principles and we are intent merely upon the immediateaction of the senses in respect of the visible objects. Why is it that the individualhas become so weak, so powerless, so much deprived of energy? This is thesubject of the Section that follows, in the form of a story, an analogy. Analogy – War between Angels and DemonsThere was a war that took place between the Asuras and the Devas, thedemons and the celestials. There was a battle going on, and the Asuras wantedto overcome the Devas, the gods. The gods thought: “We shall contemplatethe Supreme Being in the form of Omkāra, meditate and derive energy, andthen overcome the Asuras.”So, they started this contemplation. They employed the various senses,including the mind, as means of contemplation—the eyes, the ears, thenose and the various senses, and finally the mind itself. When thesemeditations were attempted by the gods through these instruments of action, thesenses and the mind, the Asuras came to know of this fact, and attacked them andthe gods were defeated.So, the symbology of the story is that you cannot contact Reality eitherwith the senses or with the mind, because of the Asura attack. The Asura isthe urge for separation, the impulse for externalization, the desire of the senses tocome in contact with objects. The gods were not successful because the Asurasattacked them in this way, from every side, but they succeeded when they
  4. 4. employed not the senses or the ordinary mind for the purpose of thiscontemplation but the internal prana which was in tune with the CosmicPrana, which means to say that we become successful only in so far as we are inharmony with the Cosmic Prana and we are defeated in so far as we are away fromit.When speech, as the Upanishad tells us in this connection, was rid of theAsuric (demonic) element in it, it ceased to be speech and became Agni orFire, the Deity itself. Likewise, every sense-organ became the Deity; the sensesresumed their original conditions as gods, as they were once upon a time in thepristine position which they occupied in the Virāt, prior to separation intoindividuality.The senses, when they are placed in proper position in the Virāt-Consciousness, are called the gods—they are themselves the gods. Butwhen they are rid of the connection with Virāt, they become ordinary sensesrunning like slaves towards external objects.The Upanishad tells us, by way of this analogy, that it is no use trying tocontact Reality through the senses or the mind; they have to be placed, first,in the context of cosmic universality. This is the meditation to be practised,which means to say that Virāt is to be the Object of meditation.Whenever you contemplate an object located as a part of the Body of theVirāt, then immediately it assumes a divine character, it ceases to be mortaland it assumes a grand beauty which is characteristic of divinity. This is how wehave to meditate really, and not merely look upon some object as if it isoutside.This is the great truth told us by this analogy of the Asuras and the Devasbattling with each other and the gods attempting to overcome the Asurasby means of meditation.I-iii-1: There were two classes of Prajapati’s sons, the gods and the Asuras. Naturally, the gods were fewer, and the Asuras more in number. They vied with each other for the mastery of these worlds. The gods said, ‘Now let us surpass the Asuras in (this) sacrifice through the Udgitha’.There is supposed to be a constant battle going on between the gods andthe demons, the divine and the un-divine forces. The integrating powers arecalled the Devas, and the disintegrating ones are called the Asuras, the gods andthe demons. The gods wanted to overcome the demons.The gods are always less in number, the demons are more in number,implies that within every individual the forces of natural inclinations aremore in number than the restraining forces to subdue the natural
  5. 5. impulses. These urges of nature are designated as divine and un-divine, from theway in which they work, and the purpose for which they work. And, the battlebetween the two forces was waged with the intention on either side for victory.Human body is the battlefield where this perpetual inner war is going onbetween the gods representing the spiritual or restraining forces and thedemons representing the material bound natural inclinations. The seeker of Truthhas to win this war if he has to regain his unity with the Universal Reality.Sage Vyasa also used the historical war in his Epic ‘The Mahabharata’allegorically, and that the real battle alluded to is an inner one: the spiritualwar between wisdom and ignorance, the psychological combat betweenintelligence and mind (sense consciousness), and the bodily war between self-control and harmful sense indulgence.The process of creation is such that each step is a pre-image for thesuccessive step. The ‘Prime Desire’ of God to create is the pre-image for ‘PrimalWord’ the command of Nameless One for ‘Cause and Effect’. The ‘Primal Word’ isthe pre-image for ‘Light’ through which the creation got its ‘Shape and Form’.‘Light’ is a pre-image for ‘Truth’ and ‘Truth’ is a pre-image for ‘Immortality’. Thiscompletes the set of three ‘Primal Attributes’ i.e. Primal Word, Light, Truthand Immortality which are the Warp and Woof of the Real World.With ‘Primal Attributes’ as the pre-image, the objective world was createdby the Warp and Woof of ‘Derived Attributes’ known to us as Satogun,Rajogun, and Tamogun. Besides their usual meaning of Goodness, Passion,Darkness and Delusion; Satogun has pre-image in the ‘Primal Word’ to give ‘Causeand Effect’ to Soul’s Desires and Rajogun (now as Fire Element) provides thedesired ‘Shape and Form’. Truth does not prevail in the objective world andall being ‘False’ is the pre-image for mortality.At the Causal level, we have three ‘Primal Attributes’, Outward Expressionas the ‘Desire of God’ to create and experience His creation, and Illusion(Maya); and these five currents interact with the Five Subtle CreativeElements – Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth resulting in the twenty-fiveprakritis, subtle mind currents that are ultimately reflected in the physical form asdesires, anger, bashfulness, fear, infatuation; running, walking, smelling,contracting, expanding; hunger, thirst, sleep, personality, laziness; vital fluid,blood, fat, urine, saliva; bones, flesh, skin, veins, and hair respectively.The above five currents together with three ‘Derived Attributes’ in thecreative process also attract and absorb the Five Subtle Creative Elementsgiving rise to forty energy currents. The forty energy currents interacting withtwenty-five prakritis give rise to one thousand flame-shaped currents.These one thousand flame-shaped currents along with the main currentconstitute the Central Power-House of the Astral Plane that supports thelower physical and the sub-astral planes.
  6. 6. At the astral level, the One Creative Power, the Word of God, the commandBe It has diversified into one thousand primary flame-shaped currents eachproviding the energy or power responsible for the existence of lower planes.Through the sub-astral regions, these thousand currents continue to actseparately and in innumerable permutations and combinations, slowlydiminishing in effulgence and energy as they interact providing enchanting andendless displays.Five Creative Elements – Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth respectively asdifferentiated forms of Illusion (Maya) are also instrumental in providing thefollowing: • Five outward forms (Space, Gas, Fire and Light, Liquid, Solid) • Five sense organs Mental – Physical (Hearing - Ears, Touch - Skin, Sight - Eyes, Taste - Tongue, Smell - Nose) • Five motor organs Mental – Physical (Speech - Throat, Manipulation - Hands, Mobility - Legs, Procreation - Genital Organs, Elimination – Rectum) • Five characteristics Mental – Physical (Discrimination – Executive, Planning – Procurement, Drive – Mobility, Sensitivity and Feeling – Procreation, Practicality and Grounded-ness – Possession) • Five weaknesses (Ego and pride, Greed and Grasping, Anger, Lust, Attachment – active with the outward tendencies of the creative process) and • Five virtues (Humility, Generosity, Tolerance and Forgiveness, Chastity and Continence, Detachment and Contentment – to be activated by the seeker of Truth by applying restraint to outward tendencies of the creative process and contemplative meditation as prescribed in the Scriptures).At the physical level, the diffused and muted currents enter the sphere of thehuman mind and body as well as the minds and bodies of lower creatures.Through the outward tendencies of the creative process, the mind has firmedits association with time, space, relativity, illusion, causation, creation,preservation, destruction, the pairs of opposites, and all the attributes of humanmind and body.Thus we observe that the creative process has innumerable channels toreveal and express itself and the human urge to externalize and identify with theobjective world and the desire of the senses to come in contact with the objects areall natural impulses and are therefore demonic. That is why the demons aremore in number.Therefore, the gods did not depend entirely on the strength of their arms,but wanted to take the help of a superior power, and that power is the powerof a chant, a Mantra, or a vibration, a magical influence, a weapon which theywanted to employ against the Asuras. The Devas conferred among them, andconcluded:“We shall employ a Mantra, a weapon which is driven, not by any materialelement, but by mere thought, viz., the Udgītha, and the Divine Vital
  7. 7. Power.” The weapon which is mystical, here contemplated to be employed by theDevas, was the Udgītha-Sāman, a Mantra of the Sāma-Veda which is called theUdgītha. “We chant, recite, and generate energy, so that we may overcomethe Asuras, the demons.”Now, who will do the chant? The gods are the presiding deities over thesenses, as far as the individuals are concerned. We have the gods in thecosmos, and gods in our own physical organism. The cosmical counterpart of thesensory powers in the individual are what are called the gods in the heavens. Themacro-cosmos and the micro-cosmos are correlated organically.The powers that are super-mundane, which work as divinities in theheavens, as we hear of spoken in the scriptures, are the superintendingprinciples over the sense-organs. We have gods or presiding principles,divinities, superior energies, presiding over every sense-organ and activity,including the psychological functions.The presiding deity of the eyes is Sūrya (Sun), of the nose are AśvinīKumaras, of the ears are the Dig-Devatas (gods of directions), of the tasteprinciple is Varuṇa (rain god), of the touch principle is Vāyu (Air), and there areAgnī (Speech), Indra (Manipulation), Viṣhnu (Mobility), Prajāpati (Procreation),Mṛityu Death (Elimination), presiding over the organs of action, the Moonpresiding over the mind, Brahma over the intellect, Rudra (Shiva) over the ego,and Viṣhnu over the subconscious and the subliminal psychological layers.All these gods conferred together to work up an energy, or a force, tocounteract the Asura energy. They wanted to chant the Mantra in order that theenergy may be acquired. The chanting of the Mantra, here, does not merely mean averbal recitation through the mouth, or a hearing of it through the ears, a factwhich is made out by the story itself.What is actually meant by the chant of the Mantra is a setting in tune ofoneself with the Powers that are invoked by the Mantra. If this attunement ofthe microcosmic with the macrocosmic is not affected, the Mantra does not work; itcannot produce effect. This is what actually happens when the chant of theSāman is wrongly recited.I-iii-2: They said to the organ of speech, ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the organ of speech and chanted for them. The common good that comes of the organ of speech, it secured for the gods by chanting, while the fine speaking it utilized for itself. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and struck it with evil. That evil is what we come across when one speaks improper things.The speech principle was first asked to chant the Sāman, that is theUdgītha and the speech rose up into action and chanted the Sāman.
  8. 8. But the Asuras came to know of this fact. They knew that a great spiritualdiscipline was being undertaken by the Devas so that they may overcome theAsuras. So, the Asuras thought, “We shall not allow this to happen. We shall notpermit this spiritual discipline to go on. We shall attack it.” When speech waschanting the holy mantra, the Udgitha, Asuras came and attacked, andafflicted the speech with evil, so that the Saman was spoilt.The Upanishad says that this is the reason why often speech that is utteredby people is not beneficent, not worthy, not delicate, but is harsh, barbaric,cruel, cutting and insulting to others. This detrimental negative attitudeadopted by speech often is the effect of the evil influence imprecated upon it by theAsura forces. So, the deity of speech was defeated.We speak good things, and also not good things. We can do some goodthrough the speech; and we can do a great harm also through the speech showsthat the Asuras also are working in us, not merely the gods. We can speak whatis beneficial; we can also speak what is not beneficial. We are capable ofdoing both. So, the chant is defeated. The gods could not achieve theirpurpose.I-iii-3: Then they said to the nose ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the nose and chanted for them. The common good that comes of the nose, it secured for the gods by chanting, while the fine smelling it utilized for itself. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and struck it with evil. That evil is what we come across when one smells improper things.Then the gods told the deity of the nose, “You chant the mantra; speech isdefeated.” So, the deity of the nose started chanting the holy mantra, and theAsuras understood this. They came with a force and attacked this deity of the nose.That is why it is said that we can also smell bad odour, and not onlyfragrance. So, sometimes we close our nose when certain odours enter ournostrils. The nose was defeated.I-iii-4: Then they said to the eye ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the eye and chanted for them. The common good that comes of the eye, it secured for the gods by chanting, while the fine seeing it utilized for itself. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and struck it with evil. That evil is what we come across when one sees improper things.The eye was then asked to chant. The nose is not able to do what is required.So the eye, the principle of seeing, was requested by the gods: “You will chant theSāman for us.” The eye rose up into action and then started chanting.
  9. 9. The Asuras understood this also. They attacked the eye with evil. So, wecan see good things and also not good things with the eye. We can see the sameobject in two ways.We can visualize an object in two manners: in a manner that is conduciveto proper judgment, and in a manner which is not proper judgment. The eyeis capable of doing both, and that weakness of the eye to see wrong, evil, andmisjudging things, is the result of the Asuras affecting it. Thus, the eye alsocould not do this work.I-iii-5: Then they said to the ear ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the ear and chanted for them. The common good that comes of the ear, it secured for the gods by chanting, while the fine hearing it utilized for itself. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and struck it with evil. That evil is what we come across when one hears improper things.Then, the gods told the ear to chant the mantra. The eye is not able to dowhat is required. The ear rose up into action and started chanting. The Asurasunderstood that the ear is chanting. So, they attacked the ear with evil.Thus the ear can hear both good and bad. The ear is an open door; it is neverclosed. Anything can enter through it, and the capacity of the ear to receivewhat is not proper, what is not right, what is not good, is the result of thedemons attacking it. Thus the ear also could not do this work.I-iii-6: Then they said to the mind ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the mind and chanted for them. The common good that comes of the mind, it secured for the gods by chanting, while the fine thinking it utilized for itself. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and struck it with evil. That evil is what we come across when one thinks improper things. Likewise they also touched these (other) deities with evil – struck them with evil.Then mind was told to chant the mantra. The mind was inflicted with the evilby the Asuras when it chanted the mantra. So, it can think right and it can thinkwrong. Thus, there was no way out. The gods were defeated repeatedly. Theywere utterly helpless.Thus we see that every sense organ was affected by evil. We can taste goodand bad; we can smell good and bad; we can hear good and bad; and touch goodand bad. The mind too, got affected with the habit of thinking what is improper. So,everything went a fiasco; it was not successful. Then, what is thealternative? What is to be done now?
  10. 10. I-iii-7: Then they said to this vital force in the mouth, ‘Chant (the Udgitha) for us’. ‘All right’, said the vital force and chanted for them. The Asuras knew that through this chanter the gods would surpass them. They charged it and wanted to strike it with evil. But as a clod of earth, striking against a rock, is shattered, so were they shattered, flung in all directions, and perished. Therefore the gods became (fire etc.), and the Asuras were crushed. He who knows thus becomes his true self, and his envious kinsman is crushed.When the gods were all thus defeated, they joined together and consideredas to what could be done under the circumstances. They thought that theyhad made a mistake in choosing the senses for chanting the Udgitha. So, theyasked the vital force, the Prana Sakti, which is prior to the operation of thesenses, which impels the senses to act, to chant the Udgitha.And the Prana, the unifying force, the vital energy, chanted the Udgitha.The Asuras came in a large battalion to attack it with evil but they were thrownback. Just as a mud ball thrown against a hard rock breaks into pieces andbecomes dispersed in all directions, the Asuras were thrown and cast invarious directions, powerless by the force of the Udgitha chant conductedby the vital force, Prana Sakti—a task which the senses could notaccomplish, and could not succeed in doing.Then, there was success for the gods, and the gods assumed their originalpositions which they had lost on account of their being subjected to the evil of theAsuras. The gods became what they were. “One who knows this secret alsoregains one’s own position,” says the Upanishad.This is a very interesting narrative. But, here is not merely a story; it is acosmic phenomenon explained in an analogical language. Explanation of this AnalogyThe Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons) are two tendencies, and notsubstances. The tendency to unification is the divine principle and the urge todiversification is the demoniacal principle. The sense-organs are incapable ofunification because of their basic nature to diversify and their defeat by Asurasimplies that the sense-organs cannot work up this unifying activity which isintended for regaining the original position of the deities of the senses.During the process of individual creation there is a reversal of the subjectand the object due to mirror effect and it is explained in detail in the BasicSpiritual Primer 7. The Cosmic Being manifested Himself as all things, down tothe five subtle creative elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—which we regardas objects of sense. The five elements are the objects of our senses, but theywere the last evolutes in the process of Divine manifestation.
  11. 11. They were, therefore, part of the Cosmic Being who was the UniversalSubject; and whoever knows this, also remains the Universal Subject asinseparable from this All-Being, or Virāt. The five subtle creative elementsstand in the position of the subject to the isolated individuals; and they are nottheir objects.But the process is reversed for the individual due to mirror effect orillusion. In the Cosmic Realm, Fire is the effect of the Cosmic Principle, of Speech,the Word of God, identified with the Virāt Himself. But the Fire principle becomes acause for individuals, so that human speech is the effect controlled by the Fireprinciple, as it is not the case in Virāt where Speech, the Word of God, is thecontroller of Fire.The Organs which are attributed to the Virāt are causes, rather thaneffects. And, in our case, they become effects, like reflections. The evil which weare speaking of here, the Asuras or the demons, are the tendencies to regard theUniversal Subject as an object, and the desire of the individualized subject to runafter the object for ‘contact’ with it. Due to material desires and sensualpleasures, the gods in us lose their position to the demons and they are nomore angels in heaven.We hear in the Scriptures, stories being told that the celestials were drivenaway from heaven by the demons and they lost their position; they ranaway; they did not know where to stand, and rushed to God for help. Whenthe forces of desire in terms of external objects begin to operate in an intensemanner, the position of the Universal Subject gets converted into that of an object,and then the gods are driven from the heaven.When the Subject is driven from its location and transformed into anobject, what is really happening is that the angels are driven from heavenand the Asura has taken that position. The demon is ruling the kingdom ofparadise. The idea is this: the god who is the subjective angel has become a fallenegoistic subject, under the spell of evil influences.Human body is divided into fourteen spiritual planes. From the base of spineto the crown of head is the region of seven lokas occupied by the gods whereasfrom the hips down to the bottom of the foot is the region of seven talas, thenether poles of above lokas, occupied by the demons. For a detailed descriptionof our correspondence with the Cosmic Form, see ‘Physical and SpiritualBody – Cosmic Form GP Ch 15 P3’.Our consciousness keeps on moving between all loka-tala pairs but it does not stayat higher lokas and drops down to their respective nether poles i.e. talas. Virtue,purity, kindness, compassion are signs that the entity possessing them isevolving the spirit within, and therefore is ascending along the lokas.Selfishness, impurity, unkindness, cruelty, and deception are the signs thatthe entity possessing them is descending along the talas.
  12. 12. Base of spine is the seat of instinctive mind and if our consciousness is notproperly supported by reason or intellect, it is bound to fall prey to thedemons of Fear, Lust, and Promiscuity at Hips; Anger and Resentment at Thighs;Jealousy and Covetousness at Knees; Instinctive Willfulness, Greed, Deceit, andGrasp at Calves; Selfishness, Corruption, and Animal Nature at the Ankles;Absence of Conscience and Ignorance at Over the Foot; and finally Pull ofEnchanting Material World, Gratification of Senses, Malice, Murder, and Conceit atUnder the Foot; together with their tributaries in all forms.When material desires and sensual pleasures thus prevail on ourconsciousness, the gods in the upper part lose their position to the demonsin the lower part.This travesty can be obviated only if the evil element in the senses isremoved. The eye, the ear, the nose, speech, etc. can regain their originalposition, as they had in the being of the Virāt, if the tendencies to diversificationand movement towards objects are obviated by the operation of the Prana. It wasthe Prana whom evil, the Asuras could not attack. Everything could beaffected. Prana is the life force as consciousness through which we experience theobjective world. It has to be retained in the body to obviate the travesty.The eye and the ear and all the sense-organs were afflicted by the Asuras,i.e., every organ is a diversifying principle. It is not a unifying power. Nosense-organ is characterised by unification or the power of meeting. Every sensehas an urge to move in the direction of its own particular object and it alsoseeks variety.The ear has its own object, sound; the eye has the object, colour; the nose hasthe object, smell; the tongue has the object, taste; and the skin has its object,touch. They can never have a unifying capacity. But the Prana is a unifyingforce.Meditation is the process by which we can withdraw our consciousnessfrom the objective world and retain within the body. To achieve this purpose,the senses have to be turned back to their own sources, and not allowed to movetowards objects, which is the disease that they have contracted on accountof their being afflicted by what is called the Asura.The centrifugal tendency is the Asura; the centripetal one is the divineaspiration. The disintegrating impulse, i.e., the movement towards further andfurther grosser form of objectivity, is the devilish element in the senses, andthe divine element is that by which they can turn back upon their own source andcontemplate their inner connectedness with the other divinities.The Prana mentioned here is not merely the breathing principle or the breath, so-called. It is the energy, a subtle force, vitality, that which keeps the wholebody in unison. If we can feel a sensation of unity in the whole body, it is becauseof the harmonious movement of the Prana in the whole system.
  13. 13. Prana is the manifestation of Atman within us. Ultimately, it is the Atman, theSoul which is responsible for the sense of unity within us. It is indivisible, andeverything which reflects this indivisibility in some percentage may beregarded as a manifestation of the Atman.Atman is the root substance of all things which are in the position of aneffect, and it is our very Self. It is the Total Substance of all created beings, andso it is called Brahman. The ultimate in us is the Atman and the ultimate inthe Cosmos is Brahman. The Selfhood of all things is the ultimatemeditation.Such a meditation is to be practiced if the senses are to be controlled, andif the divinities are to regain their positions, i.e., if we are not to stand in theneed of moving towards objects of sense for our satisfaction, and the objects haveto come to us of their own accord.When this is achieved, things will not be objects. They will stand in theposition of our own kith and kin. They become part of our larger dimension, whichthey really are, but which consciousness we have forsaken on account of thesubjection of the senses to the Asura principle, the urge for diversification.This is the moral that we have been given out of this story which arose from thecontext of a conflict that seems to have arisen between the gods and theiropponents. Analogy ContinuedI-iii-8: They said, ‘Where was he who has thus restored us (to our divinity)?’ (And discovered): ‘Here he is within the mouth’. The vital force is called Ayasya Angirasa, for it is the essence of the members (of the body).The senses began to wonder, “Where was this power, what is this principlethat has been able to enable us in overcoming the demons?” The one thatenabled the senses to overcome the principle of death was within themselves. Thehelp did not come from outside. It was from within, and that principle isdesignated Ayāsya Āṅgirasa.Āṅgirasa is the essence of all the senses, the vital force—that is the principlewhich could not be overcome by death, because it was not specially affiliated to anyparticular limb of the body, and it was not connected particularly with any senseorgan.It was a uniform principle, impersonally operating throughout the systemof the body, present in its manifested form as Prana, by the power ofwhich one is able to speak. It is operating in the mouth of a person and itfunctions through the act of speech. The vocal organ is only one of its functions,and it does not represent the whole of the Prana; it has many other aspects. Butthe most ostensible manifestation of it is what we call Prana, in ordinary language.
  14. 14. I-iii-9: This deity is called Dur, because death is far from it. Death is far from one who knows thus.This principle, the vital force prana is mystically designated in theUpanishad as Dūr, a peculiar name given to it. What is the meaning of Dūr?Death (Mṛtyu) is Dūra, or ‘far from this’. Therefore, it is called Dūr—destruction isremoved from it. Death, evil, suffering, sorrow is far away from it.One who has realisation of this fact will also be free from the fear of death.It is an eternal fact, which applies to each and every person, everyone, at any time,under any condition. Whoever comprehends the essential nature of this Prana willbe free from fear.Wherever there is desire, there is death; and one dies only because ofdesire. Desire cannot be in the case of the one who has been endowed with thisknowledge and experience, because the senses are freed from the evil of desirewhen they are affiliated to the Creative Power, the Word of God, for the principleof desire in the senses arises on account of their dissociation from thepresiding deities, the gods as we call them, in their activity towardsobjects outside.The senses move towards objects, forgetting that they are superintendedby higher deities, who are, in turn, controlled by the All Being. The energy ofthe senses gets depleted due to a peculiar urge that arises in the senses on accountof their pursuing reality only in the objects and not in that which is prior to them,namely the superior divine principle. The element, the principle, the realitythat is behind the senses is incapable of being observed by the senses. Wesee only what is outside, and not what is inside.The entire creation with its constituent parts is the effect of the Word ofGod and is contained in the body of God. God created Man in His own image.That is He encased His constituent part, the Souls, in different bodies; and He hidHimself and His Creative Power, the Word, behind the mirror of Mind and inconsequence the effects became causes for the embodied souls. One who knowsthus overcomes Death. But this knowing is not theoretical.We do not know what is on the other side of the mirror of our mind. We areexperiencing only the reflected side with our consciousness. To see the other sidewe shall have to withdraw our consciousness from the objective world andconcentrate it at the eye center. This will enable us to pass on to the otherside and then seeing from there through the mirror of mind we shall seeGod present in all forms.This realization has to be practical while living in the human body. And if itis not achieved while living then we shall be sent back for rebirth as per ourcurrent and latent desires and karmic account by the filter below the Sun. Forfurther detail see Southern Part of Return, page 28, Basic Spiritual Primer 1.
  15. 15. I-iii-10: This deity took away death, the evil of these gods, and carried it to where these quarters end. There it left their evils. Therefore one should not approach a person (of that region), nor go to that region beyond the border, lest one imbibe that evil, death.The moment Prana took up the charge of the senses, the moment thesenses surrendered to Prana, the evil of the senses was driven out of thekingdom of reality. Evil was exterminated; it was made to quit the kingdom oftruth, and it was driven to the farthest corner of all directions. And, the Upanishadtells us not to go to that place where the evil has been driven.Here is a wonderful advice for the seeker of Reality. The seeker of Truth afterwithdrawing from the sense objects and sensual pleasures andsurrendering the senses to prana is advised to hold on to this surrenderlest he again falls prey to the demons which have been driven to the nether polesof the lokas.The senses should also not perform the forbidden act of supererogationwhich means doing more than what is required of them in performance oftheir respective function which does not really belong to them, but which reallybelongs to a higher reality, the superintending deity, due to whose presence aloneare they able to function at all.The seeker of Truth is further advised to refrain from trying to satiate thesenses by feeding them with sense objects and sensual pleasures. Forexample, the genital organs were created for procreation and not for indulgence insexual pleasure. Sexual indulgence by thought or deed draws us closer to Death.Eyes were created to see and enjoy His creation but indulgence in seeingand experiencing the objective world through sight will lead the seekeraway from its deity, the Sun. The same is true for all other motor and senseorgans and the seeker should exercise restraint if the surrender of senses to pranahas to be effective.The deities, again, are subtle individuals, and they, too, have to function inthe context of another superior existence. Even the gods can go wrong, ashuman beings can. And, in the story that is given in the Kena Upanishad, we aretold that even the gods had the pride of having won victory over the demons, notknowing that they were helped by another power of which they had no knowledge,of which they had no vision at all.So, the Mantra here cited tells us that evil is there where reality is not, andwhere reality is, evil cannot be. So the clinging of the senses to unrealphantoms is the cause of the evil operating through them, and thus desire isnothing but desire for the unreal. It cannot be a desire for the real. If it is a desirefor the real, it cannot bind. So, go not to that realm where the unreal rules in
  16. 16. suzerainty but be within the realm of reality and give up all desires thatarise in the mind for things which do not exist.I-iii-11: This deity after taking away death, the evil of these gods, next carried them beyond death.Gone above the fear of death are the senses when they took refuge in thePrana. Affiliation with the Word of God within is the overcoming principle of death,where death is consumed. Death consumes all, but this All Being consumes deathitself. That enabled the senses to overcome death, that is, to freethemselves from desire for things.What happened to them when they were free from desire? What was thecondition of the senses and the deities thereof when they were freed from theprinciple of death? One by one, each sense-organ is described in thefollowing Mantras.I-iii-12: It carried the organ of speech, the foremost one, first. When the organ of speech got rid of death, it became fire. That fire, having transcended death, shines beyond its reach.I-iii-13: Then it carried the nose. When it got rid of death, it became air. That air, having transcended death, blows beyond its reach.I-iii-14: Then it carried the eye. When the eye got rid of death, it became sun. That sun, having transcended death, shines beyond its reach.I-iii-15: Then it carried the ear. When the ear got rid of death, it became the quarters. Those quarters, having transcended death, remain beyond its reach.Speech was freed from the evil of death, first of all. The principle of speech isnot merely an organ to express words in language, as it is ordinarily in humanbeings. It assumed its original form. Fire is the deity of the organ of speech, andFire is the causative principle of speech, and speech is the effect of the principle ofFire in individuals.Speech, in the Virāt, is the highest principle, superior to the principle ofFire, whereas in the individual it is an effect. It is far below the principle ofFire, here. Fire (Agnī) is the god, the deity, the presiding principle over the sense ofspeech in the individual, so that Fire stands above the senses as a cause. But in theVirāt, it is an effect of the principle of speech. From the mouth of the Virāt, Firecame, says the Aitareya Upanishad, and certain other passages in theBrihadaranyaka Upanishad.
  17. 17. The moment speech was freed from the evil of death; it became the Fire principle,the original, subtle creative element, or reality behind fire, the deity of fire. Thisfire shines in the realm of reality in its own pristine glory.Fire element is the turning point for the seeker of Truth and hence it isaddressed first. Placed at the navel center, it has central position in the body andit provides shape to outward forms; sight – eyes; mobility – legs; drive – mobility;and weaknesses of anger and resentment; selfishness, corruption, and animalnature acquired due to urge for separation, externalization, and the desire to ownthe objective world.When the seeker surrenders Speech to Fire Element and the Fire Element to Pranaand holds on to that surrender, Prana helps in overcoming the above weaknesses.When there is control on mobility and sight, the battle with the demons isnearly won because the share of visual input of the objective worldthrough the eyes is eighty-three percent.Besides this, the Fire Element is the mainstay for the Water and EarthElements and with its surrender to Prana; Ignorance disappears and the pull ofthe Enchanting Material World, Gratification of Senses, Malice, Murder, and Conceitare also brought under control. Virtues of Tolerance and Forgiveness, Chastity andContinence, Detachment and Contentment get invoked.This divine fire-force, and the power of patience and self-control at the navel centerhas been called Arjuna in the epic ‘The Mahabharata’ who is the central character inregaining bodily kingdom from the matter and sense bound forces. This has beenwonderfully explained as the ‘Spiritual Allegory Hidden in the Gita’ by SriParamahansa Yogananda in his commentary on ‘The Bhagavad Gita’.Next in line is the surrender of the manipulative power of the individual tothe Air Element and that in turn to Prana. This surrender provides power to stillthe internal and external organs and it destroys the invasion of passion, doubt, anddisease. The demons of Instinctive Willfulness, Greed, Deceit and Grasp areovercome by this surrender. Virtue of Generosity gets invoked.And finally when Hearing - Ears surrender to the ‘the gods of directions’and they in turn to Prana, there is divine perception of Calmness as it is theprincipal factor necessary for any expression of right discernment. The demons ofJealousy and Covetousness, Ego and Pride are overcome and the virtue of Humilitygets invoked. Sensual and emotional thoughts now do not disturb theconsciousness and there is clarity of perception.This sort of freedom from death was achieved by every sense, and they allbecame the deity, rather than the effect. The eye became sun, and the sunassumed his location in the Virāt, and so on every sense-organ is thus described ashaving regained its original status. They got over their limitations. They werereinstated in their original forms—smell, taste, hearing and touch became their owndeities. This is also tattva gyan, the knowledge of the subtle creative elements.
  18. 18. The object does not any more control the activity and the existence of theindividual subject, as it is the case ordinarily. Individuals, we people, are alldependent on the objects of sense. We are helplessly driven to objects on accountof the fact that we live in a world of diversity, multiplicity and the separation of onething from another thing.That element of separation has been completely mastered here in this deeptechnique of meditation, and all the senses, including the mind, becameintegrated in the body of the Virāt, while they were all scattered in differentdirections, disintegrated in the organism of the individual. When the mind, in ourcase, moves towards objects outside, thus depleting its energy,disintegrating itself, gets integrated in the Virāt and moves back to itssource, it becomes one with the great source of energy.I-iii-16: Then it carried the mind. When the mind got rid of death, it became the moon. That moon, having transcended death, shines beyond its reach. So does this deity carry one who knows thus beyond death.The Divine Prana carried the mind, too, beyond death, and then the mind becamethe moon, and the moon got fixed in the mind of the Virāt. With the surrender ofMind to Prana, the fate of the demons is sealed in this war. Thus even as themind and the senses are freed from the evil of death, you and I andeveryone also can be freed from the evil of death, says the Upanishad. It isa moral applicable to all, provided we follow the course followed by the senses.If anyone knows this art, follows this technique, and lives a life inconsonance with this principle, that individual also will cease to be an individualcaught in the meshes of death, and shall become a principle of reality, identicalwith that which truly is, and not moving as a transitory link in the process ofbecoming in this world of death.I-iii-17: Next it secured eatable food for itself by chanting, for whatever food is eaten, is eaten by the vital force alone, and it rests on that.Whatever is done in this body is done by the Prana. It is by the Prana that thesenses draw food into the system, and it is the Prana that digests the food, absorbsit into the organism. If the eyes see anything, it is the Prana that sees. If the nosesmells, it is the Prana that smells. If the ears hear, it is the Prana that hears.If anything happens, it is done by the Prana. It is the support of the sensesand their activities. The Prana within and the activities without are interconnected,that is, the subjective force which we call vitality and the objective element that wecall the food outside—these two are interconnected in the Body of the Virāt. One isdependent on the other.
  19. 19. I-iii-18: The gods said, ‘Whatever food there is, is just this much, and you have secured it for yourself by chanting. Now let us have a share in this food.’ ‘Then sit around facing me’, (said the vital force). ‘All right’, (said the gods and) sat down around it. Hence whatever food one eats through the vital force satisfies these. So do his relatives sit around facing him who knows thus, and he becomes their support, the greatest among them and their leader, a good eater of food and the ruler of them. That one among his relatives who desires to rival a man of such knowledge is powerless to support his dependants. But one who follows him, or desires to maintain one’s dependants being under him, is alone capable of supporting them.The gods, who have been freed from death, proclaim to the Prana, “All this food isyours. May we also be able to partake of your food and your glory? Share with usthe food that you consume. Let us also take food with you. Let us sit beside you,and partake of your energy, become connected with you as friends, not as isolatedindividuals as we have been up to this time.”The food of Prana is the Cosmic Prana, the Word of God, the CreativePower, the Udgitha – the sound Om at the Causal Level, reverberatingwithin all individuals and it is sharing of that food sought by the senses.The Prana said, “Sit beside me,” that is, be in consonance with me. “Then Ishall feed you.” If the senses are in consonance with the Prana, the Prana willfeed the senses, but if they are dissonant, naturally the energy will not flow to thesenses. So the gods became one with it in organic connection. If the Prana issatisfied, every sense is satisfied. If the vital force inside is happy, every part of thebody is happy. The mind also is happy, the intellect is happy. The whole being ishappy.Now this fruit, this result, accrues to anyone who connects oneself withthis Prana in the manner in which the senses connected themselves withthe Prana. He becomes the lord of all; he becomes a master; he becomes thesource of dependence for others; he becomes the best; he becomes the foremostamong people; he is never in want of anything. Everything shall come to him, aseverything automatically comes to the Prana, unasked.One who is in union with this Prana is the lord of all in the sense thateverything belongs to him, and his wish shall instantaneously be fulfilled.No one can contend with this person who has this knowledge. The person who vieswith a person with this knowledge will not succeed. This is what the Upaniṣhadmeans.If you try to compete, in any manner, with one who has this knowledge, you willnot succeed. But, you will succeed if you follow his precepts and live inconsonance with his methods of living and his way of understanding; thatis, no one can stand against his wisdom, and no one can even stand in thepresence of this individual, who is endowed with this wisdom. But one who
  20. 20. follows him becomes victorious, as he who is endowed with thisknowledge is himself victorious.I-iii-19: It is called Ayasya Angirasa, for it is the essence of the members (of the body). The vital force is indeed the essence of the members. Of course it is their essence. (For instance), from whichever member the vital force departs, right there it withers. Therefore this is of course the essence of the members.This great master principle in us, which is Prana, is the essence of all thelimbs of the body, and therefore he is called Angirasa. Prana is the essence ofthe limbs of the body, of all the senses, and so he is called Angirasa. If Pranadeparts from any part of the body, that part dries up immediately. There isno vitality in that part of the body from which Prana is withdrawn.So, life is Prana; Prana is life and complete surrender to this principle isadvocated in this Upanishad. We have to invoke and be in tune with theCreative Power, the Word of God, the Udgitha, within us while living if weare seeking real emancipation.