Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upanishad | Section 37-40

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SECTION 37

ghṛṇiḥ sūrya ādityo na prabhā vātyakṣaram | madhu kṣaranti tadrasam |
satyaṁ vai tadrasamāpo jyotī raso'mṛtaṁ brahma bhūrbhuvaḥ suvarom || 1||

1. The imperishable Āditya who is the giver of lustre and the creator of the universe moves in the sky like his own rays. The essence of him in the form of sweet water flows in the shape of rivers. He is the Truth.

Āditya, the supreme cause of the universe, is the giver of light and water and is the source of all energy. He is denoted by the syllable Om.

Gods worship Him as Tapas and Truth. (Being worshipped thus) He grants bliss to the worshippers (Or the worshippers offer honey and sweet offerings to Him).

That form of the sun is Brahman. That is the pervading cause of all. That is water, fire, flavour and ambrosia. The three Vyāhṛtis representing the three worlds and the Prāṇava representing the cause of the universe denote that Brahman.

Commentary:

The present Section gives this mantra as a substitute for the upāsanā mentioned in preceding section 35. One may perform japa of it if he is incapable of performing the worship which has been described.

SECTION 38

trisuparṇamantraḥ 1

brahmametu mām | madhumetu mām | brahmameva madhumetu mām |
yāste soma prajā vatso'bhi so aham | duḥṣvapnahan duruṣṣaha |
yāste soma prāṇāɱstāñjuhomi || 1||

1. May the Supreme reach me! May the Blissful reach me! May the Supreme alone that is blissful reach me!

O Lord, being one among Thy creatures I am Thy child. Suppress the dreary dream of the empirical existence that I experience!

For that I offer myself as an oblation into Thee, O Lord, and the vital and mental powers, Thou hast kept in me.

Commentary:

This is the first of the notable group of mantras called Trisuparṇa.

From the free rendering given above it is evident that the kernel of it is a prayer on the part of the spiritual aspirant to Paramātman for enlightenment and release from the round of birth and death, for the effecting of which he makes an oblation of his senses and energies—hitherto engrossed in worldly pursuits—into the Supreme to whom they really belong.

The Trisuparṇa is prescribed for japa to be undertaken by the seekers of the divine knowledge and who wish to expiate all known and unknown sins that stand in their way to illumination.

In the Vedic literature the term suparṇa stands for the Sun, Fire, Prajāpati and other gods and in the Purāṇas the bird Garuda is called Suparṇa.

Garuda is the King among birds and protector of amṛta. These mantras guard the highest good of the Soul. So they are called Suparṇa.

Prāṇava is also called Suparṇa, for it takes the Upāsaka to his divine goal. Since these passages help one to reach that goal, they are here called Suparṇa.

trisuparṇamayācitaṁ brāhmaṇāya dadyāt |
brahmahatyāṁ vā ete ghnanti |
ye brāhmaṇāstrisuparṇaṁ paṭhanti | te somaṁ prāpnuvanti |
ā sahasrāt paṅktiṁ punanti | auṁ || 2||

2. One may impart Trisuparṇa to a brāhmaṇa unsolicited. Those brāhmaṇas who recite Trisuparṇa indeed destroy even the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa. They attain to the fruit of the performance of Soma sacrifice! They purify all those who sit in a row of a thousand (while at dinner) and attain union with Prāṇava i.e. the Deity of this mantra!

Commentary:

This passage glorifies the Trisuparṇa mantra in eulogistic language. Like the word Saptarṣi each unit of the Trisuparṇa is also called by the same name.

Knowledge is imparted to a disciple generally on request. But this mantra may be given to any brāhmaṇa whom one encounters without his asking for it. Even such grave sins like Brahmāhatyā are expiated by its repetition and it will confer the fruit of the Somā Yāga.

It is a custom in India to feed non-possessing brāhmaṇas who minister to the religious needs of the community and also the hungry and the destitute according to one's capacity on special occasions with a view to obtain religious merit. The scriptures which encourage this practice lay down also that the brāhmaṇas entertained must be sinless and learned.

Even if a single person who practises the japa of Trisuparṇa happens to be present on the holy occasion of religious feeding, it is said here, that the host is exculpated from the sin of feeding the wrong persons.

The purpose of this eulogy here is to draw attention to the greatness of Trisuparṇa, which calls away man from the path of worldliness to that of divinity.

The Prāṇava ending the section points out to the fact that it is also indicative of the greatness of that syllable:

Bhaṭṭabhāskara explains it by saying that the person mentioned here attains union with Brahman denoted by Prāṇava, while Sāyana states that Prāṇava here implies that the deity of Trisuparṇa is the Paramātman denoted by Prāṇava.

SECTION 39

brahma medhayā | madhu medhayā | brahmameva madhu medhayā || 1||

1 That Brahman is attained through the power of intelligence. That Bliss is attained through the power of intelligence. The Bliss which is indeed Brahman is attained through the power of intelligence.

adyāno deva savitaḥ prajāvatsāvīḥ saubhagam | parā duḥṣvapniyaɱ suva || 2||

2. O God, O Thou creator, vouchsafe to us today the prosperity consisting of progeny! Turn away from us this bad dream (of the world)!

viśvāni deva savitarduritāni parāsuva | yadbhadraṁ tanmama āsuva || 3||

3. O God, O Creator, turn away from me all the sins! Bring to me that which is beneficial!

madhuvātā ṛtāyate madhukṣaranti sindhavaḥ | mādhvīrnaḥ santvoṣadhīḥ || 4||

4 To me, who is the devotee of the Supreme Truth, let the wind blow sweetly! Let the rivers run sweetly! Let the herbs be to us sweet and beneficial!

madhu naktamutoṣasi madhumatpārthivaɱ rajaḥ | madhudyaurastu naḥ pitā || 5||

5. Let there be sweetness day and night! Let the particles of the earth be sweetness- bearing! Let heaven, our father, be sweet to us!

madhumānno vanaspatirmadhumāɱ astu sūryaḥ | mādhvīrgāvo bhavantu naḥ || 6||

6. Let the fruit bearing trees be sweet to us! Let the sun be sweet and beneficial to us! Let the cows be sweetness-bearing to us!

Commentary:

This hexad gives the second Trisuparṇa—a prayer for power of intelligence and for the environment conducive to the attainment of supreme knowledge and realisation of the Divine Truth.

The stanzas 2 and 3 are found in the Rigveda at V 82 4-5 and stanzas 4 to 6 ibid I. 9 6-8 respectively. They are to be explained here according to the Prakaraṇa or context. Hence the meaning given above follows.

The term medhā implies power of intelligence in general and particularly the capacity to retain and recall the words and their meaning taught by the preceptor.

In the Vedas medhā is considered as a deity and hymns are sung in her praise.

ya imaṁ trisuparṇamayācitaṁ brāhmaṇāya dadyāt |
bhrūṇahatyāṁ vā ete ghnanti |
ye brāhmaṇāstrisuparṇaṁ paṭhanti | te somaṁ prāpnuvanti | ā
sahasrātpaṅktiṁ punanti | oṁ || 7||

7. One may impart Trisuparṇa to a Brāhmaṇa unsolicited. Those brāhmaṇas who recite Trisuparṇa indeed destroy even the sin of feticide or hurting a Brāhmaṇa well versed in the Vedas and in their auxiliaries.

They attain to the fruit of the performance of Soma sacrifice. They purify all those who sit in a row of a thousand (while at dinner) and attain union with Prāṇava, i.e., the Deity of this mantra.

Commentary:

The declaration of the fruit of Trisuparṇa given above is a copy of the same given at the close of the previous Section.

SECTION 40

brahma medhavā | madhu medhavā | brahmameva madhu medhavā || 1||

brahmā devānāṁ padavīḥ kavīnāmṛṣirviprāṇāṁ mahiṣo mṛgāṇām |
śyeno gṛddhāṇāɱ svadhitirvanānāɱ somaḥ pavitramatyeti rebhat || 2||


haɱsaḥ śuciṣadvasurantarikṣasaddhotā vediṣadatithirduroṇasat |
nṛṣadvarasadṛtasadvyomasadabjā gojā ṛtajā adrijā ṛtaṁ bṛhat || 3||

Commentary:

/ 1-3  Trisuparṇa  Mantras/

This is the third Trisuparṇa made up of three units:

The first unit is a Yajus similar to the one appearing as the first line of Section 39, medhavā substituting the word medhayā:

The term medhavā is a disguised form of medhavat i.e. possessing or connected with medhā or sacrifice.

The idea behind the expression is that the Supreme Brahman is attained only by a person in whom the desire for Self- knowledge is generated by the proper performance of prescribed duties and sacrifices.

Thus Brahman is connected with Medhā (sacrifice) in so far as sacrifices and other similar activities help one from a distance for the realisation of Brahman by creating purity of mind and desire for knowledge.

It may be noted that the first Trisuparṇa prescribes a meditation in the shape of offering oneself into the Supreme as a means of attaining Him.

 The second one stresses the need of knowledge engendered through intelligence developed by scripture, preceptor, and proper environment, and the third one here emphasises karma or Vedic sacrifice as an aid to the attainment of the Supreme.

Since the text is exactly similar to the previous one but for the word medhavā just explained, the apparatus of interpretation is omitted.

The second unit is a repetition of Section 12, stanza 4, and the third unit is the repetition of Section 12, stanza 6. For the explanation of these two passages see earlier commentaries.

ṛce tvā ṛce tvā samitsravanti sarito na dhenāḥ |
antarhṛdā manasā pūyamānāḥ | ghṛtasya dhārā abhicākaśīmi || 4||

4. I pile fuel in the consecrated fire with a view to acquire the Vedas necessary for Thy worship, meditating on Thee in the form of Ṛigvedā. The unbroken currents of clarified butter offered into the kindled fire—rendered sacred by cordial and hearty thoughts—flow like rivers, the water of which is potable for Gods. By this I kindle the splendour of the holy fire.

Commentary:

This verse is originally from Taittirīya Saṁhitā IV 2 9.

hiraṇyayo vetaso madhya āsām . tasmintsuparṇo madhukṛt
kulāyī bhajannāste
madhu devatābhyaḥ . tasyāsate harayaḥ sapta tīre svadhāṁ
duhānā amṛtasya dhārām .. 5..

5. In that Āhavaṇiya Fire, amidst those currents of clarified butter offered as oblation, abides the profusely rich and splendid Supreme Being who is magnified in the Trisuparṇa,

who dwells in the nest of the bodies of created beings, who confers bliss on creatures according to their merit, and who shares with gods sweet ambrosia in the form of oblations offered by worshippers in Fire.

In His proximity are seated the seven sages who destroy sins by mere remembrance and who continuously pour oblations in the form of a current of nectar keeping in mind the various gods for whom they are meant.

Commentary:

This textual passage is also found in Taittirīya Saṁhitā IV 2 9.

The word Vetasa in the text is taken as a transformation of the word Vedas meaning wealth:

The passage gives a celestial picture of the fundamental significance of all sacrifices in the consecrated fire. Physically a burnt offering or sacrifice consists in the oblation of streams of clarified butter into the consecrated fire according to prescribed rules.

Here it is stated that the Supreme One is present in the centre of the Āhavaṇiya Fire receiving the offerings and sharing them with the other Gods.

In the Brāhmaṇas we see statements identifying Yajña with Viṣṇu who is also called Yajña-puruṣa. All the Yajñas are meant to worship the Supreme, and the various Gods worshipped in them are but aspects or attributes of the Supreme Being.

The seven sages represent the foremost of worshippers who are constantly engaged in communing with the Supreme by their spiritual activities and who are, therefore, capable of purifying others.

ya idaṁ trisuparṇamayācitaṁ brāhmaṇāya dadyāt .
vīrahatyāṁ vā ete ghnanti .
ye brāhmaṇāstrisuparṇaṁ paṭhanti . te somaṁ prāpnuvanti .
āsahasrāt paṅktiṁ punanti . auṁ .. 6..

6. This Trisuparṇa may be imparted to a Brāhmaṇa unsolicited. Those brāhmaṇas who recite Trisuparṇa indeed destroy even the sin of slaying a worthy Brāhmaṇa or an anointed king.

They attain to the fruit of the performance of Soma sacrifice. They purify all those who sit in a row of a thousand (while at dinner) and attain union with Prāṇava, i.e., the Deity of this mantra.

Commentary:

This is declaration of the glory of the third Trisuparṇa.