Mahā Nārāyaṇa Upanishad | Section 73-77

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SECTION 73

vayaḥ suparṇā upasedurindraṁ priyamedhā ṛṣayo nādhamānāḥ .
apa dhvāntamūrṇuhi pūrdhi cakṣurmumugdhyasmānnidhayeva baddhān .. 1..

1. Like birds with handsome plumage the sages who were devoted to sacrificial worship (or intent on the good of all) approached Indra supplicating thus:

Remove our darkness and ignorance; fill our eyes with worthy sights; and release us from the bondage of ignorance like birds trapped in snares.

Commentary:

This is a mantra quoted here from Rigveda X 73 11 with the purpose of stressing the need of divine communion for the attainment of purity and for release from the bondages of Samsāra.

This stanza is also found in Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa II 5 8.

SECTION 74

prāṇānāṁ granthirasi rudro mā viśāntakaḥ . tenānnenāpyāyasva .. 1..

1. O Rudra, thou art the binding knot of the breaths and the organs of senses functioning in the body! Enter me as the end-maker of sorrows and increase and protect me by that food which I have taken in!

Commentary:

After the utterance of the previous mantra, this short formula is repeated silently touching the region of one’s heart.

The various breaths and organs of senses which are the support of man’s cognition, intellection and emotion, function for the sake of the ego or ahaṁkāra, which as prāṇa- granthi sustains the span of life.

Hence Ahaṁkāra is responsible for the upkeep of life in the ordinary plane. Rudra is the regent of ahaṁkāra, which is the knot of life. Rudra is therefore the prāṇa-granthi also.

Further, Rudra in his divine aspect is beseeched to enter the body of the devotee, to remove his sorrows, to nourish him with the food assimilated, and to ward off his mishaps and diseases.

SECTION 75

namo rudrāya viṣṇave mṛtyurme pāhi .. 1..

1. Salutations to Rudra, and to Viṣṇu (or Rudra who is Viṣṇu)! Guard me from death!

Commentary:

This is a mantra prescribed for repetition throughout life in order to save oneself from death.

This Yajus may be interpreted either as a salutation to Rudra and Viṣṇu separately, or to both together as one. The latter interpretation is supported by the conclusion of the prayer, which gives the singular predicate.

The Skanda Upaniṣad declares the identity of Śiva and Viṣṇu thus: Yathā śivamayo viṣṇur evam viṣṇu-mayaḥ śivaḥ. There is a considerable literature establishing the unity and identity of Śiva and Viṣṇu produced during the course of many centuries.

SECTION 76

tvamagne dyubhistvamāśuśukṣaṇistvamadbhyastvamaśmanaspari .
tvaṁ vanebhyastvamoṣadhībhyastvaṁ nṛṇāṁ nṛpate jāyase śuciḥ .. 1..

1. O Agni, thou art born on the days of sacrifices as the protector of men in general and of those among men who offer sacrifices! Thou art born spreading light around, or causing pain quickly by mere touch! Thou art born from water as lightning or as the heat under the sea! Thou art born from clouds or stones by friction! Thou art born from the forests! Thou art born from the herbs! Thou art born ever pure or as the sun!

Commentary:

This mantra originally belongs to Rigveda 2 1 1, and it is found also at Vājasaneyī Saṁhitā XI 27.

The purport of the stanza is stated to be a prayer to the Supreme Being for averting death.

From the interpretation of Sāyana it is clear that Agṇi here is portrayed as Sarvātmaka, manifold and ubiquitous.

SECTION 77

śivena me saṁtiṣṭhasva syonena me saṁtiṣṭhasva
subhūtena me saṁtiṣṭhasva brahmavarcasena me
saṁtiṣṭhasva yajñasyarddhimanu saṁtiṣṭhasvopa te yajña nama
upa te nama upa te namaḥ .. 1..

1. O Thou Lord, who art worshipped in all the sacrifices, I prostrate before Thee in deep reverence, I prostrate before Thee! I prostrate before Thee!

Deign to remain with me as the giver of what is auspicious! Deign to remain with me as the giver of happiness here! Deign to remain with me as the giver of good and divine qualities! Deign to remain with me as the giver of splendour born of Vedic learning!

When the sacrifice which I have instituted has been completed prosperously, be with me to confer the fruits of it.

Commentary:

This passage originally occurs at Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa III. 7 6.

Here it is taken as a prayer addressed to the Supreme Being by a worshipper seeking the fulfilment of his desires.

The repetition of salutations and longing for divine proximity express the feeling of devotion for God, welling up in the heart of the worshipper at the close of his devotional practice.

The following passage found at the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa II 8 8, reproduced below with translation, asserts that grace of Brahman must be sought for the perfection of the Yajña:

—Vena, the Reality described earlier, is the excellent giver and protector of manifold wealth, he possesses various forms (according to the hours of the day and needs of the seasons) and enters the sky (daily).

Brāhmaṇas desirous of the results of their good work worship the Brahman and praise him with laudatory verses (brahma) just as those who are about to milk the cow fondle the calf.

That Brahman who is the cause of the Universe created the Gods and this entire world. The order of the Kṣattriyas was fashioned from that Brahman, Brahman manifested in his own form in the Brāhmaṇa (to impart knowledge to others).

In him these spheres of created beings and this entire moving world abide. Brahman alone is the first and foremost of all that becomes.

Who dares to vie with such Brahman? In that Brahman all the thirty- three Gods are included. Indra and Prajāpati are in Brahman. All beings are berthed in Brahman safely as if within a boat.

May the four sacrificial fires thrive in four directions placed in such Brahman!

May Parabrahman—the ground of all—be mindful of this sacrifice of ours and conduct it to proper completion, partaking of this oblation of butter and granting us good heroes.

 Brahman, in short, is the illuminator of these oblations offered by us. —Passages like this in the Brāhmaṇas clearly show that philosophy and worship in the Vedas are closely united and that dichotomy would lead to the atrophy of both.