Thirty two years later

Prajapati tells Indra: “That which moves about in dreams, enjoying sensuous delights and clothed in glory, that is the Self. That is immortal, that is fearless, and that is Brahman.”

Pleased with what he had heard, Indra again departed. But before he had reached the other gods, he realised the uselessness of this knowledge also. “True it is,” he thought to himself, “that this Self is not blind when the body is blind, nor lame when the body is lame or hurt. But even in dreams it is conscious of many sufferings. So in this doctrine I can see no good.”

So he went back to Prajapati for further instruction. After thirty-two more years, Prajapati said: “When a man is sound asleep, free from dreams, and at perfect rest – that is the Self. The Self is immortal and fearless, and it is Brahman.”

Indra went away, but realised that even this knowledge was useless. “In reality,” thought he, “one does not know oneself as this or that while asleep. One is not conscious, in fact, of any existence at all. The state of one in deep sleep is next to annihilation. I can see no good in this knowledge either.”

Will Indra ever get to the bottom of this question??

Indra and Virochana

Continuing the story of Chandogya Upanishad: ‘Now Virochana, satisfied for his part that he had found out the Self, returned to the demons and began to teach them that the body alone is to be worshipped, that the body alone is to be served, and that he who worships the body and serves the body gains both worlds, this and the next. Such doctrine is, in very truth, the doctrine of the demons!

But Indra, on his way back to the gods, realised the uselessness of this knowledge. “As this Self,” he reasoned, “seems to be well adorned when the body is well adorned, well dressed when the body is well dressed, so will it be blind when the body is blind, lame when the body is lame, deformed when the body is deformed. When the body dies, this same Self will also die! In such knowledge I can see no good.”

So he returned to Prajapati and asked for further instruction. Prajapati required him to live with him for another thirty-two years.’

The gods and demons

The gods and demons both heard of this truth, and they thought to themselves, “Let us seek after and realise this Self, so that we may obtain all the worlds and all desires.”

Thereupon Indra from the gods, and Virochana from the demons, went to Prajapati, the renowned teacher. For thirty two years they lived with him as pupils. Then Prajapati asked them why they had lived with him for so long.

“We have heard,” they replied, “that one who realises the Self obtains all the worlds and all desires. We have lived here because we want to learn of this Self.”

Then said Prajapati: “That which is seen in the eye – that is the Self. That is immortal, that is fearless, and that is Brahman.”

“Sir,” inquired the disciples, “is that the Self which is seen reflected in the water, or in a mirror?”

“The Self is indeed seen reflected in these,” was the reply. Then Prajapati added, “Look at yourselves in the water, and whatever you do not understand, come and tell me about it.”
Indra and Virochana gazed on their reflections in the water, and returning to the sage, they said: “We have seen the Self, exactly like ourselves, well adorned and in our finest clothes.”

To which Prajapati rejoined: “The Self is indeed seen in these. The Self is immortal and fearless and it is Brahman.” And the pupils went away well pleased.

But Prajapati, looking after them, lamented thus: “Both of them departed without analysing or discriminating, and without truly comprehending the Self. Whosoever follows a false doctrine of the Self will perish.”

Chandogya Upanishad.

More questions…

More questions in Prasna upanishad:

Then Bhargava approached the teacher and asked: “Holy sir, how many several powers hold together this body? Which of them are most manifest in it? And which is the greatest?”

“The powers”, replied the sage, “are ether, air, fire, water, earth – these being the five elements which compose the body; and besides these, speech, mind, eye, ear, and the rest of the sense organs. Once these powers made the boastful assertion: ‘we hold the body together and support it,’ whereupon Prana, the primal energy, supreme over them all, said to them: ‘Do not deceive yourselves. It is I alone, dividing myself fivefold, who hold together this body and support it. ‘ But they would not believe him. “Prana, to justify himself, made as if he intended to leave the body. But as he rose and appeared to be going, all the rest realised that if he went they also would have to depart with him; and as Prana again seated himself, the rest found their respective places. As bees go out when their queen goes out, and return when she returns, so was it with speech, mind, vision, hearing and the rest. Convinced of their error, the powers now praised Prana, saying,’As fire, Prana burns; as the sun, he shines; as cloud, he rains; as Indra, he rules the gods; as wind, he blows; as the moon, he nourishes all. He is that which is visible and also that which is invisible. he is immortal life.’

Kena Upanishad

“Once the gods won a victory over the demons, and though they had done so only through the power of Brahman, they were exceedingly vain. They thought to themselves, ‘It was we who beat our enemies, and the glory is ours.’ Brahman saw their vanity and appeared before them. But they did not recognise him. Then the other gods said to the god of fire: ‘Fire, find out who this mysterious spirit is.’ ‘Yes,’ said the god of fire and approached the spirit. the spirit said to him: ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am the god of fire. As a matter of fact, I am very well known.’ ‘And what power do you wield?’ ‘I can burn anything on earth.’ ‘Burn this,’ said the spirit, placing a straw before him. The god of fire fell upon it with all his might, but could not consume it. So he ran back to the other gods, and said: ‘ I cannot discover who this mysterious spirit is.’ Then said the other gods to the god of wind: ‘Wind, do you find out for us who he is.’ ‘Yes’, said the god of wind, and approached the spirit. The spirit said to him: ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am the god of wind. As a matter of fact, I am very widely known. I fly swiftly through the heavens.’ ‘And what power do you wield?’ ‘I can blow away anything on this earth.’ ‘Blow this away,’ said the spirit, placing a straw before him. the god of wind fell upon it with all his might, but was unable to move it. So he ran back to the other gods, and said: ‘I cannot discover who this mysterious spirit is.’ Then said the other gods to Indra, greatest of them all: ‘O respected one, find out for us, we pray you, who he is.’ ‘Yes,’ said Indra, and drew nigh to the spirit. But the spirit vanished, and in his place stood Uma, God the Mother, well adorned and of exceeding beauty. Beholding her, Indra asked: ‘Who was the spirit that appeared to us?’ ‘That,’ answered Uma, ‘was Brahman. Through him it was that you obtained your victory and your glory.’ Thus did Indra, and the god of fire, and the god of wind come to recognise Brahman. A disciple asked: ‘Sir, teach me more of the knowledge of Brahman.’ The Master replied: ‘ I have told you the secret knowledge. Austerity, self-control, performance of duty without attachment – these are the body of that knowledge. The Vedas are its limbs. Truth its very soul. he who attains the knowledge of Brahman, being freed from all evil, finds the Eternal, the Supreme. ”

OM…peace-peace-peace.