Sanskrit lesson,Sanatana scriptures.ॐ
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥
THE PANCHAGNI VIDYA : KNOWLEDGE OF FIVE FIRES -Chhandogya Upanishad
THE PANCHAGNI VIDYA : KNOWLEDGE OF FIVE FIRES
======== From Chhandogya Upanishad ============
THE PANCHAGNI VIDYA :
======== From Chhandogya Upanishad ============
( With Commentary Of Swami Krishnananda)
Philosophical Background :
The Five Fires, called the 'Panchagni's, mentioned here, are not actually fires in the physical sense. They are meditational techniques.The Fire, here, is symbolic of a sacrifice which one performs through contemplation. Here by ‘fire’ the Upanishad means the various processes of manifestation, or, we may say, evolution.There are various stages of manifestation. Here, a specific type of manifestation is under consideration for the purpose of meditation.
How the birth of an individual takes place ? how a child is born, is the actual question on hand.
We think that the child is born from the womb of the mother. We know only that much, but this is the least type of knowledge that one can have about the birth of a child.The child is not pushed out of the womb of the mother, as if by magic. It is a tremendous process that takes place throughout the cosmos. The whole universe is involved with action even if a single baby is to be born somewhere. So what produces a child is not the father or the mother. It is the whole cosmos that produces the child.There is also no such thing as 'my' child and 'your' child. If this secret is known, no one will say such things. It is neither yours nor anybody's. It belongs to that from where it has come i.e. cell of the universe. It has not come from the seminal essence of the father or the mother, as it is believed. The cosmos is reflected in every body. That is why we say " Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande" - the macrocosm is in the microcosm. Here is the philosophical background of the vidya, called Panchagni-Vidya.
Chhandogya Upanishad :
"The Yonder World, O Gautama, is indeed the Fire. Here, the Sun is the fuel; the Light-rays are the smoke; the Day is the flame; the Moon is the coals; the Stars are the sparks." (5.4.1)
"In this Fire, the deities offer faith. From this oblation arises King Soma." (5.4.2)
The Upanishad tells us that the universe finds the cause of the lowest event in this lofty realm, in an invisible region, which is called the "Yonder World". By "Yonder World" we mean the celestial region, regions which are super-physical, beyond even the astral realm, which are the causes of what we observe in the atmospheric region.
The world, which is called the celestial realm, is itself the sacred fire into which oblations are offered.The fuel, which ignites the fire and causes the flames to rise up in this sacrifice, is the sun. As smoke rises from the fire in a sacrifice, we contemplate the rising or the emanation of the rays from the sun, symbolically. As the flames shine, so is the shining of the daytime due to the fire of the sun in the sacrifice. We may compare the embers, remaining after the flames subside in a sacrifice, to the moon who is something like the subsidence of the flames of the light of the sun, or we may even say, the comparison is made because moonlight arises generally when the sun's flames subside. Compare the stars to the sparks which are ejected from the flames of the fire, because they are scattered, as it were, in the sky. Now, this is a sacrificial mode of contemplation on the higher regions of the cosmos.
"Parjanya is, indeed, the Fire, O Gautama. Of that, the Wind is the fuel, the Cloud is the smoke, the Lightning is the flame, the Thunderbolt is the embers, and the rumblings of Thunder are the sparks." (5.5.1)
"Into this Fire, the gods offer the oblation of King Soma. Out of that oblation, arises rain." (5.5.2)
The next stage of the descent is a realm which is symbolically represented here as the world of Parjanya, or the deity of rain. The rain-deity represents the region below, grosser than the higher regions or the heavens, or the "Yonder World" mentioned earlier. That gets stirred into activity, further on. That, again, is to be contemplated upon as a sacrifice.
The principle of rainfall, we may call it the rain-deity, Parjanya, is the fire in the sacrifice. The fire is stirred into action by 'vayu', the wind that blows. We consider the wind as the fuel which ignites the fire of this sacrifice. When there is such a stimulation taking place in the atmosphere, clouds are formed. As smoke rises from the fire of a sacrifice, as an effect of the flaming force of the fire, the clouds, 'abhram', forming themselves into a thick layer are the effect of this internal activity of the atmosphere by the action of the wind etc. in a particular direction. The clouds are the smoke of this sacrifice. The brilliance of the flames in this sacrifice is the flashing forth of the lightning, 'vidyut', through the clouds.The clap of the thunders may be compared to the embers remaining after the subsidence of the flames in a sacrifice. The rumblings of the clouds after a heavy rain, the slowed or mellowed down sounds we hear later on in various directions, are the sparks, as it were, of this fire.
In this fire, the contemplative sacrifice of rainfall, deities offer the oblation of their action. The bhuta-sukshma, as they are called, or the subtle elementary potencies, are the Soma-raja, or King Soma, mentioned here.The subtle potencies which our actions produced get mixed up with the 'tanmatras' - shabda (sound), sparsa (touch), rupa (colour), rasa (taste), gandha (smell). And then it is that we get involved in the higher realms; we get vitally connected with our actions for reasons obvious, and our actions are related to the consequences they produce - 'apurva'. The 'apurva' gets mixed up with the elemental subtle forces called tanmatras, and so we are involved in the tanmatras in this manner.There is a cycle, as it were, a wheel rotating in the form of give-and-take between the deities in the heaven and the human beings here. We give something and we are given back something. Nature gives us what we give to it in the form of our own deeds in this world. The rainfall, which is the cause of the production of food in this world, is one of the important links in the cyclic chain of give-and-take, or coordination and cooperation between the individuals and the whole of Nature.
"The Earth is, indeed, the Fire, O Gautama. Of that, the Year is the fuel, the Sky is the smoke, the Night is the flame, the Quarters are the embers, the Intermediary Quarters are the sparks." (5.6.1)
"Into this Fire, the gods offer the oblation of rain. Out of that oblation, arises food." (5.6.2)
Rain falls on this earth.We contemplate the whole earth as the fire in another stage of the Cosmic Sacrifice. The earth is a sacrificial fire. The productive capacity of the earth depends upon another factor, viz., the cyclic changes produced by the process of time. The year is the time factor involved in the capacity of the earth to produce foodstuff. And because it is the inciting factor in the production of foodstuff in the world, it is called 'samit', or fuel, for it is what causes the blazing of the fire of the sacrifice. Just as smoke rises up from the fire, we contemplate the whole sky as if it is a dome that is rising from the earth. When we look up, it appears as if the sky is rising dome-like above the earth, and we may contemplate as if it is a smoke rising from the fire of the earth. Even as the fire is the cause of the rising of the flame,the earth is the cause of night and day phenomena which is the flame of the fire in the sacrifice since its rotation causes day-night. The quarters are the embers, because they are calm and quiet, undisturbed as it were, by the movements that take place in the world. So, it is the subsidence of activity, like the embers after the flame subsides. Like sparks from the fire, which move in different directions, we have the intermediary quarters of the heavens which are in different directions, as if they are sparks in the sacrifice. The intermediary quarters are of lesser importance and, therefore, they are called the sparks.
THE PANCHAGNI VIDYA :
======== From Chhandogya Upanishad ============ "Man, O Gautama, is the fire, speech is the fuel, 'prana' is the smoke, the tongue is the flame, the eyes are the embers and the ears are the sparks." ( 5.7.1)
"In this fire the deities offer oblation of food. Out of that offering, the vital seed (semen) is produced." (5.7.2)
At this fourth stage of sacrifice, the fourth sacrifice is of man himself, who is involved in this entire activity. Man is the fire and his tounge acts as the flame of fire through which it accepts the oblation i.e. takes the food. Man consumes the food of the world and energises himself and produces virility.
"Woman, O Gautama, is the fire, her sexual organ is the fuel, what invites is the smoke, the vulva is the flame, what is done inside is the embers, the orgasms are the sparks." (5.8.1)
"In this fire the gods offer semen as libation. Out of that offering the foetus is formed." (5.8.2)
The fifth oblation is woman whose union with man brings about the birth of a child.This oblation is the immediate cause of the rise of the effect in the form of the baby that lies in the womb of the mother. Here, the womb of the mother need not necessarily mean the human mother, though the description is human, to serve as a sample of the illustration. Any cause which gives birth to an effect is the mother that produces the child.
"Thus in the fifth libation water comes to be called man. The foetus enclosed in the membrane, having lain inside for ten or nine months, or more or less, is born." (5.9.1)
"Having been born, he lives whatever the length of his life may be. When he is dead, they carry him to the fire of the funeral pyre whence he came, whence he arose." (5.9.2)
The Celestial Region, the Atmosphere, the Earth, Man and Woman - these are the five stages of the Fire which becomes the object of meditation known as the Panchagni-Vidya. By the interconnection, combination and harmonious adjustment of the structure of these five levels of manifestation, birth takes place.The first oblation is the universal vibration in the celestial heaven; that is the first sacrifice, and that is the first oblation. The second oblation is in the second sacrifice which is the reverberation of the vibrations in the celestial region felt in the lower regions of the atmosphere, as the fall of the rain. The grosser manifestations which are the events that take place in this world are the third oblation. The fourth and fifth oblations are Man and Woman respectively as discussed above.These are the Five Fires.
When the span of life is finished, there is what we call the death of the body, the extrication of the prana from the individual embodiment. And these Fires take the individual to the destination to which it is bound after death. Again, these Fires are there in action; they are never absent at any time. The Five Fires are nothing but the five degrees of the manifestation of universal law. In the same way as one was pushed into manifestation into this particular life, one is put out of existence here, and then taken through the same process of manifestation into other realms. The process is the same, because the Five Fires work everywhere in all the realms of being.Wherever you are, in whatever realm, in any form of birth whatsoever, these laws operate, and they catch hold of you, and condition you to certain limited forms of life.
These Fires are not to be regarded as individual events. This is the purpose of the vidya in the Upanishad. The Fires so-called are diviner manifestations of a cosmic character, and there is nothing local, physical, earthly or binding in any of these sacrifices. They are all processes of a vaster Nature in which the individual is integrally involved.
So these are the oblations symbolically offered in the sacrifice of meditation which is called the Panchagni-Vidya.This is a secret which the Kshatriyas knew and the Brahmanas did not know. King Pravahana Jaivali was reluctant to part with this knowledge because it was a guarded secret for him and for his community. And now he exposed this knowledge to the Brahmana known as Gautama who came to him as a student, and having explained in detail these mystical doctrines of meditation - the Panchagni-Vidya - he concluded by saying that the food oblation offered in the Fire of Man, which gets converted into the seed, is what rises up as the child by birth. This was one of the questions the king put to the boy who approached him in the court.