Front Page Titles (by Subject) THIRD PRAŚNA - The Thirteen Principal Upanishads
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THIRD PRAŚNA - Misc (Upanishads), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads 
The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, translated from the Sanskrit with an outline of the philosophy of the Upanishads and an annotated bibliography, by Robert Ernest Hume (Oxford University Press, 1921).
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Six questions concerning a person’s life
1. Then Kausalya Āśvalāyana asked him [i. e. Pippalāda]:
[a] ‘Whence, Sir, is this life (prāṇa) born?
[b] How does it come into this body?
[c] And how does it distribute itself (ātmānam), and establish itself?
[d] Through what does it depart?
[e] How does it relate itself to the external?
[f] How with reference to the self?’
2. To him then he said: ‘You are asking questions excessively. But you are pre-eminently a Brahman1 —methinks (iti). Therefore I tell you.
[a] The source of a person’s life
3. This life (prāṇa) is born from the Spirit (Ātman, Self).
[b] Its embodiment
As in the case of a person there is this shadow extended, so it is in this case. By the action of the mind [in one’s previous existence2 ] it comes into this body.
[c] Its establishment and distribution in the body
4. As an overlord commands his overseers, saying: “Superintend such and such villages,” even so this life (prāṇa) controls the other life-breaths one by one.
5. The out-breath (apāna) is in the organs of excretion and generation. The life-breath (prāṇa) as such (svayam) establishes itself in the eye and ear, together with the mouth and nose. While in the middle is the equalizing breath (samāna), for it is this [breath] that equalizes [in distribution] whatever has been offered as food.1 From this arise the seven flames.2
6. In the heart, truly, is the self (ātman). Here there are those hundred and one arteries.3 To each one of these belong a hundred smaller arteries. To each of these belong seventy-two thousand4 branching arteries (hitā). Within them moves the diffused breath (vyāna).
[d] Its departure
7. Now, rising upward through one of these [arteries],5 the up-breath (udāna) leads in consequence of good [work] (puṇya) to the good world; in consequence of evil (pāpa), to the evil world; in consequence of both, to the world of men.
[e and f] Its cosmic and personal relations6
8. The sun, verily, rises externally as life7 ; for it is that which helps the life-breath in the eye. The divinity which is in the earth supports a person’s out-breath (apāna). What is between [the sun and the earth], namely space (ākāśa), is the equalizing breath (samāna). The wind (Vāyu) is the diffused breath (vyāna).
9. Heat (tejas), verily, is the up-breath (udāna). Therefore one whose heat has ceased goes to rebirth, with his senses (indriya) sunk in mind (manas).
One’s thinking determines life and destiny
10. Whatever is one’s thinking (citta), therewith he enters into life (prāṇa). His life joined with his heat, together with the self (ātman), leads to whatever world has been fashioned [in thought].8
11. The knower who knows life (prāṇa) thus—his offspring truly is not lost; he becomes immortal. As to this there is this verse (śloka):—
[1 ]Or, ‘most devoted to Brahma,’ brahmistha.
[2 ]Such seems to be the implication of the important preceding word manokṛtena, in accordance with the theory of rebirth which is assumed later in this same Upanishad. That is: a person’s life in this body is the sure and appropriate result of his thoughts in a previous existence, even as a shadow is the similitude unavoidably cast from a person’s body. A different, but not contradictory, interpretation is possible from the reading mano’krtena, ‘without action of the mind’ (which Deussen proposes): i. e. that a person’s life in this body is an involuntary shadow cast from the great Self.
[1 ]Or possibly, as rendered by Deussen, ‘. . . it is this [breath] that brings to sameness [i. e. assimilates, digests] this offered food.’ But cf. Praśna 4. 4.
[2 ]Compare Mund. 2. 1. 8.
[3 ]Mentioned in Chānd. 8. 6. 6.
[4 ]Mentioned in Bṛih. 2. 1. 19.
[5 ]Called the suṣumnā. Cf. Maitri 6. 21.
[6 ]The idea expounded is that the five bodily life functions are correlated with five cosmic powers.
[7 ]As already identified in 1. 5.
[8 ]The destiny-making power of thought, especially as instanced in a person’s last thoughts, is similarly expressed in BhG. 8. 6.