1. When the father (of creation) had produced by knowledge and penance (work) the seven kinds of food, one of his (foods) was common to all beings, two he assigned to the Devas, (1)
Three he made for himself, one he gave to the animals. In it all rests, whatsoever breathes and breathes not. (2)
Why then do these not perish, though they are always eaten? He who knows this imperishable one, he eats food with his face. (3)
“He goes even to the Devas, he lives on strength.” (4)
2. When it is said, that “the father produced by knowledge and penance the seven kinds of food,” it is clear that (it was he who) did so. When it is said, that “one of his (foods) was common,” then that is that common food of his which is eaten. He who worships (eats) that (common food), is not removed from evil, for verily that food is mixed (property). When it is said, that “two he assigned to the Devas,” that is the huta, which is sacrificed in fire, and the prahuta, which is given away at a sacrifice. But they also say, the new-moon and full-moon sacrifices are here intended, and therefore one should not offer them as an ishti or with a wish.
When it is said, that “one he gave to animals,” that is milk. For in the beginning (in their infancy) both men and animals live on milk. And therefore they either make a new-born child lick ghrita (butter), or they make it take the breast. And they call a new-born creature “atrinada,” i.e. not eating herbs. When it is said, that “in it all rests, whatsoever breathes and breathes not,” we see that all this, whatsoever breathes and breathes not, rests and depends on milk.
And when it is said (in another Brahmana), that a man who sacrifices with milk a whole year, overcomes death again, let him not think so. No, on the very day on which he sacrifices, on that day he overcomes death again; for he who knows this, offers to the gods the entire food (viz. milk).
When it is said, “Why do these not perish, though they are always eaten,” we answer, Verily, the Person is the imperishable, and he produces that food again and again.
When it is said, “He who knows this imperishable one,” then, verily, the Person is the imperishable one, for he produces this food by repeated thought, and whatever he does not work by his works, that perishes.
When it is said, that “he eats food with his face,” then face means the mouth, he eats it with his mouth.
When it is said, that “he goes even to the Devas, he lives on strength,”that is meant as praise.
3. When it is said, that “he made three for himself,” that means that he made mind, speech, and breath for himself. As people say, “My mind was elsewhere, I did not see; my mind was elsewhere, I did not hear,” it is clear that a man sees with his mind and hears with his mind. Desire, representation, doubt, faith, want of faith, memory, forgetfulness, shame, reflexion, fear, all this is mind. Therefore even if a man is touched on the back, he knows it through the mind.
Whatever sound there is, that is speech. Speech indeed is intended for an end or object, it is nothing by itself.
The up-breathing, the down-breathing, the back-breathing, the out-breathing, the on-breathing, all that is breathing is breath (prâna) only. Verily that Self consists of it; that Self consists of speech, mind, and breath.
4. These are the three worlds: earth is speech, sky mind, heaven breath.
5. These are the three Vedas: the Rig-veda is speech, the Yagur-veda mind, the Sama-veda breath.
6. These are the Devas, Fathers, and men: the Devas are speech, the Fathers mind, men breath.
7. These are father, mother, and child: the father is mind, the mother speech, the child breath.
8. These are what is known, what is to be known, and what is unknown.
What is known, has the form of speech, for speech is known. Speech, having become this, protects man.
9. What is to be known, has the form of mind, for mind is what is to be known. Mind, having become this, protects man.
10. What is unknown, has the form of breath, for breath is unknown. Breath, having become this, protects man.
11. Of that speech (which is the food of Pragâpati) earth is the body, light the form, viz. this fire. And so far as speech extends, so far extends the earth, so far extends fire.
12. Next, of this mind heaven is the body, light the form, viz. this sun. And so far as this mind extends, so far extends heaven, so far extends the sun. If they (fire and sun) embrace each other, then wind is born, and that is Indra, and he is without a rival. Verily a second is a rival, and he who knows this, has no rival.
13. Next, of this breath water is the body, light the form, viz. this moon. And so far as this breath extends, so far extends water, so far extends the moon.
These are all alike, all endless. And he who worships them as finite, obtains a finite world, but he who worships them as infinite, obtains an infinite world.
14. That Pragâpati is the year, and he consists of sixteen digits. The nights indeed are his fifteen digits, the fixed point his sixteenth digit. He is increased and decreased by the nights. Having on the new-moon night entered with the sixteenth part into everything that has life, he is thence born again in the morning. Therefore let no one cut off the life of any living thing on that night, not even of a lizard, in honour (pugartham) of that deity.
15. Now verily that Pragâpati, consisting of sixteen digits, who is the year, is the same as a man who knows this. His wealth constitutes the fifteen digits, his Self the sixteenth digit. He is increased and decreased by that wealth. His Self is the nave, his wealth the felly. Therefore even if he loses everything, if he lives but with his Self, people say, he lost the felly (which can be restored again).
16. Next there are verily three worlds, the world of men, the world of the Fathers, the world of the Devas. The world of men can be gained by a son only, not by any other work. By sacrifice the world of the Fathers, by knowledge the world of the Devas is gained. The world of the Devas is the best of worlds, therefore they praise knowledge.
17. Next follows the handing over. When a man thinks he is going to depart, he says to his son: “Thou art Brahman (the Veda, so far as acquired by the father); thou art the sacrifice (so far as performed by the father); thou art the world.” The son answers: “I am Brahman, I am the sacrifice, I am the world.” Whatever has been learnt (by the father) that, taken as one, is Brahman. Whatever sacrifices there are, they, taken as one, are the sacrifice. Whatever worlds there are, they, taken as one, are the world. Verily here ends this (what has to be done by a father, viz. study, sacrifice, &c.) “He (the son), being all this, preserved me from this world,” thus he thinks. Therefore they call a son who is instructed (to do all this), a world-son (lokya), and therefore they instruct him.
When a father who knows this, departs this world, then he enters into his son together with his own spirits (with speech, mind, and breath). If there is anything done amiss by the father, of all that the son delivers him, and therefore he is called Putra, son. By help of his son the father stands firm in this world. Then these divine immortal spirits (speech, mind, and breath) enter into him.
18. From the earth and from fire, divine speech enters into him. And verily that is divine speech whereby, whatever he says, comes to be.
19. From heaven and the sun, divine mind enters into him. And verily that is divine mind whereby he becomes joyful, and grieves no more.
20. From water and the moon, divine breath (spirit) enters into him. And verily that is divine breath which, whether moving or not moving, does not tire, and therefore does not perish. He who knows this, becomes the Self of all beings. As that deity (Hiranyagarbha) is, so does he become. And as all beings honour that deity (with sacrifice, &c.), so do all beings honour him who knows this.
Whatever grief these creatures suffer, that is all one (and therefore disappears). Only what is good approaches him; verily, evil does not approach the Devas.
21. Next follows the consideration of the observances (acts). Pragâpati created the actions (active senses). When they had been created, they strove among themselves. Voice held, I shall speak; the eye held, I shall see; the ear held, I shall hear; and thus the other actions too, each according to its own act. Death, having become weariness, took them and seized them. Having seized them, death held them back (from their work). Therefore speech grows weary, the eye grows weary, the ear grows weary. But death did not seize the central breath. Then the others tried to know him, and said: “Verily, he is the best of us, he who, whether moving or not, does not tire and does not perish. Well, let all of us assume his form.” Thereupon they all assumed his form, and therefore they are called after him “breaths” (spirits).
In whatever family there is a man who knows this, they call that family after his name. And he who strives with one who knows this, withers away and finally dies. So far with regard to the body.
22. Now with regard to the deities.
Agni (fire) held, I shall burn; Aditya (the sun) held, I shall warm; Kandramas (the moon) held, I shall shine; and thus also the other deities, each according to the deity. And as it was with the central breath among the breaths, so it was with Vayu, the wind among those deities. The other deities fade, not Vayu. Vayu is the deity that never sets.
23. And here there is this Sloka:
“He from whom the sun rises, and into whom it sets” (he verily rises from the breath, and sets in the breath)
“Him the Devas made the law, he only is today, and he tomorrow also” (whatever these Devas determined then, that they perform today also).
Therefore let a man perform one observance only, let him breathe up and let him breathe down, that the evil death may not reach him. And when he performs it, let him try to finish it. Then he obtains through it union and oneness with that deity (with prâna).