अथातो व्रतमीमांसा; प्रजापतिर्ह कर्माणि ससृजे, तानि सृष्टान्यन्योऽन्येनास्पर्धन्त—वदिष्याम्येवाहमिति वाग्दध्रे, द्रक्ष्याम्यहमिति चक्षुः, श्रोष्याम्यहमिति श्रोत्रम्, एवमन्यानि कर्माणि यथाकर्म; तानि मृत्युः श्रमो भूत्वोपयेमे, तान्याप्नोत्, तान्याप्त्वा मृत्युरवारुन्ध; तस्मात्श्राम्यत्येव वाक्, श्राम्यति चक्षुः, श्राम्यति श्रोत्रम्; अथेममेव नाप्नोद्योऽयं मध्यमः प्राणः; तानि ज्ञातुं दध्रिरे । अयं वै नः श्रेष्ठो यः संचरंश्चासंचरंश् च न व्यथते, अथो न रिष्यति, हन्तास्यैव सर्वे रूपमसामेति; त एतस्यैव सर्वे रूपमभवन्, तस्मादेत एतैनाख्यायन्ते प्राणा इति; तेन ह वाव तत्कुलमाचक्षते यस्मिन्कुले भवति य एवं वेद; य उ हैवंविदा स्पर्धतेऽनुशुष्यति, अनुशुष्य हैवान्ततो म्रियते इत्यध्यात्मम् ॥ २१ ॥
athāto vratamīmāṃsā; prajāpatirha karmāṇi sasṛje, tāni sṛṣṭānyanyo’nyenāspardhanta—vadiṣyāmyevāhamiti vāgdadhre, drakṣyāmyahamiti cakṣuḥ, śroṣyāmyahamiti śrotram, evamanyāni karmāṇi yathākarma; tāni mṛtyuḥ śramo bhūtvopayeme, tānyāpnot, tānyāptvā mṛtyuravārundha; tasmātśrāmyatyeva vāk, śrāmyati cakṣuḥ, śrāmyati śrotram; athemameva nāpnodyo’yaṃ madhyamaḥ prāṇaḥ; tāni jñātuṃ dadhrire | ayaṃ vai naḥ śreṣṭho yaḥ saṃcaraṃścāsaṃcaraṃś ca na vyathate, atho na riṣyati, hantāsyaiva sarve rūpamasāmeti; ta etasyaiva sarve rūpamabhavan, tasmādeta etainākhyāyante prāṇā iti; tena ha vāva tatkulamācakṣate yasminkule bhavati ya evaṃ veda; ya u haivaṃvidā spardhate’nuśuṣyati, anuśuṣya haivāntato mriyate ityadhyātmam || 21 ||
21. Now a consideration of the vow: Prajāpati projected the organs. These, on being projected, quarrelled with one another. The organ of speech took a vow, ‘I will go on speaking.’ The eye: ‘I will see.’ The ear: ‘I will hear.’ And so did the other organs according to their functions. Death captured them in the form of fatigue—it overtook them, and having overtaken them it controlled them. Therefore the organ of speech invariably gets tired, and so do the eye and the ear. But death did not overtake this vital force in the body. The organs resolved to know it. ‘This is the greatest among us that, when it moves or does not move, feels no pain nor is injured. Well, let us all be of its form.’ They all assumed its form. Therefore they are called by this name of ‘Prāṇa.’ That family in which a man is born who knows as above, is indeed named after him. And he who competes with one who knows as above shrivels, and after shrivelling dies at the end. This is with reference to the body.
Now begins a consideration of the vow or act of meditation—among these organs whose function is to be observed as a vow? Prajāpati (Virāj), after projecting the beings, projected the organs such as that of speech, called here ‘work,’ because they are instruments of work. The particle ‘ha’ denotes tradition. These, on being projected. quarrelled with one another. How? The organ of speech took a vow,‘I will go on speaking, will never stop doing my function of speaking. If there is anybody who, like me, can keep at this function, let him show his strength.’ Similarly the eye: ‘I will see,’ The ear: ‘I will hear,’ And so did the other organs according to their respective functions. Death, the destroyer, captured them, the organs, in the form of fatigue. How? It overtook them, appeared among those organs, as they were engaged in their functions, in the form of fatigue, and having overtaken them it, death, controlled them, i.e. stopped them from functioning. Therefore, to this day, the organ of speech, being engaged in its function of speaking, invariably gets tired, ceases to function, being affected by death in the form of fatigue. And so do the eye and the ear. But death in the form of fatigue did not overtake this vital force in the body, which functions in the mouth. Therefore even now it functions tirelessly. The other organs resolved to know it. ‘This is the greatest, foremost, among us, because, when it moves or does not move, it feels no pain nor is injured. Well, let us now all be of its form, identify ourselves with the vital force.’ Having decided thus, they all assumed its form, realised the vital force as their own self—observed the function of the vital force as a vow, thinking their own functions as insufficient to ward off death. Because the other organs have the form of the vital force in so far as they are mobile, and have their own form in so far as they perceive objects, therefore they, the organ of speech and the rest, are called by this name of ‘Prāṇa.’ Nothing can be mobile except the vital force. And we observe that the functions of the organs are always preceded by movement.
That family in which a man is born who knows as above, that all the organs are but the vital force and are named after it, is indeed named after him by people. It is known by the name of the sage, that it is the family of such and such, as ‘the line of Tapatī.’ This is the result accruing to one who knows as above, that the organ of speech and the rest are but forms of the vital force and are named after it. And he who competes as a rival with one who knows as above, with the sage who identifies himself with the vital force, shrivels in this very body, and after shrivelling dies at the end, he does not die suddenly without suffering. This is with reference to the body: Here is concluded the subject of meditation on the vital force as identical with oneself in so far as it relates to the body. That relating to the gods will be next taken up.