The preceding section has broached the topic, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (II. i. 15). In this connection it has been stated that that from which the universe originates, of which it consists (during continuity), and into which it dissolves is the one Brahman. Now what are the constituents of that universe which originates and dissolves? The five elements. And the elements consist of name and form. It has already been said that name and form are called truth. And Brahman is the Truth of this truth consisting of the elements.. How it is that the elements are called truth, will be explained in the (third) section, treating of the gross and subtle universes. Because the body and organs, as also the vital force, consist of these gross and subtle elements, therefore they are truth. In order to define the nature of those elements that form the body and organs, this and the following section are introduced. That will be an explanation of the secret name (‘the Truth of truth’), for Brahman, the Truth of truth, will be ascertained only by ascertaining that the body and organs are truth. It has been said, ‘The vital force is truth, and Brahman is the Truth of that’ (II. i. 20). Now, to explain what this vital force is, and how many and what its secret names are, the nature of the vital force, which is an instrument of the self, is being described in the course of describing the secret name of Brahman, just as a traveller notices wells, parks, etc., lying along the road.
यो ह वै शिशं साधानं सप्रत्याधानं सस्थूणं सदामं वेद सप्त ह द्विषतो भ्रातृव्यानवरुणद्धि । अयं वाव शिशुर्योऽयं मध्यमः प्राणः, तस्यैदमेवाधानम्, इदं प्रत्याधानम्, प्राणः स्थूणा, अन्नं दाम ॥ १ ॥
yo ha vai śiśaṃ sādhānaṃ sapratyādhānaṃ sasthūṇaṃ sadāmaṃ veda sapta ha dviṣato bhrātṛvyānavaruṇaddhi | ayaṃ vāva śiśuryo’yaṃ madhyamaḥ prāṇaḥ, tasyaidamevādhānam, idaṃ pratyādhānam, prāṇaḥ sthūṇā, annaṃ dāma || 1 ||
1. He who knows the calf with its abode, its special resort, its post and its tether kills his seven envious kinsmen: The vital force in the body is indeed the calf; this body is its abode, the head its special resort, strength its post, and food its tether.
He who knows the calf with its abode, its special resort, its post and its tether gets this result. What is that? He kills his seven envious kinsmen. Kinsmen are of two kinds, those who envy and those who do not; here the former are meant. The seven organs— instruments for perceiving objects—that are in the head, that is to say, the attachment to sense-objects which they cause, are called kinsmen, since they are born with a person. Because they turn his vision from the Self to the sense-objects, therefore they are envious kinsmen—since they thus hinder him from perceiving the inner Self. It is also said in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, ‘The self-born Lord injured the organs by making them outgoing in their tendencies. Therefore they perceive only external things, but not the inner Self,’ etc. (Ka. IV. I). He who knows the calf and the rest—understands their real nature—removes from view, or kills, these envious kinsmen. When the aspirant, hearing of this result, is inclined to know more about them, the Śruti says: This is indeed the calf. Which? This vital force which is in the body as the subtle body, which in its fivefold form pervades the body, and was addressed as ‘Great, White-robed, Radiant, Soma’ (II. i. 15), and on which the organs such as that of speech and the mind rest, as we know from the illustration of the post to which the horse’s feet are tethered (VI. i. 13). It is like a young calf, not being in direct touch with the sense-objects like the other organs.
Mention has been made of ‘the calf with its abode.’ Now what is the abode of that calf, that instrument of the self, the vital force, which is here likened to a calf? This body, which is an effect, is its abode. An abode is that in which something is put. This body is the abode of that calf, the vital force, because it is by staying in the body that the organs come to function as channels of perception, not while they rest only on the vital force. This has been demonstrated by Ajātaśatru as follows: When the organs are withdrawn, the individual self is not noticed; it is only when they occupy their respective seats in the body that the individual self is noticed as perceiving things. This was proved by the (sleeping) man’s being roused by pushing with the hand. The head is its special resort. It is so called because the vital force is connected with particular parts of it. Strength, the power that comes out of food and drink, is its post. ‘Prāṇa’ and ‘Bala’ (strength) are synonyms, for the vital force abides in the body, being supported by strength. This is borne out by the Śruti text, ‘When this self becomes weak and senseless, as it were’ (IV. iv. i). Just as a calf is supported by a post, so is the vital force by strength. Some understand that the respiratory force that works in the body is the post. And food is its tether. The food we eat is changed into three forms. That which is the grossest is excreted from the body and is absorbed into the earth. The intermediate form of chyle, passing through the stages of blood etc., nourishes its effect, the gross body, which is composed of seven ingredients. The body is nourished by the accession of its cause, viz. food, because it is the product of food; and when this is reversed, it decays and falls. The finest form, called ‘nectar’ and ‘highly powerful,’ goes past the navel to the heart, and penetrating the seventy-two thousand nerves that radiate from there, generates strength, here designated as ‘post,’ and thereby helps the subtle body, which is the aggregate of the inner organs and is here called the calf, to stay in the gross body. Therefore food is the connecting link between the vital force and the body, like a calf’s tether with a loop at each end.
Now certain secret names regarding the calf living in its special resort, with reference to the eye, are being mentioned: