स होवाच महात्मनश्चतुरो देव एकः कः स जगार भुवनस्य गोपास्तं कापेय नाभिपश्यन्ति मर्त्या अभिप्रतारिन्बहुधा वसन्तं यस्मै वा एतदन्नं तस्मा एतन्न दत्तमिति ॥ ४.३.६ ॥
sa hovāca mahātmanaścaturo deva ekaḥ kaḥ sa jagāra bhuvanasya gopāstaṃ kāpeya nābhipaśyanti martyā abhipratārinbahudhā vasantaṃ yasmai vā etadannaṃ tasmā etanna dattamiti || 4.3.6 ||
6. The brahmacārin said: ‘One god has swallowed four sages. Who is he who protects this world? O Kāpeya, O Abhipratārin, that god exists in many forms, but human beings cannot see him. The food is meant for him, but you are not giving it to him’.
Saḥ ha uvāca, he [the brahmacārin] said; ekaḥ devaḥ, one god; mahātmanaḥ caturaḥ, four sages; jagāra, swallowed; kaḥ saḥ, who is that [god]; bhuvanasya gopāḥ, the guardian of the world; kāpeya abhipratārin, O Kāpeya, O Abhipratārin; martyāḥ tam na abhipaśyanti, human beings cannot see him; bahudhā vasantam, existing in many forms; yasmai, for whom; vai etat annam, this food; tasmai, to him; etat na dattam iti, did not give it.
Fire, the sun, the moon, and water—these are said to be four sages. Air controls all these, and air is called the god Prajāpati. Similarly, prāṇa is also the god Prajāpati, and the sages are speech, the eyes, the ears, and the mind.
Prajāpati is the protector of all, and he resides in diverse forms—sometimes within the human body (ādhyātmika), Sometimes in the forces of nature (ādhidaivika), and sometimes within other living beings (ādhibautika). People are ignorant about him and do not recognize him. They prepare food for him but do not know it, and they refuse to give it to him.