Saturday, 22 April 2023

Mantrapushpam Yajur Veda Word to Word Meaning and Commentary

Introduction to Vedas 

The entire Universe is reverberating. When there is reverberation, there is sound. In other words, the entire cosmos is simply a manifestation of sound energy. The ancient Vedic sages through penance, were able to download cosmic data directly. They received the cosmic truths in the form of sounds which they heard and envisioned. These truths were recited as received, and passed on generations after generations.

Various truths downloaded by various Rishis gave rise to the ocean of Vedas. Veda Vyasa later compiled these Vedas and classified them. This is how the 4 Vedas came to existence. Each of these Vedas have many branches. Each branch had 4 components : 

(1) samhita
(2) brahmana
(3) aranyaka
(4) Upanishad


Mantra Pushpam comes in the Taittiriiya AraNyaka ( forest treaties ) of the KrSHNa yajur veda ( 1-22-1 ).


Video: My student Smt. Kavita reciting the Mantrapushpam.

OM yo.apaaM pushhpaM veda |

pushhpavaan prajaavaan pashumaan bhavati |

yaHa = whosoever

apaam = waters

pushhpaM = nourishing and blossoming ( flower )

veda = to know

pushhpa-vaan = full of flowers

praja-vaan = full of progeny

pashu-maan = full of cows

bhavati = to become

commentary:

The literal meaning here is: When one realises the flowers of water, he becomes full of flowers, progeny and cows.

The mantrapushhpam comes as a part of AruNa prashna, which speaks about the interrelation between the elements and nature. So, this mantra denotes the importance of the essence of water. One who realises the importance of the life-nourishing and blossoming aspect of water, attains wealth in the form of progeny,  prosperity and cattle 

*flower is seen as something which blossoms from water, as something which is born out of water, so the essence of water is represented as flower*

This is historically evident as we look at ancient civilizations which reached its peak when people settled near rivers.

The Vedas have many dimensions of truth to them. Let us look at a profounder meaning.

Pushhpam can refer to any aspect which blossoms and nourishes. The root sound 'pushh' means ' to nourish'. In the Vedic tradition, 'water' is seen as a synonym to the state of absolute reality ( atma, absolute consciousness, god etc ).

In fact, the word ' naaraayaNa' literally means ' one who has waters as His abode'. ( naaraHa = water , ayanam = abode ). 

Water best represents the state of godhood / atma / absolute reality / consciousness. It can be in a form of wave, like the wave of consciousness which is all pervasive. It is beyond attributes and colours. It adopts the colour in which you expose it to. Put water in a red bucket and it appears red ( Put God as an incarnation within humans and He appears Human. He can come as a human when incarnated into a human civilisation. He can come as a fish when descending into a the fish kingdom ). Water is beyond form, formless. Yet, water can take any form it wants. Put it in a square container and it takes a square form. ( As God incarnates in planet Earth, He abides by the law of earth- be it gravity, ageing, nourishment etc ). Water can be calm ( as Sadashiva ) or it can come ferociously crashing as a waterfall ( as Rudra ).


Bruce Lee: Be water my friend

So, one who realises the nourishing-blossoming essence of atma / absolute reality, attains fullness of blossoming prosperity, cattle and progeny. Cattle here refers to wealth. Progeny refers to the continuity of genetic makeup or knowledge to the next generation. Progeny does not merely refer to having children. Progeny is created when you initiate someone into knowledge, making sure that the lineage is maintained.

chandramaa vaa apaaM pushhpam | 

pushhpavaan prajaavaan pashumaan bhavati | 

ya evaM veda |

yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda |

aayatanavaan bhavati |

chandramaa = moon 

vai = verily

apaam = waters

pushhpam = flowers

pushhpa-vaan= full of flowers

prajaa-vaan= full of progeny

pashu-maan= full of cows

bhavati = to become

yaHa = whosoever

evam = in this manner

veda = to realise

yaHa= whosoever

apaam= waters

aayatanam = abode

veda= to realise

aayatana-vaan= to merge back to the abode 

bhavati = to become

commentary:

The literal meaning to this is : The moon is verily the flower of the waters. One who realises this is blessed with flowers, cattle and progeny. One who knows the abode ( source ) of water, attains that abode. 

If we look carefully, the moon and waters are closely related. The moon's gravitational force pulls the oceans to cause tides. The high and low tides are influenced by the waning and waxing of the moon. So one who understands the nature of the sea in accordance to the waning and waxing of the moon can safeguard his properties and people from floods. This knowledge verily enables him to accrue wealth, progeny and prosperity. One who realises the abode of water, attains that abode.


The animation above gives a good visual to the interrelation between the moon and waters.

In a profounder understanding, the moon is a representation of the mind. The Vedas ( PurusHa Suuktam ) describe the moon as having born from the mind of the cosmic person ( chandramaa manaso jaataHa ).

The mental activity relies on the waning and waxing of the moon. This is why Hindus use specific tithis to perform specific sadhanas. For example, a full moon hypes the mental state. If you are meditative, your experience heightens during full moon. This is also why you notice patients under psychiatric conditions showing signs of exaggerated aggression during full moon.

The state of Atma / absolute reality ( water ) is therefore the flower of the mind, for the mind can be utilised to attain spiritual awakening. One who achieves this, attains enlightenment ( one merges back to his abode ; realising his true state as atma / absolute reality ).

KrSHNa Yajur Veda ( T.A 4-10-3 ):

naaraayaNa paro dhyaataa dhyaanaM naaraayaNaH (f) paraHa

Meaning: The One who is meditating upon Narayana is verily Narayana.


agnirvaa apaam-aayatanam |

aayatanavaan bhavati |

yo.agner-aayatanaM veda ||

aayatanavaan bhavati |

aapo vaa agner-aayatanaM |

aayatanavaan bhavati |

ya evaM veda | 

yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda |

aayatanavaan bhavati

agniHi = Agni Bhagavaan

vai = verily

apaam = waters

aayatanam = abode

aayatana-vaan = mergence back to the abode / source

bhavati = to become

yaHa = whosoever

agneHe = from Agni Bhagavaan

commentary:

At a literal level, this stanza reveals fire as the source of water. One who knows the abode ( source ) of fire, attains that abode. Verily, water is the source of fire. One who realises this attains that abode. One who realises the abode of water, attains that abode.

Secret of 5 Elements In Taittiriiya UpanisHat

Let us look at a reference from the Taittiriya Upanishad of the Yajur Veda. The 2nd chapter of this Upanishad is called Brahmananda valli.



aakaasaadvaayuhu
vaayo-ragnii
agneraapaha
adbhyaH (f) p^Rthvii 

Video : Brahmananda Valli by my student Shravanthi.

As per this verse of Brahmananda valli - From Atma ( tasmaadvaa-etasmaad aatma ) came ether ( aakasha , often misinterpreted as 'space' ).

From ether emerged air ( vayu )

From air arose fire ( agni )

From fire arose water ( aapa )

From water ( adbhyaH ) came earth ( pR^ithvii )

Atma -
--> Aakasha --> Vayu --> Agni --> Water--> PR^ithvii

But How ?

We even have the genesis described in the Vedas. For this, we have to look at the Purusha Suktam - which appears in all 4 Vedas and their branches ( shaakha ).


adbhyaH sambhuutaH p^Rthivyai rasaacca

In this verse , it describes as to how the absolute reality, at the initiation of creation condensed and took the form of Ether. When pure energy is condensed - it forms matter. The subtlest form of matter is ether.

Video: Kum. Shravanthi and I reciting the Purusha Suktam

Ether then further condensed to form air which then condensed to form agni, which condensed to form water and finally earth.




We can see this sequence going from the subtlest aspect to the most gross.

This whole work of subtle --> gross is expounded in the vyaahritis of the Vedas- BhuuHu ( grossest ) BhuvaHa , SvaaHa ( Subtlest )

How is Akasha subtlest and Earth most gross ?

Akasha : 

Can be perceived only by sounds ( shabda ). The Vedas were downloaded as cosmic sounds which reverberate. The dimension of this network of vibration is Akasha. The akasha is the cosmic archive that houses all information about the cosmos as sounds.


Vayu :

Vayu bhagavaan can be perceived through sound and touch ( sparsha )

Agni :

Agni bhagavaan can be perceived through sound, touch and form ( ruupa ). Fire is the first element to have a form

Water :

Water can be perceived through sound, touch, form and  taste ( rasa )

Earth :

Earth can be perceived through sound, touch, form, taste and smell ( gandhaaHa )

In the Surya Upanishad of Atharva Veda,we find a verse that goes as:

aadityo vai shabdasparsha-ruupa-rasa-gandhaaH..

Here, Surya Bhagvaan ( Our very atma is Surya = the absolute reality,. as per this UpanisHat ) is declared as the very source of shabda, sparsha, ruupa, rasa and gandhaaHa. 




coming back to MantrapusHpam, this stanza reveals the truth of fire being the source for water and vice versa. How is this so? From the UpanisHat, we understand that it is the same absolute reality which is expressing in different densities as the 5 elements. So in real, the essence to all five elements is ONE.
We notice water being the source for fire when we observe lightning arising from water-clouds. Vice versa, the fire of digestion takes form of water in the digestive juices in the alimentary canal.


In a profounder dimension, absolute reality ( water ) becomes the source for fire. I explained this using the verses of the UpanisHats and PurusHa suuktam earlier, on how fire is a result of consolidation of the absolute reality. Fire, in the form of inspiration and knowledge, drives one to seek the truth of the 'self' to experientially realise the Atma. Thus, fire here becomes a source to enlightenment ( the abode of absolute reality, symbolized by water ). As per the Vedic culture, Lord Agni is manifest not just as fire, but as also the inner energy, momentum and inspiration.

vaayurvaa apaam-aayatanam |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yo vaayor-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati ||
aapo vai vaayor-aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavatu |
ya evaM veda |
yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |

vaayuHu = vaayu bhagavaan
vai = verily
apaam = waters
aayatanam = abode
aayatana-vaan = mergence back to abode
bhavati = to become
yaHa = whosoever
vaayooHo = from vaayu
veda = to realise

commentary:

At a literal level, this stanza proclaims vayu for being the source of water. One who realises the abode of vaayu, attains that abode. Likewise, water is the source for vaayu. One who realises this attains that abode. One who knows the abode of water, attains that abode.


Vaayu becomes a source for water when air condenses to form solid water. You see this during the formation of dewdrops. Vice versa, water evaporates to form vapour, thus being a source to vaayu.

In a profounder level, vaayu in the form of praaNa ( life-force ) can be utilised to attain self-realisation. Every sadhana involves the utilisation of life-force. In Vedic samskrta, one definition for 'Rudra' is 'life-force'. When life-force exits the body, the body drops down as corpse. A corpse is surrounded by people who weep and mourn. This is one reason why 'Rudra' is described as 'He who causes one to weep', because He is the manifest life-force.

So when we concentrate our praaNa and utilise it in an intelligent way, it can pave way towards enlightenment. Thus, vaayu becomes a gateway to the state ( abode ) of absolute reality ( water )8


asau vai tapannapaam-aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yo.amushhya tapata aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati | 
aapo vaa amushhya tapata aayatanam ||
aayatanavaan bhavati |
ya evaM veda |
yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |

asau= having a particular state
vai = verily
tapan = property to induce heat
apaam = waters
aayatanam = abode
aayatana-vaan = mergence back to abodr
bhavati = become
yaHa = whosoever
amushhya = whoever with a particular state
tapataHa = heating

commentary:

At a literal dimension, this stanza states that the source of heat is the source to water. One who realises this attains that abode. Vice versa, water is the source to the the source of heat. One who realises tis attains that abode. One who realises the source of water, attains that abode.

We see this in reality in the form of the scorching Sun which is responsible for the water cycle. Water in the form of rain is possible only due to the heat produced by the Sun.

Vice versa, water at a peak temperature becomes a source for heat. We see this in the form of hot springs and volcanic eruptions.


At a deeper understanding, heat in the form of tapas ( penance ) paves way towards enlightenment ( the state of absolute reality ). One who realises, attains the abode of enlightenment. In fact, 'tapas' comes from 'tapta' which literally means 'heat'. Penance is the manifestation of the spiritual heat. By the same token, absolute reality ( water ) is the source for heat. It is the internal atma which is responsible for the inner heat which sustains our being. The NaaraayaNa sukta of Yajur Veda beautifully describes this:

KrsHNa Yajur Veda ( T.A 4-10-13 ):

santaapayatiH svaM dehamaapaadatalamastakaHa |
tasya madhye vanhi shikhaa aNiiyordhvaa vyavasthitaHa ||

At the centre ( of spiritual heart ) is placed ( the Atma ) of atomic size, facing upwards and fiery in nature. It heats up own's body completely, equally, from top to toe.

commentary: The whole suuktam speaks about the anatomical location of the Atma in the body. This verse specifically describes the Atma as the powerhouse which heats and empowers the body by supplying heat.

chandramaa vaa apaam-aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavati | 
yash-chandramasa aayatanaM veda |
aayatannavaan bhavati |
aapo vai chandramasa aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavati ||
ya evaM veda |
yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |

chandramaa = moon
vai = verily
apaam = waters
aayatanam = abode
aayatana-vaan = mergence with abode
bhavati = becomes
yaHa = whosoever
chandramasa = from the moon
aayatanam = abode
veda = to realise

commentary:

In a superficial aspect, the Vedas proclaim the moon as a source for water through this stanza. We already saw the significance of moon and water in the earlier verses. One who realises the abode of moon, attains the abode. In parallel, water is the source for the moon. The earth as we know, comprises 70% of water. The Moon was formed when a celestial body with a similar size to Mars collided with the early Earth around 4.5 billion years ago. The impact generated intense heat, causing both the Earth and the colliding object to partially melt, and a considerable amount of debris was ejected into space. Over time, this debris eventually aggregated to form the Moon.


Water is also present in the moon, in the form of ice in the permanently shadowed regions near the Moon's poles.

In a deeper aspect, the mind-aspect is a source for the absolute reality. One who gains mastery over the mind and goes beyond it is established in the state of enlightenment. The very absolute reality is verily the source to the moon as well, as it condensed to form consolidated celestial bodies.

Moon waning / waxing & spiritual awakening

''For instance, today is Shivarathri day. You experience the night every day. These are ordinary nights. They are nights of darkness.  But Shivarathri is an auspicious night. How is it auspicious? There are sixteen aspects for the mind. The moon is the presiding deity for the mind. Of the sixteen phases of the moon, today in the fourteenth day of Margashersha month (lunar calendar), fifteen of the phases are absent. On this day it is possible to get full control of one's mental faculties. Hence it is considered an auspicious day''

- Bhagavaan Shri Satya Sai Baba

nakshatraaNi vaa apaam-aayatanam |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yo nakshhatraaNaam-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yo nakshhatraaNaam-aayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
aapo vai nakshhatraaNaam-aayatanam |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
ya evaM veda ||
yo.apaam-aayatanam veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |

nakshhatraaNi = constellations of stars
vai = verily
apaam = waters
aayatana-vaan = mergence with abode
bhavati = become
yaHa = whosoever
nakshhatraaNaam = of the constellations
aayatanam = abode
veda = realise

At a literal context, the stars are the source for water. One who knows this attains the abode ( origin ) of the stars. Verily, water is the source to the stars. One who knows this attains the abode. One who knows the abode of water, attains that abode.

The changing seasons are linked with specific patterns of the star constellations. In the ancient times, the appearance of the Orion constellation marked the beginning of the rainy season.

Even today, astronomers rely on star constellations to locate certain celestial bodies like comets and asteroids, that may contain water. 

Recently, numerous space missions have been launched to investigate celestial objects within our solar system, including the Moon and Mars, in search of water resources. Some of these missions have utilized data derived from star constellations to help locate their intended targets.

Water becomes a source to the constellations when the ancients travelled in the seas. The constellations come to use for sea goers for navigation.

At a deeper context, the constellations become a source for one to be established in the atmic abode. The constellations play a very important role in the Vedic culture in determining's one's life destiny and his / her tendencies. This includes the tendency to seek or move towards self-knowledge.

Our auspicious days of Hinduism is also based on the constellations, which again, becomes a source to our mergence into the absolute reality.

Vice versa, the absolute reality is verily the source of the constellations. The stars are present in the form of gaseous substance, which is simply a consolidated form of absolute reality --> aakasha --> vaayu.

parjanyo vaa apaam-aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yaH (f) parjanyasyaa-yatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
aapo vai parjanyasyaa.a.ayatanam | 
aayatanavaan bhavati | 
ya evaM veda | 
yo.apaam-aayatanaM veda ||
aayatanavaan bhavati | 

parjanyaHa = rains
vai = verily
apaam = waters
aayatanam = abode
aayatana-vaan = mergence with abode
bhavati = become
yaHa = whosoever
parjanyasya = of the rains
aayatanam = abode
veda = realise

The literal meaning to this stanza is on the rain being a source to water. One who knows the abode of the rains, attains that abode. Also, water is the source for the rains. One who knows this attains that abode. One who knows the abode of water, attains that abode.

Rain literally pours in the form of water which later fills up the water bodies, thus being a source to water. It is the evaporation of water bodies like the oceans which forms rain-clouds, thus, water acts as a source to rain.


The deeper meaning to this is Indra is the source for absolute reality ( waters ). ParjanyaHa is another name for Indra. He is the bringer of rain. As we saw earlier, Lord Indra is the aspect of the self which gains mastery over the senses. Indra bhagavaan is sometimes portrayed as a bhogi ( one in pleasure )in the puraaNaas because the pleasures are only experienced with the 5 senses. We use the 5 senses to experience creation.

One who gains mastery over these senses attains the state of Indra. He stands like a king, just like Indra bhagavaan.The play of creation can no longer affect him. He becomes a master to it ( therefore we call Indra as the king of devatas, Devaraja ).

The KrsHNa yajur veda portrays this beautifully in the Taittiriiya AaraNyakam 10,41-44.

mayi medhaam mayi prajaam mayi indra indriyaM dadhaatu

This mantra speaks about the aspect of medha associated with Indra. The aspect of intelligence granted by Indra is the mastery over the senses ( indriyaM ) / blessings of a perfectly functionable sense organs.

Mastery over the senses enables one to attain enlightenment and hence, to be established in the state of absolute reality.

Image: A buddhist depiction of Lord Indra as Shakra, the King of heavens.

Absolute reality becomes a source to Indra because it is that consciousness which is manifest of Lord Indra.

Rig Veda 1.164.46:

इंद्रं॑ मि॒त्रं वरु॑णम॒ग्निमा॑हु॒रथो॑ दि॒व्यः स सु॑प॒र्णो ग॒रुत्मा॑न् ।

एकं॒ सद्विप्रा॑ बहु॒धा व॑दंत्य॒ग्निं य॒मं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमाहुः ॥

índram mitrám váruṇamagnímāhurátho divyáḥ sá suparṇó garútmān ǀ

ékam sádvíprā bahudhā́ vadantyagním yamám mātaríśvānamāhuḥ ǁ

Meaning: The Absolute reality is common, but the sages express It variously; they call it Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Agni, Agni, Yama, Matarishvan.

So it is the absolute reality which is verily functioning as Indra.

saMvatsaro vaa apaam-aayatanaM |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
yassaMvatsaras-yaayatanaM veda |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
aapo vai saMvatsaras-yaayatanam |
aayatanavaan bhavati |
ya evaM veda ||
yo.apsu naavaM pratishhThitaaM veda |
pratyeva tishhThati ||

samvatsaraHa = year/season
vai = verily
apaam = waters
aayatanam = abode
aayatana-vaan = mergence with abode
bhavati = become
yaHa = whosoever
saMvatsarasya = of the season/ year
veda = realise
apsu = waters
naavaM = boat
pratishhThitaam = established
pratyeva = prati ( reaction ) + eva ( in the same manner )
tishhThati = establish

Time in the form of years and seasons is the source for water. One who knows the abode of time attains that abode. Water is also the source to seasons. One who realises this attains that abode. One who knows water and the boat that is established on the water surface, is able to establish himself on the boat.

The seasons according to the year ( time ) is the source for water body when it causes regeneration of the water cycle and flow of river. Likewise, water influences the seasons. For instance, the oceans and the movement of water in them affects the temperature and how much rain or snow there is in different regions. When water evaporates from oceans and other bodies of water during summer, it can lead to more rain. But during winter, there is less evaporation and less rain. Snow and ice cover also affect the timing and length of seasons, especially in cold areas.

At a subtler context, time is the source for the absolute reality. The evolution of a soul along the timeline of various births ultimately leads him to enlightenment. In this way, with time, one inevitably attains the abode of atma.

The absolute reality becomes a source for time in the form of Kaala. The deities who stand as Kaala are Kaala Bhairava and Yama, These are the forms which are worshiped for time-related issues or time-management.

The boat is the guide which enables us to cross the ocean of illusion towards the abode of enlightenment. One who captures this boat who comes as a deity or guru is well established and saved!

The Durga Sukta of KrsHNa Yajur Veda descibes Agni Bhagavan as the boatman who ferries us across the ocean of illusion

Taittiriiya AraNyaka 10-2-1

sa naH(f) parshhadati durgaaNi vishvaa naaveva sindhuM durita.ati.agniHi

Meaning: O Agni Bhagavan, like a boat, carry us across this extremely difficult to traverse ocean of illusion  of this creation and bring us to reality!

Image: Karuppanasamy, Mahakaala.

OM raajaadhi-raajaaya prasahyasaahine |
namo vayaM vai-shravaNaaya kurmahe |
sa me kaamaan-kaama-kaamaaya mahyam |
kaameshvaro vaishravaNo dadaatu |
kuberaaya vai-shravaNaaya |
mahaaraajaaya namaH |

raajaa-adhi-raajaaya = the king of kings
pra = prakaTita = manifest
sahya-saahii-ne = provider of all victories and strength
namaHa = not me ( not salutations ! )

Namaha means = not me. So by uttering 'namaha', we disidentify ourselves from all illusions - our identification with the body and mind. Ultimately, we become empty and realise that we are Atma. 

vayam = we 
vaishravaNaaya = vai-shravaNa = the listener of our prayers
kurmahe = which we do
saHa = He 
me = me
kaama = desire
kaamaaya = desires
mahyam = to me
kaameshvaraHa = Lord of desires
vaishravaNaHa = Kubera
dadaatu = to give ( provide )
kuberaaya =  Kuberaa
mahaa = great
raajaaya = king
namaHa = not me

* In the Veda samhita, this stanza does not come as a continuation to the other stanzas. This comes as an independent stanza elsewhere in the Taittiriiya AraNyaka*

commentary:

O King of Kings, you are the provider of all victories and strength. NamaHa to you! O Kubera, bless me with wealth and fulfil my desires. NamaHa to Kubera, the VaishravaNaa, the Maharaja.

This stanza is commonly recited during deeparadhana to a deity. It glorifies the Lord Emperor who would listen to our requests to provide us with abundance and wealth.

Kaama as desire doesn't come under a negative projection. The world functions with desire. You need desire to even eat, walk, drink and carry out your life. Even the impulse to get up from bed is desire.

Therefore, Devi Herself, who empowers to cosmos stands as Kamakshi in Kanchi. 


Image: Lord Shiva as Mahakameshwara in Agra.


3 comments:

  1. Only this water can quench the thirst to nourish flowers of water

    ReplyDelete
  2. Consider myself very fortunate for being able to read your article, Thank you very very much. It is a blessing! Shanti Juluru

    ReplyDelete