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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Pradanadhikaranam: Topic 28 (Sutra 43)

Meditations on Vayu and Prana are to be kept separate notwithstanding the essential oneness of these two.

Pradanavadeva taduktam III.3.43 (402)

As in the case of the offerings (Vayu and Prana must be held apart). This has been explained (in the Purvamimamsa Sutra).

Pradanavat: as in the case of the offerings of the 'Pradana, oblation'; Eva: exactly; Tat: that; Uktam: has been stated.

The section of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which begins "Voice held, I shall speak" (Bri. Up. I.5.21) determines Prana to be the best amomg the organs of the body and Vayu to be the best among the Devas.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad Vayu is said to be the general absorber of the Devas, "Vayu indeed is the absorber" (IV.3.1); Prana is said to be the general absorber of the organs of the body, "Breath indeed is the absorber" (IV.3.3).

In the Samvarga Vidya of the Chhandogya Upanishad, meditation on Prana with reference to the body and on Vayu with reference to the gods is prescribed.

Many Sruti texts say that Prana and Vavu are one in essence. Therefore, the Purvapakshin maintains that the two meditations can be combined and that Vayu and Prana are non-separate because in their true nature they do not differ. And as their true nature does not differ they must not be meditated upon separately. In some places we have even a direct identification of the two, "What Prana is that is Vayu – Yah pranah sa vayuh."

The present Sutra refutes the above view and declares that they are to be kept apart despite the non-difference in nature of Prana and Vayu, because their functions on account of their different abodes are different. Although there may be non-difference of true nature, yet there may be difference of condition giving rise to difference of instruction, and through the latter to difference of meditation.

The Sutra compares the case under discussion to a parallel one from the Karmakanda by means of the clause "as in the case of the offerings".

As an illustration we may take Pradhana where Purodasa (oblations) is given separately to Raja Indra (the Ruler), Adhiraja Indra (the monarch or the over-ruler), and Svaraja Indra (the sovereign or the self-ruler) according to his different capacities, though Indra is essentially one, though he is one god.

Hence, though the Vidya is one from the Adhyatmic point of view, there is separateness from the Adhidaivata point of view. So the meditations on Prana and Vayu have to be kept apart. This principle is established by Jaimini, in Purvamimamsa (Sankarsha alias Devata Kanda).