Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda

Chapter Two: Avirodha Adhyaya – Section 4 (Sutras 270-291)


In the Third Pada or Section it has been shown that ether and other elements are produced from Brahman by reconciling the apparently contradictory texts of the Srutis that treat of their origin. It has been shown that a conflict of the Vedic passages as to the origination of the ether, etc., does not exist. The same is now done in this Section with regard to the vital airs or Pranas, and senses. The texts that deal with the origin of the Pranas and senses are taken up for discussion. This Section establishes that the vital airs and the senses derive their origin from Brahman.


This Section (Pada) IV of Chapter II is devoted to the discussion of the creation of the senses, the chief Prana. It establishes that they originate from Brahman.

Adhikarana 1:

(Sutras 1-4) teaches that the Pranas (senses) originate from Brahman.

Adhikarana II:

(Sutras 5-6) declares that the senses are eleven in number.

Adhikarana III:

(Sutra 7) teaches that the senses are of minute size (Anu) and not all-pervading.

Adhikarana IV:

(Sutra 8) intimates that the chief Prana is also produced from Brahman.

Adhikarana V:

(Sutras 9-12) informs us that the chief Prana is a principle distinct from air in general and from Pranas (senses) discussed above.

Adhikarana VI:

(Sutra 13) teaches that the chief Prana is minute (Anu) and not all-pervading.

Adhikarana VII:

(Sutras 14-16) teaches that the organs are superintended and guided in their actions by special deities. The senses are connected permanently with and are subservient to the individual soul. Hence the individual soul and not the presiding deities is their master.

Adhikarana VIII:

(Sutras 17-19) informs us that organs are independent principles and not mere modes of functions of the chief Prana. Prana is not the resultant of the combined functions of all the eleven senses. Although Prana is different from the senses and therefore not included in their number of eleven, yet it is like them, an instrument of action, as it has a specific and extraordinary function of supporting and nourishing the body, sustaining life, and supporting the senses.

Adhikarana IX:

(Sutras 20-22) declares that the creation of names and forms (the Namarupavyakarana) is the work not of the individual soul but of the Lord.

Flesh originates from earth. So also is the case of the two other elements.

On account of preponderance of a particular element in them the gross elements are so named after it. As for instance, the gross water is produced from the mixture of all the five primary elements but as the share constituted by the element water preponderates in the composition of the gross water, it is named water.

Pranotpattyadhikaranam: Topic 1 (Sutras 1-4)

The Pranas have their origin from Brahman.

Tatha pranah II.4.1 (270)

Thus the vital airs (are produced from Brahman).

Tatha: thus, likewise, similarly, like the creation of the five primal elements as stated in the previous section; Pranah: the Pranas, the organs..

The creation of the Pranas or senses is now described.

The Pranas are divided into two classes, namely Pranas in a strict sense and Pranas in a metaphorical sense. The eleven senses, sight, hearing, etc., are called Pranas in a secondary meaning. The five Pranas, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana are the principal Pranas. Among these, the author first takes up the eleven senses which are called Pranas in a secondary sense.

Purvapakshin: The Pranas have no origin for they are eternal like the Jivas and existed even before creation.

Siddhantin: The Pranas have origin.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: The chapters which treat of the origin of things do not record an origin of the vital airs, e.g., "It sent forth fire", etc., (Chh. Up. VI.2.3). "From that Self sprang ether", etc., (Tait. Up. II.1). It is said clearly in some places that the vital airs were not produced. "This was indeed non-existence in the beginning. They say what was that nonbeing? Those Rishis indeed were the nonbeing in the beginning. They say who are those Rishis? The Pranas (organs) are indeed the Rishis" (Sat. Br. VI.1.1.1). This shows that the Pranas (organs) are eternal and not created.

This Sutra refutes the above view and says that the Pranas are produced just like ether from Brahman. The word 'Tatha (thus or likewise)' does not refer to the preceding topic of the last section which is the plurality of souls but to the creation of ether, etc., treated in the last section. Sruti texts directly declare their origination. "From that (Brahman) are produced the vital air, mind and all the organs" (Mun. Up. II.1.3). "As small sparks come forth from fire, thus do all vital airs come forth from that Brahman" (Bri. Up. II.1.20). "The seven vital airs also spring from Him" (Mun. Up. II.1.8). "He sent forth the vital air; from the vital air, Sraddha, ether, air, light, water, earth, sense, mind, food" (Pras. Up. VI.4).

Therefore, the senses are created.

If the creation of the Prana is not stated in some places, that will not lessen the force of the passages about such creation. "Na hi kvachidasravanamanyatra srutam nivarayitumutsahate"; "Tattejo'srijat"; "Etasmajjayate Pranah".

The circumstance of a thing not being stated in some places has no power to invalidate what is stated about it in other places.

Therefore, an account of equality of scriptural statements, it is proper to maintain that the Pranas also are produced in the same way as ether and so on.

Gaunyasambhavat II.4.2 (271)

On account of the impossibility of a secondary (origin of the Pranas).

Gauni: secondary sense; Asambhavat: on account of impossibility, as it is impossible, being impossible.

A plausible objection to Sutra 1 is refuted.

The Purvapakshin says: The Satapatha Brahmana speaks of the existence of the Pranas (organs) before creation. The texts which describe their creation speak in a secondary sense only.

This Sutra refutes it. The statement as to the origin of the Pranas cannot be taken in a secondary sense because therefrom the abandonment of a general assertion would result. "By the knowledge of one, everything else is known." "What is that through which when it is known everything else becomes known?" (Mun. Up. I.1.3). Therefore the Pranas are produced from Brahman.

The creation of everything from Brahman has been reiterated in Sruti. There is no Sruti which contradicts it. "Yato va imani bhutani jayante – from which originate all these things" (Tait. Bhriguvalli I). In the face of the express statement in Srutis that all things are created from Brahman, it is absurd to suppose the Pranas (senses) are the sole exceptions.

The reference to the existence of the Pranas (organs) before creation in the Satapatha Brahmana pertains to Hiranyagarbha. Hiranyagarbha is Cosmic Prana. It is not resolved in partial dissolution of the universe. Even Hiranyagarbha is resolved in complete dissolution (Mahapralaya).

Tatprakcchrutescha II.4.3 (272)

On account of that (word which indicates origin) being mentioned first (in connection with Pranas).

Tat: that; Prak: first; Sruteh: from Sruti, on account of the Sruti text being mentioned; Cha: and, also.

An argument in support of Sutra 2 is given.

A further reason is given in this Sutra to indicate that the Pranas (organs) have taken their origin from Brahman.

Further, because of the use of the word 'Jayate' (is born) in respect of Pranas existing prior to Akasa or ether, etc., it is clear that the Pranas (organs) have originated from Brahman.

The scriptural statement about the origin of the Pranas is to be taken in its literal or primary sense only. The text referred to is "From that (Brahman) are produced the Prana (vital air), mind and all the organs, ether, air, water, fire and earth." (Mun. Up. II.1.3). Here the word 'Jayate' (is born) occurs at the very beginning of the things enumerated. If the word is interpreted in its primary sense with reference to ether, etc., it must be all the more so interpreted with reference to the Pranas, mind and organs which are mentioned earlier.

The secondary sense is not acceptable because the Sruti places the Pranas (organs) prior to Akasa, air, etc. The word (Jayate) occurs first, then the words signifying Prana and the senses, and, last of all, come Akasa, air, etc. Now that the word 'Jayate' is accepted in its primary sense with respect to Akasa, etc., why should it be taken in a secondary sense, in connection with Pranas (organs) which the Sruti has placed prior to Akasa, etc.?

It would be absurd to decide that a word enumerated once only in one chapter and one sentence and connected with many other words, has in some cases to be taken in its primary sense and others in a secondary sense, because such a decision would imply want of uniformity. The word 'Jayate' which comes in the end must be connected with the Pranas, etc., mentioned in the earlier part of the sentence.

Tatpurvakatvadvachah II.4.4 (273)

Because speech is preceded by that, (viz., fire and the other elements).

Another argument in support of Sutra 2 is given.

The Chhandogya Upanishad declares "For, truly, my child, mind consists of earth (i.e., food), Prana of water, Vak of speech of fire" (VI.5.4). This text clearly indicates that the organs, etc., are products of the elements. The elements in their turn originate from Brahman. Therefore the organs (Pranas) are also products of Brahman. As the Pranas (organs) are the products of the elements, they are not separately mentioned in the Sruti passages which treat of the origin of things.

By the statement in the Sruti of the direct causation of the elements it is suggested that the Pranas (senses) have Brahman for their immediate cause.

Moreover, the passage concludes by saying that the entire world is the creation of Brahman, and is the form of Brahman and is ensouled by Brahman.

Therefore it is an established conclusion that the Pranas also are effects of Brahman. The Pranas (organs) have an origin just like the elements ether, etc., and are not eternal.

Saptagatyadhikaranam: Topic 2 (Sutras 5-6)

The number of the organs.

Sapta gaterviseshitatvaccha II.4.5 (274)

The Pranas (organs) are seven on account of this being understood (from scriptural passages) and of the specification (of those seven).

Sapta: seven; Gateh: from the movement, being so known (from the scriptural passages); Viseshitatvat: on account of the specification; Cha: and.

The number of the Pranas (senses) is now discussed.

The number of the organs is ascertained in this and the next Sutra. A doubt arises here owing to the conflicting nature of the scriptural passages. In one place seven Pranas are mentioned "The seven Pranas (organs) spring from Him" (Mun. Up. II.1.8). In another place eight Pranas are mentioned as being Grahas "Eight Grahas there are and eight Atigrahas" (Bri. Up. III.2.1). In another place nine "Seven are the Pranas of the head, two the lower ones" (Tait. Samhita V.3.2.5). Sometimes ten "Nine Pranas indeed are in man, the navel is the tenth" (Tait. Samhita V.3.2.3). Sometimes eleven "Ten are these Pranas in man, and Atman is the eleventh" (Bri. Up. III.9.4). Sometimes twelve "All touches have their centre in the skin" (Bri. Up. II.4.11). Sometimes thirteen "The eye and what can be seen" (Prasna Up. IV.8). Thus the scriptural passages disagree about the number of the Pranas (organs).

This Sutra gives the view of the Purvapakshin or the opponent. Here the Purvapakshin maintains that the Pranas are in reality seven in number, because it is stated to be so in some scriptural texts such as "The seven Pranas (organs) sprang from Him" (Mun. Up. II.1.8). These seven Pranas are moreover specified in Tait. Samhita V.1.7.1, "Seven indeed are the Pranas in the head."

Eight or nine organs are enumerated in some texts but these are only modifications of the inner organ. Hence there is no contradiction in the Sruti texts if we take the number as seven.

To this argumentation of the Purvapakshin the next Sutra gives a suitable reply.

Hastadayastu sthite'to naivam II.4.6 (275)

But (there are also in addition to the seven Pranas mentioned) the hands and rest. This being a settled matter, therefore (we must) not (conclude) thus (viz., that there are seven Pranas only).

Hastadayah: hands and the rest; Tu: but; Sthite: being determined, being a fact, while abiding in the body; Atah: therefore; Na: not; Evam: thus, so, like this.

Sutra 5 is refuted and the actual number of the Pranas (senses) is ascertained.

The word 'tu' (but) refutes the view of the previous Sutra. Sutra 6 is the Siddhanta Sutra.

The number seven is not correct.

In addition to the seven Pranas scripture mentions other Pranas also, such as the hands, etc. "The hand is one Graha (organ) and that is seized by work as the Atigraha; for with the hands one does work" (Bri. Up. III.2.8), and similar passages, "ten are the senses in a man and mind with these completes the number eleven" (Bri. Up. III.9.4), indicate that the hands etc., are additional organs. Therefore, four other organs viz., hands, feet, anus and the organ of generation have to be added to the seven organs already mentioned, viz., eyes, nose, ears, tongue, touch (skin), speech, and mind, the inner organ. The intellect, egoism, Chitta or memory are not separate organs. They are only modifications of the mind.

Therefore, the number of organs is in all eleven. This is the number that is fixed. They are, the five organs of knowledge (Jnana-Indriyas), the five organs of action (Karma-Indriyas) and the inner organ, mind.

To unite all the diverse activities of the organs, it is necessary that there should be an organ which must exist as a unifying agent with the memory of the past and the present together with the anticipation of the future, because without such an organ the activities of the organs would be unharmonised and discordant. This unifying organ is the inner organ or the Manas (mind). This one inner organ assumes four names such as mind, intellect, egoism and Chitta, according to the functions it performs (Vrittibheda).

In the passage "Nine Pranas indeed are in man, the navel is the tenth", the expression "ten Pranas" is used to denote the different openings of the human body, not the difference of nature of the Pranas. Because no Prana is known that bears the name of navel. As the navel is one of the special abodes of the chief Prana, it is here enumerated as tenth Prana.

There are only eleven Pranas. This conclusion is confirmed by one of the scriptural passages, "Ten are these Pranas in man and Atman is the eleventh." By the word Atman we have to understand the internal organ on account of its ruling over the organs.

Prananutvadhikaranam: Topic 3 (Sutra 7)

The organs are minute in size.

Anavascha II.4.7 (276)

And (they are) minute.

Anavah: minute; Cha: and, also.

The nature and size of senses is now ascertained.

The author now considers the question of the nature and size of the senses. Are these senses all-pervading or are they minute? The Purvapakshin says that the senses are all-pervading, because we can hear sounds at a distance and see objects far off. The Siddhanta view however is that senses are atomic.

The word 'cha' has the force of certainty. It means that the senses are not all-pervading but atomic. This Sutra refutes the doctrine of the Sankhyas who maintain that the senses are all-pervading.

The organs are minute. Minute does not mean atomic, but subtle and limited in size.

The organs must be subtle; for, if they are gross we could see them when they go out of the body at the moment of death, as a snake comes out of its hole. Had they been all-pervading like the ether, there would have been no movement possible on their part, and the texts which speak of their passing out of body and going and coming along with the soul at death and birth would be contradicted. The soul cannot have them as his essence.

It cannot be said that even if they are all-pervading they can have a particular mode or function within the body, because it is that particular mode or function which we call the sense or the instrument. Moreover, we do not perceive through the senses what is happening throughout the world. If they were all-pervading we will certainly perceive through them what is happening throughout the world.

Therefore the senses are all subtle and finite, i.e., of limited size.

Pranasraishthyadhikaranam: Topic 4 (Sutra 8)

The chief Prana has also an origin from Brahman.

Sreshthascha II.4.8 (277)

And the best (i.e., the chief vital air or Prana is also produced).

Sreshthah: the best, the highest, the chief Prana (vital force or life-energy); Cha: and, also.

The chief Prana is being characterised now.

The chief Prana has also an origin. It is an effect of Brahman.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: "From this (Brahman) is produced the vital force or Prana" (Mun. Up. II.1.3). Again we have "By its own law the one was breathing without wind; there was nothing different from that or higher than that" (Rig Veda VIII.7.17). Here the words 'was breathing' which denote the proper function of breath show that breath or Prana must have existed before the creation. Therefore, it may be concluded that Prana was not created. There seems to be a contradiction with reference to its origination.

This Sutra refutes the above view and declares that even the chief Prana is produced from Brahman.

The words "was breathing" are qualified by the addition "without wind" and so do not intimate that Prana existed before creation.

Moreover scriptural passages such as "He is without breath, without mind, pure" (Mun. Up. II.1.2) declare clearly that Brahman is without any qualifications such as Prana and so on. Therefore the words "was breathing" have merely the purpose of stating the existence of the cause. They intimate that Brahman, the cause existed before creation as is known from the texts like "Existence alone was there before this" (Chh. Up. VI.2.1).

In the Sruti passage "Anidavatam", the word 'avata' shows that what is referred to is something which is anterior to Prana. Anit, therefore refers to Brahman.

The term "the best" denotes the chief vital air (Mukhya Prana) according to the declaration of scripture, "Breath indeed is the oldest and the best" (Chh. Up. V.1.1). The breath is the oldest or the chief because it begins its function from the moment when the child is conceived. The senses of hearing, etc., begin to function only when their special seats, viz., the ears, etc., are formed. They are, therefore, not the oldest. It is called the oldest or the chief on account of its superior qualities and on account of the passage "We shall not be able to live without thee" (Bri. Up. VI.1.13). The chief Prana is called the best, because it is the cause of the maintenance of the body.

Vayukriyadhikaranam: Topic 5 (Sutras 9-12)

The chief Prana is different from air and sense functions.

Na vayukriye prithagupadesat II.4.9 (278)

(The chief Prana is) neither air nor function, on account of its being mentioned separately.

Na: not; Vayukriye: air or function; Prithak: separate, separately; Upadesat: because of the teaching, on account of its being mentioned. (Prithagupadesat: because of the separate mention.)

The nature of the chief Prana is discussed in this Sutra.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent maintains that there is no separate principle called Prana, and that the Prana is according to Sruti nothing but air. For Sruti says, "Breath is air"; that air assuming five forms is Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samana. Or it may be considered as the combined function of all organs. Just as eleven birds shut up in one cage may move the cage by the combination of their efforts, so also the eleven Pranas which abide in one body functioning together produce one common function called Prana. This is the view of the Sankhyas. The Sankhyas teach "The five airs, Pranas, etc., are the common function of the organs (instruments)." Therefore, there is no separate principle called Prana.

This Sutra refutes these views and says that the Prana is neither air nor function of organs, for it is mentioned separately from air and the sense functions. "Breath indeed is the fourth foot of Brahman. That foot shines and warms as the light called air" (Chh. Up. III.18.4). Here it is distinguished from air. Each sense and its function are identical.

Again, other passages also, in which the Prana is mentioned separately from air and the organs are here to be considered, e.g., "From Him is born the Prana, mind and all organs of sense, ether, air, etc." (Mun. Up. II.1.3). This indicates that Prana is not a function of any organ because, in that case, it would not have been separated from the organs.

It is not possible that all the organs together should have one function and that that function should be the Prana, because each organ has its own special function and the aggregate of them has no active power of its own. Prana cannot be said to be the resultant of the joint functioning of the senses, as the functions are diverse.

The passage "Breath (Prana) is air" is also correct, because the effect is only the cause in another form. The Prana is only air that functions within the body. The air passing into the Adhyatma state, dividing itself fivefold and thus abiding in a specialised condition is called Prana.

The analogy of the birds in a cage is not to the point, because they all have the same kind of activity which is favourable to the motion of the cage. But the functioning of the senses are not of one kind but different from one another. They are also of a distinct nature from that of Prana. Prana is quite dissimilar to hearing, etc. Hence, they (the organs) cannot constitute life. Therefore, Prana is a separate entity.

Moreover, if the vital breath were the mere function of organs it could not be glorified as the 'best' and speech, etc., could not be represented as subordinate to Prana. Hence the Prana is different from air and the functions of the organs.

Chakshuradivattu tatsahasishtyadibhyah II.4.10 (278)

But (the Prana is subordinate to the soul), like eyes, etc., on account of (its) being taught with them (the eyes, etc.) and for other reasons.

Chakshuradivat: like the eyes and the rest; Tu: but; Tatsaha: along with them; Sishtyadibhyah: on account of (its) being taught, because of the scriptural instructions and other reasons.

The characteristics of Prana are continued.

The Purvapakshin says: The Prana also must be considered to be independent in this body like the individual soul, as scripture declares it to be the best and the organs such as speech, etc., to be subordinate to it. Various powers are attributed to it in scriptural passages. It is said that when speech and the other organs are asleep the Prana alone is awake; that the Prana alone is not reached by death; that the Prana is the absorber, it absorbs speech, etc., that the Prana guards the other senses (Pranas) as a mother guards her sons. Hence it follows that the Prana is independent like the individual soul.

This Sutra refutes this and says that the Prana is subordinate to the soul.

The words 'tu' (but) sets aside the independence of the Prana. It removes the doubt.

The word 'Adi' etc., indicates that the word 'Prana' is also used in the sense of sense organs. The Prana is enumerated along with the senses in order to indicate that it is not independent.

The Prana subserves the soul like the senses, because it is described with them. The chief Prana is not independent of the Jiva, but is, like the senses, a means of his being Karta (doer) and Bhokta (enjoyer). The soul is the King. Prana is his minister. The senses are his subjects. Prana is described along with the senses. It abides in the body like the senses. Further, it is Achetana (non-sentient) like them. It is composed of parts. These are the other reasons for refuting the independence of Prana. Therefore it depends on the soul and serves the soul like the senses.

Prana is like the eyes, etc., one of the tools or instruments of the individual soul though it stands foremost among them, because it is placed in the same category with the eye and the other senses in a mutual conversation amongst them described in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad VI.1.7-14. Things having similar attributes are always grouped and taught together, e.g., the Brihatsaman and the Rathantarasaman. Hence it is subordinate to the soul.

Akaranatvaccha na doshastatha hi darsayati II.4.11 (280)

And on account of (its) not being an instrument the objection is not (valid); because thus (scripture) declares.

Akaranatvat: on account of (its) not being an instrument; Cha: and, also; Na: not; Doshah: defect, objection, fault; Tatha: thus, so; Hi: as, because; Darsayati: teaches, scripture shows, declares.

An objection against Sutra 10 is refuted.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent says: if the Prana is subordinate to the soul like the organs, then it must stand in the relation of an instrument to the soul like the organs. We must assume another sense-object analogous to colour. But there is no twelfth sense-object. There are only eleven functions and eleven organs. There is no room for a twelfth organ when there is no twelfth sense-object.

The word 'Cha' (and) has the force of 'but' here, and is used to remove the doubt raised above.

This Sutra refutes the above objection. Prana is not an instrument. Scripture declares that the chief Prana has a specific function which cannot belong to the other organs. The body and all the senses subsist by means of the chief Prana. The scriptural passages say: "Then Prana as the best said to the organs: Be not deceived. I alone, dividing myself five-fold, support this body and keep it" (Pras. Up. II.3). Another passage, viz., "With Prana guarding the lower nest" (Bri. Up. IV.3.12), shows that the guarding of the body depends upon the Prana.

Again, two other passages show that the nourishing of the body depends on Prana "From whatever limb Prana goes away that limb withers" (Bri. Up. I.3.19). "What we eat and drink, with it supports the other organs" (Bri. Up. 1.3.18). And another passage declares that the soul's departing and staying depends on Prana. "What is it by whose departure I shall depart, and by whose staying I shall stay? – the created Prana" (Pras. Up. VI.3-4).

All these texts show that the function of the Prana is nourishing and upkeep of the body. Prana protects the body from dissolution. The strength of the body and the senses also depends upon Prana. Prana supports the body and energises it with all the senses. This is its specific function.

Prana is of the greatest help to the soul by being the support of all other senses. Not only does it support the senses but it is the organising life of the body and hence of the greatest importance to the Jiva or the individual soul.

Prana has no function like the ordinary sense. Therefore it cannot be styled as Indriya or organ. Hence it is excluded from the list of eleven senses.

The chief Prana is also an instrument of the soul. The senses like the eye, ear, etc., are as if officials of the Jiva and help him in his enjoyment and activity but the chief Prana is his prime minister. It assists him in his highest functions and in the attainment of all his desires.

This is not the only function of Prana. There are other functions also. The next Sutra describes the other functions.

Panchavrittirmanovat vyapadisyate II.4.12 (281)

It is taught as having a fivefold function like the mind.

Panchavrittih: having fivefold function; Manovat: like the mind; Vyapadisyate: is described, it is taught, it is designated.

The description of the characteristics of the chief Prana is continued.

Prasna Upanishad (II.3) declares "I alone, dividing myself fivefold, support this body and protect it."

Just as the mind in relation to the five senses has five modes, even so Prana has five modes, viz., Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana. Prana does the function of respiration; Apana, evacuation; Samana, digestion, assimilation of food; Vyana, circulation of blood (aiding feats of strength); and Udana, deglutition. Udana helps the soul to pass out of the body at the time of death. In this respect Prana resembles the inner organ which though one has a five-fold aspect as mind, intellect, ego, Chitta and memory.

Just as the mind being endowed with several functions such as desire, contemplation, faith, volition, feeling, knowing, etc., serves the individual soul, so also the chief Prana does good to the individual soul being vested with the five functions.

The functions of the mind, according to Raja Yoga of Patanjali Maharshi, are right knowledge, error, imagination, slumber and remembrance. Or the Sutra may quote the means as an analogous instance merely with reference to the plurality and not the five-foldness of its functions.

The Prana's subordinate position with regard to the soul follows from its having five functions like the mind.

Sreshthanutvadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutra 13)

The minuteness of the chief Prana.

Anuscha II.4.13 (282)

And it (chief Prana) is minute.

Anuh: minute; Cha: and.

The description of the characteristics of the chief Prana is continued.

The chief Prana is also minute like the senses. Here also we have to understand by minuteness that the chief Prana is subtle and of limited size, not that it is of atomic size, because by means of its five functions it pervades the whole body.

Prana is subtle because it cannot be seen when it goes out of the body. It is limited or finite, because the scripture speaks of its passing out, going and coming. Had it been all-pervading, there could have been no movement on its part.

Therefore Prana is also finite or limited.

It may be objected that it is all-pervading according to the text "He is equal to a gnat, equal to a mosquito, equal to an elephant, equal to these three worlds, equal to this universe" (Bri. Up. I.3.22). But the all-pervadingness of which this text speaks is with respect to Hiranyagarbha, the cosmic Prana, the Prana of the macrocosm. It is all-pervading in its universal aspect; in its individual aspect it is limited.

The statements of equality "equal to a gnat", etc., declare the limited size of the Prana which abides within every living being.

Jyotiradyadhikaranam: Topic 7 (Sutras 14-16)

The presiding deities of the organs.

Jyotiradyadhishthanam tu tadamananat II.4.14 (283)

But there is the presiding over by Fire and others (over the organs), because of such statement in Sruti.

Jyotiradyadhishthanam: presiding over by Fire and others; Tu: but; Tadamananat: because of such statement in Sruti, on account of the scriptures teaching that.

Now follows a discussion on the dependence of the organs or the presiding deities.

The Purvapakshin holds that the Pranas (senses) act from their own power. If we admit that the Pranas act only under the guidance of the presiding deities, it would follow that those guiding deities are enjoyers of the fruits of the actions and the individual soul would thus cease to be the enjoyer.

The word 'tu' (but) is used in order to remove the doubt. It excludes the Purvapaksha.

The Pranas and senses function not because of their own potency but because of the power of the deities presiding over them.

Pranas, i.e., the senses, are under the guidance of the deities such as Fire and others presiding over them. Sruti also states so. Aitareya Aranyaka (I.2.4) declares, "Fire having become speech entered the mouth." The senses are inert. They cannot move by themselves.

The assertion that the Pranas being endowed with the capability of producing their effects act from their own power is unfounded, as we see that some things which possess the capability of motion such as cars actually move only if dragged by bulls and the like.

Therefore the Pranas and the senses are dependent on the presiding deities.

Pranavata sabdat II.4.15 (284)

(The gods are not the enjoyers, but the soul, because the organs are connected) with the one (i.e., the soul) possessing them (a thing we know) from the scriptures.

Pranavata: with the one possessing the Pranas (organs); Sabdat: from the scriptures.

From the preceding Sutra a doubt may arise, that the gods, who guide the senses may be the enjoyers; this doubt is removed by this Sutra.

'Prana' here is a synonym for Indriya or sense.

The senses are connected with the soul. This is described by the Sruti. Though the gods guide the senses, though they are the presiding deities of the organs, they cannot become Bhoktas or enjoyers. The individual soul is the master. The senses are his servants. The senses function for subserving the interest of the soul. The individual soul is the Lord of the aggregate of the instruments of action. The Jiva alone realises that he sees, hears, etc.

The scriptures declare "Then where there is the eye, entering this opening – the cavity of the eye – it is there to serve the individual soul, the eye itself is the instrument of seeing." "He who knows 'Let me smell this' he is the Self, the nose is the instrument of smelling" (Chh. Up. VIII.12.4) This clearly shows that the soul is the enjoyer but not the gods. The organs are connected with the individual soul only.

The individual soul claims and feels the eye to be his own. The eye is to serve him by presenting him with the objects of sight. Similarly the other senses also are the servants of the same master, the individual soul. Hence the individual soul and not the presiding deities is the master or Lord of the senses and the real enjoyer.

The soul is called Pranavat because the Pranas (organs) belong to it. The soul rules the senses in order to accomplish its objects of enjoyment. The gods rule the senses by merely giving their activities. The individual soul rules the senses in order to enjoy pleasurable experiences.

Moreover there are many gods in the body. A particular organ is presided over by a particular deity. The plurality of gods guiding the organs renders it impossible that they should be enjoyers in their body. There is and can be only one Bhokta or enjoyer. Otherwise remembrance or recognition of identity would be impossible.

Therefore the senses are for the enjoyment of the soul and not the gods though they are presided and directed by them.

Tasya cha nityatvat II.4.16 (285)

And on account of its (soul's) permanence (in the body it is the enjoyer, and not the gods).

Tasya: its; Cha: and; Nityatvat: on account of permanence.

An argument in support of Sutra 15 is given.

The individual soul dwells permanently in this body as the enjoyer, as it can be affected by good and evil and can experience pleasure and pain. It is the Jiva alone who has such permanent connection with the senses in the body. Therefore, the Jiva, and not the guiding deities is their master. The body is the result of the soul's past actions. The soul only can experience or enjoy in the body which is the product of its Prarabdha Karma. Others, e.g., the gods cannot enjoy in this body.

The gods who have great glory and power cannot be enjoyers in the low human body. They have exalted status. They would treat with contempt such low enjoyments as can be experienced through the human body.

They cannot possibly enter in this wretched body into the condition of enjoyers. Scripture also says "Only what is good approaches him; verily evil does not approach the Devas" (Bri. Up. I.5.20).

The organs are permanently connected with the embodied soul only. When the soul passes out, the Pranas (organs) follow it. This we see from passages such as the following "When the soul passes out, the Prana follows; when the Prana departs, all other organs follow" (Bri. Up. IV.4.2).

The soul is the master and is therefore the enjoyer, although there are presiding gods over the organs. The gods are connected with the organs only, not with the state of the soul as enjoyer.

Indriyadhikaranam: Topic 8 (Sutras 17-19)

The organs are independent principles and not functions of the chief Prana.

Ta Indriyani tadvyapadesadanyatra sreshthat II.4.17 (286)

They (the other Pranas) are senses, on account of being so designated (by the scriptures), with the exception of the best (the chief Prana).

Ta: they; Indriyani: the organs; Tadvyapadesat: because designated as such; Sreshthat anyatra: except the chief, other than the chief Prana which is the highest. (Anyatra: elsewhere, except; Sreshthat: than the best or the chief Prana.)

The distinction between the chief Prana and other Pranas (the organs) is now pointed out.

Now there arises another doubt viz., whether the organs such as eyes, ears, etc., are functions or modes of the chief Prana or independent entities.

The Purvapakshin or the objector maintains that they are mere functions on account of scriptural statement. The scripture says, "This is the greatest amongst us (the organs). Well let us all assume his form. Thereupon they all assumed his form. Therefore they are called by this name of Prana" (Bri. Up. I.5.21).

The Sutra refutes this and says that the eleven organs are not functions or modes of the chief Prana. They belong to a separate category. They are shown to be different in scriptural passages like "From Him are born Prana, mind, and all organs" (Mun. Up. II.1.3). In this and other passages Prana and the sense organs are mentioned separately. The text of the Brihadaranyaka must be taken in a secondary sense.

Therefore it cannot certainly be said that just as the chief Prana has five modes the senses also are its modes, because the Sruti describes the senses as separate. The senses are distinct independent principles. The senses and the mind are described as being eleven in number.

Bhedasruteh II.4.18 (287)

(On account of the) scriptural statement of difference.

Bhedasruteh: on account of the scriptural statement of difference.

An argument in favour of Sutra 17 is given.

The Prana is everywhere spoken of as different from the organs. In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (I.3.2) the organs are dealt with in one section. After concluding it, the Prana is dealt with separately in the same section. This clearly indicates that they do not belong to the same category.

Other passages also referring to that difference may be quoted, as for instance, "He made mind, speech and breath for himself" (Bri. Up. I.5.3).

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (I.3.2) it is stated that the gods in their struggle with the Asuras, i.e., the evil forces found that the senses such as the speech, the nose, the eye, the ear, and the mind were vitiated by the Asuras. So they took the help of the chief Prana. The Asuras were not able to vitiate the chief Prana. The gods became victorious over the Asuras. Here the chief Prana is spoken of as different from and superior to all the senses. For reference vide, "Then, the gods appealed to the chief Prana, the chief vital force which is superior to the senses" (Bri. Up. I.3.7).

Therefore the organs are independent principles, and not modes or functions of the chief Prana.

Vailakshanyaccha II. 4.19 (288)

And on account of the difference of characteristics.

Vailakshanyat: on account of difference of characteristics; Cha: and.

An argument in favour of Sutra 17 is given.

There is, moreover, a difference of characteristics between the chief Prana and the senses. The organs do not function in deep sleep, whereas the Prana does. The chief Prana alone is not reached by death, while the other Pranas are. The staying and departing of the chief Prana, not that of the sense organs is the cause of the maintenance and the dissolution of the body.

The sense organs are the cause of the perception of the sense-objects, not the chief Prana. The organs get tired, but not the chief Prana. The loss of individual organs does not cause death, but the passing out of Prana causes death of the body.

Thus there are many differences distinguishing the Prana from the senses. This also indicates that the senses are different from the Prana.

The Sruti which speaks, "The senses assumed the form of Prana", is to be taken in a secondary sense. The word 'Prana' is applied to the sense organs in a secondary sense. It means that their functioning depends upon Prana. It means that the organs follow the Prana just as the servants follow their master. The chief Prana is the ruler or the master or the teacher of the organs. The Sruti describes Prana as superior to the organs (Sreshtha).

Therefore the organs are independent principles and not modes of the chief Prana.

Samjnamurtiklriptyadhikaranam: Topic 9 (Sutras 20-22)

The creation of names and forms is by the Lord and not by the individual soul.

Samjnamurtiklriptistu trivritkurvata upadesat II.4.20 (289)

But the creation of names and forms is by Him who does the tripartite (creation), for so the scriptures teach.

Samjnamurtiklriptih: the creation of name and form; Tu: but; Trivritkurvatah: of Him who does the tripartite creation, of His who made the elements triple; Upadesat: on account of scriptural teaching, as Sruti has stated so. (Samjna: name; Murtih: form; Klriptih: creation; Trivrit: tripartite, compound; Kurvatah: of the Creator.)

The Sruti declares: "That Deity thought, let me now enter those three deities (fire, earth, and water) with this living self (Jivatma) and let me then evolve names and forms; let me make each of these three tripartite" (Chh. Up. VI.3.2).

Here the doubt arises whether the agent in that evolution of names and forms is the Jiva or the individual soul or the Supreme Lord.

The Purvapakshin or the opponent maintains the former alternative on account of the glorification contained in the words "with this living self."

The word 'tu' (but), discards the Purvapaksha. This Sutra refutes it and says: The individual soul has not the power to create the gross world. The entire creation of the world can surely be the work of the Supreme Lord only who created fire, water and earth. The word 'Jiva' in the passage is syntactically related with 'entrance' and not with the creation of names and forms.

That the Supreme Lord is He who evolves the names and forms is acknowledged by all the Upanishads, as we see from such passages as "He who is called ether is the evolver of all names and forms" (Chh. Up. VIII.14).

Further, the next sentence of that text, 'Then that Deity said, "Let me make each of these three elements tripartite" (Chh. Up. VI.3.3), clearly indicates that the Supreme Lord alone creates names and forms, the gross elements and this universe.

The Lord dwells in everything and directs the entire creation. He is the inner director, in the production of pots, etc., by the potter.

Mamsadi bhaumam yathasabdamitarayoscha II.4.21 (290)

Flesh, etc., originates from earth according to the scriptural statement and (so also) in the case of the other (elements, viz., fire and water).

Mamsadi: flesh and the rest; Bhaumam: are effects of earth; Yathasabdam: as Sruti has said so, as declared by the scripture; Itarayoh: of the other two, namely fire and water; Cha: also, and.

Tripartite earth, when assimilated by man, forms flesh, etc. For the text says "Food (earth) when eaten becomes three-fold; its grossest portion becomes faeces, its middle portion flesh, its subtlest portion mind" (Chh. Up. VI.5.1). So also we have to learn from the text the effects of the two other elements, viz., fire and water. Out of the consumed water, the gross portion goes out as urine, the medium portion becomes the blood and the subtle portion becomes Prana. Out of the assimilated fire, the gross portion builds the bones, the medium portion becomes the marrow and the subtle portion becomes speech.

Vaiseshyattu tadvadastadvadah II.4.22 (291)

But on account of the preponderance (of a particular element in them the gross elements) are so named (after it).

Vaiseshyat: on account of the preponderance; Tu: but; Tadvadah: that special name.

Sutra 21 is amplified here.

Here now an objection is raised. If all the gross elements contain the three fine elements, then why there is such distinction as "This is fire, this is water, this is earth?" And, again, why is it said that among the elements of the human body, flesh etc., is the effect of the food that is eaten; blood, etc., the effect of the water that is drunk; bone etc., the effect of the fire eaten?

The word 'tu' (but), removes the objection.

This Sutra refutes the objection.

Even in each element, where the other two elements have combined, it is called so because it is the predominant portion.

Although all things are tripartite, yet we observe in different places a preponderance of different elements. Heat preponderates in fire, water in all that is liquid, food in earth. As the fine elements are not found in equal proportion in each of the gross elements, they are named after that fine element which preponderates in their constitution.

Thus the compound fire is called fire because of the preponderance of pure fire in it. Similarly the Devas are called fiery, because their bodies are made of substances in which fire preponderates.

The repetition 'Tadvadah' – 'that special name' indicates the termination of the Chapter.

Thus ends the Fourth Pada (Section 4) of the Second Adhyaya (Chapter II) of the Brahmasutras or the Vedanta Philosophy.

Here ends Chapter II.