Essence of Prashna Upanishad: Part-2 of 6


  • The article is based on my studies, my concept, my thoughts on the subject. It is further supplemented  with my experiences and self realization.
  • ☆I found some link between modern science(Quantum mechanics) and teachings of ancient sages as mentioned in Vedanta, regarding Universe, Supreme Consciousness or the Ultimate truth , the Ultimate Reality whatever we say.
  • Having gone through the Vedanta/ancient texts, commentaries, translated by different writers, translators, publishers on the same topic, I have tried my best to share the subject matter as I understood and convinced too. My intention is to reach to you with the topic that I found very useful for human lives. I am not good in English literature. Please give your valuable suggestions for the improvement and valuable inputs to make the text beneficial for mankind.
  • ☆ The Spiritual context is purely based on ancient sacred texts. Sanskrit slokas are taken from books and websites. There may be little variation in the translations and commentaries. I have shared my own views and explanations according to my concept gathered in the subject through experience and intuitions. There is no discrimination against any religion, race, cast or creed.
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” Prana” is The Universal Energy, which moves the Whole Universe.


Prashna Upanishad comes from the Brahmana portion of the Atharva Veda, belonging to Pippalada Sakha. It has 67 mantras spread over six chapters. Each chapter contains one question. Prashna means question.  The scientific approach of Vedanta is the basis of the Prashna Upanishad, where the teacher and the students are engaged in an enquiry into the nature of Universe.

This Upanishad leads the aspirant from the known to the unknown, from the manifest to the unmanifest, from the grossly materialistic mind to the Supremely subtle, Absolute and Pure Consciousness’.

We will discuss only about the Second Question in this part.
The First Question has been discussed in my previous blog. The Link is here: Essence of Prashna Upanishad: Part-1 of 6

Peace invocation:-

ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श‍ृणुयाम देवा
भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः ।
स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्तुवाꣳसस्तनूभिर्व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः ॥

स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः
      स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः ।
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः
      स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु ॥

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

In this Upanishad, there are six disciples. Each asks a question to the Guru and Guru answers them. Each question and answer becomes a chapter. The first question refers to the origin of the created beings, the second to the constituents of Human personality, the third to the nature of origin of Prana, the fourth is about the psychological aspect of the Human personality , the fifth is about “pranava” and the sixth is about the metaphysical principle in man. The need of faith, austerity and continence of body and mind for spiritual knowledge is emphasized.

Here we will look into the discussion of Prana, the invisible Power by which material life is sustained. From this chapter onwards we will study about the true Spiritual path, towards the realm of the Spirit, called Prana.

The Second question by Bhargava:

Mantra 2.1:  Bhargava of Vidarbha questioned the Master” O Venerable Sir, How many Devas (Or Deities) support the living being? Which of them gives Life to this Body? Again, who among them is the greatest?

We see here that the question no-2 is on microcosm, where as question no-1 was on macrocosm. From the creation of the world as well as living beings, the question has now shifted to how each individual is really governed? The student here wants to know the administrative setup how the tiny part of the Universe is governed. Who is behind this animating body?

§ Each Deity (Deva) claimed to be Supreme.

Mantra 2.2: The Master replied ” Indeed Space is the foremost Deity (Deva); then come Air, Fire, Water and Earth; Next come Speech, Mind, Eye and Ear too.” Wanting to show their glory, they quarrelled among themselves.

§ Who is Chief among them?

Mantra 2.3: Prana the chief of them, said ” Be not lost in delusion, it is I alone, dividing myself fivefold who keeps this body going and gives the support needed by it”. But they had no faith in Prana’s word.

§ Prana goes on Strike!

Prana got agitated and threatened to quit.   As he got up to leave from the body, the other organs followed suit. When it settled down they all settled down with it. As bees go out when their queen goes out and return when she returns, even so did speech, mind, eye, ear and the rest. They, being satisfied, praised Prana.

The organs realized, that if Prana did leave, they would have to depart from the body, for they can not survive without the presence of Life!

§ Glorification of Prana:

Mantra 2.5: As Fire, Prana burns: This is energy aspect. It is seen the Sun. It is the rain and clouds in it’s aspect as Air and Water; Earth is it’s matter aspect, seen as the Moon. So Prana is formless and has form too. It is Immortal!

§ Prana as All Knowledge and Administration:

Mantra 2.6: As Spokes in the hub of a Wheel, everything rests on Prana, including the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Kshattriyas and the Brahmanas.

§ Prana as All living creatures.

Mantra 2.7: Life, Prajapati (Lord of creation), moving in the womb, master of five streams! All things offer you their tribute.

From above verse we understand that the sense organs bring offerings to Prana. Prana dwelling in the body is like a King (Prajapati)and the sense organs are like his Subjects. Offerings are token of love, reverence and respect to another. By Prana are all senses and mind supported.

§ Prana as a ” Courier Service”

Mantra 2.8: ” You are the Chief carrier of offerings to the Gods and carry the first oblations to the forefathers. You are the Truth that sages practice. You also help guide the organs so that they function correctly.

§ Life! Creator , protector, Destroyer ! Sun in Heavenly circuit! Master of Stars!

Mantra 2.9: ” O Prana, You are Indra; you are Rudra too in prowess. You are also their Protector. As the Sun you move about in the sky and you are the Lord of all luminous bodies.

§ Prana as the Giver of Rain.

Mantra 2.10: ” When you cause the Rain, O Prana, all livings are delighted, who think that there will be as much food as they would like to have.”

§ Prana  is ” Vishvasya Sat-patih”

Mantra 2.11″ ” O Prana, you are pure by nature. You are the sacred ekarshi fire, the consumer of everything, the gracious Lord of the world. We offer you oblations, O all pervading Air, you are our father.

§ Prayer to Prana

Mantra 2.12: Make that auspicious form of yours which abides in our speech, hearing, sight, and which also pervades the mind and never forsake us.

Mantra 2.13: May Life, Master of the three worlds, protect us as a mother protect her children. Grant us Wisdom, grant us prosperity.

Note: Concept of Prana is explained in “Tattva Bodha”


Prana” is vital energy and invisible to us. It is like Electric Power ,which gives life to the machines and machines run, animates.  Same way this vital energy “Prana” animates us, the live bodies.  It runs the 1st layer the Physical body. This prana is external to further subtler energy which is Mind. 

** Upanishad do not say any word which may create hatred about anything living or non-living.

Books of Related Interest:

  1. THE DIVINE MATRIX: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles and Belief. By GREGG BRADEN
  2. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS.****** Translated By: Shree Purohit Swami and W.B.YEATS.
  3. BLACK HOLES: The BBC Reith Lectures : Stephen Hawking.
  4. Taking the Quantum Leap: The new Physics for Non scientists: By Fred Alan Wolf
  5. You are the Universe by Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos.
  6. BIOCENTRISM : How life and Consciousness are the keys to understanding the True nature of the Universe: By Robert Lanza MD with BOB BERMAN
  7. The Self Aware Universe: How Consciousness creates the material world: By Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
  8. Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite.**
  9. THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
  10. Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
  11. Commentary of ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
  12. ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
  13. EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
  14. THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
  15. A-U-M Awakening to Reality : By Dennis Waite***
  16. Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya: 
  17. Information available on internet.

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