All whether animals and beings (prana) that breathe or others are established (pratishthita) in this analysis. Why then do the commoners and nobles not decline to accept this method of apportionment of available food when their food is being consumed all the time? [This distribution of the available food was not accompanied by fresh cultivation.] He who knows that if the food available is consumed in the above ratio eats that food in the best manner.
The best policy in dealing with consumption of available food is to assign one seventh for the commoners, that is, only one seventh of the total population must belong to the class engaged totally in physical labour (in agriculture).
The ruling classes, aristocrats and plutocrats, are assigned two portions. The educated classes (Brahmans, Kshatras and Vaisyas), who are not engaged in physical work, that is, not engaged in agriculture are assigned three portions from the portion meant for Prajapati (pita) himself (atma). The seventh portion is meant for animals and for those looking after them.
A ruler must apportion the available food in this manner, that is, must have only a small class engaged in agricultural labour and a large class of aristocracy and a still larger class of educated individuals and only very few living on animals, that is, on pasture and hunting. He is then eligible to become an associate member (upajiva) of the nobility (nobles, devas) drinking liquor (urja) like those privileged nobles, according to the teacher. (1-5-1)
Obviously the disciples needed clarification on what the teacher had posited. The teacher explains that the social planner had resorted to this careful analysis while estimating the needs of the different sections of the society. This social planner, whose expertise and exertion resulted in the positing of the concept of seven portions of food, is compared to the father of the offspring. One who seeks and partakes of the food that is common to all is not guilty of any sin.
Only those who are engaged in working for the common needs of the society as a whole and not for personal needs are covered by this sector.[Three of the seven sections of the society are seen to pursue their personal (atma) goals.] Of the two portions assigned to the nobles (devas) one was sanctified (huta) and the other non-sanctified (prahuta).
The teacher stresses that one should not perform (or offer) sacrifice for attaining one's material objects.
With reference to what is given to the animals (pasu) and men (manushya), he explains that what he meant was milk, which is necessary for calves (and children), which cannot eat grass or food for one year. But for this milk they would die.
He who knows this (the vidvan), conquers further death (punar mrtyu) the very day he makes the offering, for he offers all this food (sarva anna) to the devas. The students are expected to realize that this person who sacrifices all the grains he has produced to the nobles (devas) is no longer part of the insentient society. (It is not rational to say that all the food that is produced should be surrendered to the gods and then received from them for consumption.)
But they are unable to understand how the stock of food does not decline even after it is being continually eaten. The teacher points out that the talent of the person (purusha) mentioned above does not decline and he produces the food again and again as the stocks lessen.
He is not at mere subsistence level but is a talented personage who is capable of meeting the needs of the nobility (which is noted for conspicuous consumption without doing any productive work). This is so even though he leads a commonalty that does not save for the future and leads an unplanned hand-to-mouth existence.
If he ceases to be engaged continually in constructive work, especially in agricultural production, his stock of food will decline. Does he personally cultivate the land? Is he not but a consumer, one who eats food? The teacher points out that though this leader (purusha) is a consumer (of food) he advises the cultivators how to produce the grains necessary to meet the needs of all the sections of the larger society.
Cultivators form only a small section of the society and consume personally only very little of what they produce. [Unless we grasp this principle of agricultural economy and its place in and importance for the classified society we would hide our failure in impenetrable mysticism.]
This talented personage who encourages the agriculturists to produce surplus grains that would meet the requirements of the aristocracy, its sanctified section (huta) as well as non-sanctified section (prahuta) will become eligible to reach the aristocracy (devas).
Of course the purusha could be only on the threshold of aristocracy but could not become its member. The poet however says that the purusha could partake the nectar (urja) meant for the nobles. (1-5-2)
The intellectual who is far above the commoner is not a mere consumer of food or a producer of food. He has made for himself that is, charted for himself the three paths of mind (manas), speech (vacha) andbreath (prana).
It is because his mind is alert, he is able to see and hear. It is known that desire (kama), resolving (samkalpa), doubt (vichikitsa), devotion (sraddha), carelessness (asraddha), steadfastness (dhrti), shame (hri), discerning (dhi) and fear (bhi) are all mental (mana) functions.
The mind knows when one is touched from behind that he is so touched though he does not see who touches him. One hears what is spoken. Sound (sabda) is therefore utterance (vak).
What is behind sound or speech is called breath (prana).
It is analyzed as in-breath (prana), out-breath (apana), diffused breath (vyana), upward breath (udana) and balanced breath (samana).
The individual (atma) is thus identified by what he speaks (vangmaya), what he thinks (manomaya) and how he lives or breathes (pranamaya). (3).
The teacher says that it is possible to identify in the society, three social worlds (lokas), the intellectuals who express their views (vak) and guide others, with thinkers (manas) who plan and the commoners who only breathe (prana). Of course among the last we may notice five different types (1-5-4).
The teacher would identify Rgveda with vak, that is, with intellectuals and social guides, Yajurveda with manas, that is, with thinkers and planners, and Samaveda with different sections of the commonalty, those who but breathe (1-5-5).
He would identify the role of the nobles (devas) with speech (vak), that is, treat them as constituting the intellectual aristocracy of the society, the role of the elders (pitrs) with that of manas, that is, treat them as social planners. He would identify the commoners (manushyas) as those persons who but breathe (prana) (6).
The teacher explains how even in a family the father (pita) is seen to be the planner (manas), the mother is seen to be the counsellor (vak) and the child (praja) as but breathing (prana) without any significant role (1-5-7).
The teacher would correlate vijnatam, the wider knowledge acquired (by application of formal knowledge, jnanam, gained in school) with speech, vak, the utterances of the intellectual. He would correlate vijijnasyam, the knowledge that has to be mastered to manas, the mental planning engaged in by the thinker. He correlates avijnatam, ignorance, knowledge that has eluded the commoners with those who only breathe (prana) (1-5-8,9,10).
Jyoti and intellectual aristocracy
The teacher explains that in the view of the intellectual aristocracy who speak out (vacha), the commoners (prthvi) are concerned only with the needs of the body (sariram).
Agni, the representative of the intellectuals, is the light-form (jyoti-rupam) of this speech. This guidance is available even to the distant commoners and the knowledge even to the distant intellectual aristocrats (1-5-11). The commoners (manushyas, prthvi) receive guidance from the intellectuals of whom the most illuminating (jyoti) is the official designated as Agni.
The sage was stationed in his abode in the social periphery and was far away from the commonalty (prthvi) of the core society which Agni, the intellectual and guide (jyoti), was able to influence though he was no longer in their midst. As pointed out earlier, this distancing of Agnifrom the commonalty (prthvi) took place when the administration of the prthvi came under the jurisdiction of Brhaspati after the Indra-Brhaspati agreement, Indra-Samdhi.
The nobles (devas) too are concerned with the needs of the body (sariram). They are thinkers and their minds take into account these needs also. These are not met only by the mundane, though valuable guidance is given by Agni. They need the guidance of Aditya, the chief of the nobles. This chief has been referred to also as Indra, Surya and Ravi.
[It is necessary to shed the stereotype that presents Agni, Indra, Aditya, Vayu and Varuna as denoting the gods of fire, thunder, sun, wind and rain of the pantheistic Vedic society.]
Indra directs both Aditya (in charge of devas) and Agni (in charge of manushyas)
The teacher of this Upanishad would however treat Indra as having the powers of both Aditya and Agni. While Aditya could direct the activities of the nobles (devas), Agni could direct those of the commoners (prthvi, manushyas).
[In the normative Rgvedic social polity, Indra was the designation of the head of the house of nobles (sabha) and Agni was that of the council of scholars (samiti). Indra controlled both the treasury and the army while Agni was also the civil judge with authority over the commoners. Aditya was a general.]
Prana, weaker sections of the commonalty
Agni-Aditya Diarchy under the aegis of Indra
The social thinkers-cum-planners treated the commonalty that but breathe (prana) as a product of the activities of these two officials, Agni and Aditya. The teacher would describe this prana, the life of the commoner as described by the intellectuals (vacha) represented by the civil judge designated as Agni, and as planned (manas) by the political administration headed by the official designated as Aditya, as one controlled by Indra, theunrivalled sole head of the aristocracy (12).
Radhakrishnan's translation of this passage is too simplistic. It is ignorant and oblivious of the momentous change that had taken place because of Indra-Brhaspati agreement that excluded Agni and Aditya, the officials in charge of the judiciary and the army, from direct contact with the nobles and the commonalty and vesting enormous powers in Indra.
Indra-Brhaspati pact vis--vis Agni-Aditya pact; Economic State vis--vis Socio-political State
Indra headed the house of nobles whose voice others in the core society had to respect. He was the head of the economic state and was assisted by Brhaspati, an expert in economy.
Brhaspati had immense influence over the commonalty, especially over the bourgeoisie and defined the economic laws and headed the civil administration. But many areas were under the socio-political state, an alliance between intellectuals (Brahmans) headed by the civil judge, Agni and the warriors-cum-administrators (Kshatriyas) headed by Aditya.
In this pattern, Indra, the head of the assembly of nobles (sabha) exercised veto powers.
[Vide Ch.5. of Evolution of Social Polity of Ancient India for how the Mahadeva Constitution introduced a system of checks and balances in powers of the four officials, Indra, Agni, Aditya and Brhaspati and created the new small nation-state that adopted a holistic approach and merged the concept of an economic state and a sociopolitical state.]
Soma and the rest of the larger society
The teacher of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad was asked to explain the status and role of the sections of the larger society that did not fall under the three sections, intellectuals, aristocracy and commonalty. For the commoners who but breathe (prana), prthvi is the body, that is, they depend on agro-pastoral economy.
Among them there are some groups who depend on river economy. The fishermen, mariners, boatswains, horticulturists and florists who live beside rivers and lakes and on islands are covered by the concept apa or water. They also were referred to as apsarases. [Later, this term came to mean beautiful enchantresses.]
Organizing the social periphery
While the commoners and nobles who depended on the agricultural lands were guided by Agni and Aditya (fire and sun, as translated later), the groups (prana, living beings) who depended on water resources (apa) were guided by Soma (Chandra, moon). They were gentle and sedate.
They belonged to the frontier society. Some scholars described them as members of the social world (loka) or community of persons residing at the final posts (Ultima Thule), (antavanta). They were commoners of the social periphery and a ruler could win them over as such commoners who are required to be governed by him.
But one who visualizes them as persons not belonging to such an outpost (ananta) will win them over as commoners and nobles of the interior areas. That is, he will constitute them into an autonomous unit of the core society with a co
[The translation of this passage as: Next, of this breath (prana), water (apa) is the body (sarira). Its light-form (jyoti-rupa) is that moon. As far as the breath extends so far extends water and so far (extends) that moon. They are all alike (sama), all endless. Verily, he who meditates on them as finite, wins a finite world. But he who meditates on them as infinite wins an infinite (ananta) world (loka), fails to bring out the import of this passage.]
The teacher suggested that the apsarases or the communities and individuals who belonged to the social periphery could be either allowed to retain their rights and identities for a definite duration or could be amalgamated in the core society and given the same permanent rights as the latter had. He recommended to the princes and other students two alternatives on how to win over these communities and individuals.
Modern commentators have failed to arrive at a proper appraisal of the Vedic social polity and have treated most of the verses of the Upanishads as being imbued with impenetrable mysticism.
The Vedic polity was headed by Viraj (the head of a circle of five states). He was assisted by Prajapati, the chief of the people and Aditi, the benevolent mother who controlled the eight-member executive. These eight members were known as Adityas.
Viraj elected by social leaders (purushas) and free women (naris)
The Viraj was elected by a college of purushas who were heads of prominent families and naris who were independent women. The ideal pattern required that male heads of households (purushas) and their consorts (stris) formed an electoral college for this purpose.
But as families stood aloof from political turmoil accompanying such election, only independent social leaders, purushas, who were not subordinate to the state and free women, naris, who were not bound by obligations to families stayed back as members of this electoral college. These three authorities, Viraj, Prajapati and Aditi, were supported by an assembly of thirty nobles, devas.
When the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad was composed this political arrangement was in vogue only in some areas. Some other areas had a polity headed by Prajapati and an assembly of thirty nobles led by Mahendra. The tenure of the Viraj was for ten to twelve years.
Prajapati elected by council of elders (pitaras)
The Prajapati (later identified by those who had lost sight of the features of the Vedic polity, with Brahma) was elected by a council of elders, Pitaras. He had tenure of sixteen years renewed annually (samvatsara). Of these fifteen years are compared in this allegory with the fifteen days of a paksha or half-month.
The two half months, krshna and shukla, black and white, the waning moon and the growing moon, are compared to the two sectors of the thirty-member assembly over which he presides. No living being (not even a lizard) is to be harmed on the new moon night when the Prajapati holds sway as a devata. This is a status almost equal to that of a noble, deva. (The Prajapati is in fact an elder member of the commonalty.) The fifteen nights are compared to the spokes of a wheel and the Prajapati to its hub.
According to this allegory the Prajapati is aided by one set of fifteen members for one half of his tenure and the other set of fifteen (of the thirty nobles) takes over when a new incumbent takes over as Prajapati (or when the first one is reappointed for a second term).
[The transliteration of this passage as: That Prajapati is the year and has sixteen parts. His nights, indeed, have fifteen parts, the fixed point his sixteenth part. He is increased and diminished by his nights alone etc. fails to bring out the status and role of the Prajapati in the Vedic social polity.]
Tenures of Viraj and Prajapati
The tenure of a Viraj was for ten to twelve years. If he was appointed for a second term, he was designated as a Purusha. The tenure of an ordinary king was for only five years. Any outstanding social leader, Purusha, could consent to be a Prajapati. In that case, he would preside for fifteen years over economic activities productive of wealth (vitta) and be on his own (atma) in the sixteenth year. This one-year when he ceases to take interest in mundane activities need not mark the end of his tenure.
He may get re-elected as Prajapati. But he shall have to start from scratch when he consents to be a Prajapati again. Even if the Prajapati, chief of the people loses all the (material) gains of the fifteen years, the personal (spiritual) gains of the sixteenth year would serve him in good stead. (1-5-14,15) [Radhakrishnan failed to notice this aspect.]
New scheme of three social worlds
Manushyas, Pitrs, Devas Commoners, Elders, Nobles
The scholars who drafted the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad identified the three social worlds (lokas) as those of commoners (manushyas), elders (pitrs) and nobles (devas). It may be noted that they have here departed from the convention of treating prthvi, antariksham and divam (agro-pastoral commonalty, industrial frontier society and aristocracy) as the three lokas. The three social worlds, which these scholars have identified, belong to the enlarged society.
All those who are engaged in economic activities are included in the social world of manushyas and those persons who have retired from these are included in the social world of elders or pitaras (pitrs).
All those who have been members of the traditional aristocracy (devas) and all the intellectuals, plutocrats, technocrats and chiefs of people who have been given the status of devatas (marginally lower in status to devas) are included in deva-loka. All these social worlds, lokas, are composed of human beings only.
To be a representative of the world of commoners (manushyas) it was necessary that one had a son (putra) who would carry out the duties left unfinished by his father (pita). No other activity would entitle him to exercise his franchise in social affairs.
The fathers (pitaras) who had withdrawn from all work concerned with personal needs were involved in only sanctioned and sanctified social work (karma). The new enlarged intellectual aristocracy was concerned with acquisition and spread of knowledge (vidya).
Obviously this class of educators is superior (sreshta) to the other two. Hence the scholars praise vidya (acquisition of knowledge). (1-5-16) It is not necessary or correct to interpret that the term, vidya, as referring to brahma-vidya and describe it as theology.
Anvikshiki, Trayi, Varta and Dandaniti were the four major faculties in the institutions of higher education. They dealt with acquisition and application of knowledge (Anvikshiki), the three Vedas (Trayi) that described humanities and social and cultural history, science of economics (Varta) and policy science of political power (Dandaniti).
Father's (teacher's) instruction to son (student)
The teacher points out that when a father thinks that he is about to die, he nominates his son as his heir with the declaration, You are Brahma, you are yajna, you are loka and the son takes over with the declaration, I am Brahma, I am yajna, I am loka. The poet then explains the implications of this transmission of authority.
The son continues the tradition set up by his ancestors, and thereby he abides by the highest socio-political constitution, Brahma, the principle and practice of offering all he has earned to others (yajna) who need them and to abide by the rules, regulations and expectations of the social world (loka) to which he and his ancestors belong.
The father hopes that by succeeding to all that he has acquired and promising to continue that spirit and procedure, the son would preserve the former from the accusations that his social world might level against him otherwise of having betrayed it.
Therefore the son who is thus instructed to continue the tradition of his family left behind by his father is called as one who procures for his father his (appropriate) social world and social identity (loka). So when one dies, he identifies himself in all respects (through all breaths, pranas) with his son.
Whatever wrong he has done his son frees him from it by undertaking to atone for it and by making amends, set it right. Only such a son deserves to be called a putra. In this social world (commonalty) the status of a father is known by the tradition carried on by his son.
A father whose duties have been taken over by his son enters the social world of the nobles (devas) who are alive and breathe (prana) like the commoners. (It is irrational to translate the term, devas as gods or to treat them as commoners who have been deified after their death.]
The father transmits to the son the possessions in the social world of commoners (loka) and the duties of sacrifices (yajna) to be performed by such commoners and the identity as a law-abiding educated person (Brahma). And the father thereafter becomes a part (that is, becomes entitled to be admitted as a member) of the social world of the nobles (devas) (1-5-17).
[It is wrong to interpret that a father who dies after handing over his duties to his natural son enters the world of immortals and becomes a god, deva.]
As this father who has entrusted his duties to his son joins the ranks of the nobles, devas, he becomes a social counsellor whose speech (vag) has the same force as that of the Vedic official, Agni with respect to the commonalty, prthvi.
His speech or counsel is to be treated as the voice of the governing aristocracy though he has only risen to the nobility from this commonalty (and is not unlike Agni and other officials of the state, a born aristocrat, that is, a member of the traditional aristocracy). Whatever he recommends is accepted by the officials and is given effect to (1-5-18).
The sage explains the role of the pitrs, elders, as social counsellors and the respect they enjoyed in the political field. Many of these elders (pitrs) were reformed and retired former feudal lords (asuras). The retired head of the family who has joined the aristocracy becomes a social planner like the Adityas who are nobles, devas. The officials appointed by these nobles execute what the nobles including the elders who have joined their ranks have in their mind (manas).
These nobles think only about how to make the people remain happy (ananda) and they do not have in their mind any intent to cause sorrow (1-5-19). The above role of the retired head of the family is restricted to the relation between the commonalty (prthvi) and the elite (devas) of the agrarian core society.
Deva and Pitr; Devata and Pitara
Core Society: Frontier Society
The teacher then proceeds to explain the status and role of the father who belonged to the other society and who has retired from routine duties and has joined its elite (devatas).
This latter frontier society covers all those who are dependent on rivers and lakes or on the forests and mountains (with which Chandra, that is, Soma is connected and not Agni or Aditya).
This society treats its retired elder (pitara) as one who lives (prana) like a noble (deva). Whether he is stationary (acara) or is constantly on the move (cara), he is not perturbed and is not harmed by any adverse events. An elder (pitara) who knows this becomes the atma or spokesman of all the individuals (sarva bhuta) on the social periphery. The latter honour him as a devata, a generous member of its protecting elite.
While the frontier society which had organized groups in its midst treated the retired elder (pitr) as equal to a noble, deva, of the core society as he had no personal interests, the individuals, bhutas, of the social periphery treated him as equal to a devata, a plutocrat or technocrat, of the frontier society. They were afraid of him.
It may be remarked here that the pitrs were part of the elite of the frontier society in the view of the agrarian commonalty and also in that of the individuals of the social periphery while they were part of the patriciate of the core society in the view of the frontier society.
[It is necessary to shed the stereotype that presents pitrs as manes, the souls of the ancestors.]
One who knows this rise of the elder in status, is respected by all these individuals (of the social periphery). Whatever sufferings the offspring (praja) of these elders (who have joined the new elite) undergo are confined to these offspring. The parents who have retired from social activities are not to be faulted for the sufferings of their offspring. But they gain from the meritorious acts (punya) performed by the offspring.
No evil (papa) done by the commoners and the offspring affects the nobles (devas) including the elders (pitaras) who have joined their ranks (1-5-20).
[It may be noted that the comment, Individuals suffer because one causes suffering to another, but in the Universal Spirit where all individuals are one, the sufferings of the individuals do not affect the whole is irrelevant. No such note can be read here.]
The elders, pitaras, who had retired after handing over their economic activities and wealth to their offspring are still alive and are part of the governing elite, devas. They may be benefited by the good deeds done by their sons whom they have left behind in the social world of commoners but are not tainted by the sins committed by these sons.
Cause of Anomie and Spread of Insentience (Mrtyu)
The teacher then proceeds to explain the significance (mimamsa) of the vows (vrata) that a citizen, especially the son (praja) has to take as the head (pati) of his family, on his succession to that position on the retirement of his father.
This Prajapati brought newly into existence (sasrja) certain procedures of duties (karmas) that were to be performed by him and his subordinates. In the beginning when this allocation of duties was made there were mutual conflicts among those who were entrusted with different duties.
Those who were to speak for all the offspring, those who were to notice activities on behalf of all and those who were expected to report what they had heard acted independent of one another and there was no co-ordination in performance of duties.
As a result the society was taken over by mrtyu. Anomie set in and brought about an insentient society (mrtyu) with weariness overcoming all those who were entrusted with different duties, speaking for, noticing for and reporting to the entire group, which the Prajapati led. But this insentience did not influence those who led an average (madhyama) life (breath, prana). That is, the middle class was not overcome by anomie.
Prana and the unpretentious commoner
Only the specialists who excelled in specific talents succumbed to it. These specialists had to acknowledge that the commoner who did not pretend to have special talents was superior to them, whether he belonged to settled communities or was one who was constantly on the move (like a nomad). As the commoner was not perturbed by vicissitudes of life or harmed by them these specialists decided to adopt his form (rupa) or status and role.
The specialists who opted to lead a life similar to that of the unpretentious commoner are referred to as prana, as performing vital functions without appearing to do so.
In whatever clan (kula) there is such a person that clan is known after him. He sets the unpretentious but effective tone of the activities of that clan. The teacher advises his students not to underestimate the power and influence of such a sedate expert. Any one who tries to compete with him will fail and will become insentient (mrtyu). This counsel is given about the deep self, adhyatma, innate but non-exhibited talent of the expert who lives like an average person (1-5-21).
In short, though one has realized the potentials of his inner self, adhyatma, he does lead a life not different from that of a commoner.
[The interpretation that in whatever family there is a man who knows this they call that family after him is untenable in this context.]
Officials (devatas) of the larger commonalty (prana)
Agni, Surya, Chandra, Vayu
Then the teacher proceeds to explain the traits of the higher elite, devatas, of the frontier society. The students were not to hold the impression that the creation of a unified society would upset the existing social polity of the core society.
Agni, the Vedic official who was a member of the elite of the core society of nobles (devas) and commoners (manushyas), and conveyed the pleas of the latter to the nobles, continued to perform his duty. This post was not abolished. The flame (jwala) from the sacrificial pit was visualized as an envoy of the commonalty to the nobles.
Similarly, Aditya who exercised harsh but benevolent coercive power over the commonalty continued to do so even after the integrated larger society came into existence. Chandra (Soma) who represented the sedate sages of the forest and the gentle residents of the lands beside rivers and lakes (Apsarases) continued to function as the soft patron of the other society. The other members of the elite of the frontier society, too each continued to perform his role.
Social integration had not disturbed the roles that the earlier officials were performing. Among the commoners, the mean (madhyama) position is held by the representative of their will, even as prana holds the central position among the different types of breaths (prana, apana, samana, vyana and udana).
Similarly among the devatas, the members of the enlarged elite the mean position and role is assigned to Vayu (wind, in common parlance). In the Vedic social polity Vayu looked after the open territories and the moors. (in-breath)
The teacher explains that the other officials like Agni, Aditya and Chandra may have periods of rise and fall in their influence over the commonalty and the nobility but the influence exerted by Vayu has been uniform. The wind does not stop blowing. Vayu, unlike Aditya and Chandra, is a devata (a Vedic official not influencing one society alone) who does not set (1-5-22).
The tenure and jurisdiction of the incumbent to this post, Vayu, is not limited. It is naive to hold that the Vedic society endowed divinity on certain aspects and features of nature. The teacher then draws attention to the popular verse that points out that the sun (Surya) sets in the horizon from where it has risen. This verse explains that it indeed rose from prana and ebbs out in prana.
The poet implies that the role of Surya, the Vedic official, was concerned with the commonalty (prana) though he belonged to the ranks of the nobles. Surya or Aditya was one of the Adityas. To be precise, he was recognized as the head of the group of administrators, known as Adityas who as Kshatriyas controlled the army and protected the people.
Surya or Vivasvan was a Devarshi, a sage among the nobles. He was the patron of Manu Vaivasvata who followed the laws recommended by Surya. The officials like Agni, Aditya or Surya, Chandra or Soma and Vayu had been assigned (by the nobles of the Vedic period) definite duties. Though the agrarian core society and the frontier society had been brought together to form a larger and integrated society the services of these officials had not been dispensed with nor their roles been altered.
So too the commoner should continue to observe his duty. (He should not try to perform any other work that is not assigned to him.)
Those persons who only inhale and exhale breath (prana) are required to continue to perform the duties assigned to them as commoners. They should only desire that the evil (papa) that makes one insentient (mrtyu) should not take hold of them. The translation, He should breathe in and breathe out wishing that the evil of death should not touch him is too simplistic.
The teacher implies that the commoner who is identified with prana or is but subsisting and is not known to follow high objectives should not become nihilistic. When he performs his duty of inhaling fresh air and exhaling bad air, he performs the duty to stay alive. He should perform this duty well and not get weary of life in the middle and give up this duty, which may seem dull and purposeless routine.
Even this average commoner may become a member of the other elite (become a devata). If he fulfills this duty, he will become one with that devata, prana, the official of the commonalty of the larger society. He will get united (yuj) with that official who has been assigned to a social world or cadre (loka) that is superior to the commonalty but is lower than the new elite (1-5-23).
The translation, Thereby he wins complete union with divinity and residence in the same world with him is not to the point.
The members of this larger society are distinguished from one another by name, form and work. The names have their source in speech (vak) that is, in the utterance of the ruling class which treats all as equal. This is in accordance with the constitution, Brahma, which upholds the equality of status of all individuals irrespective of their names, which indicate their identity and association with specific social groups, clans or communities or occupations or residential areas (1-6-1).
[The commentators of the medieval times opted to treat the world of name, shape and work as non-self and distinguished it from Brahman the self. They overlooked or were unable to deal with the theorems behind the social polity of the more ancient times.]
Abolition of the leisure class
Some individuals and their groups may not seem to have the same appearance (rupa) as others in the larger society. These groups may appear to have different structures and yet the constitution, Brahma, treats them all as equal and sustainsthem all (1-6-2).
Every individual (atma) has a specific role to play. All are engaged in work, performance of duties (though not the same ones). The constitution, Brahma, recognizes all individuals as being engaged in performance of their duties and protects them all though they may not all be doing the same work (karma).
Brahma, the constitution of the enlarged and integrated society had abolished the leisure class. It required that all sections of the population be assigned specific duties, with work, karma, being obligatory.
The personality of the individual (atma) is determined by what class he has been assigned to (by declaration, vak) by the competent authority, to what social group (rupa) he belongs in the social structure and by what role (karma) he plays in the larger society (1-6-3).
The Vedic code based on truth (satya) had kept the leisure class noted for conspicuous consumption signified by the term, amrtam, away from the duties, which the commoners (prana) were required to perform.
The new social code annulled this isolation.