PRAVAHANA COUNSELS GAUTAMA
FUNCTIONS OF THE TRAINED SOCIAL LEADER, PURUSHA
Svetaketu, grandson of Aruna, went to the council of intellectuals (samiti) of the PanSchalas. There, Pravahana, son of Jibala asked the youngster (kumara) whether he had received instruction from his father, a Gautama. Svetaketu replied that his father had instructed him (5-3-1).
Pravahana asked the youth whether he knew where the subjects (prajas of that country) travelled to from there and how they returned. Svetaketu pleaded that he did not know these.
Pravahana then asked him whether he knew the paths to the abodes of the nobles (devas) and the ancestors (pitrs) respectively. Svetaketu did not know the answer to this question too.
[Pravahana implied that the luxurious abode of the noble was distinct from the simple forest abode of the retired elders.]
Svetaketu did not know how to attain the status of a noble or of an elder and hold it even for a short duration. (2)
Pravahana pointed out that there were always some vacancies in the ranks of the nobles and the elders. Svetaketu was not aware of this.
[Pravahana implied that not all the positions in these cadres were filled in permanently and there was always scope for new entrants.]
Pravahana pointed out that in the fifth libation (ahuta), that is, in the fifth stage of personal development one who like water (which finds its level) keeps his balance and is unperturbed is called a purusha. Svetaketu did not know this feature of the social polity (3).
Thereupon this seer admonished Svetaketu for having claimed that he had received instruction from his father. Svetaketu returned to his father and complained that the latter had said that he had instructed the latter without in fact instructing him (5-3-4).
Svetaketu told his father that Pravahana who belonged to the ruling oligarchy (rajanya-bandhu) of Panchala had asked him five questions and that he could not answer any one of them. Gautama confessed that he too did not know the answers. He would not have held them back from Svetaketu if he had known the answers (5-3-5).
Gautama then proceeded to places where he could learn the answers to those questions. He went to that ruler who welcomed him with due respect and offered to give whatever he asked from the wealth (vitta) of the commoners (manushyas) (of his kingdom). [Pravahana implied that whatever wealth he had, belonged to the commoners and yet he could gift it to a scholar like Gautama.]
But Gautama rejected the offer and asked to be told what he had spoken to his young son (kumara). Pravahana was perplexed. He directed Gautama to stay with him for some time (to know the answer). He said that this knowledge had been a privilege of the cadres of administrators (Kshatras) in all the social worlds (lokas).
[The teacher implies that every one of the three social worlds, divam, prthvi and antariksham, nobility, commonalty and frontier society, had its own cadre of administrators-cum-warriors.]
This knowledge had not reached the cadres of jurists (Brahmans). Gautama would be the first among them to learn this science of governance (prasasanam) (5-3-6,7).
According to Pravahana the cadres of administrators whether their jurisdiction was confined to the commonalty or to the patriciate or to the frontier society were all Kshatriyas. The issue was whether the judiciary, the Brahmans, had jurisdiction over the executive, the Kshatras.
Pravahana then explained to Gautama that the social cadre (loka) to whose ranks the trainees from the academy (samiti) of the former were sent for higher studies, could be described as one whose teachers were persons who held the rank of civil judges (Agni).
Personages who held the rank of Aditya (and belonged to the governing elite) too were contributory teachers there.
(They were like samit, the twig used to keep the flame burning.) At first there is smoke, lack of clarity of thought and purpose and then brightness. Pravahana was using the picture of a sacrifice that went on throughout the day.
At the end of the day intellectuals who held the rank of Chandra (Soma) came to give sober counsel. The non-administrators (nakshatras) too came in to guide and their contributions are likened to sparks. These nakshatras could give hints on economy and technology, which were fields mastered by the scholars of the other society. Pravahana was explaining the functions of the royal faculty that had scholars from different social sectors (5-4-1).
The nobles (devas) tended with sincerity and devotion (sraddha) this royal academy headed by Agni, the chief judicial officer who had jurisdiction over the commonalty and all the subjects of that state of Panchala. From this offering of devoted service arose the king (raja) who was an outstanding, influential and sedate intellectual like Soma (5-4-2).
Pravahana told Gautama that the sacrificial fire, that is, the course of studies in the higher royal academy might be compared to the rain that follows winds (vayu), formation of clouds, lightning and thunder and hailstones.
He was referring to the knowledge acquired at the end of heated discussions engaged in by the scholars at the academy headed by Soma.
There is no need to introduce here the picture of the Agnihotra sacrifice.
Pravahana was describing the features of the royal academy. The trainees sent to the royal academy returned to the agrarian commonalty that depended on rains. It is however not necessary to describe Parjanya as god of rain.
The nobles (devas) offered the services of Raja Soma, the intellectual of the other forest society who had the status of a king, for the protection and smooth conduct of the discussions at the royal academy that preceded the return of the trainees to their posts among the commonalty (5-5-1,2).
Pravahana asked Gautama to visualize the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi) as a sacrificial fire (agni). The endeavours made round the year (samvatsara) are like the twig (samit) cast in the fire-pit to keep the fire burning.
The unclassified populace of the open space (akasa) around this agro-pastoral terrain (prthvi) is compared to the smoke arising from the fire. The endeavours are visualized as being continued beyond sunset into the night.
The activities of the people in the different main directions contribute to this sacrifice and those of the intermediate directions are like the sparks emerging from the sacrificial fire.
Pravahana would compare the contribution of the nobles (devas) to this sacrifice to the rain that helps in cultivation of the land and production (sambhava) of food-grains (anna) (5-6). The formation of the personality of the ideal social leader (purusha) is compared to performance of a sacrificial act.
His utterances (vak) keep this act going on like a twig cast in the sacrificial fire (agni). Prana, that is, the individual who is at the subsistence level and has no identity of his own is compared to the smoke coming from the fire lit, that is, as emerging from the commonalty which is guided by the Vedic official designated as Agni.
The flame is compared to the tongue (of the man). [This tongue of flame has been visualized by Vedic poets as conveying the prayers of the sacrificer to the nobles (devas).]
The chakshus, those who bring in new knowledge through empirical observation are compared to the coal that is cast in the fire to keep it burning.
The chronicled reports (srotra), that is, the Vedas (srutis), brought in from different directions are compared to the sparks emanating from this fire. In this sacrificial fire the nobles (devas) offer the libation of food (anna) (5-7-1,2).
This analogy leads to the picture of man casting his semen in the womb of the woman and the subsequent continuance of the human race. Pravahana then asks Gautama to visualize sexual intercourse as a sacrificial act (fire).
The sexual organ is compared to the twig cast in the fire, the invitation to take part in the act as the smoke, the womb (yoni) as the flame, the internal act as the fuel added and the orgasm as the sparks. The nobles (devas) cast their semen in the wombs of women (yosha) and they become pregnant.
Pravahana was dealing with the continuance of the race through submission of women to the invitation extended by the nobles for intercourse (5-8-1,2). It is implicit that these women belonged to cadres other than nobles.
Hence at the fifth stage of sacrifice meant for social development, water (apa) comes to be called purusha. This cadre of purushas is one that has the traits of both the commonalty and the nobility and maintains balance even as water does. The foetus stays in the womb for nine or ten months and then the child is born (5-9-1).
It is implied that members of the new cadre brought into existence by the intercourse between the two strata have their specified tenure. When the purusha dies his body is consigned to the fire (agni). He goes back to the level from which he rose to that of a personage with leadership traits.
The trainees of the royal academy were told that they had to return to the commonalty after their tenure as social leaders (purushas). The initiative taken by the nobles in creating a new cadre that would carry out the task of social development is underlined in this allegory. (2)
Pravahana told Gautama that the householders of the plains and scholars of the forest who understood the importance of devotion and sincerity and were engaged in tapas, (endeavour to find out the best means for the development of the personality of the individual) should follow the path of positive enlightenment. This is indicated by the concepts, light, day, bright fortnight and the half-year when the sun moves northwards (uttarayana).
He was thus emphasizing the value of the answers he had given to the five questions he had put to Svetaketu, student of Gautama (5-10-1).
The intellectual endeavour (tapas) continues from months to years and from the guidance given by Aditya (the representative of the governing elite, devas) to that given by Soma (the head of the intellectuals who had retired to the forest).
When the scholar gets enlightened (vidyut, flash of lightning) he comes across the social leader (purusha) who is not an ordinary human being (manava) (following the social code known as Manava Dharmasastra). This leader (purusha) who is on the threshold of the aristocracy (divam) leads that scholar to Brahma, the head of the judiciary. This is the path leading to the nobles (devas).
Pravahana was explaining how a scholar could enter the fold of the intellectual aristocracy. He had to take the assistance of the leader (purusha) who himself was at its threshold. (5-10-2)
[It is wrong to translate the term, amanava, as non-human and give the impression that the purusha was an angel.]
An amanava was one unlike a manava (who was a commoner and did not have the traits of a leader, purusha). He was a social leader (purusha).
[The interpretation that deva-yana represented the stages of progressive knowledge and light while pitr-yana represented those of progressive darkness and corruption is unacceptable.]
Those persons in the villages who are not scholars or administrators but are rich and meet the desires of the villagers (by undertaking works of public utility) and are liberal donors (datta) follow the alternate path.
Pravahana was referring to the role that the rich Vaisyas could follow if they were not inclined to follow the above path, devayana.
It required an intellectual to be instructed in administration by Aditya and in philosophy of life by Soma before getting admitted to the ranks of the jurists with the support of the social leaders (purushas) and the cultural aristocracy (devas).
The wealthy were not clear about what was correct and what was wrong. From this mist they slide into ignorance of dark night, and from there into the dark fortnight and then into the half year when the sun seems to move southward (dakshinayana).
[Yama, the god of death in common parlance, is associated with the southern direction. Indra or Aditya was associated with the east, Varuna with the west and Soma with the north.]
But this rich donor and social worker does not gain the experience that is required to be admitted to the intellectual aristocracy associated with the judiciary (Brahmaloka). He does not complete the duration of the course of training, one year (samvatsara). (5-10-3)
He completes the southern solstice to directly reach the abodes of the ancestors (pitrloka), that is, he becomes a member of the cadre of experienced senior citizens who had retired from all economic activities.
Guided by those senior citizens who had moved from the village to the forests, he enters the open space (akasa) that has no organized society and is thinly populated. From thereon he moves to the areas under the jurisdiction of Raja Soma or Chandra, the head of the social world of intellectuals.
[The interpretation that pitryana and devayana are two different systems of culture is nearer the mark. But they may not be interpreted as the way of works and the way of knowledge, implying karmayoga and jnanayoga respectively.]
What the active villagers and rich donors do go to maintain the cultural aristocracy (devas) who are not engaged in economic activities. [They feed the nobles who are honoured guests at their sacrifices.] (5-10-4)
Having stayed there (in the areas where Soma had effective control), that is, with the senior citizens as long as there is some more charitable work to be done, the rich householders of the village return to their homes. On this path they enter the open space (akasa), which is the jurisdiction of the Vedic official designated as Vayu.
Then they slowly regain their status, after passing through the stages of dense smoke and thin mist, that is, through agnosticism and scepticism (5-10-5). Pravahana merges the two paths while describing the return journey.
The mist becomes dark cloud and the cloud rains. The rains help the production of rice and barley, medicinal herbs and trees, sesamum plants and beans.
The senior citizens who were pleased with the good deeds done by the householders and the gifts presented by them had given the latter counsel about how to utilize the sacrifices for bringing rains and increasing agricultural production.
The rich, liberal villager gets educated under the experienced senior citizens and returns to become an educated villager-cum-agriculturist (5-10-6).
Deva-yana or Way of the cultural aristocrats' (Gods) is followed by the ascetics, brahmacharis and vanaprasthas and those who are well versed in the five fires. Those who go by this path ultimately reach Brahmaloka.
The performers of Agnihotra and other sacrifices and the philanthropists follow the Pitr-yana or Way of the Manes and reach Chandraloka where they experience the results of their action. The residuum of their action brings them back to the earth.
There are some who engage in sinful actions and as a result are born immediately after death as cereals etc. and after having experienced the fruit of their action are born again as human beings (according to those who believe in the theory of rebirth). The extremely wicked are born as insects, he warns. The knowers of Brahman go beyond birth and death and attain Liberation.
This interpretation based on the commentaries of the medieval times does not present a correct picture of the counsel given to Gautama by Pravahana. Such interpretation is irrational and cannot be drawn from these verses.
The next two verses (5-10-7,8) need attention as they bring out the bases on which the classification of the commonalty was effected during the times of the early Upanishads.
Those persons whose conduct in this social world has been pleasant will soon be born to pleasant (ramaniya) women, that is, to Brahman or Kshatriya or Vaisya women. But those persons whose conduct here has been stinking (kapuya) will soon have despicable birth to dogs or pigs or will be born to Chandalas.
Those persons who do not seek to attain the level of the intellectual aristocrats (devayana) or to get the counsel of the experienced senior citizens (pitryana) belong to the social periphery and do not have permanent abodes are referred to as bhutas. They are constantly moving and are called Kshudras (unimportant particles like the dust in the air). They are born to only die. (They have no achievements to their credit.)
Their status (sthanam) is third, lower than that of the two mentioned above, those who go by the path of the nobles (devayana) or by the path suggested by the senior citizens (pitryana).
The above verses refer to the four classes Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Kshudras and also to the outcasts, Chandalas. The social world of commonalty was headed by the intellectuals, Brahmans, and dominated by the rich villagers, Vaisyas. It became full with the inclusion of the class of Kshudras (most of whom were bhutas, individuals of the social periphery and were not part of the organized and settled communities).
The bhutas were individuals who had been eased out of the social world of agrarian commonalty or the industrial frontier society and were forced to accept the position of a common pool from which workers could be recruited for brief periods by the rich of either society.
During other times they might even be required to render service to the state as troops. [This loka, social world, does not include the class of protectors, Kshatriyas.]
The educated persons must hence abhor and guard themselves against descending to the level of these Kshudras. The term, Kshudras or Shudras, was used to indicate the third and lowest stratum of the commonalty with the Kshatriyas absorbed in the social world of administrators as an adjunct to Rajanyas and Devas.
It needs to be noted that Pravahana, a Kshatriya ruler of Panchala, presented this analysis to Gautama who was an intellectual.
The next verse (5-10-9) may be a later interpolation.
It declares that stealing gold, drinking wine, dishonouring the teachers bed by copulating with his wife and by killing or defaming a Brahman (jurist) result in fall in social status.
Also one who keeps company with those guilty of these crimes loses his status. But he who knows how to follow the instructions given through the five fires mentioned earlier and has followed them is not outcast as a sinner even though he may keep company with these guilty persons.
[Pravahana, a Rajanya, was putting in a nutshell the policy of his state with respect to social laws.] He becomes pure and absolved of all sins and is admitted to the cadre (loka) of those who have done meritorious deeds (punya), if he realizes the implication of this provision in the law and follows it. (5-10-10)
ASVAPATI KAIKEYA COUNSELS UDDALAKA
On ATMA, VAISVANARA and BRAHMA
CONSTITUTION AND PEOPLES REPRESENTATIVE
Prachinasala (son of Upamanyu), Satyayajna (son of Pulusha), Indradyumna (grandson of Bhallavi), Jana (son of Sarkaraksha) and Budila (son of Asvatarasva) who were owners of large houses and were great scholars of Vedas came together to find out the meaning of the terms, atma and Brahma.
They decided to go to Uddalaka, son of Aruna, who was then studying the concept of the individual (atma) as the free man who represented the universal society (vaisvanara).
But Uddalaka thought of referring the rich and great scholars to another teacher, as he would not be able to tell them all (about the relationship between atma and vaisvanara). He took them to Asvapati, a prince of Kekaya, who was then studying the issues pertaining to the above concepts. (5-11-1 to 4)
Asvapati, after hearing the reasons for their approaching him, arranged for attending to the needs of each of them. The next morning he told them that in his janapada (state, in common parlance) there was no thief or miser or drunkard. There was no one who did not tend the sacrificial fire or was ignorant. There was no adulterer or adulteress.
Asvapati was a scholar and good administrator.
He told them that he planned to perform a sacrifice and requested them to stay for it. He thought that they were priests. He promised to give as much gift as he would give to each Rtvij priest (5-11- 5).
The scholars said that propriety required that they should state the purpose for which they had come and requested him to tell them what he knew about the concept, vaisvanara. He told them that the next morning he would answer their query. The next morning, they went to him expecting to be initiated by him as his students. Asvapati was impressed by their humility but did not insist on their being formally initiated as his pupils. (5-11-5, 6,7)
Prachinasala: Aristocracy represented the will of the individual with an identity (Atma)
Asvapati asked Prachinasala, son of Upamanyu, what he deemed and revered as Atma, that is, whose view he considered as best representing the will of the individual. The latter told the prince (raja) who was the head of the royal academy of Kekaya that he deemed the aristocracy (divam) as so representing the will of the individual with an identity (and not that of a social group of which one is a member).
Vaisvanara: Represents the Universal Society of Free Men
Asvapati pointed out that the latter indeed deemed and revered as an Atma (or a free man who is not bound by any social group or personal interests, that is, physical comforts), the soul of the Universal man, that is, the individual (Atma) who represented the universal society of free men, Vaisvanara.
In other words, the aristocrat was expected to uphold the interests of all free men (naras) of the universal society (visva) who were not members of any social group. A good light (sutejas) emanates from this aristocrat and representative of this universal society of free men.
A member of the aristocracy (divam) was entitled to partake of the suta oblation. [Suta was a drink prepared under moonlight and had the effect of subduing all mental agitation.]
Besides the suta, the new aristocrats partook of prasuta and asuta. [Prasuta indicated continuously flowing drink and asuta indicated a drink yet to be prepared by mixing the ingredients.]
While the qualified traditional cultural aristocrats were said to have been fed on 'suta', those who belonged to the cadre of new entrants to the fold of aristocracy were said to have been fed 'prasuta'. Those who aspired to become nobles and had not yet been trained were said to be 'asuta'. Asvapati meant that the family of Prachinasala did not qualify to be called an aristocratic one, as it was not adequately sober and content. (5-12-1)
[It is not sound to interpret that the members of the family (kula) of Prachinasala were experts in the art of soma sacrifices. The interpretation that those born in the family will be devoted to work too is not sound.]
Asvapati: Traits of a jurist, Brahmavarchas:
Knowledge of Atma and Vaisvanara
Every individual must be considered as one whose basic need is food and as one who has his preferences. The person who has the traits of a jurist (brahma-varchas) must have been born in a family (been educated in an academy) that understands by the concept of the soul (atma) of the universal free man (vaisvanara) this principle of equal rights and freedom of every one to pursue careers and objects pleasing to him.Only such a person can be the master (head, murdha) of himself (atma).
[He will not be bound by other bonds. He eats food and sees what is pleasing to him.]
If Prachinasala (a member of an ancient household) had not approached Asvapati he would not have learnt how to hold his head high as an independent man and as eligible to represent the universal society of free men and occupy his position in the judiciary (brahma-varchas) (5-12-2).
[The interpretation that the Vaisvanara Atma is the whole, the all-comprehending Infinite of which natural objects and individual selves are parts does not meet the criterion of rationality. It is unwarranted mystifying of what is essentially a social theorem. It is unsound to state, Your head would have fallen off if you had not come to me,]
Satyayajna: Aditya entitled to the status of Atma
Asvapati, the prince of Kekaya who was the chief of its famous cavalry, then asked Satyayajna (son of Pulusha) who followed the ancient system of yoga what he deemed and revered as Atma.
Satyayajna was a patron of the system of yajna practised by those who had taken the pledge to abide by truth (satya).He said that he deemed only the official who was designated as Aditya to be entitled to the status of an individual (atma) who was not bound to any social group.
Aditya as Visvarupa: Form of the Universal society
Asvapati pointed out that Aditya, the individual (atma), whom Satyayajna deemed to be the representative of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara), was also known as Visvarupa, the form of the universal society. Therefore, in the family (academy, kula) of Satyayajna one could see the form of a large holistic (bahu) society accommodating diverse groups (5-13-1).
The translation, The self you meditate on is the Universal Self called the Universal Form; Therefore is seen in your family much and manifold wealth, fails to bring out the import of Asvapati's stand.
Asvapati: Traits needed in a jurist: Holism and Empiricism
Asvapati noticed that this rich householder who went about on his vocation (pravrtti) had a horse-driven chariot and was attended on by maids (dasis) and wore necklaces. Satyayajna was not a monk. He had not renounced worldly life. He and his men ate food and saw things as they each delighted in.
In the family where such a liberal person who respects the preferences that every one of its members has, is born, there may arise one who is a scholar and is suitable to hold the position of a jurist (brahma-varchas) with a liberal spirit.
Aditya whom Satyayajna revered is correlated to the eye (chakshu) of the individual (atma), which helps him to arrive at conclusions through empirical observations of the conduct of others and their deeds.
If Satyayajna had not approached Asvapati to learn about the traits he had to develop to play the role of a jurist who paid attention to the facts as inferred from empirical observations, he would have lost his eyes, ability to directly observe what was happening around him. (5-13-2)
Indradyumna (follower of Vyagrapada):
Vayu represents The individual (atma) with no social bonds
Asvapati then asked Indradyumna, the grandson of Bhallavi whom he deemed and revered as the individual (Atma) who was not associated with any social group.
Indradyumna was considered to be a follower of Vyaghrapada (the tiger-footed that is, a rapid assailant).This warrior-cum-intellectual said that he considered Vayu, the Vedic official in charge of the thinly populated open areas, as the one who represented the individual (atma) with no social bonds the best. Asvapati pointed out to him that the latter was stressing the diversities (prthak) in the views and wills of the individuals. For, the people of the open areas had no communal bonds and had not developed common orientations.
Fails to represent views common to all; Puts down diversities through economic and military power
The individual with no social ties (atma) whom Indradyumna visualized as the free man of the universal society (vaisvanara) would not be able to present any view common to all members of that society because he was concerned with the diversities among them.
Indradyumna was an official who controlled the treasury and also the army. The tributes that strengthened his position (balaya) came from different sources and the rows of chariots (of the rich and the mighty) that followed him came from different sections of the population. (5-14-1)
Asvapati: Jurist upholds Right to personal opinion and Right to differ from others
Asvapati pointed out to Indradyumna that every one according to the latter followed his own path and had his own preferences and that the only common point among them was that they all had to eat to survive.
Asvapati agreed that in the clan of such a person who deemed the individual (atma) as the free man of the universal society, a jurist (brahma) who could uphold the right of every one to have his own view and to differ from others could arise.
But he pointed out that Indradyumna held the breath (prana) that is necessary to treat one as a living person as equivalent to atma, the individual with an identity of his own and independent of others. (2)
If the latter had not approached Asvapati to learn who could become a true representative of the universal society of free men he would have lost his life.
Jana: Resident of open areas (akasa) can remain as atma
Asvapati then asked Jana, son of Sarkaraksha (perhaps a pounder of pebbles of sugar) who he deemed and revered as the individual (atma) with no social bonds. Jana, who was the head of a janapada, considered the individual who lived in the open space (akasa) as qualifying to be deemed so.
Mega-society (bahula) facilitates emergence of Vaisvanara
Jana upholds individualism
Asvapati told Jana addressing him as Bahula (one who upheld the concept of a mega-society) that the latter did revere the unattached individual (atma) as the representative of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). Therefore Jana would have control over all the population of the wide areas (bahula) as his subjects (prajas) and all their wealth (dhanam) (5-15-1).
Asvapati: Mega-society (bahula) attaches the individual (atma) To his social body (deha)
Asvapati pointed out that Jana held that every one should get his food and also have the right to pursue the course of life that pleases him.
Asvapati agreed that a person born in a family (educated in an academy) that exhibits this approach of treating the independent individual (atma) as the spokesman of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) was entitled to be a jurist (has brahma-varchas). But the concept of the free individual of a mega-society was only attaching the individual (atma) to his social body (deha).(2)
If Jana had not approached Asvapati to get instructed he would have lost the membership of his (social) body (deha) (by his upholding the concept of individualism of the unattached individuals of a mega-society, multitude of pebbles in a strand).
Budila (a hoarder): A mobile (apa) person as representative of free men
Asvapati, the chief of the cavalry of Kekaya, then asked Budila, a horseman, Asvatarasva who was nimble on his feet like a tiger (Vaiyaghrapadya) who according to him was an individual (atma) with no social bonds.
Asvas, cavaliers, belonged to the class of Gandharvas. Budila viewed those who conducted themselves like water (apa) as fitting the description of such an individual (atma).
Asvapati must have noticed that Budila had hidden wealth and pointed out to the latter that he considered the man with wealth (rayi) as an independent individual (atma) who need not acknowledge social bonds and who could represent the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). Budila was a well-nourished and wealthy person, as Asvapati told him (5-16-1).
Brahmavarchas: Equality of all in their minimum needs
Freedom for everyone to pursue his material interests
Asvapati must have felt that Budila being a hoarder could not have represented the weaker sections of the society. Yet Budila had acknowledged as Asvapati pointed out, that every one needed food and should be free to pursue what pleased him. Budila too was a member of a clan (academy) from which one with traits befitting a jurist (brahma-varchas) could emerge.
Such a jurist would follow the socio-political constitution (Brahma) that stood for equality of all in their minimum needs (like food) and for freedom of every one to pursue his material interests (rayi).
Asvapati brought to the notice of Budila that the latter was accumulating what was not necessary for him even as the unwanted liquid collects in ones bladder. It had to be discharged lest the bladder should burst.
Asvapati was cautioning him against gathering wealth that was not necessary for others either. Budila had approached Asvapati in time to get rid of this danger from having hidden wealth (5-16-2).
Uddalaka: Representative of the free will: The universal man, vaisvanara belongs to organized commonalty (prthvi)
Asvapati was explaining the different criteria that an aspirant to the post of a judge had to fulfill.
While Prachinasala deemed the patriciate (divam) as representing the will of the universal society of the free men (vaisvanara), Uddalaka deemed the organized commonalty (prthvi) as doing so.
[Satyayajna, Indradyumna, Jana and Budila had indicated other and diverse views with respect to this issue.]
Asvapati noticed that Uddalaka was for the firmly rooted (pratishtha) commonalty being treated as the ones whose voice spoke the will of the individual (atma) representing that of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). Asvapati also noticed that Uddalaka was supported by his subjects (prajas) and had a large number of cattle (5-17-1).
He spoke not only for the natives of the agrarian tract but also those who were admitted to its polity as prajas and for the pastoral society. Both men and animals need to be fed.
Asvapati and Uddalaka: Everyone needs food; Everyone should be free to pursue the career that pleased him
Asvapati agreed that Uddalaka too recognized that every one needed food and at the same time every one should be free to pursue the career that pleased him. As Uddalaka was born in a clan (trained in an academy) that adhered to this stand he was eligible to hold the position of a jurist (brahma-varchas).
[It would be more apt to translate the term, kula Udd as academy where one was trained.]
Constitution (brahma): Self-dependence: vaisvanara: atma
According to the constitution (brahma) an independent person (atma) could represent the will of the universal society of free men as vaisvanara. One has to stand on his own feet (atma-pada), Uddalaka had suggested when he mentioned prthvi or commonalty as what could stand for all individuals (atma). (5-17-2)
If Uddalaka had not approached Asvapati for instruction, his legs would have lost their strength and dried up, that is, he would not have been able to stand long for the cause of the universal society.
Vaisvanara not to emphasize individual differences
Asvapati gathered all the six scholars and gave them an advice common to all. He pointed out that each of them was eating his own food (enjoying the benefits of his status as a counsellor) under the impression that the individual members (atma) (who were not attached to any social body) of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) were all different (prthag) from one another.
Such a person hence cannot represent the entire society that is, all the social worlds (lokas), all the individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery and all the individuals (atmas, who were not attached to social bodies).
Atma denotes all members of the universal society of free men, vaisvanara
One should deem and revere atma as a concept denoting all the members of the universal society of free men (vaisvanara). He should deem it as a measure that reduces the size of the macro-society to a very great extent (pradesamatram) (on the map) and enhances to a great level (abhivimanam) the individual (who is a society in microcosm). This realization will enable one to share food (feelings and orientations) with all social groups and individuals (5-18-1). In short one should see the entire macro-society as not different from oneself.
Asvapati as a prince was concerned with establishment of a social system and principles of jurisprudence that would encourage every individual to identify oneself with every other individual and with the entire society, especially of the region where he lived. He corrected the wrong notions that his students had about the traits of Vaisvanara, ideal representative of the universal society of free men.
Features of the ideal universal society, visvarupa
The head of this society (about whom Prachinasala spoke) would be one who was renowned (sutejas) for his influence over all. He would perceive (chakshu) it as having a form (about which Satyayajna asked) comprising that entire large society (Visvarupa). Its basic members (pranas) would be following diverse careers (as Indradyumna noticed). Its unified body would reflect the mega society (bahula) as Jana expected. It would treat wealth as unwanted accretion as pointed out to Budila. It would be firmly established in the commonalty (prthvi) as desired by Uddalaka.
Asvapati would describe the lap of this society (visualized as the woman with whom one was entitled to have intercourse to beget an offspring to continue his lineage) as a Vedic altar and the hair in it as the twigs that the sacrificer cast in the fire-pit.
Asvapati compared the three fires, garhapatya, anvaharyapachana and ahavaniya (which Gandharvas cherished as they gave up wandering and settled in sanctified homes) to the heart, the mind and the mouth of Visvarupa, the (anthropo-morphised) form of the universal society of free men, vaisvanara. (5-18-2)
Priority to Prana, Individual at the bare subsistence level
The teacher advises that the first bit of food that one consumes, should be an offering to prana, the individual at the bare subsistence level.
When the latter is asked to accept it and thereby consecrate the food being eaten by the former, that individual at the bare subsistence level (prana) is satisfied.
(He has no other expectations.)
When this individual is satisfied, the official designated as chakshu, the observer (an intellectual who as an empiricist collects authentic information about the social and physical environment), is satisfied (that the host has not committed any errors).
When this observer (chakshu) expresses his satisfaction, the administrator who was nominated by the nobility and designated as Aditya (sun, in common parlance), feels satisfied. When Aditya expresses his satisfaction that the laws (that required priority be given to the basic needs of all individuals) have been followed, the governing body of nobles (divam) feels satisfied.
When the nobility (dyau) and the official (Aditya) nominated by them are satisfied, the officers subordinate to them (that is, the members of the executive machinery) are satisfied.
Asvapati was addressing Prachinasala and others who belonged to rich families of the commonalty and called upon them to ensure that the needs of the individuals at the bare subsistence level were first met. Otherwise the governing council would take them to task for causing unrest among the weaker sections of the population.
Brahmavarchas: Enlightened charisma and sacrifice
With the nobles and the head of the administrative machinery being satisfied, the host who performed the sacrifice, is bestowed with subjects (prajas) and cattle (pasu) and is declared to be eligible to possess needs and comforts (annadhi) other than the bare subsistence (anna).
Such a rich person would be deemed to be an enlightened charismatic figure (tejas) and to have the traits prescribed by the socio-political constitution (brahma-varchas) to hold the position of a judge (5-19-1,2).
Uddalaka and others had approached Asvapati to learn from him who was to be considered as having these traits.
Only scholars who belonged to the higher social stratum and who were not guilty of exploiting or ignoring the weaker sections and who attended to the needs of the latter first before securing for themselves, comforts and luxuries could be appointed to the judiciary. They knew who was entitled to be called Vaisvanara and would treat all members of the larger society as equals, and as entitled to rights equal to the ones they themselves enjoyed and hence they could be appointed to it.
Vyana: Needs of the unorganized population of wide areas
Accepting them as Prajas; Liberal and altruistic approach
The teacher then drew the attention of Uddalaka and others to what the second bit of food that was offered as vyana (diffused breath, as often translated) was. It was meant to please the members of the society who were spread over wide areas and were under the jurisdiction of the Vedic official, designated as Vayu.
The members of the core society who were under the direct governance of the nobility (divam) had only heard about them through the reporter (srotra). This official was pleased when the unorganized individuals of the wide areas were satisfied with their minimum needs (anna) met.
When this official was pleased, Chandra (Soma) (the head of the sober intelligentsia of the larger society) was satisfied. If Soma was satisfied the chiefs of the distant regions in the different directions (disa) were satisfied. When these chiefs and Chandra were satisfied the officials functioning under them were satisfied.
The host who has offered these people of the wider areas the bit of food and met their minimum needs then becomes eligible to gain their support and have jurisdiction over them (as prajas) and their cattle-wealth.
The liberal and altruistic approach of this host helps him to gain popularity and respect (tejas) among the people of the periphery; and he becomes entitled to function as a judge (brahma-varchas). (5-20-1,2)
Brahmavarchas and Apana: Rich to be altruistic and meet the needs of former members of the society
The teacher advised Uddalaka and others that they should offer the third bit of food to apana, the out-breath. It was meant to satisfy the needs of those persons who had been earlier but were not then members of the social group of the host (that is, had left his family or clan or community).
When they were satisfied, the host would have adhered to the rules of social conduct implicit in the then extant literature (vak, to be precise, in the Vedas). Such adherence would please Agni, the Vedic official in charge of the agro-pastoral commonalty (prthvi).
If Agni, the civil judge, was convinced that the rules of social conduct had not been breached and good social relations had been restored with the host exhibiting altruism, the politico-economic administrative machinery of the commonalty as a whole was satisfied.
Thereafter all officials functioning under prthvi and agni, the two officials connected with civil administration (prthvi) and civil law (agni) would be satisfied and would not raise objection to any act of the host. Thereupon, the host would have succeeded in his objective of governing his subjects (prajas) and owning cattle (pasu). He would have been declared to be having the traits necessary to become a member of the judiciary (brahma). (5-21-1,2)
Brahmavarchas: Samana: Principle of egalitarianism
Asvapati then described the implications of the fourth bit of offering which was an invocation to samana (the balancing breath, as often translated). It was intended to maintain social equity and keep out dysfunction in social relations.
If samana, that is, the principle of egalitarianism is upheld in administration, the host who aspired for a position in the highest judiciary would have met the expectations of the thinkers (manas) who were members of the planning council of the larger society. If these thinkers were satisfied, Parjanya (Indra), the Vedic official who headed the liberal aristocracy would be satisfied.
If the latter was satisfied the higher intelligentsia noted for enlightenment (vidyut) would be satisfied with the approach adopted by the host. Thereafter all the officials functioning under Parjanya and under the enlightened intelligentsia would be satisfied with the merits of this aspirant. He was a rich householder having influence over his subjects (prajas) and owning cattle (pasu). He would be deemed to have the traits expected of a member of the highest judiciary (brahma-varchas). (5-22-1,2)
[It is not sound to hold that the term, parjanya, stood for the god of rain worshipped by the agriculturists.]
Brahmavarchas: Udana: Social ascent and expectations of the higher strata
The fifth offering was to be made to udana (the upward breath, as often described), those sections of the population who aspired to enter the higher strata of the larger society.
The host, who performed sacrificial acts to become eligible for appointment to the position of a judge (brahma) had to meet the expectations of the higher social strata.If the host satisfied their expectations, he would have secured the approval of those individuals who had given up all worldly attachments and moved about with only their skin (tvak) as clothes and who honoured those who did not fear any physical harm.
If these monks on their path to final liberation were satisfied, Vayu, the Vedic official in charge of the open areas would have been satisfied. And if Vayu were satisfied, the people of these higher open areas (akasa) would have been satisfied.
If both these people and their spokesman, Vayu, were satisfied, those officials who functioned under them would be satisfied. Thereupon they would honour him by coming under his judicial jurisdiction. (5-23-1,2)
They and their cattle would be at his disposal. He would be deemed to have acquired the traits expected of a judge (brahma-varchas). [Allegories have to be explained using sociological theorems and not allowed to stand as inexplicable mysticism.]
If one offers tributes to Agni, the head of the intelligentsia of the commonalty (performs agnihotra without knowing the purpose behind such an act, it would be like removing the live fuel and pouring the offering on dead ashes. It would be a waste of energy and wealth.
But if he offers tributes to Agni, knowing well that purpose, he would be pleasing all the organized social worlds (lokas), all the individuals on the social periphery (bhutas) and all the individuals who are not attached to social bodies (atmas). He would be deemed to be, indeed, one performing an act of sacrifice. (5-24-1,2,3)
Even as soft cotton is burnt up when placed on fire, so are the sins of one performing an act of sacrifice burnt up if he knows the (above) purpose for which he is performing it. sacrifice, as described in common parlance),
Offer to the expelled what remains after meeting the expectations
of the five sectors of individuals, Pranas
A ruler or wealthy person who knows the purpose of this sacrifice may offer what remains after meeting the needs of the organized social worlds, the individuals on the periphery and the unattached persons, to those who have been expelled from the society for serious crimes (Chandalas).
He would be treated as one offering sacrifice to the unattached individual (atma) who represents the universal society of free men (vaisvanara) (5-24-4).
As all hungry children sit around their mother to be fed, all individuals (bhutas) sit round the sacrifice offered in front of the official designated as Agni. He represents all members of the larger commonalty; it is implied (5-24-5).
Agni, as Vaisvanara, meets the needs of all sections of the larger society including the Chandalas, the outcasts. This Agni has the status of a civil judge and not that of Brahma, who interprets the constitution.