THE VIPRA DESCRIBES THE BRAHMALOKA
ACADEMY of SCHOLARS
Persons and things present in the sanctum sanctorum of Brahma in the academy of scholars
A vipra, a scholar who was constantly on the move, educating all he came across, was one of the followers of Narada.
[Narada was regarded as a Hari, a member of the group of scholars of the dark social periphery and also as a Gandharva who propagated the significance of the syllable, aum. Vipras shared this orientation. Later they were identified as Brahmans.]
The vipra told them that in the academy of scholars (Brahmapura) there was a small lotus-shaped building and that within it there was a small open space. To find out what was in that small open space, one had to resort to the method of first desiring to know the unknown (through the known).
If members of the audience asked the vipra what was there that one should desire to know, he would say that that the (open) space within the heart extended as far as that open space (akasa) extended. Both social worlds (lokas), patriciate (dyau) and commonalty (prthvi) were within that small space.
[The comment, The individual is to be regarded as the world in miniature is not pertinent here.]
All the social cadres that came under the jurisdiction of the officials designated as Agni, Vayu, Surya and Chandra were within it. Similarly the scholars who were enlightened (vidyut) and the cadres who were not administrators (nakshatras) were present in that small space.
The vipra was giving a picture of the sanctum sanctorum where the great teacher designated as Brahma was stationed. All his possessions in this world and also what were not such worldly possessions were stored there (8-1-1,2,3).
The interpretation that Brahmapura means that the body is the temple of God is irrelevant. So too the comment, As ordinary people find it difficult to conceive of the Real as out of space and time, they are taught to think of it as an object endowed with qualities, living in the world and the human self is irrelevant for this context. The explanation of the term, nasti as what is no longer or not yet, the past and the future is unacceptable. Similarly the statement that the world is the individual writ large is irrelevant in this context.
The explanation, the akasa in the heart is really the same as the vast akasa outside; only the former is limited by the heart; the akasa is a symbol of Brahman, because it is incorporeal and subtle, does not help one to appreciate the theme of the instruction given to the Vipra.
These only indicate that the commentators have not grasped the significance of the roles of the vipra and his teacher, Narada.
Spirit of the academy is important, not its head.
The members of the audience might raise a doubt. If all ones possessions and other objects and all individuals (sarva bhutani) and all the things that one desires are gathered in the inner sanctum of that academy, what would be left of that institution when its head becomes old or when he dies?
[The vipra seems to have presented the picture of the great teacher as a unique one who had not nominated a successor to him.]
The vipra is required to explain that the soul within the body does not get old and weak though the body may do so and that it is not slain by the killing of the body. What the audience were asked to honour and follow was the spirit of that academy and not the person who was heading it.
Soul, spirit (atma) of the Satyaloka and Brahmapura
They are told that it is that soul which should be treated as the real academy (satyaloka) of scholars that is, Brahmapura.
The transliteration, that self (and not the body) is the real city of Brahma fails to bring out the intent of this imagery.
This individuality (atma) is free from sins, old age, insentience (mrtyu), sorrow, hunger and thirst. The desires (objectives) of the academy and its resolves (samkalpa) are within the framework of the code of truth (satya).
Just as the subjects (praja) of a country (janapada) or district (kshetra-bhaga) lead a life in accord with its disciplinary code (anusasanam), the members of the academy are dependent on its discipline and its resources.
(The prajas were not all natives (jana) of the janapada. But they were all required to abide by its disciplinary codes.) (8-1-4,5)
Some scholars identified bhu, (agrarian commonalty), bhuva (industrial frontier society), sva (urban patriciate), maha (the council of sages), jana (the assembly of peoples representatives), tapas (the body of planners and researchers) and satya (the council of jurists) as the seven social cadres (lokas) of the later Vedic period.
Satyaloka was also referred to as Brahmaloka.
Devapura referred to the urban enclave where the nobles (devas) resided. Brahmapura referred to the enclave where the chief judge, Brahma, and other jurists stayed. This was the demographic arrangement in the paura-janapada of the Atharvan era.
Decay of status gained earlier by pious and economic deeds
In the core society, the social world or stratum with a (high) status (loka) that is won by economic activities (karma) decays (in due course); similarly in that academy the status that is won by pious deeds (punya) decays (in due course).
Atmavidya as supplementary knowledge, anuvidya
Some persons left the academy without having obtained the supplementary knowledge (anuvidya) of the self (atma). That is, they did not complete the discipline known as atmavidya. They did not learn what the personal desires (objectives) that were within the framework of the code based on truth (satya) were.
Atmavidya and the role of the Vipras
The vipras, roving scholars-cum-preachers, were associated with the social groups (like Gandharvas, Apsarases, Vidyadharas, Chakshus, Charanas, Siddhas, Tapasas and Guhyakas) who were known as punya-jana, blessed people, and were free to move among all the three social worlds (divam, prthvi and antariksham, nobles, commoners and the frontier society).
The remark, He has like a King complete sovereignty in the world does not take into account the role of the vipras as wandering scholars who exhorted the people everywhere to maintain social discipline and honour the codes that were interpreted by the high judicial officer designated as Brahma.
If they left the academy without learning the discipline of atmavidya (self-realisation) they would be moving about in all the social worlds without desire (to do good acts).
But the students, who left the academy after having studied the supplementary discipline of atmavidya, would be moving in all social worlds (loka) with the desire (kama) to do good deeds (in accord with the code based on truth, satya). [The translation, But for those who depart hence, having found here the self (atma) and those real desires, in all worlds there is freedom is not to the mark.] (8-1-6)
Desires of the dropouts
The teacher then deals with the desires of the scholar, vipra, who had left the academy without completing the studies in self-regulation and self-realisation, atmavidya.
If he desires to rejoin his family and be with his father or mother or brothers or sisters or friends and participate in their social lives, he may do so and benefit thereby.
If he opts to lead a happy life, enjoying perfumes and garlands, food and drink, song and music and women, he may do so. Many of the students who withdrew in the middle before graduating from the academy entered the stage of life of the householders. (8-2-1 to 10) The academy was not a monastery that imprisons its inmates for life and denies them social life.
The teacher says that the desires (kama) of the scholar were in accordance with the code based on the principles of satya (truth) though they were outwardly against the rules based on rta.
[The earlier laws of nature (rta) expected every one to pursue his personal interests and desires while the later laws based onsatya called for adherence to ones pledge at all costs.]
[The commentators of the medieval times failed to distinguish between Rta and Satya and between Rta and Dharma. Some tended to present Rta as disinterested action.]
Trained Vipra returns to his academy
The vipra who was trained properly was expected not to return to his family and was declared to be dead as far as they were concerned. He had to be constantly on the move. Whether his fellows were alive or dead one learns by that brief visit to the family. He learns whether his unfulfilled desires had been fulfilled.
For what he had desired was based on the principle of truth (satya) though it was termed to be anrta, unnatural (that one should leave the family for the career of a vipra, a scholar, before completing the stage of life as a householder).
The teacher says that many visited the academy (Brahmaloka) daily as one traverses the same field that has gold under it without knowing that it is there. It is not really advisable or advantageous to be a day scholar and learn ones talents and aptitudes (atmavidya). Such day scholars are carried away by anrta, that is, by rules that are not in ones personal interests. [The remark, We daily get into the Brahma-world while we are asleep is irrelevant.]
The teacher tells his audience that the statement that the soul (atma) is (located) in the centre (hrdi) means that as it is in the centre it is heart (hrdayam). He implies that the individual at the centre of the activities of the academy is its heart. One who realizes the implications of this stand visits the abode of the cultural aristocracy every day (svarga-loka) seeking its patronage.
Like the nobles, the Vipra was an alumnus of that academy.
[The comment, In deep sleep one gets into the Brahman of the heart does not bring out the intent of this verse.]
In the previous verse the day scholar visited the academy (Brahma-loka) for gaining knowledge. Here he calls on the aristocrats (svarga-loka) for getting material support. (8-3-1,2,3)
Traits of Brahma: Status and rights of a noble
The students wanted to know what the teacher meant by the term, Brahma. The personage designated as Brahma was a serene (prasada) person. He had risen from the body (sarira) (of academicians) and has been ordained (upasampada) as the (next to the) highest guide (param-jyoti).
As that guide rose up in his aristocratic (sva) form (rupa) (having been admitted to the aristocracy), he was pointed out as being a noble (who enjoyed immunity against death, amrtam) and as a fearless (abhaya) person.
The teacher said that Brahma had the status and rights of a noble. The code based on truth (satya) had designated him as Brahmana (the upholder of the socio-political constitution, Brahma or Atharvaveda).
The teacher explains that the term, satyam, has three syllables, sat, ti and yam. These implied that the nobles (sat) who held permanent positions (amrtam) and the commoners (ti) who belonged to the insentient mass society (martyam) were held together (yam) by (this Vedic official and his code) Brahmana. A scholar who knew this provision of the code may visit the aristocrats (svarga-loka) every day. They were not beyond the reach of the educated persons.
The Vipra, a scholar constantly on the move as an educator, belonged to a cadre of Gandharvas who had access to the nobles (devas). The lower ranks of the Gandharvas were known as Naras, free men. They were closer to the commonalty, manushyas, and could not enter the enclaves of the nobles. (8-3-4,5)
[The comment that the eternal and the temporal are bound together and that there is no suggestion here that the mortal is illusory is unwarranted. This passage is not a eulogy of Brahman, the Ultimate.]
Migration from one social world to another (lokantara)
The students wondered whether it was possible to move from one social stratum or cadre or world (loka) to another. The teacher says that the individual (atma) [who is not attached to any social body] is to be viewed as a bridge (setu), which keeps these social worlds (lokas) linked and yet apart.
Neither day nor night, neither old age nor death or sorrow, neither good acts nor bad acts, cross over this bridge. In other words, one does not carry with him the experiences he had when he was a member of a particular social world to the new one that he enters.
When one enters the academy of the highest intellectuals (Brahma-loka) he does not carry with him the sins he might have committed when he was in his earlier stratum. He does not carry with him weaknesses like blindness (ignorance), injury or ailment when he moves to the social world of intellectuals (especially jurists).
Brahmaloka and Brahmacharis, Celibates
In the Brahma-loka there is only day for every one of its members is an enlightened person. But only those persons who have practised the disciplined life of an initiated student (brahmachari) can become members of this academy, Brahma-loka. They may move freely in all social worlds (lokas). (8-4-1,2,3)
The teacher explains that what people call sacrifice(yajna) is in fact the stage of life known as period of education (brahmacharya) (when one observes celibacy and self-denial).
Only by going through this stage of life, a learned person (one who knows, jnata) gets entry into that academy of scholars, Brahma-loka. What people call as ones chosen path of self-denial and sacrifice (that may not be questioned by others) (ishtam), is what is meant as the (disciplined) life of a student (brahmachari). Only by personally choosing this life (that is, by voluntarily forgoing the other three stages of life) one may enter this academy (8-5-1).
[The remark that continence has been prescribed as a discipline for Self-knowledge and that here the virtue of continence is extolled fails to bring out the intent of the counsel given to the students.]
What is called as the period of collective life of classmates (in a dormitory) (sattrayana) is what is meant by the disciplined life of a student. By this period of disciplined life as a student the true individual (sata atma, one who is not under the discipline of his family or community) gets the (needed) protection. [In other words, he does not fall prey to evil ways.]
While maintaining silence (maunam), a requisite for this life of a disciplined student, he meditates and learns by himself, the supplementary discipline (anuvidya). Thus the teacher explains the major features of the life of a brahmachari. (8-5-2)
[The explanation, that sattrayana meant a Vedic sacrifice requiring the services of many priests, is not precise. It is not necessary to translate brahmachari as student of sacred knowledge.]
Life in the campus
The student (brahmachari) had to go through periods of fast. He finds out that the soul does not perish (even if he does not eat for several days). The life of a hermit in the forest (which one has to adopt after fulfilling his duties to his family) is like that of a student (at his residential school). The teacher then presents an allegory pertaining to Brahma-loka.
After crossing the waves of the two rivers (or seas?), ara and n one entered the campus, Brahma-loka. This was the third divi (divam, social world of aristocrats) from here (prthvi, the commonalty).
The lake, Airammadi and the asvatta tree that rained soma were located in that campus. It also had the city, the unconquerable one on the other side, Aparajita. It had the golden hall of the chief designated as Prabhu. [Some have noted that the airammadi lake was filled with a gruel that made one exhilarated or intoxicated.] (8-5-3)
The teacher counted the cadre of scholars-cum-jurists of Brahma-loka as the most superior among the three cadres, plutocrats (devatas) to whom prayers expressing ones desires (ishta) were made, cultural aristocracy (devas) to whom sacrifices (yajna) were offered and the intellectual aristocrats (of Brahma-loka) for reaching whom greater self-denial was made through fasting.
On arriving at the campus the student was introduced to the revered aristocratic intellectual who was the head of the larger society as Prabhu. Only those persons who had gone through the three stages mentioned above and entered the campus of the intellectual aristocracy, Brahma-loka, and received training under (and authorization by) the Prabhu, would be free to move about in all the social worlds as vipras, scholars educating all persons (4).
[The translation of this verse as, The World of Brahman belongs to those who obtain by means of continence the seas Ara and Nya in the world of Brahman; for them there is freedom in all the worlds does not bring out its intent. The comment, All these fulfilled desires mentioned in the sections (8-2 to 5) are real at their own level; they are not to be dismissed as unreal or illusory is not relevant to the theme here. The section, 8-6, dealing with course of the soul after death of the body seems to be an interpolation and is hence skipped over here.]
Indra, Virochana and the Prajapati
Atmavidya, Knowledge of one's personal identity and potentials
The chief of the people, Prajapati, who was an eminent social thinker and organizer, was also the convener of the two bodies of the legislature, the house of the nobles (sabha) and the council of scholars (samiti).
He told his audience to investigate the thoughts of the individual (atma) who was free from sins, from old age, from insentience (mrtyu), from grief, and from hunger and thirst and whose desires (kama) and resolves (samkalpa) were in tune with the code based on truth (satya).
One should seek to understand (what is not yet known about) his thought and personality. One who had found out that person and understood his traits would be able to gain the approval of all the social worlds (lokas) and (fulfillment of) his desires.
The Prajapati was referring to the advantages that scholar (vipra) who moved about in all social worlds (lokas) would have by leading a disciplined life. (8-7-1)
He was addressing the two rival sections of the ruling class, the liberal nobles (devas) and the feudal lords (asuras). They decided to seek that individuality (atma) by which one could get all his desires (kama) fulfilled and gain approval of all social worlds (lokas).
Then from among the nobles (devas), Indra went towards the Prajapati and from among the feudal lords (asuras) Virochana went towards him prepared to be his student but the two chieftains did so without communicating with each other.
[This is a reference to the great general, Sakra Indra of the times of Manu Vaivasvata and to Virochana, son of Prahlada. This Manu had a good opinion about Virochana though he was not as respected as his father, Prahlada, was.
The Prajapati whom the two approached for instruction must have been Kashyapa, the chief of Vaivasvatas council of seven sages. (8-7-2)
Gaining atmavidya (knowledge of self) as anuvidya
The two studied under that Prajapati (for thirty-two years). Then the Prajapati asked them desiring what kind of life they had been living all those years (as students). They replied that they were leading the life of an individual who was free from sins, free from old age, free from insentience, free from grief, hunger and thirst and whose desires and resolves were within the framework of the code based on truth (satya). They were trying to understand the traits of that individual (atma) who gets all his desires (kama) fulfilled and the approval of all the social worlds (lokas).
They had done so as individuals (in that assembly of scholars) learnt as supplementary discipline of study (anuvidya) through extrapolation of knowledge (gaining further knowledge from what had been taught at formal schools). They too were trying to know about the individual (atma) (who is not attached to social groups). (3)
The Prajapati told them that the personage seen in the pupil of (his) eye was that individual (atma). They could see in the teachers eye their reflection. He meant that the two had become such free individuals (atma). They were immune from death (amrtam) and were unafraid (abhayam). They were fit to be members of the governing elite. They had also become eligible to be members of the intelligentsia and the high judiciary (Brahma).
Had they become so, only because they looked into his eyes? Was it his personal view or was it a status that would be acknowledged by all? Was it really their personages that were reflected in his eyes as in the water or as in a mirror? The Prajapati assured them that it was the same personage that was reflected in all these. Thus he encouraged them to learn more about their own talents and traits (8-7-4).
The Prajapati asked them to see themselves in a pan of water and tell him what they saw. They replied that they saw themselves fully and a picture of even their hairs and nails. Then he asked them to adorn themselves, wear their best clothes and make themselves tidy and then look into the pan of water. He asked them to tell him what they saw.
They replied that they had seen their reflections, as they were then, adorned, well dressed and tidy. The Prajapati pointed out that this was their appearance as members of the intellectual aristocracy, immune from death, fearless and highly learned. [Earlier they had seen their reflections, as ordinary persons.] Then they went back with tranquil heart (8-8-1,2,3). [The translation of the clause, etad amrtam, abhayam etad brahma as That is the immortal, the fearless, that is Brahman is unsatisfactory.]
The Prajapati then remarked to his audience that the two were going away un-benefited (anupalabhya) (in perception) and without gaining the supplementary knowledge (anuvidya) of personal talents (atma). Whoever followed an Upanishad (that contained additional interpretation of the knowledge not formally taught) (and concluded that what was seen was the reality, was bound to lose influence and power, whether it was a liberal noble (deva) or a feudal lord (asura).
Virochana who was satisfied with what he had learnt went to the feudal lords (asuras) and presented them as the message of the Upanishad, the interpretation that ones self is to be made happy here and it is what is to be served.
That is, he advised them to seek personal comfort and serve their own interests. He told them that one who adopted this approach would gain control over both social worlds (the commonalty and the elite). (8-8-4) Prajapati Kashyapa did yet have a good opinion about Virochana, son of Prahlada who was an ideal ruler.
The teacher then expounds the lesson that one who is not liberal (that is, is selfish), is not dedicated (to the service of others) and does not offer sacrifices is called an Asura, for this is the doctrine (Upanishad) of the Asuras.
The body of such a person is soulless like a corpse. His body is clothed and adorned with what has been obtained by begging (on his death), thinking that thereby he will win entry to the other social world (loka) of governing elite. He does not want to forgo his personal comforts and hence collects alms to meet his goal of joining the ranks of the rulers (8-8-5). [It is not sound to translate the expression devas and asuras as gods and demons.]
But Indra recognized the danger even before reaching the nobles (devas). If one wears external adornments and dress and is tidy he gives the impression of being civilized. But these do not make the individual (atma) civilized. Similarly one may be blind or lame or crippled physically but his soul may not be so. The external dresses (and defects) perish when the body perishes. He found no enjoyment in the external trappings. He returned to the Prajapati to be instructed further.
The Prajapati asked the rich noble why he had returned after going away with Virochana. Indra told him what disappointment he experienced. The Prajapati asked him to stay with the latter and learn (for thirty-two years) more but would however explain to him (how he could find real enjoyment) (8-9-1,2,3). It is irrational to state that the Prajapati was omniscient. He was not God.
Atma as unattached individual
The Prajapati told Indra that one who moved about (in all the social worlds), as he desired, feeling exalted (mahiyama) in svapna (dream as translated by some or as sleep by others) was an unattached individual (atma). He was a member of the intellectual aristocracy, enjoying all immunities (amrta) and fearless like a noble and having the status of a free scholar, Brahma. He was one who had visions about great achievements.
Indra's doubts were set at rest and he went back. But before reaching the nobles, he perceived the peril in this approach (of treating visions as reality). It is not correct to think that one is blind or lame or crippled or defective because his body is so crippled or defective.
Soul is not slain but is like one being slain
The soul is not slain when the body is killed or maimed when the body is maimed, but it is like one being killed or maimed or stripped.
The punishments meted out do affect ones personality. The person concerned seems to experience the unpleasant and to weep. Indra saw no benefit (bhoga) in this approach (being adopted while performing his duty). He returned to the Prajapati and told him about his inability to get any benefit (of clarity of thought and approach) from the suggestion given by the latter. The Prajapati asked him to stay on (for thirty-two years more) and learn the answer. (8-10-1 to 4)
[It may be remarked here that there is no need to introduce the metaphysical note, During the states of waking and dreaming, the self experiences external and internal objects; but in dreamless sleep, the self exists without experiencing either of them.]
It was not proper to conclude that ones real identity (atma) lay in what one appeared to be to others and to oneself (as reflected in the pan of water). It was not enough to have visions of ones status (as in dream). When one is asleep (that is, is not involved in economic or physical activities), is in rest (samasta) and is serene and happy (samprasanna) and entertains no visions, he is an unattached individual (atma) belonging to the intellectual (brahma) aristocracy (amrtam), which is fearless (abhayam). Indra was pleased with this instruction (that he needed as the head of the aristocracy) but again returned to the Prajapati without going back to the nobles (devas).
He saw the danger in following this instruction. This approach failed to help one to realize what he was and that he was different from others. Indra felt that he had become one who had embraced annihilation (vinasam). He did not find this instruction beneficial. He told the Prajapati what made him to return to the latter. The Prajapati asked him to stay with him for five years more to learn the correct lesson. [Indra seems to have spent nearly one hundred and one years in school! He spent his entire life in learning what he was.] (8-11-1,2,3)
Body (sarira) is seat of the soul (atma)
The Prajapati pointed out to Indra, the liberal noble (maghavan), that this body (sarira) is mortal (martam). It is held by death (mrtyu). [In other words, it is about to die.] But it is the seat (adhishthanam) of the individual (atma, soul), which has no body (sarira). It is now associated with body (sasarira) by likes and dislikes.
As long as one is associated with the body, there is no cessation or destruction (apahati) of likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes do not affect (touch) one who is free from body. [Indra was asked to recognize that only a person who was not associated with any social body could be impartial.] (8-12-1).
Admission to the aristocracy
The Prajapati adopted a holistic approach on the issue of whether others could be admitted to the stratum of nobles who were individuals with no attachment to any social body (asarira). He did not recommend that all members of the commonalty be admitted to it irrespective of whether they were attached to social bodies or not.
He was recommending only the scholars who had overcome likes and dislikes and were fearless and had immunity (against death) for admission to the intellectual aristocracy.
He pointed out to Indra that the chiefs of the other social world (akasa or antariksham) who were designated as vayu, abhra, vidyut and stanayi (wind, cloud, lightning and thunder) were able to rise to the level of the highest (enlightened) guide (param jyoti) and appear as having the status (rupa) of nobles (sva). (8-12-2)
[The translation of this verse as, Bodiless is air, clouds, lightning, thunder; When they arise from yonder space and reach the highest light these appear each with its own form fails to bring out the above note.] The teachings of the Prajapati in this section are not connected with showing how the incorporeal Self rises above the body and attains its true form.
Prajapati's counsel to Indra on getting approval of nobles to admission of new members
The new compact on social integration had permitted the admission of certain plutocrats and technocrats to the membership of the nobility (as devatas). Hence, the scholars too may be admitted to the aristocracy if they were selfless and impartial. The Prajapati, who was the convener of the two social legislatures, sabha and samiti, was encouraging Indra to approach the other nobles with this argument in favour of admitting these scholars who had the right to move among all social worlds.
The terms, upasampada and abhinishpadya, indicate that the new entrants are not given a status equal to the one enjoyed by the nobles and that they are required to maintain their separate identity though they were superior to the commoners. [This aspect of social polity has eluded the medieval and modern commentators.]
The scholar who is to be elevated to the level of the cultural aristocracy is endowed with placidity (samprasada). He rises from the (social) body (sarira) to reach the level of the supreme enlightened guide (param jyoti). He is placed at a level marginally lower than that of the nobles (upasampada) but is allowed to appear in the form (rupa) of an autonomous noble (sva) by the process of evolution or emergence of high ranks (abhinishpadya).
He is treated as the best of social leaders, uttama purusha (high personage at the threshold of the aristocracy). There, in the social world of aristocrats, he may move about enjoying all its comforts, not remembering his (past) association with the social body (of commoners).
Even as a method is connected with the use it is put to, the living being (prana) is connected to the (social body). [The explanation that the word prana here signifies the individualized soul, also called the conscious self or prajnatma, associated with the aggregate of body, sense-organs and mind and endowed with the power of knowing and acting is too far-fetched.] The Prajapati seems to imply that the aristocracy might avail of the services of the uttama purusha for its own purposes, without losing its identity. (8-12-3)
The statement that the eye (chakshusha) is directed towards the open space (akasa) implies that for the person (purusha) who is required to function as an observer, the eye is meant for observing what is manifest (darsana). So do the persons in charge of smelling, speaking and listening function. The Prajapati told Indra that the aristocracy should have no objection to utilizing the services of these specialists (4).
The learned person (veda, one who knows the reality) thinks (manva) as an unattached individual (atma); his mind functions as the observer (chakshu) of the nobles (daivam). He enjoys the pleasures of the world of aristocracy mentally though he may not have been admitted formally to its fold and extended the benefit of sharing its privileges (8-12-5).
The Prajapati pointed out to Indra the benefit that the nobles (devas) who were trained in his academy (Brahma-loka) were enjoying as unattached individuals (atma). As selected and trained intellectuals with no personal interests, they were able to move among all social worlds (lokas) at will and gain their approval.
The student who learns as supplementary knowledge (anuvidya) about this benefit of functioning as an unattached individual (atma) will gain access to all social worlds for all purposes. Thus the Prajapati said, the teacher explained to his students. (6)
[It has to be remarked here that the comment that in this account we have a progressive spiritualization of the idea of self indicates the failure of the commentator to grasp correctly the objections that were raised by the nobles to the elevation of the impartial and independent scholars to the unfettered intellectual aristocracy.]
The individual has been gradually made perfect (krtatma) in the academy (Brahma-loka), which is a voluntary assemblage of imperfect (akrta) scholars. The shedding of ignorance during the process of education in the academy is compared to a moon coming out of the mouth of Rahu (an evil planet) as the eclipse is over (8-13). [Fables have presented syaama as moon dog and sabala as sun-dog.]
What has been given the name, akasa (open space) is in fact the description of an area with definite structure (nama-rupa). The persons inside (anta) the akasa, that is, in the open sanctum sanctorum was an intellectual (Brahma), a noble (deva) and an unattached individual (atma).
The teacher says as that intellectual comes out after offering his obeisance to that great personage that chief enters the hall (sabha) and residence of the Prajapati. (This is compared to a dark sheet getting spots or a spotted (stained) sheet becoming dark. One shakes off his sins even as a horse shakes its hair.)
The Brahmans, the Rajanyas and the Vis (the three classes of the commonalty of the core society of the Vedic times) honour him and he acknowledges their laudation that he was the greatest of all achievers of fame and prayer that he should never die (become a toothless ghost). (8-14)
The teacher tells the students that what Manu told his subjects (prajas) was what he was told by the Prajapati. Brahma, the head of the academy had given that counsel to the chief of the people, Prajapati. Then the teacher advised his students on how they were to become ideal students (8-15).