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Chapter 23

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“The Brahmana said, ‘In this connection, O blessed lady, is cited theancient story of what kind the institution is of the five sacrificingpriests. The learned know this to be a great principle that Prana andApana and Udana and Samana and Vyana are the five sacrificing priests.'”

“The Brahmana’s wife said, ‘That naturally there are seven sacrificingpriests is what was my former conviction. Let the great principle bedeclared to ‘me as to how, verily, the number is five of the sacrificingpriests.'”

‘The Brahmana said, ‘The wind nursed by Prana afterwards takes birth inApana. The wind nursed in Apana then becomes developed into Vyana. Nursedby Vyana, the wind is then developed into Udana. Nursed in Udana, thewind is then generated as Samana. Those good beings in days of yore askedthe first-born Grandsire, saying–Do thou say who amongst us is theforemost. He (whom thou wilt indicate) will be our chief.’

“Brahmana said, ‘He upon whose extinction all the life-breaths becomeextinct in the bodies of living creatures, he upon whose moving theymove, is verily the foremost (among you). Do ye go where ye like.’

“Prana said, ‘Upon my extinction all the life-breaths become extinct inthe bodies of living creatures. Upon my moving they once more move. I am(therefore) the foremost. Behold, I go into extinction!’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Prana then became extinct and once more movedabout. Then Samana and Udana also, O blessed one, said these words–Thoudost not dwell here, pervading all this, as we do. Thou art not theforemost amongst us, O Prana. (Only) Apana is under thy dominion. Pranathen moved about, and unto him Apana spoke.’

“Apana said, ‘When I become extinct, all the life-winds become extinct inthe bodies of living creatures. When I move about, they again move about.I am, therefore, the foremost. Behold, I go into extinction!’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Unto Apana who said so, both Vyana and Udanasaid–O Apana, thou art not the foremost. (Only) Prana is under thydominion. Then Apana began to move about. Vyana once more addressed himsaying, I am the foremost of all (the life-winds). Listen, for whatreason. When I become extinct, all the life-winds become extinct in thebodies of living creatures. When I move about, they once more move about.I am (therefore) the foremost. Behold, I go into extinction!’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Then Vyana went into extinction and once morebegan to move about. At this, Prana and Apana and Udana and Samanaaddressed him, saying, ‘Thou art not the foremost among us, O Vyana!(Only) Samana is under thy dominion–Vyana then began to move about andSamana said unto him,–I am the foremost of you all. Listen, for whatreason. When I become extinct, all the life-winds become extinct in thebodies of living creatures. When I begin to move about, they once moremove about. Hence, I am the foremost. Behold, I go into extinction! ThenSamana began to move about. Unto him Udana said, I am the foremost of allthe life-winds. Listen, for what reason. When I become extinct, all thelife-winds become extinct in the bodies of living creatures. When I moveabout they once more move about. Hence, I am the foremost. Behold, I gointo extinction!–Then Udana, after having gone into extinction, beganonce more to move about, Prana and Apana and Samana and Vyana said, untohim, O Udana, thou art not the foremost one among us, only Vyana is underthy dominion.’

“The Brahmana continued, ‘Unto them assembled together, the Lord ofcreatures, Brahma, said, ‘No one of you is superior to others. Ye are allendued with particular attributes. All are foremost in their own spheres,and all possess special attributes. Thus said unto them, that wereassembled together, the Lord of all creatures. There is one that isunmoving, and one that is moving. In consequence of special attributes,there are five life-winds. My own self is one. That one accumulates intomany forms. Becoming friendly unto one another, and gratifying oneanother, depart in peace. Blessings to ye, do ye uphold one another!'”

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