agnE! : Oh Agni! (Fire, Energy)
naya supathA: take (me/us) in the good path
asmAn : us
vis’vAni : all (sarvANi)
dEva : O Luminary! (Divinity! Divine Being! God)
vayunAni vidwAn : one who knows our karma and gnyAna (knowledge); one who knows all the deities; one who knows all the knowledge
yuyOdhi : destroy
asmad juhurANam enah : our deceitful sin (kuTila pApam)
bhUyiSThAm tE nama uktim vidhEma : repeatedly we repeat your name as a way to serve you. (since that’s all we can do)
What does Sankaracharya say?
Sankara refers to the northern way of freedom (moksha, liberation) and the southern path of rebirth. He says supatha the good way is the northern way of moksha. We are asking Agni, who knows all our good deeds and knowledge to avoid the southern path where we would have to experience the benefits of all our good deeds and and instead take us to the northern path where we we will be free of this cycle of birth and death and attendant samsAra (worldly life). We ask agni to destroy all the bad things we did (along with our body). We can now only say his name and can no longer perform any other form of karma (since there is no body to perform it with).
What do I think?
Having attained the state of soham (I am He) and realising that our breath is the wind, we ask Agni (Fire, Energy), who knows our doings and thoughts to destroy our wrong doings and direct us away from the path of rebirth and into the path of freedom. We know longer “do” karma like yagnyAs and other prescribed vedOkta karma. We merely repeat the name of Agni as our prayer, puja or yagnya.
I think we rely on our divine energy (will power) to make sure that we don’t return from this state of sah aham (soham). It is quite easy to fall from that state, for ordinary people who briefly touch it in their lives. For people like Sankaracharya, there is no return to ignorance – once they know they know!
It is known that some people use these last few mantras as a part of s’rAddha karma (the rites of that accompany cremation), though Sankaracharya has stated that these mantras should not be used for karma kanda (vedic rites). It may be in order to remind and reassure those who grieve and follow the deha (body) to the smas’anam (cremation ground) of the truth.
Next Steps :
- This is the last mantra of this upanishad.
- Learn how to chant this upanishad from a guru as per proper veda swaras.
- Meditate (japa) on the original mantras now that you know the meanings of each word/phrase
- See the meaning that emerges in your mind
- Share with those who are willing to listen to you.
- Sanskrit Dictionary :
- I am not a guru.
- I am student like you who is sharing her notes with you, in case it helps.
- Only an AcArya like Sankara, who has “practiced” and “realised” can be called a Guru., I am not yet such a person. I can only hope.
- This is my karma, good and purifying action, for my chitta suddhi. It helps me be more thorough with my studies and helps me remember for a little longer what I study. It strengthens and improves and delights my mind.
- Krishna said that all actions are faulty in the beginning and they improve with time. I will get better with time.
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula