On Mundaka Upanishad: The most beautiful, the most terrifying
Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
तस्मादग्निः समिधो यस्य सूर्यः सोमात्पर्जन्य ओषधयः पृथिव्याम् ।
पुमान्रेतः सिञ्चति योषितायां बह्वीः प्रजाः पुरुषात्संप्रसूताः ॥
tasmādagniḥ samidho yasya sūryaḥ somātparjanya oṣadhayaḥ pṛthivyām
pumānretaḥ siñcati yoṣitāyāṃ bahvīḥ prajāḥ puruṣātsaṃprasūtāḥ
From Him is fire, of which the sun is the fuel, then rain from the soma, herbs upon the earth, and the male casts his seed into woman: thus are these many peoples born from the Spirit.
~ Verse 2.1.5
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Acharya Prashant: In the same spirit comes the next verse.
“From Him is fire, of which sun is the fuel, then rain from the soma, herbs upon the earth, and the male casts his seed into woman: thus are these many peoples born from the Spirit.”
The import of the entire thing is: the entire game of Prakriti comes forth from Him. Do not get lost in Prakriti as an end in itself. Prakriti is neither its own origin nor its own end. Below Prakriti there is Him, and above Prakriti there is Him. What’s more, in the middle of everything in Prakriti, He is imminent. This is being said so that you do not get lost in all this that there is.
The Upanishads will say, “He is the father of the biggest,” and in the next breath, they will say, “He is smaller than the smallest,” so that whenever you are getting overawed, captivated, bewitched, you are reminded: “Oh, but there is something more beautiful than this. Oh, but there is something more terrible than this.”
When you are totally scared of something or enamored of something, what do you say? “Oh, you are the most beautiful one!” Or sometimes you say you would have never seen something as ghastly as that. We try to talk in superlatives, we try to talk in extremes, right? So, the Rishis are saying here, whenever you are talking in extremes, know that He is beyond all extremes.
You want to say to somebody, “You are the most beautiful one.” In that very moment, let it come to you that the word ‘most’ cannot imply anything in Prakriti. The fellow might be beautiful, but cannot be the most beautiful because the most beautiful one is somebody else.
Similarly, a great fear comes upon you. The fear might be big, but it cannot be the biggest because even in terms of being terrible, there is something else that is the most terrible.
Nothing in Prakriti can be the most enchanting or even the most terrifying. Keep the word ‘most’ reserved for the Beyond.
When you do that, then nothing in this world becomes too much for you; you are not carried away. You are not just blown away in the wind.