Gopala-tapani Upanisad: Obeisances to Gopala

79. om tat pranatmane
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

I offer obeisances to the soul of the life breath. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

With this verse Narayana begins a seventeen-verse prayer (stuti) glorifying Gopala Krishna as the essence of all forms of God, the Supreme Brahman. Previously it was shown that the pranava omkara represents Krishna. Here Narayana states that he is pranatma, the soul (atma) of one’s life air (prana). Sri Prabodhananda says that “Krishna is deserving of the commitment of one’s entire life breath. That which is designated by the pranava is not prana, which is, after all, unconscious matter, but that supreme substance possessing multiple energies, Brahman.”

The word prana is often used to refer to the fivefold life air, which the soul is said to be floating on within the body. The fivefold division of this life air is prana, apana, udana, vyana, and samana. The movements of the body are generated from the heart, and all subsequent movement, which is made possible by the senses, is powered by the life airs. The main air passing through the nose in breathing is called prana. The air that passes through the rectum as evacuated bodily air is called apana. The air that pervades the entire body and adjusts the foodstuff within the stomach is called samana. The air that passes through the throat during breathing is called udana. The air that governs muscular functioning is called vyana.

In the Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.9) the situation of the soul in relation to prana is explained as follows:

eso ’nur atma cetasa veditavyo
yasmin pranah pañcadha samvivesa

pranais cittam sarvam otam prajanam
yasmin visuddhe vibhavaty esa atma

The atomic soul is floating in five kinds of bodily airs. When purified from the influence of these airs, it shines forth and can be known by perfect intelligence.

Prana is mentioned in all but one of the verses in this stuti. The other four life airs, apana, vyana, udana, and samana, are mentioned in verses 81, 83, 85, and 87, respectively. Sri Prabodhananda comments that because prana is situated in the heart and vyana pervades the entire body, these two airs are predominant and are thus related more closely to Krishna himself. Apana, samana, and udana, on the other hand, are more closely related to his secondary features or expansions.

Narayana points out that along with his being the soul of everyone’s life air, Krishna is also the soul of the three worlds—bhuh, bhuvah, svah—which represent the physical, mental, and intellectual planes of experience. Since the jivas in which he dwells as the inner soul pervade the three worlds, he is the soul of all jivas and the entire world.

The fact that it is Krishna whom Narayana is glorifying and equating with pranava omkara is clear from the following verse, in which his names Krishna, Govinda, and Gopi-jana-vallabha are once again used and identified with the pranava omkara, the Supreme Brahman.

80. om sri-krsnaya govindaya gopi-jana-vallabhaya
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to Krishna, Lord of the cows and lover of the gopis. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

81. om apanatmane
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to the soul of the downward breath. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

82. om krsnaya ramaya pradyumnayaniruddhaya
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Obeisances to Krishna, Balarama, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

83. om vyanatmane
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to the soul of the breath that governs muscular functioning (vyana). Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

84. om sri-krsnaya ramaya
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to Krishna who is the same as Ramacandra (or Balarama). Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

85. om udanatmane
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to the soul of the breath that passes through the throat (udana). Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

86. om krsnaya devaki-nandanaya
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to Krishna, the son of Devaki. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

87. om samanatmane
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the soul of the life air that pervades the whole body. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

88. om gopalaya nija-svarupaya
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. Obeisances to Gopala, the true form of the Supreme Truth. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

89. om yo ’sau pradhanatma gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the soul of the source of the material energy (pradhana). Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

90. om yo ’sav indriyatma gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the soul of all the senses. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

91. om yo ’sau bhutatma gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the soul of the material elements. Om, this is is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

92. om yo ’sav uttama-puruso gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the Supreme Person. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

93. om yo ’sau param brahma gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the Parabrahman. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.

94. mµ yo ’sau sarva-bhutatma gopalah
om tat sad bhur bhuvah svas tasmai vai pranatmane namo namah |

Om. That Gopala is the soul of all beings. Om, this is the truth throughout the three worlds. I offer repeated obeisances to him who is verily the soul of prana.


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