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ESSENCE OF MAITRI UPANISHAD
Edited, compiled, and translated by VDN Rao

Chapter VI 

Paralellism and Unification of Paramatma and Antaratma 

10. Athaaparam veditavyam, uttaro vikaarosyaatmaa yagjnaasya yathaannam annaadashcheti, asopaa - kyaanam, purushaschetaa pradhaanaantasthah, sa eva bhoktaa praakritam annam bhunktvaaiti, tasyaamyam bhutaatmaa hi annam asya kartaa pradhaanah, tasmaat trigunam bhojyam bhoktaa purushontasthah, atra drishtam naama pratyaayam, yasmaat beejaa sambhavaa hi pashavas tasmaad beejam bhojyam anenaiva pradhaanasya bhojyatvam vyaakhyaatam, tasmaad bhoktaa purusho bhojyaa prakritis tatstho bhunktaa iti, praakritam annam trigunabheda parinamatvaan mahadaadyam viseshaanatam lingam, anenaiva chaturdashaa vidhasya maargasya vyaakhyaa kritaa bhavati sukha- duhkha moha samjnaanam hi anna bhutam idam jagat, na hi beejasya svaad uparigrahostiteeti yaavan aprasutih, tasyapi evam tisrasva avasthitaava annatvam bhavati kaumaaram youvanam jaraa parinatvaat tad annatvam, evam pradhaanasya vyaktataam gatasyopalabdhir bhavati, tatra buddhyaadeeni svaaduni bhavanti adhyavasaaya sankalpaabhimaanaa iti, athendriyaarthaan pancha svaaduni bhavanti, evam sarvaaindriya karmaani praakakarmaani, evam vyaktam annam avyaktam annam, asya nirguno bhoktaa, bhoktaa bhoktratvaac chaitanyam prasiddham tasya, yathaagnir vai devaanaam annaadah somonannam agninaivaannam iti evem vit, soma samjnoyam bhutaatmaagni samjnopyavyaktaa mukhaa iti vachanaat purushohi avaktaa mukhena trigunam bhuntaa iti, yo haivam veda samnyaasee yogi chaatmayaajee chati, atha yadvan na kaschiccuunnyaagaare kaaminyaah pravishtaan sprushateenindriyaarthaan tadvad yo na sprushati pratishthaan samnyaasee yogee chaatmayaaji cheti/

In reference to self-sacrifice, the reference is food and the consumer; while the latter apparently consumes what nature provides, the elemental Self is what the individual self consumes and ironically the elemental self is the controller of nature. The individual self enjoys that kind of food as per his three gunas of satvika-raajasika-taamasika tastes. Thus the level of intellect and its influence on the individual self is the determinant of the kind of food that is consumed by the individual. The latter in turn is guided by the fourteen fold course viz. the four forms of antahkarana or the Conscience driven by the panchendriyas or five senses of perception and five senses of action. Having explained about the motivation process of consumption of food and the interplay of the panchendriyas, the taste of food consumption tends to cause pleasure or pain or fantasy. Now, three stages of life viz. childhood, youth and aging determine the taste which too are subject to change. Similarly the taste changes as per the intellectual, habitual, hereditary, and the demands of Panchendriyas of each Being. Even the food intake by Gods as also the Elemental Self is Soma as the product emerging ¬†from ‘Agni Karyas’ or Sacrifices. Each person’s appetite is derived from renunciation, contemplation and the inherent trait of self-sacrifice. Some renouncers have the least interest in sensual objects.

11. Food paves way to Self-Realisation
Param vaa etad aatmano rupam yad annam, annamayo hi ayam praanotha na yadi ashnati amanta shrotaa srpashtaa drashtaa vaktaa ghraataarasayitaa bhavati,praanaamshcotsrajaateeti, evam hi aahaatha yadi khalv aashnaati, praana samruddho bhutvaa mantaa bhavati shrotaa bhavati, sparshataa bhavati, vakta bhavati, rasayitaa bhavati,ghraataa bhavati,drashtaa bhavateeti, evam hi aha annaad vai prajaah prajeente yaah kaaschit prithivee shretaah, evam hi aaha annaad vai prajaah prajaayante yaah kaschit prithvi shritaah atonnenaivaa jeevanti, athattad apiyanti antatah/

Chhandogya Upanishad is quoted: VII.ix. 1-2) Annam vaava balaad bhuyah, tasmaad yadi api dasha raatrir nashneeyaat, yadi u ha jeevet, atha vaa adrishtaashrotaa manta boddhaa kartaa vijnaataabhavatk; athannasyaaye drashtaa bhavati, shrotaa bhavati mantaa bhavati, boddhaa bhavati, kartaa bhavati, vijnaataa bhavati; annam upaassveti// Sa yonnam brahmeti upaaste annavato vai sa lokaan paanavatobhisiddhyati; yaavad annasya gatam, tatraasya yathaa kaamacharo bhavati yonnam brahmeti upaaste; asti, bhagavah, annaad bhuya iti; annaad vaava bhuyostiti; tan me, bhagavaan,bravitva iti/

(Now how is strength derived as quite obviously, Food is not only the source but is certainly far superior to strength! In case a person abstains from food for ten nights and still survives, it would be a wonder that he is able to see, hear, think, understand and perform. Once the food barrier is crossed, he could see, hear, think, understand, and perform! That is precisely why food is to be worshipped and deeply meditated to! Indeed Brahman sustains life from humans downward lest very existence is at stake otherwise. He who meditates on food as Brahman himself attains the worlds which is full of food and also its associate and even superior to it viz. water!)

Again Taittireeya Upanishad vide II.2 states VII.ix. 1-2) Annam vaava balaad bhuyah, tasmaad yadi api dasha raatrir nashneeyaat, yadi u ha jeevet, atha vaa adrishtaashrotaa manta boddhaa kartaa vijnaataabhavatk; athannasyaaye drashtaa bhavati, shrotaa bhavati mantaa bhavati, boddhaa bhavati, kartaa bhavati, vijnaataa bhavati; annam upaassveti// Sa yonnam brahmeti upaaste annavato vai sa lokaan paanavatobhisiddhyati; yaavad annasya gatam, tatraasya yathaa kaamacharo bhavati yonnam brahmeti upaaste; asti, bhagavah, annaad bhuya iti; annaad vaava bhuyostiti; tan me, bhagavaan,bravitva iti/

 (Now how is strength derived as quite obviously, Food is not only the source but is certainly far superior to strength! In case a person abstains from food for ten nights and still survives, it would be a wonder that he is able to see, hear, think, understand and perform. Once the food barrier is crossed, he could see, hear, think, understand, and perform! That is precisely why food is to be worshipped and deeply meditated to! Indeed Brahman sustains life from humans downward lest very existence is at stake otherwise. He who meditates on food as Brahman himself attains the worlds which is full of food and also its associate and even superior to it viz. water!)
Anna Stuti is quoted in this context from Maha Narayanopanishad Section 79. Stanzas 14-15:

Samvatsarovaadityo ya esha Aaditye Purushah sa Parameshthi Brahmatmaa/ Yaabhira adityastapati rashmibhistaabhih parjanyo varshati Parjenyenoushadhi vanaspatayah prajaayanta auoshadhi vanaspatibhirannam bhavatyannena praanaah praanai balam balena tapstapasaa shraddhaa shraddhhyaam medha medheyaa maneeshaa maneeshayaa mano manasaa shaanti shantayaa chittam chittena smritih smritayaa smrityaa smaarah smaarena vigjnaanam vigjnaanenaatmanam vedayati; tasmaadannam dadansarvanetaani dadaatyannaapraanah bhavanti bhutaanaam praanairmano manasascha vigjnaanam vigjnaanaadaanando Brahma yoni/

The Passage of Kalamata or the Time Schedule of Years comprising Seasons-Months- Weeks and Days notwithstanding, Surya Deva is ever present, but even yonder Surya is Parameshthi Hiranyagarbha, is the Supreme Sustainer: It is He in the form of Aditya protects and as such the radiance of Sun Rays transform water into clouds which result in rains, crops, food, physical strength. This strength enables self-control, fasts, sacrifices, meditation, mental balance and determination to witness the inner vision and the Essence of Truth which is Paramatma the Seat of Bliss. [Thus the uninterrupted chain of Anna-to Ananda should be a perfect continuity. This is possible without diversions and leakages as the turn of the chain at the twisting point of physical strength could be critical as the latter might not slip into evil energies]

12.Athaanyaraapi uktam, sarvaani ha vaa imaani bhutaani ahar ahah prapatanti annam abhihjjighrak shamaanaani, Suryo rashmibhir aadadaati anaam tenaasau tapati annenaabhishiktaah pachanteeme praanaa, agnir vaa annenoj jvalati annakaamenedam prakalpitam braahmanaa, atonnam aatmeti upaashiitetyevam hi aahaa/Annaad bhutaani jaayante, jaataani annena vardhante, adyatetti xcha bhutaani tasmaad annam tad uchyate/

Indeed all the Beings in the worlds yearn for and run after food. Even Surya Deva is stated to feed Himself from his own rays and generate radiance. The heat enables creation of food to the Beings as also enables digestion and that indeed is the physical mechanism that Brahma bestowed to all the living beings. That is how the food consumed and digested facilitates the process of growth from childhood to adults and therefore food is Paramatma Himself.
Taittiriya Upanishad vide II.2 explains further as follows: The paramountcy of Food as this is the be all and end all of Creation via Praana/Life- II.ii.1) Annaadvai prajaah prajaayantte, yaah kaascha prithvim shritaah , atho annenaiva jeevanti, athainadapi yantyantatah, annam hi bhutaanaam jyeshthamn, tasmaat saroushadhamuchyate, sarvam vai tennamaatpanuvanti, yennam brahmopaasate, Annaad bhutaani jayante, jaataannyannena vardhante, adyatetti cha bhutaani, tasmaad annam tad uchyata iti/ Tasmaadvaa yetasmaadanna rasamayaat, anyontara aatmaa praanamayah,tenaisha purnah, sa vaa esha purushavidha eva, tasya purusha vidhataam, anvayam purushavidhah, tasya praana eva shirah, vyaano dakshina pakshah, apaana uttarah pakshah, aakaasha aatmaa, prithivi puccham pratishthaa, tadapyesha shloko bhavati/

(Food is the base that all the Beings on earth are born from, sustained by and at the end merged into. Since food is preceded by, born before, worshipped always, and eaten by all the Beings, it is precisely called Praana or the Life Force for all. As the Inner Self is made of this Life Energy which is the essence of food, the latter is an off shoot of Vayu the Air of the Pancha Bhutas or the Five Elements of ‘Prithivi-aapas-tejas-vaayu -akaashas’. Of this Vayu, the head of a Being is Praana, its right side is Vyana, left side is Apaana; Akasha or the Space is the Self of a Being, Earth is the tail that stabilizes. Thus ‘Annaat’ or food transforms into ‘Prajaah’ resting on earth; since ‘annam hi bhutaanaam jyeshthaanaam’ or as food is the first born, all the living beings originate from ‘annam’, sustain from it and finally merge into it; hence Annam Brahma!

13. Athaanyatraapi uktam:Vishvabhrid vai naamaisha tanuur bhagavato vishnor yad idam annam, praano vaa annasya rasomanah praanasya vigjnaanam manasa, aanandam vigjnaasyeti, annavaan, praanavaan,manasvaan, vigjnaanavaan, aanandavaan cha bhavati yo haivam veda, yaavanteeh vai bhutaani annam adanti taavatsvan tasthoannam atti yo haivam veda, annam eva vijarannam annam samvananam smritam, annam pashunaam praanonnam jyeshtham, annam bhishak smritam./

Food indeed is the blessing to the Universe by Bhagavaan Vishnu who is the preserver and sustainer. The very existence of all the Beings in the Lokaas is indeed food. It is food and food alone that prevents physical decay and strengthening of mental soundness. This applies to humanity, animals and other species alike.