ते य एवमेतद्विदुः, ये चामी अरण्ये श्रद्धां सत्यमुपासते, तेऽर्चिरभिसंभवन्ति, अर्चिषोऽहः, अह्न आपूर्यमाणपक्शम्, आपूर्यमाणपक्शाद्यान्षण्मासानुदङ्ङादित्य एति; मासेभ्यो देवलोकम्, देवलोकादादित्यम्, आदित्याद्वैद्युतम्; तान्वैद्युतान्पुरुषो मानस एत्य ब्रह्मलोकान् गमयति; ते तेषु ब्रह्मलोकेषु पराः परावतो वसन्ति; तेषां न पुनरावृत्तिः ॥ १५ ॥
te ya evametadviduḥ, ye cāmī araṇye śraddhāṃ satyamupāsate, te’rcirabhisaṃbhavanti, arciṣo’haḥ, ahna āpūryamāṇapakśam, āpūryamāṇapakśādyānṣaṇmāsānudaṅṅāditya eti; māsebhyo devalokam, devalokādādityam, ādityādvaidyutam; tānvaidyutānpuruṣo mānasa etya brahmalokān gamayati; te teṣu brahmalokeṣu parāḥ parāvato vasanti; teṣāṃ na punarāvṛttiḥ || 15 ||
15. Those who know this as such, and those others who meditate with faith upon the Satya-Brahman in the forest, reach the deity identified with the flame, from him the deity of the day, from him the deity of the fortnight in which the moon waxes, from him the deities of the six months in which the sun travels northward, from them the deity identified with the world of the gods, from him the sun, and from the sun the deity of lighthing. (Then) a being created from the mind (of Hiraṇyagarbha) comes and conducts them to the worlds of Hiraṇyagarbha. They attain perfection and live in those worlds of Hiraṇyagarbha for a great many superfine years. They no more return to this world.
Now in order to answer the first question it is being stated: Those who know this meditation on the five fires as such, as described above—the word ‘such’ refers to the five fires described in terms of fire, fuel,, smoke, flame, cinder, sparks, faith (liquid offerings), etc., so the meaning is—those who know these five fires as above.
Objection: Is not this meditation the same as that on the two oblations of the Agnihotra? For there, in the course of the discussion on the six things such as the departure of the two oblations, it has been stated, ‘They make heaven itself the Āhavanīya fire,’ etc. Here too there are many points of similarity, as for example the other world is lire, the sun is the fuel, and so on. Therefore this meditation is just a part of that.
Reply: No, because this is an answer to the question, ‘After how many oblations are offered,’ etc. So the word ‘such’ must refer to that much only which is covered by the answer to this question. Otherwise the question would be useless. Now, since the number of the fires is already known, the fires themselves are to be described here.
Objection: Suppose we say that the fires and so forth are known, but are merely repeated here.
Reply: In that case, they must be repeated as they occur there, not in such terms as, ‘That world is fire.’
Objection: The mention of heaven etc. is suggestive of the remaining items.
Reply: Even then the first and last items should be quoted to suggest the rest. Another Śruti bears out our contention. In a section of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad treating of the same subject there are the words, ‘Those who know the five fires,’ (V. x. 10), which shows that the number of the fires is fixed as five. Therefore this meditation on the five fires cannot be a part of the Agnihotra. The similarity as regards the fire, fuel, etc., to which you referred is, as we have said, only for the sake of extolling the Agnihotra. Therefore a mere knowledge of the six things such as the departure of the oblations will not lead to the attainment of the deities of the flame etc., for this has been enjoined through a knowledge of the five fires that are being discussed, as is evident from the use of the word ‘such’ in the text.
But who are ‘those who know this as such’? The householders, of course. One may object: Is it not the purpose of the Śruti to enjoin that they by means of sacrifices etc. are to attain the southern way characterised by the deity of smoke and so on? The answer is: Not so; for there may be householders not knowing the five fires for whom sacrifices etc. are enjoined as means. Besides, the hermit and the monk have been indirectly mentioned, for they are connected with the forest; and the meditation on the five fires is connected with rites that only a householder can perform. Hence students also are meant by the words, ‘Who know this as such.’ They enter the northern way, as we know on the authority of the Smṛti, ‘Eighty-eight thousand sages who led a celibate life attained (relative) immortality through the northern route of the sun’ (cf. Viṣ. II. viii. 92, 94). Therefore those householders who know as above, that they are born of fire, are children of fire—who know that they have been born out of a number of fires in this order, and are but another form of fire, and those others who meditate with —not upon— faith upon the Satya-Brahman, or Hiraṇyagarbha, in the forest, in other words, the hermits and monks who constantly live in the forest, all reach the deity identified with the flame.
As long as the householders do not know either the meditation on the five fires or the Satya-Brahman, they are born from the fire of woman when the fifth oblation beginning with that of faith (the liquids) has been offered in order, and again perform rites like the Agnihotra, with a view to attaining the other world. Through those rites they again go to the world of the Manes, passing in order the deity of smoke etc., and again return, passing in order the rain-god and so forth. Then they are again born of the fire of woman, again perform rites, and so on, thus rotating constantly like a Persian wheel by their comings and goings between this world and the next. But when they know the meditation on the five ftres, they are freed from this rotation and reach the flame. The ‘flame’ here does not mean a tongue of fire, but the deity identified with the flame and called by that name, who is stationed in the northern route. They reach him, for monks have no direct relation to the flame. Hence the word means the deity of that name. From him the deity of the day. Since there can be no restriction with regard to the time of death, the word ‘day’ also means the deity of the day. Death occurs as soon as the term of life is over; one cannot make the rule that a knower of this meditation must die at daytime; so the day cannot be fixed as such time. Nor do those who die at night wait for the day, for another Śruti says, ‘He reaches the sun as quickly as the glance of the mind’ (Ch. VIII. vi. 5).
From him the fortnight in which the moon waxes: That is, being conducted by the deity of the day, they reach the deity of the bright fortnight. From him, being conducted by the deity of the bright fortnight, they reach the six months in which the sun travels northward. The plural in the word ‘months’ indicates that a group of six deities identified with the northward journey of the sun is meant. Front them the world of the gods: Being conducted by this group of deities,
they reach the deity identified with the world of the gods. From him they reach the sun, and from the sun the deity of, or identified with, lightning. As they reach the deity of lightning, a being created from the mind of Hiraṇyagarbha, a denizen of his world, comes and conducts them to the worlds of Hiraṇyagarbha. The plural in the word ‘worlds’ indicates that there are higher and lower planes in that world, which is possible, as there may be differences of grade in meditations. Being conducted there by that being, they attain perfection and live in those worlds of Hiraṇyagarbha for a great many superfine years, i.e. many human cycles, which constitute the lifetime of Hiraṇyagarbha. They, after reaching the world of Hiraṇyagarbha, no more return to this world, for the word ‘here’ occurs in the Mādhyandina recension.
Objection: The word ‘here’ just indicates a type, meaning this and similar worlds, as in the passage, ‘The full-moon sacrifice should be performed on the next day.’
Reply: No, for then the qualifying word ‘here’ would be redundant. That is to say, if they did not return at all, the use of the word ‘here’ would be meaningless. In the passage cited, the fact that the sacrifice haṣ to be performed on the next day would not be known, were it not mentioned; so the specification is all right. The term ‘next day’ has not been used there superfluously, on the ground (adduced by you) that it represents a type. Only where the relevancy of a qualifying word is not to be found after investigation, is it proper to discard it as redundant; but not where the significance of the word is patent. Therefore we understand that they return after the lapse of the present cycle.