तौ ह द्वात्रिंशतं वर्षाणि ब्रह्मचर्यमूषतुस्तौ ह प्रजापतिरुवाच किमिच्छन्तावास्तमिति तौ होचतुर्य आत्मापहतपाप्मा विजरो विमृत्युर्विशोको विजिघत्सोऽपिपासः सत्यकामः सत्यसंकल्पः सोऽन्वेष्टव्यः स विजिज्ञासितव्यः स सर्वांश्च लोकानाप्नोति सर्वांश्च कामान्यस्तमात्मानमनुविद्य विजानातीति भगवतो वचो वेदयन्ते तमिच्छन्ताववास्तमिति ॥ ८.७.३ ॥
tau ha dvātriṃśataṃ varṣāṇi brahmacaryamūṣatustau ha prajāpatiruvāca kimicchantāvāstamiti tau hocaturya ātmāpahatapāpmā vijaro vimṛtyurviśoko vijighatso’pipāsaḥ satyakāmaḥ satyasaṃkalpaḥ so’nveṣṭavyaḥ sa vijijñāsitavyaḥ sa sarvāṃśca lokānāpnoti sarvāṃśca kāmānyastamātmānamanuvidya vijānātīti bhagavato vaco vedayante tamicchantāvavāstamiti || 8.7.3 ||
3. Both of them spent thirty-two years there living as brahmacarins. One day Prajāpati said to them: ‘For what purpose are you staying here?’ They replied: ‘“The Self is free from sin, free from old age, free from death, free from sorrow, and free from hunger and thirst. It is the cause of desire for Truth and for commitment to Truth. This Self has to be sought for and thoroughly known. The person who has learned about the Self and known it attains all worlds and all desires.”—Sir, this is your message. We wish to know that Self, and this is why we are here’.
Tau, those two; ha dvātriṃśatam varṣāṇi, for thirty-two years; brahmacaryam ūṣataḥ, lived there practising strict self-control; tau ha prajāpatiḥ uvāca, Prajāpati said to them; kim icchantau avāstam iti, for what purpose have you stayed here; tau ha ucatuḥ, they said; yaḥ ātmā apahatapāpmā, the Self is free from sin; vijaraḥ, free from the effects of age; vimṛtyuḥ, free from death; viśokaḥ, free from sorrow; vijighatsaḥ, free from hunger; apipāsaḥ, free from thirst; satyakāmaḥ, is the cause of desire for Truth; satyasaṅkalpaḥ, is the cause of commitment to Truth; saḥ, that; anveṣṭavyaḥ, has to be sought; saḥ vijijñāsitavyaḥ, that has to be thoroughly investigated; saḥ, a person; sarvān ca lokān āpnoti, attains all worlds; sarvān ca kāmān, and all desires; yaḥ, who; taw ātmānam, that Self; anuvidya, having learned; vijānāti iti, [and] knows it; bhagavataḥ, sir; vacaḥ vedayante, this is your message; tarn icchantau, wishing for that [knowledge of the Self]; avāstam iti, we have lived here.
Indra and Virocana heard that Prajāpati had said the Self was pure, undecaying, without death, and so on, and they decided to go and learn from him. But a student must first go through some disciplines and prepare himself to receive these instructions. So for thirty-two years they practised brahmacarya, living with Prajāpati. They served him with humility, forgetting
After thirty-two years, Prajāpati one day sent for them and asked: ‘Why are you here? What do you want from me?’ Indra and Virocana replied: ‘We heard from people that you said the Self is without decay, without death, and without sorrow. We want to know that Self. This is why we have come to you. We have been living here the past thirty-two years because we want to know the Self.’
Śaṅkara says that previously Indra and Virocana were hostile to each other. But now they are humble and no longer jealous, and they have even become friendly. Why has their nature changed? Because they have practised brahmacarya, self-control.
“Brahmacarya” means brahma carati, one who moves around Brahman—that is, one who is always thinking of Brahman and trying to feel that he is Brahman. His whole life is centred around Brahman. Such a person lives a simple and austere life—with simple food, simple clothes, and so on. And he always practises self-restraint in everything he does. In Hinduism, self-restraint is the key to everything. If you want to achieve anything, even in secular life, you have to practise self-restraint.