Skambha
AV X, 7


1. In which of his limbs does Fervor dwell?
In which of his limbs is Order set?
In what part of him abides Constancy, Faith?
In which of his limbs is Truth established?

2. From which of his limbs does Fire shine forth?
From which of his limbs issues the Wind?
Which limb does the moon take for measuring rod
when it measures the form of the great Support?

3. In which of his limbs does the earth abide?
In which of his limbs the atmosphere?
In which of his limbs is the sky affixed?
In which of his limbs the great Beyond?

4. Toward whom does the rising Flame aspire?
Toward whom does the Wind eagerly blow?
On whom do all the compass points converge?
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

5. Where do the half months and months together
proceed in consultation with the year?
Where do the seasons go, in groups or singly?
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

6. Toward whom run the sisters, day and night,
who look so different yet one summons answer?
Toward whom do the waters with longing flow?
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

7. The One on whom the Lord of Life
leant for support when he propped up the world--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

8. That which of all forms the Lord of Life
created--above, below, and in between--
with how much of himself penetrated the Support?
How long was the portion that did not enter?

9. With how much of himself penetrated the Support
into the past? With how much into the future?
In that single limb whose thousand parts he fashioned
with how much of himself did he enter, that Support?

10. Through whom men know the worlds and what enwraps them,
the waters and Holy Word, the all-powerful
in whom are found both Being and Nonbeing--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

11. By whom Creative Fervor waxing powerful
upholds the highest Vow, in whom unite
Cosmic Order and Faith, the waters and the Word--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

12. On whom is firmly founded earth and sky
and the air in between; so too the fire,
moon, sun, and wind, each knowing his own place--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

13. In whose one limb all the Gods,
three and thirty in number, are affixed--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

14. In whom are set firm the firstborn Seers,
the hymns, the songs, and the sacrificial formulas,
in whom is established the Single Seer--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

15. In whom, as Man, deathlessness and death combine,
to whom belong the surging ocean
and all the arteries that course within him;
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

16. Of whom the four cardinal directions
comprise the veins, visibly swollen,
in whom the sacrifice has advanced victorious--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

17. Those who know the divine in
Man know the highest Lord; who knows the highest Lord
or the Lord of Life knows the supreme Brahman.
They therefore know the Support also.

18. He whose head is Universal Fire,
who has for his eyes the Angirases
and for his limbs the practitioners of sorcery--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

19. He whose mouth, so they say, is Brahman,
whose tongue is a whip steeped in honey,
of whom Viraj is considered the udder--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

20. Out of his body were carved the verses,
the formulas being formed from the shavings.
His hairs are the songs, his mouth the hymns
of the Seers Atharvan and Angiras--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

21. The branch of Nonbeing which is far-extending
men take to be the highest one of all.
They reckon as inferior those who worship
your other branch, the branch of Being.

22. In whom the Adityas, Rudras and Vasus,
are held together, in whom are set firm
worlds--that which was and that which shall be--
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

23. Whose treasure hoard the three and thirty Gods
forever guard--today who knows its contents?
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

24. In whom the Gods, knowers of Brahman,
acknowledge Brahman as the Supreme--
he who knows the Gods face to face
is truly a Knower, a Vehicle of Brahman.

25. Great are the Gods who were born from Nonbeing,
yet men aver this Nonbeing to be
the single limb of the Support, the great Beyond.

26. The limb in which the Support, when generating,
evolved the Ancient One--who knows this limb
knows too by that same knowledge the Ancient One.

27. It was from his limb that the thirty-three Gods
distributed portions among themselves.
Thus in truth only knowers of Brahman
are also knowers of the thirty-three Gods.

28. Men recognize the Golden Embryo
as the unutterable, the Supreme.
Yet it was the Support who in the beginning
poured forth upon the world that stream of gold.

29. In the Support the worlds consist; in him
Creative Fervor and Order have their ground.
You I have known, O Support, face to face,
in Indra wholly concentrated.

30. In Indra the worlds consist; in Indra
Creative Fervor and Order have their ground.
You I have known, O Indra, face to face,
in the Support wholly established.

31. Before dawn and sunrise man invokes
name after name. This Unborn sprang to birth
already with full sovereignty empowered.
Than he nothing higher ever existed.

32. Homage to him of whom the earth is the model,
the atmosphere his belly, who created the sky
from his head. Homage to this supreme Brahman!

33. Homage to him whose eye is the sun
and the moon which is ever renewed, whose mouth
is the Fire. Homage to this supreme Brahman!

34. Homage to him whose in-breath and out-breath
is the Wind, whose eyes are the Angirases,
whose wisdom consists in the cardinal points.
Homage once again to this supreme Brahman!

35. By the Support are held both heaven and earth,
by the Support the broad domain of space,
by the Support the six divergent directions,
by the Support is this whole world pervaded.

36. Homage to him who, born of labor
and Creative Fervor, has entered all the worlds,
who has taken Soma for his own exclusive possession.
Homage to this Supreme Brahman!

37. How does the wind not cease to blow?
How does the mind take no repose?
Why do the waters, seeking to reach truth,
never at any time cease flowing?

38. A mighty wonder in the midst of creation moves,
thanks to Fervor, on the waters' surface.
To him whatever Gods there are adhere
like branches of a tree around the trunk.

39. To whom the Gods always with hands and feet,
with speech, ear, and eye bring tribute unmeasured
in a well-measured place of sacrifice.
Tell me of that Support--who may he be?

40-41. In him exists no darkness, no evil.
In him are all the lights, including the three
that are in the Lord of Life. The one who knows
the Reed of gold standing up in the water
is truly the mysterious Lord of Life.


From The Vedic Experience by Raimon Panikkar, Part I, A. 'Dawn and Birth - The Cosmic Pillar'

 

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