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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Important Couplets From Garbha Upanishad

Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier
Published by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai

The body is fivefold in nature (the five elements), existing in the five, depending on the six (tastes of food), connected with the six qualities (kama etc.,), seven Dhatus, three impurities, three Yonis (of excretion) and four kinds of food.

Why say ‘Fivefold in nature ?’ The five elements Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Ether. In this body, whatever is hard is of Earth, liquid is water, warm is fire, whatever moves about is air and space-enclosed is ether. The function of the Earth is to support, water is to consolidate (digestion etc.,). Fire is to see, wind is for moving, Ether is to give space (for vital functions).

The eyes are used in seeing form, ears for sound, tongue for taste, the skin and nose for touch and smell respectively; genital for pleasure, Apana is for evacuation (of bowels). The person cognises through the intellect, wills with the mind and speaks with the tongue.


The six-fold support is the six tastes (of food): sweet, acid, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

8. The embryo lying (in the womb) for (a day) and night is a confused mass; after seven days it becomes a bubble; after a fortnight, a mass and in a month, it hardens. In two months develops the region of the head; in three months, the feet; in the fourth, belly and hip; in the fifth, the backbone; in the sixth, nose, eyes and ears; in the seventh the embryo quickens with life and in the eighth month, it becomes complete.

9. By the dominance of the father’s semen, the child becomes male; the mother’s – female. When equal, a eunuch. If, at the time of impregnation, the parents are agitated, the child will be blind, crippled, hunch-backed or stunted in growth. If the couple have vital-air-trouble, the semen enters in two parts resulting in twins.

10. In the eighth month, in conjunction with the five vital airs the Jiva gets the capacity to know its past affairs (of past births), conceives of the imperishable Atman as Om, through perfect knowledge and meditation. Having known Om he sees in the body the eight Prakritis derived from it the five elements, mind, intellect and ego and the sixteen changes [see Prasnopanishad].

11. The body becomes complete in the ninth month and remembers the past birth. Actions done and not done flash to him and he recognises the good and bad nature of Karma.


19. Why is the body so called ? It has three fires: the Kosthagni ripens all that is eaten; the Darsanagni helps one see colour etc., the Jnanagni is the mind which helps perform good and bad deeds.

Source: http://www.celextel.org/108upanishads/garbha.html

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