A glorification of Prana, Breath or Vital Spirit: Hymn 4 of the Artharvaveda

Homage to Prana, him who hath dominion o’er the universe,

Who hath become the Sovran Lord of all, on whom the whole depends!

Homage, O Prana, to thy roar, to thunder-peal and lightning flash!

Homage, O Prana, unto thee what time thou sendest down thy rain!

When Prana with a thunderous voice shouts his loud message to the plants, They straightway are impregnate, they conceive, and bear abundantly.

When the due season hath arrived and Prana shouteth to herbs, Then all is joyful, yea, each thing upon the surface of the earth.

When Prana hath poured down his flood of rain upon the mighty land. Cattle and beasts rejoice thereat: Now great will he our strength, they cry.

Watered by Prana’s rain the plants have raised their voices in accord: Thou hast prolonged our life, they say, and given fragrance to us all.

Homage to thee when coming nigh, homage to thee departing hence! Homage, O Prana, be to thee when standing and when sitting still.

Homage to thee at every breath thou drawest in and sendest forth! Homage to thee when turned away, homage to thee seen face to face! This reverence be to all of thee!

Prana, communicate to us thy dear, thy very dearest form. Whatever healing balm thou hast, give us thereof that we may live.

Prana robes living creatures as a father his beloved son. Prana is sovran Lord of all, of all that breathes not, all that breathes Prana is Fever, he is Death.

Prana is worshipped by the Gods. Prana sets in the loftiest sphere the man who speaks the words of truth.

Prana is Deshtri, and Viraj Prana is reverenced by all. He is the Sun, he is the Moon. Prana is called Prajapati.

Both breaths are rice and barley, and Prana is called the toiling ox: In barley is the inbreath laid, and rice is named the outward breath.

The human infant in the womb draws vital breath and sends it out: When thou, O Prana, quickenest the babe it springs anew to life.

The name of Prana is bestowed on Matarisvan and on Wind. On Prana, past and future, yea, on Prana everything depends.

All herbs and plants spring forth and grow when thou, O Prana quickenest, Plants of Atharvan, Angiras, plants of the deities and men.

When Prana hath poured down his flood of rain upon the mighty earth, The plants are wakened into life, and every herd that grows on ground.

The man who knows this truth of thee, O Prana, and what bears thee up To him will all present their gift of tribute in that loftiest will all present their gift of tribute in that loftiest world.

As all these living creatures are thy tributaries, Prana, so Shall they bring tribute unto him who hears thee with attentive ears.

Filled with a babe, mid deities he wanders: grown; near at hand, he springs again to being. That Father, grown the present and the future, hath past into the son with mighty powers.

Hansa, what time he rises up, leaves in the flood one foot un- moved. If he withdrew it there would be no more tomorrow or to-day, Never would there be night, no more would daylight shine or morning flush.

It rolleth on, eight-wheeled and single-fellied, and with a thousand eyes, forward and backward. With one half it engendered all creation. What sign is there to tell us of the other?

Homage, O Prana unto thee armed with swift bow among the rest, In whose dominion is this All of varied sort that stirs and works!

May he who rules this Universe of varied sort, that stirs and works, Prana, alert and resolute, assist me through the prayer I pray.

Erect among the sleepers he wakes, and is never laid at length, No one hath ever heard that he hath been asleep while others slept.

Thou, Prana, never shalt be hid, never shalt be estranged from me. I bind thee on myself for life, O Prana, like the Waters’ germ.


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