Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 1.djvu/117

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—all for the glory of that syllable. The threefold knowledge (the sacrifice) proceeds by the greatness of that syllable (the vital breaths), and by its essence (the oblations)[1].

10. Now therefore it would seem to follow, that both he who knows this (the true meaning of the syllable Om), and he who does not, perform the same sacrifice[2]. But this is not so, for knowledge and ignorance are different. The sacrifice which a man performs with knowledge, faith, and the Upanishad[3] is more powerful. This is the full account of the syllable Om.


  1. These are allusions to sacrificial technicalities, all intended to show the importance of the syllable Om, partly as a mere word, used at the sacrifices, partly as the mysterious name of the Highest Self. As every priest at the Soma-sacrifices, in which three classes of priests are always engaged, has to begin his part of the ceremonial with Om, therefore the whole sacrifice is said to be dependent on the syllable Om, and to be for the glory of that syllable, as an emblem of the Highest Self, a knowledge of whom is the indirect result of all sacrifices. The greatness of the syllable Om is explained by the vital breaths of the priest, the sacrificer, and his wife; its essence by rice, corn, &c, which constitute the oblations. Why breath and food are due to the syllable Om is explained by the sacrifice, which is dependent on that syllable, ascending to the sun, the sun sending rain, rain producing food, and food producing breath and life.
  2. He who simply pronounces the syllable Om as part of his recitation at a sacrifice, and he who knows the hidden meaning of that syllable, both may perform the same sacrifice. But that performed by the latter is more powerful, because knowledge is better than ignorance. This is, as usual, explained by some comparisons. It is true that both he who knows the quality of the harîtakî and he who does not, are purged alike if they take it. But on the other hand, if a jeweller and a mere clod sell a precious stone, the knowledge of the former bears better fruit than the ignorance of the latter.
  3. Upanishad is here explained by yoga, and yoga by devatâdivishayam upâsanam, meditation directed to certain deities. More likely, however, it refers to this very upanishad, i.e. to the udgîthavidyâ, the doctrine of the secret meaning of Om, as here explained.