1. Whent he Devas and Asuras struggled together, both of the race of Pragâpati, the Devas took the udgîtha (Om), thinking they would vanquish the Asuras with it.
2. They meditated on the udgîtha (Om) as the breath (scent) in the nose , but the Asuras pierced it (the breath) with evil. Therefore we smell by the breath in the nose both what is good-smelling and what is bad-smelling. For the breath was pierced by evil.
3. Then they meditated on the udgîtha (Om) as speech, but the Asuras pierced it with evil. Therefore we speak both truth and falsehood. For speech is pierced by evil.
4. Then they meditated on the udgîtha (Om) as the eye, but the Asuras pierced it with evil. Therefore
- A very similar story is told in the Brîhad-âranyaka I, 1, 3, 1. But though the coincidences between the two are considerable, amounting sometimes to verbal identity, the purport of the two seems to be different. See Vedânta-sûtra III, 3, 6.
- Devas and Asuras, gods and demons, are here explained by the commentator as the good and evil inclinations of man; Pragâpati as man in general.
- Udgîtha stands, according to the commentator, for the sacrificial act to be performed by the Udgâtri, the Sâma-veda priest, with the udgîtha hymns; and as these sacrificial acts always form part of the Gyotishtoma &c, these great Soma-sacrifices are really intended. In the second place, however, the commentator takes udgîtha in the sense of Udgâtri, the performer of the udgîtha, which is or was by the Devas thought to be the breath in the nose. I have preferred to take udgîtha in the sense of Om, and all that is implied by it.
- They asked that breath should recite the udgîtha. Comm.