Prajapati’s Teachings (from the Sanskrit)

PRAJAPATI’S TEACHINGS


Prajapati, lord of creation, had three
Different types of devotees: gods, men, demons.

Now the gods approached Prajapati first
For wisdom, saying ‘Sir, give us something
Precious to remember: truth in a word.’
Prajapati offered one syllable.
‘Da!’ he said. ‘Have you understood?’ he said.
‘We have understood,’ they said. ‘You said, Control!
Da for Damyata: Control, rein yourself in!’
‘Good,’ Prajapati said. ‘You have understood.’

The men of the world sought Prajapati next
For wisdom, saying ‘Sir, give us something
Precious to remember: truth in a word.’
Prajapati offered one syllable.
‘Da!’ he said. ‘Have you understood?’ he said.
‘We have understood,’ they said. ‘You said, Give!
‘Da for Datta: Give freely, be generous!’
‘Good,’ Prajapati said. ‘You have understood.’

The demons sought out Prajapati next
For wisdom, saying ‘Sir, give us something
Precious to remember: truth in a word.’
Prajapati offered one syllable.
‘Da!’ he said, ‘Have you understood?’ he said.
‘We have understood,’ they said. ‘You said, Mercy!
Da for Dayadhvam: Have mercy, forgive!’
‘Good,’ Prajapati said. ‘You have understood.’

These words can still be heard when thunder roars:
Da! Da! Da! Damyata! Datta! Dayadhvam!

*            *            *            *            *            *            *

— Translated from the Sanskrit of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad  (c. 1000  BCE)
by Lasha Darkmoon in collaboration with ‘MW’. Published in Acumen Magazine,
May 2008, under the composite pen name ‘Manna Domini’.
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