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The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.9.4 says “Purusha Prana” not Organs (Karma-indriya). The same Upanishad is very clear in using the term indriya in 6.4.5. There are 5 primary pranas & 5 Upa-pranas, that give energy to the indriyas. How can Organs leave the body? Pranas are that which leave the body, so why such translation by many including Adi Shankara? कतमे रुद्रा इति । SF कतमे रुद्रास् इति दशेमे पुरुषे प्राणा SF दश इमे पुरुषे प्राणास् आत्मैकादशस् SF आत्मा एकादशः ते यदाऽस्माच्छरीरान्मर्त्यादुत्क्रामन्त्य् SF ते यदा अस्माद् मर्त्याद् शरीराद् शरीराद् मर्त्याद् उत्क्रामन्ति अथ रोदयन्ति SF अथ रोदयन्ति तद्यद्रोदयन्ति SF तद् यद् रोदयन्ति तस्माद्रुद्रा इति ॥ ४ ॥

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Indriyas can have various meanings it can also mean organs and senses. I guess u are leaving out jñana indriyas here. Anyways, let's proceed step by step ahead.:

Why Prana is called as Indriyas.?

Chandogya Upanishad states the superiority of Prana (life breaths) over other senses in a story kind of narration. It says there was a competition among the senses on the matter of superiority. Prajapati put them to Test and as per the rules first vAk (speech) left the body and went out and returned back to ask whether the other senses were able to survive, they all survived. But when at last Prana (life-breath) was about to depart, all other senses started getting uprooted and then all senses accepted Prana as their lord.

V-i-7. “Those senses approached the father Prajapati and said to him, 'Revered sir, who is the best amongst us?' He replied, 'He amongst you is the best on whose departure the body would appear its worst, as it were’.”

V-i-12. “Then, as the Prana was about to depart, it uprooted the other senses just as a horse of mettle would uproot the pegs to which it is tethered. They all then came to it and said, 'O revered sir, be our lord, you are the best amongst us; do not depart from the body’”.

V-i-15: "Verily, people do not call them as organs of speech, nor as eyes, nor as ears, nor as minds. But they call them only as Pranas; for the Prana indeed is all these."

What/Who is Prana.?

"This prana is born of Atman. As a shadow is cast by a person, so this prana is, by Atman. Through the activity of the mind it comes into this body". (Prasna Upanishad III-3).

Chandogya Upanishad III-xv-4.: “When I said, ‘I take refuge in Prana’, (it was because) all these beings, whatsoever exist, are indeed Prana. So it was in this alone that I took refuge”.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III:9:9.: “‘Which is the one god?’ ‘The Prana (here it implies Atman which is Prana of all Pranas) is the one god; it is Brahman, which is called Tyat (that).’

Which then is that deity?” ‘Prana’ he said. Regarding the Udgitha it is said (Chh. Up. I-10-9), ‘Prastotri’ that deity which belongs to the Prastava etc.

Chandogya Upanishad I-xi-4.: “For all the beings merge in Prana alone and from Prana they arise. This is the deity belonging to the Prastava”

Prana indeed is Brahman’ (Kau. Up. III-3).

Now, the verse in question gives us the answer as to who is this Prana.

“Who are the Rudras?” "The ten Pranas and the Atman make eleven. These are the Rudras.” When the pranas and the atman leave the body, they make one cry in anguish. that's why they are called "Rudras” (Bri. Ar. Up. 3.9.4).

So, Pranas are the children or Shadows of Atman (Brahman). Basically, Rudra is the Atman and Rudras/Maruts are the Pranas. And everything merges into Prana and create by it only. Prana is the only being and called that (Brahman).

Svetaswatara Upanishad 3:02.: "Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He Ishana, alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self (Atman) of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time."

Does Indriyas left after death.?

Brihad Arankyaka Upanishad.:

III-ii-11: 'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'when the man dies, do his organs go up from him, or do they not?' 'No', replied Yajnavalkya, '(They) merge in there only. The body swells with air, is inflated with air, and in that state lies dead.'

III-ii-13: 'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'when the vocal organ of a man who dies is merged in fire, the nose in air, the eye in the sun, the mind in the moon, the ear in the quarters, the body in the earth, the ether of the heart in the external ether, the hair on the body in herbs, that on the head in trees, and the blood and the seed are deposited in water, where is then the man?...'

So, the above verses saying the jñana indriyas merges into their respective elements and the karma Indriyas merges into the body swelling it up with air.

Now, have you ever seen any dead body's eyes, ears, nose, etc getting disappeared after death. Well, i am not talking about organ trafficking or donation, etc. So, why Yajnavalkya is saying like that.?

Now, that we have seen from the above verses the Prana (Atman) is none other than Rudra himself. And we have various verses in Shata Rudras that Rudra in fire, Rudra in water, etc etc. Even Shatapatha Brahmanas etc says in the ashta murti form of him because rudra entered fire, water, wind, etc they became such like as in fire burns, water wets, wind blows, etc etc.

So, What yajnavalkya was saying that these jñana indriyas' soul merges into prana/atma and they perished means eyes can't see anymore, ear can't hear, nose can't smell, etc etc.

As for some Karma Indriyas, Brihad Arankyaka Upanishad only there are verses which says as follows.:

“The hand is one Graha (organ) and that is seized by work as the Atigraha; for with the hands one does work” (Bri. Up. III.2.8), and so on.

Indriyas leaving can also mean the function of that organ leaving. Like in this case hand looses its function of working and so on. As a dead man cannot work, can't reproduce, can't excrete etc etc.

Conclusion.: Prana leaving means the soul of the body leaving and making it useless as every thing is Shava (Dead Body) without Shiva.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

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  • This is an exalted analysis, my question was, why would Adi Shankara limit such vital aspect of Prana with a limited term of indriya (even though as you said, indriya represents the function of them leaving). Why would he not say it directly like Yajnavalkya instead he converted Atman to Mind and Prana to Indriya. Esp when it's so straight forward. If you see this link: namahshivaya.net/rudra-the-un-manifested-raw-that-which-is-not Please search this link with keyword "Prana". My question way only directed to Adi Shankara's representation. Pranam Feb 7, 2023 at 2:13
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    I have already read your blogs.As for your question it says many translators including Adi Shankara.Anyways, i think in hs time period people knew the simple meanings.That's why even in hs prapancha sara tantra while mentioning Lord Sharabha he just said Salutations to him (Shiva), who killed the tusked boar. You can check this pdf article out, it's not that big also.Plus, it also saying the same that in his period people knew simple terms already.Rest you can also wait for another ans.Prd.. Feb 7, 2023 at 4:24

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