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Bṛhad-Āraṇyaka with Saṅkara’s Commentary
translated by Sw. Mādhavānanda (1934)


Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3 Ch. 4 Ch. 5 Ch. 6

Format by A.K. Aruna, 2020 ver.1.0: UpasanaYoga. If downloaded, requires installed Devanāgarī Siddhanta1.ttf font, downloadable from UpasanaYoga. If run from UpasanaYoga website, it alternatively can use online Web Font. Any Devanāgarī in parentheses () is an alternate reading of text in Red. Top button "Collapse all panels" contracts the view in which individual items can be re-expanded, or again the top button "Restore all panels" reloads page to original view. The Devanagari text source is the Sharada Peetham, Sringeri (advaitasharada.sringeri.net).
Bṛhad-āraṇyaka-Upaniṣad, from the Śukla-Yajur Veda, consists of brāhmaṇa (prose text) with some ṛks, ślokas or mantras (verses) interspersed. It is considered, like the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, to be a source of teachings which other Upaniṣads often summarize or expound on. It especially contains the teachings of sage Yājña-valkya.

by A.K. Aruna
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ओं, पूर्ण॒म् अदः॒ पूर्ण॒म् इदं॒ पूर्णा॒त् पूर्ण॒म् उद॒च्यते।
पूर्ण॒स्य पूर्ण॒म् आदा॒य पूर्ण॒म् एवावशि॒ष्यते।
ओं शा॒न्तिः शा॒न्तिः शा॒न्तिः॥

Om, pūrṇa, adas, pūrṇa, idam, pūrna, pūrṇa, ud-√añc.
pūrṇa, pūrṇa, ādāya, pūrṇa, eva, ava-√śiṣ.
Om, śānti, śānti, śānti.

🔗  Om. Salutation to ’Brahman (’Hiraṇya-garbha, The being identified with the cosmic mind) and the other sages forming the line of teachers who have handed down the knowledge of ’Brahman. Salutation to our own teacher.

With the words, ‘The head of the sacrificial horse is the dawn,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.1.1) begins the Upaniṣad connected with the Vājasaneyi-Brāhmaṇa. This concise commentary is being written on it to explain to those who wish to turn away from this relative world (Saṃsāra), the knowledge of the identity of the individual self and Brahman, which is the means of eradicating the cause of this world (ignorance). This knowledge of Brahman is called ‘Upaniṣad’ because it entirely removes this relative world together with its cause from those who betake themselves to this study, for the root ‘sad’ prefixed by ‘upa’ and ‘ni’ means that. Books also are called Upaniṣads as they have the same end in view.

This Upaniṣad consisting of six chapters is called ‘Āraṇyaka’ as it was taught in the forest (Araṇya). And because of its large size it is called Bṛhad-āraṇyaka. Now we are going to describe its relation to the ceremonial portion of the Vedas. The whole of the Vedas is devoted to setting forth the means of attaining what is good and avoiding what is evil, in so far as these are not known through perception and inference, for all people naturally seek these two ends. In matters coming within the range of experience, a knowledge of the means of attaining the good and avoiding the evil ends is easily available through perception and inference. Hence the Vedas are not to be sought for that. Now, unless a person is aware of the existence of the self in a future life, he will not be induced to attain what is good and avoid what is evil in that life. For we have the example of the materialists. Therefore the scriptures proceed to discuss the existence of self in a future life and the particular means of attaining the good and avoiding the evil in that life. For we see one of the Upaniṣads starts with the words, ‘There is a doubt among men regarding the life after death, some saying that the self exists, and others that it does not’ (KathU.1.1.20), and concludes, ‘It is to be realized as existing indeed’ (KathU.2.3.13), and so on. Also, beginning with, ‘How (the self remains) after death’ (KathU.2.2.6), it ends with, ‘Some souls enter the womb to get a new body, while others are born as stationary objects (plants etc.), all according to their past work and knowledge’ (KathU.2.2.7). Elsewhere beginning with, ‘The man (self) himself becomes the light’ (BrhUEng.4.3.9), it ends with, ‘It is followed by knowledge, work’ (BrhUEng.4.4.2). Also, ‘One becomes good through good work and evil through evil work’ (BrhUEng.3.2.13). Again beginning with, ‘I will instruct you’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), the existence of the extra-corporeal self is established in the passage, ‘Full of consciousness (i.e. identified with the mind),’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.1.16).

Objection: Is it not a matter of perception?

Reply: No, for we see the divergence of opinion among different schools. Were the existence of the self in a future body a matter of perception, the materialists and Buddhists would not stand opposed to us, saying that there is no self. For nobody disputes regarding an object of perception such as a jar, saying it does not exist.

Objection: You are wrong, since a stump, for instance, is looked upon as a man and so on.

Reply: No, for it vanishes when the truth is known. There are no more contradictory views when the stump, for instance, has been definitely known as such through perception. The Buddhists, however, in spite of the fact that there is the ego consciousness, persistently deny the existence of the self other than the subtle body (The five elements, ten organs, vital force, with its fivefold function, and mind, in its fourfold aspect. Or the ten organs, five vital forces, Manas and intellect). Therefore, being different from objects of perception, the existence of the self cannot be proved by this means. Similarly, inference too is powerless.

Objection: No, since the Śruti (Veda) points out certain grounds of inference (Such as desires etc., which must have a basis, and this is the self) for the existence of the self, and these depend on perception, (these two are also efficient means of the knowledge of the self).

Reply: Not so, for the self cannot be perceived as having any relation to another life. But when its existence has been known from the Śruti and from certain empirical grounds of inference cited by it, the Mīmāṃsakas and logicians, who follow in its foot-steps, fancy that those Vedic grounds of inference such as the ego-consciousness are the products of their own mind, and declare that the self is knowable through perception and inference.

In any case, a man who believes that there is a self which gets into relation with a future body, seeks to know the particular means of attaining the good and avoidng the evil in connection with that body. Hence the ceremonial portion of the Vedas is introduced to acquaint him with these details. But the cause of that desire to attain the good and avoid the evil, viz. ignorance regarding the Self, which express itself as the idea of one’s being the agent and experiencer, has not been removed by its opposite, the knowledge of the nature of the self as being identical with Brahman. Until that is removed, a man prompted by such natural defects of his as attachment or aversion to the fruits of his actions, proceeds to act even against the injunctions and prohibitions of the scriptures, and under the powerful urge of his natural defects, accumulates in thought, word and deed a good deal of work known as iniquity, producing harm, visible and invisible. This leads to degradation down to the state of stationary objects. Sometimes the impressions made by the scriptures are very strong, in which case he accumulates in thought, word and deed a great deal of what is known as good work which contributes to his well-being. This work is twofold: that attended with meditation, and that which is mechanical. Of these, the latter results in the attainment of the world of the Manes and so on; while work coupled with meditation leads to worlds beginning with that of the gods and ending with the world of the Manes and so on; while work coupled with meditation leads to worlds beginning with that of the gods and ending with the world of Hiraṇya-garbha (The being identified with the sum total of all minds). The Śruti says on the point, ‘One who sacrifices to the Self is better than one who sacrifices to the gods,’ etc. (SatBr.11.2.6.113). And the Smṛti: ‘Vedic work is twofold,’ etc. (ManSamh.12.88). When the good work balances the evil, one becomes a man. Thus the transmigration beginning with the state of Hiraṇya-garbha and the rest and ending with that of stationary objects, which a man with his natural defects of ignorance etc. attains through his good and bad deeds, depends on name, form and action. This manifested universe, consisting of means and ends, was in an undifferentiated state before its manifestation. That relative universe, without beginning and end like the seed and the sprout etc., created by ignorance and consisting in a superimposition of action, its factors and its results on the Self, is an evil. Hence for the removal of the ignorance of a man who is disgusted with this universe, this Upaniṣad is being commenced in order to inculcate the knowledge of Brahman which is the very opposite of that ignorance.

This utility of this meditation concerning the horse sacrifice is this: Those who are not entitled to this sacrifice will get the same result through this meditation itself. Witness the Śruti passages: ‘Through meditation or through rites’ (SatBr.10.4.3.9), and ‘This (meditation on the vital force) certainly wins the world’ (BrhUEng.1.3.28).

Objection: This meditation is just as part of the rite.

Reply: No, for the following Śruti passage allows option: ‘He who performs the horse sacrifice, or who knows it as such’ (TaitS.5.3.12). Since it occurs in a context dealing with knowledge, and since we see the same kind of meditation based or resemblance being applied to other rites (As in the passage ‘This world, O Gautama, is fire’ (BrhUEng.6.2.11). also, we understand that meditation will produce the same result. Of all rites the greatest is the horse sacrifice, for it leads to identity with Hiraṇya-garbha in his collective and individual aspects. And its mention here at the very beginning of this treatise on the knowledge of Brahman is an indication that all rites fall within the domain of relative existence. It will be shown later on that the result of this meditation is identification with Hunger or Death.

Objection: But the regular (Nitya) rites are not productive of relative results.

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti sums up the results of all rites together. Every rite is connected with the wife. In the passage, ‘Let me have a wife … This much indeed is desire’ (BrhUEng.1.4.17), it is shown that all action is naturally prompted by desire, and that the results achieved through a son, through rites and through meditation are this world, the world of the Manes and that of the gods respectively (BrhUEng.1.5.16), and the conclusion arrived at will be that everything consists of the three kinds of food: ‘This (universe) indeed consists of three things: name, form and action’ (BrhUEng.1.6.1). The manifested result of all action is nothing but the relative universe. It is these three which were in an undifferentiated state before manifestation. That again is manifested owing to the resultant of the actions of all beings, as a tree comes out of the seed. This differentiated and undifferenttiated universe, consisting of the gross (Earth, water and fire are the gross world, and air and the space the subtle world. Their essence is the simple form of each, before its combination with the other four elements) and subtle worlds and their essence, falls within the category of ignorance, and has been superimposed by it on the Self as action, its factors and its results as if they were Its own form. Although the Self is different from them, has nothing to do with name, form and action, is one without a second and is eternal, pure, enlightened and free by nature, yet It appears as just the reverse of this, as consisting of differences of action, its factors and its results, and so on. Therefore for the removal of ignorance, the seed of defects such as desire and of action – like the removal of the idea of a snake from a rope – with regard to a man who is disgusted with this universe of means and ends, consisting of actions, their factors and their results – having realized that they are just so much, the knowledge of Brahman is being set forth.

The first two sections beginning with, ‘The head of the sacrificial horse is the dawn,’ will be devoted to the meditation regarding the horse sacrifice. The meditation about the horse is described, as the horse is the most important thing in this sacrifice. Its importance is indicated by the fact that the sacrifice is named after it, and its presiding deity is Prajā-pati (Hiraṇya-garbha).

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🔗  The head of the sacrificial horse, i.e. one fit for a sacrifice, is the dawn, a period of about three quarters of an hour just before sunrise. The particle ’‘vai’ recalls something well-known, here, the time of dawn. The similarity is due to the importance of each. The head is the most important part of the body (and so is the dawn of the day). The horse which is a part of the sacrifice has to be purified; hence its head and other parts of its body are to be looked upon as certain divisions of time etc. (and not vice versa). And it will be raised to the status of Prajā-pati by being meditated upon as such. In other words, the horse will be deified into Prajā-pati if the ideas of time, worlds and deities be superimposed on it, for Prajā-pati comprises these. It is like converting an image etc. into the Lord Viṣṇu or any other deity. Its eye the sun, for it is next to the head (as the sun is next to, or rises just after the dawn), and has the sun for its presiding deity. Its vital force the air, because as the breath it is of the nature of air. Its open mouth the fire called Vaiśvā-nara. The word ’‘Vaiśvā-nara’ specifies the fire. The mouth is fire, because that is its presiding deity. The body of the sacrificial horse is the year consisting of twelve or thirteen (Including the intercalary month) months. The word ‘Ātman’ here means the body. The year is the body of the divisions of time; and the body is called ‘Ātman’, as we see it in the Śruti passage, ‘For the Ātman (trunk) is the center of these limbs’ (TaitAr.2.3.5). The repetition of the phrase ‘of the sacrificial horse’ is intended to show that it is to be connected with all the terms. Its back is heaven, because both are high. Its belly the sky, because both are hollow. Its hoof the earth: ‘Pājasya’ should be ‘Pādasya’ by the usual transmutation of letters, meaning a seat for the foot. Its sides the four quarters, for they are connected with the quarters. It may be objected that the sides being two and the quarters four in number, the parallel is wrong. The answer to it is that since the head of the horse can be in any direction, its two sides can easily come in contact with all the quarters. So it is all right. Its ribs the intermediate quarters such as the south-east. Its members the seasons: The latter, being parts of the year, are its limbs, which brings out the similarity. Its joints the months and fortnights, because both connect (the latter connect the parts of the year as joints do those of the body). Its feet the days and nights. The plural in the latter indicates that those (A month of ours makes a day and night of the Manes. A year of ours makes a day and night of the gods; and twenty-four million years of the latter make a day and night of Prajā-pati, equivalent to two Kalpas or cycles of ours) pertaining to Prajā-pati, the gods, the Manes and men are all meant. ‘Pratiṣṭhā’ literally means those by which one stands; hence feet. The deity representing time stands on the days and nights; as the horse does on its feet. Its bones the stars, both being white. Its flesh the clouds: The word used in the text means the sky, but since this has been spoken of as the belly, here it denotes the clouds which float in it. They are flesh, because they shed water as the flesh sheds blood. Its half-digested food in the stomach is the sand, because both consist of loose parts. Its blood-vessels the rivers, for both flow. The word in the text, being plural, denotes blood-vessels here. Its liver and spleen the mountains, both being hard and elevated. ‘Yakṛt’ and ‘Kloman’ are muscles below the heart on the right and left. The latter word, though always used in the plural, denotes a single thing. Its hairs the herbs and trees: These, being small and large plants respectively, should be applied to the short and long hairs according to fitness. Its forepart, from the navel onward, is the ascending (lit. ‘rising’) sun, up to noon. Its hind part the descending (lit. ‘setting’) sun, from noon on. The similarity consists in their being the anterior and posterior parts respectively in each case. Its yawning or stretching or jerking the limbs is lightning, because the one splits the cloud, and the other the mouth. Its shaking the body is thundering, both producing a sound. Its making water is raining, owing to the similarity of moistening. And its neighing is voice or sound – no fancying is needed here.
🔗  The vessel called Mahiman, etc. Two sacrificial vessels called Mahiman, made of gold and silver respectively, are placed before and behind (That is, before and after the horse is killed) the horse. This is a meditation regarding them. The gold vessel is the day, because both are bright. How is it that the vessel in front of the horse, which appeared about (lit. ‘after’) it, is the day? Because the horse is Prajā-pati. And it is Prajā-pati consisting of the sun etc. who is pointed out by the vessel that we are required to look upon as the day. – The preposition ‘anu’ here does not mean ‘after’, but points out something. – So the meaning is, the gold vessel (Mahiman) appeared pointing out the horse as Prajā-pati, just as we say lightning flashes pointing out (Anu) the tree. Its source, the place from which the vessel is obtained, is the eastern sea. Literally translated, it would mean, ‘is in the eastern sea,’ but the locative case-ending should be changed into the nominative to give the required sense. Similarly the silver vessel behind the horse, which appeared about it, is the night, because both (‘Rājata’ and ‘Rātri’) begin with the same syllable (), or because both are inferior to the previous set. Its source is the western sea. The vessels are called Mahiman, because they indicate greatness. It is to the glory of the horse that a gold and a silver vessel are placed on each side of it. These two vessels called Mahiman, as described above, appeared on either side of the horse. The repetition of the sentence is to glorify the horse, as much as to say that for the above reasons it is a wonderful horse. The words ‘As a Haya’ etc. are similarly eulogistic. ‘Haya’ comes from the root ‘hi,’ meaning, to move. Hence the word means ‘possessing great speed’. Or it may mean a species of horse. It carried the gods, i.e. made them gods, since it was Prajā-pati; or literally called them. It may be urged that this act of carrying is rather a reproach. But the answer is that carrying is natural to a horse; so it is not derogatory. On the contrary, the act, by bringing the horse into contact with the gods, was a promotion for it. Hence the sentence is a eulogy. Similarly ‘Vājin’ and the other terms mean species of horses. As a Vājin it carried the celestial minstrels; the ellipsis must be supplied with the intermediate words. Similarly as an Arvan (it carried) the Asuras, and as an Aśva (it carried) men. The Supreme Self‘Samudra’ here means that – is its stable, the place where it is tied. And the Supreme Self its source, the cause of its origin.

Thus it has sprung from a pure source and lives in a pure spot. So it is a tribute to the horse. Or ‘Samudra’ may mean the familiar sea, for the Śruti say, ‘The horse has its source in water’ (TaitS.2.3.12).

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BrhUEng.1.02

🔗  Now the origin of the fire that is fit for use in the horse sacrifice is being described. This story of its origin is meant as a eulogy in order to prescribe a meditation concerning it. There was nothing whatsoever differentiated by name and form here, in the universe, in the beginning, i.e. before the manifestation of the mind etc.

Question: Was it altogether void?

Nihilistic view: It must be so, for the ’Śruti says, ‘There was nothing whatsoever here.’ There was neither cause nor effect. Another reason for this connection is the fact of origin. A jar (i.e., a clay pot), for instance, is produced. Hence before its origin it must have been non-existent.

The logician objects: But the cause cannot be non-existent, for we see the lump of clay, for instance (before the jar is produced). What is not perceived may well be non-existent, as is the case with the effect here. But not so with regard to the cause, for it is perceived.

The nihilist: No, for before the origin nothing is perceived. If the non-perception of a thing be the ground of its non-existence, before the origin of the whole universe neither cause nor effect is perceived. Hence everything must have been non-existent.

Vedantin’s Reply: Not so, for the ’Śruti says, ‘It was covered only by Death.’ Had there been absolutely nothing either to cover or to be covered, the ’Śruti would not have said, ‘It was covered by Death.’ For it never happens that a barren woman’s son is covered with flowers springing from the sky. Yet the ’Śruti says, ‘It was covered only by Death.’ Therefore on the authority of the ’Śruti we conclude that the cause which covered, and the effect which was covered, were both existent before the origin of the universe. Inference also points to this conclusion. We can infer the existence of the cause and effect (These will be taken up one by one) before creation. We observe that a positive effect which is produced takes place only when there is a cause and does not take place when there is no cause. From this we infer that the cause of the universe too must have existed before creation, as is the case with the cause of a jar, for instance.

Objection: The cause of a jar also does not pre-exist, for the jar is not produced without destroying the lump of clay. And so with other things.

Reply: Not so, for the clay (or other material) is the cause. The clay is the cause of the jar, and the gold of the necklace, and not the particular lump-like form of the material, for they exist without it. We see that effects such as the jar and the necklace are produced simply when their materials, clay and gold, are present, although the lump-like form may be absent. Therefore this particular form is not the cause of the jar and the necklace. But when the clay and the gold are absent, the jar and the necklace are not produced, which shows that these materials, clay and gold, are the cause, and not the roundish form. Whenever a cause produces an effect, it does so by destroying another effect it produced just before, for the same cause cannot produce more than one effect at a time. But the cause, by destroying the previous effect, does not destroy itself. Therefore the fact that an effect is produced by destroying the previous effect, the lump, for instance, is not a valid reason to disprove that the cause exists before the effect is produced.

Objection: It is not correct, for the clay etc. cannot exist apart from the lump and so on. In other words, you cannot say that the cause, the clay, for example, is not destroyed when its previous effect, the lump or any other form, is destroyed, but that it passes on to some other effect such as the jar. For the cause, the clay or the like, is not perceived apart from the lump or jar, and so on.

Reply: Not so, for we see those cause, the clay etc., persist when the jar and other things have been produced, and the lump or any other form has gone.

Objection: The persistence noticed is due to similarity, and to actual persistence of the cause.

Reply: No. Since the particles of clay or other material which belonged to the lump etc. are perceptible in the jar and other things, it is unreasonable to imagine similarity through a pseudo-inference. Nor is inference valid when it contradicts perception, for it depends on the latter, and the contrary view will result in a general disbelief. That is to say, if everything perceived as ‘This is that’ is momentary, then the notion of ‘that’ would depend on another notion regarding something else, and so on, thus leading to a regressus in infinitum; and the notion of ‘This is like that’ being also falsified thereby, there would be no certainty anywhere. Besides the two notions of ‘this’ and ‘that’ cannot be connected, since there is no abiding subject.

Objection: They would be connected through the similarity between them.

Reply: No, for the notions of ‘this’ and ‘that’ cannot be the object of each other’s perception, and (since according to you there is no abiding subject like the Self), there would be no perception of similarity.

Objection: Although there is no similarity, there is the notion of it.

Reply: Then the notions of ‘this’ and ‘that’ would also, like the notion of similarity, be based on nonentities.

Objection (by the ’Yogācāra school): Let all notions be based on nonentities. (What is the harm?)

Reply: Then your view that everything is an idea would also be based on a nonentity.

Objection (by the nihilist): Let it be.

Reply: If all notions are false, your view that all notions are unreal cannot be established. Therefore it is wrong to say that recognition takes place through similarity. Hence it is proved that the cause exists before the effect is produced.

The effect too exists before it is produced.

Question: How?

Reply: Because its manifestation points out its pre-existence. Manifestation means coming within the range of perception. It is a common occurrence that a thing, a jar for instance, which was hidden by darkness or any other thing and comes within the range of perception when the obstruction is removed by the appearance of light or in some other way, does not preclude its previous existence. Similarly this universe too, we can understand, existed before its manifestation. For a jar that is non-existent is not perceived even when the sun rises.

Objection: No, it must be perceived, for you deny its previous non-existent. According to you, any effect, say a jar, is never non-existent. So it must be perceived when the sun rises. Its previous form, the lump of clay, is nowhere near, and obstructions like darkness are absent; so, being existent, it cannot but appear.

Reply: Not so, for obstruction is of two kinds. Every effect such as a jar has two kinds of obstruction. When it has become manifest from its component clay, darkness and the wall etc. are the obstructions; while before its manifestations from the clay the obstruction consists in the particles of clay remaining as some other effect such as a lump. Therefore the effect, the jar, although existent, is not perceived before its manifestation, as it is hidden. The terms and concepts ‘destroyed,’ ‘produced,’ ‘existence’ and ‘non-existence’ depend on this twofold character of manifestation and disappearance.

Objection: This is incorrect, since the obstructions represented by particular forms such as the lump or the two halves of a jar are of a different nature. To be explicit: Such obstructions to the manifestation of a jar as darkness or the wall, we see, do not occupy the same space as the jar, but the lump or the two halves of a jar do. So your statement that the jar, although present in the form of the lump or the two halves, is not perceived because it is hidden, is wrong, for the nature of the obstruction in this case is different.

Reply: No, for we see that water mixed with milk occupies the same space as the milk which conceals it.

Objection: But since the component parts of a jar such as its two halves or pieces are included in the effect, the jar, they should not prove obstructions at all.

Reply: Not so, for being separated from the jar they are so many different effects, and can therefore serve as obstructions.

Objection: Then the effort should be directed solely to the removal of the obstructions. That is to say, if as you say, the effect, the jar for instance, is actually present in the state of the lump or the two halves, and is not perceived because of an obstruction, then one who wants that effect, the jar, should try to remove the obstruction, and not make the jar. But as a matter of fact, nobody does so. Therefore your statement is wrong.

Reply: No, for there is no hard and fast rule about it. It is not always the case that a jar or any other effect manifests itself if only one tries to remove the obstruction; for when a jar, for instance, is covered with darkness etc., one tries to light a lamp.

Objection: That too is just for destroying the darkness. This effort to light a lamp is also for removing the darkness, which done, the jar is automatically perceived. Nothing is added to the jar.

Reply: No, for the jar is perceived as covered with light when the lump is lighted. Not so before the lighting of the lamp. Hence this was not simply for removing the darkness, but for covering the jar with light, for it is since perceived as covered with light. Sometimes the effort is directed to the removal of the obstruction, as when the wall, for instance, is pulled down. Therefore it cannot be laid down as a rule that one who wants the manifestation of something must simply try to remove the obstruction. Besides, one should take such steps as will cause the manifestation for the efficacy of the established practice regarding it. We have already said that an effect which is patent in the cause serves as an obstruction to the manifestation of other effects. So if one tries only to destroy the previously manifested effect such as the lump or the two halves which stand between it and the jar, one may also have such effects as the potsherds or tiny pieces. These too will conceal the jar and prevent its being perceived; so a fresh attempt will be needed. Hence the necessary operation of the factors of an action has its utility for one who wants the manifestation of a jar or any other thing. Therefore the effect exists even before its manifestation.

From our divergent notions of the past and future also we infer this. Our notions of a jar that was and one that is yet to be cannot, like the notion of the present jar, be entirely independent of objects. For one who desires to have a jar not yet made sets oneself to work for it. We do not see people strive for things which they know to be non-existent. Another reason for the pre-existence of the effect is the fact that the knowledge of (God and) the ’Yogins concerning the past and futur jar is infallible. Were the future jar non-existent, His (and their) perception of it would prove false. Nor is this perception a mere figure of speech. As to the reasons for inferring the existence of the jar, we have already stated them.

Another reason for it is that the opposite view involves a self-contradiction. If on seeing a potter, for instance, at work on the production of a jar one is certain in view of the evidence that the jar will come into existence, then it would be a contradiction in terms to say that the jar is non-existent at the very time with which, it is said, it will come into relation. For to say that the jar that will be is non-existent, is the same thing as to say that it will not be. It would be like saying, ‘This jar does not exist.’ If, however, you say that before its manifestation the jar is non-existent, meaning thereby that it does not exist exactly as the potter, for instance, exists while he is at work on its production (i.e. as a ready-made jar), then there is no dispute between us.

Objection: Why?

Reply: Because the jar exists in its own future (potential) form. It should be borne in mind that the present existence of the lump or the two halves is not the same as that of the jar. Nor is the future existence of the jar the same as theirs. Therefor you do not contradict us when you say that the jar is non-existent before its manifestation while the activity of the potter, for instance, is going on. You will be doing this if you deny to the jar its own future form as an effect. But you do not deny that. Nor do all things undergoing modification have an identical form of existence in the present or in the future.

Moreover, of the four kinds (Mutual exclusion, between things of different classes, as, ‘A jar is not cloth’; previous non-existence, as of a jar before it is made; the non-existence pertaining to destruction, as of a jar when it is broken; and absolute negation as, ‘There is no jar.’) of negation relating to, say, a jar, we observe that what is called mutual exclusion is other than the jar: The negation of a jar is a cloth or some other thing, not the jar itself. But the cloth, although it is the negation of a jar, is not a nonentity, but a positive entity. Similarly the previous non-existence, the non-existence due to destruction, and absolute negation must also be other than the jar; for they are spoken of in terms of it, as in the case of the mutual exclusion relating to it. And these negations must also (like the cloth, for instance) be positive entities. Hence the previous non-existence of a jar does not mean that it does not at all exist as an entity before it comes into being. If, however, you say that the previous non-existence of a jar means the jar itself, then to mention it as being ‘of a jar’ (instead of as ‘the jar itself’) is an incongruity. If you use it merely as a fancy, as in the expression, ‘The body of the stone roller (The stone roller has no body, it is the body),’ then the phrase ‘the previous non-existence of a jar’ would only mean that it is the imaginary non-existence that is mentioned in terms of the jar, and not the jar itself. If, on the other hand, you say that the negation of a jar is something other than it, we have already answered the point. Moreover, if the jar before its manifestation be an absolute nonentity like the proverbial horns of a hare, it cannot be connected either with its cause or with existence (as the logicians hold), for connection requires two positive entities.

Objection: It is all right with things that are inseparable.

Reply: No, for we cannot conceive of an inseparable connection between an existent and a non-existent thing. Separable or inseparable connection is possible between two positive entities only, not between an entity and a nonentity, nor between two nonentities. Therefore we conclude that the effect does exist before is is manifested.

By what sort of Death was the universe covered? This is being answered: By Hunger, or the desire to eat, which is a characteristic of death. How is hunger death? The answer is being given: For hunger is death. The particle ’‘hi’ indicates a well-known reason. He who desires to eat kills animals immediately after. Therefore ‘hunger’ refers to death. Hence the use of the expression. ‘Death’ here means ’Hiraṇya-garbha as identified with the intellect, because hunger is an attribute of that which is so identified. This effect, the universe, was covered by that Death, just as a jar etc. would be covered by clay in the form of a lump. He created the mind. The word ’‘Tat’ (that) refers to the mind. That Death of whom we are talking, intending to project the effects which will be presently mentioned, created the inner organ called mind, characterized by deliberation etc. and possessing the power to reflect on those effects. What was his object in creating the mind? This is being stated: Thinking, ‘Let me have a mind – through this mind (’Ātman) let me be possessed of a mind.’ This was his object. He, ’Prajā-pati, being possessed of a mind after it was manifested, moved about worshiping himself, thinking he was blessed. As he was worshiping, water, an all-liquid substance forming an accessory of the worship, was produced. Here we must supply the words, ‘After the manifestation of the space, air and fire,’ for another ’Śruti (TaitU.2.1.1) says so, and there can be no alternative in the order of manifestation. Since Death thought, ‘As I was worshiping, water sprang up,’ therefore Arka, the fire that is fit for use in the horse sacrifice, is so called. This is the derivation of the name ’‘Arka’ given to fire. It is a descriptive epithet of fire derived from the performance of worship leading to happiness, and the connection with water. Water or happiness surely comes to one who knows (Meditates on the fact till one becomes identified with the idea. So also elsewhere) how Arka (fire) came to have this name of Arka. This is due to the similarity of names. The particles ’‘ha’ and ‘vai’ are intensive.
🔗  What is this Arka? Water, that accessory of worship, is Arka, being the cause of fire. For, it is said, fire rests on water. Water is not directly Arka, for the topic under discussion is not water, but fire. It will be said later on, ‘This fire is Arka’ (BrhUEng.1.2.7). What was there like froth on the water, like the coagulated state of curds, was solidified, being subjected to heat internally and externally. Or the word ‘Śara’ may be the nominative (instead of a complement), if we change the gender of the pronoun ‘Yad’ (that). That solid thing became this earth. That is to say, out of that water came the embryonic state of the universe, compared to an egg. When that earth was produced, he, Death or Prajā-pati, was tired. For everyone is tired after work, and the projection of the earth was a great feat of Prajā-pati. What happened to him then? While he was (thus) tired and distressed, his essence, or luster, came forth from his body. What was that? This was Fire, the first-born Virāj (The being identified with the sum total of all bodies), also called Prajā-pati, who sprang up within that cosmic egg, possessed of a body and organs. As the Smṛti says, ‘He is the first embodied being’ (SivPur.5.1.8.22).
🔗  He, the Virāj who was born, himself differentiated or divided himself, his body and organs, in three ways. How? Making the sun the third form, in respect of fire and air. The verb ‘made’ must be supplied. And air the third form, in respect of fire and the sun. Similarly we must understand., ‘Making fire the third form,’ in respect of air and the sun, for this also can equally make up the number three. So this Prāṇa (Virāj), although the self, as it were, of all beings, is specially divided by himself as Death in three ways as fire, air and the sun, without, however, destroying his own form of Virāj. Now the meditation on this Fire, the first-born Virāj, the Arka fit for use in the horse sacrifice and kindled in it, is being described, like that on the horse. We have already said that the previous account of its origin is all for its eulogy, indicating that it is of such pure birth. His head is the east, both being the most important. And his arms that and that, the north-east and south-east. The word ‘Irma’ (arm) is derived from the root ‘ir,’ meaning motion. And his hind part is the west, because it points to that direction when he faces the east. His hip-bones that and that, the north-west and south-west, both forming angles with the back. His sides the south and north, both being so related to the east and west. His back heaven, his belly the sky, as in the case of the horse. And his breast this earth, both being underneath. He, this fire consisting of the worlds, or Prajā-pati, rests on water, for the Śruti says, ‘Thus do these worlds lie in water.’ (SatBr.10.5.4.3). He gets a resting place wherever he goes. Who? Who knows that fire rests on water, thus, as described here. This is a subsidiary result (The main result will be stated elsewhere).
🔗  It has been stated that Death, in the order of water and the rest, manifested himself in the cosmic egg as the Virāj or Fire possessed of a body and organs, and divided himself in three ways. Now by what process did he manifest himself? This is being answered: He, Death, desired, ‘Let me have a second form or body, through which I may become embodied.’ Having desired thus, he brought about the union of speech, of the Vedas, with the mind that had already appeared. In other words, he reflected on the Vedas, that is, the order of creation enjoined in them, with his mind. Who did it? Death characterized by hunger. It has been said that hunger is death. The text refers to him lest someone else (Virāj) be understood. What was the seed, the cause of the origin of Virāj, the first embodied being, viz. the knowledge and resultant of work accumulated in past lives, which Death visualized in his reflection on the Vedas, there, in that union, became the Year, the Prajā-pati of that name who makes the year. Death (Hiraṇya-garbha), absorbed in these thoughts, projected water, entered it as the seed and, transformed into the embryo, the cosmic egg, became the year. Before him, the Virāj who makes the year, there had been no year, no period of that name. Death reared him, this Virāj who was in embryo, for as long as a year, the well-known duration of time among us, i.e. for a year. What did he do after that? And after this period, i.e. a year, projected him, i.e. broke the egg. When he, the babe, Fire, the first embodied being, was born, Death opened his mouth to swallow him, because he was hungry. He, the babe, being frightened, as he was possessed of natural ignorance, cried ‘Bhāṇ’ – made this sound. That became speech or word.
🔗  Seeing the babe frightened and crying, he, Death, thought, although he was hungry, ‘If I kill him, this babe, I shall be making very little food.’ – The root ‘man’ with the prefix ‘abhi’ means to injure or kill. – Thinking thus he desisted from eating him, for he must make not a little food, but a great quantity of it, so that he might eat it for a long time; and if he ate the babe, he would make very little food as there is no crop if the seeds are eaten up. Thinking of the large quantity of food necessary for his purpose, through that speech, the Vedas already mentioned, and that mind, uniting them, that is, reflecting on the Vedas again and again, he projected all this, the movable and immovable (animals, plants, etc. etc.), whatever there is. What is it? The Vedas Ṛc, Yajus and Sāman, the seven metres, viz. Gāyatrī and the rest, i.e. the three kinds of Mantras (sacred formulas) forming part of a ceremony, viz. the hymns (Stotra), the praises ( Śastra) (The hymns are Ṛcs that are sung by one class of priests, the Udgātṛ etc. The Śastras are those very hymns, but only recited by another class of priests, the Hotṛ etc., not sung. There are other Ṛcs too, which are used in a different way by a third class of priests, the Adhvaryu etc., in the sacrifices. These are the third group of Mantras) and the rest, composed in Gāyatrī and other metres, the sacrifices, which are performed with the help of those Mantras, men, who perform these, and animals, domestic and wild, which are a part of the rites.

Objection: It has already been said that Death projected Virāj through the union of speech (the Vedas) with the mind. So how can it now be said that he projected the Vedas?

Reply: It is all right, for the previous union of the mind was with the Vedas in all unmanifested state, whereas the creation spoken of here is the manifestation of the already existing Vedas so that they may be applied to the ceremonies. Understanding that now the food had increased, whatever he, Prajā-pati, projected, whether it was action, its means or its results, he resolved to eat. Because he eats everything, therefore Aditi or Death is so called. So the Śruti says, ‘Aditi is heaven, Aditi is the sky, Aditi is the mother, and he is the father,’ etc. (RigV.1.89.10). He who knows how Aditi, Prajā-pati or Death, came to have this name of Aditi, because of eating everything, becomes the eater of all this universe, which becomes his food – that is, as identified with the universe, otherwise it would involve a contradiction; for nobody, we see, is the sole eater of everything. Therefore the meaning is that he becomes identified with everything. And for this very reason everything becomes his food, for it stands to reason that everything is the food of an eater who is identified with everything.
🔗  He desired, etc. This and part of the next paragraph are introduced to give the derivation of the words ‘Aśva’ (horse) and ‘Aśva-medha’ (horse sacrifice). ‘Let me sacrifice again with the great sacrifice.’ The word ‘again’ has reference to his performance in the previous life. Prajā-pati had performed a horse sacrifice in his previous life, and was born at the beginning of the cycle imbued with those thoughts. Having been born as identified with the act of horse sacrifice, its factors and its results, he desired, ‘Let me sacrifice again with the great sacrifice.’ Having desired this great undertaking, he was tired, like other men, and he was distressed. While he was (thus) tired and distressed – these words have already been explained (in earlier para.) – his reputation and strength departed. The Śruti itself explains the words: The organs are reputation, being the cause of it, for one is held in repute as long as the organs are in the body; likewise, strength in the body. No one can be reputed or strong when the organs have left the body. Hence these are the reputation and strength in this body. So the reputation and strength consisting of the organs departed. When the organs forming reputation and strength departed, the body of Prajā-pati began to swell, and became impure or unfit for a sacrifice. (But) although Prajā-pati had left it, his mind was set on the body, just as one longs for a favorite object even when one is away.
🔗  What did he (Hiraṇya-garbha) do with his mind attached to that body? He desired. How? ‘Let this body of mine be fit for a sacrifice, and let me be embodied through this.’ And he entered it. Because that body, bereft in his absence of its reputation and strength, swelled (Aśvat), therefore it came to be called Aśva (horse). Hence Prajā-pati (Hiraṇya-garbha) himself is named Aśva. This is a eulogy on the horse. And because on account of his entering it, the body, although it had become unfit for a sacrifice by having lost its reputation and strength, again became fit for a sacrifice, therefore the horse sacrifice came to be known as Aśva-medha. For a sacrifice consists of an action, its factors and its results. And that it is no other than Prajā-pati is a tribute to the sacrifice.

The horse that is a factor of the sacrifice has been declared to be Prajā-pati in the passage, ‘The head of the sacrificial horse is the dawn,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.1.1). The present paragraph is introduced to enjoin a collective meditation on that sacrificial horse which is Prajā-pati, and the sacrificial fire which has already been described (as such) – viewing both as the result of the sacrifice. That this is the import of this section we understand from the fact that in the previous section no verb denoting an injunction has been used, and one such is necessary. The words, He who knows it thus indeed knows the horse sacrifice, mean: ‘He only, and none else, knows the horse sacrifice, who knows the horse and the Arka or fire, described above, as possessed of the features, to be presently mentioned, which are here shown collectively.’ Therefore one must know the horse sacrifice thus – this is the meaning. How? First the meditation on the animal is being described. Prajā-pati, desiring to sacrifice again with the great sacrifice, imagined himself as the sacrificial animal, and letting it, the consecrated animal, remain free or unbridled, reflected (on it). After a complete year he sacrificed it to himself, i.e. as dedicated to Prajā-pati (Hiraṇya-garbha), and dispatched the other animals, domestic and wild, to the gods, their respective deities. And because Prajā-pati reflected like this, therefore others also should likewise fancy themselves, in the manner described above, as the sacrificial horse and meditate: ‘While being sanctified (with the Mantras), I am dedicated to all the gods; but while being killed, I am dedicated to myself. The other animals, domestic and wild, are sacrificed to their respective deities, the other gods, who are but a part of myself.’ Therefore priests to this day similarly sacrifice to Prajā-pati the sanctified horse that is dedicated to all the gods.

He who shines yonder is the horse sacrifice. The sacrifice which is thus performed with the help of the animal is being directly represented as the result. Who is he? The sun who illumines the universe with his light. His body, the body of the sun, who is the result of the sacrifice, is the year, that period of time. The year is called his body, as it is made by him. Now, since the sun, as the horse sacrifice, is performed with the help of fire, (the latter also is the sun). Here the result of the sacrifice is being mentioned as the sacrifice itself: This terrestrial fire is Arka, the accessory of the sacrifice. Its limbs, the limbs of this Arka, the fire that is kindled at the sacrifice, are these three worlds. So it has been explained in the passage, ‘His head is the east,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.2.3). So these two, fire and the sun, are Arka and the horse sacrifice, as described above – the sacrifice and its result respectively. Arka, the terrestrial fire, is directly the sacrifice, which is a rite. Since the latter is performed with the help of fire, it is here represented as fire. And the result is achieved through the performance of the sacrifice. Hence it is represented as the sacrifice in the statement that the sun is the horse sacrifice. These two, fire and the sun, the means and the end, the sacrifice and its result, again become the same god. Who is it? Death. There was but one deity before, who later was divided into action, its means and its end. So it has been said, ‘He differentiated himself in three ways’ (BrhUEng.1.2.3). And after the ceremony is over, he again becomes one deity, Death, the result of the ceremony. He who knows this one deity, horse sacrifice or Death, as, ‘I alone am Death, the horse sacrifice, and there is but one deity identical with myself and attainable through the horse and fire’ – conquers further death, i.e. after dying once he is not born to die any more. Even though conquered, death may overtake him again. So it is said, death cannot overtake him. Why? Because it becomes his self, the self of one who knows thus. Further, being Death (Hiraṇya-garbha, See earlier para.), the result, he becomes one with these deities. This is the result such a knower attains.

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BrhUEng.1.03

🔗  How is this section related to the preceding one? The highest result of rites combined with meditation has been indicated by a statement of the result of the horse sacrifice, viz. identity with Death or Hiraṇya-garbha. Now the present section, devoted to the Udgītha, is introduced in order to indicate the source of rites and meditation which are the means of attaining identity with Death.

Objection: In the previous section the result of rites and meditation has been stated to be identity with Death. But here the result of rites and meditation on the Udgītha will be stated to be the transcendence of identity with Death. Hence, the results being different, this section cannot be meant to indicate the source of the rites and meditation that have been dealt with in the previous section.

Reply: The objection does not hold, for the result of meditation of the Udgītha is identity with fire and the sun. In the previous section too this very result was mentioned, ‘He becomes one with these deities’ (BrhUEng.1.2.7).

Objection: Do not such statements as, ‘Having transcended death,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.12–6) clash with what has been said before?

Reply: No, for here the transcendence is of the natural attachment to evil (not of Hiraṇya-garbha). What is this natural attachment to evil, called death? What is its source? By what means is it transcended? And how? – these are the things which are sought to be explained by the following allegory –

There were two classes: ‘Two’ here means two classes. The particle ‘ha’ is an expletive referring to a past incident. It is here used to recall what happened in the past life of the present Prajā-pati. Of Prajā-pati’s sons, in his past incarnation. Who are they? The gods and the Asuras, the organs, that of speech and the rest, of Prajā-pati himself. How can they be the gods and Asuras? They become gods when they shine under the influence of thoughts and actions as taught by the scriptures. While those very organs become Asuras when they are influenced by their natural thoughts and actions, based only on perception and inference, and directed merely to visible (secular) ends. They are called Asuras, because they delight only in their own lives (Asu) or because they are other than the gods (Sura). And because the Asuras are influenced by thoughts and actions directed to visible ends, therefore the gods were fewer, and the Asuras more in number. – The lengthened form of the two adjectives due to the addition of a vowel augment makes no change of meaning. – The organs, as we know, have a stronger tendency to thoughts and actions that are natural, than to those that are recommended by the scriptures, for the former serve visible ends. Hence the gods are fewer, for the tendency that is cultivated by the scriptures is rare; it is attainable with great effort. They, the gods and the Asuras living in Prajā-pati’s body, vied with each other for (the mastery of) these worlds, which are attainable through thoughts and actions prompted by one’s natural inclinations as well as those cultivated by the scriptures. The rivalry of the gods and the Asuras here means the emergence and subsidence of their respective tendencies. Sometimes the organs manifest the impressions of thoughts and actions cultivated by the scriptures; and when this happens, the impressions, manifested by those very organs, of the thoughts and actions based on perception and inference, and producing visible resutls only – those tendencies characteristic of the Asuras – subside. That is the victory of the gods and the defeat of the Asuras. Sometimes the reverse happens. The characteristic tendencies of the gods are overpowered, and those of the Asuras emerge. That is the victory of the Asuras and the defeat of the gods. Accordingly, when the gods win, there is a preponderance of merit, and the result is elavation up to the status of Prajā-pati. And when the Asuras triumph, demerit prevails, and the result is degradation down to the level of stationary objects, while if there be a draw, it leads to human birth.

What did the gods do when, being fewer, they were overwhelmed by the Asuras who outnumbered them? The gods, being overwhelmed by the Asuras, said to the one another, ‘Now let us surpass the Asuras in this sacrifice, Jyotiṣṭoma, through the Udgītha, that is through identity with (the vital force), the chanter of this accessory of a sacrifice called the Udgītha. By overcoming the Asuras we shall realize our divinity as set forth in the scriptures.’ This identity with the vital force is attained through meditation and rites. The rites consist of the repetition of Mantras that will be presently enjoined: ‘These Mantras are to be repeated,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.28). The meditation is what is being described.

Objection: This is a part of an injunction on the repetition of certain Mantras leading to the attainment of divinity, and is a mere eulogy; it has nothing to do with meditation.

Reply: No, for there occur the words, ‘He who knows thus.’

Objection: Since the text narrates an old story in this treatment of the Udgītha, it must be a part of an injunction on the latter.

Reply: No, for it is a different context. The Udgītha has been enjoined elsewhere (in the ceremonial portion), and this is a section on knowledge. Besides, the repetition of those Mantras for the attainment of identity with the gods is not an independent act, for it is to be practiced (only) by one who meditates on the vital force as described in this section, and this meditation on the vital force is represented as being independent. And a separate result is mentioned for it in the passage, ‘This (meditation on the vital force) certainly wins the world’ (BrhUEng.1.3.28). Moreover, the vital force has been stated to be pure, and the organs impure. This implies that the vital force is enjoined as an object of meditation, for otherwise there would be no sense in calling it pure and the organs such as that of speech, mentioned along with it, impure, nor in extolling it, as is evident, by the condemnation of the organ of speech, etc. The same remarks apply to the enunciation of the result of meditation on it, ‘(That fire) having transcended death shines,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.12). For the identification of the organ of speech etc. with fire and so on is the result of attaining oneness with the vital force.

Objection; Granted that the vital force is to be meditated upon, but it cannot possess the attributes of purity etc.

Reply: It must, for the Śruti says so.

Objection: No, for the vital force being an object of meditation, the attributes referred to may just be a eulogy.

Reply: Not so, for in scriptural, as in secular matters, correct understanding alone can lead to our well-being. In common life one who understands things correctly attains what is good or avoids what is evil – not if one understands things wrongly. Similarly here also one can attain well-being if only one correctly understands the meaning of scriptural passages, and not otherwise. Besides there is nothing to disprove the truth of objects corresponding to notions conveyed by the words of the scriptures enjoining a meditation. Nor is there any exception in the Śrutis to meditation on the vital force as pure etc. Since that meditation, we see, is conducive to our well-being, we accept it as true. And we see that the opposite course leads to evil. We notice in life that one who misjudges things – takes a man, for instance, for a stump; or an enemy for a friend – comes to grief. Similarly, if the Self, God, the deities and so forth, of whom we hear from the scriptures, prove fictitious, then the scriptures, like secular things, would be a veritable source of evil; but this is acceptable to neither of us. Therefore we conclude that the scriptures present, for purposes of meditaton, the Self, God, the deities and so on, as real.

Objection: What you say is wrong, for the name and other things are represented as Brahman. That is to say, the name and other things are obviously not Brahman, but the scriptures, we find, ask us, in direct opposition to fact, to look upon them as Brahman, which is analogous to regarding a stump etc. as a man. Hence it is not correct to say that one attains well-being by understanding things as they are from the scriptures.

Reply: Not so, for the difference is obvious, as in the case of an image. You are wrong to say that the scriptures ask us, in the face of fact, to look upon the name and other things, which are not Brahman, as Brahman, analogous to regarding a stump etc. as a man.

Objection: How?

Reply: Because the scriptures enjoin meditation on the name etc. as Brahman for one who clearly knows that those things are different from Brahman; it is like meditation on the image etc. as Viṣṇu. Just like the image etc., the name and other things are used merely as aids to meditation; it is not meant that they are Brahman. So long as one does not know a stump as a stump, one mistakes it for a man. But meditation on the name etc. as Brahman is not of that erroneous nature.

Objection (By the Mīmāṃsaka): There is only that meditation on the name etc. as Brahman, but no Brahman. Regarding an image as Viṣṇu and other gods, and a Brāhmaṇa as the Manes and so forth belongs to the same category.

Reply: No, for we are advised to look upon the Ṛc (hymn) etc. as the earth and so on. Here we see only a superimposition on the Ṛc etc. of the notions of actually existing things such as the earth. Therefore on the analogy of that we conclude that viewing the name etc. as Brahman and so forth is based on actually existing Brahman and the rest. This also proves that viewing an image as Viṣṇu and other gods, and a Brāhmaṇa as the Manes and so forth, has a basis in reality. Moreover, a figurative sense depends on a primary one. Since the five fires, for instance, are only figuratively such, they imply the existence of the real fire. Similarly, since the name and other things are Brahman only in a figurative sense, they merely prove that Brahman in a real sense must exist.

Besides, matters pertaining to knowledge are akin to those pertaining to rites. That rites like the new and full moon sacrifices produce such and such results, and have to be performed in a certain definite way, with their parts following each other in a particular order, is a supersensuous matter beyond the range of our perception and inference, which we nevertheless understand as true solely from the words of the Vedas. Similarly it stands to reason that entities like the Supreme Self, God, the deities, etc. of which we learn, also from the worlds of the Vedas, as being characterized by the absence of grossness etc., being beyond hunger and the like, and so on, must be true, for they are equally supersensuous matters. There is no difference between texts relating to knowledge and those relating to rites as regards producing an impression. Nor is the impression conveyed by the Vedas regarding the Supreme Self and other such entities indefinite or contrary to fact.

Objection: Not so, for there is nothing to be done. To be explicit: The ritualistic passages mention an activity which, although relating to supersensuous matters, consist of three parts (What? Through what? And how? – denoting respectively the result, the means and the method of a rite) to be performed. But in the knowledge of the Supreme Self, God, etc., there is no such activity to be performed. Hence it is not correct to say that both kinds of passages are alike.

Reply: Not so, for knowledge is of things that already exist. The activity to which you refer is real, not because it is to be performed, but because it is known through proper testimony (the Vedas). Nor is the notion concerning it real because it relates to something to be performed, but solely because it is conveyed by Vedic sentences. When a thing has been known to be true from the Vedas, a person will perform it, should it admit of being performed, but will not do it if it is not a thing to be done.

Objection: If it is not something to be done, then it will cease to have the support of Vedic testimony in the form of sentences.

We do not understand how words in a sentence can be construed unless there is something to be done. But if there is something to be done, they are construed as bringing out that idea. A sentence is authoritative when it is devoted to an action – when it says that a certain thing is to be done through such and such means in a particular way. But hundreds of such words denoting the object, means and method would not make a sentence unless there is one or other of such terms as the following, ‘Should do, should be done, is to be done, should become and should be.’ Hence such entities as the Supreme Self and God have not the support of Vedic testimony in the form of sentences. And if they are denoted by Vedic words (instead of sentences), they becomes the objects of other means (Such as perception. Isolated words do not add to our knowledge, but only serve to call up the things they denote, if we happen to know them already) of knowledge. Therefore this (the fact of Brahman being the import of the Vedas) is wrong.

Reply: Not so, for we find sentences like, ‘There is Mt. Meru (A fabulous mountain round which the sun and the planets are said to revolve. The direction east, west, etc. vary according to the relative position of the dwellers around this mountain, the east being that in which they see the sun rise. But the direction overhead is obviously constant to all of them), which is of four colors,’ which relate to things other than an action. Nor has anyone, on hearing such sentences, the idea that Meru and the rest are something to be done. Similarly, in a sentence containing the very ‘to be,’ what is there to prevent the construing of its words denoting the Supreme Self, God, etc. as substantives and their qualifying words?

Objection: This is not correct, for the knowledge of the Supreme Self etc. serves no useful purpose like that of Meru and so forth.

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti mentions such results as, ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (TaitU.2.1.1), and ‘The knot of the heart (intellect) is broken,’ etc. (MunU.2.2.8). We also find the cessation of ignorance and other evils which are the root of relative existence. Besides, since the knowledge of Brahman does not form part of anything else (e.g. an action), the results rehearsed about it cannot be a mere eulogy as in the case of the sacrificial ladle (The passage, ‘He whose ladle is made of Palāśa, Butea Frondosa, wood never hears an evil verse.’ TaitS.3.5.7.2, is a eulogy, because it is subsidiary to an enjoined rite).

Moreover, it is from the Vedas that we know that a forbidden act produces evil results; and it is not something to be done. A man who is about to do a forbidden act has (on recollecting that it is forbidden) nothing else to do except desisting from it. In fact, prohibitions have just that end in view, viz. to create an idea that the acts in question must not be done. When a hungry man who has been chastened by a knowledge of prohibited acts comes across something not to be eaten in any way, such as Kalañja (the meat of an animal killed with a poisoned weapon), or food coming from a person under a curse, his first notion is that the food can be eaten, but it is checked by the recollection that it is a forbidden food, as one’s first notion that one can drink from a mirage is checked by the knowledge of its true nature. When that natural erroneous notion is checked, the dangerous (From the spiritual standpoint. The physical danger is too patent to need a scriptural warning) impulse to eat that food is gone. That impulse, being due to an erroneous notion, automatically stops; it does not require an additional effort to stop it. Therefore prohibitions have just the aim of communicating the real nature of a thing; there is not the least connection of human activity with them. Similarly here also, the injunction on the true nature of the Supreme Self etc. cannot but have that one aim. And a man who has been chastened by that knowledge knows that his impulses due to an erroneous notion are fraught with danger, and those natural impulses automatically stop when their cause, the false notion, has been exploded by the recollection of the true nature of the Supreme Self and the like.

Objection: Granted that the dangerous impulse to eat Kalañja and the like may stop when the natural erroneous notion about their edibility has been removed by the recollection of their true nature as harmful things; but the tendency to do acts enjoined by the scriptures should not stop in that way, for they are not prohibited.

Reply: Not so, for both are due to erroneous notions and produce harmful effects. Just as the tendency to eat Kalañja etc. is due to a false notion and productive of harm, so is the tendency to do acts enjoined by the scriptures. Therefore, for a man who has a true knowledge of the Supreme Self, the tendency to do these acts, being equally due to a false notion and productive of harm, will naturally cease when that false notion has been removed by the knowledge of the Supreme Self.

Objection: Let it be so with regard to those acts (which are done for material ends), but the regular rites (There are three kinds of actions, viz. the regular, Nitya, the occasional, Naimittika, and those done for material ends, Kāmya. Of these, the first two are obligatory and the third optional), which are performed solely in obedience to the scriptures and produce no harmful effects, should on no account stop.

Reply: Not so, for they are enjoind on one who has defects such as ignorance, attachment and aversion. As the rites with material ends (Kāmya), such as the new and full moon sacrifices, are enjoined on one who has the defect of desiring heaven etc., so are the regular rites enjoined on one who has the root of all evils, ignorance etc., and the consequent defects of attachment and aversion, manifesting themselves as the quest of what is good and the avoidance of what is evil etc., and who being equally prompted by these tries to seek good and avoid evil; they are not performed solely in obedience to the scriptures. Nor are rites such as the Agni-hotra, the new and full moon sacrifices, Cātur-māsya, Paśu-bandha and Soma-yāga intrinsically either rites with material ends or regular rites. They come under the former category only because the man who performs them has the defect of desiring heaven and so forth. Similarly the regular rites performed by a man who has the defects of ignorance etc., and who out of natural promptings seeks to attain what is good and avoid what is evil, are intended for that purpose alone, for they are enjoined on him.

On one who knows the true nature of the Supreme Self, we do not find any other work enjoined except what leads to the cessation of activities. For Self-knowledge is inculcated through the obliteration of the very cause of rites, viz. the consciousness of all its means such as the gods. And one whose consciousness of action, its factors and so forth has been obliterated cannot presumably have the tendency to perform rites, for this presupposes a knowledge of specific actions, their means and so on. One who thinks that he is Brahman unlimited by space, time, etc. and not gross and so on has certainly no room for the performance of rites.

Objection: He may, as he has for the inclination to eat and so on.

Reply: No, for the inclination to eat and so on is solely due to the defects of ignorance etc. and are not supposed to be compulsory. But the regular rites cannot be uncertain like that; they cannot be sometimes done and sometimes omitted (according to one’s whim). Acts like eating, however, may be irregular, as they are solely due to one’s defects, and these have no fixed time for appearing or disappearing, like desires for rites with material ends. But the regular rites, although they are due to defects, cannot be uncertain, for they depend on specific times etc. prescribed by the scriptures, just as the Kāmya Agni-hotra (which is a rite with material ends) depends on such conditions as the morning and evening, because it is enjoined by the scriptures.

Objection: As the inclination to eat etc. (although due to defects) is regulated by the scriptures, so the restrictions about that Agni-hotra too may apply to the sage.

Reply: No, for restrictions are not action, nor are they incentives to action. Hence they are not obstacles to the attainment of knowledge (even by an aspirant). Therefore the Vedic dicta inculcating the true nature of the Supreme Self, because they remove the erroneous notions about Its being gross, dual and so on, automatically assume the character of prohibitions of all action, for both imply a cessation of the tendency to action. As is the case with prohibited acts (such as the eating of forbidden food). Hence we conclude that like the prohibitions, the Vedas delineate the nature of realities and have that ultimate aim.
🔗  They, the gods, after deciding thus, said to the organ of speech, i.e. the deity identified with the organ, ‘Chant (the Udgītha), or perform the function of the priest called Udgātṛ, for us.’ That is, they thought that this function belonged to the deity of the organ of speech, and that it was the deity referred to by the Mantra for repetition, ‘From evil lead me to good’ (BrhUEng.1.3.28). Here the organ of speech and the rest are spoken of as the agents of meditation and work. Why? Because in reality all our activities in the field of meditation and work are done by them and belong to them. That they are not done by the Self will be stated at length in the fourth chapter, in the passage, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.3.7). Here too, at the end of the chapter it will be concluded that the whole universe of action, its factors and its results, beginning with the Undifferentiated, comes within the category of ignorance: ‘This (universe) indeed consists of these three: name, form and action’ (BrhUEng.1.6.1). And the Supreme Self, which is beyond the Undifferentiated, does not consist of name, form and action, and is the subject-matter of knowledge, will be concluded separately by the denial of things other than the Self with the words, ‘Not this, not this.’ While the transmigrating self, which is conjured up by the limiting adjunct (Upādhi) of the aggregate of the organ of speech etc., will be shown as falling under the category of that aggregate in the passage, ‘(The Self) comes out (as a separate entity) from these elements, and (this separateness) is destroyed with them’ (BrhUEng.2.4.12; BrhUEng.4.5.13). Therefore it is but proper to speak of the organ of speech etc. as being the agents of meditation and work and receiving their fruits.

‘All right, so be it,’ said the organ of speech, when requested by the gods, and chanted for them, for the sake of the gods who wanted it done. What was the particular effect of the chanting done by the organ of speech for the sake of the gods? This is being stated: It is the common good of all the organs that comes through the instrumentality of the organ of speech, on account of the activities of speaking etc., for this is the fruit shared by all of them. That it secured for the gods by chanting the three hymns called Pavamāna (In the sacrifice called Jyotiṣṭoma twelve hymns are chanted by the Udgātṛ. The fruits of chanting the first three of these, called Pavamāna, go to the sacrificer, and those of the rest to the chanting priest). While the result produced by chanting the remaining nine, which, as we know from the scriptures (Then through the remaining hymns (the chanter) should secure eatable food for himself by chanting’ (BrhUEng.1.3.28)., accrues to the priest – the fine or articulated speaking – it utilized for itself. Perfect enunciation of syllables is the special function of the deity of speech; hence that is specified by the expression, ‘fine speaking.’ While the effect of speaking that helps the body and organs in general belongs to the sacrificer as his share. Now, finding a loophole in the attachment of the deity in utilizing its power of fine speaking for itself, the Asuras knew – what? – that through this chanter the gods would surpass them, overcome the natural thoughts and actions by the light of those acquired through the scriptures, as represented by the chanter. Knowing this they charged it, the chanter, and struck, i.e. touched, it with evil, their own attachment. That evil which was injected into the vocal organ of Prajā-pati in his former incarnation, is visible even today. What is it? What we come across when one speaks improper things, or what is forbidden by the scriptures; it is that which prompts one to speak, even against one’s wishes, what is inelegant, dreadful, false and so on. That it still persists in the vocal organ of people who have descended from Prajā-pati is inferred from this effect of improper speaking. This evil that is so inferred is the one that got into the vocal organ of Prajā-pati, for an effect conforms to its cause.
🔗  Likewise they tried one by one the deities of the noses etc., thinking that they were each the deity referred to by the Mantra enjoined for repetition and were to be meditated upon, since they too chanted the Udgītha. And the gods came to this conclusion that the deities of the organ of speech and the rest, whom they tried one by one, were incapable of chanting the Udgītha, because they contracted evil from the Asuras owing to their attachment to utilizing their power of doing fine performances for themselves. Hence none of them was the deity referred to by the Mantra, ‘From evil lead me to good.’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.28), nor were they to be meditated upon, since they were impure and did not include the others. Likewise, just as in the case of the organ of speech etc., they also touched these (other) deities that have not been mentioned, the skin and the rest, with evil, that is to say, struck them with evil.
🔗  The gods, even after approaching one by one the deities of speech etc., were helpless as regards transcending death –
Then they said to this – pointing it out – vital force in the mouth, having its seat in the oral cavity, ‘Chant (the Udgītha) for us.’ ‘All right,’ said the vital force to the gods who sought its protection, and chanted, etc. All this has been explained. The Asuras wanted to strike it, the vital force in the mouth, which was free from taint, with evil, the taint of their own attachment. Having succeeded with the organ of speech etc., they, through the persistence of that habit, desired to contaminate it too, but perished, were routed. How? This is being illustrated: As in life a clod of earth, striking against a rock, hurled at it with the intention of crushing it, is itself shattered or crushed to atoms, so were they shattered, flung in all directions, and perished. Because it so happened, therefore, owing to this destruction of the Asuras – i.e. dissociation from the evils due to natural attachment, which checked the manifestation of their divinity – by virtue of taking refuge in the vital force in the mouth, which is ever unattached, the gods, the organs that are under consideration, became – what? – their own divine selves, fire and so forth, to be mentioned later on. Formerly also they had been fire and so on, but with their knowledge covered by natural evil, they had identified themselves with the body alone. On the cessation of that evil they gave up their identification with the body; and the organ of speech and the rest realized their identity with fire and so on, as taught by the scriptures. And the Asuras, their enemies, were crushed.

The sacrificer of a past age who is mentioned in the story, coming across this Vedic allegory, tested in the same order the deity of speech and the rest, discarded them as stricken with the taint of attachment, identified himself with the taintless vital force in the mouth, and thereby giving up his limited identification with the body only, as represented by the organ of speech and the rest, identified himself with the body of Virāj, his present status of Prajā-pati, which as the scriptures say, represents the identification of the organ of speech etc. with fire and so on. Similarly the sacrificer of today, by the same procedure, becomes his true self, as Prajā-pati. And his envious kinsman, the evil that opposes his attainment of the status of Prajā-pati, is crushed. A kinsman is sometimes friendly, as, for instance, Bharata (The half-brother of Rāma in the Rāmāyaṇa). But the evil due to attachment to sense-objects is an envious kinsman, for it hides one’s real nature as the Self. It is crushed like the clod of earth by one’s union with the vital force. Who gets this result? He who knows thus, i.e. like the ancient sacrificer realizes his identity with the vital force described above.
🔗  Having finished with the result (of meditation on the vital force) the Śruti resumes its allegorical form and goes on. Why should the vital force in the mouth be resorted to as one’s self, to the exclusion of the organ of speech and the rest? To explain this by stating reasons, the Śruti points out through the story that it is because the vital force is the common self of the organ of speech etc. as well as of the body –
They, the organs of Prajā-pati, which were restored to their divinity by the vital force in the mouth, and thus attained their goal, said, ‘Where was he who has thus restored us to our divinity?’ The particle ‘nu’ indicates deliberation. People who have been helped by somebody generally remember their benefactor. The organs likewise remembered, and thinking on who it might be, realized the vital force within themselves, in the aggregate of body and organs. How? ‘Here he is within the mouth, is visibly present within the space that is in the mouth.’ People decide after deliberation; so did the gods. Since the vital force was perceived by them as being present in the internal space without assuming any particular form like that of the organ of speech etc., therefore the vital force is called Ayāsya. And since it did not assume any particular form, it restored the organ of speech etc. to their real status. Hence it is Āṅgirasa, the self of the body and organs. How? For it is, as is well known, the essence, i.e. the self, of the members, i.e. of the body and organs. And how is it the essence of the members? Because, as we shall say later on, without it they dry up. Since, being the self of the members and not assuming any particular form, the vital force is the common self of the body and organs and pure, therefore it alone, to the exclusion of the organ of speech etc., should be resorted to as ones’ self – this is the import of the passage. For the Self alone should be realized as one’s self, since correct notions lead to well-being, and erroneous notions, as we find, lead to evil.
🔗  Objection: One may think that the purity of the vital force is not a proved fact.

Reply: Has this not been refuted by the statement that the vital force is free from the attachment that the organ of speech and the rest betray by utilizing their power of fine speaking etc. for themselves?

Objection: True, but since as Āṅgirasa it is spoken of as the self of the organ of speech etc., it may be impure through contact with the latter, just as one touched by another who has touched a corpse is impure.

Reply: No, the vital force is pure. Why? Because this deity is called Dūr. ‘This’ refers to the vital force, reaching which the Asuras were shattered like a clod of earth hitting a rock. It is the deity within the present sacrificer’s body whom the gods concluded as their savior saying, ‘Here he is within the mouth.’ And the vital force may well be called a deity, being a part (Just as a god is a part of a sacrifice distinct form the offerings etc. A sacrifice consists of the offerings and deities) of the act of meditation as its object. Because the vital force is called Dūr, i.e. is well known as Dūr – to be ‘called’ is synonymous with being ‘celebrated as’ – therefore its purity is well known, from this name of Dūr. Why is is called Dūr? Because Death, the evil of attachment, is far from it, this deity, vital force. Death, although it is close to the vital force, is away from it, because the latter is ever unattached. Therefore the vital force is well-known as Dūr. Thus its purity is conspicuous. The results accruing to a knower of this are being stated: Death is far from one who knows thus, that is, who meditates upon the vital force endowed with purity, which is the topic of the section. Meditation is mentally approaching the form of the deity or the like as it is presented by the eulogistic portions of the Vedas relating to the objects of meditation, and concentrating on it, excluding conventional notions, till one is as completely identified with it as with one’s body, conventionally regarded as one’s self. Compare such Śruti passages as, ‘Being a god, he attains the gods’ (BrhUEng.4.1.2), and ‘What deity are you identified with in the east?’ (BrhUEng.3.9.20).
🔗  It has been stated, ‘This deity is called Dūr … Death is far from one who knows thus.’ How is death far from one who knows thus? Being incongruous with this knowledge. In other words, the evil due to the attachment of the organs to contact with the sense-objects is incongruous with one who identifies oneself with the vital force, for it is caused by the identification with particular things such as the organ of speech, and by one’s natural igorance; while the identification with the vital force comes of obedience to the scriptures. Hence, owing to this incongruity, it is but proper that the evil should be far from one who knows thus. This is being pointed out –
This deity – already explained – took away death, the evil of these gods such as the god of speech, identified with the vital force. Everybody dies because of the evil due to the attachment of the organs to contact with the sense-objects, prompted by is natural ignorance. Hence this evil is death. The vital force is here spoken of as taking it away from the gods, simply because they identified themselves with the vital force. As a matter of fact, evil keeps away from this knower just because it is out of place there. What did the vital force do after taking away death, the evil of the gods? It carried it to where these quarters, east and so forth, end. One may question how this was done, since the quarters have no end. The answer is that it is all right, for the quarters are here conceived as being that stretch of territory which is inhabited by people possessing Vedic knowledge; hence ‘the end of the quarters’ means the country inhabited by people who hold opposite views, as a forest is spoken of as the end of the country (That is, inhabited country). Carrying them there it, the deity vital force, left their evils, the evils of these gods. – The word ‘Pāpmanaḥ’ is accusative plural. – ‘Left,’ lit. placed in various humiliating ways, and, as is understood from the sense of the passage, among the inhabitants of that region beyond the border who do not identify themselves with the vital force. That evil is due to the contact of the senses (with their objects); hence it must reside in some living being. Therefore one should not approach, i.e. associate with by addressing or seeing, a person of the region beyond the border. Association with him would involve contact with evil, for it dwells in him. Nor go to that region beyond the border, where such people live, called ‘the end of the quarters,’ although it may be deserted; and the implication is, nor to any man out of that land. Lest one imbibe that evil, death, by coming into contact with such people. Out of this fear one should neither approach these people nor go to that region. ‘Ned’ (lest) is a particle denoting apprehension.
🔗  Now the result of this act of meditation on the vital force as one’s own self, viz. the identification of the organ of speech etc. with fire and so on, is being stated. This deity next carried them beyond death. Because death, or the evil that limits one to the body, is removed by the identification with the vital force, therefore the latter is the destroyer of the evil of death. Hence that vital force carried these gods, that of speech and the rest, beyond death, the evil which is being discussed, and made them realize their respective unlimited divine forms as fire and so on.
🔗  It, the vital force, carried the organ of speech, the foremost one, first. Its importance consists in being a better instrument in the chanting of the Udgītha than the other organs. What was its from after it was carried beyond death? When the organ of speech got rid of death, it became fire. Formerly also it was fire, and being dissociated from death it became fire itself, with only this difference: That fire, having transcended death, shines beyond its reach. Before its deliverance it was hampered by death and, as the organ of speech pertaining to the body, was not luminous as now; but now, being freed from death, it shines beyond its reach.
🔗  Similarly the nose became air. It, having transcended death, blows beyond its reach. The rest has been explained.
🔗  Likewise the eye became the sun. He shines.
🔗  Similarly the ear became the quarters. The quarters remain, divided into the east and so forth.
🔗  The mind became the moon and shines. As the vital force carried the ancient sacrificer beyond death by transforming the organ of speech etc. into fire and so on, so does this deity carry one, the sacrificer of today, who knows thus the vital force as including the five organs, that of speech etc. For the Śruti says, ‘One becomes exactly as one meditates upon Him’ (SatBr.10.5.2.20).
🔗  As the organ of speech and the rest had chanted for their own sake, so the vital force in the mouth, after securing, by chanting the three hymns called Pavamāna, the result to be shared by all the organs, viz. identity with Virāj, next secured eatable food for itself by chanting the remaining nine hymns. We have already said that according to the Vedas the priests get the results of a sacrifice (This although they officiate in the sacrifice on behalf of the sacrificer. The latter afterwards purchases them on payment of a fee to the priests). How do we know that the vital force secured that eatable food for itself by chanting? The reason is being stated: For whatever food – food in general is meant – is eaten by creatures in the world is eaten by the vital force (Ana) alone. The particle ‘hi’ (for) denotes a reason. ‘Ana’ is a well-known name of the vital force. There is another word ‘Anas’ (The nominative singular of both is ‘Anaḥ.’ Hence the explanation. It should be noted that the word ‘Anena’ is also the instrumental singular of the pronoun ‘Idam,’ this or it) ending in s, which means a cart, but this world ends in a vowel and is a synonym of the vital force. Besides, the vital force not only eats the eatable food, it also rests on that food, when it has been transformed into the body. Therefore the vital force secured the eatable food for itself by chanting, in order that it might live in the body. Although the vital force eats food, yet, because it is only in order that it might live in the body, there is no question of its contracting the evil due to attachment to fine performance, as was the case with the organ of speech and the rest.
🔗  Is it wrong to assert that all food ‘is eaten by the vital force alone,’ since the organ of speech and the rest are also benefited by the food? The answer is: No, for that benefit comes through the vital force. How the benefit done to the organ of speech etc. by the food comes through the vital force, is being explained: The gods, the organ of speech etc., called gods because they bring their respective objects to light, said to the vital force in the mouth, ‘Whatever food there is, is eaten in the world to sustain life, is just this much, and no more. – The particle ‘vai’ recalls what is well known. – And you have secured it all for yourself by chanting, i.e. have appropriated it through chanting for your own use; and we cannot live without food. Therefore now let us have a share in this food that is for yourself.’ – The absence of the causative suffix in the verb is a Vedic license. – The meaning is, make us also sharers of the food. The other said, ‘Then, if you want food sit around facing me.’ When the vital force said this, the gods said, ‘All right,’ and sat down around it, i.e. encircling the vital force. As they sit thus at the command of the vital force, the food eaten by it, while sustaining life, also satisfies them. The organ of speech and the rest have no independent relation to food. Therefore the assertion that all food ‘is eaten by the vital force alone’ is quite correct. This is what the text says: Hence, because the gods, the organ of speech etc., at the command of the vital force, sat around facing it, being under its protection, therefore whatever food one eats through the vital force satisfies these, the organ of speech etc.

So, as the organ of speech and the rest did with the vital force, do his relatives also sit around facing him who knows thus, knows the vital force as support of the organ of speech etc. – knows that the five organs such as that of speech rest on the vital force; that is, he becomes the refuge of his relatives. And with his food he becomes the support of his relatives who sit around facing him, as the vital force was of the organ of speech etc. Also, the greatest among them and their leader, as the vital force was of the organs. Further, a good eater of food, i.e. free from disease, and the ruler of them, an absolute protector, or independent master, just as the vital force was of the organs of speech etc. All this result comes to one who knows the vital force in the above way. Moreover that one among his relatives who desires to rival a man of such knowledge, i.e. the knower of the vital force, is powerless to support his dependents, like the Asuras who had rivalry with the vital force. But, among his relatives, one who follows him, this knower of the vital force, as the organ of speech and the rest did the vital force, or who desires to maintain one’s dependents being under him, just as the organs desired to support themselves by following the vital force, is alone capable of supporting them, and none else who is independent. All this is described as the result of knowing the attributes of the vital force.

In order to demonstrate that the vital force is the self of the body and organs, it has been introduced as Āṅgirasa, ‘It is Ayāsya Āṅgirasa’ (in earlier para.). But it has not been specifically stated why it is called Āṅgirasa.
🔗  The following paragraph is introduced to furnish that reason. If that reason is valid, then only will the vital force be admitted to be the self of the body and organs. It has next been stated that the organ of speech and the rest depend on the vital force. To show how that can be proved the text says –
It is called Ayāsya Āṅgirasa, etc. – This is repeated here as it is (from above) for the sake of the answer. The passage ending with, ‘The vital force is indeed the essence of the members,’ reminds us of what has already been explained. How? The vital force is indeed the essence of the members. Of course it is their essence. The particle ‘hi’ denotes a well-known fact. Everybody knows that the vital force, and not the organ of speech etc., is the essence of the members. Therefore it is right to remind us of this fact with the words, ‘The vital force is indeed.’ How is it well known? From whichever member – any part of the body without distinction is meant – the vital force departs, right there it, that member, withers or dries up. The word ‘therefore,’ signifying conclusion, is construed with the last sentence. Therefore this is of course the essence of the members, is the conclusion. Hence it is proved that the vital force is the self of the body and organs. Because when the self departs, withering or death (of the body) takes place. Hence all creatures live through that. Therefore, leaving out the organ of speech and the rest, the vital force alone should be meditated upon. This is the sense of the whole passage.
🔗  The vital force is the self not only of the body and organs, which represent form and action respectively, but also of the Vedas, Ṛc. Yajus and Sāman, which consist of name. Thus the Śruti magnifies the vital force, extolling it as the self of all, to show that it is a fit object of meditation –
This alone, the vital force in question called Āṅgirasa, is also Bṛhas-pati. How? Speech is indeed Bṛhatī, the meter with thirty-six syllables. The meter Anuṣṭubh is speech. How? For the Śruti says, ‘Speech is indeed Anuṣṭubh’ (TaitS.5.1.3.5). And this speech called Anuṣṭubh is included in the meter Bṛhatī. Hence it is right to say, ‘Speech is indeed Bṛhatī,’ as a well-known fact. And in Bṛhatī all Ṛcs are included, for it is extolled as the vital force. For another Śruti says, ‘Bṛhatī is the vital force.’ (AitAr.2.1.6); ‘One should know the Ṛcs as the vital force’ (AitAr.2.2.2). The Ṛcs are included in the vital force, as they consist of speech. How this is so is being explained: And this vital force is its lord, the lord of speech, i.e. of the Ṛcs in the form of Bṛhatī. For it gives rise to speech, since the Ṛcs are recited through the air which is propelled by the fire in the stomach. Or the vital force may be the lord of speech, being its protector, for speech is protected by the vital force, since a dead man has no power to utter words. Therefore this is also Bṛhas-pati, i.e. the vital force is the self of the Ṛcs.
🔗  Similarly the self of the Yajuses. How? This alone is also Brāhmaṇas-pati. Speech is Brahman or Yajus, which is a kind of speech. And this is its lord, the lord of that Yajus. Therefore this is indeed Brāhmaṇas-pati, as before.

How is it known that the words ‘Bṛhatī’ and ‘Brahman’ mean the Ṛc and the Yajus respectively, and nothing else? Because at the end (of the topic, in the next paragraph) the word ‘speech’ is used as co-ordinate with ‘Sāman,’ ‘Speech is indeed Sāman.’ Similarly in the sentences, ‘Speech is indeed Bṛhatī’ and ‘Speech is indeed Brahman,’ the words ‘Bṛhatī,’ and ‘Brahman,’ which are co-ordinate with ‘speech’, ought to mean the Ṛc and the Yajus respectively. On the principle of the residuum also this is correct. When the Sāman is mentioned, the Ṛc and the Yajus alone remain. Another reason is that they are both forms of speech. The Ṛc and the Yajus are particular kinds of speech. Hence they can well be co-ordinated with speech. Moreover, unless they are taken in that sense, there will be no difference between the two terms of each sentence. (In the next two paragraphs) ‘Sāman’ and ‘Udgītha’ clearly denote specific objects. Similarly the words ‘Bṛhatī’ and ‘Brahman’ ought to denote specific objects. Otherwise, not conveying any specific object, they would be useless, and if that specific object be mere speech, both sentences would be tautological. And lastly, the words Ṛc, Yajus, Sāman and Udgītha occur in the Vedas in the order here indicated.
🔗  This alone is also Sāman. How? This is being explained: Speech is indeed , whatever is denoted by feminine words is speech, for the pronoun (she) refers to all objects denoted by them. Similarly this vital force is Ama. The word ‘Ama’ refers to all objects denoted by masculine words. For another Śruti says, ‘How do you get my masculine names? He should reply: Through the vital force. And how my feminine names? Through speech’ (KausU.1.7). So this word ‘Sāman’ denotes speech and the vital force. Again, the word ‘Sāman’ denotes a chant consisting only of a combination of tones etc. that are produced by the vital force. Hence there is nothing called Sāman except the vital force and speech, for the tone, syllables, etc. are produced by the vital force and depend on it. ‘This’ vital force ‘alone is also Sāman,’ because what is generally known as Sāman is a combination of speech and the vital force, and Ama. Therefore Sāman, the chant consisting of a combination of tones etc., is so called, well known in the world.

Or because it is equal in all those respects to be presently mentioned, therefore this is also Sāman. This is the construction. The word ‘or’ is gathered on the strength of the alternative reason indicated for the derivation of the word ‘Sāman’. In what respects is the vital force equal? This is being answered: Equal to the body of a white ant, equal to the body of a mosquito, equal to the body of an elephant, equal to these three worlds, i.e. the body of Virāj, equal to this universe, i.e. the form of Hiraṇya-garbha. The vital force is equal to all these bodies such as that of the white ant in the sense that it is present in its entirely in them, as the essential characteristics of a cow (Gotva) are present in each individual cow. It cannot be merely of the size of these bodies, for it is formless and all-pervading. Nor does the equality mean just filling up those bodies by contraction or expansion like lamp-light in a jar, a mansion, etc. For the Śruti says, ‘These are all equal, and all infinite’ (BrhUEng.1.5.13). And there is nothing inconsistent in an all-pervading principle assuming in different bodies their particular size. He who knows this Sāman, i.e. the vital force called Sāman because of its equality, whose glories are revealed by the Vedas, to be such, gets this result: attains union with it, identification with the same body and organs as the vital force, or lives in the same world as it, according to the difference in meditation. This is meant to be the result of meditation continued till identity with the vital force is established.
🔗  This indeed is also Udgītha. The Udgītha is a particular division of the Sāman, not chanting, for the topic under discussion is Sāman. How is the vital force Udgītha? The vital force is indeed Ut, for all this universe is held aloft or supported by the vital force. This prefix ‘ut’, meaning holding aloft, denotes a characteristic of the vital force. Therefore the vital force is Ut. Speech alone is Gīthā, for the division of Sāman called Udgītha is a variety of sound. ‘Gīthā,’ coming from the root ‘gai,’ denoting sound, is nothing but speech. The Udgītha cannot be conceived of as having any other form but sound. Hence it is right to assert that speech is Gīthā. The vital force is Ut, and Gīthā is speech dependent on the vital force; hence the two together are denoted by one word: This is Udgītha.
🔗  Regarding this subject described above a story is also narrated in the Śruti. Brahma-datta, the great-grandson (Whose great-grandfather, i.e. Cikitāna, at least was living. This is implied by the suffix. See Panini IV. i. 163) of Cikitāna, while drinking Soma in a sacrifice, said, ‘Let this Soma in the bowl that I am drinking strike off my head for being a liar, i.e. if I have told a lie.’ – The suffix of the verb is a substitute for an imperative suffix and expresses a wish (Panini VII. i. 35). – How can he become a liar? This is being explained: ‘If I say that Ayāsya Āṅgirasa chanted the Udgītha through any other deity than this vital force combined with speech, which is being discussed.’ The term ‘Ayāsa Āṅgirasa,’ denoting the vital force in the mouth, refers to the priest who chanted in the sacrifice of the ancient sages who projected this world. ‘If I say like this, I shall be a liar, and for entertaining this false notion let that deity strike of my head.’ The mention of his taking this oath shows that one must have a firm conviction of this knowledge (That the vital force is the deity of the Udgītha). This purport of the story the Śruti concludes in its own words: He, that chanter, called here Ayāsya Āṅgirasa, chanted through speech, which is subordinate to the vital force, and the vital force, which is his own self, meaning this is the significance of the oath.
🔗  He who knows the wealth of this Sāman, the vital force under consideration, denoted by the word ‘Sāman,’ which is here pointed out as being the one in the mouth – what happens to him? – he attains wealth. Having drawn his attention by tempting him with (a mention of) the result, the scripture tells the listener: Tone is indeed its wealth. ‘Tone’ is sweetness of the voice; that is its wealth or ornament. For chanting, when attended with a good tone, appears as magnificent. Because this is so, therefore one who is going to officiate as a priest, i.e. a chanter, should desire to have a rich tone in his voice, in order to enrich the Sāman with that tone. This is an incidental injunction; for if the vital force (identified with the chanter) is to be realized as having a good tone through the fact of Sāman possessing it, a mere wish will not effect this, and therefore, it is implied, appropriate means such as cleaning the teeth and sipping oil should be adopted. And he should do his priestly duties through that cultured voice with a fine tone. Because tone is the wealth of Sāman and the later is embellished by it, therefore in a sacrifice people long to see a priest with a good voice, as they do a rich man. It is a well-known fact that people want to see one who has wealth. The result, already declared, of the meditation on this characteristic of the vital force is repeated as a conclusion: He who knows the wealth of Sāman to be such attains wealth.
🔗  Now meditation on another attribute, viz. possessing gold, is being enjoined. That too is having a good tone, but there is this difference: The previous one was sweetness of the voice; whereas this, denoted by the word ‘Suvarṇa,’ is correct articulation according to the laws of phonetics. He who knows the gold of this Sāman obtains gold, for the word ‘Suvarṇa’ means both correct sound and gold. That is to say, the result of meditating upon this attribute is the obtaining of gold, which is the common meaning of the word ‘Suvarṇa’. Tone is indeed its gold. He who knows the gold of Sāman to be such obtains gold. All this has been explained.
🔗  Similarly, in order to enjoin meditation on another feature of the vital force, viz. its support, the text says: He who knows the support of this Sāman, i.e. speech on which the Sāman rests, gets a resting place. The result is aptly in accordance with the meditation, for the Śruti says, ‘(One becomes) exactly as one meditates upon Him’ (SatBr.10.5.2.20). As before, when one has been tempted by a mention of the result and wants to hear what that support is, the scripture says: Speech is indeed the support of the Sāman. ‘Speech’ here means the different parts of the body such as the root of the tongue; those are the support. This is explained by the text: For resting on speech, i.e. the root of the tongue and other places, is the vital force thus chanted, assumes the form of a chant. Therefore speech is the support of the Sāman. Some say, it is chanted resting on food. It is but proper to say that the vital force rests on this. since this latter view is also unexceptionable, one should meditate at his option either speech or food as the support of the vital force.
🔗  A repetition of Mantras is being prescribed for one who knows the vital forces as such. The meditation by knowing which one is entitled to this repetition of Mantras has been mentioned. Now, because this repetition of Mantras by one possessed of such knowledge produces the result of elevation of divinity, therefore it is being described here. This repetition, being connected with chanting, may be thought applicable to every chant; so it is restricted by the mention of the Pavamānas. But since one may think that it should be done with all the three Pavamānas, the time is being further restricted: The priest called Prastotṛ indeed recites the Sāman. While he recites it, i.e. when he begins to chant the Sāman, these Mantras are to be repeated. And this repetition of Mantras is called ‘Abhyāroha,’ because through this repetition one possessed of such knowledge ‘advances towards’ the realization of one’s innate divinity. The plural in ‘these’ indicates that there are three Yajus Mantras. The use of the accusative case and the fact that these Mantras occur in a Brāhmaṇa or explanatory portion of the Vedas, indicate that the usual accent should be used in these words, and not the special intonation (Which is indicated by the use of the instrumental case in the directions) used in the hymns. This repetition of Mantras is to be done by the sacrificer.

These are the Yajus Mantras in question: From evil lead me to good. From darkness lead me to light. From death lead me to immortality. The meaning of the Mantras is hidden. So the Brāhmaṇa itself explains them: When the Mantra says, ‘From evil lead me to good,’ what is the meaning? ‘Evil’ means death, i.e. our natural actions and thoughts; ‘evil,’ because they degrade us very much; and ‘good,’ i.e. actions and thoughts as they are regulated by the scriptures, means immortality, because they lead to it. Therefore the meaning is, ‘From evil actions and ignorance lead me to actions and thoughts that are regulated by the scriptures, i.e. help me to identify myself with those things that lead to divinity.’ The import of the sentence is being stated: So it says, ‘Make me immortal.’ Similarly, when it says, ‘From darkness lead me to light,’ ‘darkness’ means death. All ignorance, being of the nature of a veil, is darkness and it again is death, being the cause of it. And ‘light’ means immortality, the opposite of the above, one’s divine nature. Knowledge being luminous, is called light; and it again is immortality, being of an imperishable nature. So it says, ‘From death lead me to immortality, or make me immortal,’ as before, i.e. help me to realize the divine status of Virāj. The first Mantra means, help me to identify myself with the means of realization, instead of with things that are not such; while the second one means, help me to go beyond that even – for it is a form of ignorance – and attain identity with the result. The third Mantra, ‘From death lead me to immortality,’ gives the combined meaning of the first two, and is quite clear. In this the meaning does not seem to be hidden as in the first two, i.e. it should be taken literally.

Then, after chanting for the sacrificer with the three Pavamānas, through the remaining hymns the chanter who knows the vital force and has become identified with it, should secure eatable food for himself by chanting, just like the vital force. Because this chanter knows the vital force as above described, therefore he is able to obtain that desired object. Therefore, while they are being chanted, the sacrificer should ask for a boon – anything that he desires. Because whatever objects this chanter possessed of such knowledge desires, either for himself or for the sacrificer, he secures them by chanting. This sentence should precede the one before it (for the sake of sense).

Thus it has been stated that meditation and rites together lead to identification with Hiraṇya-garbha. There is no possibility of a doubt regarding this. Therefore a doubt is being raised as to whether, in the absence of rites, meditation alone can lead to that result or not. To remove it, the text says: This meditation on the vital force certainly wins the world (Hiraṇya-garbha) (Who is the cosmic form of the vital force), even if it is disjoined from the rites. He has not to pray lest he be unfit for this world, for one who has already realized his identity with Hiraṇya-garbha cannot possibly pray for the attainment of him. A man who is already in a village is not eager about when he will reach it, as a man who is in a forest is. Expectation is always about something remote, something other than one’s self; it is impossible with regard to one’s own self. Therefore there is no chance of his fearing lest he should ever miss identity with Hiraṇya-garbha.

Who gets this result? He who knows this Sāman as such, meditates upon the vital force whose glories have been described above, till he realizes his identity with it in the following way: ‘I am the pure vital force, not to be touched by the evils characteristic of the Asuras, viz. the attachment of the senses to their objects. The five organs such as that of speech have, by resting on me, been freed from the defects of these evils which spring from one’s natural thoughts, and have become fire and so forth; and they are connected with all bodies by partaking of the eatable fod that belongs to me. Being Āṅgirasa, I am the self of all beings. And I am the self of speech manifesting itself as Ṛc, Yajus, Sāman and Udgītha, for I pervade it and produce it. I am transformed into a chant as Sāman, and have the external wealth or embellishment of a good voice; and I also have a more intimate treasure, consisting of fine articulation according to phonetics. And when I become the chant, the throat and other parts of the body are my support. With these attributes I am completely present in all bodies beginning with that of a white ant, being formless and all-pervading.’

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BrhUEng.1.04

🔗  It has been explained that one attains the status of Hiraṇya-garbha through a combination of meditation and rites. That the same result if attained only through meditation on the vital force has also been stated in the passage, ‘This certainly wins the world,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.28). The present section is introduced in order to describe the excellent results of Vedic meditations and rites by setting forth the independence and other powers of Hiraṇya-garbha, who is himself the result of his past actions, in the projection, maintenance and dissolution of the universe. The meditations and rites that are prescribed in the ceremonial portion (Including the previous sections of this book) of the Vedas would thereby be extolled by implication. The import, however, is this: The sum total of these results of meditation and rites belong to the relative world, for Virāj (The word used here is ‘Prajā-pati,’ which means both Hiraṇya-garbha and Virāj, the subtle and gross forms, respectively, of the same being. Śaṅkara often uses these two terms almost interchangeably. This should be borne in mind to avoid confusion) has been described as possessing fear, dissatisfaction, etc., has a body and organs, and consists of gross, differentiated and transient objects. This prepares the ground for what follows, since the knowledge of Brahman alone, which is going to be described can lead to liberation. For one who is not disgusted with things of the world consisting of a variety of means and ends is not entitled to cultivate the knowledge of the unity of the Self, as one who is not thirsty has no use for a drink. Therefore the delineation of the excellent results of meditation and rites is meant to introduce the succeeding portion. It will also be said later on, ‘Of all these this Self alone should be realized’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), ‘This Self is dearer than a son’ (BrhUEng.1.4.8), and so on.

In the beginning, before the manifestation of any other body, this universe of different bodies was but the self, was undifferentiated from the body of Virāj, the first embodied, being born out of the cosmic egg, who is here meant by the word ‘self.’ He is the product of Vedic meditations and rites. And this self was of a human form, with a head, hands, etc., i.e. Virāj. He, who is born first, reflected on who he was and what his features were, and found nothing else but himself, consisting of the body and organs. He found only himself, the self of all. And as he had been purified by Vedic knowledge in his past life, he first uttered, ‘I am he,’ the Virāj who is the self of all. And because owing to his past impressions he first declared himself as Aham, therefore he was called Aham (I). That this is his name as given out by the Śruti will be mentioned later: ‘His secret name is Aham’ (BrhUEng.5.5.1). Hence, because this happened with Virāj, the cause, therefore, to this day, among men, his effects, when a person is addressed as, ‘Who are you?’ he first says, ‘It is I,’ describes himself as identified with his cause, Virāj, and then says, to one who inquires about his particular name, the other name, the name of his particular body, such as Deva-datta or Yajña-datta, that he may have, as given to that a particular body by his parents.

And because he, Virāj, in his past incarnation when he was an aspirant, by an adequate practice of meditation and rites was the first of those who wanted to attain the status of Virāj by the same method, and before this whole band of aspirants burnt – what? – all evils, viz. attachment and ignorance, which obstructed his attainment of the status of Virāj – because it was so, therefore he is called Puruṣa, i.e. one who burnt first. As this Virāj became Puruṣa and Virāj by burning all the obstructing evils, so another person, by the fire of his practice of meditation and rites, or by virtue of meditation alone, burns one – whom? – who wants to be Virāj before him, this sage. The text points out in the words, ‘Who knows thus.’ It is implied that he has perfected himself in the practice of meditation.

Objection: The desire to attain the status of Virāj must be dangerous, if one is burnt by a sage possessing this knowledge.

Reply: There is nothing wrong in it, for burning here means only the failure to attain the status of Virāj first, due to a deficiency in the practice of meditation. The man who uses the best means attains it first, and the man who is deficient in his means does not. This is spoken of as the former burning the latter. It is not that one who uses the best means actually burns the other. As in the world, when several people are having a running contest, the man who first reaches the destination may be said to burn the others, as it were, for they are shorn of their strength, so is the case here.
🔗  In order to show that the results, meant to be extolled here, of meditation and rites enjoined in the ceremonial portion of the Vedas, are not beyond the range of transmigratory existence, the text goes on –
He, Virāj, who has been presented as the first embodied being of a human form, was afraid, just like us, says the text. Because this being with a human form, possessing a body and organs, was afraid owing to a false notion about his extinction, therefore, being similarly situated, people to this day are afraid to be alone. And the means of removing this false notion that caused the fear, was, as in our case, the right knowledge of the Self. He, Virāj, thought, ‘If there is nothing else but me, no other entity but myself to be my rival, what am I afraid of, for there is nothing to kill me?’ From that right knowledge of the self alone his, Virāj’s fear was clean gone. That fear of Virāj, being due to sheer ignorance, was inconsistent with the knowledge of the Supreme Self. This is what the text says: For what was there to fear? That is, why was he afraid, since there could be no fear when the truth was known? Because it is from a second entity that fear comes; and that second entity is merely projected by ignorance. A second entity that is not perceived at all cannot certainly cause fear, for the Śruti says, ‘Then what delusion and what grief can there be for one who sees unity?’ (IsU.7). That his fear was removed by the knowledge of unity was quite proper. Why? Because fear comes of a second entity, and that notion of a second entity was removed by the knowledge of unity; it was non-existent.

Here some object: What was Virāj’s knowledge of unity due to? And who instructed him? If it came without any instruction, the same might also be true of us. If, however, it was due to the impressions of his past life, then the knowledge of unity would be useless. As Virāj’s knowledge of unity acquired in his past life, although it was present, did not remove the cause of his bondage, ignorance – for being born with that ignorance, he was afraid – so the knowledge of unity would be useless in the case of everybody. Should it be urged that the knowledge prevailing at the last moment only removes ignorance, our answer is that it cannot be laid down as a rule, since ignorance may appear again just as it did before. Therefore we conclude that the knowledge of unity serves no useful purpose.

Reply: Not so, for, as in the world, his knowledge sprang from his perfected birth. That is to say, as we see that when a person has been born with a select body and organs as a result of his past merits, he excels in knowledge, intelligence and memory, similarly Virāj, having burnt all his evils which produce qualities the very opposite of righteousness, knowledge, dispassion and lordship, had a perfected birth in which he was possessed of a pure body and organs; hence he might well have the knowledge of unity without any instruction. As the Smṛti says, ‘The Lord of the universe is born with these four virtues – infallible knowledge, dispassion, lordship and righteousness’ (VayPur.1.1.3).

Objection: If he was born with those virtues, he could not have fear. Darkness never appears with the sun.

Reply: Not so, for the expression, ‘He is born with these virtues,’ means that he is not instructed about them by others.

Objection: In that case qualities like faith, devotion and prostration (to the teacher) cease to be the means of knowledge. The Gītā, for instance, says, ‘One who has faith and devotion and controls one’s senses attains knowledge’ (BhG.4.39), and ‘Know it through prostration’ (BhG.4.34). There are other texts from the Śrutis as well as Smṛtis which prescribe similar means for knowledge. Now, if knowledge is due to the merits of one’s past life, as you say was the case with Virāj, then the above means become useless.

Reply: No, for there may be differences as regards the means such as their alternation or combination, efficacy or inefficacy. We observe in life that effects are produced from various causes, which may operate singly or in combination. Of these causes operation singly or in combination, some may be more efficacious than others. Let us take a single instance of an effect produced from various causes, say, the perception of form or color: In the case of animals that see in the dark, the connection of the eye with the object alone suffices, even without the help of light, to cause the perception. In the case of Yogins the mind alone is the cause of it. While with us, there is a combination of causes such as the connection of the eye with the object, and light, which again may vary according as it is sunlight or moonlight, and so on. Similarly there would be differences due to that light being of a particular character, strong or feeble, and so on. Exactly in the same way with the knowledge of the unity of the Self. Sometimes the actions of one’s past life are the causes, as in the case of Virāj. Sometimes it is reflection, for the Śruti says, ‘Desire to know Brahman through reflection’ (TaitU.3.3.1–5.1). Sometimes faith and other things are the only causes of attaining knowledge, as we learn from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as the following: ‘He only knows who has got a teacher’ (ChanU.6.14.2), ‘One who has faith … attains knowledge’ (BhG.4.39), ‘Know it through prostration’ (BhG.4.34), ‘(Knowledge received) from the teacher alone (is best)’ (ChanU.4.9.3), ‘(The Self) is to be realized through hearing,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6). For the above causes remove obstacles to knowledge such as demerit. And the hearing, reflection and meditation on Vedānta texts have a direct relation to Brahman which is to be known, for they are naturally the causes to evoke the knowledge of Reality when the evils, connected with the body and mind, that obstruct it have been destroyed. Therefore faith, prostration and the like never cease to be the means of knowledge.
🔗  Here is another reason why the state of Virāj is within the relative world, because he, Virāj, was not at all happy, i.e. was stricken with dissatisfaction, just like us. Because it was so, therefore, on account of loneliness etc., even today people are not happy, do not delight, when alone. Delight is a sport due to conjunction with a desired object. A person who is attached to it feels troubled in mind when he is separated from his desired object; this is called dissatisfaction. To remove that dissatisfaction, he desired a mate, able to take away that dissatisfaction, i.e. a wife. And as he thus longed for a wife, he felt as if he was embraced by his wife. Being of an infallible will, through that idea he became as big – as what? – as man and wife, in the world, embracing each other to remove their dissatisfaction. He became of that size. He parted this very body, of that size, into two. The emphatic word ‘very’ used after ‘this’ is for distinguishing between the new body and its cause, the original body of Virāj. Virāj did not become of this size by wiping out his former entity, as milk turns into curd by wholly changing its former substance. What then? He remained as he was, but being of an infallible resolve, he projected another body of the size of man and wife together. He remained the same Virāj, as we find from the sentence, ‘He became as big as,’ etc., where ‘he’ is co-ordinate with the complement. From that parting came husband (Pati) and wife (Patnī). This is the derivation of terms denoting an ordinary couple. And because the wife is but one-half of oneself separated, therefore this body is one-half, like one of the two halves a split pea, before one marries a wife. Whose half? Of oneself. Thus said Yājña-valkya, the son of Yajña-valka, lit. the expounder of a sacrifice, i.e. the son of Deva-rāta. Or it may mean a descendant of Hiraṇya-garbha (who is the expounder). Since one-half of a man is void when he is without a wife representing the other half, therefore this space is indeed again filled by the wife when he marries, as one-half of a split pea gets its complement when again joined to the other half. He, the Virāj called Manu, was united with her, his daughter called Śata-rūpā, whom he conceived of as his wife. From that union men were born.
🔗  Remembering the prohibition made in the Smṛtis of union with one’s daughter, she Śata-rūpā, thought, ‘How can he do this vile thing – be united with me after producing me from himself?’ Although he has no abhorrence, well, let me hide myself by changing into another species.’ Thinking thus she became a cow. Impelled by the past work of the creatures that were to be produced, Śata-rūpā and Manu had the same thought over and over again. Then the other became a bull and was united with her. The latter portion has been explained. From that cows were born. Similarly the one became a mare, the other a stallion; likewise the one became a she-ass, the other became a he-ass. From that union one-hoofed animals, viz. the three species, horses, mules and asses, were born. Similarly the one became a she-goat, the other became a he-goat; likewise the one became a ewe, the other became a ram and was united with her. The word ‘her’ is to be repeated so as to apply to both she-goat and ewe. From that goats and sheep were born. Thus, through this process, did he project everything that exists in pairs, as male and female, down to the ants, i.e. the whole (animate) world.
🔗  He, Virāj after projecting this whole world knew, ‘I indeed am the creation, i.e. the projected world. The world I have projected not being different from me, I myself am that; it is not something over and above myself. How? For I projected all this, the whole world.’ Because Virāj designated himself by the word ‘creation’, therefore he was called Creation. Like Virāj, he becomes a creator of a world not different from himself, in this creation of Virāj, i.e. in this world. Who? He who, like Virāj, knows this, the world described above, in its threefold division relating to the body, the elements and the gods, as such, as identical with himself.
🔗  Then, having thus projected this world consisting of pairs, he, Virāj, desiring to project the gods controlling the Brāhmaṇa and other castes, first rubbed back and forth thus. The words ‘then’ and ‘thus’ show the process by a gesture. Putting his hands into his mouth he went on rubbing back and forth. Having rubbed the mouth with his hands, he produced fire, the benefactor of the Brāhmaṇa caste, from its source, the mouth and the hands. Because the mouth and the hands are the source of fire, which burns, therefore both these are without hair. Is it all over? No, only at the inside. Similarly the Brāhmaṇa also was born from the mouth of Virāj. Because both have sprung from the same source, the Brāhmaṇa is favored by fire, as a younger brother is by his elder brother. Therefore it is well known from the Śrutis and Smṛtis that the Brāhmaṇas have fire as their deity, and their strength lies in their mouth. Similarly from his arms, which are the abode of strength, he manifested Indra and other gods who control the Kṣatriya caste, as well as that caste itself. Therefore we know from the Śrutis and Smṛtis that the Kṣatriyas and physical strength are presided over by Indra. Similarly from his thighs, which are the source of effort, he manifested the Vasus and other gods who control the Vaiśyas, as well as that caste itself. Therefore the Vaiśyas are devoted to agriculture and other such pursuits, and have the Vasus etc. as their deities. Similarly from his feet he manifested Pūṣan, the deity of the earth, and the Śūdras, who have the capacity to serve – as we know from the Śrutis and Smṛtis. The manifestation of the deities of the Kṣatriya etc. has not been described here; it will be described later on (In BrhUEng.1.4.11–3). But the text concludes as if they were described, in order to deal with creation as a whole. The real aim of the text is (not to describe creation, but) to indicate that all the gods are but Virāj, as stated here, for manifested objects are not different from the manifestor, and the gods have been manifested by Virāj.

Now, this being the import of the section, the views of some ignorant people are being put forward as a eulogy on that. The criticism of one serves as a tribute to another. When, in discussing ceremonials, the priests, who know only mechanical rites, talk of particular gods, saying at the time of performing a sacrifice, ‘Sacrifice to him, viz. Fire,’ ‘Sacrifice to the other one, viz. Indra,’ and so on, thinking, on account of differences regarding name, type of hymns recited or sung, function, and the like, that they are separate gods, it should not be understood that way, because these different gods are all his projection, manifestation of Virāj, for he, Virāj, the (cosmic) vital force, is all the gods.

Here there is a difference of opinion. Some say that Hiraṇya-garbha is the Supreme Self, others that he is the transmigrating individual self. The first group says: He must be the Supreme Self, for the Śruti says so, as for instance in the passage, ‘They call It Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa and Fire’ (RigV.1.164.46), and also in, ‘It is Hiraṇya-garbha, It is Indra, It is Virāj and all these gods’ (AitU.3.1.3). And the Smṛti too, ‘Some call It Fire, others Manu and Virāj’ (ManSamh.12.123), and ‘That (Supreme Self) which is beyond the organs, imperceptible, subtle, undifferentiated, eternal, consisting of all beings, and unthinkable, manifested Itself’ (ManSamh.1.7). Or, according to the second group: He must be the individual self, for the Śruti says, ‘He burnt all evils’ (BrhUEng.1.4.1). There can be no question of the burning of evils in the case of the Supreme Self. The Śruti also mentions his having fear and dissatisfaction, and also, ‘That he, although mortal himself, projected the immortals’ (this text), and ‘Behold Hiraṇya-garbha as he is being born’ (SvetU.4.12; MahU.10.3). Further, the Smṛti treating of the results of rites says, ‘Sages are of opinion that the attainment of oneness with Virāj, the world-projectors (Manu and others), Yama (the god of justice), Hiraṇya-garbha and the Undifferentiated is the highest result produced by Sattva or pure materials (rites coupled with meditation)’ (ManSamh.12.50).

Should it be urged that such contradictory statements being inadmissible, the scripture lose their authority, the answer is: Not so, for they can be harmonized on the ground that different conceptions are possible. That is to say, through his relation to particular limiting adjuncts he can be conceived of as different. That the transmigratory character of Hiraṇya-garbha is not real, but due to limiting adjuncts, is known from such Śruti texts as the following: ‘Sitting, It roams far, and lying, It goes everywhere. Who else but me can know that effulgent entity which is endowed with joy and its absence as well?’ (KathU.1.2.21). Essentially he is but the Supreme Self. So Hiraṇya-garbha is one as well as many. The same is the case with all beings, as the Śruti says, ‘Thou art That’ (ChanU.5.8.7 etc.). But Hiraṇya-garbha, possessing limiting adjuncts of extraordinary purity, is described by the Śrutis and Smṛtis mostly as the Supreme Self, and seldom as the transmigratory self. While ordinary individuals, owing to an excess of impurity in their limiting adjuncts, are mostly spoken of as the transmigratory self. But when divested of all limiting adjuncts, everyone is spoken of by the Śrutis and Smṛtis as the Supreme Self.

The rationalists, however, who discard the authority of Revelation and rely on mere argument, say all sorts of conflicting things such as that the self exists or does not exist, that it is the agent or is not the agent, and mystify the meaning of the scriptures. This makes it extremely difficult to find out their real import. But those who only follow the scriptures and have overcome their pride find the meaning of the scriptures regarding the gods etc. as definite as objects of perception.

Now the Śruti wishes to tell of one and the same god, Virāj, being differentiated as food and so forth. Fire, which is the eater of food, has already been described. Now Soma, the food, is being described: Now all this that is liquid in the world, he produced from his seed, for the Śrutis says, ‘From the seed water’ (AitU.1.1.1), and Soma is liquid. Therefore whatever liquid was produced out of Virāj’s seed is Soma. This universe is indeed this much, and no more. What is it? Food, i.e. Soma, which being liquid is appearing, and the eater of food, i.e. fire, because it is hot and dry. Now follows a decision on the point: Soma is food, i.e. whatever is eaten is Soma. (And fire the eater of food) – whoever eats is fire. This decision is based on sense. Sometimes fire too is offered as an oblation, when it falls into the category of Soma (food). And when a sacrifice is made to Soma, it too becomes fire, being the eater. One who thus regards the universe consisting of fire and Soma as oneself is not touched by evil, and becomes Virāj. This is the super-creation of Virāj, i.e. one that is even superior to him. What is it? That he projected the gods, who are even superior to him. This is why this manifestation of the gods is called a super-creation. How is this creation even superior to him? This is being explained: Because he, although mortal himself, projected the immortals, the gods, by burning all his evils with the fire of meditation and rites, therefore this is a super-creation, i.e. the result of superior knowledge (and rites). Hence he who knows this super-creation of Virāj which is identical with him (i.e. identifies himself with Virāj, who projected the gods), becomes like him in this super-creation of Virāj, i.e. becomes a creator like Virāj himself.
🔗  All Vedic means consisting of meditation and rites, which depend on several factors such as the agent and culminate in identity with Hiraṇya-garbha, a result achieved through effort, are but co-extensive with this manifested, relative universe. Now the Śruti wishes to indicate the causal state of this manifested universe consisting of means and ends, the state which existed before its manifestation, as the existence of a tree in a seed-form is inferred from its effects such as the sprout, in order that the tree of relative existence, which has one’s actions as its seed and ignorance as the field where it grows, may be pulled up together with its roots. For in the uprooting of it lies the perfection of human achievement. As it has been said in the Upaniṣad as well as the Gītā, ‘With its roots above (i.e. the Undifferentiated) and branches below (Hiraṇya-garbha etc.)’ (KathU.2.3.1; BhG.15.1). And in the Purāṇa also, ‘The eternal tree of Brahman’ (MBh.14.47.14; SivPur.5.1.10.76). This was then: ‘Tat’ (that) refers to the seed-form of the universe before its manifestation. Being remote, it is indicated by a pronoun denoting an object not directly perceived, for the universe that was to emanate from the Undifferentiated is related to past time. The particle ‘ha’ denoting tradition is used to make the meaning easily understood. When it is said, ‘It was then like this,’ one easily comprehends the causal state of the universe, although it is not an object of perception, just as when it is said, ‘There was a king named Yudhi-ṣṭhira.’ ‘This’ refers to the universe differentiated into name and form, consisting of means and ends, as described above. The co-ordination of the two words ‘that’ and ‘this,’ denoting respectively the remote and present states of the universe, indicates as identity of the universe in these two states, meaning that which was this, and this which was that was undifferentiated. From this it is clear that a non-existent effect is not produced, nor an existent effect lost. It, this sort of universe, having been undifferentiated, differentiated into name and form. The neuter-passive form of the verb indicates that it differentiated of itself, i.e. manifested itself till it could be clearly perceived in terms of name and form. (Since no effect can be produced without a cause) it is implied that this manifestation took place with the help of the usual auxiliaries, viz. the controller, the agent and the operation of the means. It was called such and such. The use of a pronoun not specifying any particular name indicates that it got some name such as Deva-datta or Yajña-datta. And was of such and such form: No particular form such as white or black is mentioned. It had some form, say white or black. So to this day it, an undifferentiated thing, is differentiated into name and form – it is called such and such, and is of such and such form.

This Self, which it is the aim of all scriptures to teach, on which differences of agent, action and result have been superimposed by primordial ignorance, which is the cause of the whole universe, of which name and form consist as they pass from the undifferentiated to the differentiated state, like foam, an impurity, appearing from limpid water, and which is distinct from that name and form, being intrinsically eternal pure, enlightened and free by nature – this Self, while manifesting undifferentiated name and form, which are a part of It, has entered into these bodies from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass, which are the support of the results of people’s actions, and are characterized by hunger etc.

Objection: It was stated before that the undifferentiated universe differentiated of itself. How then is it now stated that the Supreme Self, while manifesting that universe, has entered into it?

Reply: There is nothing wrong in it, for really the Supreme Self was meant as being identical with the undifferentiated universe. We have already said that that universe was necessarily manifested with the help of the controller, the agent and the operation (of the means). This is also borne out by the fact that the word ‘undifferentiated’ has been coordinately used with ‘this’. Just as this differentiated universe has several distinguishing features like the controller and other factors, which serve as its causes, similarly that undifferentiated universe also must not be without a single one of these distinguishing features. The only difference between them is that the one is differentiated and the other is not.

Moreover, we see in the world that people use expressions according to their wish, as for instance, ‘The village has come,’ and ‘The village is deserted.’ Sometimes they mean only a habitation, as when they use the latter expression. Sometimes they mean the inhabitants, as when they use the former expression. Sometimes again the word ‘village’ is used in both the senses, as in the sentence, ‘And one must not enter (Praviś) the village.’ Similarly here too, this universe is spoken of as both differentiated and undifferentiated to indicate the identity of the Self and not-Self. Likewise only the (manifested) universe is meant when it is said that this universe is characterized by origin and dissolution. Again, only the Self is meant in such expressions as, ‘(That) great, birthless Self’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22 & BrhUEng.4.4.24–5), ‘Not gross, not minute’ (BrhUEng.3.8.8 adapted), ‘This (self) is that which has been described as “Not this, not this,” etc.’ (BrhUEng.3.9.26; BrhUEng.4.2.4; BrhUEng.4.4.22; BrhUEng.4.5.15).

Objection: The manifested universe is always completely pervaded by the Supreme Self, is manifestor. So how is It conceived of as entering into it? Only a limited thing can enter into a space that is not occupied by it, as a man can enter into a village etc. But the space cannot enter into anything, since it is ever present in it.

Tentative answer (From now on a set of prima facie views will be presented. The decision will come later): The entrance in question may be the assumption of a different feature, as in the case of a snake born in a rock. To explain: The Supreme Self did not enter into the universe in Its own form, but, while in it, appeared under a different feature (That is, as the individual self); hence It is metaphorically spoken of as having entered it, like the snake that is born in a rock and is within it, or like the water in a coconut.

Objection: Not so, for the Śruti says, ‘After projecting it, the Self entered into it’ (TaitU.2.6.1). This text says that the Creator, after projecting the effect, entered into it unchanged. When it is said, ‘After eating he goes,’ the acts of eating and going, belonging to earlier and later periods, are separate from each other, but the agent is the same. This is an analogous case. It would not be possible if the Self remains in the universe and changes at the same time. Nor is an entity that has no parts and is unlimited ever seen to enter into something in the sense of leaving one place and being connected with another.

Tentative answer: Well, then, the Self has parts, for the Śruti speaks of Its entrance.

Objection: No, for there are Śruti texts like the following: ‘The Supreme Being is resplendent, formless’ (MunU.2.1.2), and ‘Without parts, devoid of activity’ (SvetU.6.19). Also there are Śruti texts denying all particular nameable attributes to the Self.

Tentative answer: The entrance may be like that of a reflection.

Objection: No, for it cannot be admitted that the Self is ever removed from anything.

Tentative answer: May it not be like the entrance of an attribute in a substance?

Objection: No, for the Self is not supported by anything. An attribute, which is always dependent on and supported by something else (the substance), is metaphorically spoken of as entering it. But Brahman cannot enter like that, for the Śrutis describe It as independent.

Tentative answer: Suppose we say that the Self has entered into the universe in the same sense as a seed enters into a fruit?

Objection: No, for then It would be subject to such attributes as being possessed of parts, growth and decay, birth and death. But the Self has no such attributes for it is against such Śruti texts as, ‘Birthless, undecaying’ (BrhUEng.4.4.25, adapted) as well as against reason.

Tentative answer: Well then, let us say some other entity that is relative and limited has entered into the universe.

Reply (by the Advaitin): Not so, for we find in the Śruti that beginning with, ‘That deity (Existence) thought’ (ChanU.6.3.2), and ending with, ‘And let me manifest name and form’ (ChanU.6.3.2), the same deity is spoken of as the agent of entering as well as manifesting the universe. Similarly, ‘After projecting it, the Self entered into it’ (TaitU.2.6.1), ‘Piercing this dividing line (of the head), It entered through that gate’ (AitU.1.3.12), ‘The Wise One, who after projecting all forms names them, and goes on uttering those names’ (TaitAr.3.12.7), ‘Thou art the boy, and Thou art the girl, Thou art the decrepit man trudging on his staff’ (SvetU.4.3), ‘He made bodies with two feet’ (BrhUEng.2.5.18), ‘He transformed Himself in accordance with each form’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; KathU.2.2.9–10) – these Śruti texts show that none other than the Supreme Self entered into the universe.

Objection: Since the objects It has entered into mutually differ, the Supreme Self (being identical with them) must be many.

Reply: No, for there are such Śruti texts as the following: ‘The same Lord resides in various ways’ (TaitAr.3.14.1), ‘Although one, It roamed in many ways’ (TaitAr.3.11.1), ‘Although one, Thou hast penetrated diverse things’ (TaitAr.3.14.3), ‘The one Lord is hidden in all beings, all-pervading and the Self of all’ (SvetU.6.11).

Objection: Leaving aside the question whether the Supreme Self can or cannot consistently enter, since those objects that have been entered into are subject to transmigration, and the Supreme Self is identical with them, It too comes under transmigration.

Reply: No, for the Śrutis speak of It as being beyond hunger etc.

Objection: It cannot be, for we see that It is happy or miserable, and so on.

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti says, ‘It is not affected by human misery, being beyond it’ (KathU.2.2.11).

Objection: This is not correct, for it conflicts with perception etc.

Reply: No, perception and the like have for their object only the particular form (the apparent self) that It takes owing to Its being the support of Its limiting adjunct (mind). Such Śruti texts as, ‘One cannot see the seer of sight’ (BrhUEng.3.4.2), ‘Through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the knower?’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), ‘It is never known, but is the Knower’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11), show that the consciousness in question is not of the Self, but that such perceptions as that one is happy or miserable, concern only the reflection of the Self in limiting adjuncts like the intellect, for in the perception, ‘I am this’ the subject is metaphorically spoken of as co-ordinate with the object (body). Besides, any other self is refuted by the statement, ‘There is no other witness but This’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11). Happiness or misery, being related to parts of the body, are attributes of the object.

Objection: This is wrong, for the Śruti speaks of their being for the satisfaction of the self, in the words, ‘But it is for one’s own sake (that all is loved)’ (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6).

Reply: Not so, for in the words, ‘When there is something else, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.31), it is taken for granted that the happiness, misery, etc. are for the satisfaction of the self while it is in a state of ignorance. They are not attributes of the self, for they are denied of the enlightened self, as in such passages as, ‘Then what should one see and through what?’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), ‘There is no difference whatsoever in It’ (BrhUEng.2.4.19; KathU.2.1.11), ‘Then what delusion and what grief can there be for one who sees unity?’ (IsU.7).

Objection: It is wrong, for it clashes with the system of logic (In which the self is supposed to possesses fourteen attributes, viz. intelligence, happiness, misery, and so on).

Reply: No; from the standpoint of reason too the Self cannot be miserable. For misery, being an object of perception, cannot affect the Self, which is not an object of perception.

Objection: The Self may have misery as the space has the attribute of sound.

Reply: No, for the two cannot be objects of the same consciousness. The consciousness that perceives happiness and deals with objects of perception only, cannot certainly be supposed to cognize the Self, which is ever to be inferred (The view of the old school of Nyāya as also the Sāṅkhyas). If It were so cognized, there would be no subject left, since there is only one Self.

Objection: Suppose we say that the same Self is both subject and object, like a lamp?

Reply: No, for It cannot be both simultaneously. Besides the Self cannot be supposed to have parts (As a lamp has, the flame illumining the rest of it). This also refutes the (Buddhist) view that the same consciousness is both subject and object. Moreover, we have no reason to infer that happiness and the Self, which are the objects of perception and inference respectively, stand to each other in the relation of attribute and substance; for misery is always an object of perception and abides in the same substance (body) that has form or color. Even if the misery of the Self is said to be due to Its contact with the mind (Vaiśeṣika view), it would make the Self a thing which has parts, is changeful and transitory, for no attribute is ever seen to come or go without making some change in the substance connected with it. And a thing which has no parts is never seen to change, nor is an eternal entity seen to possess transitory attributes. The space is not accepted as eternal by those who believe in the Vedas, and there is no other illustration.

Objection: Although a thing may change, yet, since the notion of its identity abides, it is eternal.

Reply: No, for change in a thing implies that its parts become otherwise.

Objection: Suppose we say that the same Self is eternal.

Reply: Not so, for a thing that has parts is produced by their combination, hence they may divide again.

Objection: It is wrong, for we do not see this in thunder, for instance.

Reply: Not so, for we can easily infer that it must have been preceded by a combination. Therefore the Self cannot be proved to have transitory attributes like misery.

Objection: If the Supreme Self has no misery, and there is no other entity to be miserable, then it is useless for the scriptures to try to remove misery.

Reply: Not so, for they are meant to remove the false notion of misery superimposed by ignorance. And the Self being admitted to imagine Itself as miserable, the scriptures help to remove that error, as in the case of the failure to count the tenth man, although he was there (Ten rustics swam across a stream, and one of them counted their number to see if everyone had safely crossed. To their dismay one was found missing. Then everyone took his turn at counting, but the result was the same. So they began to lament, when a kind passer-by inquired what it was all about. On being told what had happened, he readily understood the situation, and asked one of them to count again. When he stopped at nine, the new-comer said to him, ‘You are the tenth man.’ This he repeated with the rest of them. Then they saw their mistake and went away happy. Everyone had left himself out in the counting!).

Like the reflection of the sun etc. in water, the entrance of the Self means only Its being perceived like a reflection in the differentiated universe. Before the manifestation of the latter the Self is not perceived, but after it is manifested, the Self is perceived within the intellect, like the reflection of the sun etc. in water and the like. Because It is thus perceived as having entered, as it were, into the universe after manifesting it, It is indicated in such terms as the following: ‘This Self has entered into these bodies’ (this text), ‘After projecting it, the Self entered into it’ (TaitU.2.6.1), ‘Piercing this dividing line (of the head), It entered through what gate’ (AitU.1.3.12), and ‘That deity (Existence) thought: Well, let me enter into these three gods (fire, water, and earth) as this individual self’ etc. (ChanU.6.3.2). The all-pervading Self, which is without parts, can never be supposed to enter in the sense of leaving a certain quarter, place or time and being joined to new ones. Nor is there, as we have said, any other seer but the Supreme Self, as is testified by such Śruti texts as, ‘There is no other witness but This, no other hearer but This’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.8.11). The passages delineating the projection of the universe and the entrance of the Self into it as well as its continuance and dissolution, serve only as aids to the realization of the Self, for this is described in the Śrutis as the highest end of man. Witness such texts as the following: ‘It knew only Itself … Therefore It became all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (TaitU.2.1.1), ‘He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman’ (MunU.3.2.9), ‘He only knows who has got a teacher’ (ChanU.6.14.2), ‘It takes him only so long (as he does not give up the body),’ etc. (ChanU.6.14.2). And the Smṛtis, ‘Then knowing Me truly, he enters into Me’ (BhG.18.55), ‘That (Self-knowledge) is the chief of all knowledge, for it leads to immortality’ (ManSamh.12.85). Besides, since duality has been repudiated, the passages delineating the manifestation etc. of the universe can have the sole aim of helping the realization of the unity of the Self. Therefore we conclude that the entrance of the Self into the universe is but a metaphorical way of stating that It is perceived in the midst of the latter.

Up to the tip of the nails is the intelligence of the Self perceived. How It has entered is being explained: As in the world a razor may be put in its case, the barber’s instrument-bag – the razor is perceived as being within it – or as fire, which sustains the world, may be in its source, wood etc. – the predicate is to be repeated with ‘fire’ where it is perceived through friction. As a razor lies in one part of the case, or as fire lies in wood pervading it, so does the Self reside in the body pervading it in a general and particular way. There It is perceived as doing the functions of living as well as sight etc. Therefore people do not see It, realize the Self (As It is in reality, although they see Its conditioned aspect) that has thus entered into the body and does the above functions.

It may be urged that this statement, ‘People do not see It,’ repudiates something for which there was no occasion, for the vision of It is not the topic under consideration. The answer to it is: There is nothing wrong it it, for since the passages delineating the projection etc. of the universe are meant as aids to the realization of the unity of the Self, the vision of the Self is the subject under consideration. Compare the Śruti, ‘He transformed Himself in accordance with each form; that form of His was for the sake of making Him known’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19). Now the reason is being given why people see It only as doing the functions of the vital force etc. (but not as a whole): For It is incomplete when It does the above functions. Why incomplete? When It does the function of living, It is called the vital force.

Because of doing this function only, and none other, the Self is called the vital force, from the derivative meaning of the term, as one is called a cutter or a cook. Therefore, not combining the other aspects doing other functions, It is incomplete. Similarly, when It speaks, the organ of speech (or speaker); when It sees, the eye, or seer; when It hears, the ear, or listener. In the two sentences, ‘When It does the function of living, It is the vital force,’ and ‘When It speaks, the organ of speech,’ the manifestation of its power of action is indicated. While the two sentences, ‘When It sees, the eye’ and ‘When It hears, the ear,’ indicate the manifestation of Its power of knowledge, for this is concerned with name and form. The ear and the eye are the instruments of knowledge, which has name and form as its material, for there is nothing to be known except these two, and the ear and the eye are the instruments to perceive them. And action has name and form as its auxiliaries and inheres in the vital force; the organ of speech is the instrument to manifest this action inherent in the vital force. Likewise the Self is called the hand, the foot and the organs of excretion and generation, which are all suggested by the organ of speech. The whole differentiated universe is this much. It will be said later on, ‘This (universe) indeed consists of three things: name, form, and action’ (BrhUEng.1.6.1). And when It thinks, the mind, that which thinks. The word ‘mind’ also means the common instrument of the different manifestations of the power of knowledge. But here it denotes the Self, the agent who thinks.

These, the vital force etc., are merely Its names according to functions, not describing the Self as it is. Hence they do not express the entity of the Self as a whole. Thus the Self is differentiated by the activities of living etc. into name and form such as the vital force, which are engendered by those different activities, and is manifested at the same time (but not realized as a whole). He who meditates through his mind upon each of this totality of aspects doing the functions of living etc., qualified as the vital force or the eye, without combining the other aspects doing particular functions – meditates that this is the Self, does not know Brahman. Why? For It, this Self, is incomplete, being divided from this totality of aspects doing the functions of living etc. by possessing a single characteristic, and not including the other characteristics. As long as the man knows the Self as such, as possessed of the natural functions, and thinks that It sees, hears or touches, he does not really know the whole Self.

Through what kind of vision can he know It? This is being explained: The Self alone is to be meditated upon. That which possesses the characteristics such as living that have been mentioned – includes them – is the Self (The root-meaning of the word ‘Ātman’ is that which pervades everything). Combining all the characteristics, It then becomes the whole. It is as the Reality that It includes those characteristics due to the functions of particular limiting adjuncts such as the vital force. As it will be said later on ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.7). Therefore the Self alone is to be meditated upon. When perceived thus as the Reality, It becomes complete. How is It complete? This is being answered: For all these differences due to the limiting adjuncts such as the vital force, and denoted by names arising from the functions of living etc., as described above, are unified in It, become one with the unconditioned Self, as the different reflections of the sun in water become one in the sun.

‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ – this is not an original injunction (Apūrva-vidhi: It enjoins something totally unknown through any other source. There are two other kinds of injunction. One is the restrictive injunction, Niyama-vidhi, which only specifies which one among the possible known alternatives is to be adopted, and the other is exclusion, Parisaṅkhyā, or limitation to what is expressly mentioned, so that everything else is excluded) (but a restrictive one), for meditation on the Self is known as a possible alternative. (In fact, neither injunction is necessary on the point, for this meditation is inevitable, in the following way:) The knowledge of the Self has been imparted by such Śruti passages dealing with the subject as, ‘The Brahman that is immediate and direct’ (BrhUEng.3.4.1–2; BrhUEng.3.5.1), ‘Which is the Self? This (infinite entity) that is identified with the intellect,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.3.7). The very knowledge of the nature of the Self removes the ignorance about It, consisting in identification with the non-Self, and the superimposing of action, its factors, principal and subsidiary, and its results (on the Self). When that is removed, evils such as desire cannot exist, and consequently thinking of the non-Self is also gone. Hence on the principle of the residuum thinking of the Self follows as a matter of course. Therefore meditation on it, from this point of view, has not be enjoined, for it is already known (from other sources).

On this some say: Apart from the question whether meditation on the Self is known as just a possible alternative or as something that is always known, the present case must be an original injunction, for knowledge and meditation being the same, this (meditation on the Self) is not something already known. The clause, ‘He does not know,’ introduces knowledge, and the sentence, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ coming just after that, indicates that the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘meditation’ have the same meaning. Such Śruti texts as, ‘For one knows all these through It’ (this text), and ‘It knew only Itself’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), show that knowledge is meditation. And this, not being familiar to people, requires an injunction. Nor is a man induced to act merely by a statement of the nature of a thing. Therefore this must be an original injunction.

Its similarity to the injunctions about rites also corroborates this view. For instance, ‘One should sacrifice,’ ‘One should offer oblations,’ etc., are injunctions about rites, and we do not see any difference between these and the injunctions about meditation on the Self such as, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ and ‘The Self, my dear, is to be realized’ (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6). Besides knowledge is a mental act. Just as mental acts are enjoined by such (ritualistic) texts as, ‘Just before uttering the invocation ending with “Vaṣat” (the invoking priest) should meditate upon the deity to whom the offering is to made’ (AitBr.11.8), similarly cognitive acts are enjoined by such texts as, ‘This Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ ‘(The Self) is to be reflected on and meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6). And we have said that the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘meditation’ are synonymous. Another reason in support of this view is that the requisite effort (in meditation also) should have its three divisions. That is to say, just as in the effort in connection with the injunction, ‘One should sacrifice,’ we know that in order to satisfy our curiosity about the proposed act, it must have three divisions, viz. ‘What is it?’ ‘Through what means?’ and ‘In what way?’ – similarly, in the effort in connection with the injunction, ‘One should meditate,’ in answer to one’s queries regarding what to meditate upon, through what means to meditate, and in what way to meditate, the scriptures themselves support these three divisions by saying that the Self is to be meditated upon, through the mind, and by the practice of renunciation (Giving up forbidden acts as well as rites with material ends), continence, equanimity, self-control, self-withdrawal (Giving up the regular and occasional rites), fortitude etc., and so on. And just as the entire section dealing with the new and full moon sacrifices etc. is used as part of the injunction regarding these sacrifices, similarly the section of the Upaniṣads dealing with meditation on the Self must be used only as part of the injunction regarding this meditation. Such passages as ‘Not this, not this’ (BrhUEng.2.3.6), ‘Not gross,’ (BrhUEng.3.8.8), ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1), ‘Beyond hunger etc.’ (BrhUEng.3.5.1, adapted), are to be used as setting forth the particular nature of the Self, the object of meditation. And the result is liberation or the cessation of ignorance.

Others say that meditation generates a new special kind of consciousness regarding the Self, through which the latter is known, and which alone removes ignorance, and not the knowledge due to the Vedic dicta about the Self. And in support of this view they cite such texts as the following: ‘(The aspirant after Brahman) knowing about this alone, should attain intuitive knowledge’ (BrhUEng.4.4.21), ‘(The Self) is to be realized – to be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6), ‘That is to be sought, and That one should desire to realize’ (ChanU.8.7.1 & .3).

Both views are wrong, for there is no reference to anything else in the passage in question. To be explicit: The sentence, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ is not an original injunction. Why? Because except the knowledge that arises from the dictum setting forth the nature of the Self and refuting the non-Self, there is nothing to be done, either mentally or outwardly. An injunction is appropriate only where, over and above the knowledge that arises immediately from hearing a sentence of the nature of an injunction, an activity on the part of a man is easily understood, as in sentences like, ‘One who desires heaven must perform the new and full moon sacrifices.’ The knowledge arising from a sentence enjoining these sacrifices is certainly not the performance of them. This depends on considerations such as whether a person is entitled to perform them. But apart from the knowledge arising from such passages delineating the Self as ‘Not this, not this,’ there is no scope for human activity as in the case of the new and full moon sacrifices etc., because that knowledge puts a stop to all activity. For a neutral knowledge cannot initiate any activity, since such passages as, ‘One only without a second,’ and ‘Thou art That’ (ChanU.6.7.7), merely remove the consciousness of any other entity but the Self or Brahman. And when this is gone, no activity is possible, for they are contradictory to each other.

Objection: The mere knowledge arising from those passages does not suffice to remove the consciousness of entities other than the Self or Brahman.

Reply: Not so, for such passages as, ‘Thou art That,’ ‘Not this, not this,’ ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2), ‘One only without a second,’ ‘This universe is but Brahman and immortal’ (MunU.2.2.11), ‘There is no other witness but This’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11), and ‘Know that alone to be Brahman’ (KenU.1.5–9), describe the Reality alone.

Objection: Do they not supply the object for the injunction about realizing the Self.

Reply: No, for we have already answered that point by saying that there is no reference to anything else in those passages. That is to say, since sentences such as, ‘Thou art That,’ which only delineate the nature of the Self, immediately lead to Its realization, there is no further action to be done with regard to the injunction about that realization.

Objection: A man does not proceed to know the Self immediately on hearing a statement of the nature of the Self, unless there is an injunction to that effect.

Reply: Not so, for the knowledge of the Self is already attained by hearing the dictum about it. So what is the good of doing It over again?

Objection: He may not even proceed to hear about the Self. (So an injunction is necessary).

Reply: Not so, for it would lead to a regressus in infinitum. In other words, just as without an injunction he does not proceed to hear the meaning of a passage about the Self, similarly he would not, in the absence of another injunction, proceed to hear the meaning of a passage enjoining this; so another injunction is necessary. Similarly with that injunction too. Hence there would be a regressus in infinitum.

Objection: Is not the train of remembrance of the knowledge of the Self generated by the passage relating to It something different from the knowledge itself arising from the hearing of It (and hence that is to be prescribed)?

Reply: No, for the remembrance of the Self comes automatically. That is to say, as soon as the knowledge of the Self arises in consequence of hearing a dictum delineating It, it necessarily destroys the false notion about It. It could not arise otherwise. And when this false notion about the Self is gone, memories due to that, which are natural to man and concern the multitude of things other than the Self, cannot last. Moreover, everything else is then known to be an evil. In other words, when the Self is known, things other than It are realized as evils, being full of defects such as transitoriness, painfulness and impurity, while the Self is contrary to them. Therefore the memories of notions about the non-Self die out when the Self is known. As the only alternative left, the train of remembrance of the knowledge that the Self is one, which comes automatically, is not to be prescribed. Besides, the memory of the Self removes the painful defects such as grief, delusion, fear and effort, for these defects spring from the opposite kind of knowledge. Compare the Śruti texts, ‘Then what delusion can there be?’ (IsU.7), ‘Knowing (the bliss of Brahman) he is not afraid of anything’ (TaitU.2.9.1), ‘You have attained That which is free from fear, O Janaka’ (BrhUEng.4.2.4), ‘The knot of the heart is broken’ (MunU.2.2.8), and so on.

Objection: Well then, the control of the mind may be something different. In other words, since the control of mental states is something different from the knowledge of the Self arising from the Vedic texts, and since we know this has been prescribed for practice in another system (Yoga), let this be enjoined.

Reply: No, for it is not known as a means of liberation. In the Upaniṣads nothing is spoken of as a means to the attainment of the highest end of man except the knowledge of the identity of the self and Brahman. Witness hundreds of Śruti texts like the following: ‘It knew only Itself … Therefore It became all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (TaitU.2.1.1), ‘He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman’ (MunU.3.2.9), ‘He only knows who has got a teacher. It takes him only so long (as he does not give up the body)’ (ChanU.6.14.2), ‘He who knows it as such indeed becomes the fearless Brahman’ (BrhUEng.4.4.25; NrsUtU.8). Besides there is no other means for the control of mental states except the knowledge of the Self and the train of remembrance about it. We have said this as a tentative admission; really we know of no other means of liberation except the knowledge of Brahman.

Moreover, there being no curiosity to know, no effort is necessary. To be explicit: You said, in the effort in connection with injunction such as, ‘One should sacrifice,’ there is the curiosity to know what the sacrifice is about, what its means are, and how it is to be performed, and it is satisfied by the mention of the goal, the means and the method of the sacrifices; similarly here too, in the injunction about the knowledge of the Self, those things are necessary. But you are wrong, for all curiosity is ended as soon as one knows the meaning of such texts as, ‘One only without a second,’ ‘Thou art That,’ ‘Not this, not this,’ ‘Without interior or exterior’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; BrhUEng.3.8.8), and ‘This self is Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; ManU.2). And a man does not proceed to know the meaning of those passages, prompted by an injunction. We have already said that if another injunction is needed for this, it would lead to a regressus in infintum. Nor is an injunction noticed in such sentences as ‘Brahman is one only without a second,’ for they finish by simply stating the nature of the Self.

Objection: Do they not lose their authority (as Vedas) by being mere statements of the nature of a thing? In other words, just as passages like, ‘He (the deity Fire) cried. That is why he was called Rudra’ (TaitS.1.5.1.1), being a mere narration of an event (And not an injunction, which is the sole test of authority for the Vedas according to the Mīmāṃsakas), have no authority, so also the passages delineating the Self have more.

Reply: Not so, for there is a difference (between the two sets of passages). The test of the authority or otherwise of a passage is not whether it states a fact or an action, but its capacity to generate certain and fruitful knowledge. A passage that has this is authoritative, and one that lacks it, is not. But we want to ask you: Is or is not certain and fruitful knowledge generated by passages setting forth the nature of the Self, and if so, how can they lose their authority? Do you not see the result of knowledge in the removal of the evils which are the root of transmigration, such as ignorance, grief, delusion and fear? Or do you not hear those hundreds of Upaniṣadic texts such as, ‘Then what delusion and what grief can there be for one who sees unity?’ (IsU.7), ‘I am but a knower of (Vedic) Mantras, not of the Self, so I am tormented with grief, and you, sir, must take me beyond the reach of it’ (ChanU.7.1.3). Do passages like, ‘He cried,’ lead to this kind of certain and fruitful knowledge? If they do not, they may well be without authority. But how can the fact of their having no authority take away the authority of passages leading to certain and fruitful knowledge? And if these are without authority, what trust one can repose in passages dealing with the new and full moon sacrifices, for instance?

Objection: These have authority because they generate knowledge leading to action on the part of a man. But passages inculcating the knowledge of the Self do not do that.

Reply: True, but it is nothing against them, for there is reason enough for their authority. And that reason is what we have already stated, and none other. It is not a reason to disprove the authority of passages inculcating the Self that they generate knowledge which has the effect of destroying the seeds of all activity, rather it is their ornament. You said sentences like, ‘(The aspirant after Brahman) knowing about this alone should attain intuitive knowledge,’ convey the necessity of meditation in addition to knowing the meaning of the Vedic dicta. It is true, but they do not constitute an original injunction. Since meditation on the Self is already known as a possible alternative, they can only be restrictive.

Objection; How is that meditation already known as a possible alternative, since, as you said, on the principle of the residuum the train of remembrance of the knowledge of the Self is an inevitable fact?

Reply: It is true, but nevertheless, since the resultant of past actions that led to the formation of the present body must produce definite results, speech, mind and the body are bound to work even after the highest realization, for actions that have begun to bear fruit are stronger than knowledge; as for instance an arrow that has been let fly continues its course for some time. Hence the operation of knowledge, being weaker than they, (is liable to be interrupted by them and) becomes only a possible alternative. Therefore there is need to regulate the train of remembrance of the knowledge of the Self by having recourse to means such as renunciation and dispassion; but it is not something that is to be originally enjoined, being, as we said, already known as a possible alternative. Hence we conclude that passages such as, ‘(The aspirant after Brahman) knowing about this alone, should attain intuitive knowledge,’ are only meant to lay down the rule that the train of remembrance – already known (as a possible alternative) – of the knowledge of the Self must be kept up, for they can have no other import.

Objection: This should be a meditation on the non-Self, for the particle ‘iti’ (as) has been used. In passages such as, ‘It should be meditated upon as dear’ (BrhUEng.4.1.3), the meaning is not that features such as dearness are to be meditated upon, but that the vital force etc. possessing these features should be meditated upon. Similarly here also, from the use of the particle ‘iti’ along with the word ‘Self’ it is understood that something other than the Self (i.e. the Undifferentiated) but having the features of the Self is to be meditated upon. Another reason in support of this view is the difference of the passage in question from another where the Self is presented as the object of meditation. For instance, it will be stated later on, ‘One should meditate only upon the world of the Self’ (BrhUEng.1.4.15). In that passage the Self alone is meant to be the object of meditation, for there is the accusative inflexion in the word ‘Self.’ Here, however, there is no accusative inflexion, but the particle ‘iti’ is used along with the word ‘Self.’ Hence it is understood that the Self is not the object of meditation here, but something else having the features of the Self.

Reply: No, for at the end of this very passage (this text) the Self alone, we find, is presented as the object of meditation, ‘Of all these, this Self alone should be realized,’ (and elsewhere), ‘This Self which is innermost’ (BrhUEng.1.4.8), and ‘It knew only Itself’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10).

Objection: The Self is not the object of meditation, for the vision of that which entered is negated. In other words, the Śruti precludes the vision of that very Self whose entrance (into the universe) was described, for the words, ‘People do not see It’ (this text), refer to the Self which is under consideration. Hence the Self is certainly not to be meditated upon.

Reply: Not so, for this is because of the defect of incompleteness. In other words, the preclusion of the vision is only to indicate the defect of incompleteness in the Self, not to forbid It as an object of meditation, for It is qualified by possessing the functions of living etc. If the Self were not meant to be the object of meditation, the mention of Its incompleteness when endowed with single functions such as living, in the passage, ‘For It is incomplete (being divided) from this totality by possessing a single characteristic’ (this text), would be meaningless. Hence the conclusion is that Self alone which is not possessed of single features is to be meditated upon, for It is complete. The use of the particle ‘iti’ along with the word ‘Self,’ to which you referred, only signifies that the truth of the Self is really beyond the scope of the term and the concept ‘Self.’ Otherwise the Śruti would only say, ‘One should meditate upon the Self.’ But this would imply that the term and the concept ‘Self’ were permissible with regard to the Self. That, however, is repugnant to the Śruti. Witness such passages as ‘Not this, not this’ (BrhUEng.2.3.6), ‘Through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the Knower?’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), ‘It is never known, but is the Knower’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11), and ‘Whence speech returns baffled together with the mind’ (TaitU.2.4.1 and TaitU.2.9.1). As for the passage, ‘One should meditate only upon the world of the Self,’ since it is meant to preclude the possibility of meditation on things other than the Self, it does not convey a different meaning from the one we have been discussing.

Objection: Since they are alike incompletely known, the Self and the non-Self are both to be known. Such being the case, why should care be taken to know the Self alone, as is evident from the passage, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ and not the other?

Reply: Of all these, this entity called Self, which we are considering alone should be realized, and nothing else. The ‘of’ has a partitive force, meaning ‘among all these.’

Objection: Is the rest not to be known at all?

Reply: Not so. Although it is to be known, it does not require a separate knowledge over and above that of the Self. Why? For one knows all these things other than the Self through It, when the Self is known.

Objection: But we cannot know one thing by knowing another.

Reply: We shall answer the point while explaining the passage relating to the drum etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.7).

Objection: How is the Self the one that should be realized?

Reply: Just as in the world one may get a missing animal that is wanted back, by searching it through its footprints – ‘foot’ here means the ground with the print of hoof-marks left by a cow etc. – similarly when the Self is attained, everything is automatically attained. This is the idea.

Objection: The topic was knowledge – when the Self is known, everything else is known. So why is a different topic, viz. attainment, introduced here?

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti uses the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘attainment’ as synonymous. The non-attainment of the Self is but the ignorance of It. Hence the knowledge of the Self is Its attainment. The attainment of the Self cannot be, as in the case of things other than It, the obtaining of something not obtained before, for here there is no difference between the person attaining and the object attained. Where the Self has to attain something other than Itself, the Self is the attainer and the non-Self is the object attained. This, not being already attained, is separated by acts such as producing, and is to be attained by the initiation of a particular action with the help of particular auxiliaries. And that attainment of something new is transitory, being due to desire and action that are themselves the product of a false notion, like the birth of a son etc. in a dream. But this Self is the very opposite of that. By the very fact of Its being the Self, It is not separated by acts such as producing. But although It is always attained, It is separated by ignorance only. Just as when a mother-of-pearl through mistake as a piece of silver, the non-apprehension of the former, although it is being perceived all the while, is merely due to the obstruction of the false impression, and its (subsequent) apprehension is but knowledge, for this is what removes the obstruction of false impression, similarly here also the non-attainment of the Self is merely due to the obstruction of ignorance. Therefore the attainment of It is simply the removal of that obstruction by knowledge; in no other sense it is consistent. Hence we shall explain how for the realization of the Self every other means but knowledge is useless. Therefore the Śruti, wishing to express the indubitable identity of meaning of knowledge and attainment, says after introducing knowledge, ‘May get,’ for the root ‘vid’ also means ‘to get.’

Now the result of meditation on the characteristic is being stated: He who knows It as such, knows how this Self, entering into name and form, became famous through that name and form as the ‘Self,’ and got the association of the vital force etc., obtains fame and association with his dear ones. Or, he who knows the Self as described above obtains Kirti or the knowledge of unity coveted by seekers of liberation, and Śloka or liberation which results from that knowledge – gets these primary results of knowledge.
🔗  Here is another reason why the Self should be known to the exclusion of everything else. This Self is dearer than a son: A son is universally held dear in the world; but the Self is dearer than he, which shows that It is extremely dear. Similarly dearer than wealth such as gold or jewels, and everything else, whatever is admittedly held dear in the world. Why is the Self dearer than those things, and not the organs etc.? This is being explained: And is innermost. The body and the organs are inner and nearer to oneself than a son or wealth, for instance, which are external things. But this Self is nearer than those even. A thing which is extremely dear deserves to be attained by the utmost effort. So is this Self, which is dearer than everything else held dear in the world. Therefore one should make the utmost effort to attain It, even abandoning that which is imposed as a duty (By the scriptures; e.g. marriage, for the sake of having son) on one, for the attainment of other dear objects. But one may ask, when both Self and non-self are dear, and the choice of one means the rejection of the other, why should the Self alone be chosen to the exclusion of the other, and not inversely? This is being answered: Should a person holding the Self as dear say to one calling anything else but the Self, such as a son, dearer than the Self, ‘What you hold dear, for instance, the son, will die (lit. will meet with the extinction of life)’ – Why does he say like this? Because he is certainly competent to say so. Hence – it, what he said, will indeed come true, the dear one will dies, for he speaks the truth. Therefore he is in a position to say like that. Some say that the word ‘Īśvara’ (competent) means ‘swift.’ It might if it was commonly used in that sense. Therefore, giving up all other dear things, one should meditate upon the Self alone as dear. Of him who meditates upon the Self alone as dear, who knows that the Self alone is dear and nothing else, and thinks of It with the full conviction that the other things commonly held dear are really anything but dear – of one possessed of this knowledge the dear ones are not mortal. This is a mere restatement of a universal fact (Viz that everybody has dear ones and suffers when they die. Although the knower of Brahman has no such limited vision and therefore does not suffer on that account, yet he is here described in terms that are merely conventional), for a knower of the Self has nothing else to call dear or the opposite. Or it may be a eulogy on the choice of the Self as dear (in preference to non-Self); or it may be the declaration of a result for one who is an imperfect knower of the Self, if he meditates upon the Self as dear, for a suffix signifying a habit has been used in the word ‘Pramāyuka’ (mortal) (Since mortal things cannot be immortal, it only means that they attain longer life by virtue of this meditation).
🔗  In the words, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7); the knowledge of Brahman which it is the aim of the whole Upaniṣad to impart, has been briefly indicated. With a view to explaining this aphorism, the Śruti, in order to state the necessity of this knowledge, makes this introduction: They say. ‘Tat’ (that) is preparatory to what is going to be unfolded in the next clause. ‘They’ refers to those seekers of Brahman who, on getting a teacher who is like a boat on that boundless ocean which has for its water the painful struggle due to rotation in the cycle of birth, decay and death, desire to cross that ocean, and being disgusted with the world of means and ends consisting of righteousness and unrighteousness, their means and their results, long to attain the eternal, supreme good which is entirely, different from the above. What do they say? This is being stated: Men think, ‘Through the knowledge of Brahman or the Supreme Self we shall become all, excluding nothing.’ The use of the word ‘men’ indicates their special aptitude for this as they are specially qualified for the achievement of prosperity and liberation. This is the idea. As those seekers think with regard to rites that they would bring sure results, similarly they think that the knowledge of Brahman is sure to lead to identity with all, for the Vedas are equally the authority for both. Now this seems to be something inconsistent, hence we ask, what did that Brahman by knowing which men think they will become all, know by which It became all? And the Śrutis say that It is all. If It became all without knowing anything, let it be the same with others too, what is the use of the knowledge of Brahman? If, on the other hand, It became all by knowing something, then this identity with all which is the result of the knowledge of Brahman, being the product of knowledge, becomes just like the result of an action, and therefore transitory. There would also be a regressus in infinitum, viz. that too had become all by knowing something else, that eariler thing, again, by knowing something else, and so on. We take it for granted than It did not become all without knowing something, for that would be distorting the meaning of the scriptures. But the charge of the result being transitory stands, does it not? – Nor, none of those charges can be leveled at it, for there is a particular meaning to it.
🔗  If indeed that Brahman became all by knowing something, we ask, what was it? To this objection the text gives the following absolutely faultless reply –
Prima facie view: Brahman here must be the conditioned Brahman (The view of an earlier commentator (Vṛtti-kāra), for then only can the identity with all be the product of effort. The Supreme Brahman cannot become all as a result of knowledge. But this identity with all is spoken of as a result of knowledge: ‘Therefore It became all.’ Hence the Brahman referred to in the passage, ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning,’ must be the conditioned Brahman.

Or, since men alone are qualified (for this identification with all), the word ‘Brahman’ may refer to a future knower of Brahman who will be identified with It. For in the passage, ‘Men think … we shall become all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.9), men have been introduced, and it has already been said that they alone are specially qualified for the practice of the means of prosperity and liberation – neither the Supreme Brahman nor Hiraṇya-garbha, the conditioned Brahman. Therefore by the word ‘Brahman’ is meant a man who through the knowledge of the conditioned Brahman – identified with the whole universe – combined with rites, attained identity with the conditioned Brahman (Hiraṇya-garbha), and turning away from all enjoyments (in that state) and having broken his ties of desire and action by attaining everything, sought unity with the Supreme Brahman through the knowledge of It. It is a common occurrence in the world that words are used having reference to future states, as in the sentence, ‘They are cooking rice (‘Rice’ here means the cooked grains),’ and in the scriptures too, ‘The monk (He can be a monk only after the sacrifice), after performing a sacrifice in which wishing fearlessness to all beings is his fee to the priests,’ etc. (VasSmrt.10). Similarly here also Brahman means a man desiring to know Brahman and aspiring identity with It. This is the view of some (Bhartṛ-prapañca, another commentator).

Reply: Not so, for that kind of identity with all would be open to the charge of transitoriness. There is no such thing in the world that really assumes a different state through some cause and still is eternal. Similarly, if identity with all be due to the knowledge of Brahman, it cannot at the same time by eternal. And if it be transitory, it would be, as we have already said, like the result of an action. But if by identity with all you mean the cessation, through the knowledge of Brahman, of that idea of not being all which is due to ignorance, then it would be futile to understand by the term ‘Brahman’ a man who will be Brahman. Even before knowing Brahman, everybody, being Brahman, is really always identical with all, but ignorance superimposes on him the idea that he is not Brahman and not all, as a mother-of-pearl is mistaken for silver, or as the sky is imagined to be concave, or blue, or the like. Similarly, if you think that here also the idea of not being Brahman and not being all that has been superimposed on Brahman by ignorance, is removed by the knowledge of Brahman, then, since the Vedas speak the truth, it is proper to say that what was really the Supreme Brahman is referred to in the sentence, ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning,’ for that is the primary meaning of the word ‘Brahman.’ But one must not think that the word ‘Brahman’ here means a man who will be Brahman, which would be contrary to the meaning of that term. For it is wrong to give up the plain meaning of a word used in the Śruti and put a new meaning in its place, unless there is a higher purpose behind it.

Objection: But the fact of not being Brahman and not being all exists apart from the creation of ignorance.

Reply: No, for then it cannot be removed by the knowledge of Brahman. This knowledge has never been observed either directly to remove some characteristic of a thing or to create one. But everywhere it is seen to remove ignorance. Similarly here also let the idea of not being Brahman and not being all that is due to ignorance, be removed by the knowledge of Brahman, but it can neither create nor put a stop to a real entity. Hence it is entirely futile to give up the plain meaning of a word used in the Śruti and put a new meaning in its place.

Objection: But is not ignorance out of place in Brahman?

Reply: Not so, for knowledge regarding Brahman has been enjoined. When there has been no superimposition of silver on a mother-or-pearl, and it is directly visible, no one takes the trouble to say it is a mother-of-pearl, and not silver. Similarly, were there no superimposition of ignorance on Brahman, the knowledge of unity regarding Brahman would not be enjoined in such terms as the following: All this is Existence, All this is Brahman (Adapted from ChanU.6.2.1 and MunU.2.2.11 respectively). ‘All this is the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2), and This duality has no existence apart from Brahman (An echo of BrhUEng.4.4.19).

Objection: We do not say that there is no superimposition on Brahman of attributes not belonging to It, as in the case of a mother-of-pearl, but that Brahman is not the cause of the superimposition of these attributes on Itself, nor the author of ignorance.

Reply: Let it be so. Brahman is not the author of ignorance nor subject to error. But it is not admitted that there is any other conscious entity but Brahman which is the author of ignorance or subject to error. Witness such Śruti texts as, ‘There is no other knower but Him’ (BrhUEng.3.7.23), ‘There is no other knower but This’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11), ‘Thou art That’ (ChanU.6.8.7), ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman” ’ (this text), and ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know’ (ChanU.6.8.7). And the Smṛtis: ‘(Living) the same in all beings’ (BhG.13.27), ‘I am the self, O Arjuna (dwelling in the minds of all beings)’ (BhG.10.20), and ‘(Wise men are even-minded) to a dog as well as a Caṇḍāla’ (BhG.5.18). And the Vedic Mantras: ‘He who (sees) all beings (in himself)’ (IsU.6), and ‘When all beings (have become his self)’ (IsU.7).

Objection: In that case scriptural instruction is useless.

Reply: Quite so, let it be, when the truth has been known.

Objection: But it is also useless to know the truth.

Reply: No, for we see it removes ignorance.

Objection: If there is unity, this removal of ignorance also is impossible.

Reply: Not so, for it contradicts experience. We actually see that the knowledge of unity alone dispels ignorance. If you deny an observed fact, saying it is impossible, you would be contradicting experience, a thing which nobody will allow. Nor is there any question of impossibility with regard to an observed fact, because it has actually been observed.

Objection: But this observation also is impossible.

Reply: There also the same logic will apply.

Objection: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work’ (BrhUEng.3.2.13), ‘It is followed by knowledge, work’ (BrhUEng.4.4.2), ‘The individual self, the Puruṣa, is a thinker, knower and doer’ (PrasU.4.9) – from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as well as from reason we know that there is a transmigrating self other than and distinct from the Supreme Self. And the latter is known to be distinct from the former from such Śruti texts as the following: ‘This (Self) is That which has been described as “Not this, not this,” ’ (BrhUEng.3.4.26), ‘It transcends hunger etc. (Adapted from BrhUEng.3.5.1),’ ‘The Self that is sinless, undecaying, deathless’ (ChanU.8.7.13), and ‘Under the mighty rule of this Immutable’ (BrhUEng.3.8.9). Again, in the systems of logic (Vaiśeṣika and Nyāya) advocated by Kaṇāda and Gautama, the existence of a God distinct from the transmigrating self is established through argument. That the latter is different from God is clearly seen from its activity due to its desire to get rid of the misery of relative existence. Also from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as: ‘It is without speech and without zeal’ (ChanU.3.14.2), and ‘I have no duties, O Arjuna’ (BhG.3.32). And from the distinct mention of God as the object of search and the individual self as the seeker, in such (Śruti) passages as: ‘That is to be sought, and That one should desire to realize’ (ChanU.8.7.1, .3), ‘Knowing It one is not touched (by evil action)’ (BrhUEng.4.4.23), ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (TaitU.2.1.1), ‘It should be realized in one form only’ (BrhUEng.4.4.20), ‘He, O Gārgī, who without knowing this Immutable’ (BrhUEng.3.8.10), ‘Knowing It alone, the sage’ (BrhUEng.4.4.21), and ‘The syllable Om is called the bow, the individual self the arrow, and Brahman the target’ (MunU.2.2.4). Another reason for the difference is the mention of a journey, particular routes and a destination for a seeker of liberation. If there is no difference, who should make the journey and how, and in the absence of this, two particular routes, viz. the southern and northern, are meaningless, and the destination as well. But if the individual self is different from the Supreme Self, all this would be consistent. Also they must be different because the scriptures prescribe the two means, viz. rites and knowledge. If the individual self is different from Brahman, the teaching of rites and knowledge as means to prosperity and liberation respectively may aptly apply to it, but not to God, for the objects of His desire are eternally attained. Therefore it is proper to understand the word ‘Brahman’ in the sense of a man aspiring to be Brahman.

Reply: No, for then instruction about Brahman would be useless. If a man subject to transmigration and only aspiring to be identified with Brahman became all by knowing himself to be Brahman, although he was not It, then instruction about the Supreme Brahman is certainly useless, for he attained identity with all as a result of knowing only the transmigrating self, and the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman is never utilized (By scriptural injunctions, making it a subsidiary part of rites) for attaining human ends.

Objection: The instruction is only meant for the man subject to transmigration, so that he may practice the meditation based on resemblance (This is a kind of meditation known as ‘Sampad’, in which an inferior thing is thought of as a superior thing through some common features, often fanciful) with regard to Brahman as, ‘I am Brahman.’ For if he does not fully know the nature of Brahman, with what can he identify himself in fancy as, ‘I am Brahman’? This meditation based on resemblance is possible only when the characteristics of Brahman are fully known.

Reply: Not so, for we know that the words ‘Brahman’ and ‘self’ are synonymous, being used thousands of times in co-ordination in such texts as the following: ‘This self is Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; ManU.2), ‘The Brahman that is immediate and direct’ (BrhUEng.3.4.1–2; BrhUEng.3.5.1), ‘The Self (that is sinless)’ (ChanU.8.7.1, .3), ‘It is truth, It is the Self’ (ChanU.6.8.7 etc.) and ‘The knower of Brahman attains the highest’ (TaitU.2.1.1), these last introductory words (in TaitU.2.1.1) being shortly after followed by the words, ‘From this Self,’ etc. (to TaitU.2.1.1). The meditation based on resemblance is performed when the two things concerned are different, not when they are identical. And the sentence, ‘This all is the Self’ (BrhUEng.2.4.6), shows the unity of the Self under consideration that is to be realized. Therefore the Self cannot be regarded as Brahman through the meditation based on resemblance.

Nor do we see any other necessity for instruction about Brahman, for the Śruti mentions identification with It in the passages, ‘(He who) knows (that Supreme) Brahman becomes Brahman’ (BrhUEng.3.2.9), ‘You have attained That which is free from fear, O Janaka’ (BrhUEng.4.2.4), and ‘He … becomes the fearless Brahman’ (BrhUEng.4.4.25). If the meditation based on resemblance were meant, this identity would not take place, for one thing cannot become another.

Objection: On the strength of scriptural statements, even the meditation based on resemblance may led to identity.

Reply: No, for this meditation is only an idea. And knowledge, as we have said, only removes the false notion, it does not create anything. Nor can a scriptural statement impart any power to a thing. For it is an accepted principle that the scriptures are only informative, not creative (They only give first-hand information about things unknown. They do not produce anything new). Besides, in the passage, ‘This Self has entered into these bodies,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.7), it is clear that the Supreme Self alone has entered. Therefore the view that the word ‘Brahman’ means a man who will be Brahman, is not a sound one. Another reason is that it contradicts the intended meaning. The desired import of this whole Upaniṣad is the knowledge that Brahman is without interior or exterior and homogeneous like a lump of salt, as is known from, the assertion, made at the end of both Madhu and Muni Kāṇḍas (Consisting of chapter 1 – 2 and 3 – 4 respectively), ‘This is the teaching’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19), and ‘This much indeed is (the means of) immortality, my dear’ (BrhUEng.4.5.15). Similarly, in the Upaniṣads of all recensions the knowledge of the unity of Brahman (self) is the certain import. If, therefore, the passage in question is interpreted to mean that the transmigrating self, which is different from Brahman, knew itself, the desired meaning of the Upaniṣads would be contradicted. And in that case the scripture, having its beginning and end not tallying with each other, would be considered inconsistent. Moreover, the name would be out of place. In other words, if in the passage, ‘It knew only Itself’, the word ‘It’ is supposed to refer to the transmigrating self, the name given to the knowledge would not be ‘the knowledge of Brahman,’ for then, ‘It knew only Itself,’ should mean that the transmigrating self was the entity that was known.

Objection: Suppose we say that the word ‘Self’ refers to an entity other than the knower (Which, according to the opponent, is the individual self. Hence the entity known would be Brahman, thus justifying the name of the knowledge).

Reply: Not so, for there is the specification, ‘I am Brahman.’ If the entity known were other than the knower, the specification should be, ‘It is Brahman,’ or ‘That is Brahman,’ and not ‘I am Brahman.’ But since it is, ‘I am Brahman,’ and there is the assertion, ‘It knew only Itself,’ we know it for certain that the self is Brahman. And then only the name ‘the knowledge of Brahman’ would be appropriate, not otherwise. In the other case it would be ‘the knowledge of the transmigrating self.’ Nor can the same entity really be both Brahman and not Brahman, just as the sun cannot be both bright and dark, for these are contradictory features. And if both were the cause of the name, there should not be the sure appellation ‘the knowledge of Brahman.’ It should then be ‘the knowledge of Brahman and of the transmigrating self.’ Nor in proceeding to expound the knowledge of Truth should one present the reality as an absurdity, like a woman, for instance, being one-half old and one-half young. That will only cause doubt in the mind of the listener. Whereas it is sure knowledge that is regarded as leading to liberation, the goal of human life, as is evidenced by the following Śruti and Smṛti texts: ‘He who really has (the conviction that he will attain the conditioned Brahman after death) and has no doubt about it (does attain him)’ (ChanU.3.14.4), and ‘The doubting man perishes’ (BhG.4.40). Hence one who wishes to do good to others should not use expressions of a doubtful import.

Objection: To think that Brahman, like us, is a seeker of liberation, is not proper, and that is what we see in the passage, ‘It knew only Itself … Therefore It became all.

Reply: Not so, for by saying this you will be flouting the scriptures. It is not our idea, but that of the scriptures. Hence your fling hits them. And you who wish to please Brahman should not give up the real meaning of the scriptures by fancying things contrary to it. Nor should you lose your patience over this much only, for all plurality is but imagined in Brahman, as we know from hundreds of texts like the following: ‘It should be realized in one form only’ (BrhUEng.4.4.20), ‘There is no difference whatsoever in Brahman’ (BrhUEng.4.4.19; KathU.2.1.11), ‘When there is duality, as it were’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), and ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1). Since the whole phenomenal world is imagined in Brahman alone and is not real, you say very little when you condemn this particular idea as improper.

Therefore the conclusion is that the word ‘Brahman’ refers to that Brahman which projected the universe and entered into it.

This, the Brahman (self) that is perceived as being in this body, was indeed – this word is emphatic – Brahman, and all, in the beginning, even before realization. But owing to ignorance it superimposes on itself the notion that it is not Brahman, and that it is not all, and consequently thinks, through mistake, that it is an agent, possessed of activity, the experiencer of its fruits, happy or miserable, and transmigrating. But really it is Brahman different from all the foregoing and is all. Being somehow awakened by a merciful teacher who told it that it was not subject to transmigration, ‘It knew only Itself,’ its own natural Self, that is, which is free from differentiations superimposed by ignorance. This is the meaning of the particle ‘eva’ (only).

Objection: Tell me, what is that natural Self which Brahman knew?

Reply: Do you not remember the Self? It has been pointed out as the one that entering into these bodies does the function of the Prāṇa, Apāna, Vyāna, Udāna and Samāna (See commentary on BrhUEng.1.5.3).

Objection: You are describing It as one would describe a cow or a horse by simply saying, ‘It is a cow,’ or ‘It is a horse.’ You do not show the Self directly.

Reply: Well then, the Self is the seer, hearer, thinker and knower.

Objection: Here also you do not directly point out the nature of that which does the function of seeing etc. Going is surely not the nature of one who goes, nor cutting that of a cutter.

Reply: In that case the Self is the seer of sight, the hearer of hearing, the thinker of thought and the knower of knowledge.

Objection: But what difference does it make in the seer? Whether it be the seer of sight or of a jar, it is but the seer under all circumstances. By saying ‘The seer of sight’ you are simply stating a difference as regards the object seen. But the seer, whether it be the seer of sight or of a jar, is just the same.

Reply: No, for there is a difference, and it is this: If that which is the seer of sight is identical with that sight, it always visualizes the latter, and there is never a time when sight is not visualized by the seer. So the vision of the seer must be eternal. It if were transitory, then sight, which is the object visualized, may sometimes not be seen, as a jar, for instance, may not always be perceived by the transitory vision. But the seer of sight never ceases to visualize sight like that.

Objection: Has the seer then two kinds of vision, one eternal and invisible, and the other transitory and visible?

Reply: Yes. The transitory vision is familiar to us, for we see some people are blind, and others are not. If the eternal vision were the only one in existence, all people would be possessed of vision. But the vision of the seer is an eternal one, for the Śruti says, ‘The vision of the witness can never be lost’ (BrhUEng.4.3.23). From inference also we know this. For we find even a blind man has vision consisting of the impressions of a jar etc. in dreams. This shows that the vision of the seer is not lost with the loss of the other kind of vision. Through that unfailing eternal vision, which is identical with It and is called the self-effulgent light, the Self always sees the other, transitory vision in the dream and waking states, as idea and perception respectively, and becomes the seer of sight. Such being the case, the vision itself is Its nature, like the heat of fire, and there is no other conscious (or unconscious) seer over and above the vision, as the Vaiśeṣikas maintain.

It, Brahman, knew only Itself, the eternal vision, devoid of the transitory vision etc. superimposed on It.

Objection: But knowing the knower is self-contradictory, for the Śruti says, ‘One should not try to know the knower of knowledge’ (BrhUEng.3.4.2).

Reply: No, this sort of knowledge involves no contradiction. The Self is indeed known thus, as ‘the seer of sight.’ Also it does not depend on any other knowledge. He who knows that the vision of the seer is eternal, does not wish to see It in any other way. This wish to see the seer automatically stops because of its very impossibility, for nobody hankers after a thing that does not exist. And that sight which is itself an object of vision does not dare to visualize the seer, in which case one might wish to do it. Nor does anybody want to see himself. Therefore the sentence, ‘It knew only Itself,’ only means the cessation of the superimposition of ignorance, and not the actual cognizing of the Self as an object.

How did It know Itself? As ‘I am Brahman, the Self that is the seer of sight.’ ‘Brahman’ is That which is immediate and direct, the Self that is within all, beyond hunger and the like, described as ‘Not this, not this’ neither gross nor subtle, and so on. ‘I am, as you (The teacher) said, That and no other, not the transmigrating self.’ Therefore, from knowing thus, It, Brahman, became all. Since by the cessation of the superimposed notion of not being Brahman, its effect, the notion of not being all, was also gone, therefore It became all. Hence men are justified in thinking that through the knowledge of Brahman they would become all. The question, “Well, what did that Brahman know by which It became all?’ has been answered: ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning. It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman.” Therefore It became all.’

And whoever among the gods knew It, the Self, in the manner described above, that awakened self also became That, Brahman. And the same with sages and men. The words ‘gods’ etc. are used from the conventional point of view, not from that of the vision of Brahman. We have already said that it is Brahman which has entered everywhere, as set forth in the passage, ‘That Supreme Being first entered the bodies’ (BrhUEng.2.5.18). Hence the words ‘gods’ etc. are used from the conventional standpoint determined by the limiting adjuncts such as the body. Really it was Brahman which was in those divine and other bodies even before realization, being only looked upon as something else. It knew only Itself and thereby became all.

To strengthen the import of the passage that this knowledge of Brahman leads to identity with all, the Śruti quotes some Mantras. How? The sage called Vāma-deva, while realizing this, his own self, as identical with That, Brahman, knew, from this realization of Brahman, i.e. in that state of realization of the identity of the self, and Brahman, visualized these Mantras, ‘I was Manu, and the sun,’ etc. (RgV.4.26.1). The expression, ‘While realizing this (self) as That’ – Brahman – refers to the knowledge of Brahman. And the words, ‘I was Manu, and the sun,’ refer to its result, identity with all. By the use of the form (The suffix Śatṛ, denoting concurrence), ‘While realising’ It he attained this result, viz. identity with all, the Śruti shows that liberation is attainable through the aid of the knowledge of Brahman, as in the expression, ‘While eating he is getting satisfaction.’ Someone may think that the gods, who are great, attained this identity with all through the knowledge of Brahman because of their extraordinary power, but those of this age, particularly men, can never attain it owing to their limited power. In order to remove this notion the text says: And to this day whoever, curbing his interest in external things, in like manner knows It, the Brahman under consideration which has entered into all beings and is indicated by the functions of seeing etc., i.e. his own Self, as, ‘I am Brahman,’ which is untouched by the attributes of the phenomenal universe, is without interior or exterior and absolute, by discarding the differences superimposed by the false notion created by limiting adjuncts, becomes all this, owing to his notion of incompleteness – the effect of ignorance – being removed by the knowledge of Brahman. For there is no difference as regards Brahman or the knowledge of It between giants like Vāma-deva and the human weaklings of today. But, one may suppose, the result of the knowledge of Brahman may be uncertain in the case of the present generation. This is answered as follows: Even the gods, powerful as they may be, cannot prevail against him, the man who has known Brahman in the manner described above – have not the capacity to stop his becoming Brahman and all, much less others.

Objection: Is there any ground for supposing that the gods and others can thwart the attainment of the results of the knowledge of Brahman?

Reply: Yes, because men are indebted to them. The Śruti text, ‘(Every Brāhmaṇa – twice-born – by his very birth is indebted) to the sages in respect of continence, to the gods in respect of sacrifices, and to the Manes in respect of progeny’ (TaitS.6.3.10.5), shows that a man by his very birth is under certain obligations. And we know it from the illustration of animals (in this text). There is also the text, ‘Now this self (the ignorant man),’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.16), describing him as an object of enjoyment for all, which shows that it is reasonable to suppose that the gods, in order to maintain their livelihood, may hinder men, who are dependent, from attaining immortality, as creditors do with their debtors. The gods also protect their animals like their own bodies, for the Śruti will show that each man being equivalent to many animals, the gods have a great source of livelihood in the rites performed by him. It will presently be stated, ‘Therefore it is not liked by them that men should know this’ (this text), and ‘Just as one wishes safety to one’s body, so do all beings wish safety to him who knows it as such’ (BrhUEng.1.4.16). From the mention of dislike and safety we understand that the gods think that when a man attains the knowledge of Brahman, he will cease to be their object of enjoyment and their animal, for his dependence will end. Therefore the gods may very well hinder a prospective knower of Brahman from attaining the results of the knowledge of Brahman, for they are also powerful.

Objection: In that case the gods may find it like drinking a beverage to obstruct the fruition of results in other spheres too, viz. rites. Well, it would shake one’s faith in the performance of the means of achieving prosperity and liberation. Similarly God also, being of inscrutable power, can put obstacles, as also time, action, sacred formulas, herbs and austerities, which, as we know from the scriptures as well as experience, can help or hinder the fruition of results. This too would shake one’s faith in the performance of scriptural rites.

Reply: Not so, for all things spring from definite causes, and we also see variety in the universe. Both these will be inconsistent if things happen spontaneously. Since it is the accepted view of the Vedas, Smṛtis, reasoning and tradition that happiness, misery, and the like are the outcome of one’s past work, the gods, or God, or time by no means upset the results of work, for these depend on requisite factors. Work, good or bad, that men do cannot come into being without the help of factors such as the gods, time and God, and even if it did, it would not have the power to produce results, for it is the very nature of work to spring from many causes such as the different factors. Therefore the gods, God and others being auxiliaries to work, there is another to shake our faith in the attainment of its results.

Sometimes also (in the matter of thwarting) they have to depend on the past work of men, for its inherent power cannot be checked. And there is no fixity about the relative predominance of past work, time, destiny and the nature of things etc.; it is inscrutable, and hence throws people into confusion. Some, for instance, say that in bringing about results one’s past work is the only factor. Others say it is destiny. A third group mentions time. Still others say it is the nature of things etc. While yet another group maintains it is all these things combined. Regarding this the Vedas and Smṛtis uphold the primacy of past work, as in the passage, ‘One indeed becomes good through good work and evil through evil work’ (BrhUEng.3.2.13), and so on. Although one or other of these at times gains ascendancy in its own sphere over the rest, whose potential superiority lies in abeyance for the time being, yet there is no uncertainty about work producing results, for the importance of work is decided by the scriptures as well as reason (The variety that we see in the world can be explained only as the outcome of men’s diverse past work).

Nor (can the gods check the result of knowledge), for the realization of Brahman, which is this result, consists in the mere cessation of ignorance. It has been suggested that the gods may thwart the attainment of Brahman, which is the result expected from the knowledge of It; but they do not have that power. Why? Because this result, the attainment of Brahman, immediately follows the knowledge. How? As in the world a form is revealed as soon as the observer’s eye is in touch with light, similarly the very moment that one has a knowledge of the Supreme Self, ignorance regarding It must disappear. Hence, the effects of ignorance being impossible in the presence of the knowledge of Brahman, like the effects of darkness in the presence of a lamp, whom should the gods thwart and by what means, for is not the knower of Brahman the self of the gods? This is what the text says: ‘For he, the knower of Brahman, becomes their self, the reality of these gods, the object of their meditation, the Brahman that is to be known from all scriptures, simultaneously with the knowledge of Brahman, since, as we have said, the only obstruction of ignorance vanishes then and there, like a mother-of-pearl mistaken for a piece of silver becoming itself again. Hence the gods cannot possibly try to stand against their own self. They succeed in their effort to put obstacles only in the case of one who seeks a result which is other than the Self and is separated by space, time and causation, but not with regard to this sage, who becomes their self simultaneously with the awakening of knowledge, and is not separated by space, time and causation for there is no room for opposition here.

Objection: In that case, since there is not a stream of consciousness about knowledge (of Brahman), and since we see that a consciousness of an opposite nature together with its effects persists, let us say that only the last (The one arising at the moment of death) consciousness of the Self removes ignorance, and not the first one.

Reply: No, for your ground of inference will be falsified on account of the first. If the first consciousness of the Self does not remove ignorance, neither will the last, for they are alike consciousness of the Self.

Objection: Well then, let us say, it is not the isolated consciousness that removes ignorance, but that which is continuous.

Reply: Not so, for there cannot be a continuity, since it would be broken by thoughts of self-preservation etc. So long as these crop up, there cannot be an unbroken stream of consciousness about knowledge, for the two are contradictory.

Objection: Suppose the latter continues till death to the exclusion of the former.

Reply: Not so, for the uncertainty about the requisite number of thoughts to make up that stream would be open to the charge of making the meaning of the scriptures indefinite. In other words, there being nothing to determine that so many thoughts would make up a stream that will remove ignorance, it would be impossible to determine the meaning of the scriptures, which is not desirable.

Objection: The meaning is quite definite, for in so far as it is a stream of consciousness, it will remove ignorance.

Reply: No, for there is no difference between the first and the last stream of consciousness. There being nothing to determine whether it is the first stream of consciousness about knowledge that removes ignorance, or the last one ending with the moment of death, they too would be open to those two charges already mentioned with regard to the first and last thoughts.

Objection: Well then, let us say that knowledge does not remove ignorance.

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti says, ‘Therefore It became all,’ as also, ‘The knot of the heart is broken,’ etc. (MunU.2.2.8), ‘Then what delusion can there be?’ (IsU.7), and so on.

Objection: These may be mere eulogies.

Reply: No, for then the Upaniṣads in all the recensions would be classed as such, for they have just this one aim.

Objection: Suppose we say that they are but eulogies, for they deal with the self which is already known through perception (As the basis of our ego-consciousness).

Reply: No, for we have already refuted that contention (The ego-consciousness deals with the individual self, not the Supreme Self, the Witness). Also we have said that knowledge produces palpable results, viz. the cessation of such evils as ignorance, grief, delusion and fear. Therefore there can be no question about knowledge removing ignorance, whether it be first or last, continuous or non-continuous, for knowledge culminates in producing the cessation of ignorance and other evils. Any consciousness that produces this result, whether first or last, continuous or non-continuous, is knowledge according to us. Hence there is no scope whatsoever for any objection.

You said, the first consciousness does not remove ignorance, because we see that a consciousness of an opposite nature to knowledge together with its effects persists. This is wrong, for the residue of Prārabdha work is the cause of the persistence of the body after knowledge. In other words, that resultant of past work which led to the formation of the present body (Prārabdha), being the outcome of false notions (Notions opposed to reality considering the non-Self to be the Self and vice versa) and the evils (of attachment etc.), is able to bear fruit only as such, i.e. as coupled with those notions and evils; hence until the body falls, it cannot but produce, as part of one’s experience of the results of past work, just so much of false notions and the evils of attachment etc., for the past work that made this body has already begun to bear fruit and must run its course like an arrow that has been shot. Therefore knowledge cannot stop that, for they are not contradictory. What does it do then? It stops the effects of ignorance which are contradictory to it and are about to spring up from (the ignorance lying in) the self, which is the substratum of that knowledge, for they have not yet appeared. But the other is past.

Moreover, false notions do not arise in a man of realization, for there is then no object for them. Whenever a false notion arises, it does so on account of a certain similarity of something to another, without ascertaining the particular nature of that thing, as when a mother-of-pearl is mistaken for a piece of silver. And this can nor more happen to one who has ascertained the particular nature of that thing, for the source of all false notions (that cursory resemblance) has been destroyed; as they no more appear when a right perception of the mother-of-pearl, for instance, has taken place. Sometimes, however, memories due to the impressions of false notions, antecedent to the dawning of knowledge, simulating those notions, suddenly appear and throw him into the error regarding them as actual false notions; as one who is familiar with the points of the compass sometimes all of a sudden gets confused about them. If even a man of realization comes to have false notions as before, then faith in realization itself being shaken, no one would care to understand the meaning of the scriptures, and all evidences of knowledge would cease to be such, for then there would be no distinction between things that are valid evidences and those that are not. This also answers the question why the body does not fall immediately after realization. The destruction of actions done before, after and at the time of realization as well as those accumulated in past lives – actions that have not yet begun to bear fruit – is proved by the very negation of obstructions to the attainment of results in the present text, as also from such Śruti texts as the following: ‘And his actions are destroyed’ (MunU.2.2.8), ‘It takes him only so long (as he does not give up his body)’ (ChanU.6.14.2), ‘All demerits are burnt up’ (ChanU.5.24.3), ‘Knowing It one is not touched by evil action’ (BrhUEng.4.4.23), ‘He is never overtaken by these two thoughts (of having done good and evil acts)’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22), ‘Actions done or omitted do not trouble him’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22), ‘(Remorse for doing evil and not doing good) does not trouble him’ (TaitU.2.9.1), and ‘He is not afraid of anything’ (TaitU.2.9.1). Also from such Smṛti texts as the following: ‘The fire of knowledge reduces all actions to ashes’ (BhG.4.37).

The objection that he is tied up by his obligations (to the gods etc.) is not valid, for they concern an ignorant man. It is he who is under those obligations, for he can be presumed to be an agent and so forth. It will be said later on, ‘When there is something else, as it were, then one can see something’ (BrhUEng.4.3.31). These last words show that the acts of seeing etc. together with their results, which are dependent on many factors created by ignorance, are possible only in the state of ignorance, when the Self, the Reality that has no second, appears as something else, like a second moon when one has got the disease of double vision (Timira). But the text, ‘Then what should one see and through what?’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15) shows that work is impossible in the state of knowledge, when the illusion of manifoldness created by ignorance has been destroyed. Therefore the indebtedness in question belongs only to an ignorant man, for whom it is possible to work, and to none else. We shall show this at length while dealing with passages that are yet to be explained.

As, for instance, here. While he, one is not a knower of Brahman, who worships another god, a god different from himself, approaches him in a subordinate position, offering him praises, salutations, sacrifices, presents, devotion, meditation, etc., thinking, ‘He is one, non-self, different from me, and I am another, qualified for rites, and I must serve him like a debtor’ – worships him with such ideas, does not know the truth. He, this ignorant man, has not only the evil of ignorance, but is also like an animal to the gods. As a cow or other animals are utilized through their services such as carrying loads or yielding milk, so is this man of use to every one of the gods and others on account of his many services such as the performance of sacrifices. That is to say, he is therefore engaged to do all kinds of services for them.

The scriptural rites, with or without the accompaniment of meditation, which this ignorant man, for whom the divisions of caste, order of life and so forth exist, and who is bound to those rites, performs, lead to progress beginning with human birth and ending with identity with Hiraṇya-garbha. While his natural activities, as distinguished from those prescribed by the scriptures, lead to degradation beginning with the human birth itself and ending with identity with stationary objects. That it is so we shall explain in the latter part of this chapter beginning with, ‘There are indeed three worlds’ (BrhUEng.1.5.16), and continuing right up to the end. While the effect of knowledge (meditation) has been briefly shown to be identity with all. The whole of this Upaniṣad is exclusively devoted to showing the distinction between the spheres of knowledge and ignorance. We shall show that this is the import of the whole book.

Since it is so, therefore the gods can thwart as well as help an ignorant man. This is being shown: As in the world many animals such as cows or horses serve a man, their owner and controller, so does each ignorant man, equivalent to many animals, serve the gods. This last word is suggestive of the Manes and others as well. He thinks, ‘This Indra and the other gods are different from me and are my masters. I shall worship them like a servant through praises, salutations, sacrifices, etc., and shall attain as results prosperity and liberation granted by them. Now, in the world, even if one animal of a man possessing many such is taken away, seized by a tiger, for instance, it causes great anguish. Similarly what is there to wonder at if the gods feel mortified when a man, equivalent to many animals, gets rid of the idea that he is their creature, as when a householder is robbed of many animals? Therefore it is not liked by them, these gods – what? – that men should somehow know this truth of the identity of the self and Brahman. So the revered Vyāsa writes in the Anugītā, ‘The world of the gods, O Arjuna, is filled with those who perform rites. And the gods do not like that mortals should surpass them’ (MBh.14.20.59). Hence as men try to save animals from being seized by tigers etc., so the gods seek to prevent men from attaining the knowledge of Brahman lest they should cease to be their objects of enjoyment. Those, however, whom they wish to set free, they endow with faith and the like; while the opposite class they visit with lack of faith etc. Therefore a seeker of liberation should be devoted to worshiping the gods, have faith and devotion, be obedient (to the gods) and be alert about the attainment of knowledge or about knowledge itself. The mention of the dislike of the gods is an indirect hint at all this.

In the sentence, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7) the gist (The knowledge of Brahman) of the scriptures has been put in a nutshell. In order to explain it, its relation (To the resulting identification with the universe, and so on. The relation here is that of means and end), and utility have also been stated in the eulogistic passage, ‘They say: Men think,’ etc., (BrhUEng.1.4.9). And that ignorance is the cause of one’s belonging to the relative plane has been stated in the passage, ‘While he who worships another god,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.10). There it has been said that an ignorant man is indebted and dependent like an animal, having to do duties for the gods etc. What is the cause of their having to do those duties? The different castes and order of life. The following paragraphs are introduced in order to explain what these castes are, because of which this dependent man is bound to the rites connected with them, and transmigrates. It is to explain this in detail that the creation of Indra and other gods was not mentioned immediately after that of Fire. This last, however, was described to complete the picture of creation by Virāj. It should be understood that this creation of Indra and other gods also belongs to that, being a part of it. It is being described here only to indicate the reason why the ignorant man alone is qualified for the performance of rites.
🔗  In the beginning this, the Kṣatriya and other castes, was indeed Brahman, identical with that Brahman (Virāj) who after manifesting Fire assumed the form of that. He is called Brahman, because he identified himself with the Brāhmaṇa caste. One only: Then there was no differentiation into other castes such as the Kṣatriya. Being one, i.e. without any protector etc. such as the Kṣatriya, he did not flourish, i.e. could not do his work properly. Hence he, Virāj, thinking, ‘I am a Brāhmaṇa, and these are my duties,’ in order to create duties pertaining to a Brāhmaṇa by birth – to glorify himself as a performer of rites – specially, pre-eminently, projected an excellent form. What is that? The caste called Kṣatriya. This is being pointed out by a reference to its individuals. Those who are well known in the world as Kṣatriyas among the gods. The plural is used (in ‘Kṣatriyas’), as in grammar a word denoting a caste may be optionally in the plural (See Panini I. ii. 58). Or because there are many individuals in a caste, the difference is figuratively transferred to the group. Who are they? This the text answers by mentioning particularly the anointed ones: Indra, the King of gods; Varuṇa, of the aquatic animals; the moon, of the Brāhmaṇas; Rudra, of the beasts; Parjanya, of lightning etc.; Yama, of the Manes; Death, of disease etc.; and Īśāna, of luminaries. These are some of the Kṣatriyas, among the gods. It should be understood that after them the human Kṣatriyas, Purū-ravas and others belonging to the Lunar and Solar dynasties, presided over by the Kṣatriya gods, Indra and the rest, were also created. For the creation of the gods is mentioned for this very purpose. Because Virāj created the Kṣatriyas with some special eminence attached to them, therefore there is none higher than the Kṣatriya, who is the controller of the Brāhmaṇa caste even. Hence the Brāhmaṇa, although he is the source of him, worships the Kṣatriya, who has a higher seat, from a lower position. Where? In the Rāja-sūya sacrifice. He imparts that glory or fame which belongs to him, viz. the title of Brahman, to the Kṣatriya. That is to say, when the king, anointed for the Rāja-sūya sacrifice, addresses the priest from his chair as ‘Brahman,’ the latter replies to him, ‘You, O King, are Brahman.’ This is referred to in the sentence, ‘He imparts that glory to the Kṣatriya.’ The Brāhmaṇa, who is the topic under consideration, is indeed the source of the Kṣatriya. Therefore, although the king attains supremacy, viz. the distinction of being anointed for the Rāja-sūya sacrifice, at the end of it, when the ceremony is over, he resorts to the Brāhmaṇa, his source, i.e. puts the priest forward. But he who, proud of his strength, slights or looks down upon the Brāhmaṇa, his own source, strikes at or destroys his own source. He becomes more wicked by doing this The Kṣatriya is already wicked on account of his cruelty, and he is more so by hurting his own source, as in life one is more wicked by slighting one’s superior.
🔗  Yet, even after projecting the Kṣatriyas, he, Virāj, did not flourish in his work, as before, for want of someone to acquire wealth. He projected the Vaiśya, in order to acquire wealth which is the means of performing rites. Who is that Vaiśya? Those species of gods who are designated in groups. The Vaiśyas abound in groups, for they succeed in acquiring wealth mostly in combination, not singly. – The suffix in the word ‘Jāta’ does not change the meaning. – The Vasus, a group of eight: similarly the eleven Rudras, the twelve Ādityas, the thirteen Viśva-devas, sons of Viśva, or the word may mean ‘all the gods,’ and the forty-nine Maruts, in seven groups.
🔗  For want of a servant he did not still flourish. He projected the Śūdra caste. In the word ‘Śaudra’ there is a lengthening of the vowel without any change of meaning. What was this Śūdra caste that was projected? Pūṣan, he who nourishes. Who is this Pūṣan? He is being particularly pointed out: This earth is Pūṣan. The Śruti itself gives the derivation: For it nourishes all this that exists.
🔗  Yet, even after projecting the four castes, he did not flourish, fearing that the Kṣatriya, being fierce, might be unruly. He specially projected that excellent form. What is it? Righteousness. This righteousness, the projected excellent form is the controller of even the Kṣatriya, fiercer than that fierce race even. ‘Yat’ should be changed into ‘Yaḥ.’ Therefore, since it is the controller of even the Kṣatriya, there is nothing higher than that, for it controls all. The text proceeds to explain how it is: So even a weak man hopes to defeat a stronger man than himself through the strength of righteousness, as in life a householder contending even with the king, who is the most powerful of all. Therefore it goes without saying that righteousness, being stronger than everything else, is the controller of all. That righteousness, which is expressed as conduct, being practiced by people, is verily truth. ‘Truth’ is the fact of being in accordance with the scriptures. The same thing, when it is practiced, is called righteousness, and when it is understood to be in accordance with the scriptures, is truth. Since it is so, therefore bystanders knowing the difference between them say about a person speaking of truth, i.e. what is in accordance with the scriptures in dealing with another, ‘He speaks of righteousness,’ or well-known conventional propriety. Conversely also, about a person speaking of righteousness or conventional conduct, they say, ‘He speaks of truth,’ or what is in accordance with the scriptures. For both these that have been described, that which is known and that which is practiced, are but righteousness. Therefore that righteousness in its double aspect of knowledge and practice controls all, those that know the scriptures as well as those that do not. Therefore it is the ‘controller of the Kṣatriya.’ Hence an ignorant man identified with righteousness, in order to practice its particular forms, identifies himself with one or other of the castes, Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya or Śūdra, which is the pre-condition of that practice; and these are naturally the means that quality one for the performance of rites.
🔗  (So) these four castes were projected – the Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. They are repeated here together in order to introduce what follows. He, Brahman, the Projector (Virāj), became a Brāhmaṇa among the gods as Fire, and in no other form, and became a Brāhmaṇa among men as the Brāhmaṇa, directly. In the other castes he appeared in a changed form (That is, having first become Fire and the Brāhmaṇa): (He became) a Kṣatriya through the (divine) Kṣatriyas, i.e. being presided over by Indra and other gods; a Vaiśya through the (divine) Vaiśyas (Presided over by the Vasus etc.) and a Śūdra through the (divine) Śūdra (Presided over by Pūṣan). Because Brahman, the Projector, was changed in the Kṣatriya and other castes, and was unchanged in Fire and the Brāhmaṇa, therefore people desire to attain the results of their rites among the gods through fire, i.e. by performing rites connected with it. It is for this purpose that Brahman abides in the form of fire, which is the receptacle in which sacrificial rites are performed. Therefore it stands to reason that people wish to attain results by performing those rites in the fire. And among men as the Brāhmaṇa: If they want human results, there is no need for rites depending on fire etc., but simply by being born as a Brāhmaṇa they attain their life’s ends. And it is only when they desire to attain results that depend on the gods, that they have to resort to rites connected with fire. The Smṛti, too, says, ‘But a Brāhmaṇa may undoubtedly attain perfection through the repetition of sacred formulas (This is suggestive also of the duties belonging to his caste), whether he does other rites (connected with fire) or not. A Brāhmaṇa is one who is friendly to all’ (ManSamh.2.87). Also because the monastic life is open to him only. Therefore people seek to attain the results of their rites, so far as they belong to the human plane, by attaining Brāhmaṇahood. For Brahman, the Projector, was directly in these two forms, the Brāhmaṇa and fire, that are respectively the agent and the receptacle of the rites.

Some (Bhartṛ-prapañca is meant) explain the passage differently, saying that people wish to realize the world of the Supreme Self by means of fire and the Brāhmaṇa (By offering oblations and presents respectively). This is wrong, for the division of castes has been introduced in order to defend the undertaking of rites by people who are under ignorance, and a specification also follows. If the word ‘world’ here refers to the Supreme Self, the specification that follows, viz. ‘Without realizing one’s own world (the Self),’ would be meaningless. If the world in question that is prayed for as being dependent on fire, is any other world but the Self, then only the specification by the word ‘own’ would be consistent with refuting that extraneous world. The world that is the Self is always denoted by the words ‘one’s own,’ while those that are created by ignorance can never be ‘one’s own.’ That the worlds attained through rites are not ‘one’s own’ is stated by the words, ‘(Those acts) are surely exhausted.’

One may object: Brahman projected the four castes for the sake of ritualistic work. And that work, called righteousness, being obligatory on all, controls all and helps them to achieve their life’s ends. Therefore, it by that work one attains one’s own world called the Supreme Self, although It may be unknown, what is the good of setting It up as the goal? This is being answered: ‘If, however, – the word ‘however’ refutes the prima facie view – anybody, owing to identification with the rites depending on fire, or with the duties belonging to the Brāhmaṇa caste, departs or dies from this transmigratory, adventitious and extraneous world consisting of the taking up of a body and caused by ignorance, desire and work, without realizing his own world called the Self – because It is always one’s own Self – as, ‘I am Brahman,’ It – although It is his own world, yet – being unknown, obstructed by ignorance and therefore virtually becoming extraneous to oneself, does not protect him by removing his evils such as grief, delusion and fear – as the man in the story (the conventional ‘self’) fails to protect himself for not knowing that he is the missing tenth man. As the Vedas not studied do not protect a man by enlightening him on the rites etc., or any other, secular, work, e.g. agriculture, not undertaken, not manifested in its own form, does not protect anybody by bestowing its results, similarly the Supreme Self, although It is one’s own world, on account of not being manifested in Its own form as the eternal Self, does not protect one by destroying one’s ignorance etc.

Objection: What is the good of seeking protection through the realization of one’s own world, the Self? Since the rites are sure to produce results, and there are a great many rites conducive to beneficent results, the protection that they will afford will be everlasting.

Reply: Not so, for anything made is perishable. This is being stated: Even if a man, a wonderful genius, who does not know It, his own world, the Self, as such, in the manner described above, continuously performs a great many meritorious acts such as the horse sacrifice, producing only beneficent results, in the world, with the idea that through those alone he will attain eternity, those acts of his, of this ignorant man, being due to desire created by ignorance, are surely exhausted in the end, when he has enjoyed their fruits, like the splendor arising from the fantasy of a dream. They are bound to be perishable, for their causes, ignorance and desire, are unstable. Hence there is no hope whatsoever that the protection afforded by the results of meritorious acts will be eternal. Therefore one should meditate only upon the world of the Self, one’s own world. The word ‘Self’ is here used in an identical sense with the last words, for ‘one’s own world’ is the topic, and here the words ‘one’s own’ are omitted. He who meditates only upon the world of the Self – what happens to him? – never has his work exhausted, simply because he has no work. This is a restatement of an eternal fact. That is to say, an ignorant man continuously suffers from the misery of transmigration by way of exhaustion of the results of his work. Not so this sage. As Emperor Janaka said, ‘If Mithilā is ablaze, nothing of mine is burning’ (MBh.12.176.56).

Some say that the ritualistic work itself of a sage who meditates upon the world of his own Self never decays, because of its combination with meditation. And they interpret the word ‘world’ as inseparably connected with rites in a double aspect: One is the manifested world called Hiraṇya-garbha, which is the repository of ritualistic work, and he who meditates upon this manifested, limited world connected with ritualistic work has his work exhausted, for he identifies himself with the result of limited work. But he who meditates upon that very world connected with work by reducing it to its causal form, the undifferentiated state, does not have his work exhausted, as he identifies himself with the result of unlimited work. This is a nice conceit, but not according to the Śruti, for the words ‘one’s own world’ refer to the Supreme Self which is under consideration. Also, after introducing It in the words ‘one’s own world’ the text again refers to It by dropping the qualifying phrase ‘one’s own’ and using the word ‘Self’ in the sentence, ‘One should meditate only upon the world of the Self.’ So there is no scope for conceiving a world connected with ritulistic work. Another reason for this is the qualification further on by words signifying pure knowledge, ‘What shall we achieve through children, we who have attained this Self, this world (result)?’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22). The words ‘this Self our world (A paraphrase of a portion of the previous sentence)’ mark It off from the worlds attainable through a son, ritualistic work and lower knowledge (meditation). Also, ‘His world is not destroyed by any kind of work’ (KausU.3.1), and ‘This is its highest world’ (BrhUEng.4.3.32). The passage in question ought to have the same import as those just quoted, with the qualifying words. For, here also we find the specification ‘one’s own world.’

Objection: You are wrong, for the sage desires objects through this. That is to say, if ‘one’s own world’ is the Supreme Self, then by meditating upon It one will become That. In that case it is not proper to mention results apart from the attainment of the Self, as in the passage, ‘From this (very) Self he projects whatever he wants’ (this text).

Reply: Not so, for the passage extols meditation on the world of the Self. The meaning is that the world of the Self alone stands for all that is desirable to him, for he has nothing else but It to ask for, since he has already attained all his objects. Just as another Śruti puts it, ‘From the Self is the vital force, from the Self is hope’ (ChanU.7.26.1). Or the passage may indicate that he is identified with all, as before (BrhUEng.1.4.10). If he becomes one with the Supreme Self, then only it is proper to use the word ‘Self’ in the phrase ‘from this very Self,’ meaning, ‘from one’s own world, the Self,’ which is the topic. Otherwise the text would have specified it by saying, ‘From the world of work in an undifferentiated state,’ to distinguish it from the world of the Supreme Self as well as from work in a manifested state. But since the Supreme Self has already been introduced (as ‘one’s own world’) and been subsequently specified (by the word ‘Self’), you cannot assume an intermediate state not mentioned in the Śruti.
🔗  It has been said that an ignorant man identifying himself with his caste, order of life, and so on, and being controlled by righteousness, thinks he has certain duties to the gods and others and is dependent on them like an animal. Now what are those duties that make him so dependent, and who are the gods and others whom he serves through his actions like an animal? To answer this the text deals with both at length –
Now – this word is introductory – this self, the householder qualified for rites, who is the subject under consideration, and who being ignorant identifies himself with this microcosm consisting of the body, organs, and so on, is an object of enjoyment to all beings, from the gods down to the ants, being helpful to them through the performance of the duties of their caste, order of life, etc. Now, through what particular duties do they help each particular class, for which they are called the objects of enjoyment to them, and what are these particular classes? This is being answered: That he, this householder, makes oblations in the fire and performs sacrifices, etc. The latter is dedicating some of his things to the gods, and the former is finally offering them in the fire. By this twofold imperative duty he is tied to the gods, being dependent on them like animals. Hence he is their object of enjoyment. That he studies the Vedas daily is how he becomes an object of enjoyment to the Ṛṣis. That he makes offerings to the Manes, of cakes, water, etc., and desires children, tries to obtain them – ‘desire’ here includes the having of them i.e. raises children, is how he becomes such an object to the Manes. Through this bounden duty he is subservient to the Manes as an object of enjoyment. That he gives shelter to men in his house by giving them a place to sit on, water for washing, and so on, as well as food to these people who stay, or to others who do not stay, but ask for food, is how he becomes an object of enjoyment to men. That he gives fodder and water to the animals is how he becomes such an object to them. And that beasts and birds, and even the ants, feed in his home on the crumbs, the offerings made to them, washings of utensils, etc. is how he becomes an object of enjoyment to these.

Because he helps the gods and others by so many services, therefore just as one wishes safety, non-destruction, continuity of the idea of possession, to one’s body, maintains it in all respects by nourishing and protecting it lest one should lose one’s hold on it, so do all beings, the gods and the rest described above, wish safety, non-destruction, to him who knows it as such, who thinks that he is an object of enjoyment to all beings, and that he must discharge his obligations like a debtor as above. That is, they protect him in all respects to safeguard their rights on him, as a householder does his animals. It has been said, ‘Therefore it is not liked by them,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.10). This, that the above mentioned duties must be discharged like debts, indeed has been known from the section dealing with the five (Viz those meant for the gods, the Ṛṣis, the Manes, men and animals. They have been described in the text) great sacrifices (SatBr.1.7.2.6), and discussed in the section on the sacrificial offerings (SatBr.1.7.2.1).

If by knowing Brahman he gets rid of that bondage of duty which makes him an animal, as it were, under what compulsion does he take up the bondage of ritualistic work as if he were helpless, and not the pursuit of knowledge which is the means of freedom from that?

Objection: Has it not been said that the gods guard him?

Reply: Yes, but they too guard only those who, being qualified for rites, are under their authority. Otherwise this would be attaining the results of actions not done and forfeiting those of actions actually done. But they do not guard any and every man not particularly qualified for rites. Therefore there must be something, goaded by which a man becomes averse to one’s own world, the Self, as if he were helpless.

Objection: Is it not ignorance, for only an ignorant man becomes averse to his own self and engages in activity?

Reply: That is not the motive power either, for it merely conceals the true nature of a things. But it indirectly becomes the root of initiating action, just as blindness is the cause of one’s falling into a pit etc.

Objection: Well then, say what is the cause of a man’s activity.

Reply: That is being stated here – it is desire. As the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (KathU.1.2.5) says that fools, being under ignorance which is natural to man, are outgoing in their tendencies and pursue objects of desire. And the Smṛti also says, ‘It is desire, it is anger (Which is desire thwarted),’ etc. (BhG.3.37). And the Manu Saṃhitā (ManSamh.2.4) also describes all activity as being due to desire. This import is being elaborated here up to the end of the chapter:
🔗  This was but the self in the beginning, before marriage. ‘Self’ here means a natural, ignorant man of the upper three castes identified with the body and organs (i.e. a student). There was nothing different from that self that could be desired, such as a wife, and the self was the only entity in existence, possessed of ignorance which is the root of the desire for a wife and so forth. Being tinged by the impressions of ignorance that are natural to one and consist in a superimposition on the Self of ideas of action, its factors such as the agent, and its results, he desired. How? Let me, the agent, have a wife who will qualify me for the rites. Without her I am not qualified for them. Hence let me have a wife, to confer on me this right. So that I myself may be born, as the child. And let me have wealth such as cattle, which are the means of performing the rites, so that I may perform rites (The regular and occasional rites) that will give me prosperity and liberation, in order that I may perform rites that will wipe out my indebtedness and help me to attain the worlds of the gods and others, as well as rites that have material ends, such as those leading to the birth of a son, wealth and heaven. This much indeed, i.e. limited to these things only, is desire. Desirable objects are only these – the things comprised by the desire for means, viz. wife, son, wealth and rites. The three worlds, viz. those of men, the Manes and the gods, are but the results of the above. For the desire for means, viz. wife, son, wealth and rites, is for securing these. Therefore the desire for the worlds is the same as the previous one. That one and the same desire assumes a twofold aspect according to ends and means. Hence it will be asserted later on, ‘For both these are but desires’ (BrhUEng.3.5.1; BrhUEng.4.4.22).

Since all undertakings are for the sake of results, the desire for the worlds, being implied by the former desire, is taken as mentioned; hence the assertion, ‘This much indeed is desire.’ When eating has been mentioned, the resulting satisfaction has not to be separately mentioned, for eating is meant for that. These two hankerings after the ends and means are the desire, prompted by which an ignorant man helplessly enmeshes himself like a silkworm, and through absorption in the path of rituals becomes outgoing in his tendencies and does not know his own world, the Self. As the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa says, ‘Being infatuated with rites performed with the help of fire, and choked by smoke, they do not know their own world, the Self’ (TaitBr.3.10.11.1). One may ask how are desires asserted to be so many, for they are infinite? This is being explained: Because even if one wishes, one cannot get more than this, which consists of the results and means. There is nothing in life besides these results and means, either visible or invisible, that can be acquired. Desire is concerning things to be acquired, and since these extend no farther than the above, it is but proper to say, ‘This much indeed is desire.’ The idea is this: Desire consists of the two hankerings after the ends and means, visible or invisible, which are the special sphere of an ignorant man. Hence the wise man should renounce them.

In ancient times an ignorant man possessed of desire wished like this, and others before him had also done the same. Such is the way of the world. This creation of Virāj has been like this. It has been said that he was afraid on account of his ignorance; then, prompted by desire, he was unhappy in being alone, and to remove that boredom he wished for a wife; and he was united with her, which led to this creation. Because it was like this, therefore to this day, in his creation, a man being single, before marriage, desires, ‘Let me have a wife, so that I may be born. And let me have wealth, so that I may perform rites.’ This has already been explained. Desiring like this and trying to secure a wife and so forth, until he obtains each one of these, the wife and the rest, he considers himself incomplete. As a corollary to this, we understand that he is complete when he secures all of these things. But when he fails to attain this completeness, the Śruti suggests a method to bring this about: His completeness, the completeness of this man who considers himself incomplete, is this – comes about in this way. How? This body with organs etc. is being divided. Since the rest of them follow the mind, it, being their chief, is like the self, hence it is his self. As the head of a family is the self, as it were, of the wife and the rest (Son, human wealth and divine wealth), for these four follow him, so here also the mind is conceived of as the self of this man for his completeness. Similarly speech is his wife, for speech follows the mind as a wife does her husband. ‘Speech’ here means words conveying an injunction or prohibition, which the mind receives through the ear, understands and uses. Hence speech is like a wife to the mind. These, speech and mind, standing for wife and husband, produce the vital force for performing rites. Hence the vital force is like a child.

These rites, which represent the activity of the vital force etc., are performed with the help of wealth that is visible to the eye. Hence the eye is human wealth. Wealth is of two kinds, human and other than human; hence the qualifying word ‘human’ to keep out the other kind. Human wealth such as cattle, which is used in ceremonies, is seen by the eye. Hence the eye stands for it. Because of this relationship with it, the eye is called human wealth. For he obtains it, the human wealth, through the eye, i.e. sees cows etc. What is the other kind of wealth? The ear is divine wealth, for since meditation is concerning the gods, it is called divine wealth, and here the ear corresponds to that. How? For he hears of it, the divine wealth, or meditation, through the ear. Hence meditation being dependent on the ear, the latter is called divine wealth. Now in this matter of resemblances what is the rite that is performed by these beginning with the self and ending with wealth? This is being answered: The body is his rite. ‘Ātman’ (self) here means the body. How does the body stand for the rite? Because it is the cause of the rite. How? For he performs rites through the body. For the man who considers himself incomplete, completeness can be attained in this way through imagination, just as externally it can be brought about by having a wife and so on. Therefore this sacrifice has five factors, and is accomplished only through meditation even by one who does not perform rites. But how can it be called a sacrifice by being merely conceived as having fire factors? Because the external sacrifice too is performed through animals and men, and both these have five factors, being connected with the five things described above, such as the mind. This is expressed by the text: The animals such as cows, have five factors, and the men have five factors. Although men also are animals, yet being qualified for rites, they are distinguished from the others, hence they are separately mentioned. In short, all this, the means and the results of rites, that exists has five factors. He who knows it as such, imagines himself to be the sacrifice consisting of five factors, attains all this universe as his own self.

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BrhUEng.1.05

🔗  Ignorance has been discussed. It has been said in that connection that an ignorant man worships another god, thinking he is different from himself, and that prompted by desire, he, identifying himself with a particular caste and order of life and being regulated by a sense of duty, performs rites such as making offerings in the fire, which help the gods and others and make him an object of enjoyment to them. And as all beings by their rites individually projected him as their object of enjoyment, so did he by his performance of rites with five factors, such as making offerings in the fire, project all beings as well as the whole universe as his objects of enjoyment. Thus everyone according to his meditation and rites is both the enjoyer and the object of enjoyment of the whole universe. That is to say, everyone is alternately the cause as well as the effect of everyone else (Not Hiraṇya-garbha alone, but every being in a particular cycle who performs meditation and rites according to the scriptures, is here spoken of as the father of all in the next cycle). This we shall describe in the section on knowledge, the meditation on things mutually helpful (BrhUEng.2.5), showing, as a step to the realization of the unity of the self, how everything is the effect of everything else and helpful to it. The universe which the ignorant man in question projected as his object of enjoyment through his meditation and rites with material ends having five factors, such as making offerings in the fire, being divided in its entirely into seven parts as causes and effects, is called the seven kinds of food, being an object of enjoyment. Hence he is the father of these different kinds of food. These are the verses, Mantras describing in brief these varieties of food together with their uses, and are called Ślokas for that reason.
🔗  That the father produced seven kinds of food through meditation and rites: ‘Yat’ (that) is an adverb modifying the verb ‘produced’. The words ‘Medhā’ and ‘Tapas’ here mean meditation and rites respectively, for these are the topic, and the ordinary meanings of the words ‘Medhā’ and ‘Tapas’ (intelligence and austerity) are out of place. For rites with five factors, viz. the wife and so forth, were described, and just after that, meditation, referred to by the words, ‘He who knows it as such’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.17). Therefore the familiar meanings of the two words ‘Medhā’ and ‘Tapas’ must not be supposed here. Hence the meaning of the sentence is: ‘The seven kinds of food which the father produced through his meditation and rites, I shall disclose.’ The last words should be supplied to complete the sentence. In the Vedas the meaning of the Mantras, being hidden, is generally difficult to understand, hence the Brāhmaṇa (A portion of the Vedas explaining the Mantras. The Vedas consist of Mantras and Brāhmaṇas) (this text) proceeds to explain them. Now what is the meaning of ‘That the father produced seven kinds of food through meditation and rites’? This is being answered. The text explains the sentence only by the use of the particle ‘hi’ (indeed) signifying a well-known fact. That is to say, the meaning of this Mantra is well known. The words of the Mantra, ‘That the father produced,’ being of the form of a restatement, it also refers to something well known. Hence the Brāhmaṇa boldly says: The father indeed produced them through meditation and rites.

Objection: How is this meaning well known?

Reply: In the first place it is evident that the ignorant man is the father of the means, beginning with the wife and ending with the rites, whereby the worlds are achieved as the result, and it has also been stated in the passage. ‘Let me have a wife,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.17). There it has been said that meditation, which is divine wealth, rites and a son are the means whereby the father projects the worlds which are the results. And what will be stated later on (BrhUEng.1.5.16) is also well known. Hence it is right to say, ‘The father indeed produced them through meditation and rites.’ Moreover, it is well known in life that desire is concerning results. And the wife and so forth have been stated to be objects of desire in the passage, ‘This much indeed is desire’ (BrhUEng.1.4.17). There can be no desire in the subject-matter of the knowledge of Brahman (liberation), for it is the oneness of everything. Hence it is implied that one’s natural (That is, prompted by desire, which is the product of ignorance) thoughts and actions, which are not according to the scriptures, of course lead to a projection of the relative universe (not liberation). This is also proved by the fact that the evil results ending in identity with stationary objects, are due to such thoughts and actions. But the text seeks to bring out that relation of end and means among objects which is according to the scriptures (The other kind being left out of account as being palpably injurious), for it is sought to inculcate an aversion to them with a view to enjoining the knowledge of Brahman. For since this entire gross and subtle universe is impure, transitory, consisting of ends and means, painful and within the category of ignorance, one gets disgusted with it, and for such a one the knowledge of Brahman has to be introduced.

Now the different uses of the varieties of food are being stated: One is common to all eaters, is the wording of the Mantra. Its explanation is given by the words: This food is the common food of all eaters. What is it? This that is eaten by all beings daily. The father, after producing the different kinds of food, designed this to be the common food of all eaters. He who adores or is devoted to this common food, which being eaten sustains the life of all living beings – adoration, as we see in life, means devotion, as when we say: ‘One adores a teacher,’ ‘One adores a king,’ etc.; hence the meaning is: who is chiefly concerned with enjoying food to prolong his existence, instead of performing rites to store (good) unseen results – such a man is never free from evil. Compare the Vedic Mantra, ‘(If an ignorant man) obtains food that is useless (to the gods, it is veritably his death)’ (RgV.10.117.6). And the Smṛtis, ‘One must not cook only for oneself’ (MBh.12.249.5), ‘He who eats without offering to the gods is a thief’ (BhG.3.12), ‘The killer of a noble Brāhmaṇa (The commoner meaning of the word ‘Bhrūṇa’ is a fetus) wipes (his sin) in the man who eats his food,’ and so on (ManSamh.8.317). Why is he not free from evil? For this food which is eaten by all beings is general food, the common property of all. And just because it is the food of all, any morsel that is put into the mouth is seen to be painful to others, for everyone eagerly expects that it will be his. Therefore it is impossible even to eat without causing pain to others. The Smṛti too says, ‘Since the sins of men (abide in food, it is a greater sin not to share it with others).’

Some say that it refers to the food called Vaiśva-deva, which is daily offered (in the fire) by householders for the beasts etc.

This is wrong, for this particular food is not observed to be common to all eaters like that which is eaten by all creatures. Nor does the specification, ‘This that is eaten’ agree with it. Besides, as this food known as Vaiśva-deva is included in that eaten by all creatures the latter kind of food, which is also eaten by outcasts, dogs, etc., should be understood, for we see that there is this kind of food over and above that known as Vaiśva-deva. With regard to it the specification, ‘This that is eaten,’ is appropriate. It the words ‘common to all eaters’ do not mean this food, it will give rise to a suspicion that it was not produced and apportioned by the father. But there is unanimity on the point that all kinds of food were produced and apportioned by him. Besides it is not right that one performing the scriptural rite called Vaiśva-deva should not be free from evils. And it has not been forbidden. Nor is it a naturally hateful type of work like fishing, for instance, for decent people practice it, and the Śruti says that sin accrues from its non-performance. But in the other case there is the possibility of sin, for the Vedic Mantra says, ‘I eat that person as food who eats food (without givng part of it to others)’ (TaitU.3.10.6).

Two he apportioned to the gods, is the wording of the Mantra. Which are the two kinds of food that he produced and apportioned to the gods? Making oblations in the fire, and offering presents otherwise to the gods after finishing the former. Because the father distributed these two kinds of food to the gods, therefore to this day householders, at the proper time perform both these, make oblations in the fire, thinking that they are offering that food to the gods, and after that offer them presents. Some, however, say that the two kinds of food the father gave to the gods are not the above two offerings, but the new and full moon sacrifices. The first view holds that the above two offerings are meant, for the Śruti mentions both (food and offering) as two, and those offerings are very well known. (This is rebutted as follows:) Although the number is all right with regard to those two offerings, still the fact that the new and full moon sacrifices – which too are mentioned by the Śruti – are the food of the gods, is better known, being revealed by the Mantras. Besides, when the choice lies between a principal and a subordinate object (denoted by the same word), the preference goes to the former. Now the new and full moon sacrifices are more important than the above two offerings. Hence it is proper to conclude that they alone are meant by the words, ‘Two he apportioned to the gods.’ Because these two kinds of food, the new and full moon sacrifices, were set apart by the father for the gods, therefore, to keep them intact for the gods, one should not be engrossed with sacrifices for material ends. The word ‘Iṣṭi’ here means ‘Kāmyeṣṭi,’ sacrifices with material ends. This is well known from the Śata-patha Brāhmaṇa (SatBr.1.3.5.10). From the use of a suffix denoting habit we understand that one must not be primarily engrossed with the performance of these sacrifices with material ends (So there is no antagonism with such Vedic texts as, ‘One who desires heaven must sacrifice,’ TanMBr.16.3.3).

One he gave to the animals. What is that one food which the father gave to the animals? It is milk. How are we to know that the animals are the owners of it? This is being explained: For men and animals first live on milk alone. It must be their food, for how else would they systematically live on that first? How do they live on it first? Because men and animals to this day live on that food, just as the father apportioned it in the beginning. Therefore men of the upper three castes make a new-born bable lick clarified butter, in contact with gold, in the post-natal ceremony, or, i.e. afterwards, suckle it. The other castes (who do not have this ceremony) do whichever is practicable. In the case of animals other than men, then only suckle the young one. And they speak of a new-born calf, when somebody asks them how old it is, as not yet eating grass, i.e. very young – still living on milk. Whether they first take clarified butter in the post-natal and other ceremonies, or whether others drink milk, in either case they drink but milk, for clarified butter, being a modification of milk, is also milk.

Why is the food of animals, which is the seventh in order, explained as the fourth? Because it is a means of rites. Rites such as the Agni-hotra are performed with the help of milk. And these rites, which depend on wealth, are the means of the three kinds of food to be presently mentioned, which are the results – as the two kinds of food, the new and full moon sacrifices mentioned above. Hence, falling under the category of rites, it is explained together with them. Moreover, since both (they and it) are equally means, mere order should give precedence to the natural sequence due to sense. Besides, this way of explaining facilitates understanding. The different kinds of food can thus be easily explained without a break, and their meaning (That four of them are means and three are results) too will be easily grasped. What is the meaning of, On it rests everything – what lives and what does not? That on milk indeed, the food of animals, rests all this, the whole universe in its threefold division according to the body, the elements and the gods – that lives, the animate kingdom, and that does not live, stationary objects such as hills. The word ‘indeed,’ signifying something well known, furnishes the explanation. How is the substance called milk the support of everything? Because it is the cause. And it is a cause in that it is an integral part of rites such as the Agni-hotra. That the whole universe is the result of the oblations offered in the Agni-hotra and other rites, is proved by hundreds of Śruti and Smṛti texts. Hence it is quite proper to explain the Mantra by the use of the word ‘indeed.’

It is said in some other Brāhmaṇas that by making offerings of milk in the fire for a year one conquers further death. The reference is to the following: In a year three hundred and sixty oblations are offered (counting morning and evening oblations as one). That accounts for double the number (splitting each into two). The bricks called Yājuṣ-matī, used in making the altar for the Agni-hotra, being also of that number, the oblations are looked upon as these bricks, and so also are the days of the year. Through this meditation based on resemblance people attain identity with Fire, the Prajā-pati called the Year. By offering oblations for a year in this way one conquers further death, i.e. is born after death among the gods, no more to die. Thus do the Brāhmaṇa texts run. One should not think like that. He who knows as stated above, that everything rests on milk, being the result of the oblations of milk, conquers further death the very day he makes that offering – he has not to wait for a year, but attains identity with the universe in one day.

This is expressed by the text, ‘Conquers further death,’ i.e. the sage dying once or getting rid of the body, is identified with the universe, and does not take on another limited body to make further death possible. What is the reason of his conquering further death by attaining identity with the universe? This is being answered: For he offers all eatable food to all the gods by means of the morning and evening oblations. Therefore it is proper that he, by making himself one with the oblations and attaining identity with all the gods as their food – being the sum total of them – does not die any more. This too has been stated in another Brāhmaṇa: ‘Brahman, the self-born (a man seeking identity with Hiraṇya-garbha) performed rites. He reflected, “Rites do not produce eternal results. Well, let me offer myself in all beings (as in a fire) and all beings in me.” Offering himself in all beings and all beings in himself, he attained the highest place among all beings, independence and absolute rulership’ (SatBr.13.7.1.1).

Why are they not exhausted although they are always, continuously, being eaten? Since the time when the father producing the seven kinds of food distributed them to different groups of eaters, they have been eating those foods, for they live on them. And they ought to be exhausted, since everything that is made must wear out. But they are not dwindling, for we see the universe remains intact. So there must be a cause for their permanence. Hence the question, ‘Why are they not exhausted?’ It is answered as follows: The being is indeed the casue of their permanence. Just as in the beginning the father was the producer of the different kinds of food through his meditation and rites with five factors such as the wife, and their eater too, so those to whom he gave the foods, although they are their eaters, are their fathers as well, for they produce them through their meditation and rites. This is expressed as follows: The being who eats the food is indeed the cause of their permanence. How? This is being explained: For he produces this food of seven kinds that is eaten, consisting of the body and organs, actions and results, again and again through his meditation for the time being and rites, i.e. the efforts of his speech, mind and body. If he does not do this, not produce for a moment the seven kinds of food mentioned above through his meditation and rites, it would be exhausted, or finished, being continuously eaten. Therefore just as the being is continuously eating the foods, he is also creating them according to his meditation and rites. Hence the being is the cause of their permanence by continuously creating them. That is to say, for this reason the foods are not exhausted although they are being eaten. Therefore the whole universe consisting of a series of meditations and rites, means and ends, actions and results – although, being held together by a stream of work and impressions of innumerable beings in combination, it is transient, impure, flimsy, resembling a flowing river or a burning lamp, flimsy like a banana stalk, and comparable to foam, illusion, a mirage, a dream, and so on – appears nevertheless to those who have identified themselves with it to be undecaying, eternal and full of substance. Hence for stimulating our renunciation the text says, ‘He produces this food through his meditation for the time being and rites. If he does not do this, it will be exhausted,’ for from the second chapter the knowledge of Brahman has to be inculcated for those who are disgusted with this universe.

Although three kinds of food are yet to be described, still taking them as already explained along with the previous ones, the result of knowing these as they are, is being summed up: He who knows this cause of their permanence as described above, means that the being (eater) is indeed the cause of their permanence, for he produces this food through his meditation for the time being and rites. If he does not do this, it will be exhausted. He eats food with Pratīka is being explained: ‘Pratīka’ means pre-eminence; hence the meaning is, pre-eminently. He who knows that the being who is the father of the different kinds of food is the cause of their permanence, pre-eminently eats food and never becomes a subsidiary part of it. Unlike an ignorant man, this sage, being the self of the foods, becomes only their eater, but never a food. He attains the gods, is identified with the gods, and lives on nectar: This statement is a eulogy; there is no new meaning in it.
🔗  The three kinds of food – results of rites with five factors – which have been spoken of, being effects and extensive in scope, were kept separate from the previous ones. The succeeding portion up to the end of this section is devoted to the explanation of them. What is the meaning of, Three he designed for himself? It means: The mind, the organ of speech and vital force are the three kinds of food; these the father, after producing them at the beginning of the cycle, designed for himself. Of these, there is a doubt regarding the existence and nature of the mind. Hence the text says: There is a mind apart from the external organs such as the ear. For it is a well-known fact that even when there is a connection between the external organ, the object and the self, a man does not perceive that object, which may be just in front, and when asked, ‘Have you seen this form?’ he says, ‘My mind was elsewhere – I was absent-minded, I did not see it.’ Similarly when asked, ‘Have you heard what I have said?’ he says, ‘I was absent-minded, I did not hear it.’ Therefore it is understood that that something else, viz. the internal organ called mind, which joins itself to the objects of all the organs, exists, in the absence of which the eye and other organs fail to perceive their respective objects such as form and sound, although they have the capacity to do so and in the presence of which they succeed in it. Hence it is through the mind that everybody sees and hears, for vision and the like are impossible when the mind is engaged.

After the existence of the mind has been proved, the text proceeds to described its nature: Desire, sex-attraction and the like, resolve, deciding about a thing which is before us, that it is white or blue and so on, doubt, notion of uncertainty, faith, belief in the efficacy of rites directed to invisible ends (the hereafter) as well as in the existence of the gods and the like, want of faith, the opposite notion, steadiness, supporting the body etc. when they droop, unsteadiness, the opposite of that, shame, intelligence and fear – all these, all such, are but the mind. They are forms of the mind or the internal organ. Another reason for the existence of the mind is being stated: Because even if one is touched by anybody from behind invisibly, one knows it distinctly, that this is a touch of the hand, or that this is a touch of the knee, therefore the internal organ called mind exists. If there is no mind to distinguish them, how can the skin alone do this? That which helps us to distinguish between perceptions is the mind.

The mind then exists, and its nature too has been known. Three kinds of food, which are the results of rites, viz. the mind, the organ of speech and the vital force, were sought to be explained here in their divisions according to the body, the elements and the gods. Of these, only the mind, out of the group consisting of the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force as relating to the body, has been explained. Now the organ of speech is to be described. Hence the text says: And any kind of sound in the world, whether it is of the articulate kind uttered by creatures with the help of the palate etc., or it is of the other kind produced by musical instruments or clouds etc., is but the organ of speech. So the nature of the organ of speech has been stated. Now its function is being described: For it, the organ of speech, serves to determine or reveal a thing, but it cannot itself be revealed, like things; it only reveals them, for it is self-luminous like a lamp etc. The light of a lamp and so forth is not of course revealed by another light. Similarly the organ of speech only reveals things, but cannot itself be revealed by others (of the same category). Thus the Śruti avoids a regressus in infinitum by saying, ‘It cannot itself be revealed.’ That is to say, the very function of the organ of speech is to reveal.

Now the vital force is being described: Prāṇa, the function of which is connected with the heart and is capable of moving to the mouth and nostrils, so called because it moves forward. Apāna, which functions below the heart and extends up to the navel; it is called Apāna, because it helps excretion. Vyāna, that which regulates the Prāṇa and Apāna and is the nexus between them, as also the cause of actions requiring strength. Udāna, that which causes nutrition, rising up, and so on; it extends from the sole of the feet to the head and functions upwards. Samāna, so called because of assimilating what we eat and drink; it has its seat in the belly and helps the digestion of food. Ana is the generalization of these particular functions and is concerned with the general activities of the body. Thus all these functions of the Prāṇa and the rest, as described above, are but the vital force (Prāṇa).

The Prāṇa, which means the Ana (general nerve function) in the body with particular functions, has been described. And its activity also has been explained by a reference to its different functions. So the three kinds of food called the mind, the organ of speech and the vital force as relating to the body, have been explained. Identified with these, i.e. their modifications, or composed of the mind, speech and vital force of Hiraṇya-garbha – what is it? this body including the organs, the microcosm, called ‘self’ because it is accepted as their self by ignorant people. That which has been described in a general way as ‘identified’ with these,’ is being elucidated by the specification with the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force.
🔗  The manifestations of those foods belonging to Hiraṇya-garbha as they relate to the elements are being described –
These, the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force, are the three worlds called the earth, sky and heaven. This is being specified: The organ of speech is this world, the mind is the sky, and the vital force is that world.
🔗  Similarly these are the three Vedas, etc. These sentences are all easy.
🔗  These are what is known, what it is desirable to know, and what is unknown. This is being specified: Whatever is clearly known is a form of the organ of speech. The Śruti itself gives the reason: For it is the knower, being self-luminous. How can that be other than a knower which brings to light other objects as well? It will be stated later on, ‘Through the organ of speech, O Emperor, a friend is known’ (BrhUEng.4.1.2). He who knows the particulars of the organ of speech gets the following result: The organ of speech protects him who knows its manifestations as given above, by becoming that which is known. That is, it becomes his food, or object of enjoyment, in that form.
🔗  Similarly, whatever it is desirable clearly to know is a form of the mind, for the mind, since it takes the form of a doubt (considers the pros and cons of a thing), is what it is desirable to know. As before, he who knows the manifestations of the mind gets the following result: The mind protects him by becoming that which it is desirable to know, i.e. it becomes his food in that form.
🔗  Likewise whatever is completely unknown, and not even suspected, is a form of the vital force, for the vital force is what is unknown, as the Śruti speaks of it as undefined (ChanU.2.22.1). Since the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force have been divided into the forms of what is known, what it is desirable to know, and what is unknown (This is a wider classification including all the previous ones mentioned in tne preceding paragraphs, and involving a cross-division. Nevertheless we are to take them as they are, since the Śruti recommends them for meditation), the statements, ‘These are the three worlds,’ and so on, are to be accepted solely on the authority of the Śruti. Since we see these three forms, viz. what is known, etc., are applicable to everything, it is from the statement of the Śruti that we are to understand that the meditation is to be confined to the particular objects as indicated. The vital force protects him by becoming that, i.e. becomes his food in the form of what is unknown. We often see that teachers and parents, for instance, help their pupils and (very young) children, barely suspected by or unknown to them. Similarly the mind and vital force can be the food of the sage, barely suspected by and unknown to him (respectively).
🔗  The manifestations of the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force relating to the elements have been described. The following (three) paragraphs deal with their manifestations relating to the gods –
The earth is the body, or the external container, of that organ of speech which has been spoken of as the food of Hiraṇya-garbha, and this terrestrial fire is its luminous organ, the content of the earth. The vocal organ of Hiraṇya-garbha has two forms: One is the effect (body), the container and non-luminous: the other is the instrument (organ), the content and luminous. Both these, the earth and fire, are but the vocal organ of Hiraṇya-garbha. And as far as the organ of speech in its twofold aspect relating to the body and the elements extends, so far throughout extends the earth, the effect, as its container, and so far does this fire, which is the content and the instrument, pervading the earth in its luminous form. The rest is similar.
🔗  Heaven is the body, the effect, the container, of this mind that has already been spoken of as the food of Hiraṇya-garbha, and that sun is its luminous organ, the content. And as far as the mind in its aspect relating to the body or the elements, extends, so far extends heaven, which is the container of the mind, the luminous organ, and so far does that sun, which is the luminous organ and the content. The two, fire and the sun, which are the forms of the organ of speech and the mind relating to the gods, the mother and father, were united, between the two halves of the cosmic shell (heaven and earth), the one resolving to do the function of generation belonging to the father, the mind, or the sun, and the other that of manifestation belonging to the mother, the organ of speech, or fire. And from that union the vital force or Vāyu (The cosmic aspect of the vital force, symbolized by air) emanated, to function as vibration. It, that which emanated, is the Supreme Lord, and not only that but it is also without a rival. What is a rival? A second being, appearing as an adversary, is called a rival. Hence the organ of speech and the mind, although they are different entities (from the vital force), never become its rivals, both being subordinate to the vital force (on the cosmic plane) as in the body. Incidentally, the result of meditation on this absence of rivalry is as follows: He, the sage, who knows it, the vital force, as such, as being without a rival, has no rival.
🔗  Water it the body, the effect, the container of the organs, of this vital force that is the food of Hiraṇya-garbha, not of the vital force that has just been described as the child, and that moon is its luminous organ, as before. And as far as the vital force in its aspects relating to the body etc. extends, so far extends water, and so far does that moon, the content of the water, the organ, which in its aspects relating to the body and the elements pervades the water. So these are the three kinds of food, called the organ of speech, the mind, and the vital force, which were produced by the father through rites with five factors. And the whole universe in its aspects relating to the body and the elements is pervaded by these. There is nothing besides these, either of the nature of an effect or an instrument (body or organ), and Hiraṇya-garbha is the sum of these. These, the organ of speech, the mind, and the vital force, are all equal in extensity – pervade whatever concerns the animate world in its aspects relating to the body and the elements, and for this very reason they are infinite, for they last as long as the relative universe. Surely we do not know of any relative universe apart from the bodies and organs. And it has been stated (in earlier pars.) that speech, mind and the vital force consist of the body and organs. He who, whoever, meditates upon these – which are a part and parcel of Hiraṇya-garbha – in their aspect relating to the body or the elements, as finite, wins a finite world – a result which is commensurate with that meditation. That is, he is born as finite, not as one with these. But he who meditates upon these as infinite, as consisting of the universe, a part and parcel of all beings, and unlimited, wins an infinite world.
🔗  It has been said that the father, after producing seven kinds of food through rites with five factors, designed three of them for himself. These, the results of those rites, have been explained. Now how are these the results of those rites? This is being answered: Because those three kinds of food also, we find, have five factors, for wealth and rites can also be included in them. Of them, the earth and fire, as has been explained, are the mother, heaven and the sun are the father, and the vital force (Vāyu), which is between these two, is the child. In order to show how wealth and rites can be included in them the next two paragraphs are being introduced –
This Prajā-pati, consisting of the three kinds of food, who is under consideration, is being particularly described as the year. He has sixteen digits or members and is represented by the year, consists of the year, or is the Time. The nights and the days, i.e. the lunar days, are the fifteen digits of this Prajā-pati consisting of time, and the constant one, which is ever the same, is his sixteenth digit. He is filled as well as wasted by the nights, the lunar days, called the digits. In the bright fortnight the Prajā-pati who is the moon is filled by the lunar days beginning with the first, through the gradual increase of digits, i.e. waxes, till he attains the fullness of his orb on the full-moon night, and is also wasted by them in the dark fortnight through the gradual decrease of digits, till only the constant digit is left on the new-moon night. Through this abiding sixteenth digit called the constant one, he, the Prajā-pati who is the Time, permeates all these living beings by means of the water they drink and the herbs they eat – pervades them in these two forms – on the new-moon night and, staying there overnight, rises the next morning, joined to the second digit.

Thus that Prajā-pati consists of five factors: Heaven and the sun as well as mind are the father; the earth and fire as well as the organ of speech are his wife, the mother; the vital force is their child; the lunar days, or digits, are wealth, for they increase and decrease like it; and the fact that these digits, which are divisions of time, cause changes in the universe is the rite. Thus this Prajā-pati, as a whole, emerges as the result of rites with five factors, which is quite in accordance with his desire, ‘Let me have a wife, so that I may be born. And let me have wealth, so that I may perform rites’ (BrhUEng.1.4.17). It is an accepted principle in life that the effect is commensurate with the cause. Because this moon on this night abides in her constant digit permeating all living beings, therefore on this new-moon night one should not take the life of living beings, not kill them, not even of a chameleon, which is naturally vicious and is killed by people, because the very sight of it is inauspicious. One may ask: Is not the killing of animals forbidden by the dictum, ‘One must not kill any animal except where it is prescribed by the scriptures’ (Cf. ChanU.8.15.1)? To this we reply: Yes, it is; the present text, however, does not make an exception to that rule about the killing of animals at other times than the new-moon night, or even of the chameleon, but is only (a special prohibition) in adoration of this deity, the moon.
🔗  He who has been remotely described as that Prajā-pati who has sixteen digits and is represented by the year, should not be considered to be altogether remote, because he is directly observed as this one Who is it? This man who knows the Prajā-pati consisting of the three kinds of food to be identical with himself, as described above. What is the similarity between them? This is being explained: Wealth such as cattle constitutes the fifteen digits of this man who knows as above, for it increases and decreases and it aids the performance of rites. To contribute to his completeness, the body is the sixteenth digit of this sage, corresponding to the constant digit (of the moon). Like the moon he is filled as well as wasted by wealth. This is a familiar thing in everyday life. This stands for a nave, is fit to be such. What is it? This body. And wealth is the rim, stands for the external outfit, like the spokes and rims of wheel. Therefore even if a man loses everything, suffers that affliction, but he himself, corresponding to the nave of a wheel, lives, people say that he has only lost his outfit, been deprived of his outer trappings, like a wheel losing its spokes and rims. That is to say, if he is alive, he again grows by means of wealth, corresponding to the spokes and rims.
🔗  Thus it has been explained how a man by the performance of rites with five factors combined with meditation, the divine wealth, becomes the Prajā-pati consisting of the three kinds of food. And it has also been said that wealth such as the wife stands for the outfit. In the previous portion it has only been known in a general way that sons, rites and meditation lead to the attainment of the worlds, but not there is a very definite relation between them and those results. This relation between the means such as the son and the particular results has to be stated. Hence the following paragraph –
The word ‘Atha’ is introductory. There are indeed three worlds attainable by means mentioned in the scriptures, neither more nor less. – ‘Indeed’ is intensive. – Which are they? The world of men, the world of the Manes and the world of the gods. Of these, this world of men is to be won or attained through the son alone as means, and by no other rite, nor meditation. The last two words are understood. How this world is to be won through the son we shall explain later on. The world of the Manes through rites alone such as the Agni-hotra, neither through the son nor through meditation. And the world of the gods through meditation, neither through the son nor through rites. The world of the gods is the best of the three worlds. Therefore they praise meditation, as being the means of attaining it.
🔗  Thus the three means called the son, rite and meditation have been connected with their respective results, the three worlds. A wife, being an aid to the obtaining of a son and the performance of rites, is not a separate means, and has therefore not been separately mentioned. Wealth too, being an aid to the performance of rites, is not a separate means. It is a well-known fact that meditation and rites lead to the winning of the worlds by merely coming into existence. But one does not know how a son, not being of the nature of an activity, can help to win them. This has to be explained. Now therefore follows the entrusting. This is the name of the rite which is going to be described. It is called ‘entrusting,’ because a father in this manner entrusts his own duties to his son. When should this be done? This is being stated: When a man, a father, on account of some omen or otherwise, thinks he will die, he says to his son, calling him, ‘You are Brahman, you are the sacrifice, and you are the world.’ The son, thus addressed, replies, ‘I am Brahman, I am the sacrifice, and I am the world.’ Having already been instructed, he knows what to do; so he says these three sentences.

Thinking the meaning of these sentences to be hidden, the Śruti proceeds to explain them. Whatever is studied has been or remains to be studied, is all unified in the word ‘Brahman.’ That is, let the study of the Vedas which so long was my duty, be henceforth done by you are Brahman. Similarly whatever sacrifices there are, that were to be performed by me, whether I have performed them or not, are all unified in the word ‘sacrifice.’ That is, let whatever sacrifices I used to perform, be henceforth performed by you, for you are the sacrifice. And whatever worlds there are, that were to be won by me, whether I have won them or not, are all unified in the word ‘world.’ Henceforth you should win them, for you are the world. From now on I entrust to you the resolve which was mine of dutifully undertaking study, sacrifices and the conquest of the worlds, and I am freed from the resolve concerning these ties of duty. All this the son accepted as it was, having been instructed to that effect.

Guessing this intention of the father, the Śruti says: All this, the whole duty of a householder, is indeed this much, viz. that he must study the Vedas, perform sacrifices and win the worlds. He, being all this, taking all this load of mine off me and putting it on himself, will protect me from this world. The past tense has been used in the sense of the future, there being no restriction about tense in the Vedas. Because a son who is thus trained will free his father from this world, i.e. from the ties of duty on earth, therefore Brāhmaṇas speak of an educated son as being conducive to the world for his father. Hence a father teaches his son, hoping he will be conducive to his attainment of the world. When a father who knows as above, who has entrusted his resolve about his duties to his son, departs from this world, he penetrates or pervades his son together with the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force, which are under consideration. Owing to the cessation of the cause (false notion etc.) which limited them to the body, the father’s organ of speech, mind and vital force pervade everything in their cosmic form as the earth, fire and so on, like the light of a lamp within a jar when the latter is broken. The father too pervades everything along with them, for he is identified with the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force. He thinks, ‘I am the infinite organ of speech, mind and vital force, whose manifestations have various aspects such as that relating to the body.’ Therefore it has been rightly said, ‘He penetrates his son together with the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force,’ for he follows these. He becomes the self of all including the son. The idea is this: A father who has a son instructed in this way remains in this very world as that son; that is, he should not be considered to be dead. Witness another Śruti, ‘This other self of his is his substitute for the performance of meritorious rites’ (AitU.1.4.4, adapted).

Now the derivation of the word ‘Putra’ (son) is being given: Should anything, any duty, be left undone by him, the father, through any slip or slight omission in the middle, the son exonerates him from all that unfulfilled duty of his standing as an obstacle to his attainment of the world, by fulfilling it himself. Therefore, because he saves his father by fulfilling his duties, he is called a son. This is the derivative meaning of the word ‘Putra’ – one who ‘saves’ the father by ‘completing’ his omissions. The father although dead, is immortal and lives in this world through such a son. Thus he wins this world of men through his son. The world of the Manes and that of the gods are not won in that way, but simply by the fact of existence of meditation and rites. These help to attain the worlds not by undertaking some other activity like the son, but by simply coming into existence. Divine and immortal speech, mind and vital force, those pertaining to Hiraṇya-garbha, permeate him, this father who has entrusted his duties to his son.
🔗  How does this take place? This will be explained in this and the next two paragraphs. The Śruti itself has shown that the son, rites and meditation lead respectively to the world of men, of the Manes and of the gods. Here some prattlers (the Mīmāṃsakas) ignorant of the particular import of the Śruti say that the means such as the son lead to liberation. The Śruti has thus gagged them: Beginning with the statement that rites with five factors are undertaken with material ends, in the passage, ‘Let me have a wife,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.17), it has, among other things, concluded by connecting the son and the rest with their respective results. Therefore it is proved that the Śruti text referring to the (three) debts applies to an ignorant man and not one who has realized the Supreme Self. It will also be stated later on, ‘What shall we achieve through children, we who have attained this Self, this world?’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22).

Others (Bhartṛ-prapañca is meant) say that the winning of the worlds of the Manes and the gods means turning away from them. And if one has a son and at the same time performs rites and meditation together, one turns away from these three worlds, and through the knowledge of the Supreme Self attains liberation. Hence, they say, the means such as the son lead indirectly to liberation itself. To silence them also, this portion of the Śruti sets itself to show the results attained by a man who has a son to whom he has entrusted his own duties, who performs rites and who knows the meditation on the three kinds of food as identical with himself. And one cannot say that this very result is liberation, for it is connected with the three kinds of food, and all the foods are the effects of meditation and rites since the father is stated to produce them again and again, and there is the statement about decay, ‘If he does not do this, it would be exhausted’ (BrhUEng.1.5.2). Thus only would the mention of the effect and instrument in the words, ‘body’ and ‘luminous organ’ (BrhUEng.1.5.11–3), be appropriate. Besides, the topic is concluded by a representation of the foods as consisting of name, form and action: ‘This (universe) indeed consists of three things,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.6.1). And it cannot be deduced from this one sentence in question (BrhUEng.1.5.16) that these three means being combined lead to liberation in the case of some, and identity with the three kinds of food in the case of others, for the sentence only admits of a single interpretation, viz. that means such as the son lead to identity with the three kinds of food.

The divine organ of speech, that which relates to the gods, from the earth and fire permeates him, this man who has entrusted his duties to his son. The divine organ of speech, consisting of the earth and fire, is the material of the vocal organs of all. But (in an ignorant man) it is limited by attachment and other evils pertaining to the body. In the case of the sage, these evils being eliminated, it becomes all-pervading, like water, or like the light of a lamp, when its obstruction has been removed. This is expressed by the text, ‘The divine organ of speech from the earth and fire permeates him.’ And that is the divine organ of speech, devoid of the evils of falsehood etc. and pure, through which whatever he says about himself or others is fulfilled. That is, his speech becomes infallible and irresistible.
🔗  Similarly the divine mind from heaven and the sun permeates him. And that is the divine mind, being naturally pure, through which he only becomes happy and never mourns, not being connected with the causes of grief.
🔗  Likewise the divine vital force from water and the moon permeates him. It is being specified: That is the divine vital force which, when it moves among the different beings taken individually, or does not move, when they are taken collectively – or moves in moving animals and does not move in stationary objects – feels no pain, is not affected by fear that causes sorrow, nor is injured or killed. He who knows the meditation on the three kinds of food as identical with himself, as described above, becomes the self of all beings, becomes their vital force, their mind and their speech, and thus, being the self of all beings, becomes omniscient and the doer of everything as well. This is the import. As is this deity, Hiraṇya-garbha, who attained this state first, so is he – his omniscience or omnipotence is never thwarted. ‘He’ refers to the sage who is compared with the other. Moreover, as all beings take care of or worship this deity, Hiraṇya-garbha, through sacrifices etc., so do they take care of him, one who knows as above, constantly offer him worship consisting of sacrifices etc.

Now a doubt arises: It has been said that he becomes the self of all beings. Hence, being identified with their bodies and organs, he may be affected by their joys and sorrows. To which the answer is: Not so, for his understanding is not limited. It is those that identify themselves with limited objects who are seen to be affected by sorrow when, for instance, they are abused by anybody, thinking he has abused them. But this sage who is the self of all has no particular notion of identity with either the object that is abused or the agency that abuses, and cannot therefore be miserable on that account. And there is no ground for sorrow as in the case of that due to someone’s death. As when somebody dies, a man feels miserable, thinking that he was his son or brother – the grief being due to his relationship, and where this cause is absent, one, although witnessing that death, is not afflicted, similarly this divine being, who is not identified with limited things, having no defects such as the false notions about ‘mine’ or ‘yours,’ and so on, which lead to misery, is not affected by it.

This is being expressed: Howsoever these beings may grieve, that grief of theirs, the pain due to that grief and the like, is connected with them, for it is due to their identification with limited things. But in the case of one who is the self of all, what can be connected, or disconnected, and with what? But only merit, i.e. good results, goes to him, the sage who is enjoining the status of Hiraṇya-garbha. He has done exceedingly meritorious work; hence only the results of that go to him. No demerit ever goes to the gods, for there is no scope for the results of evil actions among them. That is, misery, which is the result of all evil actions, does not go to them.
🔗  Meditation on all three – the organ of speech, the mind and the vital force – without any distinction has been described in the passage, ‘These are all equal, and all infinite’ (BrhUEng.1.5.13). No speciality attaching to any one of these has been mentioned. Should one understand this as it is, or upon examination may some distinction be found in any one of these either for the purpose of a vow or meditation? This is being answered –
Now begins a consideration of the vow or act of meditation – among these organs whose function is to be observed as a vow? Prajā-pati (Virāj), after projecting the beings, projected the organs such as that of speech, called here ‘work,’ because they are instruments of work. The particle ‘ha’ denotes tradition. These, on being projected, quarreled with one another. How? The organ of speech took a vow, ‘I will go on speaking, will never stop doing my function of speaking. If there is anybody who, like me, can keep at his function, let him show his strength.’ Similarly the eye: ‘I will see.’ The ear: ‘I will hear.’ And so did the other organs according to their respective functions. Death, the destroyer, captured them, the organs, in the form of fatigue. How? It overtook them, appeared among those organs, as they were engaged in their functions, in the form of fatigue, and having overtaken them it, death, controlled them, i.e. stopped them from functioning. Therefore, to this day, the organ of speech, being engaged in its function of speaking, invariably gets tired, ceases to function, being affected by death in the form of fatigue. And so do the eye and the ear. But death in the form of fatigue did not overtake this vital force in the body, which functions in the mouth. Therefore even now it functions tirelessly. The other organs resolved to know it. ‘This is the greatest, foremost, among us, because, when it moves or does not move, it feels no pain nor is injured. Well, let us now all be of its form, identify ourselves with the vital force.’ Having decided thus, they all assumed its form, realized the vital force as their own self – observed the function of the vital force as a vow, thinking their own functions as insufficient to ward off death. Because the other organs have the form of the vital force in so far as they are mobile, and have their own form in so far as they perceive objects, therefore they, the organ of speech and the rest, are called by this name of ‘Prāṇa.’ Nothing can be mobile except the vital force. And we observe that the functions of the organs are always preceded by movement.

That family in which a man is born who knows as above, that all the organs are but the vital force and are named after it, is indeed named after him by people. It is known by the name of the sage, that it is the family of such and such, as ‘the line of Tapatī (The daughter of the sun).’ This is the result accruing to one who knows as above, that the organ of speech and the rest are but forms of the vital force and are named after it. And he who competes as a rival with one who knows as above, with the sage who identifies himself with the vital force, shrivels in this very body, and after shriveling dies at the end, he does not die suddenly without suffering. This is with reference to the body: Here is concluded the subject of meditation on the vital force as identical with oneself in so far as it relates to the body. That relating to the gods will be next taken up.
🔗  Now the meditation with reference to the gods is being described. It is being decided which deity is the best for the purpose of observing his functions as a vow. Everything here is as in the preceding paragraph with reference to the body. Fire took a vow, ‘I will go on burning.’ The sun: ‘I will give heat.’ The moon: ‘I will shine.’ And so did the other gods according to their functions. As, with reference to the body, is the vital force in the body among these organs, not overtaken by death, nor stopped from functioning – remaining intact in its vow of functioning as the vital force, so is Vāyu (air) among these gods such as fire. Other gods such as fire sink, or set, cease to function, like the organ of speech etc. in the body, but not air, like the vital force in the body. Therefore air is the deity that never sets. Thus it is decided after consideration that the vow of one who identifies oneself with the vital force with reference to the body and with air with reference to the gods, is unbroken.
🔗  Now there is this verse or Mantra that brings out this very meaning: ‘The gods, fire and the rest, and the organ of speech etc. (in the body), in ancient times, after consideration observed the vow of that, viz. air and the vital force, from which the sun rises – externally he rises from air, and as the eye in the body, from the vital force – and in which, air and the vital force, he sets in the evening, and when a man goes to sleep. It is followed by the gods today, now, and it will be followed by them tomorrow, in future. The words ‘followed by the gods’ are understood. Now the Brāhmaṇa briefly explains this Mantra: The sun indeed rises from the vital force and also sets in it. What is the meaning of the words, ‘The gods observed the vow of that … It is (followed) today, and it will be (followed) tomorrow?’ this is being stated: What vow these gods, fire and the rest and the organ of speech etc., observed then, i.e. the vow of air and of the vital force, they observe to this day, and will observe unbroken. But the vow of the organ of speech etc. and of fire and the rest is broken, for we see that at the time of setting, and when one falls asleep, they sink in air and the vital force respectively.

Similarly it has been said elsewhere, ‘When a man sleeps, his organ of speech is merged in the vital force, and so are the mind, the eye and the air. And when he awakes, these again arise from the vital force. This is with reference to the body. Now with reference to the gods: When fire goes out, it sets in air. Hence they speak of it as having set. It indeed sets in air. And when the sun sets, he enters air, and so does the moon; the quarters too rest on air. And they again arise from the air’ (SatBr.10.3.3.6–8).

Because this one vow of air and the vital force, consisting of vibration or movement, persists in the gods such as fire and in the organ of speech etc. – since all the gods follow it alone, therefore a man, another person also, should observe a single vow. What is that? Do the functions of the Prāṇa and Apāna. The functions of these two viz. respiration and excretion, never stop. Therefore, giving up the functions of all other organs, he should observe this one vow, lest the evil of death in the form of fatigue should overtake him. ‘Lest’ denotes apprehension. ‘If I swerve from this vow, I am sure to be overtaken by death’ – with this dread at heart he should observe the vow of the vital force. This is the idea. And if he observes it, does take up the vow of the vital force, he should seek to finish it. If he desists from this vow, the vital force and the gods would be flouted. Therefore he must finish it. Through it, the observance of this vow of identification with the vital force, thinking, ‘The vocal and other organs in all beings as well as fire and the other gods are but a part and parcel of me, and I, the vital force, the self, initiate all movement,’ he attains identity with this deity, the vital force (Of which Hiraṇya-garbha is the cosmic aspect), or lives in the same world with it. This latter result takes place when the meditation is not up to the mark.

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BrhUEng.1.06

🔗  The differentiated universe consisting of means and ends, which was introduced as the subject-matter of ignorance, with its results culminating in identification with the vital force, as well as its state prior to manifestation denoted by the word ‘undifferentiated,’ like a tree and its seed – all this indeed consists of three things. What are they? Name, form and action, all non-Self, and not the Self that is the Brahman, immediate and direct. Therefore one should turn away from it. This is the import of this section. One whose mind is not averse to this non-Self, has no inclination to meditate upon the Self, one’s own world, as ‘I am Brahman,’ for the two tendencies – one going outwards and the other devoting itself to the inner Self – are contradictory. Compare the following from the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (BrhUEng.1.5.1): ‘The self-born Lord injured the organs by making them outgoing in their tendencies. Therefore they perceive only external things, but not the inner Self. Once in a while some steady man, desiring immortality, turns his gaze inwards and sees the inner Self.’

How can one establish the fact that this differentiated and undifferentiated universe made up of actions, their factors and their results, consists only of name, form and action, and is not the Self? This is being answered: Of those names as set forth (in the preceding portion), speech, i.e. sound in general – for it has been stated, ‘And any kind of sound is but the organ of speech’ (BrhUEng.1.5.3) – is the Uktha, the cause or material of these particular names, as the salt rock is of particles of salt. This is expressed by the text: For all names, the differentiations such as Yajña-datta and Deva-datta, spring from it, this generality of names, like particles of salt from the salt rock. And an effect is not separate from its cause. Also particulars are included in the general. How does the relation of general and particulars apply here? It, should in general, is their Sāman, so called because of sameness, i.e. common feature. For it is common to all names, which are its own particular forms. Another reason is that the particular names, being derived from it, are not different from it. And we see that something which is derived from another is not different from it, as a jar, for instance, is not different from clay. How are particular names derived from speech? This is being explained: Because it, what is designated by the word ‘speech,’ is their Brahman, self, for names are derived from speech, since they have no reality apart from sound. This is being demonstrated: For it, sound in general, sustains or supports all names or particular sounds by giving them reality. Thus on account of their relation as cause and effect, and as general and particulars, and the one giving the other reality, particular names are proved to be just sound. Similarly in the next two paragraphs all this is to be applied as here set forth.
🔗  Now of forms, white, black, etc., the eye, i.e. anything that is perceptible to the eye, form in general, or whatever is visible, which is here denoted by the word ‘eye,’ (is the Uktha). For all forms spring from it. It is their Sāman, for it is common to all forms, It is their Brahman, for it sustains all forms.
🔗  Now all particular actions consisting of thought and perception as well as movement are being summed up in activity in general. How? Of all particular actions the body, i.e. activity in general, is the Uktha. The activity of the body is here called the ‘body,’ for it has been stated that one works through the body. And all activity is manifested in the body. Hence action or activity in general, having its seat in the body, is designated by the word ‘body.’ The rest is to be explained as before. These three, viz. name, form and action described above, combining together, being the support of one another and the cause of one another’s manifestation, and merging in one another, like three sticks supporting one another, are one. In what form are they unified? This is being stated: This body, this aggregate of body and organs. This has been explained under the three kinds of food, ‘This body is identified with these,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.5.3). The whole differentiated and undifferentiated universe is this much – consists of name, form and action. And the body, although one, viz. this aggregate of body and organs, yet existing in different forms in its aspects relating to the body, the elements and the gods, is these three, name, form and action. This immortal entity, presently to be mentioned, is covered by truth. This sentence is being explained: The vital force, which is of the nature of an organ, which supports the body from within, and is (a limiting adjunct of) the Self, is the immortal entity. And name and form (otherwise known as information and fact, ed.), represented by the body, which is an effect, are truth. (So) this vital force, which is active and supports name and form, is covered or hidden (by them), which are external, made up of the body, subject to origin and destruction, and mortal. Thus the nature of the relative universe, which is the subject-matter of ignorance, has been pointed out. After this the Self, which is the subject-matter of knowledge, has to be studied. Hence the second chapter is being commenced.

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🔗 ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7); to search after It is to search after everything; and that Self, being dearer than everything else, is to be searched after. The passage, ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman”’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), shows that the Self alone is the subject-matter of knowledge. And what is concerned with seeing differences is the subject-matter of ignorance, as indicated in the passage, ‘(He who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10). ‘It should be realized in one form only’ (BrhUEng.4.4.20), ‘He goes from death to death who sees difference, as it were, in It’ (BrhUEng.4.4.19; KathU.2.1.10) – in such passages as these all the Upaniṣads differentiate the subject-matter of knowledge from that of ignorance.

Of these the whole subject-matter of ignorance has been explained up to the end of the first chapter, by assigning the differences regarding ends and means to their respective places. And that entire subject-matter of ignorance which has been so explained is of two kinds: Internally it is the vital force, the sustainer and illuminer, and immortal – comparable to the posts etc. of a house. Externally it is denoted by the word ‘truth’, which is an effect, non-luminous, subject to birth and death, and mortal – corresponding to the straw, Kuśa grass and earth in a house. ‘By that is the vital force (denoted by the word ‘immortality’) covered’ – thus it has been concluded. And that same vital force has various ramifications according to the different external media through which it manifests itself. It is said that the vital force is one god. Its one common external body, with the sun etc. as its different parts, is variously designated by such terms denoting the body as Virāj, Vaiśvā-nara, the self of a human form, Prajā-pati, Ka and Hiraṇya-garbha. To think that Brahman, one and manifold, is this much only, that there is nothing more than this, and that he is completely limited by each body, conscious, the agent and experiencer, has obvious reference to the subject-matter of ignorance. A Brāhmaṇa named Gārgya who has accepted this (conditioned) Brahman as his self, is put forward as the speaker; while Ajāta-śatru, who believes in the opposite kind of Brahman as his self, is the listener.

This method is adopted because if a subject is presented in the form of a story comprising a prima facie view and a conclusion, it is easily understood by the listener. If, on the contrary, it is presented only through sentences that convey the bare meaning, as in the case of logic, it is very difficult to understand, because the truth is highly abstruse. As has been elaborately shown in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, in such passages as, ‘That which is rare for many even to hear of,’ etc. (KathU.1.2.7), that Brahman is intelligible only to a highly purified divine intellect and unintelligible to an ordinary intellect. So also in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, ‘He only knows who has got a teacher’ (ChanU.6.14.2), and ‘Knowledge received from the teacher alone (is best)’ (ChanU.4.9.3). And in the Gītā, ‘Sages who have realized the truth will instruct you in knowledge’ (BhG.4.34). Here too the great abstruseness of Brahman will be set forth in elaborate detail in the conversation between Śākalya and Yājña-valkya. Hence the attempt to present the truth in the form of a story comprising a prima facie view and a conclusion is quite reasonable.

Moreover, the story is meant to teach rules of conduct. If the teacher and the student be such and such, then the import underlying the story is understood. The story also forbids the use of mere argumentation, as given out in the following Śruti and Smṛti passages, ‘This understanding is not to be attained through argument’ (KathU.1.2.9), and ‘To one who has been burnt by logic-chopping (this instruction is) not (to be given)’ (MBh.12.252.18). That faith is a great factor in the realization of Brahman is another implication of the story, because in the story Gārgya and Ajāta-śatru are seen to have great faith. ‘One who has faith attains knowledge,’ also says the Smṛti (BhG.4.39).

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BrhUEng.2.01

🔗  There was at some past date a man holding the prima facie view and knowing only the conditioned Brahman which is the subject-matter of ignorance, of the Garga family, descended from Garga, called Proud Bālāki. ‘Proud,’ because of his very ignorance about the real Brahman. ‘Bālāki’ – the son of Balaka. The particle ‘ha’ refers to tradition as set forth in the story. Who was a speaker, one skilled in expounding, eloquent. He said to Ajāta-śatru, the King of Benares, after approaching him, ‘I will tell you about Brahman.’ Thus accosted, Ajāta-śatru said, ‘For this proposal that you have made to me I give you a thousand cows.’ The idea is, that little statement is the reason for the gift of a thousand cows. Why is the instruction about Brahman itself not made the reason for this gift, instead of the mere proposal about it? Because the Śruti itself sets forth the king’s intention. The two sentences, ‘Janaka is benevolent,’ and ‘Janaka loves to hear’, have been condensed into the two words ‘Janaka, Janaka.’ Indeed signifies a well-known fact. The King means: Janaka is benevolent, and he likes to hear about Brahman; so people who want to hear or speak about Brahman or want some present rush to him. Therefore (by your proposal) you have given me too a chance to demonstrate all those qualities.
🔗  When the King was the eager to listen and turned towards him, Gārgya said, ‘The being who identifies himself both with the sun and the eye, and who having entered the body through the eye resides in the heart as the ego, the experiencer and agent – that being I meditate or look upon as Brahman in this aggregate of body and organs. Therefore I ask you to meditate upon that being as Brahman.’ Thus addressed, Ajāta-śatru replied stopping him by a gesture of the hand, ‘Please don’t talk about him, this Brahman, as something to be known.’ The repetition of the negative particle is for stopping further speech. ‘When both of us know the same Brahman, you insult me by trying to make me out as ignorant. Hence please don’t discuss this Brahman. If you know of any other Brahman, you should tell me of that, and not of what I already known. If, however, you think that I know only Brahman, but not his particular attributes nor the results of meditating upon them, please don’t think so, for I know all that you speak of. How? All-surpassing, who exists surpassing all beings; also the head of all beings; and resplendent, being endowed with resplendence. I meditate upon the Brahman with these attributes as the agent and experiencer in this aggregate of body and organs.’ And one who meditates upon such conditioned Brahman obtains results accordingly. He who meditates upon him as such becomes all-surpassing, the head of all beings and resplendent, for the results must correspond with the particular attributes meditated upon. As the Śruti says, ‘One becomes exactly as one meditates upon Him’ (SatBr.10.5.2.20).
🔗  When Ajāta-śatru in the course of the dialog refuted the presentation of the sun as Brahman, Gārgya put forward another viz. the presentation of the moon as Brahman. That being who is in the moon and also in the mind as the experiencer and agent – all this is as in the previous paragraph. His attributes are: Great in size; white-robed, because the vital force (which identifies itself with the moon) has an aqueous body; and radiant Soma. Considering the moon and the drink-yielding creeper Soma that is pressed in sacrifices to be one, I meditate upon that as Brahman. He who meditates upon Brahman as such, with the above-mentioned attributes, has abundant Soma pressed in his principal sacrifices and all the more in his auxiliary sacrifices every day. That is, he has the means of performing both kinds of sacrifices. And his food never gets short, because he meditates upon Brahman as consisting of food.
🔗  Likewise there is one god in lightning, the skin and the heart. Powerful is the attribute. The result of this meditation is that he becomes powerful, and his progeny too becomes powerful. Because lightning may be of diverse forms, the result of the meditation reaches his progeny as well as himself.
🔗  Likewise there is one god in the space, in the space enclosed by the heart and in the heart. Full and unmoving are the two attributes. The result of meditation on Brahman with the attribute of fullness is that he is filled with progeny and cattle, while that of meditation on the attribute of immobility is that his progeny is never extinct from this world – the continuity of his line.
🔗  Likewise there is one god in air, the vital force and the heart. The Lord, irresistible and the unvanquished army, one that has never been defeated by enemies, are the attributes. ‘Army,’ because the Maruts (the air-gods) are known to be a group. And the result of the meditation is that he ever becomes victorious and invincible by enemies, and conquers his enemies.
🔗  There is one god in fire, speech and the heart. Forbearing, tolerant of others, is the attribute. As fire has many forms, the result includes the progeny, as before.
🔗  There is one god in water, the seed and the heart. Agreeable, i.e. not contrary to the Śrutis and Smṛtis, is his attribute. The result is that only agreeable things, those in accordance with the injunctions of the Śrutis and Smṛtis, come to him, not adverse ones. Another result is that from him are born children who are such (i.e. obeying the scriptures).
🔗  There is one god in a looking-glass and in other reflecting objects such as a sword, and in the intellect, which is pure of material. Shining, naturally bright, is the attribute. The result of the meditation is likewise. The progeny is included in the result, because there are many shining objects.
🔗  Considering the sound that issues behind a man as he walks and the vital force which is the cause of life in this body to be one, he says, ‘This sound,’ etc. Life is the attribute. The result of the meditation is that he attains his full term of life in this world, as acquired through his past work, and even though troubled by disease, life does not depart from him before the completion of that term, measured by that past work.
🔗  There is one god in the quarters, the ears and the heart, viz. the Asvins, the twin-gods who are never separated from each other. His attributes are: being attended with a companion and not being separated from one another, the quarters and the Asvins having these characteristics. And the man who meditates upon this gets that as a result, viz. being attended by companions and not being deserted by his followers.
🔗  There is one god in the shadow or external darkness, internally in ignorance, which is a veil, and in the heart. His attribute is death. The result of the meditation is as before, the only difference being that in the absence of premature death he is free from suffering due to disease etc.
🔗  There is one god in the self or Hiraṇya-garbha, in the intellect and the heart. His attribute is self-possessed. The result of the meditation is that he becomes self-possessed, and his progeny too becomes self-possessed. It should be noted that since the intellect is different according to each individual, the result is extended to the progeny also.

When his conceptions of Brahman were thus rejected one by one owing to the King’s having already known them, Gārgya, with his knowledge of Brahman exhausted, had nothing more to say in reply and remained silent, with his head bent down.
🔗  Seeing Gārgya in that state Ajāta-śatru said, ‘Is this all the knowledge of Brahman that you have? Or is there anything else?’ The other said, ‘This is all.’ Ajāta-śatru said, ‘By knowing this much one cannot claim to know Brahman. Why then did you proudly say you would teach me about Brahman?

Objection: Does it mean that this much knowledge amounts to nothing?

Reply: No, for the Śruti describes meditations with particular results. Those passages cannot certainly be construed as mere eulogy. For wherever a meditation has been set forth, we find phrases conveying original injunctions as for instance, ‘All-surpassing, (the head) of all beings’ (BrhUEng.2.1.2). And corresponding results are everywhere distinctly mentioned. This would be inconsistent were the passages merely eulogistic.

Objection: Why then was it said, ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman)?’

Reply: There is nothing wrong in it. It has a relation to the capacity of the aspirant. Gārgya, who knew only the conditioned Brahman, proceeded to teach Ajāta-śatru, who was the listener, about Brahman. Therefore the latter, who knew the unconditioned Brahman, was right in saying to Gārgya, ‘You do not know the true or unconditioned Brahman that you proceeded to teach me about.’ If he wanted to refute Gārgya’s knowledge of the conditioned Brahman too, he would not say, By knowing this much’; he would simply say, ‘You know nothing.’ Therefore we admit that in the sphere of ignorance there are these phases of Brahman. Another reason for saying, ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman)’, is that this knowledge of the conditioned Brahman leads to that of the Supreme Brahman. That these phases of Brahman consist of name, form and action and have to be known in the sphere of ignorance, has been shown in the first chapter. Therefore the statement, ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman),’ implies that there is some other phase of Brahman which should be known. Gārgya, being versed in the code of conduct, knew that that knowledge must not be imparted to one who was not a regular student. So he himself said, ‘I approach you as would any other student approach his teacher.’
🔗  Ajāta-śatru said: It is contrary to usage – What is so? that a Brāhmaṇa, who comes of a superior caste qualified to be a teacher, should approach a Kṣatriya, who is by custom not a teacher, in the role of a student, with a view to receiving instruction from him about Brahman. This is forbidden in the scriptures laying down rules of conduct. Therefore remain as a teacher; I will anyway instruct you about the true Brahman which should be known, knowing which one can claim to have a knowledge of Brahman.

Seeing Gārgya abashed, in order to set him at ease, he took him by the hand and rose. They, Gārgya and Ajāta-śatru, came to a man who was asleep in a certain part of the palace. Coming to him he addressed the sleeping man by these names, ‘Great, White-robed, Radiant, Soma.’ Even though thus addressed, the sleeping man did not get up. Finding he did not awake, (the King) pushed him again and again with the hand till he awoke. Then he got up. From this it was evident that the being whom Gārgya wanted to convey was not Brahman, the agent and experiencer in this body.

Objection: How do you know that the act of going to the sleeping man, calling him and his not getting up indicate that the Brahman advocated by Gārgya is not (the true) Brahman?

Reply: In the waking state, as the being whom Gārgya put forward as Brahman, the agent and experiencer is in touch with the organs, so is the being put forward by Ajāta-śatru – who is the master of the other being – in touch with them, as a king is with his servants. But the grounds of ascertaining the difference between the two beings put forward by Gārgya and Ajāta-śatru, that stand in the relation of servant and master respectively, cannot be discriminated, because they are then mixed up. That is to say, the experiencer is the seer or subject, and not an object, and that which is not the experiencer is an object, and not the subject; but these two, being mixed up in the waking state, cannot be shown separately. Hence their going to a sleeping man.

Objection: Even in the sleeping man there is nothing to determine that when addressed by special names, only the experiencer will perceive, and not the non-experiencer.

Reply: Not so, for the characteristics of the being whom Gārgya means are well-defined. That vital force which is covered by ‘truth’ (name and form constituting the gross body), which is the self (the subtle body) and immortal, which does not set when the organs have set (are inactive), whose body is water, which is white-robed, great, on account of being without a rival, and is the radiant Soma consisting of sixteen digits – that vital force remains just as it is known to be, doing its function, with its (active) nature intact. Nor does Gārgya mean that any other agency contrary to the vital force is active at that time. Hence it should know when called by its own names; but it did not. Therefore by the principle of the residuum the Brahman meant by Gārgya is proved not to be the experiencer.

If the Brahman meant by Gārgya were the experiencer by its very nature, it would perceive objects whenever it came in contact with them. For instance, fire, whose nature it is to burn and illumine, must always burn any combustible it gets, such as straw or tender grass, and also illumine things. If it does not, we cannot assert that fire burns or illumines. Likewise, if the vital force advocated by Gārgya were by nature such that it would perceive sound and other objects that came within its range, it would perceive the words ‘Great, White-robed,’ etc., which are appropriate objects for it; just as fire invariably burns and illumines straw, tender grass, etc., that come in contact withit. Therefore, since it did not perceive sound etc. coming within its range, we conclude that it is not by nature an experiencer; for a thing can never change its nature. Therefore it is conclusively proved that the vital force is not the experiencer.

Objection: May not the non-perception be due to its failure to associate the particular names by which it was addressed with itself? It may be like this: As when one out of a number of persons sitting together is addressed, he may hear, but may not particularly understand that it is he who is being called, because of his failure to associate his particular name with himself, similarly the vital force does not perceive the words addressed to it, because it fails to understand that the names such as ‘Great’ are its own and to associate them with itself, and not because it is other than the knower.

Reply: Not so, for when the vital force is admitted to be a deity, the non-association in question is impossible. In other words, one who admits that the deity identifying himself with the moon etc. is the vital force in the body, and is the experiencer (self), must also admit, for the sake of intercouse with him, that he associates himself with his particular names. Otherwise no intercourse with him will be possible in the acts of invocation etc.

Objection: The objection is not proper, since according to the view that makes the experiencer (self) other than the vital force, there is a similar non-perception. In other words, one who posits a different experiencer from the vital force must admit that it too, when called by such names as ‘Great,’ should hear them, because those names then apply to it. But we never see it do this when called by those names. Therefore the fact that the vital force fails to hear the call is no proof that it is not the experiencer.

Reply: Not so, for that which possesses something as a part of it cannot identify itself with only that much. According to the view that holds the experiencer to be other than the vital force, the latter is one of its instruments, and it is the possessor of them. It does not identify itself with only the deity of the vital force, as one does not with one’s hand. Therefore it is quite reasonable that the experiencer, identifying itself with the whole, does not hear when addressed by the names of the vital force. Not so, however, with the latter when it is addressed by its special names. Besides, the self does not identify itself with just a deity.

Objection: Such a view is untenable, because we sometimes see that the self does not hear even when called by its own name. For instance, when a man is fast asleep, he does not sometimes hear even when called by his conventional name, say Deva-datta. Similarly the vital force, although it is the experiencer, does not hear.

Reply: Not so, for there is this difference between the self and the vital force that the former sleeps, but the latter does not. When the self is asleep, its organs do not function, being absorbed in the vital force. So it does not hear even when its own name is called. But if the vital force were the experiencer, its organs should never cease to function, nor should it fail to hear the call, since it is ever awake.

Objection: It was not proper to call it by its unfamiliar names. There are many familiar names denoting the vital force, such as Prāṇa. Leaving them aside, to call it by unfamiliar names such as ‘Great’ was not proper, for it is against convention. Therefore we maintain that although it failed to hear, the vital force is the experiencer.

Reply: No, for the purpose of using those unfamiliar names was to refute the contention that the deity of the moon is the experiencer. To be explicit: That the vital force which is in this body and ever awake is not the experiencer has already been proved simply by its failure to hear the call. But names denoting the deity of the moon were addressed to it to disprove Gārgya’s contention that the vital force, which is the same as the deity of the moon, is the experiencer in this body. This purpose could not be served if the vital force were addressed by its popular names. But the refutation of the vital force the contention that any other organ is the experiencer is also refuted, because no organ can function at that time, all being absorbed in the vital force. (And no other deity can be the experiencer,) for there is no such deity.

Objection: There is, for a number of gods with particular attributes have been mentioned in the portion beginning with ‘All-surpassing’ and ending with ‘Self-possessed.’

Reply: Not so, for all the Śrutis admit them to be unified in the vital force, as in the illustration of the spokes and nave. Moreover, in the passages, ‘Covered by truth’ (BrhUEng.1.6.3), and ‘The vital force is the immortal entity’ (BrhUEng.1.6.3), no other experiencer besides the vital force is admitted (In the position taken by Gārgya). Also, in the passages, ‘This indeed is all the gods’ (BrhUEng.1.4.6), and ‘Which is that one god? The vital force’ (BrhUEng.3.9.9), all the gods have been shown to be unified in the vital force.

Similarly none of the organs can be put forward as the experiencer; for in that case it would be impossible to connect memory, perception, wish, etc. in the same subject, as in the case of different bodies. What one person has seen another cannot recollect, or perceive, or wish, or recognise. Therefore none of the organs can by any means be the experiencer. Nor can have (momentary) consciousness (Without an abiding substratum: the view of the Yogācāra school of Buddhism) be such.

Objection: Why not take the body itself to be the experiencer, why imagine something over and above it?

Reply: That cannot be, for we notice a difference made by the pushing. If this aggregate of body and organs were the experiencer, then, since this aggregate ever remains the same, pushing or not pushing would not make any difference as regards awaking. If, however, something other than the body were the experiencer, then, since it has different kinds of relation to the body, and may presumably get pleasure, pain or stupor as the varied result of its past actions, according as they were good, indifferent, or bad, there would naturally be a difference in the perception due to pushing or not pushing. But were the body itself the experiencer, there should not be any difference, since differences concerning relation and the result of past actions would be out of place in that case. Nor should there be any difference due to the strength or feebleness of the sound, touch, etc. But there is this difference, since Ajāta-śatru roused the sleeping man, whom a mere touch could not awaken, by repeatedly pushing him with the hand. Therefore it is proved that that which awoke through pushing – blazing forth, as it were, flashing, as it were, and come from somewhere, as it were, rendering the body different from what it was, endowing it with consciousness, activity, a different look, etc. – is an entity other than the body and different from the types of Brahman advocated by Gārgya.

Moreover the vital force, being a compound, must be for the benefit of some other entity. We have already said that it, like the post etc. of a house, is the internal supporter of the body and is combined with the body etc. It is also as a rim is to the spokes. And in it, which is comparable to a nave, everything is fixed. Therefore we understand that like a house etc. it has been compounded for the benefit of some entity categorically different from its parts as also the aggregate. We see that the parts of a house such as posts, walls, straw and wood, as also the house itself, subserve the purpose of a person who sees, hears, thinks and knows them, and whose existence and manifestation are independent of the birth, growth, decay, death, name, form, effect and other attributes of those things. From this we infer that the parts of the vital force etc. as also the aggregates must subserve the purpose of some entity that sees, hears, thinks and knows them, and whose existence and manifestation are independent of the birth, growth, etc. of those things.

Objection: But since the deity (called the vital force) is conscious, it is equal in status (to the self); so how can it be subordinate (to the other)? That the vital force is conscious has already been admitted when we see it addressed by particular names. And since it is conscious, it cannot subserve the purpose of another, for it is equal in status.

Reply: Not so, for the instruction that is sought to be conveyed is about the unconditioned, absolute Brahman. That the self identifies itself with action, its factors and its results, is due to the limitations of name and form and is superimposed by ignorance. It is this that causes people to come under relative existence, consisting in their identification with action and the rest. This has to be removed by a knowledge of the real nature of the unconditioned Self. Hence to teach about that this Upaniṣad (from this chapter) has been begun. For instance, it opens with, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.1), and ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman)’ (BrhUEng.2.1.14) and concludes with, ‘This much inded is (the means of) immortality, my dear’ (BrhUEng.4.5.15). And nothing else is either meant to be taught or expressed in between. Therefore there is no scope for the objection that one cannot be subordinate to the other, being equal in status.

The relation of principal and subordinate is only for the dealings of the differentiated or conditioned Brahman, and not the opposite One; whereas the whole Upaniṣad seeks to teach about the unconditioned Brahman, for it concludes with, ‘This (self) is That, which has been described as “Not this, not this,” ’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.9.26; BrhUEng.4.2.4; BrhUEng.4.4.22; BrhUEng.4.5.15). Therefore it is proved that there is a conscious Brahman other than and different from these types of unconscious Brahman such as sun etc.
🔗  Having thus proved the existence of the self other than the body, Ajāta-śatru said to Gārgya, ‘When this being full of consciousness was thus asleep, before being roused by pushing,’ etc. ‘Consciousness’ here means the instrument of knowledge, i.e. the mind, or more specifically, the intellect. What then does the phrase ‘full of consciousness’ mean? It means: which is perceived in the intellect, which is perceive through it, and which perceives through it.

Objection: When the suffix ‘mayat’ has so many meanings, how do you know that it means ‘full of’?

Reply: Because in such passages as, ‘This self is indeed Brahman, as well as identified with the intellect, the Manas’ (BrhUEng.4.4.5), we see the suffix used in the sense of fullness. Besides, the self is never known to be a modification of the consciousness that is the Supreme Self. Again, in the passage, ‘This being full of consciousness,’ etc., the self is mentioned as something already familiar. And lastly, the meanings, ‘made of’ and ‘resembling,’ are here impossible. Hence on the principle of the residuum the meaning is fullness only. Therefore the phrase means, ‘Identified with the mind, which considers the pros and cons of a subject and does other functions.’ ‘Being’ (Puruṣa), because it dwells in the intellect as in a city. The question, ‘Where was it then?’ is intended to teach the nature of the self. By a reference to the absence of effects before awaking, it is intended to show that the self is of a nature opposed to action, its factors and its results. Before awaking (in profound sleep) it perceives nothing whatsoever like pleasure and so forth, which are the effects of past work. Therefore, not being caused by past work, we understand that that is the very nature of the self. In order to teach that the self was then in its nature, and that only when it deviates from it, it becomes – contrary to its nature – subject to transmigration, Ajāta-śatru asks Gārgya, who was abashed, with a view to enlightening him on the point. These two questions, ‘Where was it then?’ and ‘Whence did it thus come?’ should have been asked by Gārgya. But simply because he does not ask them, Ajāta-śatru does not remain indifferent. He proceeds to explain them, thinking that Gārgya must be instructed, for he himself has promised, ‘I will instruct you.’ Although thus enlightened, Gārgya did not understand where the self was before awaking and whence it came the way it did, either to tell or ask about them. He did not know that.
🔗  Ajāta-śatru, to convey his intended meaning, said: I shall answer the question I asked, viz. ‘When this being full of consciousness was thus asleep, where was it, and whence did it come?’ Listen. When this being full of consciousness is thus asleep, it absorbs at the time the functions of the organs, their capacity to perceive their respective objects, through its own consciousness, the particular manifestation in its limiting adjunct, the mind, caused by its material, ignorance, and lies in the Ākāśa that is in the heart. ‘Ākāśa’ here means the Supreme Self, which is identical with its own self. It lies in that Supreme Self, which is its own nature and transcendent; not in the ordinary space, for there is another Śruti in its support: ‘With Existence, my dear, it is then united’ (ChanU.6.8.1). The idea is that it gives up its differentiated forms, which are created by its connection with the limiting adjunct, the subtle body, and remains in its undifferntiated, natural, absolute self.

Objection: How do you know that when it gives up the superintendence over the body and organs, it lives in its own self?

Reply: Through its name being well known.

Objection: What is that?

Reply: When this being absorbs them, the functions of the organs, it is called Svapiti. Then this is its (The word ‘Puruṣa’ in the text is explained as standing for the genitive case) name that becomes widely known. And this name has reference to a certain attribute of its. It is called Svapiti, because it is merged in its own self.

Objection: True, the fact of this name being well known tells us of the transcendent character of the self, but there are no arguments in favor of it.

Reply: There are. During sleep the nose (Prāṇa) is absorbed. ‘Prāṇa’ here means the organ of smell, for the context deals with the organs such as that of speech. It is only when it is connected with these organs that the self is seen to have relative attributes, because of those limiting adjuncts. And these organs are then absorbed by it. How? The organ of speech is absorbed, the eye is absorbed, the ear is absorbed, and the mind is absorbed. Therefore it is clear that the organs being absorbed, the self rests in its own self, for then it is no more changed into action, its factors and its results.
🔗  Objection: Although it is dissociated from the body and organs in the dream state, which is a kind of experience, we observe it to be possessed of relative attributes: it is happy, miserable, bereft of friends, as in the waking state, and grieves or is deluded. Therefore it must be possessed of attributes such as grief and delusion, and these as also pleasure, pain, etc. are not superimposed on it by the error brought on by its contact with the body and organs.

Reply: No, because those experiences are false. When it, the self in question, remains in the dream state, which is a kind of experience, these are its achievements, results of past work. What are they? It then becomes an emperor, as it were. This apparent suzerainty – not actual suzerainty, as in the waking state – is its achievement. Likewise a noble Brāhmaṇa, as it were. It also attains states high or low, such as that of a god or an animal, as it were. Its suzerainty and other achievements are absolutely false, for there is the clause ‘as it were,’ and they are contradicted by waking experience. Therefore it is not actually connected with the grief, delusion, etc., caused by the loss of friends and so forth, in dreams.

Objection: As its achievements of the waking state are not contradicted in that state, so its achievements such as suzerainty, which occur in the dream state, are not contradicted in that state, and are a part of the self, not superimposed by ignorance.

Reply: By demonstrating that the self is a conscious entity distinct from the vital force etc., have we not indicated that its identification with the body and organs or with godhead in the waking state is superimposed by ignorance and is not real? How then can it start up as an illustration of the dream-world, like a dead man desiring to come back to life?

Objection: True. Viewing the self, which is other than the body etc., as the body and organs or as a god, is superimposed by ignorance, like seeing a mother-of-pearl as a piece of silver. This is established by the very arguments that prove the existence of the self other than the body etc., but those arguments were not used specifically to prove the unattached nature of the self. Therefore the illustration of viewing the self as the body and organs or as a god in the waking state is again brought forward. Every argument ceases to be a mere repetition if there is some little distinction in it.

Reply: Not so. The achievements such as suzerainty, which are perceived in a dream, are not a part of the self, for then we see a world which is distinct from it and is but a reflection of the world perceived in the waking state. In reality, an emperor, lying in his bed while his subjects are asleep in different places, sees dreams, with his senses withdrawn, and in that state himself, as in the waking state, to be an emperor, again surrounded by his subjects, taking part in a pageant and having enjoyments, as it were. Except the emperor sleeping in his bed, there is no second one who, surrounded by his subjects, is known to move about among the objects of enjoyment in the day-time – whom the former would visualize in sleep. Besides, one whose senses are withdrawn can never see objects having color etc. Nor can there be in that body another like it, and one sees dreams remaining only in the body.

Objection: But one lying in bed sees oneself moving in the street.

Reply: One does not see dreams outside. So the text goes on: As an emperor, taking his citizens, his retinue and others who minister to his comforts moves about as he pleases in his own territory, acquired through conquest etc., so does it, this individual self, thus taking the organs, withdrawing them from the places they occupy in the waking state – ‘Etat’ (this) is here an adverb (meaning thus) – move about as it pleases in its own body, not outside. That is, it experiences impressions corresponding to things previously perceived, revived by its desires and the resultant of past actions. Therefore in dreams worlds that never exist are falsely superimposed as being a part of the self. One must know the worlds experienced in the waking state also to be such. Hence it goes without saying that the self is pure, and is never connected with action, its factors and its results. Since in both waking and dream states we observe that the gross and subtle worlds consisting of action, its factors and its results are but objects for the seer, therefore that seer, the self, is different from its objects, the worlds perceived in those states, and is pure.
🔗  Since in a dream, which is a kind of experience, the impressions (of past experiences) are objects, we know that they are not attributes of the self, and that for this reason it is pure. Now in the passage, ‘Then it moves about as it pleases,’ movement at pleasure has been spoken of. It may be urged that the relation of the seer to the objects is natural, and that therefore it becomes impure. Hence to establish its purity the Śruti says –
Again, when it becomes fast asleep, etc. Even when it dreams, it is nothing but pure. Again when giving up dreams, which are a kind of experience, it becomes fast or perfectly asleep – attains its natural state of perfect purity (Samprasāda; a synonym of profound sleep), becomes pure as it is by nature, giving up, like water, the impurity due to contact with other things, (then its purity is all the more clearly established). When does it become perfectly asleep? When it does not know anything. Or, does not know anything else relating to sound etc. The last few words have to be understood. The first is the right interpretation, for the purport is that there is no particular consciousness in the state of profound sleep.

Thus it has been said that when there is no particular consciousness, it is the state of profound sleep. By what process does this take place? This is being described: Seventy-two thousand nerves called Hitā, which are the metabolic effects of the food and drink in the body, extend from the heart, that lotus-shaped lump of flesh, to the pericardium, which here means the body; that is, they branch off, covering the whole body like the veins of an Aśvattha leaf. The heart is the seat of the intellect, the internal organ, and the other or external organs are subject to that intellect abiding in the heart. Therefore in accordance with the individual’s past actions the intellect in the waking state extends, along those nerves interwoven like a fish-net, the functions of the organs such as the ear to their seats, the outer ear etc., and then directs them. The individual self pervades the intellect with a reflection of its own manifested consciousness. And when the intellect contracts, it too contracts. That is the sleep of this individual self. And when it perceives the expansion of the intellect, it is waking experience. It follows the nature of its limiting adjunct, the intellect, just as a reflection of the moon etc. follows the nature of water and so forth. Therefore when the intellect that has the waking experience comes back along those nerves, the individual self too comes back and remains in the body, uniformity pervading it, as fire does a heated lump of iron. Although it remains unchanged in its own natural self, it is here spoken of as remaining in the body, because it follows the activities of the intellect, which again is dependent on one’s past actions. For the self has no contact with the body in profound sleep. It will be said later on, ‘He is then beyond all woes of the heart’ (BrhUEng.4.3.22). That this state is free from all miseries pertaining to relative existence is thus illustrated: As a baby or an emperor whose subjects are entirely obedient, and who can do whatever he says, or a noble Brāhmaṇa who is exceedingly mature in erudition and modesty, lives, having attained the acme of bliss, literally, a degree of it that entirely blots out misery. It is a well known fact that these, the baby and the rest, while they remain in their normal state, are exceedingly happy. It is only when they depart from it that they feel miserable, not naturally. Therefore their normal state is cited as an illustration, because it is well known. The reference is not to their sleep, for sleep is the thing to be illustrated here. Besides there is no difference between their sleep and anybody else’s. If there were any difference, the one might serve as an illustration of the other. Therefore their sleep is not the illustration. So, like this example, does it, the individual self, remain. ‘Etat’ is an adverb here. So does it remain in its own natural self beyond all relative attributes during profound sleep.

The question, ‘Where was it then?’ (BrhUEng.2.1.16) has been answered. And by this answer the natural purity and transcendence of the individual self has been mentioned. Now the answer to the question, ‘Whence did it comes?’ (BrhUEng.2.1.16) is being taken up.

Objection: If a man living at a particular village or town wants to go somewhere else, he starts from that very place, and from nowhere else. Such being the case, the question should only be, ‘Where was it then?’ We very well know that a man comes from where he was, and from nowhere else. So the question, ‘Whence did it come?’ is simply redundant.

Reply: Do you mean to flout the Vedas?

Objection: No, I only wish to hear some other meaning to the second question; so I raise the objection of redundancy.

Reply: Well then, we do not take the word ‘whence’ in the sense of an ablative, since in that case the question would be a repetition, but not if we take it in a difference sense.

Objection: Then let us take the question as an inquiry about the cause. ‘Whence did it come?’ means, ‘What caused it to come here?’

Reply: It cannot be an inquiry about the cause either, for we have a different kind of answer. For instance the answer sets forth the origin of the whole universe from the Self, like sparks from fire, and so on. In the emanation of sparks the fire is not the efficient cause, but that from which they separate. Similarly in the sentence, ‘From this Self,’ etc. (this text), the Supreme Self is spoken of as that source from which the individual self emanates. Therefore the answer being different, you cannot take the word ‘whence’ as an inquiry about the cause.

Objection: Even if it were used in an ablative sense, the objection of redundancy would remain just the same.

Reply: Not so. The two questions are meant to convey that the self is not connected with action, its factors and its results. In the preceding chapter the subject-matter of knowledge and ignorance has been introduced. ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), ‘It knew only Itself’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10) ‘One should meditate only upon the world of the Self’ (BrhUEng.1.4.15) – these represent the subject-matter of knowledge. And that of ignorance includes rites with five factors and its three results, the three kinds of food, consisting of name, form and action. Of these, all that had to be said about the subject-matter of ignorance has been said. But the Self devoid of attributes that is the subject-matter of knowledge has only been introduced, but not conclusively dealt with. To do this the present chapter has opened with, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.1), and also ‘will instruct you’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15). Therefore that Brahman which is the subject-matter of knowledge, has to be explained in Its true nature. And Its true nature is devoid of differences relating to action, its factors and its results, exceedingly pure and one – this is the intended meaning. Therefore the Śruti raises two questions that are appropriate to it, viz. ‘Where was it then, and whence did it come?’ (BrhUEng.2.1.16).

Now that in which a thing exists is its container, and what is there is the contents, and the container and content are observed to be different. Similarly that from which a thing comes is its starting place, and that which comes is the agent, which is observed to be different from the other. Therefore one would be apt to think, in accordance with convention, that the self was somewhere, being different from that place, and came from somewhere, being different from it, and the means by which it came is also different from it. That idea has to be removed by the answer. (So it is stated that) this self was not in any place different from itself, nor did it come from any place different from itself, nor is there in the self any means different from itself. What then is the import? That the self was in its own Self. This is borne out by the Śruti passages, ‘It merges in its own Self’ (ChanU.6.8.1), ‘With Existence, my dear, it is then united’ (ChanU.6.8.1), ‘Fully embraced by the Supreme Self’ (BrhUEng.4.3.21), ‘Rests on the Supreme Self,’ etc. (PrasU.4.7). For the same reason it does not come from any place different from itself. This is shown by the text itself, ‘From this Self,’ etc. For there is no other entity besides the Self.

Objection: There are other entities besides the Self, such as the organs.

Reply: No, because the organs etc. spring from the Self alone.
🔗  How this takes place is described as follows –
This is illustrated thus: As in the world a spider, which is well known to be one entity, moves along the thread which is not different from itself – and there is no other auxiliary to its movement but itself – and as from one homogeneous fire tiny sparks, little specks of fire, fly in different ways, or in numbers; as these two illustrations show activity even in the absence of any difference regarding auxiliaries, as also natural unity before the activity starts, just so from this Self, i.e. from the real nature of the individual self before it wakes up, emanate all organs such as that of speech, all worlds such as the earth, which are the results of one’s past actions, all gods such as fire, who preside over the organs and the worlds, and all living beings, from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass. If the reading is, ‘All these souls (As the Mādhyan-dina recension has it),’ then the meaning will be, ‘Souls with particular characteristics manifested owing to connection with limiting adjuncts.’ It is the Self from which this moving and unmoving world continually proceeds like sparks of fire, in which it is merged like a bubble of water, and with which it remains filled during existence. The secret name (Upaniṣad) of this Self or Brahman, etc. ‘Upaniṣad’ means ‘that which brings (one) near’ (Brahman), that is, a word denoting It (a name). That this capacity to ‘bring near’ is a speciality of this particular name is known on the authority of the scriptures alone. What is this secret name? The Truth of truth. Since this secret name always has a transcendental import, it is difficult to understand. Therefore the Śruti gives its meaning: The vital force is truth, and It is the Truth of that. The next two sections will be devoted to explaining this sentence.

Question: Granted that the next two sections will be devoted to explaining the secret name. The text says, ‘Its secret name.’ But we do not know whether it is the secret name of the individual self, which is the subject under discussion, which awoke through pushing, is subject to transmigration, and perceives sound etc., or whether it refers to some transcendent principle.

Reply: What difference does it make?

Question: Just this: If it refers to the relative (transmigrating) self, then that is to be known, and by knowing it (identity with) all will be attained; further it alone will be denoted by the word ‘Brahman,’ and the knowledge of it will be the knowledge of Brahman. But if the transcendent Self is meant, then the knowledge of It will be the knowledge of Brahman, and from that identity with all will be attained. That all this will happen we know on the authority of the scriptures. But according to this view (if the individual self and Brahman are different) the Vedic texts that teach their identity, such as, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7) and ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman” ’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), will be contradicted. And (if they are identical) there being no relative self different from the Supreme Self, spiritual instruction will be useless, Since this (unity of the self) is a question that has not been answered and is a source of confusion even to scholars, therefore in order to facilitate the understanding of passages that deal with the knowledge of Brahman for those who seek It, we shall discuss the point as best as we can.

Prima facie view: The transcendent Supreme Self is not meant, for the text states the origin of the universe from a self which awoke on being pushed with the hand, which perceives sound etc., and which is possessed of a distinct state (profound sleep). To be explicit: There is no Supreme Self devoid of the desire for food etc., which is the ruler of the universe. Why? Because the Śruti, after introducing the topic, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), then mentioning the rousing of the sleeping man by pushing with the hand – thereby showing him to be the perceiver of sound etc. – and describing his transition through the dream state to that of profound sleep, shows the origin of the universe from that very self possessed of the state of profound sleep, by the two illustrations of sparks of fire and the spider, in the passage, ‘So from this Self,’ etc. And no other cause of the origin of the universe is mentioned in between, for this section deals exclusively with the individual self. Another Śruti, the Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad, which deals with the same topic, after introducing the beings who are in the sun etc., says ‘He said: He, O Bālāki, who is the matter of these beings, and whose handiwork this universe is, is indeed to be known’ (KausU.4.19). This shows that the individual self roused from sleep, and none other, is to be known. Similarly by saying, ‘But it is for one’s own sake that all is loved’ (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6), the Śruti shows that that self which is familiar to us as being dear is alone to be realized through hearing, reflection and meditation. So also the statements made while introducing the topic of knowledge, such as, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), ‘This (Self) is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.8), ‘It knew only itself as, “I am Brahman,” ’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.10), would be consistent if there were no Supreme Self. It will also be said further on, If a man knows himself to be the Self’ (BrhUEng.4.4.12). Moreover, in all Vedānta it is the inner self which is put forward as the entity to be known, as ‘I (am Brahman),’ and never any external object like sound etc., saying, ‘That is Brahman.’ Similarly in the Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad, in the passage, ‘Do not seek to know about speech, know the speaker,’ etc. (KausU.3.8 etc.), it is the agent (the individual self) using speech etc. as instruments, which is put forward as the entity to be known.

Objection: Suppose we say that the individual self in a different state is the Supreme Self? It may be like this: The same individual self which perceives sound etc. in the waking state is changed into the transcendent Supreme Self, the ruler of the universe, on getting into the state of profound sleep.

Tentative answer: No, this is contrary to experience. We never find anything having this characteristic outside of Buddhist philosophy. It never happens in life that a cow standing or going is a cow, but that on lying down she becomes a horse or any other species. It is contrary to logic also. A thing that is known through some means of knowledge to have a certain characteristic, retains that characteristic even in a different place, time or condition. If it ceases to have that characteristic all application of the means of knowledge would stop. Similarly the Sāṅkhyas, Mīmāṃsakas and others who are skilled in logic adduce hundreds of reasons to prove the absence of a transcendent self.

Objection: Your view is wrong, for the relative self too lacks the knowledge of how to effect the origin, continuity and dissolution of the universe. To be explicit: The position you have advocated so elaborately, viz. that the same relative self which perceives sound etc. becomes the ruler of the universe when it attains a different condition, is untenable. For everybody knows that the relative self lacks the knowledge, power and means to effect the origin, continuity and dissolution of the universe. How can a relative self like us construct this universe in which the earth etc. are located, and which it is impossible even to think of with the mind?

Tentative answer: Not so, for the scriptures are in our favor. They show the origin etc. of the universe from the relative self, for example, ‘So from this Self,’ etc. (this text). Therefore our view is all right.

Objection (By the believers in Īśvara only as the efficient, not material cause of the universe): There is a transcendent Supreme Self, and It is the cause of the universe, for such is the verdict of the Śruti, Smṛti and reason. Witness hundreds of Śruti passages such as, ‘That which knows things in a general and particular way’ (MunU.1.1.9 and MunU.2.2.7), ‘That which transcends hunger and thirst’ (BrhUEng.3.5.1), ‘Unattached, It is not attached to anything’ (BrhUEng.3.9.26), ‘Under the mighty rule of this Immutable,’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.8.9), ‘That which living in all beings … is the internal ruler and immortal’ (BrhUEng.3.7.15), ‘(That Being) who definitely projects those beings … and is at the same time transcendent’ (BrhUEng.3.9.26), ‘That great, birthless Self’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22 etc.), ‘It is the bank that serves as the boundary to keep the different worlds apart’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22 etc.), ‘The controller of all, the lord of all’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22 etc.), ‘The Self that is sinless, undecaying, immortal’ (ChanU.8.7.1, .3), ‘It projected fire’ (ChanU.6.2.3), ‘In the beginning this universe was only the Self’ (AitU.1.1.1), ‘It is not affected by human misery, being beyond it’ (KathU.2.2.11) Also the Smṛti passage, ‘I am the origin of all, and from Me everything springs’ (BhG.10.8).

Tentative answer: Have we not said that the text, ‘So from this Self,’ shows the origin of the universe from the relative self?

Objection: Not so, for since in the passage, ‘The Ākāśa that is in the heart’ (BrhUEng.2.1.17), the Supreme Self has been introduced, the text, ‘So from this Self,’ should refer to the Supreme Self. In reply to the question, ‘Where was it then?’ (BrhUEng.2.1.16), the Supreme Self, denoted by the word ‘Ākāśa,’ has been mentioned in the text, ‘It lies in the Ākāśa that is in the heart.’ That the word ‘Ākāśa’ refers to the Supreme Self is clear from texts such as: ‘With Existence my dear, it is then united’ (ChanU.6.8.1), ‘Every day they attain this world that is Brahman, but they do not realize this’ (ChanU.8.3.2), ‘Fully embraced by the Supreme Self’ (BrhUEng.4.3.21), and ‘Rests on the Supreme Self’ (PrasU.4.7). That the Supreme Self is the topic further appears from the use of the word ‘Self’ with reference to the Supreme Self, which has been introduced in the passage, ‘In it there is a little space’ (ChanU.8.1.1). Therefore the passage, ‘So from this Self,’ should indicate that the universe springs from the Supreme Self alone. And we have already said that the relative self has not the power and knowledge to project, maintain and dissolve the universe.

In the passages, The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), and ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman” ’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), the topic of the knowledge of Brahman was introduced, and this deals with Brahman as its subject. This section too opens with sentences such as, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.1), and ‘I will teach you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15). Now the transcendent Brahman, which is beyond hunger etc. and is eternal, pure, enlightened and free by nature, is the cause of the universe, while the relative self is the opposite of that; therefore it would not (in its present state) perceive itself to be identical with Brahman. On the other hand, would not the inferior relative self be open to censure if it identified the Supreme Self, the self-effulgent ruler of the universe, with itself? Therefore it is unreasonable to say, “I am Brahman.”

Hence one should wish to worship Brahman with flowers, water, folding of the palms, praises, prostration, sacrifices, presents, repetition of Its name, meditation, Yoga, etc. Knowing It through worship one becomes Brahman, the ruler of all. But one should not think of the transcendent Brahman as the relative self; it would be like thinking of fire as cold, and the sky as possessed of form. The scriptural passages too that teach the identity of the self with Brahman should be taken as merely eulogistic. This interpretation will also harmonize with all logic and common sense.

Advaitin’s reply: That cannot be, for from Mantra and Brāhmaṇa texts we know that the Supreme Self alone entered. Beginning with, ‘He made bodies,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.5.18), the text says, ‘The Supreme Being entered the bodies’ (BrhUEng.2.5.18), ‘He transformed Himself in accordance with each form; that form of His was for the sake of making Him known’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; RgV.6.47.18); ‘The Wise One, who after projecting all forms, names them, and goes on uttering those names’ (TaitAr.3.12.7) – thus thousands of Mantras in all recensions show that it is the transcendent Īśvara who entered the body. Similarly Brāhmaṇa texts such as, ‘After projecting it, the Self entered into it’ (TaitU.2.6.1), ‘Piercing this dividing line (of the head) It entered through that gate’ (AitU.1.3.12), ‘That deity (Existence), penetrating these three gods (fire, water and earth) as this individual self,’ etc. (ChanU.6.3.3–4), ‘This Self, being hidden in all beings, is not manifest,’ etc. (KathU.1.3.12). Since the word ‘Self’ has been used in all scriptures to denote Brahman, and since it refers to the inner Self, and further the Śruti passage, ‘He is the inner Self of all beings’ (MunU.2.1.4), shows the absence of a relative self other than the Supreme Self, as also the Śruti texts, ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1), ‘This universe is but Brahman’ (MunU.2.2.11), ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.8.28.2), it is but proper to conclude the identity of the individual self with Brahman.

Objection: If such is the import of the scriptures, then the Supreme Self becomes relative, and if it is so, the scriptures (teaching Its transcendence) become useless; while if It is (identical with the individual self and yet) transcendent, then there is this obvious objection that spiritual instruction becomes redundant. To be explicit: If the Supreme Self, which is the inmost Self of all beings, feels the miseries arising from contact with all bodies, It obviously becomes relative. In that case those Śruti and Smṛti texts that establish the transcendence of the Supreme Self, as also all reason would be set at naught. If, on the other hand, it can somehow be maintained that It is not connected with the miseries arising from contact with the bodies of different beings, it is impossible to refute the charge of the futility of all spiritual instruction, for there is nothing for the Supreme Self either to achieve or to avoid.

To this dilemma some suggest the following solution: The Supreme Self did not penetrate the bodies directly in Its own form, but It became the individual self after undergoing a modification. And that individual self is both different from and identical with the Supreme Self. In so far as it is different, it is affected by relativity, and in so far as it is identical, it is capable of being ascertained as, ‘I am Brahman.’ Thus there will be no contradiction anywhere.

Now, if the individual self be a modification of Supreme Self, there may be the following alternatives: The Supreme Self may be an aggregate of many things and consist of parts, like the substance earth, and the individual self may be the modification of some portion of It, like a jar etc. Or the Supreme Self may retain Its form, and a portion of It be modified, like hair or a barren tract, for instance. Or the entire Supreme Self may be modified, like milk etc. Now in the first view, according to which a particular thing out of an aggregate of a great many things of the same category becomes the individual self, since this particular thing is only of the same category, the identity is but figurative, not real. In that case it would be a contradiction of the verdict of the Śruti. If, however, (as in the second view) the Supreme Self is a whole eternally consisting of parts inseparably connected together, and, while It remains unchanged in form, a portion of it becomes the relative individual self, then, since the whole inheres in all the parts, it is affected by the merit or defect of each part; hence the Supreme Self will be subject to the evil of transmigration attaching to the individual self. Therefore this view also is inadmissible; while the view that holds that the whole of the Supreme Self is transformed disregards all the Śrutis and Smṛtis and is therefore unacceptable. All these views contradict reason as well as Śruti and Smṛti texts such as, ‘(Brahman is) without parts, devoid of activity and serene’ (SvetU.6.19), ‘The Supreme Being is resplendent, formless, including both within and without, and birthless’ (MunU.2.1.2), ‘All-pervading like the sky and eternal,’ ‘That great, birthless Self is undecaying, immortal, undying’ (BrhUEng.4.4.25), ‘It is never born nor dies’ (KathU.1.2.18; BhG.2.20), ‘It is undifferentiated,’ etc. (BhG.2.25). If the individual self be a portion of the immutable Supreme Self, then it will find it impossible to go (after death) to places in accordance with its past work, or else the Supreme Self will, as already said, be subject to transmigration.

Objection: Suppose we say that the individual self is a portion of the Supreme Self detached from It like a spark of fire, and that transmigrates.

Reply: Yet the Supreme Self will get a wound by this breaking off of Its part, and as that part transmigrates, it will make a hole in the assemblage of parts another portion of the Supreme Self – which will contradict the scriptural statements about Its being without any wound. If the individual self, which is a part of the Supreme Self, transmigrates, then, since there is no space without It, some other parts of It being pushed and displaced, the Supreme Self will feel pains as if It has colic in the heart.

Objection: There is nothing wrong in it, for there are Śruti texts giving illustrations of sparks of fire etc.

Reply: Not so, for the Śruti is merely informative. The scriptures seek not to alter things but to supply information about things unknown, as they are.

Objection: What difference does it make?

Reply: Listen. Things in the world are known to possess certain fixed characteristics such as grossness or fineness. By citing them as examples the scriptures seek to tell us about some other thing which does not contradict them. They would not cite an example from life if they wanted to convey an idea of something contradictory to it. Even if they did, it would be to no purpose, for the example would be different from the thing to be explained. You cannot prove that fire is cold, or that the sun does not give heat, even by citing a hundred examples, for the facts would already be known to be otherwise through another means of knowledge. And one means of knowledge does not contradict another, for it only tells about those things that cannot be known by any other means. Nor can the scriptures speak about an unknown thing without having recourse to conventional words and their meanings. Therefore one who follows convention can never prove that the Supreme Self really has parts or stands to other things in the relation of whole to part.

Objection: But do not the Śruti and Smṛti say, ‘Tiny sparks’ (this text), and ‘A part of Myself’ (BhG.15.7)?

Reply: Not so, for the passages are meant to convey the idea of oneness. We notice in life that sparks of fire may be considered identical with fire. Similarly a part may be considered identical with the whole. Such being the case, words signifying a modification or part of the Supreme Self, as applied to the individual self, are meant to convey its identity with It. That this is so appears also from the introduction and conclusion. In all the Upaniṣads first identity is broached, then by means of illustrations and reasons the universe is shown to be a modification or part or the like of the Supreme Self, and the conclusion again brings out the identity. Here, for instance, the text begins with, ‘This all is the Self’ (BrhUEng.2.4.6), then through arguments and examples about the origin, continuity and dissolution of the universe, it adduces reasons for considering its identity with Brahman, such as the relation of cause and effect, and it will conclude with, ‘Without interior or exterior. This self is Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19). Therefore from that introduction and conclusion it is clear that the passages setting forth the origin, continuity and dissolution of the universe are for strengthening the idea of the identity of the individual self with the Supreme Self. Otherwise there would be a break in the topic. All believers in the Upaniṣads are unanimous on the point that all of these enjoin on us to think of the identity of the individual self with the Supreme Self. If it is possible to construe the passages setting forth the origin etc. of the universe so as to keep up the continuity of that injunction, to interpret them so as to introduce a new topic would be unwarrantable. A different result too would have to be provided for. Therefore we conclude that the Śruti passages setting forth the origin etc. of the universe must be for establishing the identity of the individual self and Supreme Self.

Regarding this teachers of Vedānta (The reference is to Draviḍācārya), narrate the following parable: A certain prince was discarded by his parents as soon as he was born, and brought up in a fowler’s home. Not knowing his princely descent, he thought himself to be a fowler and pursued the fowler’s duties, not those of a king, as he would if he knew himself to be such. When, however, a very compassionate man, who knew the prince’s fitness for attaining a kingdom, told him who he was – that he was not a fowler, but the son of such and such a king, and had by some chance come to live in a fowler’s home – he, thus informed, gave up the notion and the duties of a fowler and, knowing that he was a king, took to the ways of his ancestors. Similarly this individual self, which is of the same category as the Supreme Self, being separated from It like a spark of fire and so on, has penetrated this wilderness of the body, organs, etc., and, although really transcendent, takes on the attributes of the latter, which are relative, and thinks that it is this aggregate of the body and organs, that it is lean or stout, happy or miserable – for it does not know that it is the Supreme Self. But when the teacher enlightens it that it is not the body etc., but the transcendent Supreme Brahman, then it gives up the pursuit of the three kinds of desire (Those for a son, for wealth and for heaven. See BrhUEng.4.4.22) and is convinced that it is Brahman. When it is told that it has been separated from the Supreme Brahman like a spark, it if firmly convinced that it is Brahman, as the prince was of his royal birth.

We know that a spark is one with fire before it is separated. Therefore the examples of gold, iron and sparks of fire are only meant to strengthen one’s idea of the oneness of the individual self and Brahman, and not to establish the multiplicity caused by the origin etc. of the universe. For the Self has been ascertained to be homogeneous and unbroken consciousness, like a lump of salt, and there is the statement, ‘It should be realized in one form only’ (BrhUEng.4.4.20). If the Śruti wanted to teach that Brahman has diverse attributes such as the origin of the universe, like a painted canvas, a tree, or an ocean, for instance, it would not conclude with statements, describing It to be homogeneous like a lump of salt, without interior or exterior, nor would it say, ‘It should be realized in one form only.’ There is also the censure, ‘He (goes from death to death) who sees difference, as it were, in It,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.4.19; KathU.2.1.10). Therefore the mention in all Vedānta texts of the origin, continuity and dissolution of the universe is only to strengthen our idea of Brahman being a homogeneous unity, and not to make us believe in the origin etc. as an actuality.

Nor is it reasonable to suppose that a part of the indivisible, transcendent, Supreme Self becomes the relative, individual self, for the Supreme Self is intrinsically without parts. If a part of the indivisible Supreme Self is supposed to be the relative, individual self, it is tantamount to taking the former to be the latter. If, on the other hand, the individual self be a part of the Supreme Self owing to some adventitious limiting adjunct of It, like the space enclosed in a jar, a bowl, etc., then thinking people would not consider that it is really a part of the Supreme Self, deserving to be treated as something distinct.

Objection: We sometimes see that thinking as well as ignorant people entertain fanciful notions about things.

Reply: Not so, for ignorant people have false notions, whereas thinking people have notions that relate only to an apparent basis for conventional intercourse. For instance, even thinking people sometimes say that the sky is dark or red, where the darkness or redness of the sky has just the above apparent reality. But because of that the sky can never actually become dark or red. Therefore in ascertaining the true nature of Brahman, men of wisdom should not think of It in terms of whole and part – unit and fraction – or cause and effect. For the essential meaning of all the Upaniṣads is to remove all finite conceptions about Brahman. Therefore we must give up all such conceptions and know Brahman to be undifferentiated like the sky. This is borne out by hundreds of Śruti texts such as, ‘All-pervading like the sky and eternal,’ and ‘It is not affected by human misery, being beyond it’ (KathU.2.2.11). We must not imagine the self to be different from Brahman, like a portion of fire, which is ever hot, being cold, or like a portion of the effulgent sun being dark, for as already said, the essential meaning of all the Upaniṣads is to remove all finite conceptions about Brahman. Therefore all relative conditions in the transcendent Self are only possible through the limiting adjuncts of name and form. Compare the Śruti Mantras, ‘He transformed Himself in accordance with each form’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19), and ‘The Wise One, who after projecting all forms names them, and goes on uttering those names,’ etc. (TaitAr.3.12.7). The relative conditions of the self is not inherent in it. It is not true, but erroneous, like the notion that a crystal is red or of any other color owing to its association with limiting adjuncts such as a red cotton pad. Śruti and Smṛti texts such as, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.7), ‘It neither increases nor decreases through work’ (BrhUEng.4.4.23), ‘It is not affected by evil work’ (BrhUEng.4.4.23), ‘Living the same in all beings’ (BhG.13.27), ‘(Wise men are even-minded) to a dog as well as a Caṇḍāla, etc.’ (BhG.5.18), as also reasoning establish only the transcendence of the Supreme Self. Hence, if we admit It to be indivisible, it will be particularly impossible for us to maintain that the individual self is either a part, a modification, or inherent power of the Supreme Self, or something different from It. And we have already saiid that the Śruti and Smṛti passages referring to the relation of whole and part etc. are for the purpose of establishing their oneness, not difference, for only thus will there be continuity as regards the import of those passages.

If all the Upaniṣads teach that there is only the Supreme Self, why, it may be asked, is something contradictory to it, viz. the individual self, put forward? Some say that it is for removing the objections against the authority of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas: For the passages dealing with rites depend on a multiplicity of actions, their factors and their results, including the sacrificers, who enjoy those results, and the priests, who officiate in them. Now, if there were no separate individual self, the transcendent Supreme Self would be one. How under such circumstances would those passages induce people to do actions producing good results, or dissuade them from those that have bad results? Who again would be the bound soul for whose liberation the Upaniṣads would be taken up? Further, according to the view which holds that there is only the Supreme Self, how can instruction about It be imparted? And how can that instruction bear fruit? For instruction is given in order to remove the bondage of a bound soul; hence in the absence of the latter the Upaniṣads will have nobody to address themselves to. Such being the case, the same objections and replies that apply to the advocates of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas, apply also to the advocates of the Upaniṣads. For, as owing to the absence of difference the ritualistic portion, being without support, falls through as an authority, so do the Upaniṣads. Then why not accept the authority of only the ritualistic portion, which can be interpreted literally? But the Upaniṣads may be rejected, since in accepting them as authority one has to alter their obvious import (Since many passages clearly have a dualistic import). The ritualistic portion, having an authority once, cannot again cease to be that. It cannot be that a lamp will sometimes reveal objects and sometimes not. There is also contradiction with other means of knowledge, such as perception. The Upaniṣads that establish the existence of Brahman alone not only contradict their obvious import and the authority of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas, but they also run counter to such means of knowledge as perception, which definitely establish differences in the world. Therefore the Upaniṣads cannot be taken as authority. Or they must have some other meaning. But they can never mean that only Brahman exists.

Advaitin’s reply: That cannot be, for we have already answered those points. A means of knowledge is or is not such according as it leads or does not lead to valid knowledge. Otherwise even a post, for instance, would be considered a means of knowledge in perceiving sound etc.

Objection: What follows from this?

Reply: If the Upaniṣads lead to a valid knowledge of the unity of Brahman, how can they cease to be a means of knowledge?

Objection: Of course they do not lead to valid knowledge, as when somebody says that fire is cold.

Reply: Well then, we ask you, do not your words refuting the authority of the Upaniṣads accomplish their object, like fire revealing things, or do they not? If you say they do, then your words of refutation are a means of valid knowledge, and fire does reveal things. If your words of refutation are valid, then the Upaniṣads too are valid. So please tell us what the way out is.

Objection: That my words mean the refutation of the authority of the Upaniṣads, and that fire reveals things are palpable facts, and hence constitute valid knowledge.

Reply: What, then, is your grudge against the Upaniṣads, which are seen directly to convey a valid knowledge of the unity of Brahman, inasmuch as the refutation is illogical? And we have already said that a palpable result, viz. cessation of grief and delusion, is indirectly brought about by the knowledge of this unity. Therefore, the objections having been answered, there is no doubt of the Upaniṣads being authority.

You have said that the Upaniṣads are no authority, since they contradict their obvious import. This is wrong, because there is no such contradiction in their meaning. In the first place, the Upaniṣads never give us the idea that Brahman both is and is not one only without a second, as from the sentence that fire is both hot and cold we get two contradictory meanings. We have said this taking it for granted that a passage can have different meanings. But it is not an accepted canon of the system that tests passages (Mīmāṃsā) that the same passage may have different meanings. If it has, one will be the proper meaning, and the other will be contradictory to it. But it is not an accepted rule with those who test passages that the same passage may have different meanings – one appropriate, and the other contradictory to it. For passages have unity only when they have the same meaning. In the second place, there are no passages in the Upaniṣads that contradict the unity of Brahman. As to the conventional (Having relation to human experience, as opposed to Vedic) expressions, ‘Fire is cold as well as hot,’ it is not a unitary passage, because part of it merely relates what is known through another means of knowledge (perception). The portion, ‘Fire is cold,’ is one sentence, but the clause, ‘Fire is hot,’ merely reminds us of what is known through another means of knowledge; it does not give us that meaning at first hand. Therefore it is not to be combined with the clause, ‘Fire is cold,’ because its function is exhausted by merely reminding us of what is experienced through another source of knowledge. As to the presumption that this sentence conveys contradictory meanings, it is but an error due to the words ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ being used as co-ordinate with the word ‘fire.’ But neither in Vedic nor in conventional usage does the same passage have more than one meaning.

You have said that passages of the Upaniṣads clash with the authority of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas. This is not correct, because they have a different meaning. The Upaniṣads also establish the unity of Brahman; they do not negate instructions regarding the means of attaining some desired object, or prevent persons from undertaking it, for, as already said, a passage cannot have more than one meaning. Nor do ritualistic passages fail to produce valid knowledge regarding their own meaning. If a passage produces valid knowledge regarding its own elusive object, how can it clash with other passages?

Objection: If Brahman be the only reality, ritualistic passages are left without any object to apply to, and hence they cannot certainly produce valid knowledge.

Reply: Not so, for that valid knowledge is palpable. We see it arising out of sentences such as, ‘One who desires heaven must perform the new-and full-moon sacrifices,’ and ‘One must not kill a Brāhmaṇa.’ The assumption that this cannot take place if the Upaniṣads teach the unity of Brahman, is only an inference. And an inference cannot stand against perception. Therefore your statement that valid knowledge itself cannot arise, is absolutely wrong.

Moreover, actions, their factors and their results are things we naturally believe in: they are the creation of ignorance. When, through their help, a man who desires to gain something good or to avoid something evil, proceeds to adopt a means of which he has only a vague, not definite idea, the Śruti simply tells him about that; it says nothing either for or against the truth of the diversity of actions, their factors and their results – which people have already taken for granted. For the Śruti only prescribes means for the attainment of desired ends and the avoidance of untoward results. To be explicit: As the Śruti that deals with rites having material ends takes the desires as they are – although they are the result of erroneous notions – and prescribes means for attaining them, and it does not cease to do this on the ground that desires are an evil, being the result of erroneous notions, similarly the Śruti dealing with the regular rites, such as the Agni-hotra, takes the diversity of actions and their factors as they are – although they proceed from error – and enjoins rites like the Agni-hotra, seeing some utility in them, whether it be the attainment of some particular desired end or the avoidance of some particular untoward result. It does not refrain from enjoining them simply because the utility relates to something that is unreal, being within the domain of ignorance, as is the case with rites having material ends. Nor would ignorant people cease to engage themselves in those rites, for we see them doing it, as in the case of people who are swayed by desires.

Objection: But it is only those that have knowledge who are competent to perform rites.

Reply: No, for we have already said that the knowledge of the unity of Brahman militates against one’s competency of perform rites. This should also be taken as an answer to the charge than if Brahman be the only reality, there would be no scope left for instruction, and hence it can neither be received nor produce any result. The diversity of people’s desires, attachments and so forth is another reason. People have innumerable desires and various defects, such as attachment. Therefore they are lured by the attachment etc. to external objects, and the scriptures are powerless to hold them back; nor can they persuade those who are naturally averse to external objects to go after them. But the scriptures do this much that they point out what leads to good and what to evil, thereby indicating the particular relations that subsist between ends and means; just as a lamp, for instance, helps to reveal forms in the dark. But the scriptures neither hinder nor direct a person by force, as if he were a slave. We see how people disobey even the scriptures because of an excess of attachment etc. Therefore, according to the varying tendencies of people, the scriptures variously teach the particular relations that subsist between ends and means. In this matter people themselves adopt particular means according to their tastes, and the scriptures simply remain netural, like the sun, for instance, or a lamp. Similarly somebody may think the highest goal to be not worth striving after. One chooses one’s goal according to one’s knowledge, and wants to adopt corresponding means. This is also borne out by the eulogistic passages of the Śruti, such as, ‘Three classes of Prajā-pati’s sons lived a life of continence with their father, ‘Prajā-pati,’ etc. (BrhUEng.5.2.1). Therefore the Vedānta texts that teach the unity of Brahman are not antagonistic to the ritualistic scriptures. Nor are the latter thereby deprived of their scope. Neither do the ritualistic scriptures, which uphold differences such as the factors of an action, take away the authority of the Upaniṣads as regards the unity of Brahman. For the means of knowledge are powerful in their respective spheres, like the ear etc.

Nevertheless, certain self-styled wise men (the logicians), following their own whims, think that the different means of knowledge are mutually contradictory, and also level against us the objection that if Brahman be the only reality, such Upaniṣadic texts contradict perception. For instance, objects like sound, which are perceived by the ear and so forth, are observed to be different from one another. So those who hold that Brahman is the only reality contradict perception. Similarly the relative selves that perceive sound etc. through the ear and so forth, and acquire merit or demerit through their work, are inferred to be different in different bodies. So those who hold that Brahman is the only reality also contradict inference. They also cite contradiction with the Śruti. For instance, in passages such as, ‘One who desires villages must sacrifice’ (TanMBr.17.10.4), ‘One who desires animals must sacrifice’ (TanMBr.16.12.8) and ‘One who desires heaven must sacrifice’ (TanMBr.16.3.4), the objects desired such as villages, animals and heaven, are known to be different from the men who apply the means of obtaining them.

Our reply is that they are the scum of the Brāhmaṇa and other castes, who, with their minds poisoned by vicious reasoning, hold views about the meaning of the Vedas that are divorced from tradition, and are therefore to be pitied. How? To those who say that sound etc., perceived through the ear and so forth, contradict the unity of Brahman, we put this question: Does the variety of sound and the rest contradict the oneness of the space? If it does not, then there is no contradiction in our position with regard to perception. They said: The selves that perceive sound etc. through the ear and so forth, and acquire merit or demerit through their work, are inferred to be different in different bodies; so the unity of Brahman also contradicts inference. But we ask them, ‘By whom are they so inferred?’ It they say, ‘By us all who are experts in inference,’ we would ask them, ‘But who really are you that call yourselves so?’ What would be their reply then? Perhaps they would say, ‘When dexterity in inference has been severally denied of the body, the organs, the mind and the self, we experts in inference should be the self joined to its accessories, the body, organs and mind, for actions depend on many factors.’ Our reply is: ‘If such be your dexterous inference, then you become multiple. For you yourselves have admitted that actions depend on many factors. Now inference also is an action, which, as you have also admitted, is done by the self joined to its accessories, the body, organs and mind. Thus, while saying that you are experts in inference, you virtually admit that each of you is multiple – the self joined to the accessories, the body, organs and mind.’ Oh! the dexterity in inference shown by these bulls of logicians who lack only a tail and horns! How can a fool who does not know his own self know its unity or difference? What will he infer about it? And on what grounds? For the self has no characteristic that might be used to infer natural differences between one self and another. Those characteristics having name and form which the opponents will put forward to infer differences in the self belong only to name and form, and are but limiting adjuncts of the self, just as a jar, a bowl, an airhole, or the pores in earth are of the space. When the logician finds distinguishing characteristics in the space, then only will he find such characteristics in the self. For not even hundreds of logicians, who admit differences in the self owing to limiting adjuncts, can show any characteristic of it that would lead one to infer differences between one self and another. And as for natural differences, they are out of the question, for the self is not an object of inference. Because whatever the opponent regards as an attribute of the self is admitted as consisting of name and form, and the self is admitted to be different from these. Witness the Śruti passage, ‘Ākāśa (the self-effulgent One) is verily the cause of name and form. That within which they are is Brahman’ (ChanU.8.14.1), and also ‘Let me manifest name and form’ (ChanU.6.3.2). Name and form have origin and dissolution but Brahman is different from them. Therefore how can the unity of Brahman contradict inference, of which It is never an object? This also refutes the charge that it contradicts the Śruti.

It has been objected that if Brahman be the only reality, there would be nobody to receive instruction and profit by it; so instruction about unity would be useless. This is wrong. For (if you contend on the ground that) actions are the result of many factors, (we have already refuted this point, hence) at whom is the objection leveled? (Surely not at us. If, however, your ground is that) when the transcendent Brahman is realized as the only existence, there is neither instruction nor the instructor nor the result of receiving the instruction, and therefore the Upaniṣads are useless – it is a position we readily admit. But if you urge that (even before Brahman is realized) instruction is useless, since it depends on many factors, we reply, no, for it will contradict the assumption (That instruction is necessary before realization) of all believers in the self (including yourself). Therefore this unity of Brahman is a secure fortress impregnable to logicians, those first-rate heretics and liars, and inaccessible to persons of shallow understanding, and to those who are devoid of the grace of the scriptures and the teacher. This is known from such Śruti and Smṛti texts as the following, ‘Who but me can know that Deity who has both joy and the absence of it?’ (KathU.1.2.21), ‘Even the gods in ancient times were puzzled over this’ (KathU.1.1.21), and ‘This understanding is not to be attained through argument’ (KathU.1.2.9), as also from those that describe the truth as attainable through special favor and grace, and also from the Mantras that depict Brahman as possessed of contradictory attributes, such as, ‘It moves, and does not move, It is far, and near,’ etc. (IsU.5). The Gītā too says, ‘All beings are in Me,’ etc. (BhG.9.4). Therefore there is no other entity called the relative self but the Supreme Brahman. Hence it is well said in hundreds of Śruti passages. ‘This was indeed Brahman in the beginning. It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman,” ’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), ‘There is no other witness but This, no other hearer but This,’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.8.11). Therefore the highest secret name of ‘the Truth of truth’ belongs only to the Supreme Brahman.

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BrhUEng.2.02

🔗  The preceding section has broached the topic, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15). In this connection it has been stated that That from which the universe originates, of which it consists (during continuity), and into which it dissolves is the one Brahman. Now what are the constituents of that universe which originates and dissolves? The five elements. And the elements consist of name and form. It has already been said that name and form (i.e., information and fact, ed.) are called truth. And Brahman is the Truth of this truth consisting of the elements. How it is that the elements are called truth, will be explained in the (third) section treating of the gross and subtle universes. Because the body and organs, as also the vital force, consist of these gross and subtle elements, therefore they are truth. In order to define the nature of those elements that form the body and organs, this and the following sections are introduced. That will be an explanation of the secret name (‘the Truth of truth’), for Brahman, the Truth of truth, will be ascertained only by ascertaining that the body and organs are truth. It has been said, ‘The vital force is truth, and Brahman is the Truth of that’ (BrhUEng.2.1.20). Now, to explain what this vital force is, and how many and what its secret names are, the nature of the vital force, which is an instrument of the self, is being described in the course of describing the secret name of Brahman, just as a traveler notices wells, parks, etc., lying along the route.
He who knows the calf with its abode, its special resort, its post and its tether gets this result. What is that? He kills his seven envious kinsmen. Kinsmen are of two kinds, those who envy and those who do not; here the former are meant. The seven organs (The eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth) – instruments for perceiving objects – that are in the head, that is to say, the attachment to sense-objects which they cause, are called kinsmen, since they are born with a person. Because they turn his vision from the Self to the sense-objects, therefore they are envious kinsmen – since they thus hinder him from perceiving the inner Self. It is also said in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, ‘The self-born Lord injured the organs by making them outgoing in their tendencies. Therefore they perceive only external things, but not the inner Self,’ etc. (KathU.2.1.1). He who knows the calf and the rest – understands their real nature – removes from view, or kills, these envious kinsmen. When the aspirant, hearing of this result, is inclined to know more about them, the Śruti says: This is indeed the calf. Which? This vital force that is in the body as the subtle body, which in its fivefold form abodes pervades the body, and was addressed as ‘Great, White-robed, Radiant, Soma’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), and on which the organs, such as that of speech and the mind, rest, as we know from the illustration of the post to which the horse’s legs are tethered (BrhUEng.6.1.13). It is like a young calf, not being in direct touch with the sense-objects like the other organs.

Mention has been made of ‘the calf with its abode.’ Now what is the abode of that calf, that instrument of the self, the vital force, which is here likened to a calf? This body, which is an effect, is its abode. An abode is that in which something is put. This body is the abode of that calf, the vital force, because it is by staying in the body that the organs come to function as channels of perception, not while they rest on the vital force. This has been demonstrated by Ajāta-śatru as follows: When the organs are withdrawn, the individual self is not noticed; it is only when they occupy their respective seats in the body that the individual self is noticed as perceiving things. This was proved by the (sleeping) man’s being roused by pushing with the hand. The head is its special resort. It is so called because the vital force is connected with particular parts of it. Strength, the power that comes out of food and drink, is its post. ‘Prāṇa’ and ‘Bala’ (strength) are synonyms, for the vital force abides in the body, being supported by strength. This is borne out by the Śruti text, ‘When this self becomes weak and senseless, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.4.1). Just as a calf is supported by a post (To resist a pull as when somebody is tugging it), so is the vital force by strength. Some (The reference is to Bhartṛ-prapañca) understand that the respiratory force that works in the body is the post. And food is its tether. The food we eat is changed into three forms. That which is the grossest is excreted from the body and is absorbed into the earth. The intermediate form a chyle, passing through the stages of blood etc., nourishes its effect, the gross body, which is composed of seven ingredients (Skin, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, bone and seed). The body is nourished by the accession of its cause, viz. food, because it is the product of food; and when this is reversed, it decays and falls. The finest form, called ‘nectar’ and ‘highly powerful,’ goes past the navel to the heart, and penetrating the seventy-two thousand nerves that radiate from there, generates strength, here designated as ‘post,’ and thereby helps the subtle body, which is the aggregate of the inner organs and is here called the calf, to stay in the gross body. Therefore food is the connecting link between the vital force and the body, like a calf’s tether with a loop at each end.
🔗  Now certain secret names with reference to the eye regarding the calf living in its special resort are being mentioned –
These seven gods that prevent decay (lit. undecaying), to be presently named, worship it, this vital force, the instrument, which is tied to the body by food, and resides in the eye. The root ‘sthā’ with the prefix ‘upa’ becomes Ātmane-padin when it signifies praying with Mantras. Here too the seven names of the gods stand for Mantras instrumental to prayer; so the use of the Ātmane-pada with ‘sthā’ is not out of place. Now the gods that prevent decay are being enumerated. Through these familiar pink lines in the eye as aids, Rudra attends on it, the vital force that is in the body. Through the aid of the water that is in the eye, which comes out when there is contact with smoke etc., the god Parjanya attends on, i.e. prays to the vital force; and he is the food of the vital force and the cause of its permanence. We have it in another Śruti, ‘When Parjanya causes rain, the vital force is glad.’ Through the pupil, which has the power of sight, the sun prays to the vital force. Through the dark portion of the eye fire prays to it. Through the white portion of the eye Indra prays. Through the lower eye-lid the earth attends on it, because both occupy a lower position. And through the upper eye-lid, heaven, because both occupy an upper position. He who knows it as such, knows that these seven gods that are the food of the vital force constantly pray to it, gets this as a result – he never has any decrease of food.
🔗  Regarding this subject there is the following pithy verse or Mantra: ‘There is a bowl that has its opening below,’ etc. Now the Śruti explains the Mantra. What is that bowl? This head of ours, for it is shaped like a bowl. How? For it has its opening below, the mouth standing for this opening, and bulges at the top, the head, because of its round shape, answering to the description. ‘Various kinds of knowledge have been put in it’: Just as the Soma juice is put in the bowl, so have various kinds of knowledge been put in the head. The organs, such as the ear, and the vital force, which is distributed among them in seven forms, represent various kinds of knowledge, because they are the cause of the perception of sound etc. This is what the Mantra says. ‘Seven sages sit by its side’: This portion of the Mantra refers to the organs, which are of a vibratory nature. They alone are the sages. ‘The organ of speech, which has communication with the Vedas, is the eighth (The tongue counts as two: as the organ of taste it will be enumerated in the next paragraph as the seventh sage; as the organ of speech it is here spoken of as the eighth). The reason for this is given: Because the organ of speech is the eighth and communicates with (or utters) the Vedas.
🔗  Now who are the sages that sit by the side of that bowl? These two ears are Gotama and Bharad-vaja: this one is Gotama, and this one Bharad-vaja, meaning the right and the left ear respectively, or inversely. Similarly, to instruct about the eyes the Śruti says, These two are Viśvā-mitra and Jamad-agni: this one, the right, is Viśvā-mitra, and this one, the left, Jamad-agni, or inversely. To instruct about the nostrils the Śruti says, These two are Vasiṣṭha and Kaśyapa: this one, the right nostril, is Vasiṣṭha, and this one, the left, Kaśyapa, or inversely, as before. The tongue is Atri, because of its association with eating; this is the seventh sage. For through the tongue food is eaten. Therefore that which is indirectly called ‘Atri’ is but this familiar name ‘Atti’ (eats) – on accont of being the eater. Through meditation on the derivation of the word ‘Atri,’ he becomes the eater of all kinds of food belonging to the vital force. In the next world he becomes only the eater, and is never treated as food. This is expressed by the words, ‘And everything becomes his food.’ He who knows it, the true nature of the vital force, as such, as described above, becomes the vital force in this body, and is only the eater associated with the abode and the special resort, and not food. That is to say, he is entirely removed from the category of food.

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BrhUEng.2.03

🔗  At the end of the first section it has been said that the vital force is truth. Its secret names also have been explained in connection with those of Brahman, implying thereby that this is the same vital force. Of what does it consist, and how is it called truth? – these questions have to be answered. Hence this section is commenced in order to define the nature of the five elements, called truth, which consist of the body and organs. It is by the elimination of these limiting adjuncts that the Śruti wishes to define the nature of Brahman negatively, saying, ‘Not this, not this.’ Now Brahman has two forms: The Brahman that is (respectively) connected with the body and organs that are the product of the five elements, is designated as gross and subtle, and is mortal and immortal (That is, relatively); it comprises the impressions created by those elements, and is the omniscient, omnipotent, conditioned Brahman, consisting of actions, their factors and results, and admitting of all kinds of association. That same Brahman, again, is devoid of all limiting adjuncts, the object of intuition, birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless, and beyond the reach of even speech and mind, being above duality, and is described as ‘Not this, not this.’ Now those are the two forms by the elimination of which Brahman is so described; hence the text begins –
Brahman or the Supreme Self has but two forms, through the superimposition of which by ignorance the formless Supreme Brahman is defined or made conceivable. The word ‘Vāva’ (indeed) is emphatic. Which are those two forms? The gross and subtle. The other phases of the gross and subtle are included in them; so they are counted as two only. What are those phases of the gross and subtle? These are being mentioned: Mortal, subject to destruction, and immortal, its opposite. Limited, which goes a little distance and stops, and unlimited, which goes on, is pervasive, the opposite of ‘limited’. Defined, having particular characteristics that distinguish it from others, and undefined, the opposite of that, which can only be distantly referred to, as something we know not what.
🔗  The gross and the subtle have each four phases. Now what are the phases of the gross, and what are those of the subtle? This is being separately shown. The gross (form) is: ‘Gross’ means having well-defined parts, with parts interpenetrating one another, i.e. compact or solid. What is it? That which is other – than what? – than the two elements, air and the space; hence it refers to the three remaining elements, viz. earth etc. It, this triad of elements called gross, is also mortal, or perishable. Why? Because it is limited; it is only a limited thing that, when joined to some other thing, is checked by it, as a jar by a post or wall, for instance. Similarly the gross form is limited, being related to some other object, and mortal, because of its clash with the latter. And it is defined, having noticeable peculiarities of its own; and for that very reason it is limited, and being limited it is mortal, and hence it is also gross. Or because it is gross it is mortal, and being mortal it is limited, and being limited it is defined. Since these four features do not contradict one another, any one of them may stand to the others in the relation of substantive and attribute, or of cause and effect. In any case, the three elements, each possessed of the four features, constitute the gross from of Brahman. Any one of these four epithets being taken, the others are automatically taken. This is stated as follows: The essence of that which is gross, mortal, limited and defined, i.e. of the three elements each having the four attributes, is the sun that shines, for the sun is the quintessence of the three elements. It is the perfection of them, because through it they get their features of varying colors. The shining solar orb is the representation of the cosmic body, for it is the essence of the defined, i.e. of the three elements; hence that is meant. Because the shining sun has a gross form and is the best product of the elements. About the cosmic organ within the solar orb, we shall now speak.
🔗  Now the subtle form is being described. It is air and the space, the two remaining elements. Being subtle it is immortal, and unlimited, hence not clashing with anything, and therefore immortal, not subject to destruction. It is unlimited, the opposite of limited, i.e. pervasive. Because it cannot be distinguished from others, therefore it is undefined. The word ‘Tyat’ indicates something that can be only indirectly described. The relation among the four epithets is as before. The essence of that which is subtle, immortal, unlimited and undefined, i.e. of the two subtle elements each having the four attributes, is the being that is in the sun, Hiraṇya-garbha as the cosmic organ (Corresponding to the organs in the body. The subtle body of Hiraṇya-garbha is meant, and not his conscious self, as will presently be seen), which is called the vital force. That is the quintessence of the two subtle elements, as in the previous instance (th solar orb was of the gross elements). This ‘being’ is the perfection of the two subtle elements, because these (Air and the space are the principal, not the only ingredients of the cosmic subtle body. The other three elements also are there, but they play a subordinate part) emanate from the Undifferentiated in order to form the subtle body of Hiraṇya-garbha. And because they seek to produce this, therefore this is the best product of them. For that is the essence of the undefined, because the ‘being’ that is in the sun is not perceived like the solar orb, and is the essence of the two elements. Hence there is a similarity between the being who is in the sun and the two elements. Therefore the reason furnished in the clause, ‘For that is the essence of the undefined,’ as if it were a familiar experience, is quite in order.

Some (The reference is to Bhartṛ-prapañca) say that the word ‘essence’ means cause, referring to the self of Hiraṇya-garbha, which is a conscious entity. The past actions of Hiraṇya-garbha direct air and the space, and with these as their support (That is taking their form) they direct the other elements. Therefore, being the director, through its own actions, of air and the space, it is called their essence, or cause. This view is wrong, because it makes the essence of the subtle form dissimilar to that of the gross form. To be explicit: The essence of the three gross elements is, as we have seen, the solar orb, which is gross and of the same class as the three elements; it is not a conscious entity. Therefore it stands to reason that the essence of the two subtle elements also should be of the same class as they. For the trend of both passages is the same. For instance, the gross and subtle forms have been distinguished as having four attributes each; so it is but proper that the essences of the gross and subtle forms, like these forms themselves of which they are the essences, should also be distinguished on the same principle (That is, there must be a common feature between them, to maintain the parallelism. Since one is insentient, the other must be so too. Otherwise there will be absurdity). One cannot cook one half of a hen and keep the other half for laying eggs.

Objection: Suppose we say that the essence of the gross form too refers to the conscious self that identifies itself with the solar orb (The cause and effect being one).

Reply: You say too little. The Śrutis everywhere teach that all gross and subtle forms are Brahman.

Objection: Is not the word ‘being,’ as applied to unconscious things, inappropriate?

Reply: No. We find the word ‘being’ applied in the Śrutis to the subtle body having wings, tail, etc. In the following passage, “We can never beget progeny (initiate activity) so long as we are thus divided. Let us make these seven beings (The five sense-organs, the organ of speech, and mind) into one (the subtle body).” They made these seven beings into one,’ etc. (SatBr.6.1.1.3), we find the use of the word ‘being,’ as also in another Śruti (TaitU.2.1.1) referring to the gross body, which is the product of the food we eat, and other finer bodies. The words, This is with reference to the gods, close the topic so as to introduce the next topic, which is relating to the body.
🔗  Now the division of the gross and subtle with reference to the body is being set forth. What is that gross form? It is but this. What is it? What is other than (the corporeal) air and the space that is in the body, i.e. the three constituent elements of the body other than these two. It is mortal, etc. – to be explained as in the preceding paragraphs. The essence of that which is defined is the eye. The eye is the essence of the (three gross) materials that build up the body, for it is that which lends importance to the (three gross elements in the whole) body, just as the solar orb does with reference to the gods. Also because of their priority in point of view. (We have it in the Brahman) that in the embryo it is the eyes that are first formed (SatBr.4.2.1.28). The Śruti too hints as this: ‘His essence or luster came forth. This was Fire (Since ‘essence’ is here used synonymously with ‘luster.’)’ (BrhUEng.1.2.2) And the eyes possess luster. The three elements in the body have the eyes as their essence. For it is the essence of the defined: The meaning of the reason is that the eye is gross and is also the essence (of the three gross elements in the body).
🔗  Now the subtle form is being described. The two remaining elements, (the corporeal) air and the space that is in the body – are the subtle form. The rest is to be explained as before. The essence of that which is undefined is this being that is in the right eye (i.e. the subtle body). The specification about the right eye is based on the evidence of the scriptures. For they declare that the subtle body is specially manifest in the right eye; we see it mentioned in all the Śrutis. For this is the essence of the undefined: as before the meaning of the reason is that the subtle body is fine, because it cannot be definitely perceived, and is also the essence (of the two subtle elements in the body).
🔗  The division of the gross and subtle, called truth, which are the limiting adjuncts of Brahman, into what relates to the gods and what relates to the body, in their twofold division of the body and organs, has been explained. Now we (the scriptures) shall describe the form of that ‘being’ identified with the organs, i.e. the subtle body. It consists of impressions, and is produced by the impressions of gross and subtle objects and the union of the individual self; it is variegated (All this indicates that it is the mind that is being described, and not the self, which is homogeneous) like pictures on a canvas or wall, is comparable to an illusion, or magic, or a mirage, and is puzzling to all. For instance, the Buddhistic Idealists (Yogācāras) are mistaken into thinking that the self is this much only. The Naiyāyikas and Vaiśeṣikas, on the other hand, maintain that like the color of a cloth, these impressions are the attributes of the self, which is a substance. While the Sāṅkhyas hold that the mind, which is dependent on the Prakṛti (The primordial material out of which the universe has been formed) and is possessed of three tendencies, is a separate entity, subserves the purpose of the self, and operates for its highest good (liberation through experience).

Some self-styled followers (A hit at Bhartṛ-prapañca) of the Upaniṣads too spin out the following theory: The gross and subtle elements make one (the lowest) entity, the Supreme Self is the highest entity, and different from and intermediate between these two is the third entity, which is the sum total of one’s meditations, actions and previous experience, together with the individual self that is the agent and experiencer, the one that Ajāta-śatru awoke. The actions etc. are the cause, and the gross and subtle elements mentioned above as also the body and organs, which are the means of meditations and actions, are the effect. They also establish a connection with the logicians by stating that the actions etc. abide in the subtle body. Then they are frightened lest this should smack of Sāṅkhya, and conform also to the Vaiśeṣika view by saying that just as the odor that abides in flowers can be conserved in oil by boiling even when the flowers are gone, so even when the subtle body is gone, all actions etc. are conserved in a portion of the Supreme Self. That portion, though transcendent, becomes conditioned through attributes – the actions etc. – coming from elsewhere (The elements forming the body and organs). This individual self then becomes the agent and experiencer, and is subject to bondage and liberation. Those actions etc. are but adventitious things, coming from the elements; the individual self, being a portion of the Supreme Self, is in itself transcendent. Ignorance, which springs from the Self, although natural to It, is not an attribute of the Self, just as a desert does not affect the whole earth. Through this statement they conform also to the Sāṅkhya view.

They look upon all this as excellent because of its harmonizing with the logicians’ view, but they do not see that it contradicts the verdict of the Upaniṣads as well as all reasoning. How? For instance, we have already said that if the Supreme Self be composed of parts (and the individual self be identical with It), that view would be open to various objections, such as the chance of the Supreme Self being subject to transmigration and having wounds, besides the impossibility of Its going after death to places in accordance with Its past work. While if the individual self be eternally different from the Supreme Self, it can never be identical with It. If it be urged that the subtle body itself is figuratively referred to as part of the Supreme Self, like the space enclosed in a jar, a bowl, the pores of the earth, etc., then it would be impossible to maintain that even when the subtle body (Which is the repository of impressions) has ceased to be (as in the state of profound sleep), impressions persist in a part of the Supreme Self, or that ignorance springs from It as a desert does from the earth, and so on. Nor can we even mentally imagine that impressions move from one thing to another without the help of some object in which they can inhere. Nor would such Śruti texts as, ‘Desire, resolution, doubt (etc. are but the mind)’ (BrhUEng.1.5.3), ‘It is on the heart (mind) that colors rest’ (BrhUEng.3.9.20). ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.7), ‘All desires that are in his heart’ (BrhUEng.4.4.7; KathU.2.3.14), and ‘He is then beyond all the woes of his heart’ (BrhUEng.4.3.22), fit in with such a view. And it is not proper to explain these texts otherwise than literally, for they are meant to show that the individual self is no other than the Supreme Brahman. And all the Upaniṣads end by giving out this sole meaning. Therefore persons skilled only in fancifully interpreting the Śrutis all distort their meaning. Yet, if those interpretations are in consonance with the teaching of the Vedas, they are welcome; we have no grudge against them.

Moreover, the expression, ‘Brahman has but two forms,’ does not agree with the view that posits three entities. If, however, the gross and subtle forms together with the impressions springing respectively from them constitute two forms, gross and subtle, while Brahman is a third entity possessed of those two forms, and there is no fourth entity in between, then only is the assertion, ‘Brahman has but two forms,’ congruous. Otherwise we have to imagine that the individual self is a part of Brahman, and has the two forms; or that the Supreme Self, through the medium of the individual self, has them. In that case the use of the dual number, indicating only ‘two forms,’ would be inconsistent. The plural, denoting ‘many forms,’ including the impressions, would be more appropriate – the gross and subtle forms being two, and the impressions being a third entity. If it be maintained that the gross and subtle forms alone are the forms of the Supreme Self, but the impressions belong to the individual self, then the form of expression used, viz. that ‘the Supreme Self, which undergoes modification through the medium of the individual self, (has the forms),’ would be meaningless, since impressions too would equally affect the Supreme Self through the medium of the individual self. But we cannot at all imagine, except in a figurative sense, that a thing undergoes modification through the medium of something else. Nor is the individual self something different from the Supreme Self. To admit this is to contradict one’s own premise. Therefore this sort of interpretation has its origin only in the imagination of those who are ignorant of the meaning of the Vedas, and is unwarranted by the working of the text. An unwarranted interpretation of the Vedas cannot be regarded either as a true interpretation or as helping towards it, for the Vedas do not derive their authority from any other source. Therefore the view that three entities are in question is untenable.

The subtle body has been introduced in connection with matters relating to the body in the clause, ‘The being that is in the right eye’ (BrhUEng.2.3.5), and in connection with those relating to the gods in the clause, ‘The being that is in the sun’ (BrhUEng.2.3.3). The word ‘that’ (in the expression, ‘The form of that being’) refers to something that is being discussed, in other words, that which is the essence of the subtle, undefined, but not the individual self.

Objection: Why should not these forms belong to the individual self, since it too has a place in the discussion, and the word ‘that’ refers to something that is under discussion?

Reply: No, for the Śruti wants to teach the transcendent nature of the individual self. If the forms, ‘Like a cloth dyed with turmeric,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.3.6), really belong to the individual self, then it would not be described as indefinable in the terms, ‘Not this, not this.’

Objection: Suppose we say this is a description of something else, and not of the individual self.

Reply: Not so, for at the end of the fourth chapter (BrhUEng.4.5.15), referring to the individual self (In its unconditioned aspect as the Witness) in the words, ‘Through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the Knower?’ (BrhUEng.4.5.15), it is concluded: ‘This self is That which has been described as “Not this, not this.” ’ Besides, thus only can the statement, ‘I will instruct you (about Brahman),’ be relevant. That is to say, if the Śruti wants to teach the transcendent nature of the individual self – which is free from all differentiations of limiting adjuncts, then only can this assertion be fulfilled. Because, instructed in this way, the student knows himself to be Brahman, thoroughly understands the import of the scriptures, and is afraid of nothing. If, on the other hand, the individual self be one, and what is described as ‘Not this, not this’ be something else, then the student would understand just the reverse of truth, viz. that Brahman is something, and that he is something else. He would not ‘know only himself as, “I am Brahman” ’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10). Therefore the forms given in the passage, ‘Now the form of that being,’ etc. are only those of the subtle body.

Besides, in order to describe the nature of the Supreme Self, which is the Truth of truth, the latter must be described in its entirely. And impressions being the particular forms of that truth, these forms of the impression are being mentioned. These are the forms of this being, i.e. of the subtle body that is being discussed. What are they? As in life we have a cloth dyed with turmeric, so in the presence of objects of enjoyment the mind gets a similar coloring of impressions, whence a man under such circumstances is said to be attached, as a cloth, for instance, is dyed. Also as sheep’s wool is gray, so are some other forms of impressions. Again, as in the world the insect called Indra-gopa is deep red, so also are some impressions of the mind. The coloring varies sometimes according to the tendencies of the mind itself. As, again, a tongue of fire is bright, so are some people’s impressions at times. Like a white lotus too are the impressions of some. As in nature a single flash of lightning illumines everything, so, according to the intensity of the manifestation of knowledge, do the impressions of some people. It is impossible to ascertain the beginning, middle or end, or number, place, time and circumstances of these impressions, for they are innumerable, and infinite are their causes. So it will be said in the fourth chapter, ‘(This self is) identified with this (what is perceived) and with that (what is inferred),’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.4.5). Therefore the examples given in the passage, ‘Like a cloth dyed with turmeric,’ etc. are not meant to indicate the exact number of the varieties of impressions, but merely to suggest their types, meaning that impressions are like these. The form of impression that has been cited at the end, viz. ‘Like a flash of lightning,’ refers to the sudden manifestation of everything like lightning, as Hiraṇya-garbha emanates from the Undifferentiated (The principle representing the unmanifested state of the universe). He who knows that particular form of impression relating to Hiraṇya-garbha, attains splendor like a flash of lightning. The particles ‘ha’ and ‘vai’ are for emphasis. Just like this, i.e. like that of Hiraṇya-garbha, becomes the splendor or fame of one who knows it, the form of impression last mentioned, as such, as described above.

Having thus completely described the nature of ‘truth’, the Śruti, in order to ascertain the nature of what has been called ‘the Truth of truth,’ viz. Brahman, introduces this text: Now therefore – since after ascertaining the nature of ‘truth,’ what remains is the Truth of truth, therefore the nature of that will be next ascertained. Description is a specific statement – about Brahman. What is this statement? Not this, not this.

How through these two terms ‘Not this, not this’ is it sought to describe the Truth of truth? By the elimination of all differences due to limiting adjuncts, the words refer to something that has no distinguishing mark such as name, or form, or action, or heterogeneity, or species, or qualities. Words denote things through one or other of these. But Brahman has none of these distinguishing marks. Hence It cannot be described as, ‘It is such and such,’ as we can describe a cow by saying, ‘There moves a white cow with horns.’ Brahman is described by means of name, form and action superimposed on It, in such terms as, ‘Knowledge, Bliss, Brahman’ (BrhUEng.3.9.28), and ‘Pure, Intelligence’ (BrhUEng.2.4.12), ‘Brahman,’ and ‘Ātman.’ When, however, we wish to describe Its true nature, free from all differences due to limiting adjuncts, then it is an utter impossibility. Then there is only one way left, viz. to describe It as ‘Not this, not this,’ by eliminating all possible specifications of It that have been known.

These two negative particles are for conveying all-inclusiveness through repetition so as to eliminate every specification whatsoever that may occur to us. Such being the case, the doubt that Brahman has not been described is removed. If, on the other hand, the two negative particles merely eliminated just the two aspects of Brahman that are being discussed (viz the gross and subtle), then other aspects of It than these two would not be described, and there would still be a doubt as to what exactly Brahman is like. So that description of Brahman would be useless, for it would not satisfy one’s desire to know It. And the purpose of the sentence, ‘I will instruct you (about Brahman)’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), would remain unfulfilled. But when through the elimination of limiting adjuncts the desire to know about space, time and everything else (that is not Brahman) is removed, one realizes one’s identity with Brahman, the Truth of truth, which is homogeneous like a lump of salt, and which is Pure Intelligence without interior or exterior; his desire to know is completely satisfied, and his intellect is centered in the Self alone. Therefore the two negative particles in ‘Not this, not this’ are used in an all-inclusive sense.

Objection: Well, after buckling with such ado is it fair to described Brahman thus?

Reply: Yes. Why? Because there is no other and more appropriate description (of Brahman) than this ‘Not this, not this’, therefore this is the only description of Brahman. The particle ‘iti,’ repeated twice, covers all possible predications that are to be eliminated by the two negative particles, as when we say, ‘Every village is beautiful.’ It was said, ‘Its secret name is: The Truth of truth’ (BrhUEng.2.1.20); it is thus that the Supreme Brahman is the Truth of truth. Therefore the name of Brahman that has been mentioned is appropriate. What is it? The Truth of truth. The vital force is truth, and It is the Truth of that.

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BrhUEng.2.04

🔗  ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7); ‘Of all these, this Self alone should be realized’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), for ‘It is dearer than a son’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.8) (The last two quotations are adapted) In the course of explanation of the above passages already introduced, the aim of knowledge and its relation to that aim have been stated in the sentence, ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman.” Therefore It became all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10). Thus it has been mentioned that the inner Self is the domain of knowledge. While that of ignorance is relative existence, which consists of the ends and means of rites with five factors, which again depend on the division of men into four castes; it is by nature alternatively manifest and unmanifest like the tree and the seed, and is made up of name, form and action. This relative existence has been dealt with in the passage beginning with, ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know’ (BrhUEng.1.1.10), and concluded in the passage, ‘This indeed consists of three things: name, form and action’ (BrhUEng.1.6.1). One aspect of it is in accordance with the scriptures and makes for progress leading up to the world of Hiraṇya-garbha; while the other aspect is not in accordance with the scriptures and causes degradation down to the level of stationary objects. All this has already been shown in the section beginning with, “Two classes of Prajā-pati’s sons,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.1). In order to show how a man disgusted with this domain of ignorance can qualify himself for the knowledge of Brahman, which deals with the inner Self, the entire domain of ignorance has been concluded in the first chapter. But in the second chapter, after introducing the inner Self, which is the domain of the knowledge of Brahman, in the words, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.1), and ‘I will instruct you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), the Śruti has taught about that Brahman, the one without a second devoid of all differences, by eliminating, in the words, ‘Not this, not this,’ all material qualities summed up in the word ‘truth’, which by its very nature comprises action, its factors and its results. As part of this knowledge of Brahman, the Śruti wishes to enjoin renunciation.

Rites with five factors, such as the wife, son and wealth constitute the domain of ignorance, because they do not lead to the attainment of the Self. If a thing calculated to produce a particular result is applied to bring about a different result, it frustrates its purpose. Running or walking is not the means to appease one’s hunger or thirst. The son and the rest have been prescribed in the Śruti as a means to the attainment of the world of men, of the Manes and of the gods, not as means to the attainment of the Self. They have been mentioned as producing those specific results. And they have not been enjoined on the knower of Brahman, being classed by the Śruti as rites with material ends, in the passage, ‘This much indeed is desire’ (BrhUEng.1.4.17). And the knower of Brahman has already attained all desires; he cannot, for that very reason have any more desires. The Śruti too says, ‘We who have attained this self, this world’ (BrhUEng.4.4.22).

But there are some who hold that even a knower of Brahman has desires. They have certainly never heard the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad, nor of the distinction made by the Śruti that the desire for a son and so forth belongs to an ignorant man, and that with regard to the domain of knowledge, the statement, ‘What shall we achieve through children, we who have attained this Self, this world?’ and so on, is applicable. They do not also know the contradiction, involving incongruity, between the attainment of knowledge, which obliterates all action with its factors and results, and ignorance together with its effects. Nor have they heard Vyāsa’s statement (on the subject). The contradiction rests on the opposite trends of the nature of rites and that of knowledge, which partake respectively of ignorance and illumination. On being asked, ‘There are two Vedic injunctions: Perform rites, and give up rites. What is the goal of knowledge, and what of rites? I wish to be enlightened on this. So please instruct me. These two (it seems) are mutually contradictory and run counter to each other’ (MBh.12.247.1–2), Vyāsa replied, thereby showing the contradiction, ‘Men are bound by rites and freed by knowledge. Hence sages who have known the truth never perform rites,’ and so on (MBh.12.247.7). Therefore the knowledge of Brahman leads to the highest goal for man not with, but without the help of any auxiliary means, for otherwise there would be contradiction all round. It is to show this that renunciation of the world, which consists in giving up all means, is sought to be enjoined as a subsidiary step. For at the end of the fourth chapter it has been asserted, ‘This much indeed is (the means of) immortality, my dear’; and we have also a reason for inference (about this) in the fact that Yājña-valkya, who was a ritualist, renounced the world.

Moreover, the knowledge of Brahman as a means to immortality has been imparted to Maitreyī, who was without the means to perform rites. Also wealth has been deprecated. If rites were means to immortality, the derogatory remarks on wealth would be out of place, since on it rites with five factors depend. If, however, rites are desired to be shunned, then it is proper to decry the means to them. Besides (in the state of knowledge) there is an absence of the consciousness about caste, order of life, etc., which are the qualifications for the performance of rites, as we see in the texts, ‘The Brāhmaṇa ousts one’ (BrhUEng.2.4.6; BrhUEng.4.5.7), ‘The Kṣatriya ousts one,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.6; BrhUEng.4.5.7). When one ceases to consider oneself a Brāhmaṇa, a Kṣatriya, or the like, there is certainly no room for such injunctions as that this is the duty of Brāhmaṇas, or that this is the duty of Kṣatriyas, for there are no such persons. For a man who does not identity himself as a Brāhmaṇa, a Kṣatriya, or the like, rites and their accessories, which are the effects of that consciousness, are automatically dropped because of the giving up of that consciousness. Therefore this story is introduced with a view to enjoining renunciation of the world as part of the knowledge of the Self.

The sage Yājña-valkya, addressing his wife, Maitreyī, said, ‘Maitreyī, I am going to renounce this householder’s life – I intend to take up the life of renunciation, which is the next higher life. Hence I ask your permission. – The particle ‘are’ is a vocative. – Further I wish to finish between you and my second wife, Kātyāyanī, i.e. put an end to the relationship that existed between you through me, your common husband; by dividing my property between you, I will separate you through wealth and go.’
🔗  Thus addressed, Maitreyī said, ‘Sir, if indeed this whole earth girdled by the ocean and full of wealth be mine, shall I be immortal through that, i.e. through rites such as the Agni-hotra, which can be performed with the entire wealth of the earth?

The particle ‘nu’ indicates deliberation. The word ‘Katham’ (how) indicates disbelief, meaning ‘never’; or it may have an interrogative force, in which case it should be construed with the slightly remote words, ‘Shall I be immortal (The second meaning has been adapted in the translation)?’ ‘No’ replied Yājña-valkya. If the word ‘how’ indicates disbelief, Yājña-valkya’s word ‘No’ is an approval. If it has an interrogative force, his reply means, ‘You can never be immortal; as is the life of people of means filled with materials of enjoyment, so will your life be; but there is no hope, even in thought, of immortality through wealth, i.e. rites performed with wealth.’
🔗  Thus addressed, Maitreyī said in reply, ‘If this is so, what shall I do with that wealth which will not make me immortal? Tell me, sir, of that alone which you know to be the only means of immortality.’
🔗  When rites performed with wealth were rejected as a means to immortality, Yājña-valkya, seeing that Maitreyī concurred with his views, was pleased and said, ‘O Maitreyī, you have been my beloved even before, and now you say what is just after my heart. Therefore come and take your seat, I will explain to you what you desire – that knowledge of the Self which confers immortality. But as I explain it, meditate, or will to reflect steadfastly, on the meaning of my words.’ The particle ‘bata’ is suggestive of tenderness.
🔗  With a view to teaching renunciation as a means to immortality, Yājña-valkya creates a distaste for the wife, husband, sons, etc., so that they may be given up. He said, ‘It is not for the sake or necessity of the husband that he is loved by the wife, but it is for one’s own sake that he is loved by her.’ The particle ‘vai’ (indeed) (Omitted in the translation. So also elsewhere) recalls something that is well-known, signifying that this is a matter of common knowledge. Similarly, it is not for the sake of the wife, etc. The rest is to be explained as before. Likewise it is not for the sake of the sons, wealth, the Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya, worlds, the gods, beings, and all. The priority of enumeration is in the order of their closeness to us as sources of joy; for it is all the more desirable to create a distaste for them. The use of the word ‘all’ is for including everything that has and has not been mentioned. Hence it is a well-known fact that the Self alone is dear, and nothing else, (BrhUEng.1.4.8). The present text serves as a detailed commentary on that. Therefore our love for other objects is secondary, since they contribute to the pleasure of the self; and our love for the self alone is primary. Therefore ‘the Self, my dear Maitreyī, should be realized, is worthy of realization, or should be made the object of realization. It should first be heard of from a teacher and from the scriptures, then reflected on through reasoning, and then steadfastly meditated upon.’ Thus only is It realized – when these means, viz. hearing, reflection and meditation, have been gone through. When these three are combined, then only true realization of the union of Brahman is accomplished, not otherwise – by hearing alone. The different castes such as the Brāhmaṇa or the Kṣatriya, the various orders of life, and so on, upon which rites depend, and which consist of actions, and their factors and results, are objects of notions superimposed on the Self by ignorance – i.e. based on false notions like that of a snake in a rope. In order to destroy these he says, ‘By the realization of the Self, my dear, through hearing, reflection and meditation, all this is known (Śaṅkara’s language here follows BrhUEng.4.5.6)’.
🔗  Objection: How can the knowledge of one thing lead to that of another?

Reply: The objection is not valid, for there is nothing besides the Self. If there were, it would not be known, but there is no such thing; the Self is everything. Therefore It being known, everything would be known. How is it that the Self is everything? The Śruti answers it: The Brāhmaṇa ousts or rejects the man who knows him to be different from the Self, i.e. who knows that the Brāhmaṇa is not the Self. The Brāhmaṇa does so out of a feeling that this man considers him to be different from the Self. For the Supreme Self is the self of all. Similarly the Kṣatriya, worlds, the gods, beings, and all oust him. This Brāhmaṇa and all the rest that have been enumerated are this Self that has been introduced as the object to be realized through hearing etc. Because everything springs from the Self, is dissolved in It, and remains imbued with It during continuance, for it cannot be perceived apart from the Self. Therefore everything is the Self.
🔗  But how can we know that all this but the Self now? Because of the inherence of Pure Intelligence in everything we conclude that everything is That. An illustration is being given: We see in life that if a thing cannot be perceived apart from something else, the latter is the essence of that things. As, for instance, when a drum or the like is beaten with a stick etc., one cannot distinguish its various particular notes from the general note of the drum, but they are included in, taken as modifications of, the general note: We say these are all notes of the drum, having no existence apart from the general note of the drum. Or the particular notes produced by different kinds of strokes are included in the general sound produced by those strokes: They cannot be perceived as distinct notes, on account of having no separate existence. Similarly nothing particular is perceived in the waking and dream states apart from Pure Intelligence. Therefore those things should be considered non-existent apart from Pure Intelligence.
🔗  Similarly, as, when a conch is blown, connected or filled with sound, one cannot distinguish its various particular notes, etc. – to be explained as before.
🔗  Similarly, as when a Vīṇā is played, etc. The dative case in ‘Vīṇāyai’ stands for the genitive. The citation of many examples here is for indicating varieties of genus; for there are many distinct kinds of genus, sentient and insentient. It is to show how through a series of intermediate steps they are included in a supreme genus, Pure Intelligence, that so many examples are given. Just as a drum, a conch and a Vīṇā have distinct general and particular notes of their own, which are included in sound in general, so during the continuance of the universe we may know all things to be unified in Brahman, because the varieties of genus and particulars are not different from It.
🔗  Likewise it may be understood that the universe, at the time of its origin as also prior to it, is nothing but Brahman. As before the separation of the sparks, smoke, embers and flames, all these are nothing but fire, and therefore there is but one substance, fire, so it is reasonable to suppose that this universe differentiated into names and forms is, before its origin, nothing but Pure Intelligence. This is expressed as follows: As from a fire kindled with wet fagot diverse kinds of smoke issue. The word ‘smoke’ is suggestive of sparks etc. as well – meaning smoke, sparks, etc., issue. Like this example, O Maitreyī, all this is like the breath of this infinite Reality, the Supreme Self that is being discussed. ‘Breath’ here means, like the breath. As a man breathes without the slightest effort, so do all these come out of That. What are those things that are spoken of as issuing from That as Its breath? The Ṛg-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sāma-Veda, Atharvāṅgirasa, i.e. the four kinds of Mantras. History, such as the dialog between Urvaśī and Purū-ravas – ‘The nymph Urvaśī,’ and so on (SatBr.11.4.4.1); it is this Brāhmaṇa that is meant. Mythology, such as, ‘This universe was in the beginning unmanifest,’ etc. (TaitU.2.7.1). Arts, which treat of music, dancing, etc. – ‘This is also Veda,’ etc. (SatBr.13.4.3.10–14). Upaniṣads, such as, ‘It should be meditated upon as dear,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.1.3). Pithy verses, the Mantras occurring in the Brāhmaṇas, such as, ‘Regarding this there are the following pithy verses’ (BrhUEng.4.3.11; BrhUEng.4.4.8). Aphorisms, those passages of the Vedas that present the truth in a nutshell, for example, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7). Elucidations – of the Mantras. Explanations, eulogistic passages. Or ‘elucidations’ may be of the ‘aphorisms’ above. As the passage, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon,’ or the passage, ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know. He is like an animal (to the gods)’ (BrhUEng.1.4.19), has this concluding portion of the present chapter as its elucidation. And ‘explanations’ may be of the Mantras. Thus these are the eight divisions of the Brāhmaṇas.

So only the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas are meant (And not the popular meanings of those eight terms). It is the eternally composed and already existent Vedas that are manifested like a man’s breath – without any thought or effort on his part. Hence they are authority as regards their meaning, independently of any other means of knowledge. Therefore those who aspire after well-being must accept the verdict of the Vedas on knowledge or on rites, as it is. The differentiation of forms invariably depends on the manifestation of their names (The one implies the other). Name and form are the limiting adjuncts of the Supreme Self, or which, they are differentiated, it is impossible to tell whether they are identical with or different from It, as is the case with the foam of water. It is name and form in all their stages (Varying degrees of grossness or subtleness) that constitute relative existence. Hence name has been compared to breath. By this statement it is implied that form too is like breath. By this statement it is implied that form too is like breath. Or we may explain it differently: In the passage, ‘The Brahman ousts one … all this is the Self’ (BrhUEng.2.4.6; BrhUEng.4.5.7), the entire world of duality has been spoken of as the domain of ignorance. This may lead to a doubt about the authority of the Vedas. In order to remove this doubt it is said that since the Vedas issue without any effort like a man’s breath, they are an authority; they are not like other books.
🔗  Moreover, it is not only at the time of its origin and continuance that the universe, on account of its non-existence apart from Pure Intelligence, is Brahman, but it is so at the time of dissolution also. Just as bubbles, foam, etc. are non-existent apart from water, so name, form and action, which are the effects of Pure Intelligence and dissolve in It are non-existent apart from It. Therefore Brahman is to be known as Pure Intelligence, one and homogeneous. So the text runs as follows – the examples are illustrative of dissolution – As the ocean is the one goal, meeting place, the place of dissolution or unification, of all sorts of water such as that or rivers, tanks and lakes. Likewise as the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch such as soft or hard, rough or smooth, which are identical in nature with air (As representing the vital force). By the word ‘skin,’ touch in general that is perceived by the skin, is meant; in it different kinds of touch are merged, like different kinds of water in the ocean, and become nonentities without it, for they were merely its modifications. Similarly, that touch in general, denoted by the word ‘skin,’ is merged in the deliberation of the Manas, that is to say, in a general consideration by it, just as different kinds of touch are included in touch in general perceived by the skin; without this consideration by the Manas it becomes a nonentity. The consideration by the Manas also is merged in a general cognition by the intellect, and becomes non-existent without it. Becoming mere consciousness, it is merged in Pure Intelligence, the Supreme Brahman, like different kinds of water in the ocean. When, through these successive steps, sound and the rest, together with their receiving organs, are merged in Pure Intelligence, there are no more limiting adjunts, and only Brahman, which is Pure Intelligence, comparable to a lump of salt, homogeneous, infinite, boundless and without a break, remains. Therefore the Self alone must be regarded as one without a second.

Similarly, the nostrils, i.e. odor in general, (are the one goal) of all odors, which are modes of earth. Likewise, the tongue, or taste in general perceived by the tongue, of all savors, which are modes of water. So also the eye, or color in general perceived by the eye, of all colors, which are modes of light. So also (the ear, or) sound in general perceived by the ear, of all sounds, as before. Similarly, the generalities of sound and the rest are merged in deliberation, i.e. a general consideration of them by the Manas. This consideration by the Manas again is merged in mere consciousness, i.e. a general cognition by the intellect. Becoming mere consciousness, it is merged in the Supreme Brahman, which is Pure Intelligence. Similarly, the objects of the motor organs such as different kinds of speaking, taking, walking, excretion and enjoyment, are merged in their general functions, like different kinds of water in the ocean, and can no more be distinguished. These general functions are again nothing but the vital force, which is identical with intelligence. The Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad reads, ‘That which is the vital force is intelligence, and that which is intelligence is the vital force’ (KausU.3.3).

Objection: In every one of those instances the mergence of the objects only has been spoken of, but not that of the organs. What is the motive for this?

Reply: True, but the Śruti considers the organ to be of the same category as the objects, not of a different category. The organs are but modes of the objects in order to perceive them, as a lamp, which is but a mode of color, is an instrument for revealing all colors. Similarly, the organs are but modes of all particular objects in order to perceive them, as is the case with a lamp. Hence no special care is to be taken to indicate the dissolution of the organs; for these being the same as objects in general, their dissolution is implied by that of the objects.
🔗  It has been stated as a proposition that ‘This all are this Self (BrhUEng.2.4.6). The reason given for this is that the universe is of the same nature as the Self, springs from the Self, and is merged in It. Since there is nothing but Intelligence at the time of the origin, continuance and dissolution of the universe, therefore what has been stated as, ‘Intelligence is Brahman’ (AitU.1.5.3) and ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2), is established through reasoning. The Paurāṇikas hold that this dissolution is natural (The effects dissolving into their causes). While that which is consciously effected by the knowers of Brahman through their knowledge of It is called extreme dissolution, which happens through the cessation of ignorance. What follows deals specially with that –
An illustration on the point is being given: As a lump of salt, etc. The derivative meaning of the word ‘Sindhu’ is water, because it ‘flows.’ That which is a modification or product of water is ‘Saindhava,’ or salt. ‘Khilya’ is the same as ‘Khila’ (a lump). A lump of salt dropped into water, its cause, dissolves with the dissolution of (its component) water. The solidification of a lump through its connection with particles of earth and heat goes when the lump comes in contact with water, its cause. This is the dissolution of (the component) water, and along with it the lump of salt is said to be dissolved. No one, not even an expert is able to pick it up as before. The particle ‘iva’ is expletive; the meaning is, none can at all pick it up. Why? From wheresoever, from whichsoever part, one takes the water and tastes it, it is salt. But there is no longer any lump.

Like this illustration, O Maitreyī, is this great Reality called the Supreme Self, from which you have been cut off by ignorance as a separate entity, through your connection with the limiting adjuncts of the body and organs, and have become mortal, subject to birth and death, hunger and thirst, and other such relative attributes, and identified with name, form and action, and think you are born of such and such a family. That separate existence of yours, which has sprung from the delusion engendered by contact with the limiting adjuncts of the body and organs, enters its cause, the great Reality, the Supreme Self, which stands for the ocean, which is undecaying, immortal, beyond fear, pure and homogeneous like a lump of salt, and which Pure Intelligence, infinite, boundless, without a break and devoid of differences caused by the delusion brought on by ignorance. When that separate existence has entered and been merged in its cause, in other words, when the differences created by ignorance are gone, the universe becomes one without a second, ‘the great Reality.’ Great, because It is greater than everything else and is the cause of the space etc.; Reality (Bhūta) – always a fact, for It never deviates from Its nature.

The verbal suffix ‘kta’ here denotes past, present and future. Or the word ‘Bhūta’ may denote truth. The expression then would mean: It is great and true. There may be things in the relative world as big as the Himalayas, for instance, created by a dream or illusion, but they are not true; hence the text adds the qualifying word ‘true.’ It is endless. Sometimes this may be in a relative sense; hence the text qualifies it by the term infinite. Pure Intelligence: Lit. a solid mass of intelligence. The word ‘Ghana’ (a solid mass) excludes everything belonging to a different species, as ‘a solid mass of gold or iron.’ The particle ‘eva’ (only) is intensive. The idea is that there is no foreign element in It.

Question: If It is one without a second, really pure and untouched by the miseries of the relative world, whence is this separate existence of the individual self, in which it is born and dies, is happy or miserable, possessed of the ideas of ‘I and mine,’ and so on, and which is troubled by many a relative attribute?

Reply: I will explain it. There are the elements transformed into the body, organs and sense-objects, consisting of name and form. They are like the foam and bubbles on the limpid water of the Supreme Self. The mergence of these elements down to sense-objects in Brahman, which is Pure Intelligence, through a discriminating knowledge of the Truth has been spoken of – like the emptying of rivers into the ocean. From these elements called ‘truth,’ i.e. with their aid, the self comes out like a lump of salt. As from water reflections of the sun, moon, etc. arise, or from the proximity of such limiting adjuncts as a red cotton-pad a transparent crystal turns red and so forth, so from the limiting adjuncts of the elements, transformed into the body and organs, the self comes out clearly as an individualized entity. These elements, transformed into the body, organs and sense-objects, from which the self comes out as an individual, and which are the cause of its individualization, are merged, like rivers in the ocean, by the realization of Brahman through the instruction of the scriptures and the teacher, and are destroyed. And when they are destroyed like the foam and bubbles of water, this individualized existence too is destroyed with them. As the reflections of the sun, moon, etc. and the color of the crystal vanish when their causes, the water, the red cotton-pad, and so on, are removed, and only the (sun), moon etc., remain as they are, so the endless, infinite and limpid Pure Intelligence alone remains.

After attaining (this oneness) the self, freed from the body and organs, has no more particular consciousness. This is what I say, my dear Maitreyī. No more is there such particular consciousness as, ‘I so and so am the son of so and so; this is my land and wealth; I am happy or miserable.’ For it is due to ignorance, and since ignorance is absolutely destroyed by the realization of Brahman, how can the knower of Brahman, who is established in his nature as Pure Intelligence, possibly have any such particular consciousness? Even when a man is in the body (For instance, in the state of deep sleep), particular consciousness is (sometimes) impossible; so how can it ever exist in a man who has been absolutely freed from the body and organs? So said Yājña-valkya – propounded this philosophy of the highest truth to his wife, Maitreyī.
🔗  Thus enlightened, Maitreyī said, ‘By attributing contradictory qualities just here, to this identical entity, Brahman, you have thrown me into confusion, revered sir.’ So she says, ‘Just here,’ etc. How he attributed contradictory qualities is being explained: ‘Having first stated that the self is but Pure Intelligence, you now say that after attaining (oneness) it has no more consciousness. How can it be only Pure Intelligence, and yet after attaining oneness have no more consciousness? The same fire cannot both be hot and cold. So I am confused on this point.’ Yājña-valkya said, ‘O Maitreyī, certainly I am not saying anything confusing, i.e. not using confusing language.’

Maitreyī: Why did you mention contradictory qualities – Pure Intelligence and, again, absence of consciousness?

Yājña-valkya: I did not attribute them to the same entity. It is you who through mistake have taken one and the same entity to be possessed of contradictory attributes. I did not say this. What I said was this: When that individual existence of the self which is superimposed by ignorance and is connected with the body and organ is destroyed by knowledge, the particular consciousness connected with the body etc., consisting of a false notion, is destroyed on the destruction of the limiting adjuncts, the body and organs, for they are deprived of their cause, just as the reflections of the moon etc., and their effects, the light and so forth, vanish when the water and the like, which form their support, are gone. But just as the sun, moon, etc., which are the realities behind the reflections, remain as they are, so that Pure Intelligence which is the transcendent Brahman remains unchanged. So It has been referred to as ‘Pure Intelligence.’ It is the Self of the whole universe, and does not really pass out with the destruction of the elements. But the individual existence, which is due to ignorance, is destroyed. ‘Modifications are but names, a mere effort of speech,’ says another Śruti (ChanU.6.1.4–6, ChanU.6.4.1–4). But this real. ‘This self, my dear, is indestructible (BrhUEng.4.5.14). Therefore this ‘great, endless, infinite Reality’ – already explained (par. 12) – is quite sufficient for knowledge, O Maitreyī. Later it will be said, ‘For the knower’s function of knowing can never be lost; because it is immortal’ (BrhUEng.4.3.20).
🔗  Why then is it said that after attaining oneness the self has no more consciousness? Listen. Because when, i.e. in the presence of the particular or individual aspect of the Self due to the limiting adjuncts, the body and organs conjured up by ignorance, there is duality, as it were, in Brahman, which really is one without a second, i.e. there appears to be something different from the Self.

Objection: Since duality is put forward as an object for comparison, is it not taken to be real?

Reply: No, for another Śruti says, ‘Modifications are but names, a mere effort of speech’ (ChanU.6.1.4–6, ChanU.6.4.1–4), also ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1), and ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2).

Then, just because there is duality as it were, therefore, one, he who smells, viz. the unreal individual aspect of the Supreme Self, comparable to the reflection of the moon etc. in water, smells something that can be smelt, through something else, viz. the nose. ‘One’ and ‘something’ refer to two typical factors of an action, the agent and object, and ‘smells’ signifies the action and its result. As, for instance, in the word ‘cuts.’ This one word signifies the repeated strokes dealt and the separation of the object cut into two; for an action ends in a result, and the result cannot be perceived apart from the action. Similarly he who smells a thing that can be smelt does it through the nose. The rest is to be explained as above. One knows something. This is the state of ignorance. But when ignorance has been destroyed by the knowledge of Brahman, there is nothing but the Self. When to the knower of Brahman everything, such as name and form, has been merged in the Self and has thus become the Self, then what object to be smelt should one smell, who should smell, and through what instrument? Similarly what should one see and hear? Everywhere an action depends on certain factors; hence when these are absent, the action cannot take place; and in the absence of an action there can be no result. Therefore so long as there is ignorance, the operation of actions and their factors and results can take place, but not in the case of a knower of Brahman. For to him everything is the Self, and there are no factors or results of actions apart from That. Nor can the universe, being an unreality, be the Self of anybody. Therefore it is ignorance that conjures up the idea of the non-Self; strictly speaking, there is nothing but the Self. Therefore when one truly realizes the unity of the Self, there cannot be any consciousness of actions and their factors and results. Hence, because of contradiction, there is an utter absence of actions and their means for the knower of Brahman. The worlds ‘what’ and ‘through what’ are meant as a fling, and suggest the sheer impossibility of the other factors of an action also; for there cannot possibly be any such factors as the instrument. The idea is that no one by any means can smell anything in any manner.

Even in the state of ignorance, when one sees something, through what instrument should one know That owing to which all this is known? For that instrument of knowledge itself falls under the category of objects. The knower may desire to know, not about itself, but about objects. As fire does not burn itself, so the self does not know itself, and the knower can have no knowledge of a thing that is not its object. Therefore through what instrument should one know the knower owing to which this universe is known, and who else should know it? And when to the knower of Brahman who has discriminated the Real from the unreal there remains only the subject, absolute and one without a second, through what instrument, O Maitreyī, should one know that Knower?

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BrhUEng.2.05

🔗  The section on Maitreyī was commenced in order to indicate that means of immortality which is wholly independent of rites. It is the knowledge of the Self, with the renunciation of everything as part of it. When That is known, the whole universe is known; and It is dearer than everything; therefore It should be realized. And the way to this realization is set forth in the statement that It should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. It should be heard of from the spiritual teacher and the scriptures, and reflected on through reasoning.

The reasoning has been stated in the passage furnishing arguments in support of the proposition, ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2), viz. that the universe has sprung only from the Self, has the Self alone for its genus and dissolves only into the Self. Now this reason may be considered unfounded. It is to refute this doubt that this section is commenced.

Because there is mutual helpfulness among the parts of the universe including the earth, and because it is common experience that those things which are mutually helpful spring from the same cause, are of the same genus and dissolve into the same thing, therefore this universe consisting of the earth etc., on account of mutual helpfulness among its parts, must be like that. This is the meaning which is expressed in this section. Or, after the proposition, ‘All this is but the Self,’ has been supported by the reason that the universe has its origin, continuance and dissolution in the Self, the meaning is concluded with the present section, which preponderates in scriptural evidence. As the Naiyāyikas say, ‘The restatement of a proposition after stating the reason is conclusion’ (GNyS.1.1.39). Others (The reference is to Bhartṛ-prapañca) explain that scriptural passages preceding the illustration of the drum are for the purpose of hearing, those prior to the present section are for reflection, since they give the arguments, and the present section enjoins meditation. In any case, since reflection through reasoning must be strictly in accordance with the verdict of scriptural evidence, and meditation too must be in accordance with reflection through reasoning, that is to say, with the findings of scriptural evidence and reasoning, a separate enjoining of meditation is unnecessary. Therefore, in our opinion, the allocating of separate sections to the hearing, reflection and meditation is meaningless. At any rate the meaning of this and the foregoing chapter is summed up in this section –

This well-known earth is the honey or effect – being like honey – of all beings from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass. Just as a beehive is made by a great many bees, so is this earth made by all beings. Likewise, all beings are the honey or effect of this earth. Also, the shining, i.e. possessed of the light of intelligence, and immortal being who is in this earth, and the shining, immortal – as above – corporeal being in the body, i.e. the self as identified with the subtle body; are like honey – being helpful – to all beings, and all beings are like honey to them. This we gather from the particle ‘ca’ (and) in the text. Thus these four are the composite effect of all beings, and all beings are the effect of these four. Hence the universe has originated from the same cause. That one cause from which it has sprung is alone real – it is Brahman; everything else is an effect, a modification, a mere name, an effort of speech merely. This is the gist of this whole section dealing with the series of things mutually helpful. (The above fourfold division) is but this Self that has been premised in the passage, ‘This all is the Self’ (BrhUEng.2.4.6). This Self-knowledge is the means of immortality that has been explained to Maitreyī. This (underlying unity) is the Brahman which has been introduced at the beginning of this chapter in the passages, ‘I will speak to you about Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.1.1) and ‘I will teach you (about Brahman)’ (BrhUEng.2.1.15), and the knowledge of which is called the knowledge of Brahman. This knowledge of Brahman is that by means of which one becomes all (the universe).
🔗  Likewise water. In the body it exists specially in the seed.
🔗  Similarly fire. It exists specially in the organ of speech (Cf. ‘Fire entered the mouth as the organ of speech’ (AitU.1.2.4).
🔗  Likewise air. It is the vital force in the body. The elements are called honey, because they help by furnishing materials for the body. While the beings, shining and so forth, residing in them are called honey, because they help by serving as the organs. As has been said, ‘The earth is the body of that organ of speech, and this fire is its luminous organ’ (BrhUEng.1.5.11).
🔗  So also the sun is like honey. In the body, the being identified with the eye.
🔗  Likewise, the quarters are like honey. Although the ear is the counterpart of the quarters in the body, yet the being identified with the time of hearing is mentioned, because he is specially manifest at the time of hearing sounds.
🔗  Similarly the moon. In the body, the being identified with the mind.
🔗  So it is with lightning. In the body, the being identified with the light that is in the organ of touch.
🔗  Likewise the cloud. Although the being identified with sound is the one represented in the body, yet as he is specially manifest in voice, he is here mentioned as such.
🔗  Similarly the space. In the body, the space in the heart.
🔗  It has been stated that the elements beginning with earth and ending with the space as also the gods, identified respectively with the body and the organs, are like honey to each individual because of their helpfulness. What connects them with these individuals so that they are helpful like honey, is now being described –
This righteousness, etc. Although righteousness is not directly perceived, it is here described by the word ‘this’ as though it were, because the effects initiated by it (earth etc.) are directly perceived. Righteousness has been explained (BrhUEng.1.4.14) as consisting of the Śrutis and Sṃṛtis, as the power which controls even the Kṣatriyas etc., which causes the variety of the universe through the transformation of the elements, and which is practiced by people. This last is another reason why it has been mentioned here as something directly perceived – as 'this righteousness.' There truth and righteousness, consisting respectively of the scriptures and approved conduct, have been spoken of as one. Here, however, in spite of their identity they are mentioned as separate, because they produce their effects in two distinct forms – visible and invisible. Righteousness that is invisible, called Apūrva, produces its effects invisibly in a general and a particular form. In its general form it directs the elements such as earth, and in its particular form it directs the aggregate of body and organs, in matters relating to the body. Of these, the shining being who is in this righteousness that directs the elements such as earth, and, in the body, (the being identified with righteousness) that fashions the aggregate of body and organs (are also like honey to all beings and vice versa).
🔗  Likewise that righteousness, in its visible form as good conduct that is practiced, comes to be known as truth. It also is twofold – general and particular. The general form is inherent in the elements, and the particular form in the body and organs. Of these, (the being who is) in this truth that is inherent in the elements and consists of present action, and, in the body, (the being identified with the truth) that is inherent in the body and organs (are like honey to all beings and vice versa). ‘The wind blows through truth,’ says another Śruti (MahU.22.1).
🔗  This particular aggregate of body and organs is directed by righteousness and truth. The human and other species are the particular types to which it belongs. We observe in life that all beings are helpful to one another only by belonging to the human or other species. Therefore these species, human and the rest, are like honey to all beings. These too may be indicated in two ways – externally as well as internally (From the standpoint of the person describing them).
🔗  The aggregate of bodies and organs which is connected with the human and other species, designated here as this body (i.e. the cosmic body), is like honey to all beings.

Objection: Has this not been indicated by the term ‘corporeal being’ in the passage dealing with earth (BrhUEng.2.5.1)?

Reply: No, for there only a part, viz. that which is a modification of earth, was meant. But here the cosmic body, the aggregate of bodies and organs devoid of all distinctions such as those pertaining to the body and the elements, and consisting of all the elements and gods, is meant by the expression ‘this body.’ The shining, immortal being who is in this (cosmic) body refers to the cosmic mind which is the essence of the subtle (BrhUEng.2.3.3). Only a part of it was mentioned as being associated with earth etc. But no manifestation with reference to the body is mentioned here, because the cosmic mind has no such limitation. The term this self refers to the only remaining entity, the individual self, whose purpose this aggregate of gross and subtle bodies subserves.
🔗  This Self, already mentioned, refers to the Self (That is, the individual self as merged in the Supreme Self) in which the remaining individual self of the last paragraph was stated to be merged (BrhUEng.2.4.12). When the latter, which is possessed of the limiting adjunct of the body and organs created by ignorance, has been merged through the knowledge of Brahman in the true Self (or Brahman), it – such a self – becomes devoid of interior or exterior, entire, Pure Intelligence, the Self of all beings, and an object of universal homage – the absolute ruler of all beings, not like a prince or a minister, but the king of all beings. The expression ‘ruler of all’ qualifies the idea of kingship. One may be a king by just living like a king, but he may not be the ruler of all. Hence the text adds the qualifying epithet ‘ruler of all.’ Thus the sage, the knower of Brahman, who is the Self of all beings, becomes free. The question, ‘Men think, “Through the knowledge of Brahman we shall become all.” Well, what did that Brahman know by which It became all?’ (BrhUEng.1.4.9) – is thus answered. That is, by hearing of one’s own self as the Self of all from the teacher and the Śrutis, by reflecting on It through reasoning, and by realizing It at first hand, as explained in this and the previous section (one becomes all). Even before realization one has always been Brahman, but through ignorance one considered oneslef different from It; one has always been all, but through ignorance one considered oneself otherwise. Therefore, banishing this ignorance through the knowledge of Brahman, the knower of Brahman, having all the while been Brahman, became Brahman, and having throughout been all, became all.

The import of the scripture that was briefly indicated (In. BrhUEng.1.4.10 and BrhUEng.2.1.1) has been completely dealt with. Now illustrations are being given to show that in this knower of Brahman who is the self of all and has realized himself as such, the whole universe is fixed: Just as all the spokes are fixed in the nave and the rim of a chariot-wheel, so are all beings from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass, all gods, such as Fire, all worlds, such as this earth, all organs, such as that of speech, and all these selves, which penetrate every body like a reflection of the moon in water and are conjured up by ignorance – in short, the whole universe, fixed in this Self, i.e. in the knower of Brahman who has realized his identity with the Supreme Self. It has been stated (BrhUEng.1.4.10) that Vāma-deva, who was a knower of Brahman, realized that he had been Manu and the sun; this identification with all is thus explained: This man of realization, this knower of Brahman, identifies himself with all as his limiting adjunct, is the self of all, and becomes all. Again he is without any limiting adjuncts, without name, devoid of interior or exterior, entire, Pure Intelligence, birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless, immovable, to be described as ‘Not this, not this,’ neither gross nor subtle, and so on.

The logicians and certain self-styled scholars versed in the Śrutis (Mīmāṃsakas), not knowing this import of them, think that they are contradictory, and fall into an abyss of confusion by attempting fanciful interpretations. This import of which we speak is borne out by the following Mantras of the scriptures: ‘One and unmoved, but swifter than the mind’ (IsU.4), and ‘It moves, and does not move’ (IsU.5). Similarly in the Taittirīya Āraṇyaka, ‘Than which there is nothing higher or lower’ (SvetU.3.9; MahU.10.4) and ‘He goes on singing this hymn: I am the food, I am the food, I am the food,’ etc. (TaitU.3.10.5). So in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, ‘Laughing (or eating), playing and enjoying’ (ChanU.8.12.3), ‘If he desires to attain the world of the Manes, (by his mere wish they appear)’ (ChanU.8.2.1), ‘Possessed of all odors and all tastes’ (ChanU.3.14.2), and so on. In the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad too, ‘(That which) knows things in a general and a particular way’ (BrhUEng.1.1.9 and 2.2.7), and ‘It is farther than the farthest, and again It is here, right near’ (MunU.3.1.7). In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad too, ‘Minuter than an atom and bigger than the biggest’ (KathU.1.2.20), and ‘Who (but me can know) that Deity who has both joy and the absence of it?’ (KathU.1.2.21). Also ‘Staying, It surpasses those that run’ (IsU.4). Similarly in the Gītā: ‘I am the Vedic sacrifice and that enjoined in the Smṛtis’ (BhG.9.16), ‘I am the father of this universe’ (BhG.9.17), ‘(The self) does not take on anybody’s demerits’ (BhG.5.15), ‘(Living) the same in all beings’ (BhG.13.27), ‘Undivided among divided (things)’ (BhG.18.20), and ‘The devourer as well as producer’ (BhG.13.16). Considering these and similar scriptural texts as apparently contradictory in their import, they, with a view to arriving at their true meaning on the strength of their own intellect, put forward fanciful interpretations, as, for instance, that the self exists or does not exist, that it is or is not the agent, is free or bound, momentary, mere consciousness, or nothing – and never go beyond the domain of ignorance, because everywhere they see only contradictions. Therefore those alone who tread the path shown by the Śrutis and spiritual teachers, transcend ignorance. They alone will succeed in crossing this unfathomable ocean of delusion, and not those others who follow the lead of their own clever intellect.

The knowledge of Brahman leading to immortality has been completely dealt with. It was this that Maitreyī asked of her husband in the words, ‘Tell me, sir, only of that which you know to be leading to immortality’ (BrhUEng.2.4.3; BrhUEng.4.5.4). In order to extol this knowledge of Brahman the following story is introduced. The two Mantras are meant to give the purport of the story in brief. Since both Mantra and Brāhmaṇa extol it, the capacity of the knowledge of Brahman to confer immortality and the attainment of identity with all becomes obvious as if it were set up on the highway. As the rising sun dispels the gloom of night, so (does the knowledge of Brahman remove ignorance). The knowledge of Brahman is also eulogiesd in this way, that being in the custody of King Indra it is difficult of attainment even by the gods, since this knowledge carefully preserved by Indra was attained after great pains even by the Asvins, who are doctors to the gods. They had to behead the teaching Brāhmaṇa and fix a horse’s head on him. When this was severed by Indra, they restored the Brāhmaṇa’s head to it place, and heard the entire knowledge of Brahman from his own lips. Therefore there neither has been nor will be – and of course there is not – any better means of realizing our life’s ends than this. So this is the highest tribute that can be paid to it.

The knowledge of Brahman is further extolled thus: It is well known in the world that rites are the means to attain all our life’s ends; and their performance depends on wealth, which cannot possibly confer immortality. This can be attained only through Self-knowledge independently of rites. Although it could easily be treated of in the ritualistic portion, under the Pravargya rites, yet because of its contradiction to rites, this Self-knowledge, coupled only with renunciation of the world, is discussed as the means of immortality, after that portion is passed. This shows that there is no better means of attaining our life’s ends than this. In another way also is the knowledge of Brahman eulogied. Everybody delights in company. The Śruti says, ‘He (Virāj) was not happy (alone). Therefore people (to this day) do not like to be alone’ (BrhUEng.1.4.3). Yājña-valkya, though just like any other man, gave up, through his Self-knowledge, his attachment to worldly objects, such as the wife, children and wealth, became satisfied with knowledge, and took delight only in the Self. The knowledge of Brahman is further eulogized thus: Since Yājña-valkya, on the eve of his departure from the worldly life, instructed his beloved wife about it just to please her. We infer this from the following, ‘You say what is after my heart. Come, take your seat,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.4).
🔗  We have said that the story given here is for the sake of eulogy. What is that story? It is as follows: This refers to what has just been dealt, for it is present to the mind. The particle ‘vai’ is a reminder. It reminds us of the story narrated elsewhere (SatBr.14.1.1.4) in a different context, which is suggested by the word that. That meditation on things mutually helpful which was only hinted at, but not clearly expressed, in the section dealing with the rite called, Pravargya, is described in this section in the words, ‘This earth,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.5.1). How was it hinted at there? – ‘Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught these Asvins the section dealing with the mediation on things mutually helpful. It was a favorite subject with them. Therefore he came to them (wishing to teach them) thus’ (SatBr.14.1.4.13): ‘He said, “Indra has told me that he will behead me the moment I teach it to anybody; therefore I am afraid of him. If he does not behead me, then I will accept you as my disciples.” They said, “We will protect you from him.”

“How will you protect me?” “When you will accept us as your disciples, we shall cut off your head, remove it elsewhere and preserve it. Then bringing a horse’s head, we shall fix it on you; you will teach us through that. As you do so, Indra will cut off that head of yours. Then we shall bring your own head and replace it on you.” “All right,” said the Brāhmaṇa, and accepted the Asvins as his disciples. When he did so, they cut off his head and kept it by elsewhere; then bringing a horse’s head they fixed it on him; through that he taught them. As he was teaching them, Indra cut off that head. Then the Aśvins brought his own head and replaced it it on him’ (SatBr.14.1.1.22–24). On that occasion, however, only that portion of the meditation on things mutually helpful was taught which forms part of the rite called Pravargya, but not the secret portion known as Self-knowledge. The story that was recited there is mentioned here for the sake of eulogy. This is that meditation on things mutually helpful which Dadhyac; versed in the Atharva-Veda taught the Asvins through this device.

Perceiving this deed, the Ṛṣi or Mantra said: O Asvins in human form, that terrible deed, etc. ‘That’ qualifies the remote Daṃsa, which is the name of the deed. What kind of deed was it? ‘Terrible.’ Why was it committed?’ Out of greed. People commit terrible deeds in the world tempted by greed; these Asvins too appear to have done exactly like that. What you have done in secret, I will disclose. Like what? As a cloud does rain. In the Vedas the particle ‘na’ used after a word denotes comparison, not negation, as in the expression, ‘Aśvam na,’ (like a horse). ‘I will disclose your terrible deed as a cloud indicates rain through rumbling noise etc.’ – this is the construction.

Objection: How can these two Mantras be in praise of the Asvins? They rather condemn them.

Reply: There is nothing wrong in it; they are eulogistic, not condemnatory. Because in spite of doing such a despicable deed, they passed off absolutely scatheless; nor did they suffer anything in the unseen realm. Therefore these two Mantras are eulogistic. People sometimes rightly construe blame as praise, and likewise it is common knowledge that praise may be blame in disguise.

The secret meditation on things mutually helpful, known as Self-knowledge, that Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught you through a horse’s head. ‘Ha’ and ‘im’ are expletives.
🔗  This is that meditation, etc. – is to be explained as in the preceding paragraph; it refers to the other Mantra that relates the same story. Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, etc. There may be others versed in the Atharva-Veda; so the term is qualified by mention of the name, Dadhyac. ‘O Asvins,’ etc. – this is spoken by the Ṛṣi (Here Śaṅkara explains the word is its literal and more plausible meaning. Earlier, it was explained as the Mantra itself. The name of the sage is Kakṣīvat. For the verses given in earlier see RigV.1.116.12, RigV.1.117.22 and RgV.6.47.18 respectively) who visualized the Mantra. ‘When the Brāhmaṇa’s head was severed, you cut off a horse’s head – O the cruelty of it! – and set it on the Brāhmaṇa’s shoulders. And he taught you the meditation on things mutually helpful that he had promised to teach you.’ Why did he run the risk of his life to do this? To keep his word – desiring to fulfill his promise. This is a hint that keeping one’s solemn promise is more important than even life. What was the meditation on things mutually helpful that he taught? That which was connected with the sun: The head of Yajña (Lit. sacrifice. Here it means Viṣṇu, who is identified with it. For the story, how Viṣṇu, proud of his well-earned pre-eminence over the other gods, stood resting his chin on the extremity of a bow, and how the others out of jealousy got some white-ants to gnaw off the bow-string, which resulted in the severing of Viṣṇu’s head, see SatBr.14.1.1.6–10. Compare also TaitAr.5.1.3–6), being severed, became the sun. To restore the head the rite called Pravargya was started. The meditation concerning the severing of the head of Yajña, its restoration, and so on, which forms a part of the rite, is the meditation on things mutually helpful connected with the sun. Terrible ones – who destroy their rival forces, or kill their enemies. ‘He taught you not only the ritualistic meditation on things mutually helpful connected with the the sun, but also the secret meditation on them relating to the Supreme Self’ that is dealt with in the present section, in fact, throughout this and the preceding chapter. The verb ‘taught’ is to be repeated here from above.
🔗  This is that meditation, etc. – is to be explained as before. The two foregoing Mantras sum up the story that is connected with the rite called Pravargya. They express in the form of a story the purport of the two chapters that have a bearing on that rite. Now the text proceeds to describe through the two following Mantras the purport of the two chapters that deal with the meditation on Brahman. It has been said that the Brāhmaṇa versed in the Atharva-Veda also taught the Asvins a secret meditation on things mutually helpful. What that meditation was, is now being explained. He made bodies, etc. – the Supreme Lord who made this universe come out of the unmanifested state, in the course of His manifesting the undifferentiated name and form, after first projecting worlds, such as this earth, made bodies with two feet, viz. human and bird bodies, and bodies with four feet, viz. animal bodies. That Supreme Being, the Lord, first entered the bodies as a bird, i.e. as the subtle Body. The text itself explains it: On account of His dwelling in all bodies He is called the Puruṣa. There is nothing that is not covered by Him; likewise, there is nothing that is not pervaded by Him. That is, everything is enveloped by Him as its inside and outside. Thus it is He who as name and form – as the body and organs – is inside and outside everything. In other words, the Mantra, ‘He made bodies,’ etc. briefly enunciates the unity of the Self.
🔗  This is that meditation, etc. – is to be explained as before. (He) transformed Himself in accordance with each form, or (to put it differently) assumed the likeness of each form. A son has the same form as, or resembles, his parents. A quadruped is not born of bipeds, nor vice versa. The same Lord, in the process of manifesting name and form, ‘transformed Himself in accordance with each form.’ Why did He come in so many forms? That form of His was for the sake of making Him known. Were name and form not manifested, the transcendent nature of this Self as Pure Intelligence would not be known. When, however, name and form are manifested as the body and organs, it is possible to know Its nature. The Lord on account of Māyā or diverse knowledge, or (to give an alternative meaning) the false identification created by name, form and the elements, not in truth, is perceived as manifold, because of these notions superimposed by ignorance, although He is ever the same Pure Intelligence. Why? For to Him are yoked, like horses to a chariot, ten organs – called ‘Hari’ because they draw – nay, hundreds of them, for the purpose of revealing their objects; ‘hundreds,’ because there are a great many beings. Since there are a large number of sense-objects (the Supreme Self appears as manifold). It is to reveal them, and not the Self, that the organs are yoked. As the Kaṭha Upaniṣad says, ‘The self-born Lord injured the organs by making them outgoing in their tendencies’ (KathU.2.1.1). Therefore the Self is known not in Its true nature as homogeneous Pure Intelligence, but merely as the sense-objects.

Question: Then this Lord is one entity, and the organs another?

Reply: No; He is the organs; He is ten and thousands – many and infinite – because there are an infinite number of beings. In short, that Brahman which is the self is without prior, i.e. cause, or posterior, i.e. effect, without interior or exterior, i.e. having no other species within It or without It. What is this homogeneous Brahman? This self. What is that? The inner Self that sees, hears, thinks, understands, knows; the perceiver of everything, because as the self of all it perceives everything. This is the teaching of all Vedānta texts – the gist of them. It leads to immortality and fearlessness. The import of the scriptures has been fully dealt with.

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BrhUEng.2.06

🔗  Now the line of teachers for the first two chapters called Madhu-kāṇḍa, which aim at expounding the knowledge of Brahman, is being given as a eulogy on the latter. This is also a Mantra to be expounded and regularly repeated. The word ‘Vaṃśa’ (line of teachers) is so called because of its resemblance to a bamboo. Just as a bamboo is divided into sections, so is this line of teachers divided into sections beginning from the top down to the root. The order of succession of teachers of the first four chapters (of the last book – Of which the opening chapter of this work forms the third chapter, Kāṇva recension – of the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa) is here spoken of as ‘Vaṃśa’. In this list the names in the nominative case stand for the disciples, and those in the ablative case stand for the teachers. Parameṣṭhin is Virāj. From Brahman or Hiraṇya-garbha (In whose mind the Vedas were revealed through the grace of the Lord, the ‘Brahman’ next mentioned); beyond him the line of teachers does not extend. As for Brahman (The Supreme Brahman, of which the Vedas are but another form; hence there can be no question of their originating from some other source), It is self-born, eternal. Salutation to that eternal Brahman.

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br.3.01 br.3.02 br.3.03 br.3.04 br.3.05 br.3.06 br.3.07 br.3.08 br.3.09

🔗 With ‘Janaka, Emperor of Videha,’ etc., the portion relating to Yājña-valkya begins. Though it treats of the same subject as the preceding one, viz. the Madhu-kāṇḍa, yet it is not a mere repetition, being mainly argumentative, whereas the preceding portion was mainly of the nature of scriptural testimony. When both scriptural testimony and argument start to demonstrate the unity of the Self, they can show it as clearly as a bael fruit on the palm of one’s hand, for it has been said, ‘(The Self) should be heard of, reflected on,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.5; BrhUEng.4.5.6). Therefore it is to test the meaning of the Śrutis in the light of arguments that this portion relating to Yājña-valkya, which is mainly argumentative, is commenced.

The story may be taken either as a eulogy on knowledge or as prescribing the way to acquire it; for it is a well-known fact, which scholars also notice in the scriptures, that the making of presents is one such way. Through presents people are won over; and here we see that plenty of gold and a thousand cows are presented. Therefore, though this section has another main purpose, the story is introduced to show that the making of presents is a way to the acquisition of knowledge. Another customary way of acquiring it, as observed in the system of logic, is the association with adepts in that line, and discussion with them; that too is amply shown in this chapter. And it is a common experience that association with scholars adds to our knowledge. Therefore we must conclude that the story is meant to point out the way to acquire knowledge.

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BrhUEng.3.01

🔗  There was a ruler of Videha named Janaka, who was an Emperor. He performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed. Or the sacrifice itself may have had that name (Bahu-dakṣiṇa), referred to elsewhere in the Vedas. Or the horse sacrifice may here be so called because of the abundance of gifts in it. Vedic scholars from Kuru and Pañcāla – which are famous for their large number of scholars – were assembled in that sacrifice, either on invitation or as spectators. Seeing that large assembly of scholars, Emperor Janaka of Videha, the sacrificer, had a desire to know which was the greatest Vedic scholar among them. He thought like this: ‘Which is the most erudite of these Vedic scholars? They are all versed in the Vedas, but which is the greatest of them?’ Being desirous of knowing this, he, as a means to finding it out, had a thousand young cows confined in a pen. The cows are being described. On the horns of each cow were fixed ten Pādas – a Pāda being a quarter of a Pala – of gold, five on each horn.
🔗  Having the cows thus confined, he said addressing those Brāhmaṇas, ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, you are all Vedic scholars; let him who is specially so among you drive these cows home.’ None of the Brāhmaṇas thus addressed dared to announce his surpassing Vedic scholarship. When they were thus silenced, Yājña-valkya said to a pupil of his, ‘Dear Sāma-śravas, please drive these cows home.’ ‘Sāma-śravas’ means one who learns how to chant the Sāman. Hence by implication Yājña-valkya is made out to be versed in all the four Vedas (The grounds are as follows: He is principally a teacher of the Yajur-Veda; the pupil in question learns from him how to chant the Sāman, which is the Ṛc set to music; so he must also know these two Vedas; and the Atharva-Veda is subsidiary to the other three). He drove the cows towards his teacher’s home. Yājña-valkya, by accepting the prize meant for the best Vedic scholar, indirectly declared himself as such; so the Brāhmaṇas were enraged. The reason for their anger is being stated: How does he dare to call himself the best Vedic scholar among us who are each a great scholar? Among the Brāhmaṇas thus enraged, there was a Hotṛ of Janaka, the sacrificer, named Aśvala. He prided himself upon being the greatest Vedic scholar, and was insolent owing to royal patronage. So he challenged Yājña-valkya as follows: Yājña-valkya, are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us?’ The prolonged accent (in the verb) signifies censure. Yājña-valkya replied: ‘I bow to the best Vedic scholar, now I just want the cows.’ Thereupon, i.e. when he accepted the prize meant for the best Vedic scholar and thereby declared himself to be one, the Hotṛ Aśvala determined to interrogate him.
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he. In the section on the Udgītha (BrhUEng.1.3) comprised in the Madhu-kāṇḍa it has briefly been explained how a sacrificer can escape death through the rite with five factors coupled with the meditation about it. The present section being an examination of that, a rather detailed treatment is being given here in order to introduce some particulars about that meditation. ‘Since all this, the accessories of this rite, such as the priests and the fire, is overtaken by death, i.e. by ritualistic work attended with our natural attachment – not only overtaken, but also swayed by death, by what means, or meditation, does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of death, become independent of it?’

Objection: Has it not already been said in the section on the Udgītha that he transcends death by identifying himself with the vital force in the mouth?

Reply: Yes, but the particulars that have been omitted there will be given here. So there is nothing wrong in it.

Yājña-valkya said, ‘Through the organ of speech – through fire, which is the (real) priest called Hotṛ.’ The explanation follows. Who is that Hotṛ through whom the sacrificer transcends death? ‘The sacrificer’s organ of speech is the Hotṛ.’ ‘Sacrifice’ here means the sacrificer. Witness the Śruti, ‘The sacrifice is the sacrificer’ (SatBr.14.2.2.24). The sacrificer’s organ of speech is the Hotṛ with reference to sacrifices. How? This organ of speech of the sacrificer is the well-known fire, with reference to the gods. This has already been explained under the topic of the three kinds of food (BrhUEng.1.5.11). And that fire is the Hotṛ, for the Śruti says, ‘Fire is the Hotṛ’ (SatBr.6.4.2.6). These two auxiliaries of a sacrifice, viz. the priest called Hotṛ with reference to sacrifices, and the organ of speech with reference to the body, being limited, are ‘overtaken by the death,’ i.e. are continually changed by ritualistic work directed by our natural attachment due to ignorance, and are therefore ‘swayed by death.’ If the sacrificer looks upon them as fire, their divine form, it conduces to his (As also the Hotṛ’s) liberation from death. So the text says: This is liberation, i.e. the Hotṛ who is fire is liberation. In other words, looking upon the Hotṛ as fire is that. As soon as the sacrificer looks upon the two accessories as fire, he is freed from death consisting in his limited natural attachment relating to the body and the elements. Therefore that Hotṛ, when looked upon as fire, is ‘liberation,’ i.e. the means of liberation, for the sacrificer. This is emancipation: That which is liberation is emancipation, i.e. a means to it. To look upon those two limited accessories as fire, which is their unlimited divine form, is liberation. This liberation that consists in looking upon (the Hotṛ and the organ of speech) in their divine aspect is also spoken of as the resulting emancipation – becoming one with fire, their divine form – which takes one beyond the death that consists in attachment to limitations relating to the body and the elements. It is called emancipation, because that liberation itself is a means to it. It has already been explained in the section on the Udgītha that the identification of the organ of speech etc. with fire and so on is itself the emancipation of the sacrificer. There it has been said in a general way that identity with the vital force in the mouth is the means of liberation, but the particulars have not been given. Here some details, viz. the viewing of the organ of speech etc. as fire and so on, are given. The emancipation from death here dealt with is the same as that which has been described as a result in the section on the Udgītha in the words, ‘(That fire) having transcended death, shines,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.3.12).
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he. The emancipation from death, which is another name for ritualistic work directed by our natural attachment due to ignorance, has been explained. Time is the cause of changes in the accessories of rites, such as the new-and full-moon sacrifices, on which death, that is to say, ritualistic work with attachment, rests. This paragraph is introduced, since emancipation from that time should be separately indicated; because even without the performance of rites, we notice before and after it, the action of time as the cause of these changes in the accessories of the rites. So the text goes on: Since all this is overtaken by day and night. That time has two forms: one consisting of day, night, etc., and the other consisting of lunar days etc. The emancipation from the former type of time is being first indicated, since everything is born, grows and dies because of the day and night; so also with the accessories of a sacrifice. The eye of the sacrificer is the Adhvaryu; here too ‘sacrifice’ means the sacrificer. The rest of the paragraph is to be explained as before. When the two accessories viz. the sacrificer’s eye and the Adhvaryu, are stripped of their limitations relating to the body and the elements, and are looked upon in their divine aspect, this is liberation. In other words, the viewing of the Adhvaryu as the sun is liberation. This liberation is emancipation, as in the preceding paragraph; because there can be no day and night for one who has identified himself with the sun.
🔗  Now the emancipation from time represented by lunar days etc. is being indicated: Since all this, etc. The sun is the cause of the days and nights, which (taken together) are alike, but not of the lunar days from the first to the fifteenth; these are subject to increase and decrease, and are caused by the moon. Therefore through identification with the moon one goes beyond the bright and dark fortnights, just as through identification with the sun one goes beyond day and night. Now the vital force of the sacrificer is air. It again is the Udgātṛ, as we know from the section on the Udgītha, where it has been settled: ‘Indeed he chanted through speech and the vital force’ (BrhUEng.1.3.24). Also, ‘Water is the body of this vital force, and that moon is its luminous organ’ (BrhUEng.1.5.13). Since the vital force, air and moon are one, the Śruti considers that there is no difference between summing up with the moon (As the Mādhyan-dina recension does) and with air, and mentions air as the divine form. Moreover, the changes of the moon are due to air (Really, the cosmic vital force (Sūtrātman), of which air is the conventional symbol). Therefore air is the cause even of that (moon) which makes the division of time into lunar days etc. Hence it is all the more reasonable that one who has identified oneself with air goes beyond time as divided into lunar days etc. So another Śruti (the Mādhyan-dina recension) states that the viewing (of the accessories of a sacrifice) as the moon is liberation and emancipation; while here, in the Kāṇva recension, the viewing of the two accessories as their cause, viz. air, is called liberation and emancipation. Thus there is no contradiction between the two texts.
🔗  The way the sacrificer transcends the form of death known as time has been explained. Now what is that support by means of which he attains a result transcending death, which is a limitation – in other words, is emancipated? This paragraph answers the point: Since the sky, so familiar to us, is, as it were, without a support, etc. The words ‘as it were’ indicate that there is a support to it, but it is not known. An inquiry into this unknown support is being made by the use of the pronominal adjective ‘Kena’ (through what); otherwise the attainment of result would be impossible. What is that support by means of which the sacrificer attains the result of his rites and is released? – is the question. Through what support does the sacrificer go to heaven as the result (of his rites) – in other words, is released? Through the mind – through the moon, which is the (real) priest called Brahman; this is to be explained as before. Now what is familiar to us as the mind of the sacrificer with reference to the body is the moon with reference to the gods; for it is a well-known fact that the mind in the body is the same as the moon among the gods. The moon again is the priest called Brahman. Hence the sacrificer beholds the limited form of the Brahman among the elements, and that of his own mind in the body, as the unlimited moon. That is to say, through the support of the mind viewed as the moon he attains heaven as the result of his rites – in other words, is released. The word ‘iti’ indicates the conclusion of the topic; that is, such are the various ways of emancipation from death. The topic is concluded, because all kinds of meditation regarding the accessories of a sacrifice have been dealt with in this connection. So far about the ways of emancipation, i.e. such are the various ways of emancipation.

Now the meditations based on resemblance are being spoken of. By this is meant a meditation, by virtue of some point of resemblance, on rites with inferior results like the Agni-hotra, as rites with superior results, in order to obtain these results; or it is a meditation on some part of the lesser rite as those very results. Even when people try with all their ardour to undertake measures for bringing about certain ends, they may fail of their object through some defect. So a man who regularly tends the sacrificial fire takes up any rite, such as the Agni-hotra, that suits him, and if he happens to know the results of particular rites, achieves the results he seeks through meditation. Otherwise it would be impossible for people of even the upper three castes, who are qualified for them, to perform the Rāja-sūya (A sacrifice usually performed by emperors. The other three are sacrifices in which a horse, some substitute for a man, and animals in general are respectively sacrificed. All the four are elaborate and expensive undertaking beyond the means of most people), Aśva-medha, Nara-medha and Sarva-medha sacrifices. Their reciting of scriptures relating to those would merely be devotional study, unless there be some means of attaining the results of those rites. Those people can attain these results simply by means of the meditation based on resemblance; hence such meditations are fruitful, and are therefore being described.
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, to draw his attention, ‘with how many kinds of Ṛc will the Hotṛ do his part – recite hymns – in this sacrifice today?’ The other said, ‘With three kinds of Ṛc.’ When he said this, Aśvala asked him again, ‘Which are those three?’ The first question was about the number, the second about the Ṛcs themselves. The preliminary, that class of hymns which are used before a sacrifice; the sacrificial, those hymns that are used in performing sacrifice; and the eulogistic hymns, that class of hymns which are used in praise (to the deities). Every kind of Ṛc, whether used in praise or otherwise, is included in these three classes. ‘What does he win through them?’ ‘All this that is living.’ From the parity of number he wins through this whatever is living (in the three worlds). That is, on account of the similarity in number etc. he gets all this result through meditation.
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, etc. This has already been explained. ‘How many kinds of oblations will the Adhvaryu offer in this sacrifice today?’ ‘Three.’ ‘Which are those three?’ etc. – already explained. Yājña-valkya replied: Those that blaze up on being offered, such as oblations of wood and clarified butter. Those that make a great noise, when offered, such as flesh. And those that sink, penetrate the earth, on being offered, e.g. milk and Soma juice. ‘What does he win through them,’ through the oblations thus offered? Through those that blaze up on being offered, etc. – The offerings made are bright, and the result, the world of the gods, is also bright. On account of this similarity he meditates that the bright offerings he is making are the very form of the result he seeks through his rite, viz. the world of the gods – that he is achieving that very result, the world of the gods. Through those oblations that make a great noise when offered, he wins the world of the Manes, because of the similarity in producing horrible noises. For, attached to the world of the Manes is the city of Yama, where people subjected to tortures by him cry, ‘Alas, we are undone, release us, oh, release us!’ So also do the offerings of meat etc. make a noise. On account of this similarity with the world of the Manes he meditates that he is actually attaining that world. Through those offerings that sink on being offered, he wins the human world, because both are equally related to the surface of the earth. For this world is lower than the higher worlds, which are to be attained; or ‘lower’ because of the similarity in going down (Too often men having evil tendencies degenerate). Therefore, while offering oblations of milk or Soma, he meditates that he is actually attaining the human world.
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, etc. – is to be explained as before. Through how many gods does this priest called Brahman from the right, sitting in his particular seat, protect the sacrifice? The plural number in ‘gods’ is merely for the sake of conformity. To explain: The priest protects the sacrifice through one god only; so one who knows this should not put a question using the plural number. But because that was used in the questions and answers in the two preceding paragraphs – ‘Through how many?’ ‘Through three.’ ‘How many?’ ‘Three’ – here too the plural is used in the question; or the plural form is used in order to puzzle the opponent. ‘Through one,’ replied Yājña-valkya; the god through whom the Brahman protects the sacrifice from his seat on the right is one. ‘Which is that one?’ The mind is that god; it is through the mind, through meditation, that the Brahman does his function. ‘The mind and speech are the two ways of a sacrifice; the Brahman rectifies one of them (speech) through the mind (or silence),’ so says another Śruti (ChanU.4.16.1–2). Therefore the mind is that god, and through it the Brahman protects the sacrifice. And that mind is indeed infinite, because of its modifications. The word ‘indeed’ signifies that it is a well-known fact. Everybody knows that the mind is infinite. The gods identify themselves with its infinity: And infinite are the Viśva-devas; for another Śruti says, ‘In which (mind) all the gods become one,’ etc. Through this meditation he wins an infinite world, because of the similarity as regards infinitude.
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, etc. – is to be explained as before. ‘How many classes of hymns will the Udgātṛ chant?’ By the word ‘hymns’ is meant a collection of Ṛcs that can be chanted. All Ṛcs whatsoever, whether capable of being chanted or not, are comprised in just three classes, says Yājña-valkya; and they are explained as the preliminary, the sacrificial and the eulogistic hymns as the third. It has already been said that the aspirant wins ‘all this that is living.’ One may ask, ‘Through what similarity?’ The answer is being given: ‘Which are those three Ṛcs that have reference to the body?’ ‘The Prāṇa is the preliminary hymn,’ because both begin with the letter p. ‘The Apāna is the sacrificial hymn,’ because it comes next in order. Also, the gods eat the oblations offered with the help of Apāna (Which has its seat between the heart and the navel and carries things down), and a sacrifice is also an offering. ‘The Vyāna is the eulogistic hymn,’ for another Śruti says, ‘He utters the Ṛc without the help of the Prāṇa or the Apāna (That is, through the Vyāna)’ (ChanU.1.3.4). ‘What does he win through them?’ – already explained. The similarity with regard to particular relations that was not mentioned before is being given here; the rest has already been explained. Because of the similarity (Both come in first) of relation to a particular world (viz the earth), through the preliminary hymns he wins the earth; through the sacrificial hymns he wins the sky, because both occupy an intermediate position; through the eulogistic hymns he wins heaven, because both occupy the highest position. Thereupon, i.e. when his questions had been answered, the Hotṛ Aśvala kept silent, realizing that his opponent was too deep for him.

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BrhUEng.3.02

🔗  The relation of the story to the subject has already been dealt with. The emancipation from death in the form of time as well as of rites has been explained. Now what is this death the emancipation from which has been explained? It consists of the Grahas (organs) and Atigrahas (objects), which are centered in the attachment due to our natural ignorance, and are limited by the objects relating to the body and the elements. Forms, such as fire and the sun, pertaining to one who has been freed from that death consisting in limitation have been explained in the section on the Udgītha, and some details about them have been set forth in reply to Aśvala’s questions; all that is the result of rites coupled with meditation. Liberation from this relative existence consisting of ends and means has to be effected; hence the nature of death is being described for it is the man in bondage who has to be liberated. It is true that the nature of an emancipated man has also been described, but such a man is not yet free from death in the form of the organs and objects. So it has been said with reference to the being who is in the sun, ‘For hunger is death’ (BrhUEng.1.2.1) and ‘This indeed is death’ (SatBr.10.5.2.2); also, ‘Death though one, has many forms’ (SatBr.10.5.2.16). In other words, he alone who has attained identity with the sun is spoken of as escaping from the clutches of death; and the organs and objects, which are but forms of death, are not absent; in the sun. It has already been said, ‘Heaven is the body of this mind, and that sun is its luminous organ’ (BrhUEng.1.5.12), and it will be said further on, ‘The mind indeed is the Graha (organ); it is controlled by the Atigraha (object), desire’ (BrhUEng.3.2.7), ‘The Prāṇa (nose) is the Graha; it is controlled by the Atigraha, the Apāna (odor)’ (BrhUEng.3.2.2), and ‘The organ of speech indeed is the Graha; it is controlled by the Atigraha, name’ (BrhUEng.3.2.3). We have thus explained it in the passage bearing on the three kinds of food; and we have fully argued the point that what causes the starting of bondage cannot lead to its cessation.

Some, however, consider every rite to be leading to the cessation of bondage. Therefore, they say, he who resorts to the succeeding forms of death (bodies) is freed from the preceding forms of it: he resorts to the former not to cling to them, but to run away from them; so everything is a form of death until duality is at an end, and when this takes places, he really transcends death. Hence, they say, the intermediate liberation is but a relative and secondary one.

All this, we say, is unwarranted by the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad.

Objection: Does not liberation consist in identity with all, as is borne out by the Śruti text, ‘Therefore It became all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10)?

Reply: Yes, it does, but such Śruti texts as, ‘One who desires villages must sacrifice’ (TanMBr.17.10.4), and ‘One who desires animals must sacrifice’ (TanMBr.16.12.8), do not convey liberation. If they did, they would not signify villages, cattle, heaven, etc., and hence the latter would not be understood as such. But they are considered to be the varied results of our past actions. Moreover, if the Vedic rites conveyed liberation, there would be no relative existence (This is the result of one’s merits and demerits, which again depend on the observance or non-observance of scriptural injunctions. Now, if these convey liberation, relative existence, having no cause, is nullified) at all.

Objection: We maintain that although identity is the purport of those passages, yet relative existence is the very nature of rites, which follow automatically (from a knowledge of the Vedic injunctions) as when a lamp is lighted to show a particular form, everything in that place is brought to light.

Reply: Not so, for it is unwarranted by any means of knowledge. In other words, if the Vedic rites together with meditation convey only identity, there is nothing to prove that bondage follows automatically (from a knowledge of the Vedic injunction). There is neither perception, nor for that very reason inference (Because inference is based on perception), nor scriptural evidence.

Objection: But both identity and relative existence may be conveyed by the same sentence, as light or the digging of a channel, for instance, serves multiple purposes.

Reply: It cannot be, for it would be against the laws governing sentences. Nor can you say that the import of a sentence (here rites) serves both to initiate bondage and to stop it. The examples of light, the digging of a channel, and so forth are in order, because their uses are matters of perception (Which do not admit of any discussion).

You may say that there are Mantras (For example: ‘He who knows meditation and rites together transcends death’ (IsU.10) in support of your view; but it is just this view of yours that is untenable. We have to find out whether these Mantras mean this or something else. Therefore we concluded that death in the form of the organs and objects is bondage, and this section is introduced to show a way out of that bondage. We do not know the trick of taking up an intermediate position (That the ritualistic portion of the Vedas leads neither to bondage nor directly to liberation), as between waking and sleeping states; it would be as absurd as the same person being one-half old and one-half young. The reason why after the words ‘go beyond death’ (BrhUEng.3.1.3, adapted), the organs and objects are mentioned, is that these latter also really mean death. In other words, the whole range of ends and means constitutes bondage, because it is not free from the organs and objects. Only when the fetters are known, can the fettered man try to get rid of them. Hence the present section is introduced to describe the nature of bondage –

Then, i.e. when Aśvala had stopped, Ārta-bhāga, the son of Ṛta-bhāga of the line of Jarat-kāru, asked Yājña-valkya, already introduced. ‘Yājña-valkya, said he – this is to draw his attention. The particle ‘ha’ suggests the narration of a past incident. As before, comes the question, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ The particle ‘iti’ marks the close of the speech.

Objection: The subject-matter of the question, viz. the Grahas and Atigrahas, may be either known or not known. If they are known, then their number, which is an attribute, is also known. In that case, the question regarding it, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ is out of place. If, on the other hand, the Grahas and Atigrahas are not known, then the question should be regarding their nature: ‘What are the Grahas, and what are the Atigrahas?’ and not, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ Again, questions may be asked regarding the particulars of things about which we have a general knowledge, as, for instance, ‘Which of these belong to the Kaṭha recension and which to the Kalāpa?’ But no such things as Grahas and Atigrahas are known in life. If they were, the question might be regarding their particulars.

Reply: It has been asked (BrhUEng.3.1.3) how the sacrificer ‘goes beyond’ death. It is only one who is controlled by a Graha (that which seizes) that can be liberated. It has been mentioned twice – ‘This is liberation; this is emancipation’ (BrhUEng.3.1.3). Therefore the Grahas and Atigrahas are known things.

Objection: Even in that case (only) four Grahas and Atigrahas have been mentioned (In BrhUEng.3.1.3–6), viz. the vocal organ, the eye, the vital force and the mind. So the question ‘how many’ is not to the point, for the number is already known.

Reply: Not so, because there the number was indefinite. The passage in question did not seek to fix it at four. Here, however, in the meditation on the Grahas and Atigrahas, the attribute of number is sought to be fixed at eight; so the question is quite in order. Therefore liberation and emancipation have been mentioned twice in the passage, ‘This is liberation; this is emancipation.’ The Grahas and Atigrahas too are settled facts. Hence Ārta-bhāga asked, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ Yājña-valkya replied, ‘There are eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas.’ ‘Which, in particular, are those eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas that you have spoken of?’
🔗  Yājña-valkya replied: The Prāṇa indeed is the Graha. ‘Prāṇa’ here means the nose, from the context. It, the nose, is connected with air. ‘Apāna’ here means odor; it is so called because it always accompanies odor, for everybody smells with the nose odors presented by the air that is breathed in (Apāna). This is expressed by the sentence: For one smells odors throguh the Apāna.
🔗  The organ of speech indeed is the Graha. The organ of speech, as confined to one particular body, deals with things to which people are attached, and makes utterances that are untrue, pernicious, rude, offensive, and so on. It thus controls or captures people; hence it is a Graha. It, this Graha called the organ of speech, is controlled by the Atigraha, name, that is, by whatever is uttered. The long vowel in ‘Atigrāha’ is a Vedic license. For the organ of speech is meant to express something; it is used by that for just that purpose; hence it is controlled by that, and there is no deliverance for it until it has done this function. Therefore the organ of speech is said to be controlled by the Atigraha, name, for it is a fact that people, impelled by their attachment to something to be expressed, get into all sorts of troubles.

The rest is to be explained as before. These, the organs up to the skin, are the eight Grahas and the objects up to touch are the eight Atigrahas.
🔗  When the topic of the Grahas and Atigrahas (organs and objects) was concluded, Ārta-bhāga, spoke again. ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, ‘since all this manifested universe is the food of death – everything is born and imperilled, being swallowed by death in the form of the Grahas and Atigrahas – who is that god whose food is death even?’ – for another Śruti says, ‘Whose sauce is death’(KathU.1.2.25). The intention of the questioner is this: If Yājña-valkya mentions the death of death, it will lead to an infinite regress. If, on the other hand, he does not mention it, liberation from this death in the form of the Grahas and Atigrahas will be impossible. For liberation can take place only when this form of death is destroyed, and this would be possible if there be the death of death even. Hence, considering the question unanswerable, he asks, ‘Who is that god?’

(Yājña-valkya said): There is the death of death.

Objection: This will lead to an infinite regress, since that death too may have its death.

Reply: No, because you cannot conceive another destroyer for that which is the death of all.

Objection: How do you know that there is the death of death?

Reply: We see it. Fire, for instance, is the death of all, being a destroyer. But it is swallowed by water; hence it is the food of water. So believe that there is the death of death, and it swallows all the Grahas and Atigrahas. When these fetters are destroyed – swallowed by that death – liberation from relative existence becomes possible, for it has already been said that the Grahas and Atigrahas are the fetters. So it is clear that we can get rid of these; hence our efforts to get rid of bondage are fruitful. Therefore (one who knows thus) conquers further death.
🔗  ‘When, after death (That is, the organs and objects) has been swallowed by another death, viz. the realization of the Supreme Self, this liberated man of realization dies, do his organs, such as those of speech, called the Grahas, and the Atigrahas, such as name, which in the form of impressions are in him and impel him to action, go up from him, the dying knower of Brahman, or do they not?’ ‘No,’ replied Yājña-valkya, ‘they do not. The organs and objects, becoming one with the Supreme Self, attain identity with, or merge in him only, their cause, the man of realization, who is the Reality of the Supreme Brahman – like waves in the ocean.’ The following passage from another Śruti shows the dissolution of the organs, designated by the word ‘digit,’ in the Supreme Self, ‘So do these sixteen digits of the seer, which have the Self as their merging place, dissolve on reaching It’ (PrasU.6.5). Here their identification with the Supreme Self is shown. Does not the man dies then? ‘No, it is the body that dies, for it swells, is inflated by the external air like a pair of bellows, and in that state lies dead, motionless.’ The gist of the passage is that the liberated man, after his bondage has been destroyed, does not go anywhere.
🔗  Is it only the organs of a liberated man that are merged, or is it also all (That is, the objects) that moves them to action? If it is only the former, but not the latter, then with the presence of these stimulating causes the organs would again be likely to function. If, on the other hand, everything, such as desire and action, is merged, then only liberation is possible. It is to bring this out that the next question is put: ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he, ‘when this man dies, what is it that does not leave him?’ The other said: Name. That is, everything is merged; only the name (That he is a liberated man. This too as others see it) is left because of its relation to the type, for the name is eternal. The name indeed is infinite – the infinity of the name is its eternity – and infinite are the Viśva-devas, because they possess the infinity of the name. He (who knows thus) wins thereby a really infinite world. Having identified himself with the Viśva-devas who possess the infinity of the name, he wins through this realization nothing less than an infinite world.
🔗  The death that consists in bondage in the form of the Grahas and Atigrahas (organs and objects) has been described, and because that death has its death, liberation is possible. This liberation is the dissolution, here itself, of the Grahas and Atigrahas, like the extinction of a light. It is to ascertain the nature of the stimulating cause of that death which consists in the bondage called the Grahas and Atigrahas that this paragraph is introduced. ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he.

Here some (The reference is to Bhartṛ-prapañca) say: Even though the Grahas and Atigrahas together with their stimulating cause are rooted out, a man is not liberated. Separated from the Supreme Self by ignorance, which springs from himself and is comparable to a desert (on earth), and at the same time turning away from the world of enjoyment, he, with his name only left and his desires and past work rooted out, remains in an intermediate stage. His perception of duality should be removed by the realization of the unity of the Supreme Self. So now meditation on the Supreme Self has to be introduced. Thus this school conceives an intermediate stage called ‘Apavarga’ or release, and establishes a link with the next section.

Now we ask these people how it is that the disembodied man, after his organs have been destroyed, attains the realization of the Supreme Self through hearing, reflection and meditation. They themselves maintain that a man whose organs have been dissolved has only his name left, the Śruti too says, ‘(The body) lies dead’ (BrhUEng.3.2.11). So they cannot even in imagination establish their position. If, on the other hand, they think that a man, during his very lifetime, has only ignorance left in him and turns away from the world of enjoyment, they should explain what this is due to. If they would attribute it to his identification with the whole universe, individual and collective, it has already been refuted. (Only two courses are open:) Either the sage, endowed with meditation on his identity with the universe, individual and collective, combined with rites, may, after death, with his organs dissolved, attain identity with the universe or with Hiraṇya-garbha. Or in his very lifetime he may, with his organs intact, turn away – become averse – from the world of enjoyment and be inclined towards the realization of the Supreme Self. But both cannot be attained through means requiring one and the same effort: If the effort be the means of attaining the state of Hiraṇya-garbha, it cannot be the means of turning away from the world of enjoyment; and if it be the means of turning away from the world of enjoyment, and inclining towards the Supreme Self, it cannot be the means of attaining the state of Hiraṇya-garbha, for what helps to cause motion cannot at the same time help to stop it. If, on the other hand, he attains after death the state of Hiraṇya-garbha, and then, with his organs dissolved and only the name left, is qualified (as Hiraṇya-garbha) for the knowledge of the Supreme Self, then instruction about the knowledge of the Supreme Self for us ordinary people would be meaningless; whereas such Śruti texts as, ‘Whoever among the gods knew It (also became That),’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.4.10), teach that the knowledge of Brahman is for bringing the highest end of life within the reach of all. Therefore the above conceit is very poor and altogether contrary to the teachings of the scriptures. Now let us return to our subject.

In order to ascertain what starts the bondage known as the Grahas and Atigrahas (organs and objects) the text says: When the vocal organ of a man who dies without attaining the highest knowledge, and remaining possessed of the idea that he has a head, hands, etc., is merged in fire, the nose is merged in air, the eye in the sun – the verb ‘is merged’ is understood in each case – the mind in the moon, the ear in the quarters, the body in the earth. The word ‘Ātman’ here means the space of the heart, which is the seat of the self: it is merged in the external space. The hair on the body is merged in herbs, that on the head is merged in trees, and the blood and the seed are deposited in water: The word ‘deposited’ indicates that they are to be withdrawn (When a new body is taken). In every case the words ‘vocal organ’ etc. refer to their presiding deities; the organs themselves do not depart before liberation. When the presiding deities cease to work, the organs become like tools, such as a bill-hook, laid down; and the agent, man, being disembodied, is helpless. So the question is being asked regarding his support, ‘Where is then the man?’ – i.e. on what does he then rest? The question is: ‘What is that support resting on which he again takes the body and organs, and which starts the bondage known as the Grahas and Atigrahas?’

The answer is being given: ‘Exponents of different schools have put forward different things, viz. nature (These are respectively advocated by the Mīmāṃsakas, materialists, astrologers, Vaidikas, believers in the gods, idealists, and nihilists – the last two being Buddhist schools), chance, time, work, destiny, mere consciousness, and void, as the support in question. Therefore, being open to various disputes, the truth cannot be ascertained by the usual method of defeating the opponent. If you want to know the truth in this matter, give me your hand, dear Ārta-bhāga, we will decide this question that you have asked between ourselves. Why? Because we cannot decide it in a crowded place, and we must retire to a solitary place to discuss it.’ They went out, etc. is the narration of the Śruti. What Yājña-valkya and Ārta-bhāga did after retiring to the solitary place is being stated: They went out of the crowded place and talked it over. First they took up one after another the different conventional views on the subject and discussed them. Listen what they mentioned at the end of the discussion, after refuting all the tentative views. There they mentioned only work as the support which caused the repeated taking up of the body and organs. Not only this: having accepted time, work, destiny and God as causes, what they praised there was work alone. Since it is decided that the repeated taking up of the body and organs, known also as the Grahas and Atigrahas, is due to work, therefore one indeed becomes good through good work enjoined by the scriptures, and becomes its opposite, evil, through the opposite or evil work. When Yājña-valkya had thus answered his questions, Ārta-bhāga, of the line of Jarat-kāru, thereupon, finding it impossible to dislodge him, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.03

🔗  Bondage in the form of the Grahas and Atigrahas (organs and objects) has been described; that which together with its cause binds a man so that he transmigrates, and freed from which he is liberated, is death; and liberation from this is possible, because there is the death of death. The liberated man does not go anywhere; it has been decided that everything about him is gone, leaving only the name, as when a light goes out. Though the bodies and organs of those that transmigrate and those that are due to be liberated (at death) are equally connected with their causes, the bodies and organs of the liberated are for ever discarded, while those of the transmigrating set are repeatedly taken up – owing, as has been decided after a discussion, to work; and when that is exhausted, everything is destroyed, save only the name, and this is liberation. That work is either good or evil, for it has been decided: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work, and evil through evil work’ (BrhUEng.3.2.13). Relative existence is due to these. Of these, evil work subjects a man to sufferings through repeated births and deaths in moving and stationary bodies – naturally full of pain – including those of lower animals, spirits and the denizens of hell. All this is as well known to anybody as the royal road; the Śruti here pays attention only to good work, which is in harmony with the scriptures: ‘One indeed becomes good through good work.’ And the Śrutis and Smṛtis are unanimous on the point that good work alone leads to all that man aspires after. Now liberation is a cherished object with man; so one may think that it too is attainable through work (Scriptural or ritualistic work is meant; so throughout the following discussion). Moreover, as the work is better and better, the result also is so; hence one may presume that a high degree of excellence in the work may lead to liberation. This idea has to be removed. The result of excellent work coupled with meditation is this much only, for work and its results are confined to the manifested universe of name and form. Work has no access to that (liberation) which is not an effect, which is eternal, unmanifested, beyond name and form, and devoid of the characteristics of action with its factors and results. And where it has access, it is just the relative world. It is to bring out this idea that the present section is introduced.

Some say: Disinterested work coupled with meditation may produce a different kind of effect, as poison or curd, for instance, may (with the help of charms or sugar, respectively).

Reply: No, for liberation is not an effect – it is but the destruction of bondage, not a created thing. And we have already said that bondage is ignorance, which cannot be destroyed by work, for work can function only in the visible realm. Production, attainment, modification and purification are the functions of work. In other words, work can produce, or bring within reach, or modify, or purify something; it has no other function besides these, since nobody knows about it. And liberation is not one of these; we have already said that it is simply hidden by ignorance.

Objection: True. We admit that work alone is of such a nature; but disinterested work coupled with meditation is of a different nature. It is common experience that things known to have a particular property, such as poison or curd, display, in combination with special knowledge, charms or sugar, for instance, quite a different property. Why not admit the same about work?

Reply: No, for there is no evidence in support. There is not one evidence – neither perception, nor inference, nor comparison, nor presumption, nor scriptural testimony to prove that work has any other function but those enumerated above.

Objection: Since there is no other result (but liberation), the injunctions (about rites) would otherwise be meaningless; this, to be sure, is a proof. To be explicit: The regular rites must not be supposed to have heaven as their result, on the analogy of the Viśva-jit sacrifice (The scriptures enjoin the performance of the Viśva-jit sacrifice, but do not mention any specific result of it. Yet there must be some result to induce people to perform it. In all such cases the practice is to consider heaven as that result). Nor is any specific result mentioned for them in the Śrutis; all the same they are enjoined. So, on the principle of the residuum, liberation is understood to be their result, for otherwise people will not care to perform them.

Reply: Is is not the analogy of the Viśva-jit sacrifice over again, since liberation is supposed to be the result in question? Unless some result, be it liberation or anything else, is assumed, people would not care to perform them; so liberation is presumed to be that result by presumption from scriptural statements (To uphold the power of scriptural injunctions in order to induce people to perform the regular rites), as in the case of the Viśva-jit sacrifice. Such being the case, how do you say that the analogy of the Viśva-jit sacrifice will not apply here? You presume a result, and yet deny that it is on the analogy of the Viśva-jit sacrifice. This is self-contradiction.

Objection: Suppose we say that liberation is not a result at all?

Reply: You cannot, for then you would be giving up your proposition. You have stated that work, like poison, curd, etc., can produce a different result. Now, if liberation is not at all a result, the effect of work, it will go against your proposition; and if it is the effect of work, you must show where it differs from other results of the kind, such as heaven. If, on the other hand, it is not the effect of work, you must explain what you mean by saying that it is the result of the regular rites; and you cannot maintain that there is a difference merely because of the use of two different words, ‘effect’ and ‘result.’ If you say that liberation is not a result and yet that is it produced by the regular rites, or that it is the ‘result’ or the regular rites, but not their ‘effect,’ you will be contradicting yourself, as if you said, ‘Fire is cold.’

Objection: Suppose we say that it is like knowledge. Just as liberation, although not produced by knowledge, is yet said to be the effect of knowledge, so, why not take it to be the effect of work in that sense?

Reply: No, for knowledge dispels ignorance. Because knowledge removes the obstruction of ignorance, liberation is metaphorically said to be the effect of knowledge; but work cannot dispel ignorance. And we cannot imagine any other obstruction to liberation but ignorance that can be removed by work, for it is eternal and identical with the self of the aspirant.

Objection: Suppose we say work removes that ignorance.

Reply: No, for it is something quite different. Ignorance, which is non-manifestation, is the opposite of knowledge, which is manifestation; but work is not the opposite of ignorance, and is therefore entirely different from knowledge. Ignorance, whether it means the want of knowledge, or doubt, or a false notion, is always removable by knowledge, but not by work in any of its forms, for there is no contradiction between ignorance and work.

Objection: Let us then presume that work has an unseen power of dispelling ignorance.

Reply: No; when it is clear that knowledge will dispel ignorance, it is unreasonable to presume such an unseen power in work. As, when it is clear that threshing will husk paddy, we do not presume that it will be done without our knowledge by the regular rites like the Agni-hotra, similarly we do not attribute the cessation of ignorance to the unseen power of the regular rites; and we have repeatedly said that knowledge and work are contradictory. That kind of knowledge which does not clash with work has been mentioned as leading to the world of the gods, as in the Śruti passage, ‘Through knowledge (meditation) the world of the gods (is attained)’ (BrhUEng.1.5.16). Moreover, if some result must be presumed for the regular rites mentioned in the Śrutis, should it be that which clashes with work, which cannot possibly be the effect of any substance, attribute, or action, and over which work is never known to have any power, or should it rather be that result over which work is known to have power, and which harmonizes with work? If those rites must be presumed to have some result to induce people to perform them, then, since presumption from scriptural statements is fulfilled by the assumption of a result that harmonizes with them, neither liberation, which is eternal, nor the cessation of the ignorance that obstructs it, can be supposed to be this result; for the former kind of result would be in keeping with the nature of work, and would be a subject where it is known to function.

Objection: We maintain that, on the principle of the residuum, liberation must be supposed to be this result. To explain: All rites produce those results (heaven, animals, children, etc.) Barring the other kind of result, however, we do not find anything else that can be supposed to be the result of the regular rites; only liberation is left, and it is a result coveted by the knowers of the Vedas. Therefore that must be supposed to be the result in question.

Reply: No, for since the individual results of those rites may be infinite in number, you cannot apply the principle of the residuum. No one who is not omniscient can assert that the objects desired by men as the results of their work or the means of attaining them, or the desires themselves are so many in number; for they have no fixed place, time or cause, and are regulated by the kind of result that men seek. Again, as each individual has various desires, the results, as also their means, are necessarily infinite; and because they are infinite, it is impossible for anyone to know exactly how many they are. So, when the exact number of the results and their means is unknown, how can liberation be proved to be the only remaining item?

Objection: But it is the only remaining item outside the results of work as a class. To be explicit: Although the objects desired and their means are infinite, they all alike fall within the category of results of work; but liberation, not being the result of work, would be left out; hence, being the only remaining item, it should be taken to be the result in question.

Reply: No, for according to you it is the result of the regular rites, and therefore belongs to the same category as the other results of work; hence it cannot be counted as the residuum. Therefore we must conclude that presumption from scriptural statements is fulfilled, since there is another way of solving the problem, viz. by supposing that any one of the functions of production, attainment, modification and purification is the result of the regular rites.

Objection: Suppose we say that liberation is one of the four?

Reply: No, for being eternal, it cannot be produced, and cannot also be modified; for the same reason, as also not being of the nature of a means, it cannot be purified either; for only a thing that serves as a means can be purified, as the sacrificial vessel or clarified butter by the sprinkling of water, and so on. Nor is liberation purified in the sense of being the effect of a process of improvement, as a sacrificial post etc. (carved out of a block of wood and the like).

Objection: Then by the principle of the residuum it must be attainable.

Reply: Not attainable either, because it is identical with the Self and one.

Objection: Since the regular rites differ from other kinds of work, their results too ought to be different.

Reply: No; since they are equally work, why should not their results be similar to those of other kinds of work?

Objection: Suppose we say, because different causes operate in the two cases.

Reply: No, for the case is analogous to that of the Kṣāmavatī sacrifice etc. For instance, when the sacrificial fire burns a house, this particular sacrifice is performed; we have also the injunction, ‘When a vessel containing oblations is broken, or when the contents are spilled, an offering should be made in the fire’; and in these occasional rites liberation is not supposed to be the result. Similarly the regular rites, not being different from them, on account of their dependence on certain circumstances – the Śrutis, for instance, enjoin them for life – cannot have liberation as their result. (To give a different illustration:) Light is an auxiliary to everyone’s vision of color; but owls etc. cannot see in light – their eyes differing in this respect from those of others. But because of this difference we do not suppose that their eyes can also perceive taste etc., for we have no knowledge of any such power on their part. Any peculiarity is admissible only in that respect about which – maybe after going far afield (From the human kingdom, as in the present case) in the search – we have certain knowledge.

You spoke of the regular rites producing a different effect like poison, curd, and so forth in conjunction with special knowledge, charms, sugar, etc. Let them do so; we accept this view, and there is no dispute over this point. In other words, if you maintain that disinterested work coupled with meditation produces a different kind of effect, we do not contest this point; for between two persons, one sacrificing to the gods and the other sacrificing to the Self, the Śrutis state the superiority of the latter in the following passages: ‘One who sacrifices to the Self is better than one who sacrifices to the gods,’ etc. (SatBr.11.2.6.13, adapted), and ‘That alone which is performed with the help of meditation (is stronger),’ etc. (ChanU.1.1.10). The phrase ‘sacrificer to the Self,’ used by Manu in connection with the knowledge of the Supreme Self in the stanza, ‘Seeing (himself in all and all in himself) he becomes a sacrificer to the Self (and attains independence)’ (ManSamh.12.91), means that simply by his sameness of vision he becomes a sacrificer to the Self (So it is a tribute to the knowledge of Brahman). Or the phrase may have been used having regard to the aspirant’s former condition. The sacrificer to the Self performs the regular rites for self-purification, as we know from the Śruti text,’ This particular part of my body is being purified by this (rite)’ (SatBr.11.2.6.13). Similarly, the Smṛtis too in the passage. ‘Through the sacrifices relating to conception,’ etc. (ManSamh.2.27), show that the regular rites purify the body and organs. Purified by those rites, the sacrificer to the Self attains the sameness of vision; either in this or in some future life he attains Self-realization. The meaning is that by his sameness of visionn he becomes independent. The phrase ‘sacrificer to the Self’ has been used having regard to his former condition – to show that the regular rites combined with meditation help towards realization.

Moreover, passages like, ‘Sages are of opinion that the attainment of oneness with Virāj, the world-projectors, Yama, Hiraṇya-garbha and the Undifferentiated is the highest result produced by Sattva or pure material (rites coupled with meditation)’ (ManSamh.12.50), and ‘(They) are merged in the five elements’ (ManSamh.12.90), show the mergence in the elements in addition to the attainment of the status of the gods. Those who read the latter passage as, ‘(They) transcend the five elements,’ betray a very poor knowledge of the Vedas, and as such may be left out of account. The passages in question are not to be dismissed as mere eulogy, for the chapter in which they occur treats of the results of work culminating in oneness with Hiraṇya-garbha, and of Self-knowledge, which is distinct from work, and these correspond exactly to the ritualistic portion (of the Vedas) and the Upaniṣads, respectively. Besides we find that the non-performance of prescribed rites and the doing of forbidden acts result in degradation to the state of stationary objects, dogs, hogs, or the like; and we also come across spirit existences like the ‘vomit-eaters’.

Moreover, none can think of any prescribed or forbidden acts other than those mentioned in the Śrutis and Smṛtis, the non-performance or performance, respectively, or which would cause one to become a spirit, a dog, a hog, a stationary object, or the like – results, the existence of which we know from perception or inference; and none denies that these states are the results of past actions. Therefore, just as these lower states – spirit, animal, or stationary existence – are the results of one’s non-performance of the prescribed rites or commitment of the forbidden acts, similarly we must understand that the higher results culminating in oneness with Hiraṇya-garbha are as much the results of past actions. Hence the passages in question are not to be taken as mere stories concocted for the sake of eulogy, like, ‘He cut off his own omentum’ (TaitS.2.1.1.4), ‘He cried’ (TaitS.1.5.1.1), and so on.

Objection: If those passages are not stories, the subject under discussion (work and its results) also must be so.

Reply: Let it be; this much only (the absence of examples to the contrary) does not contradict the reality of the subject under discussion, or invalidate our position. Nor can you say that the positions referred to in the passage, ‘Virāj, the world-projectors,’ etc. (ManSamh.12.50), are the results of rites with material ends; for these are stated to produce an equality of status with the gods. Therefore the regular rites and rites like the Sarva-medha and horse sacrifice performed by persons with selfish motives lead to the attainment of oneness with Hiraṇya-garbha and so on. But in the case of those who perform the regular rites disinterestedly, just for the purification of the mind, they help towards realization. The Smṛti say, ‘This body is made fit for the realization of Brahman (by them)’ (ManSamh.2.28). Because these rites indirectly help those people, they are aids to realization as well; so there is no contradiction. That this is the meaning, we shall explain at the end of the story of Janaka in Chapter IV (BrhUEng.4.4.22). You cited the examples of poison, curd etc. (producing altogether different results under special circumstances). They are not open to disputation, being matters of perception and inference. But that (Ritualistic work combined with meditation) which is to be known exclusively from the scriptures, cannot, in the absence of explicit statements to that effect, be imagined to have properties similar to those of poison, curd, etc. Nor are the Śrutis supposed to have authority in matters that are contradicted by other means of knowledge, as, for instance, if they said, ‘Fire is cold and wets things.’ If, however, a passage (For example, ‘Thou art That.’) is ascertained (By the six tests, viz. beginning, conclusion, repetition, originality, result, eulogy and demonstration) to have the meaning given by the Śrutis, then the evidence (Dualistic evidence) of the other means of knowledge must be held to be fallacious. For instance, the ignorant think of fire-fly as fire, or of the sky as a blue surface.

These are perceptions no doubt, but when the evidence of the other means of knowledge about them has been definitely known to be true, the perceptions of the ignorant, though they are definite experiences, prove to be fallacious. Therefore, the authority of the Vedas being inviolable, a Vedic passage must be taken exactly in the sense it is tested to bear, and not according to the ingenuity of the human mind. The sun does not cease to reveal objects because of the ingenuity of the human mind; similarly Vedic passages cannot be made to give up their meaning. Therefore it is proved that work (Ritualistic work – even if combined with meditation) does not lead to liberation. Hence the present section is introduced to show that the results of work are within the pale of relative existence –

Then, when the descendant of Jarat-kāru had stopped, the grandson of Lahya named Bhujyu asked him. ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he. The meditation on the horse sacrifice has been spoken of at the beginning of the book, and this sacrifice produces both collective and individual results. Whether combined with meditation, or performed exclusively through it, it is the highest of all rites. The Smṛti says, ‘There is nothing more heinous than killing a noble Brāhmaṇa nor anything more meritorious than the horse sacrifice,’ for through it one attains both collective and individual results. Of these, whatever (The reference is to the gods such as fire, sun and air) is within the universe has been shown to be the individual results of the horse sacrifice. While it has been said, ‘Death (This is the collective result) becomes his self, and he becomes one with these deities’ (BrhUEng.1.2.7). This Death is Hunger, and is variously called Cosmic Intelligence, the Aggregate, the First-born, Air, Cosmic Energy, Satya and Hiraṇya-garbha. That which is the essence of the whole universe, individual and collective, which is the inner self or subtle body of all beings, the essence of the subtle, in which the actions of all beings inhere, and which is the highest result of rites as also of the meditations connected with them – has the manifested universe for its field. How far its range is – what is its extent, spreading all round like a globe, has to be stated. If this is done, the entire world of bondage will have been described. In order to show the extraordinary character of the meditation on identity with that universe, collective and individual, Bhujyu mentions an incident of his own life. He thinks of confusing his opponent by this means.

‘We traveled in the territory called Madra as students, observing the appropriate vow for study, or as priests called Adhvaryus, and we came to the house of Patañcala, of the line of Kapi. His daughter was possessed by a Gandharva,’ some being other than human; or the word may mean the fire that is worshiped in the house – the deity who is a priest (to the gods). We conclude thus from his special knowledge, for an ordinary being cannot possibly have such knowledge. ‘We all sat round him and asked him, “Who are you? – What is your name, and what kind of being are you?” He, the Gandharva, said, “I am named Sudhanvan, of the line of Angiras.” When we asked him about the limits of the world, we, among that group desirous of knowing the extent of the cosmic orb, priding ourselves upon our good fortune, said to him – what? – “Where were the descendants of Parikṣit (Their names are given in SatBr.13.5.4.1–3)?” And the Gandharva told us all about it. So I have been instructed by a celestial being, and you do not have that knowledge; hence you are defeated.’ This is his idea. ‘Being possessed of this revealed knowledge from the Gandharva, I ask you, Yājña-valkya, where were the descendants of Parikṣit? Do you know this, Yājña-valkya? Tell me, I ask you, where were the descendants of Parikṣit?’
🔗  Yājña-valkya said, ‘The Gandharva evidently told you that they, the descendants of Parikṣit, went where the performers of the horse sacrifice go.’ The particle ‘vai’ recalls a past incident. When his question was answered, Bhujyu asked, ‘And where do the performers of the horse sacrifice go?’ With a view to telling where they go, Yājña-valkya described the dimensions of the cosmic orb: Thirty-two times the space covered by the sun’s chariot in a day makes this world, surrounded by the mountain Lokāloka. This is the world which constitutes the body of Virāj, and in which people reap the fruits of their past actions. This much is the Loka; beyond this is the Aloka. Around it, covering twice the area of this world is the earth. Similarly around the earth, covering twice the area, is the ocean, which the writers of the Purāṇas name after rain-water. Now the size of the opening at the junction of the two halves of the cosmic shell is being given. Through this opening as an exit the performers of the horse sacrifice go out and spread. Now, as is the edge of a razor, or the wing of a fly possessed of fineness, so is there just that much opening at the junction (of the two halves of the cosmic shell). The word ‘Indra’ is a synonym of God; here it refers to the fire that is kindled in the horse sacrifice, and the meditation on which has been described in the words, ‘His head is the east,’ etc. (BrhUEng.1.2.3). Fire, in the form of a falcon, with wings, tails, etc., delivered them, the descendants of Parikṣit, who had performed the horse sacrifice and had attained fire to the air, because, being gross, it itself had no access there. The air, putting them in itself, making them a part of itself, took them where the previous performers of the horse sacrifice were. Thus did the Gandharva praise the air, which was the goal (Being the cosmic vital force) of the performers of the horse sacrifice.

The story is finished: but the Śruti gives us the gist of it directly, stepping out of the garb of the story. Because the air (vital force) is the inner self of all beings, moving and stationary, and is also outside them, therefore the air is the diversity of individuals, in forms relating to the body, the elements and the gods; similarly the air is the aggregate, as the one cosmic vital force. He who knows it as such attains identity with the air in its individual and collective form. What he gains by this is being stated: He conquers further death, i.e. after dying once, he dies no more. Thereupon, when his question had been answered, Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.04

🔗  It has been stated that a man under the control of the organs and objects (Grahas and Atigrahas), which are themselves directed by his merits and demerits, repeatedly takes up and discards the organs and objects, and transmigrates. And the perfection of merits has been explained as being concerned with the manifested universe, collective and individual – being the identification with Hiraṇya-garbha in both those aspects. Now the question arises as to whether the entity that transmigrates under the control of the organs and objects exists or does not exist: and if it exists, what it is like. So it is to teach about the Self as a distinct entity that the question of Uṣasta is introduced. If one knows That as unconditioned, naturally free from action and its factors, one is freed from the above-mentioned bondage together with its stimulating causes. The purpose of the story is already known –
Then Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, asked him, Yājña-valkya, who has already been introduced. The Brahman that is immediate, not obstructed from the seer or subject by anything, and direct, not used in a figurative sense, like the ear and so forth, which are considered to be Brahman. What is that? The self that is within all. The word ‘self’ refers to the inner (individual) self, that being the accepted meaning of the term. The words ‘Yat’ and ‘Yaḥ’ (Neuter and masculine forms of the Saṃskṛti word meaning ‘that’) indicate that the self familiar to all is identical with Brahman. Explain that self to me, speak about it clearly, as one shows a cow by taking hold of its horns, as much as to say, ‘This is it.’

Thus addressed, Yājña-valkya replied, ‘This is your self that is within all.’ The qualification ‘that is within all’ is suggestive of all qualifications whatsoever. That which is ‘immediate’ or unobstructed, and ‘direct’ or used in its primary sense, and which is ‘Brahman’ or the vastest, the self of all and within all – all these specifications refer to the self. ‘What is that?’, ‘This self of yours? – that by which your body and organs are ensouled is your self, i.e. the self of the body and organs.’ ‘There is first the body; within it is the subtle body consisting of the organs; and the third is that whose existence is being doubted. Which of these do you mean as my self that is within all?’ Thus spoken to, Yājña-valkya said, ‘That which breathes (lit. does the function of the Prāṇa) through the Prāṇa, which operates in the mouth and nose, in other words, “which makes the Prāṇa breathe” (KenU.1.9), is your self. i.e. the individual self of the body and organs.’ The rest is similar in meaning. That which moves downwards through the Apāna, which pervades through the Vyāna – the long ī in the two verbs in this clause is a Vedic license – by which the body and organs are made to breathe and do other functions, like a wooden puppet. Unless they are operated by an intelligent principle, they cannot do any such function such as breathing, as is the case with the wooden puppet. Therefore it is on account of being operated by the individual self, which is distinct from them, that they breathe and do other functions, as does the puppet. Hence that principle distinct from the body and organs exists which makes them function.
🔗  Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, said: As somebody first proposes one thing and then, being in doubt, may say something else – for instance, having proposed to point out a cow or a horse, he merely describes them through certain characteristics of theirs, such as walking, and says, ‘A cow is that which walks,’ or ‘A horse is that which runs’ – so you too have indicated Brahman through certain characteristics, such as breathing. To be brief, give up your trick prompted by your hankering after the cows, and explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct – the self that is within all. Yājña-valkya replied: I stick to the proposition that I first made, that your self is such and such; it is exactly as I have described it.

You asked me to present the self as one would a jar etc. I do not do so, because it is impossible. Why is it impossible? Owing to the very nature of the thing. What is that? Its being the witness of vision etc., for the self is the witness of vision. Vision is of two kinds, ordinary and real. Ordinary vision is a function of the mind as connected with the eye; it is an act, and as such it has a beginning and an end. But the vision that belongs to the self is like the heat and light of fire; being the very essence of the witness, it has neither beginning nor end. Because it appears to be connected with the ordinary vision, which is produced and is but a limiting adjunct of it, it is spoken of as the witness, and also as differentiated into witness and vision. The ordinary vision, however, is colored by the objects seen through the eye, and of course has a beginning; it appears to be connected with the eternal vision of the self, and is but its reflection; it originates and ends, pervaded by the other. It is therefore that the eternal vision of the self is metaphorically spoken of as the witness, and although eternal seeing, is spoken of as sometimes seeing and sometimes not seeing. But as a matter of fact the vision of the seer never changes. So it will be said in the fourth chapter, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.7), and ‘The vision of the witness can never be lost’ (BrhUEng.4.3.23).

This is the meaning of the following passage: You cannot see that which is the witness of vision, i.e. which pervades by its eternal vision the act of our ordinary vision. This latter, which is an act, is affected by the objects seen, and reveals only color (form), but not the inner self that pervades it. Therefore you cannot see that inner self which is the witness of vision. Similarly you cannot hear that which is the hearer of hearing; you cannot think that which pervades thought, the mere function of the mind; you cannot know that which pervades knowledge, the mere function of the intellect. This is the very nature of the thing; therefore it cannot be shown like a cow etc.

Some (Bhartṛ-prapañca is meant) explain the passage, ‘You cannot see the witness of vision,’ etc. differently. According to them, ‘the witness of vision’ means ‘that which sees,’ the agent or cause of vision in general, without any distinction of kind. In other words, they regard the genitive case in the term ‘of vision’ as having accusative force. That vision is caused and is an effect, like a jar. The suffix in the word ‘Draṣṭṛ’ (witness) indicates agency. Therefore, these commentators opine, the expression ‘the witness of vision’ means ‘the agent of vision’. But they fail to see that the term ‘of vision’ then becomes redundant; or even if they see it, they take it as a repetition, or as a faulty reading not worth anything, and pay no attention to it. How are the words redundant? They are redundant, because the word ‘Draṣṭṛ’ itself would be enough to indicate the agency of vision; then one should only say, ‘You cannot see the witness.’ For the text uses the suffix ‘tṛc’ with the verb, and in grammar this always indicates agency of the act denoted by the verb. We only say, ‘One is conducting the traveler or the cutter’; we should not, in the absence of any special meaning, say, ‘the traveler of traveling, or ‘the cutter of cutting.’Nor should the extra words be dismissed as a mere elucidation, if there is any alternative explanation; and it is not a faulty reading, since all (Students of both Kāṇva and Mādhyan-dina recensions) unanimously accept it. Therefore it is a defect of the commentators’ understanding, and not a mistake on the part of the students.

But the way we have explained it, viz. that the self endowed with eternal vision, as opposed to the ordinary vision, should be pointed out, accounts for the two words ‘witness’ and ‘vision’ (in the expression ‘the witness of vision’) as describing the subject and the object, with a view to defining the nature of the self. It will also agree with the passage, ‘The vision of the witness (can never be lost)’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.3.23), occurring elsewhere, as also with the clauses, ‘(Through which) the eyes see’ (KenU.1.7), ‘(By which) this ear is heard’ (KenU.1.8), occurring in another text. It is also consonant with reason. In other words, the self can be eternal if only it is immutable; it is a contradiction in terms to say that a thing is changeful and yet eternal. Moreover, the Śruti texts, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (BrhUEng.4.3.22), ‘The vision of the witness can never be lost,’ and ‘This is the eternal glory of a knower of Brahman’ (BrhUEng.4.4.23), would otherwise be inconsistent.

Objection: But such terms as ‘witness,’ ‘hearer,’ ‘thinker’ and ‘knower’ would also be inconsistent if the self is immutable.

Reply: Not so, for they only repeat conventional expressions as people think them. They do not seek to define the truth of the self. Since the expressions ‘the witness of vision’ etc. cannot otherwise be explained, we conclude that they mean what we have indicated. Therefore the opponents’ rejection of the qualifying term ‘of vision’ is only due to ignorance. This is your self specified by all those above-mentioned epithets. Everything else but this self, whether it is the gross body or the subtle body consisting of the organs, is perishable. This only is imperishable, changeless. Thereupon Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.05

🔗  Bondage with its stimulating causes has been spoken of. The existence of that which is bound, as also its distinctness from the body etc., has also been known. Now the knowledge of the Self together with renunciation, which is the means of liberating it from that bondage, has to be described. Hence the question of Kahola is introduced –
Then Kahola, the son of Kuṣītaka, asked him, ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said he – to be explained as before – ‘explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct – the self that is within all,’ knowing which one is freed from bondage. Yājña-valkya said, ‘This is your self.’

Question: Do Uṣasta and Kahola ask about one and the same self, or do they ask of different selves having similar characteristics?

Some (Bhartṛ-prapañca is meant) say: It ought to be different selves,, for then only can the two questions be other than a repetition. Had Uṣasta and Kahola asked about the same self, then one question having dealt with that, the second would have been redundant; and the passage in question is not a mere elucidation. Therefore the two selves must be different, viz. the individual self and the Supreme Self.

Reply: No, because of the use of the word ‘your.’ It has been said in the reply, ‘This is your self’ (BrhUEng.3.4.1–2; this text), and the same aggregate of body and organs cannot have two selves, for each aggregate possesses a single self. Nor can Uṣasta and Kahola mean selves essentially different from each other, since both cannot be primary and self and within all. If one of the two be Brahman in a primary sense, the other must be secondary; similarly with selfhood and being within all, for these terms are contradictory. If one of the two Brahmans be the self, primary and within all, then the other must be non-self, secondary and not within all. Therefore one and the same self has been mentioned twice with a view to telling something special about it. That part only of the second question which is common to the first is a repetition of the latter, and the second question is introduced in order to furnish some detail not mentioned before.

Objection: What is this detail?

Reply: It is this. In the first question it has been stated that there is a self distinct from the body, whose bondage together with its stimulating causes has been spoken of: but in the second something more is added, viz. that this self is beyond such relative attributes as hunger – a detail, by knowing which, together with renunciation, one is freed from the bondage above spoken of. Therefore we conclude that in both cases the question and answer, ending with the words, ‘This is your self that is within all,’ have an identical meaning.

Objection: How can the same self possess contradictory attributes, such as being beyond hunger etc. and having them?

Reply: The objection is not valid, having already been refuted. We have repeatedly said that the relative existence of the self is but a delusion caused by its association with limiting adjuncts, such as the body and organs, which are but the modifications of name and form. We have also made this clear while explaining the apparently contradictory passages of the Śrutis. For instance, a rope, a mother-of-pearl, or the sky, becomes a snake, silver, or blue respectively, owing to attributes imputed by people, but in themselves they are just a rope, a mother-of-pearl, or the sky. Thus there is no contradiction if things possess contradictory attributes.

Objection: Will not such Upaniṣadic texts as, ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1), and ‘There is no difference whatsoever in It’ (BrhUEng.4.4.19; KathU.2.1.11), be contradicted if you admit the existence of the limiting adjuncts, name and form?

Reply: No; this has already been refuted by the illustrations of the foam of water and (the modifications of) clay etc. But when name and form are tested from the standpoint of the highest truth in the light of the above Śruti texts, as to whether they are different from the Supreme Self or not, they cease to be separate entities, like the foam of water, or like the modifications (of clay), such as a jar. It is then that such passages as, ‘One only without a second,’ and ‘There is no difference whatsoever in It,’ have scope from the standpoint of the Supreme Self as referring to the highest realization. But when, on account of our primordial ignorance, the reality of Brahman, although remaining as it is, naturally untouched by anything – like the reality of the rope, the mother-of-pearl and the sky – is not discriminated from such limiting adjuncts as the body and organs, which are created by name and form, and our natural vision of those adjuncts remains, then this phenomenal existence consisting of things different from Brahman has full play. This unreal, phenomenal existence created by differentiation is indeed a fact for those who do not believe in things as different from Brahman as well as for those who do believe. But the believers of the highest truth, while discussing in accordance with the Śrutis, the actual existence or non-existence of things apart from Brahman, conclude that Brahman alone is the one without a second, beyond all finite relations. So there is no contradiction between the two views. We do not maintain the existence of things different from Brahman in the state when the highest truth has been definitely known, as the Śrutis say, ‘One only without a second,’ and ‘Without interior or exterior’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19; BrhUEng.3.8.8). Nor do we deny the validity, for the ignorant, of actions with their factors and results while the relative world of name and form exists. Therefore scriptural or conventional outlook depends entirely on knowledge or ignorance. Hence there is no apprehension of a contradiction between them. In fact, all schools must admit the existence or non-existence of the phenomenal world according as it is viewed from the relative or the absolute standpoint.

Regarding the nature of the self as it is in reality, once more the question is asked: ‘Which is within all, Yājña-valkya?’ The other replied, ‘That which transcends hunger and thirst.’ – The word ‘which’ in the text should be construed with ‘transcends’ coming shortly after. – As the sky, fancied by the ignorant as being concave and blue, is really without these qualities, being naturally untouched by them, similalry Brahman, although fancied as being subject to hunger, thirst, etc., by the ignorant, who think that they are hungry or thirsty, really transcends these qualities, being naturally untouched by them, for the Śruti says, ‘It is not affected by human misery, being beyond it’ (KathU.2.2.11) – i.e. by misery attributed by ignorant people. Hunger and thirst have been compounded in the text, as both are vital functions.

Grief is desire. The discomfort that one feels as one reflects on some covetable thing is the seed of desire for one afflicted with a hankering, because it kindles desire; while delusion is a mistake, a confusion, arising from a false notion; it is ignorance, the fruitful source of all troubles. The two words are not compounded, as grief and delusion produce different results. They have their seat in the mind. (The self also transcends) decay and death, which center in the body. ‘Decay’ is that modification of the body and organs which is marked by wrinkles, gray hair, etc. ‘Death’ is the fall of the body, the last modification to overtake it. These, hunger and the rest, which center in the vital force, mind and body; and which are present in beings in an unbroken succession like days and nights, etc., and like the waves of an ocean, are called the relative or transmigratory existence with regard to them. But that which is described as the witness of vision and so forth, which is immediate or unobstructed and direct or used in a primary sense, which is within all, and is the self of all beings from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass, is ever untouched by such relative attributes as hunger and thirst, as the sky is untouched by impurities like the clouds etc.

Knowing this very Self, their own reality, as ‘I am this, the Supreme Brahman, eternally devoid of relative attributes, and ever satisfied,’ the Brāhmaṇas – they are mentioned because they alone are qualified for renunciation – renounce, lit. rise up in an opposite direction to – what? – the desire for sons, as means to winning this world, thinking, ‘We will win this world through sons’ – in other words, marriage; hence the meaning is, they do not marry. (The desire) for wealth: procuring cattle etc., which are the means of rites, in order that one may perform rites through them and win the world of the Manes, or that one may win the world of the gods either by combining rites with meditation, which is divine wealth, or solely through meditation on Hiraṇya-garbha. Some say that one cannot renounce divine wealth, since it is through this that renunciation is possible. But this view is wrong, for divine wealth also falls within the category of desires, as we know from the Śruti passage, ‘This much indeed is desire’ (BrhUEng.1.4.17). It is meditation on the gods such as Hiraṇya-garbha that is spoken of as wealth, because it leads to the world of the gods. The Knowledge of Brahman, which concerns the unconditioned Pure Intelligence, cannot certainly be the means of attaining the world of the gods. Witness the Śruti texts, ‘Therefore It became all’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), and ‘For he becomes their self’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10). It is through the knowledge of Brahman that renunciation takes places, for there is the specific statement, ‘Knowing this very Self.’ Therefore they renounce all these three objects of desire which lead to worlds that are not the Self. – ‘Eṣanā’ means desire, for the Śruti says, ‘This much indeed is desire.’ – That is to say, they cease to hanker after all this threefold means of attaining worlds that are not the Self.

Every desire for means is a desire for results; therefore the text says that desire is one. How? That which is the desire for sons is the desire for wealth, for both are equally means to tangible results. And that which is the desire for wealth is the desire for worlds, for it is directed towards the results. People adopt different means, actuated by the desire for results. Hence desire is one, because the desire for worlds cannot be attained without the requisite means; for both these are but desires, one being but a means to the other. Therefore the knower of Brahman has nothing to do with rites or their accessories. – ‘Brāhmaṇas’ in the text means those of past times. – The rites and their accessories here spoken of refer to the holy thread etc., which are means to the performance of rites pertaining to the gods, the Manes and man, for through them these rites are performed. Compare the Śruti, ‘The holy thread that hangs straight down from the neck is for rites pertaining to men’ (TaitS.2.5.2.1). Therefore the ancient Brāhmaṇas – knowers of Brahman – renouncing rites and their accessories, such as the holy thread, embrace the life of a monk (of the highest class) known as the Parama-haṃsa, and lead a mendicant’s life, live upon begging – giving up the insignia of a monk’s life prescribed by the Smṛtis, which are the means of livelihood for those who have merely had recourse to that life. Witness the Smṛtis: ‘The knower of Brahman wears no signs,’ ‘Therefore the knower of religion, who wears no signs, (should practice its principles)’ (cf. MBh.14.46.51), and ‘His signs are not manifest, nor his behavior (cf. VasSmrt.10). And the Śruti: ‘Then he becomes a monk, wears the ocher robe, shaves his head, and does not accept (superfluous) gifts,’ etc. (JabU.5); also, ‘Having cut off his hair together with the tuft and giving up the holy thread,’ etc. (KathSU.1, 2.3).

Objection: Because of the use of the present tenses in it, the passage, ‘The Brāhmaṇas renounce … and live a mendicant life,’ should be taken as a merge eulogy; it has none of the three suffixes denoting an injunction. Therefore, on the strength of a mere eulogy the abandonment of the holy thread and other such accessories of rites prescribed by the Śrutis and Smṛtis cannot be urged. ‘He only who wears the holy thread may study the Vedas, officiate in sacrifices, or perform them’ (TaitAr.2.1.1). In the first place, the study of the Vedas is enjoined in the mendicant life: ‘By giving up the study of the Vedas one becomes a Śūdra; therefore one must not do it’ (Quoted in VasSmrt.10). Also Āpastamba: ‘Uttering speech only when studying the Vedas’ (ApDhS.2.21.10, 21). The scriptures condemn giving up the study of the Vedas in the verse, ‘Quitting the study of the Vedas, condemning the Vedas, deceitful evidence, murder of a friend and eating forbidden or uneatable food – these six acts are equivalent to drinking’ (ManSamh.11.56). Secondly, the passage, ‘One should wear the holy thread while serving the preceptors, old people and guests, while performing sacrifices, repeating sacred formula, eating, rinsing one’s mouth and studying the Vedas’ (ApDhS.1.15.1), enjoins the holy thread as an accessory of those acts, and the Śrutis and Smṛtis prescribe such acts as the attending on the preceptors, study of the Vedas, eating and rinsing one’s mouth among the duties of a monk; therefore we cannot understand the passage in question as advocating the giving up of the holy thread. Though the renunciation of desires is enjoined, yet it means the renunciation of only the three desires, viz. those concerning sons and so forth, and not of all rites and their means. If all rites are abandoned, it will be doing something not enjoined by the Śrutis, and discarding the holy thread etc., actually enjoined by them. This omission of acts enjoined and commitment of those forbidden would be a grave offense. Therefore the assumption that such insignia as the holy thread should be abandoned, is merely an instance of the blind following the blind (thoughtless procedure).

Reply: No, for the Śruti says, ‘The monk should give up the holy thread, the study of the Vedas, and all such things’ (KathSU.4; KathRU.2). Moreover, the ultimate aim of the Upaniṣads is to teach Self-knowledge. It has already been stated, ‘The Self is to be realized – to be heard of, reflected on,’ etc. (BrhUEng.2.4.5); and it is common knowledge that that very Self is to be known as immediate and direct, as being within all, and devoid of the relative attributes of hunger etc. Since this entire Upaniṣad sets itself to bringing this out, the passage in question cannot form a part of some other (ritualistic) injunction, and is therefore not a eulogy. For Self-knowledge is to be attained, and the Self, being devoid of the attributes of hunger etc., is to be known as different from the means and results of an action. To know the Self as identified with these is ignorance. Witness the Śrutis: ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know’ (BrhUEng.1.4.10), ‘He goes from death to death who sees difference, as it were, in It’ (BrhUEng.4.4.18; KathU.2.1.10), ‘It should be realized in one form only’ (BrhUEng.4.4.20), ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1), ‘Thou art That’ (ChanU.6.8.7), etc. The means and results of an action are different from the Self that is beyond such relative attributes as hunger, and fall within the category of ignorance, as is proved by hundreds of texts like the following: ‘When there is duality, as it were’ (BrhUEng.2.4.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), ‘He who worships another god thinking, “He is one, and I am another,” does not know,’ ‘While those who know It as otherwise (become dependent and attain perishable worlds),’ etc. (ChanU.7.25.2).

Knowledge and ignorance cannot co-exist in the same individual, for they are contradictory like light and darkness. Therefore the knower of the Self must not be supposed to have relations with the sphere of ignorance consisting of actions, their factors and their results, for it has been deprecated in such passages as, ‘He goes from death to death,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.4.19). All actions with their factors and results, which fall within the category of ignorance, are meant to be shunned through the help of knowledge, the opposite of ignorance; and such auxiliaries as the holy thread fall within the same category. Therefore desire is different from and associated with things other than the Self, which by Its nature is neither the means nor the result of an action. They, the means and the result of an action, are both desires, and the holy thread etc. and the ceremonies to be performed through them are classed under means. This has been clenched by a reason in the clause, ‘For both these are but desires’ (this text). Since such means as the holy thread and the ceremonies to be performed through them are within the range of ignorance, are forms of desires, and are things to be shunned, the renunciation of them is undoubtedly enjoined.

Objection: Since this Upaniṣad seeks to inculcate Self-knowledge, the passage relating to the renunciation of desires is just a eulogy on that, and not an injunction.

Reply: No, for it is to be performed by the same individual on whom Self-knowledge is enjoined. The Vedas can never connect with the same individual something that is enjoined and something that is not enjoined. Just as the Śrutis cannot pressing, pouring, and drinking (of the Soma juice) with the same individual – that he should press the juice out, pour it into the fire, and drink what is left – because all the three are obligatory, similarly Self-knowledge, renunciation of desires and begging would be connected with the same individual if only these were obligatory.

Objection: Suppose we say that being under the category of ignorance and being (auxiliaries of) desires, the abandonment of the holy thread etc. is a mere corollary to the injunction on Self-knowledge, and not a separate injunction.

Reply: No. Since it is connected with the same individual along with the injunction of Self-knowledge, the obligatory nature of this renunciation as also the begging is all the more clearly established; and the objection that it is a mere eulogy because of the use of the present tense does not hold, since it is analogous to such injunctions as that the sacrificial post is (Here ‘is’ means ‘must be’) made of fig-wood.

Objection: We admit that the passage, ‘(The Brāhmaṇas) renounce desires … and lead a mendicant life,’ enjoins monasticism. In this life, however, such means as the holy thread and certain insignia are enjoined by the Śrutis and Smṛtis. Therefore the passage in question means that accessories other than these, although the latter are (auxiliaries of) desires, should be renounced.

Reply: Not so, for we know that there is another kind of monasticism different from this one. The latter is connected with the same individual as Self-knowledge, and is characterized by the renunciation of desires. This monasticism is a part of Self-knowledge because it is the renunciation of desires, which contradict Self-knowledge, and which are within the province of ignorance. Besides this there is another kind of monasticism, which is an order of life and leads to the attainment of the world of Hiraṇya-garbha and so on; it is about this that means like the holy thread and particular insignia are enjoined. When there is this other kind of monasticism in which the adoption of means like the (auxiliaries of) desires is just a duty peculiar to that life, it is wrong to contradict Self-knowledge that is enjoined by all the Upaniṣads. If one seeks to adopt means like the holy thread, which are within the province of ignorance and are (auxiliaries of) desires, it would certainly be contradicting the knowledge of one’s self – which is neither the means nor the result of an action, and is devoid of such relative attributes as hunger – as being identical with Brahman. And it is wrong to contradict this knowledge, for all the Upaniṣads aim at this.

Objection: Does not the Śruti itself contradict this by teaching the adoption of desires in the words, ‘(The Brāhmaṇas) lead a mendicant life’? That is to say, after enjoining the renunciation of desires it teaches in the same breath the adoption of a part of them, viz. begging. Does this not imply the adoption of other connected things as well?

Reply: No, the begging does not imply other things as well, just as the drinking of the remnant (of Soma juice) after the oblation has been offered does not include any additional things; since it relates only to the disposal (Pratipatti-karma is the disposal of the accessories of a rite after they have served their purpose, to prevent their interfering with other work) of what is left, it implies nothing else. Moreover, the begging has no purifying effect; the drinking of the juice might purify a person, but not the begging. Though there may be some merit in observing the rules regarding it, yet its application to the knower of Brahman is inadmissible.

Objection: If this is so, why should there be mention of his begging his food?

Reply: It is quite in order, because the passage thereby enjoins the rejection of other means of subsistence.

Objection: Still what is the necessity of that?

Reply: None, if his realization has reached that point of inaction; we accept that view. As to the texts regarding monasticism, such as, ‘He only who wears the holy thread may study (the Vedas),’ etc. (TaitAr.2.1.1), we have already answered your objection by saying that they concern only the monasticism of those who have not known Brahman: we have pointed out that Self-knowledge would otherwise be contradicted. That the knower of Brahman has no work (‘Work’ in this connection means ritualistic work) to do is shown by the following Smṛti passage, ‘The gods consider him a knower of Brahman who has no desires, who undertakes no work, who does not salute or praise anybody, and whose work has been exhausted, but who himself is unchanged’ (MBh.12.269.34). Also, ‘The knower of Brahman wears no signs,’ etc. (cf. MBh.14.46.51). Therefore the knower of the Self should embrace that vow of the highest order of monks which is characterized by the renunciation of desires and the abandonment of all work together with its means.

Since the ancient Brāhmaṇas, knowing this Self as naturally different from the means and result of an action, renounced all desires, which are such means and results, and lead a mendicant life, giving up work producing visible and invisible results, together with its means, therefore to this day the knower of Brahman, having known all about scholarship or this knowledge of the Self from the teacher and the Śrutis – having fully mastered it – should renounce desires. This is the culmination of that scholarship, for it comes with the elimination of desires, and is contradictory to them. Since scholarship regarding the Self cannot come without the elimination of desires, therefore the renunciation of these is automatically enjoined by the knowledge of the Self. This is emphasized by the use of the suffix ‘ktvāc’ in the passage in question, as referring to the same individual who has the knowledge of the Self. Therefore the knower of Brahman, after renouncing desires, should try to live upon that strength which comes of knowledge. Those others who are ignorant of the Self derive their strength from the means and results of actions. The knower of Brahman avoids that and resorts simply to the strength which comes of the knowledge of the Self, which is naturally different from the means and results of an action. When he does this, his organs have no more power to drag him down to the objects of desire. It is only the fool without the strength of knowledge who is attracted by his organs to desires concerning objects, visible or invisible. Strength is the total elimination of the vision of objects by Self-knowledge; hence the knower of Brahman should try to live upon that strength. As another Śruti puts it, ‘Through the Self one attains strength’ (KenU.2.4); also, ‘This Self is unattainable by the weak’ (MunU.3.2.4).

Having known all about this strength and scholarship, he becomes meditative, in other words, a Yogin. What a knower of Brahman should do is to eliminate all ideas of the non-Self; doing this, he accomplishes his task and becomes a Yogin. After having known all about scholarship and strength, which respectively mean Self-knowledge and the elimination of ideas of the non-Self, he knows all about meditativeness too – which is the culminating result of the latter – and its opposite, and becomes a knower of Brahman, or accomplishes his task; he attains the conviction that all is Brahman. Because he has reached the goal, therefore he is a Brāhmaṇa, a knower of Brahman; for then his status as a knower of Brahman is literally true. Therefore the text says: How does that knower of Brahman behave? Howsoever he may behave, he is just such – a knower of Brahman as described above. The expression, ‘Howsoever he may behave,’ is intended for a tribute to this state of a knower of Brahman, and does not mean reckless behavior. Except this state of realization of Brahman, which is the true state of one’s self that is beyond hunger etc. and is eternally satisfied, everything, i.e. desires, which are within the category of ignorance, is perishable – lit. beset with troubles – unsubstantial like a dream, an illusion, or a mirage; the Self alone is detached and eternally free. Thereupon Kahola, the son of Kuṣītaka, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.06

🔗  To describe the nature of that which has been stated to be the immediate and direct Brahman – the self that is within all, the three sections up to that dealing with the story of Śākalya are being introduced. The elements from earth up to the space are arranged one within the other. The idea is to show how an aspirant – the subject or seer – can realize his own self, which is immediate and direct, which is within all and beyond all relative attributes, by taking up each relatively external element and eliminating it. Then Gārgī, the daughter of Vacaknu, asked him. ‘Yājña-valkya,’ she said, ‘if all this, all that is composed of earth, is pervaded within and without (lit. placed like the warp and woof – or woof and warp – in a cloth) by water.’ Otherwise it would be scattered like a handful of fried barley flour. The following inference is suggested: We observe that whatever is an effect, limited and gross is respectively pervaded by that which is the cause, unlimited and subtle, as earth is pervaded by water. Similarly (in the series from earth to the space) each preceding element must be pervaded by the succeeding one, till we come to the self that is within all. This is the import of the question.

Now these five elements are so arranged that each preceding one is held together by the succeeding element, which is its cause and is more subtle and pervasive. And there is nothing below the Supreme Self which is different from the elements (So the different worlds enumerated in this paragraph are included in them), for the Śruti says, ‘The Truth of truth’ (BrhUEng.2.1.20; IBrhUEng.1.3.6). The truth is the five elements, and the Truth of truth is the Supreme Self. ‘By what is water pervaded?’ Since it too is an effect, gross and limited, it must be pervaded by something; and what is that? All the subsequent questions are to be construed in this way. ‘By air, O Gārgī.’ One may object that the answer should be fire; to which we reply that the answer is all right. Fire cannot independently manifest itself like the other elements! it must take the help of particles of earth or water; hence it is not mentioned as pervading water. ‘By what is air pervaded?’ ‘By the sky, O Gārgī.’ The same elements combining with one another form the sky; this is pervaded by the world of the Gandharvas, this again by the sun, the sun by the moon, the moon by the stars, the stars by the world of the gods, this by the world of Indra, this again by the world of Virāj, i.e. by the elements composing the body of Virāj; the world of Virāj is pervaded by the world of Hiraṇya-garbha, i.e. by the elements composing the universe. The plural is used in the text (‘worlds’ instead of ‘world’) because these worlds, arranged in an ascending order of subtlety, are each composed of the same five elements transformed so as to become fit abodes for the enjoyment of beings. ‘By what is the world of Hiraṇya-garbha pervaded?’ Yājña-valkya said, ‘Do not, O Gārgī, push your inquiry too far – disregarding the proper method of inquiry into the nature of the deity (The Sūtra, which is described in the next section); that is, do not try to know through inference about a deity that must be approached only through personal instruction (Āgama), lest by so doing your head should fall off.’ The nature of the deity is to be known from the scriptures alone, and Gārgī’s question, being inferential, disregarded this particular means of approach. ‘You are questioning about a deity that should not be reasoned about, but known only through its special means of approach, the scriptures. Therefore do not, O Gārgī, push your inquiry too far, unless you wish to die.’ Thereupon Gārgī, the daughter of Vacaknu, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.07

🔗  Now the Sūtra, the innermost entity of the world of Hiraṇya-garbha, has to be described; hence this section. This Sūtra should be approached through personal instruction, which is therefore being introduced through an anecdote: Then Uddālaka, the son of Aruṇa, asked him. ‘Yājña-valkya,’ he said, ‘in the territory called Madra we lived in the house of Patañcala Kāpya – of the line of Kapistudying the scriptures on sacrifices. His wife was possessed by a Gandharva. We asked him who he was. He said, “Kabandha, the son of Atharvan.” He, the Gandharva, said to Patañcala Kāpya and his pupils who studied the scriptures on sacrifices, “Kāpya, do you know that Sūtra by which this life, the next life and all beings, from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass, are held together, strung like a garland with a thread?” Thus addressed, Kāpya reverentially said, “I do not know it, the Sūtra, sir.” The Gandharva again said to the teacher and us: Kāpya, do you know that Internal Ruler – this is being specified – who controls this and the next life and all beings from within, causes them to move like wooden puppets, i.e. makes them perform their respective functions? Thus addressed, Patañcala Kāpya reverentially said, “I do not know Him, sir.” The Gandharva again said – this is in praise of the meditation on the Sūtra and the Internal Ruler within it – “Kāpya, he who knows that Sūtra and that Internal Ruler who is within the Sūtra and governs it, as described above, indeed knows Brahman or the Supreme Self, knows worlds, such as the earth, controlled by the Internal Ruler, knows the gods, such as Fire, presiding over those worlds, knows the Vedas, which are the authority for all, knows beings, Virāj (The word used is ‘Brahman,’ which in such contexts generally means Hiraṇya-garbha. Here, however, It is to be taken in the sense of Virāj, for Hiraṇya-garbha, being the same as the Sūtra, cannot be held together by it) and the rest, who are held together by the Sūtra and controlled by the Internal Ruler who is within it, knows the self, which is the agent and experiencer and is controlled by the same Internal Ruler, and knows everything – the whole world also similarly controlled.” This praise of the meditation on the Sūtra and the Internal Ruler tempted Kāpya and us to hear of it; and the Gandharva explained both to them and us. I know this meditation on the Sūtra and the Internal Ruler, having been instructed by the Gandharva. If you, Yājña-valkya, do not know that Sūtra and that Internal Ruler, i.e. do not know Brahman, and still wrongly take away the cows that belong only to the knowers of Brahman, I will burn you with my curse, and your head shall fall off.’ Thus addressed Yājña-valkya said, ‘I know, O Gautama (descendant of Gotama), that Sūtra about which the Gandharva told you, and that Internal Ruler about whom you have known from him.’ At this Gautama retorted: ‘Any one, any fool, can say what you have said – what? – “I know, I know,” lauding himself. What is the good of that bluster? Show it in action; tell us what you know about them.’
🔗  He, Yājña-valkya, said, etc. The Sūtra, by which the world of Hiraṇya-garbha is at the present moment pervaded, as earth by water, and which can be known only through personal instruction, has to be described. It is for this that Uddālaka’s question in the preceding paragraph has been introduced. So Yājña-valkya answers it by saying, ‘Vāyu, O Gautama, is that Sūtra, and nothing else.’ ‘Vayu’ is that subtle entity which like the space supports earth etc., which is the material of the subtle body – with its seventeen constituents (The five elements, the ten organs, the vital force (with its fivefold function) and mind (in its fourfold aspect). Or, the ten organs, the five vital force, Manas and Intellect) – in which the past actions and impressions of beings inhere, which is collective as well as individual, and whose external forms, like the waves of an ocean, are the forty-nine Maruts. That principle of Vāyu is called the Sūtra. ‘Through this Sūtra or Vāyu this and the next life and all beings are held or strung together. This is well known (to those who know the Sūtra); it is also common knowledge. How? Because Vāyu is the Sūtra and supports everything, therefore, O Gautama, when a man dies, they say that his limbs have been loosened.’ When the thread (Sūtra) is gone, gems etc. that are strung on it are scattered; similarly Vāyu is the Sūtra. It the limbs of a man are strung on it, like gems on a thread, it is but natural that they will be loosened when Vāyu is gone. Hence it is concluded: ‘For they are held together, O Gautama, by the Sūtra or Vāyu.’ ‘Quite so, Yājña-valkya, you have rightly described the Sūtra. Now describe the Internal Ruler, who is within and controls it.’ Thus addressed, Yājña-valkya said:
🔗  He who inhabits the earth … is the Internal Ruler. Now all people inhabit the earth; so there may be a presumption that the reference is to anyone of them. To preclude this, the text specifies Him by saying, ‘Who is within the earth.’ One may think that the deity identified with the earth is the Internal Ruler; hence the text says, ‘Whom even the deity identified with the earth does not know as a distinct entity dwelling within her.’ Whose body is the earth itself and none other – whose body is the same as that of the deity of the earth. The ‘body’ implies other things as well; i.e. the organs of this deity are also those of the Internal Ruler. The body and organs of the deity of the earth are the result of her own past actions; they are the body and organs of the Internal Ruler as well, for He has no past actions, being ever free. Since He is by nature given to doing things for others, the body and organs of the latter serve as His; He has no body and organs of His own. This is expressed as follows: ‘Whose body is the earth.’ The body and the organs of the deity of the earth are regularly made to work or stop work by the mere presence of the Lord as witness. Such an Īśvara, called Nārāyaṇa, who controls the deity of the earth, i.e. directs her to her particular work, from within, is the Internal Ruler about whom you have asked, your own immortal self, as also mine and that of all beings. ‘Your’ implies ‘others’ as well. ‘Immortal,’ that is to say, devoid of all relative attributes.
🔗  The rest is to be similarly explained. He who inhabits water, fire, the sky, air, heaven, the sun, the quarters, the moon and stars, the space, darkness – the external darkness that obstructs vision, and light, light in general, which is the opposite of darkness. This much with reference to the gods, i.e. the meditation on the Internal Ruler as pertaining to the gods. Now with reference to the beings, i.e. the meditation on the Internal Ruler as pertaining to the different grades of beings from Hiraṇya-garbha down to a clump of grass.
🔗  Now with reference to the body. He who inhabits the nose together with the vital force, the organ of speech, the eye, the ear, the mind (Manas), the skin, the intellect and the organ of generation (lit. the seed). Why is it that the deities of the earth and so on, in spite of their exceptional powers, fail to see, like men etc., the Internal Ruler who lives in them and controls them? This is being answered: He is never seen, never the object of anybody’s ocular perception, but being close to the eye as Pure Intelligence, He Himself is the Witness.

Similarly He is never heard, or perceived by anybody through the ear, but He Himself, with His never-failing power of hearing, is the Hearer, being close to all ears. Likewise He is never thought, never becomes the object of deliberation by the mind, for people think of those things that they have seen or heard, and the Internal Ruler, never being seen or heard, is never thought; but He is the Thinker, for His thinking power never wanes, and He is close to all minds. Similarly, He is never known or definitely grasped like color etc., or like pleasure and so forth; but He Himself is the Knower, for His intelligence never fails, and He is close to the intellect. Now the statements, ‘Whom the earth does not know,’ and ‘Whom no being knows,’ may mean that the individual selves (the deities of the earth etc.) that are controlled are different from the Internal Ruler who controls. To remove this presumption of difference, the text goes on to say: There is no other witness but Him, this Internal Ruler; similarly, no other hearer but Him, no other thinker but Him, and no other knower but Him. He, except whom there is no other witness, hearer, thinker and knower, who is never seen but is the Witness, who is never heard but is the Hearer, who is never thought but is the Thinker, who is never known but is the Knower, who is immortal, devod of all relative attributes, and is the distributor of the fruits of everybody’s actions – is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. Everything else but Him, this Īśvara or Ātman, is mortal. Thereupon Uddālaka, the son of Aruṇa, kept silent.

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BrhUEng.3.08

🔗  Now Brahman, which is devoid of hunger etc., unconditioned, immediate and direct, and within all, has to be described. Hence the present section –
Then the daughter of Vacaknu said. Having previously been warned by Yājña-valkya, she had desisted lest her head should fall off. Now she asks the permission of the Brāhmaṇas to interrogate him once more. ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, please listen to what I say. I shall ask him, Yājña-valkya, two more questions, if you will permit it. Should he answer me those, none of you can ever possibly beat him in describing Brahman.’ Thus addressed, the Brāhmaṇas gave her the permission. ‘Ask, O Gārgī.’
🔗  Having received the permission, she said to Yājña-valkya, ‘I shall ask you two questions.’ The extra words are to be supplied from the preceding paragraph. Yājña-valkya was curious to know what they were. So, in order to indicate that the questions were hard to answer, she said through an illustration: As a man of Banaras – the inhabitants of which are famous for their valour – or the King of Videha, scion of a warlike dynasty, might string his unstrung bow and appear close by, carrying in his hand two bamboo-tipped arrows – an arrow might be without this bamboo-tip; hence the specification – highly painful to the enemy, even so, O Yājña-valkya, do I confront you with two questions, comparable to arrows. Answer me those, if you are a knower of Brahman. The other said, ‘Ask, O Gārgī.’
🔗  She said: By what, O Yājña-valkya, is that Sūtra, already referred to, pervaded as the element earth is by water, which is above heaven, or the upper half of the cosmic shell, and below the earth, or the lower half of the cosmic shell, which is this heaven and earth as well as between them, between the two halves of the cosmic shell, and which they say, on the authority of the scriptures, was in the past, is doing its function at the present moment, and will be continuing in future, as is inferable from indications – which (Sūtra) is described as all this, in which, in other words, the whole dualistic universe is unified?
🔗  Yājña-valkya said, ‘That, O Gārgī, which you have referred to as being above heaven, etc. – all that which is called the Sūtrais pervaded by the unmanifested space: This manifested universe consisting of the Sūtra exists in the unmanifested space, like earth in water, in the past, present and future, in its origin, continuance and dissolution.’
🔗  She again said, ‘I bow to you – these and the following words indicate the difficult nature of the question – who have fully answered this question of mine. The reason why it is difficult to answer is that the Sūtra itself is inscrutable to ordinary people and difficult to explain; how much more so, then, is that which pervades it! Therefore I bow to you. Now be ready, hold yourself steady, for the other question. Yājña-valkya said, ‘Ask, O Gārgī.’
🔗  All this has been explained. The question and the answer are repeated in this and the next paragraph in order to emphasize the truth already stated by Yājña-valkya. Nothing new is introduced.
🔗  Yājña-valkya repeated Gārgī’s question as it was, and emphasized what he had already stated by saying, ‘By the unmanifested space alone.’ Gārgī said, ‘By what is the unmanifested space pervaded?’ She considered the question unanswerable, for the unmanifested space itself, being beyond time past, present and future, was difficult to explain: much more so was the Immutable (Brahman) by which the unmanifested space was pervaded; hence It could not be explained. Now, if Yājña-valkya did not explain It for this reason, he would lay himself open to the charge of what is called in the system of logic ‘non-comprehension’, if, on the other hand, he tried to explain It, not withstanding the fact that It was a thing that could not be explained, he would be guilty of what is called ‘a contradiction’; for the attempt to explain what cannot be explained is such a contradiction.
🔗  With a view to evading both the charges, he, Yājña-valkya said: O Gārgī, the knowers of Brahman say, this is that about which you have asked, ‘By what is the unmanifested space pervaded?’ What is it? The Immutable, i.e. which does not decay or change. By referring to the opinion of the knowers of Brahman, he evades both the charges by suggesting that he will say nothing objectionable, nor that he has filled to comprehend the question. When he thus answered her question, Gārgī must have rejoined, ‘Tell me, what is that Immutable which the knowers of Brahman speak of?’ Thus addressed, Yājña-valkya said: It is not gross, i.e. is other gross. Then It must be minute? No, nor minute. Then is It short? Neither short. Then It must be long? No, nor long. By this fourfold negation of size all the characteristics of a substance are denied of It; in other words, this Immutable is not a substance. Is It then red color, which is a quality? No, It is different from that too – neither red color; red color is a quality of fire. Is It then the oiliness of water (It is an assumption of the Vaiśeṣika philosophy that oiliness is the quality of water)? No, nor oiliness. Is It then a shadow, being altogether indescribable? No, It is different from that too – neither shadow. Is It then darkness? No, nor darkness. Let It then be air. No, neither air. May It then be the space? No, nor space. Is It then sticky like lac? No, It is unattached. Is It then savor? Neither savor. Let It then be odor. No, nor odor. Has It then eyes? No, It is without eyes, for It has not instrument of vision; as the Mantra says, ‘He sees without eyes’ (SvetU.3.19). Similarly It is without ears, as the Śruti puts it: ‘He hears without ears’ (SvetU.3.19). Let It then have the vocal organ. No, It is without the vocal organ. Similarly It is without the mind. Likewise It is non-luminous, for It has no luster like that of fire etc. It is without the vital force; the vital force in the body is denied of It. Has It then a mouth or opening? No, It is without a mouth. Not a measure: It does not measure anything. Is It then porous? No, It is without interior. Then may be It has an exterior? No. It has no exterior. Is It then an eater? No, It does not eat anything. Then is It anybody’s food? No, nor is It eaten by anybody. In other words, It is devoid of all attributes, for It is one only without a second; so what is there that can be specified, and through what?
🔗  The Śruti, by attempting to negate various attributes of the Immutable, has indicated Its existence. Yet, anticipating the popular misconception about It, it adduces an inferential evidence in favor of Its existence: Under the mighty rule of this Immutable, the Brahman that has been known to be within all, immediate and direct – the self that is devoid of all attributes such as hunger, O Gārgī, the sun and moon, which are like two lamps giving light to all beings by day and night respectively, are held in their positions, as a kingdom remains unbroken and orderly under the mighty rule of a king. They must have been created for the purpose of giving light by a Universal Ruler who knows of what use they will be to all, for they serve the common good of all beings by giving light, as we see in the case of an ordinary lamp (As from a lamp we infer the existence of its maker, so from the sun and moon we infer the existence of an omniscient God, ‘the Immutable.’). Therefore That exists which has made the sun and moon and compels them, though they are powerful and independent, to rise and set, increase and decrease, according to fixed place, time and causes (Adṛṣṭa or the resultant of the past work of beings). Thus there exists their mighty Ruler, the Immutable, as the lamp has its maker and regulator. Under the mighty rule of this Immutable, O Gārgī, heaven and earth maintain their positions, although they are by nature subject to disruption because of having parts, inclined to fall owing to their weight, liable to separate, being a compound, and are independent, each being presided over by a conscious deity identifying itself with it. It is this Immutable which is like a boundary wall that preserves the distinctions among things – keeps all things within their limits; hence the sun and moon do not transgress the mighty rule of this Immutable. Therefore Its existence is proved. The unfailing sign of this is the fact that heaven and earth obey a fixed order; this would be impossible were there not a conscious, transcendent Ruler. Witness the Mantra, ‘Who has made heaven powerful and the earth firm’ (RgV.10.121.5).

Under the mighty rule of this Immutable, O Gārgī, moments, Muhūrtas, etc. – all these divisions of time, which count all things past, present and future that are subject to birth – are held in their respective places. As in life an accountant appointed by his master carefully calculates all items of incomes and expenditure, so are these divisions of time controlled by their master, the Immutable. Similarly some rivers, such as the Gaṅgā, flow eastward from the White Mountains, the Himalayas, for instance, and they, notwithstanding their power to do otherwise (Since the deities identifying themselves with these are sentient beings), keep to their original courses; this too indicates a Ruler. Others flowing westward, such as the Indus, continue in that direction, and still others keep to their respective courses, do not deviate from the courses they have taken; this is another indication.

Moreover, even learned men praise those that give gold etc., even at a personal sacrifice. Now the conjunction and disjunction of gifts, their donors and their recipients are seen to take place before our eyes in this very life. But the subsequent recombination (of the donor and the fruit of his gift) is a matter we do not directly see. Still people praise the charitable, for they observe on other evidence that those that give are rewarded. This would be impossible were there no Ruler who, knowing the various results of actions, brought about this union of the giver and the reward, for the act of giving obviously perishes then and there. Therefore there must be someone who connects the givers with the results of their charity.

Objection: Cannot the extraordinary result of an action (Apurva) serve this purpose?

Reply: No, for there is nothing to prove its existence.

Objection: Does not the same objection apply to the Ruler too?

Reply: No, for it is an established fact that the Śrutis seek to posit His existence. We have already said that the Śrutis aim at delineating the Reality. Besides, the implication on which the theory of the extraordinary result depends is out of place, for the fruition can be otherwise accounted for. We observe that the reward of service is obtained from the person served; and as service is an act, and sacrifices, gifts, offering oblations in the fire, etc., are just as much acts, it is fitting that the reward for their performance should come from those in whose honor they are performed, viz. God and so forth. Since we can explain the obtaining of rewards without sacrificing the directly observed inherent power of acts, it is improper to sacrifice that power. Moreover, it involves a superfluity of assumptions. We must assume either God or the extraordinary result. Now we observe that it is the very nature of an act of service that it is rewarded by the person served, not by the extraordinary result; and no one has ever actually experienced this result. So (in your view) we have to assume that the extraordinary result, which nobody has ever observed, exists; that it has the power to confer rewards; and that having this power, it does in addition confer them. On our side, however, we have to assume only the existence of the person served, viz. God, but neither His power to confer rewards nor His exercise of it, for we actually observe that the person served rewards the service. The grounds for inferring His existence have already been shown in the text: ‘Heaven and earth maintain their positions,’ etc. (this text). Likewise the gods, although they are so powerful, depend on the sacrificer for their livelihood – for such means of subsistence as the porridge and cakes. That in spite of their ability to live otherwise they have taken to this humiliating course of life, is possible only because of the mighty rule of the Lord. Similarly the Manes depend for their subsistence on independent offerings. The rest is to be explained as before.
🔗  Here is another reason for the existence of the Immutable, because until one knows It, one is bound to suffer transmigration; and That must exist the knowledge of which puts a stop to it, for this is but logical.

Objection: May not rites alone do this?

Reply: No, he, O Gārgī, who in this world, without knowing this Immutable offers oblations in the fire, performs sacrifices and undergoes austerities even for many thousand years, finds all such acts but perishable. After he has enjoyed their fruits, those rites are inevitably exhausted. Besides, that mighty Ruler, the Immutable, exists by knowing which misery is at an end – transmigration is stopped, and not knowing which the ritualists is miserable – enjoys only the results of his rites and moves in an endless series of births and deaths. So the text says: He, O Gārgī, who departs from this world without knowing this Immutable, is miserable, like a slave etc. bought for a price. But he, O Gārgī, who departs from this world after knowing this Immutable, is a knower of Brahman.
🔗  It may be contended that like the heat and light of fire, the rulership of the Immutable is natural to the insentient Pradhāna (of the Sāṅkhyas, and not to Brahman). The reply is being given –
This Immutable, O Gārgī, is never seen by anybody, not being a sense-object, but is Itself the Witness, being vision itself. Likewise It is never heard, not being an object of hearing, but is Itself the Hearer, being hearing itself. So also It is never thought, not being an object of the mind, but is Itself the Thinker, being thought itself. Similarly It is never known, not being an object of the intellect, but is Itself the Knower, being intelligence itself. Further, there is no other witness but This, the Immutable; this Immutable Itself is everywhere the Witness, the subject of vision. Similarly there is no other hearer but This; this Immutable Itself is everywhere the Hearer. There is no other thinker but This; this Immutable Itself is everywhere the Thinker, thinking through all minds. There is no other knower but This; this Immutable Itself – neither the insentient Pradhāna nor anything else – is the Knower, knowing through all intellects. By this Immutable, O Gārgī, is the (unmanifested) space pervaded. The Brahman which is immediate and direct, which is the self within all and is beyond the relative attributes of hunger etc., and by which the (unmanifested) space is pervaded, is the extreme limit, the ultimate goal, the Supreme Brahman, the Truth of truth (the elements) beginning with earth and ending with the space.
🔗  She said: ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, listen to my words. You should consider yourselves fortunate if you can get off from him, Yājña-valkya, through salutations, by saluting him. You must never even hope to defeat him, much less do it. Why? Because never shall any of you beat him, Yājña-valkya, in describing Brahman. I already said that if he answered my two question, none could beat him. I still have the conviction that in describing Brahman he has no match.’ Then the daughter of Vacaknu kept silent.

In the section dealing with the Internal Ruler it has been said, ‘Whom the earth does not know,’ and ‘Whom no being knows.’ Now what is the similarity as well as difference among the Internal Ruler whom they do not know, those who do not know Him, and the conscious Principle which, being the subject of the activities of vision etc. of all things, is spoken of as the Immutable?

Regarding this (Some sectional views within the Vedantic school itself are being presented) some say: The Internal Ruler is the slightly agitated state of the ocean of Supreme Brahman, the Immutable, which never changes its nature. The individual self, which does not know that Internal Ruler, is the extremely agitated state of that ocean. They also imagine five (Viz the individual, species, Virāj, Sūtra and destiny) other states of Brahman; again they maintain that Brahman has eight (Viz the above five together with the Undifferentiated, the Witness and the individual self) states. Others say that these are but the powers of the Immutable, which according to them, has unlimited powers. Still others maintain that these are modifications of the Immutable.

Now the states and powers are inadmissible, for the Śrutis declare the Immutable to be beyond the relative attributes of hunger etc. Certainly one and the same thing cannot simultaneously be both beyond hunger etc. and subject to those conditions. The same argument applies to the Immutable having powers, while the flaws in attributing modifications and parts to the Immutable have already been pointed out in the second chapter. Hence all these views are wrong.

What then is the difference among them? It is all due to the limiting adjuncts, we reply: intrinsically there is neither difference nor identity among them, for they are by nature Pure Intelligence, homogeneous like a lump of salt. Witness the Śruti too: ‘Without prior or posterior, without interior or exterior.’ ‘This self is Brahman’ (BrhUEng.2.5.19); also in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad: ‘It includes the interior and exterior, and is unborn’ (BrhUEng.2.1.2).

Therefore the unconditioned Self, being beyond speech and mind, undifferentiated and one, is designated as ‘Not this, not this’; when It has the limiting adjuncts of the body and organs, which are characterized by ignorance, desire and work, It is called the transmigrating individual self; and when the Self has the limiting adjunct of the power of eternal and unlimited knowledge (i.e. Māyā), It is called the Internal Ruler and Īśvara. The same Self, as by nature transcendent, absolute and pure, is called the Immutable and Supreme Self. Similarly, having the limiting adjuncts of the bodies and organs of Hiraṇya-garbha, the Undifferentiated, the gods, the species, the individual, men, animals, spirits, etc., the Self assumes those particular names and forms. Thus have we explained this through the Śruti passage: ‘It moves, and does not move’ (IsU.5). In this light alone such texts as, ‘This is your self (that is within all)’ (BrhUEng.3.4.1–2; BrhUEng.3.5.1), ‘He is the inner Self of all beings’ (MunU.2.1.4), ‘This (self) being hidden in all beings,’ etc. (KathU.1.3.12), ‘Thou art That’ (ChanU.6.8.7), ‘I Myself am all this’ (ChanU.7.25.1), ‘All this is but the Self’ (ChanU.7.25.2), and ‘There is no other witness but Him’ (BrhUEng.3.7.23), do not prove contradictory; but in any view they cannot be harmonized. Therefore the above entities differ only because of their limiting adjuncts, but not otherwise, for all the Upaniṣads conclude: ‘One only without a second’ (ChanU.6.2.1).

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BrhUEng.3.09

🔗  The Brahman that is within all has been indicated by a description of how, in the series of things beginning with earth ranged according to their density, each preceding item is pervaded by the succeeding one. And that Brahman has been described as the Ruler of the diverse forms of the Sūtra (such as earth) that are comprised in the differentiated universe, because in the latter the indications of this relation are so much more patent. The present section, named after Śākalya, is introduced in order to convey the immediacy and directness of that Brahman by a reference to the contraction and expansion of the different gods who are ruled by It –
Then Vidagdha, the son of Śakala, asked him, ‘How many gods are there, Yājña-valkya?’ Yājña-valkya decided the number asked for by Śākalya through this Nivid that is just going to be mentioned. ‘As many gods as are indicated in the Nivid of the eulogistic hymn on the Viśva-devas.’ The Nivid is a group of verses giving the number of the gods, which are recited in the eulogistic hymn on the Viśva-devas. ‘There are as many gods as are mentioned in that Nivid.’ Which is that Nivid? The words of that Nivid are quoted: ‘Three hundred and three gods, and again three thousand and three gods. So many gods are there.’ ‘Very well,’ said Śākalya, ‘you know their intermediate number correctly.’ He next asks the smaller number of these very gods, ‘How many gods exactly are there, Yājña-valkya?’ (Yājña-valkya answers one by one:) Thirty three, six, three, two, one and a half, and one. After asking the larger and the smaller number of the gods, he now asks about their identity, ’Which are those three hundred and three, and three thousand and three?’
🔗  Yājña-valkya said, ‘These, the three hundred and three etc., are but the manifestations of them, the thirty-three gods. But really there are only thirty-three gods.’ ‘Which are those thirty-three?’ The reply is being given: ‘The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras and the twelve Ādityas – these are thirty-one, and Indra and Prajā-pati make up the thirty-three.’
🔗  ‘Which are the Vasus?’ The identity of each group of the gods is being asked. ‘Fire, the earth,’ etc. – from fire up to the stars are the Vasus. Transforming themselves into the bodies and organs of all beings, which serve as the support for their work and its fruition, as also into their dwelling-places, these gods help every being to live, and they themselves live too. Because they help others to live (Vas), therefore they are called Vasus.
🔗  ‘Which are the Rudras?’ ‘The ten sensory and motor organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they, these organs, depart from this mortal body, after a person has completely experienced the results of his past work, they make his relatives weep. Because they then make them weep (Rud), therefore they are called Rudras.’
🔗  ‘Which are the Ādityas?’ ‘It is well known that the twelve months are parts of a year; these are the Ādityas. How? For, as they rotate, they go taking a person’s longevity and the results of his work with them. Because they go taking (Ādā) all this with them, therefore they are called Ādityas.’
🔗  ‘Which is Indra, and which is Prajā-pati?’ ‘The cloud itself is Indra, and the sacrifice is Prajā-pati.’ ‘Which is the cloud?’ ‘Thunder,’ i.e. vigor or strength, which kills others; that is Indra, for it is his function. ‘Which is the sacrifice?’ ‘Animals,’ for they are the means of a sacrifice. Because a sacrifice has no form of its own and depends on its means, the animals, therefore they are called sacrifice.
🔗  ‘Which are the six (gods)?’ The same gods, fire and the rest, that are classed as Vasus, leaving out the moon and the stars, become six in number. ‘Because all those (thirty-three and other gods) that have been spoken of are just these six.’ In other words, the (previous) elaborations consisting of the Vasus and others are all included in these six.
🔗  ‘Which are the three gods?’ ‘These three worlds alone.’ The earth and the fire taken together make one god, the sky and air make another, and heaven and the sun make a third: these are the three gods. Because in these three gods all the gods are comprised, therefore these are the three gods: this is the view of a certain section of philologists. ‘Which are the two gods?’ ‘Matter and the vital force’ – these are the two gods; that is to say, these include all the gods that have been enumerated. ‘Which are the one and a half?’ ‘This air that blows.’
🔗  ‘Regarding this some say in objection, “Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half?” It is one and a half because through its presence all this attains surpassing glory.’ ‘Which is the one god?’ ‘The vital force; it, the vital force, is Brahman, for it is vast, being the sun total of all the gods. And this Brahman is called Tyat (that),’ which is a word denoting remoteness. Thus the gods are one and many. The infinite number of gods are included in the limited number mentioned in the Nivid; these again are included in the successive (smaller) numbers, thirty-three and so on, up to the one vital force. It is this one vital force that expands into all those numbers up to the infinite. Thus the vital force alone is one and infinite as also possessed of the intermediate numbers. That this one god, the vital force, has different names, forms, activities, attributes and powers is due to individual differences of qualification (People perform different kinds of meditation and rites, and acquire different grades of mental culture, thereby attaining identity with fire etc. which are all parts of the cosmic vital force. Hence the above differences).
🔗  Now eight other forms of that same vital force which is a form of Brahman are being set forth –
He who knows that being or god whose abode is the earth, whose instrument of vision is fire: ‘Loka’ here means that through which one sees; that is to say, who sees through fire. Whose light is the Manas, who considers the pros and cons of a thing through the Manas. In other words, this god has the earth for his body and fire for his eye, weights things through the mind, identifies himself with the earth, and is possessed of a body and organs. And who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. That is to say, as the skin, flesh and blood derived from the mother, which stand for the field, he is the ultimate resort of the bone, marrow and sperm derived from the father, which stand for the seed, as well as of the organs. He who knows it as such knows truly, is a scholar. You do not know him, Yājña-valkya, but still pose as a scholar. This is his idea.

‘If knowing him confers scholarship, I do know that being of whom you speak – who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs.’ Then Śākalya must have said, ‘If you know that being, tell me what his description is.’ ‘Listen what is it,’ says the other, ‘it is the being who is identified with the body, which preponderates in earthy elements, i.e. who is represented by the three constituents of the body, or sheaths, as they are called, derived from the mother – that is the god about whom you have asked, Śākalya. But there is something more to be said about him by way of description; go on, Śākalya, i.e. ask about it.’ Thus challenged, he was furious like a goaded elephant and said, ‘Who is his deity, the deity of that god identified with the body? That from which something emanates has been spoken of in this section as the deity of that thing. ‘Nectar,’ said he. ‘Nectar’ here means chyle, or the watery essence of the food that is eaten, which produces the blood derived from the mother; for it generates the blood stored in a woman, and this blood produces the skin, flesh and blood of the fetus, which are the support of its bone, marrow, etc. The common portions of the next seven paragraphs need no explanation.
🔗  ‘Whose abode is lust,’ or the desire for sex-pleasures; that is, who has lust as his body. ‘Whose instrument of vision is the intellect,’ i.e. who sees through the intellect. ‘It is the very being identified with lust,’ and the same in the body as well. ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘Women,’ said he, for men’s desire is inflamed through them.
🔗  ‘Whose abode is colors, ‘white, black, etc. ‘It is the being who is in the sun,’ for he is the particular effect of all colors (Being produced by them for their own manifestation).’ ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘Truth,’ said he. ‘Truth’ here means the eye, for the sun among the gods is the product (So says the Śruti (e.g. RgV.10.90.13) of the eye in one’s body.
🔗  ‘Whose abode is the space,’ etc. ‘It is the being who is identified with the ear and particularly with the time of hearing.’ ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘The quarters,’ said he, for (the Śrutis say) it is from the quarters that this particular being within the body is produced.
🔗  ‘Whose abode is darkness,’ such as that of the night. In the body ‘it is the very being identified with shadow, or ignorance.’ ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘Death,’ said he. Among the gods this is his cause (according to the Śrutis).
🔗  ‘Whose abode is colors.’ In earlier paragraph, colors in general were referred to; but here particular colors, those that reflect, are meant. The particular abode of the god who dwells in these colors is reflecting objects, such as a looking-glass. ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘The vital force,’ said he. That being called reflection emanates from the vital force (Being dependent on friction etc., which requires strength).
🔗  ‘Whose abode is water’ in general. He specially lives in the water of reservoirs, wells, tanks, etc. ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘Varuṇa (rain).’ Because the water that is (drunk and) forms the body comes from rain; it is again the cause of the water of reservoirs etc (Through the person who digs them).
🔗  ‘Whose abode is the seed.’ ‘It is the very being identified with the son,’ who is the particular abode of the being who inhabits the seed. ‘The very being identified with the son’ here means the bones, marrow and seed derived from the father. ‘Who is his deity?’ ‘Prajā-pati,’ said he. ‘Prajā-pati’ here means the father, for from him the son is born.
🔗  For the sake of meditation one and the same vital force has been inculcated in eight different forms; each god having three divisions, viz. abode (general form), being (special manifestation) and deity (cause), is but a form of the vital force. The text now goes on to show how the same vital force, divided into five forms according to the different quarters, is unified in the mind. When Śākalya kept silent, Yājña-valkya addressed him, subjecting him to the spell of an evil spirit, as it were. ‘Śākalya,’ said he, ‘have these Vedic scholars made you their instrument for burning charcoals such as fire-tongs?’ The particle ‘svid’ denotes deliberation. He means, ‘They must have done so, but you do not perceive that you are being consumed by me.’
🔗  ‘Yājña-valkya,’ said Śākalya, ‘is it because you know Brahman that you have thus flouted these Vedic scholars of Kuru and Pañcāla by suggesting that they themselves were afraid and made me their fire-tongs?’ Yājña-valkya said, ‘This is my knowledge of Brahman – what is it? – that I know the quarters, i.e. the meditation concerning them; not the quarters alone, but with their presiding deities and supports as well.’ The other said, ‘If you know the quarters with their deities and supports, i.e. if you say you know the meditation with its results –
🔗  ‘What deity are you identified with in the east? – what deity have you who are identified with the quarters?’ Yājña-valkya, realizing his own heart or mind – divided in five forms according to the quarters and identified with the quarters – and through it the whole universe, as his own self, stood facing the east, with the conviction that he was the quarters. We gather this from his clain that he knew the quarters with their supports. Śākalya according to Yājña-valkya’s statement asks, ‘What deity are you identified with in this quarter?’ Everywhere in the Vedas it is stated that in this very life one becomes identified with and attains the god one meditates upon. It will be stated further on, ‘Being a god, he attains the gods’ (BrhUEng.4.1.2). The idea is this: You are identified with the quarters; who is your presiding deity in the east? – as the east, which deity are you united with? Yājña-valkya said: ‘With the deity, sun – the sun is my deity in the east.’ This is in substantiation of his claim that he knew the quarters with their deities; the other part, that relating to their supports, remains to be dealt with; so the text goes on: ‘On what does the sun rest?’ ‘On the eye,’ for the Vedic Mantras and Brāhmaṇas – for instance, ‘From the eye the sun was produced’ (RgV.10.90.13, etc.) and ‘From the eye came the sun’ (AitU.1.1.4) – say that the sun is produced from the eye that is in the body; and an effect rests on its cause. ‘On what does the eye rest?’ ‘On colors.’ The eye, itself a modification of colors, is directed by them so as to perceive them; it is produced by those very colors that direct it to perceive them. Therefore the eye, together with the sun, and the east, and all that lie in the east, rests on colors; the entire east, together with the eye, is but colors. ‘On what do these colors rest?’ ‘On the heart,’ said Yājña-valkya. Colors are made by the heart; it is the heart that is transformed into them, ‘for everybody knows colors through the heart.’ ‘Heart’ here refers to the intellect and Manas taken together (i.e. mind). Therefore ‘it is on the heart that colors rest.’ The idea is that since one remembers colors, lying as impressions, through the heart, therefore colors rest on the heart. ‘It is just so, Yājña-valkya.’
🔗  ‘What deity are you identified with in the south?’ etc. – should be explained as before: Who is your deity in the south? ‘With the deity, Yama – I am the south, and Yama is my deity.’ ‘On what does Yama rest?’ ‘On the sacrifice.’ Yama together with the south rests on the sacrifice, his cause. How can Yama be the effect of a sacrifice? This is being answered: The priests officiate in the sacrifice, and the sacrificer redeems it from them by means of the remuneration, and wins the south together with Yama through that sacrifice. Hence Yama, being its effect, rests on the sacrifice, together with the south. ‘On what does the sacrifice rest?’ ‘On the remuneration (of the priests).’ The sacrifice is redeemed through the remuneration; therefore it is the effect of the remuneration. ‘On what does the remuneration rest?’ ‘On faith.’ ‘Faith’ means liberality – faith in the Vedas coupled with devotion. How does the remuneration rest on faith?’ ‘Because whenever a man has faith, he gives remuneration to the priests; if he has no faith, he does not give it. Therefore it is on faith tha the remuneration rests.’ ‘On what does faith rest?’ ‘On the heart,’ said Yājña-valkya, ‘faith is a modification of the heart, for one knows faith through the heart, and a modification rests on that which has it; therefore it is on the heart that faith rests.’ ‘It is just so, Yājña-valkya.’
🔗  ‘What deity are you identified with in the west?’ ‘With the deity, VaruṇaVaruṇa is my presidinng deity in that direction.’ ‘On what does Varuṇa rest?’ ‘On water,’ for Varuṇa is the effect of water. Witness the Śrutis, ‘Faith is water’ (TaitS.1.6.8.1), and ‘From faith he created Varuṇa.’ ‘On what does water rest?’ ‘On the seed,’ for the Śruti says, ‘From the seed was water created’ (cf. AitU.1.1.4). ‘On what does the seed rest?’ ‘On the heart,’ because the seed is the effect of the heart. Lust is a modification of the heart, for the seed issues from the heart of a man under its influence. ‘Therefore do they say of a new-born child, who closely resembles (his father), that he has sprung from his father’s heart, as it were, that he has been made out of (his father’s) heart, as it were, as an ear-ring is made out of gold. Therefore, it is on the heart that the seed rests.’ ‘It is just so, Yājña-valkya.’
🔗  ‘What deity are you identified with in the north?’ ‘With the deity, Soma.’ ‘Soma’ here means both the moon and creeper. ‘On what does Soma rest?’ ‘On initiation,’ for the initiated sacrificer purchases the Soma creeper, and sacrificing with that creeper along with meditation, attains (his identity with) the north, presided over by the moon and named after her. ‘On what does initiation rest?’ ‘On truth.’ How? Because initiation rests on truth, ‘therefore do they say to one initiated: Speak the truth,’ lest the cause being spoilt, the effect also be spoilt. Therefore ‘it is on truth that initiation rests.’ ‘On what does truth rest?’ ‘On the heart,’ said Yājña-valkya, ‘for one knows truth through the heart; therefore it is on the heart that truth rests.’ ‘It is just so, Yājña-valkya.’
🔗  ‘What deity are you identified with in the fixed direction?’ Being the same to all who dwell round Mount Meru (The directions east, west, etc., vary according to the relative position of the dwellers this mountain, the east being that in which they see the sun rise. But the direction overhead is obviously constant to all of them), the direction overhead is called the fixed direction. ‘With the deity, fire,’ for overhead there is more light, and fire is luminous. ‘On what does fire rest?’ ‘On speech.’ ‘On what does speech rest?’ ‘On the heart.’ Now Yājña-valkya, through his heart extending in all directions, has realized all the quarters as his own self; the quarters, with their deities and supports, are a part and parcel of him, and he is identified with name, color (form) and action. Of these, color together with the east is one with his heart. Mechanical rites, the act of procreation and rites combined with meditation, representing the south, west and north respectively, together with their results and presiding deities, are likewise unified in his heart. And all names together with the overhead direction also reach his heart through speech. The whole universe is comprised in these; color (form), action and name; and all these are but (modifications of) the heart. Therefore Śākalya asks about the heart, which is the embodiment of everything: ‘On what does the heart rest?’
🔗  ‘You ghost,’ said Yājña-valkya, addressing him by a different name, ‘when you think the heart, or the mind, which is the self (In a figurative sense) of the body, is elsewhere than in us, (then the body is dead). Should it be elsewhere than in us, dogs would then eat this body, or birds tear it to pieces. Therefore the heart rests on me, i.e. the body’ – this is the idea. The body also, as consisting of name, color (form) and action, rests on the heart.
🔗  ‘You have stated that the body and the heart – the effect and the instrument – rest on each other. I therefore ask you: ‘On what do the body and the heart rest?’ ‘On the Prāṇa’: The body and the mind rest on the force called Prāṇa (For the functions of these see commentary on BrhUEng.1.5.3). ‘On what does the Prāṇa rest?’ ‘On the Apāna’: That force called Prāṇa would go out (through the mouth and nostrils), were it not held back by the force called Apāna. ‘On what does the Apāna rest?’ ‘On the Vyāna’: That force called Apāna would also depart (through the lower orifice) as the Prāṇa would (through the mouth and nostrils), were they not both held back by the force called Vyāna, which occupies an intermediate position. ‘On what does the Vyāna rest?’ ‘On the Udāna’: All the three forces would go out in all directions, were they not fixed, as to a post, to the Udāna. ‘On what does the Udāna rest?’ ‘On the Samāna,’ for all these forces rest on the Samāna. The idea is this: The body, mind and the vital forces are interdependent and work together as an orderly aggregate, dominated by the purpose of the individual self. Now that transcendent Brahman, which is immediate and direct, by which all these up to the space are regulated, on which they rest, and by which they are pervaded, has to be described. Hence the text goes on:

This self is That which has been described in the Madhu-kāṇḍa (Consisting of chapters I and II) as ‘Not this, not this’ (BrhUEng.2.3.6). It is imperceptible, not perceivable. How? Because It is beyond the characteristics of effects, therefore It is imperceptible. Why? For It is never perceived. Only a differentiated object, which is within the range of the organs, can be perceived: but the Self is the opposite of that. Similarly undecaying. What is gross and made up of parts decays, as, for instance, the body; but the Self is the opposite of that; hence It never decays. Likewise unattached. A gross object, being related to another gross object, is attached to it; but the Self is the opposite of that: hence It is never attached. Similarly unfettered, or free. Whatever is gross becomes bound; but It, being the opposite of that, is free, and for that reason never feels pain. Hence also It never suffers injury. Being beyond such characteristics of effects as perception, decay, attachment and bondage, It never suffers injury, in other words, is never destroyed.

The Śruti, out of eagerness, has set aside the order (Of the dialog. Now it is Yājña-valkya who is asking), stepped out of the story and described in its own form the Being who is to be known only from the Upaniṣads. Then it resumes the garb of the story and says (through Yājña-valkya): These are the eight abodes, described above in the words, ‘Whose abode is the earth,’ etc.; the eight instruments of vision, fire etc.; the eight deities, referred to in, ‘ “Nectar (chyle),” said he,’ etc.; the eight beings, mentioned in, ‘The very being who is identified with the body’ (BrhUEng.3.9.10), etc. I ask you, who are proud of your learning, of that Being devoid of hunger etc. who is to be known only from the Upaniṣads, and through no other means of knowledge, who definitely projects those beings, those identified with the body etc., divided into eight groups of four items (viz abode, instrument of vision, light and deity) each, so as to constitute the universe as it is, and withdraws them through the east etc. into Himself, i.e. into the heart (mind), and who is at the same time transcendent, beyond the attributes of such limiting adjuncts as identification with the heart. If you cannot clearly tell me of Him, your head shall fall off, said Yājña-valkya. Śākalya did not know that Being who is to be known only from the Upaniṣads; his head fell off. The story is ended. ‘Śākalya did not know Him,’ etc., is the narration of the Śruti.

Further, robbers snatched away even his bones as they were being carried to his home by his disciples for the funeral rites – why? – mistaking them for something else, (viz treasure in it. A previous anecdote is here referred to. In the Aṣṭādhyāyī, SatBr.11. It consists of eight chapters and treats of rituals) there occurs a dialog between Yājña-valkya and Śākalya with a similar ending. There Yājña-valkya gave a curse: ‘ “You shall die in an unholy place at an inauspicious moment, and even your bones shall not reach home.” He died exactly like that; and robbers seized his bones too, mistaking them for something else’ (SatBr.11.6.3.11). The moral of the story is that one should not be disrespectful, but rather submissive to a true knower of Brahman. That story is here referred to in order to teach conduct and also to extol the knowledge of Brahman.
🔗  How can that Brahman which has been indicated as ‘Not this, not this’ by the elimination of everything else, be positively indicated? In order to answer this, as also to state the cause of the universe, the Śruti again resorts to the story. The point of the story is that one may take away cattle by defeating Vedic scholars who do not truly know Brahman. In view of the customary procedure (That things belonging to Brāhmaṇas must not be taken without their consent) Yājña-valkya said –
Then, after the Brāhmaṇas were silent, he said, addressing them, ‘Revered Brāhmaṇas, whichsoever amongst you wishes, “I shall question Yājña-valkya”, may come forward and do so, or all of you may. Or I question whichsoever amongst you wishes, “Let Yājña-valkya question me”, or question all of you.’ The Brāhmaṇas, even though thus addressed, did not dare to give any reply whatsoever.
🔗  When the Brāhmaṇas were silent, he asked them through the following verses:

1. As in the world is a large tree – the word ‘Vanas-pati’ qualifies the word ‘tree’ – so indeed is a man. This is true. His hair is its leaves: A man’s hair corresponds to the leaves of a tree. His skin is its outer bark.

2. It is from a man’s skin that blood flows, and it is from the bark of a large tree that sap exudes. Since a man and a large tree thus resemble each other in all respects, therefore when a man is wounded, blood flows, as sap from a tree that is injured or cut.

3. Similarly a man’s flesh is the inner bark of a large tree. A man’s tendons are the innermost layer of bark in a tree, that layer which is under the inner bark and attached to the wood; both are tough, or strong, like the tendons. A man’s bones lie under the tendons; similarly under the innermost bark is the wood. A man’s marrow is comparable to the pith of a large tree. There is no difference between the two; they resemble each other.

4. If a tree, after it is felled, springs again from its root in a newer form, etc. We have seen that previous to this feature there was complete similarity between a tree and a man. We notice, however, this peculiarity in a tree that it springs again after it is felled, while we do not see that a man cut off by death springs forth again. But there must be a renascence from some source. Therefore I ask you, from what root indeed does man spring forth after he is cut off by death? In other words, whence is a dead man reborn?

5. If you say that he springs from the seed, do not say (so), you should not say so. Why? Because the seed is produced in a living man, not in a dead man. A tree springs also from the seed, not from the trunk only. The particle ‘iva’ is expletive. A large tree, after it is dead, certainly springs again from the seed as well.

6. If someone pulls out a tree with its root or its seed, it no more sprouts. Therefore I ask you about the root of the whole universe: From what root does a man spring forth after he is cut off by death?

7. If you think he is ever born, and there is nothing more to ask about him – a question about birth is possible only of one who is yet to be born, and not of one who is already born; but a man is ever born, so no question about his birth is admissible – I say, no. What happens then? After death he is again born of a certainty, for otherwise you would be assuming that a man reaps the fruits of actions that he has never done, and misses those of actions he has actually done. So I ask you, who should again bring him, the dead man, forth?

The Brāhmaṇas did not know that: that root of the universe out of which the dead man is again born was unknown to them. Hence, being the best of the knowers of Brahman, Yājña-valkya defeated the Brāhmaṇas and took away the cows. The story is finished. The Śruti in its own form now tells us of the root of the universe, about which Yājña-valkya asked the Brāhmaṇas, and gives the words that directly described Brahman: Knowledge, or Pure Intelligence, which is also Bliss, not smitten with pain like sense perception, but serene, beneficent, matchless, spontaneous, ever content and homogeneous. What is that? Brahman, which has both the characteristics (Knowledge and Bliss). The supreme goal, being the bestower of the fruits of actions, of the dispenser of wealth, i.e. of the sacrificer who engages in rites – the word ‘Rāti’ (wealth) has a possessive force – as well as the supreme goal of him who has realized Brahman and lives in It alone, having renounced all desires and doing no (ritualistic) work.

Here is something to discuss. The word ‘bliss’ is generally known to denote pleasure; and here we find the word ‘bliss’ used as an epithet of Brahman in the expression ‘Bliss, Brahman.’ Elsewhere in the Śrutis too we have: ‘He knew bliss to be Brahman’ (TaitU.3.6.1), ‘Knowing the bliss of Brahman’ (TaitU.2.7.1), ‘If this Supreme Self were not bliss’ (TaitU.2.7.1), ‘That which is infinite is bliss’ (ChanU.7.23.1), ‘This is its supreme bliss,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.3.32). The word ‘bliss’ is also commonly known to refer to pleasure that is cognized. The use of the word ‘bliss’ in the above quotations would be justified if the bliss of Brahman be an object of cognition. It may be urged: On the authority of the Śrutis, Brahman is bliss that is cognized; so what is there to discuss? The reply is: Not so, for we notice Śruti texts that are contradictory. It is true that in the Śrutis the word ‘bliss’ refers to Brahman; but there is also the negation of knowledge when there is oneness. For example: ‘But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should one see and through what, … what should one know and through what?’ (BrhUEng.2.6.14; BrhUEng.4.5.15), ‘Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, knows nothing else, that is the infinite’ (ChanU.7.24.1), ‘Being fully embraced by the Supreme Self, he does not know anything outside of himself,’ etc. (BrhUEng.4.3.21). Therefore on account of the contradictory Śruti texts a discussion is necessary. Hence we should discuss in order to ascertain the true meaning of the Vedic passages. Moreover, there is a divergence of opinion among the advocates of liberation. The Sāṅkhya and Vaiśeṣika schools, for instance, while believing in liberation, hold that there is no joy to be cognized in it, thus differing from others, who maintain that there is surpassing joy in it, known only to the person concerned.

Now what is the correct position?

Prima facie view: There is joy to be cognized in liberation, for the Śrutis mention bliss etc. with regard to it, as in the following passages: ‘Laughing (or eating), playing and enjoying’ (ChanU.8.12.3), ‘If he desires to attain the world of the Manes, (by his mere wish they appear)’ (ChanU.8.2.1), ‘That which knows things in a general and a particular way’ (MunU.1.1.9 and MunU.2.2.7), ‘Enjoys all desires’ (TaitU.2.4.1), etc.

Objection: But is not knowledge impossible when there is oneness, since the different factors of an action are then absent?

Every action depends on a number of factors, and cognition too is an action.

Tentative answer: The objection does not hold. On the authority of the Śrutis we must admit that there is knowledge of the bliss of Brahman. We have already said that such Śruti texts as, ‘Knowledge, Bliss,’ etc., would be meaningless if the bliss itself were incapable of being cognized.

Objection: But even a scriptural text cannot make fire cold or water hot, for these texts are merely informative. They cannot tell us that in some other country fire is cold, or that in some inaccessible country water is hot.

Tentative answer: Not so, for we observe bliss and knowledge in the individual self. Such texts as, ‘Knowledge, Bliss,’ etc., do not convey a meaning that clashes with perception and other means of knowledge, as, for instance, the sentence, ‘Fire is cold,’ does. On the contrary, we feel their agreement with them. One directly knows the self to be blissful, as when one feels, ‘I am happy.’ So the agreement in question with perception etc. is quite clear. Therefore Brahman, which is bliss, being knowledge as well, knows Itself. Thus would the Śruti texts cited above, viz. ‘Laughing (or eating), playing, enjoying,’ etc., which prove the existence of bliss in the Self, be found to be consistent.

Advaitin’s reply: You are wrong, for there can be no knowledge in the absence of the body and organs. Absolute separation from the body is liberation, and when there is no body, there can be no organs, for they will have so support. Hence too there will be no knowledge, there being no body and organs. If knowledge could arise even in the absence of the body and organs, there would be no necessity for anyone to possess them. Moreover (if Brahman as Knowledge Absolute cognizes the bliss in liberation), it will contradict the oneness of Brahman (By making It both subject and object).

Objection: Suppose we say that the Supreme Brahman, being eternal Knowledge, ever knows Itself as Bliss Absolute?

Reply: No, (this has just been answered). Even the man under bondage, when freed from relative existence, would regain his real nature (Brahman). (So the same argument would apply to him also). Like a handful of water thrown into a tank, he does not retain a separate existence so as to know the blissful Brahman. Hence, to say that the liberated man knows the blissful Self is meaningless. If, on the other hand, the liberated man, being different from Brahman, knows the bliss of Brahman and the individual self as, ‘I am the bliss Absolute,’ then the oneness of Brahman is contradicted, which would be against all Śrutis; and there is no possibility of a third hypothesis. Moreover, if Brahman ever knows Its own bliss, it is superfluous to distinguish between awareness and unawareness. If It is constantly aware of this bliss, then that is Its nature; hence there is no sense in maintaining that It cognizes Its own bliss. Such a view would be tenable if ever there were the possibility of Its not knowing that bliss, as, for instance, a man knows himself and another (by an act of will). There is certainly no sense in distinguishing between a state of awareness and its opposite in the case of man whose mind is uninterruptedly absorbed in making an arrow, for instance. If, on the other hand, Brahman or the Self is supposed to be knowing Its bliss interrupted, then in the intervals when It does not cognize Itself, It must know something else (And thereby become finite and mortal, ChanU.7.24.1 or else become unconscious); and the Self would become changeful, which would make It non-permanent. Hence the text, ‘Knowledge, Bliss,’ etc., must be interpreted as setting forth the nature of Brahman, and not signifying that the bliss of the Self is cognized.

Objection: If this bliss is not cognized, such Śruti texts as ‘Laughing (or eating), playing,’ etc., will be contradicted.

Reply: No, for such texts only described actions happening normally, because of the identity of the liberated man with all (infinite existence). That is to say, because the liberated man is identified with all, therefore wherever we observe the laughing etc. – in the Yogins or in the gods – the Śrutis merely describe them as they are with regard to the liberated man, simply on account of his identity with all. It is but a eulogy on liberation, which is synonymous with such identity.

Objection: If those passages merely describe what happens normally, then there is the chance of the liberated man’s being affected by misery also. If, in other words, he partakes of the laughing etc., happening normally to the Yogins and others, he may also suffer the misery that (plants and other) stationary existences experiences.

Reply: No, all these objections have already been refuted on the ground that the distinctions of happiness, misery, etc., are but superimposed by the delusion created by contact with the limiting adjuncts, the body and organs, which are the products of name and form. We have also started the respective spheres of the apparently contradictory Śruti texts. Hence all passages containing the word ‘bliss’ should be interpreted like the sentence, ‘This is its supreme bliss’ (BrhUEng.4.3.32).

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br.4.01 br.4.02 br.4.03 br.4.04 br.4.05 br.4.06

🔗 The relation of this and the next section to the preceding one is as follows: There a Being, to be known only from the Upaniṣads, has been described as ‘Not this, not this,’ who projects eight beings, viz. the one identified with the body and the rest, and withdraws them into the heart (mind), again projects them in five forms according to the quarters and withdraws them into the heart, then unifies both heart and body, which depend on each other, in the Sūtra, the cause identified with the universe, also called Samāna, the undifferentiated, the being with its fivefold function such as the Prāṇa, and who transcends the being identified with the universe with his three states – the body, heart and Sūtra. The same Being has been described both directly and as the material cause of the universe in the words, ‘Knowledge, Bliss,’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.9.28.7). Some more instruction about Him has to be given by a reference to the deities, that of speech and the rest. Hence this and the next section are being introduced in order to furnish another means of doing this. The story is meant to show the custom to be observed on such occasions.

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BrhUEng.4.01

🔗  Janaka, Emperor of Videha, took his seat, i.e. gave audience to those who wanted to see him, when there came Yājña-valkya, either to have or maintain something of his own or, in view of the Emperor’s desire for knowledge, to do him a favor. Offering his guest adequate worship, Janaka said to him, ‘Yājña-valkya, what has brought you here? Is it to have some more animals, or to hear some subtle questions asked – to hear from me questions on subtle subjects till decisions are arrived at?’ ‘Both animals and questions, O Emperor.’ The word ‘Emperor’ indicates that Janaka must have performed the Vāja-peya sacrifice. ‘Emperor’ also means one who rules over territories through his vassals who obey his commands; or the word may mean, ‘Ruler of all India.’
🔗  ‘But let me hear what any one of your teachers – for you serve several of them – may have told you.’ The other said, ‘My teacher Jitvan, the son of Śilina, has told me that the organ of speech, i.e. its presiding deity (fire), is Brahman.’ Yājña-valkya said, ‘As one who has a mother adequately to instruct him in his childhood, a father to instruct him after that, and a teacher to instruct him from his initiation with the holy thread up to the completion of his studies, should say to his disciple, so has Jitvan, the son of Śilina, said this – that the organ of speech is Brahman. One who has had the advantage of these three sources of purification is a teacher in the primary sense of the word, and never fails to be an authority himself. For what can a person have who cannot speak? – he achieves nothing either in this life or in the next.

‘But did he tell you about the abode and support of that Brahman?’ ‘Abode’ means the body; ‘support’ is permanent resort. Janaka said, ‘No, he did not.’ Yājña-valkya said, ‘If so this Brahman is only one-footed, and lacking the remaining three feet, it will not produce any effect, even though meditated upon.’ ‘Then you tell us, Yājña-valkya, for you know (about them)’. Yājña-valkya said, ‘The organ of speech is its abode, or the body of the deity of the organ of speech (fire), which is a form of Brahman, and the space known as the Undifferentiated is its support as its origin, during its continuance and at its dissolution. It should be meditated upon as intelligence. The secret name of intelligence is the fourth quarter of Brahman; one should meditate upon this Brahman as intelligence.’

‘What is intelligence, Yājña-valkya? Is intelligence itself meant, or its effect (speech)? It is different from the organ of speech, like the body and support?’ ‘No.’ ‘What is it then?’ ‘The organ of speech itself, O Emperor,’ said Yājña-valkya, ‘is intelligence: Intelligence is not different from the organ of speech.’ How is it? The reply is being given: Through the organ of speech, O Emperor, a friend is known, when somebody says, ‘He is our friend.’ Likewise the Ṛg-Veda etc. Sacrifices mean the spiritual effects produced by them; the same with offering oblations, as well as giving food and drink. This world, the present life, the next world, the life to come, and all beings are known through the organ of speech alone, O Emperor. Therefore the organ of speech, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman. The organ of speech never leaves him, the knower of the Brahman described above, who knowing thus meditates upon it, all beings eagerly come to him with offerings etc., and being a god in this very life, he attains the gods, is merged in them after death. ‘I give you a thousand cows with a bull like an elephant,’ said Emperor Janaka, as a return for the instruction received. Yājña-valkya replied, ‘My father was of opinion that one should not accept wealth from a disciple without fully instructing or satisfying him. I too hold that view.’
🔗  ‘Let me hear whatever,’ etc. ‘Udaṅka, the son of Śulba, has told me that the vital force is Brahman.’ ‘The vital force’ means the deity Vāyu, as ‘the organ of speech’ in the preceding paragraph meant the deity fire. ‘The vital force is its abode, and the space (the Undifferentiated) its support.’ Its secret name: ‘It should be meditated upon as dear.’ ‘For the sake of the vital force, O Emperor, a man performs sacrifices for one for whom they should not be performed, such as even an outcast, and even accepts gifts from one from whom they should not be accepted, for instance, an Ugra (One born of a Kṣatriya father and a Śūdra mother, and supposed to be generally characterized by cruelty); and one runs the risk of one’s life in any quarter infested by robbers etc. that one may go to. All this is possible because the vital force is dear: It is for the sake of the vital force, O Emperor. Therefore the vital force, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman. The vital force never leaves him,’ etc. The rest has been explained.
🔗  ‘Let me hear,’ etc. Barku, the son of Vṛṣṇa, etc. The eye is Brahman: The sun is the presiding deity of the eye. The secret name is truth. ‘Because what one hears with the ears may be false, but not what one sees with the eyes, therefore if a person, O Emperor, says to one who has seen with the eyes, “Have you seen the elephant?” and he answers, “Yes, I have,” then it is considered true; while if another says, “I have heard of it,” it may not correspond with fact. But what is seen with the eyes is always true, as it corresponds with fact.’
🔗  ‘Let me hear,’ etc. Gardabhī-vipīta, of the line of Bhārad-vaja, etc. The ear is Brahman: The quarters are the presiding deities of the ear. ‘It should be meditated upon as infinite.’ ‘What is the infinity of the ear?’ ‘Because the quarters themselves are the infinity, therefore, O Emperor, to whatever direction, east or north, one may go, one never reaches its end. Hence the quarters are infinite. The quarters, O Emperor, are the ear. Therefore the infinity of the quarters is also that of the ear.’
🔗  ‘Satya-kāma, the son of Jabalā,’ etc. The moon is the presiding deity of the Manas. The secret name is bliss. ‘Because the Manas itself is bliss, therefore with the Manas a man fancies and woos a woman. From that a son resembling him is born of that woman, and that son is the cause of bliss; therefore the Manas, which brings this son into being, is bliss.’
🔗  Vidagdha, the son of Śakala, etc. The heart is Brahman. The heart, O Emperor, is the abode of all beings. We have already said in the section relating to Śākalya that all beings consisting of name, form and action depend on the heart (mind) and rest on it (See commentary on BrhUEng.3.9.24). ‘Therefore on the heart, O Emperor, all beings rest. Hence it should be meditated upon as stability.’ Prajā-pati (Hiraṇya-garbha) is the presiding deity of the heart.

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BrhUEng.4.02

🔗  Janaka, Emperor of Videha, etc. As Yājña-valkya knew all aspects of Brahman with their attributes, Janaka gave up his pride of teachership, rose from his lounge, a particular kind of seat, and approaching Yājña-valkya, i.e. prostrating himself at his feet, said, ‘Salutations to you, Yājña-valkya, please instruct me.’ The word ‘iti’ marks the close of his speech. Yājña-valkya replied, ‘As in the world one wishing to go a long distance should secure a chariot, if he wants to go by land, or a boat, if he wants to go by water, so have you fully equipped your mind with so many secret names (of Brahman) – by meditating upon Brahman in so many aspects bearing those names. Not only that, you are likewise respected and wealthy, not poor, and you have studied the Vedas and heard the Upaniṣads from teachers. Though you are thus endowed with all glories, you are but in the midst of fear owing to the absence of Self-knowledge, i.e. you are far from achieving the object of your life, till you realize the Supreme Brahman. With all this outfit serving as a boat or a chariot, where will you go when you are separated from this body? What will you attain?’ ‘I do not know, sir, where I shall go.’ ‘If thus you do not know where you will go to achieve the object of your life, then I will tell you where you will go.’ ‘Tell me, sir, if you are gracious to me.’ ‘Listen.’
🔗  This being who is specially located in the right eye – the being in the sun who has been described before in the dictum, ‘The eye is Brahman’ (BrhUEng.4.1.4), and is called Satyais named Indha. This being, on account of his resplendence, has an obvious name, Indha. Though he is Indha, he is indirectly called Indra, for the gods have a fondness, as it were, for indirect names, and hate to be called directly. Thus you have attained the self called Vaiśvā-nara.
🔗  The human form that is in the left eye is his wife, Virāj. Of Indra or the self called Vaiśvā-nara whom you have attained, Virāj, or matter, is the wife, both being objects of enjoyment. This couple, matter and its enjoyer, is united in dreams (Viśva or Vaiśvā-nara, Taijasa and Prājña are the names of the self as identified with the gross, the subtle and the causal body, respectively, in the states of wakefulness, dream and dreamless sleep. Hence the Vaiśvā-nara itself is now being described as the Taijasa for the purpose of meditation). How? The space that is within the lump of flesh called the heart is their place of union, the place where Indra and his wife enjoy each other’s company. Their food, or means of sustenance, is the following. What is it? The lump of blood – (lit.) blood in the form of a lump – in the heart. The food we eat takes two forms; the gross part goes down (and is excreted), and the rest is metabolized in two ways under the action of the internal heat. That part of the chyle which is of medium fineness passes through the successive stages of blood etc., and nourishes the gross body made up of the five elements. The finest part of the chyle is ‘the lump of blood,’ which. penetrating our fine nerves, causes Indra – identified with the subtle body and called Taijasa – who is united with his wife in the heart, to stay in the body. This is what is expressed by the passage, ‘Their food,’ etc.

There are other things also. Their wrap is, etc. People who sleep after their meals use wraps; the Śruti is fancying that similarity here. What is the wrap of this couple? The net-like structure in the heart. ‘Net-like,’ because of the numerous openings of the nerves. Their road for moving, or coming from the dream to the waking state, is the nerve that goes upward from the heart. Its size is being given: As in the world a hair split into a thousand parts is extremely fine, so is it. In this body there are nerves called Hitā, which are placed in that lump of flesh, the heart. From it they branch off everywhere like the filaments of a Kadamba flower. Through these extremely fine nerves the food passes as it moves on. The body of Indra (the subtle body) is nourished by this food and held fast as by a cord. Because the gross body is nourished by gross food, but this subtle body, the body of Indra, is sustained by fine food. The food that nourishes the gross body is also fine, in comparison with the gross substances in the body that are eliminated; but the food that sustains the subtle body is finer than that. Hence the gross body has fine food, but the subtle body has finer food than the gross body. ‘Śārīra’ in the text is the same as ‘Śarīra’ (body). The idea is that the Taijasa is nourished by finer food than the Vaiśvā-nara.
🔗  This Taijasa which is identified with the heart (mind) is supported by the subtle vital force, and becomes the vital force, (here, the Prājña). Of the sage who has first attained the Vaiśvā-nara, then the Taijasa, or the self identified with the mind, and after that the self identified with the vital force (Prājña), the east is the eastern vital force; similarly the south the southern vital force, likewise the west the western vital force, the north the northern vital force, the direction above the upper vital force, the direction below the nether vital force, and all the quarters the different vital forces. Thus the sage identifies himself, by stages, with the vital force that comprises everything. Then withdrawing this all-comprising vital force into the inner self, he next attains the natural state of the Witness, the transcendent Self that is described as ‘Not this, not this.’ This self which the sage thus attains is That which has been described as ‘Not this, not this.’ This passage, up to ‘never suffers injury, ‘has already been explained (BrhUEng.3.9.26). ‘You have attained That which is free from fear due to birth, death, etc., O Janaka,’ said Yājña-valkya. This is in fulfillment of the statement, ‘Then I will tell you where you will go.’ ‘Revered Yājña-valkya,’ said Emperor Janaka, ‘may That which is free from fear be yours, too, for you have made that which is free from fear, the Brahman, known or accessible to us, by the removal of the veil of ignorance created by the limiting adjuncts. What else can I give you in return for this knowledge, for you have presented the Ātman Itself? Hence salutations to you! This (empire of) Videha is yours – enjoy it as you will: I myself too am at your service. Please use me as well as the empire just as you like.’

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BrhUEng.4.03

🔗  The connection of the present section with the preceding portion is as follows: The individual self – the Brahman that is immediate and direct, the self that is within all – is identical with the Supreme Self. We know this from such Śruti texts as, ‘There is no other witness but Him’ (BrhUEng.3.7.23), and ‘There is no other witness but This’ (BrhUEng.3.8.11), as also ‘This self has entered into these bodies’ (BrhUEng.1.4.7), and it is inferred from its functions of speech etc. That it exists and is different from the body, has been known in the dialog between Bālāki and Ajāta-śatru (BrhUEng.2.1) in the Madhu-kāṇḍa, from the denial of agency and enjoyment to the vital force etc. Nevertheless, in the section dealing with the question of Uṣasta, in the words, ‘That which breathes through the Prāṇa,’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.4.1), it has been known in a general way, from the introduction of the functions of breathing etc., that the self is to be inferred from these functions, and in the words, ‘Witness of vision,’ etc. (BrhUEng.3.4.2), it has been more particularly known as being by nature constant intelligence. It suffers transmigration owing to adventitious limiting adjuncts (Ignorance and its effects), as, for instance, the appearance of a rope, a desert, a mother-of-pearl, and the sky as a snake, wat