The Brāhmaṇa said:
O modest one! I do not move about in this world in the way which, according to your own understanding, you have guessed. I am a Brāhmaṇa, I am emancipated, I am a forester, and I likewise perform the duties of a householder, observing vows. I am not such, O beautiful one! as you see me with the eye. I pervade every single thing that is in this world. Whatever creatures there are in the world, movable or not moving, know me to be the destroyer of them as fire is of wood. Sovereignty over the whole world, and even over heaven; that, or else this knowledge; (of these two) knowledge is my only wealth. This is the path of the Brāhmaṇas, by which those who understand that proceed, to households, or residence in forests, or, dwelling with preceptors, or among mendicants. With numerous unconfused symbols only one knowledge is approached. And those who, adhering to various symbols and Āśramas, have their understanding full of tranquillity, go to the single entity as rivers to the ocean. This path is traversed by the understanding, not by the body. Actions have a beginning and an end, and the body is tied down by action. Hence, O beautiful one! you (need) have no fear occasioned by the other world. With your heart intent upon the real entity, you will certainly come into my self.
Footnotes and references:
The man who has achieved final emancipation has got that, in which the benefits to be derived from the course of life of a Brāhmaṇa, &c., are included (see p. 191 supra). Hence, says he, the p. 307 doubt, on which your question is based as to what world you will go to by being joined to me, is wrong. See p. 256 supra.
He is speaking here on the footing of the essential identity of everything. Cf. Gītā, p. 62.
The expression here is clumsy; the meaning is that he prefers knowledge to sovereignty, if the alternative is offered him.
I. e. the Brahman.
These are the four orders or Āśramas.
The knowledge to be acquired, by whatever symbols the attempt to acquire it is made, is but this, that all is one; and that is acquired certainly when tranquillity has been achieved.
I. e. by realising the identity of everything, not by the actions performed with the body, which, as he goes on to show, are perishable, and cannot lead to any lasting result.