The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (with the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya)
by Swāmī Mādhavānanda | 1950 | 272,359 words | ISBN-10: 8175051027
This Upanishad is widely known for its philosophical statements and is ascribed to Yajnavalkya. It looks at reality as being indescribable and its nature to be infinite and consciousness-bliss. Ethics revolve around the five Yajnas or sacrifices. This book includes the english translation of the Bhāṣya of Śaṅkara. The Shankara-Bhashya is the most ...
‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (I. iv. 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”’ (I. iv. io), 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’ (Ibid.). ‘It should be realised in one form only’ (IV. iv. 20), ‘He goes from death to death who sees difference, as it were, in It’ (IV, iv. 19; Ka. IV. 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, Vaiśvānara, the self of a human form, Prajāpati, Ka and Hiraṇyagarbha. 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 experíencer, 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. (II. 7), that Brahman is intelligible only to a highly purified divine intellect and unintelligible to an ordinary intellect. So also in the Chhāndogya Upaniṣad, ‘He only knows who has got a teacher’ (VI. xiv. 2), and ‘Knowledge received from the teacher alone (is best)’ (Ch. IV. ix. 3). And in the Gitā, ‘Sages who have realised the truth will instruct you in knowledge’ (IV. 34). Here too the great abstruseness of Brahman will be set forth in elaborate detail in the conversation between Sākalya and Yājñavalkya. 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 Śmṛti passages, ‘This understanding is not to be attained through argument’ (Ka. II. 9), and ‘To one who has been burnt by logic-chopping (this instruction is) not (to be given)’ (Mbh. XII. cclii. 18). That faith is a great factor in the realisation of Brahman is another implication of the story, because in the story Gārgya and Ajātaśatru are seen to have great faith. ‘One who has faith attains knowledge,’ also says the Smṛti (G. IV. 39).
ॐ । दृप्तबालाकिर्हानूचानो गार्ग्य आस, स होवाचाजातशत्रुं काश्यम्, ब्रह्म ते ब्रवाणीति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, सहस्रमेतस्यां वाचि दद्मः, जनको जनक इति वै जना धावन्तीति ॥ १ ॥
oṃ | dṛptabālākirhānūcāno gārgya āsa, sa hovācājātaśatruṃ kāśyam, brahma te bravāṇīti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, sahasrametasyāṃ vāci dadmaḥ, janako janaka iti vai janā dhāvantīti || 1 ||
1. Om. There was a man of the Garga family called Proud Bālāki, who was a speaker. He said to Ajātaśatru, the King of Benares, ‘I will tell you about Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘For this proposal I give you a thousand (cows). People indeed rush saying, “Janaka, Janaka.” (I too have some of his qualities.)’
There was at some past date a man holding the prīma 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 Balākā. The particle ‘ha’ refers to tradition as set forth in the story. Who was a speaker, one skilled in expounding, eloquent. He said to Ajātaśatru, the King of Benares, after approaching him, ‘I will tell you about Brahman,’ Thus accosted, Ajātaśatru 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 tc 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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवासावादित्ये पुरुष एतम् एवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजात्शत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, अतिष्ठाः सर्वेषां भूतानां मूर्धा राजेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्तेऽतिष्ठाः सर्वेषां भूतानां मूर्धा राजा भवति ॥ २ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāsāvāditye puruṣa etam evāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, atiṣṭhāḥ sarveṣāṃ bhūtānāṃ mūrdhā rājeti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste'tiṣṭhāḥ sarveṣāṃ bhūtānāṃ mūrdhā rājā bhavati || 2 ||
2. Gārgya said, ‘That being who is in the sun, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as all-surpassing, as the head of all beings and as resplendent.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes all-surpassing, the head of all beings and resplendent.
When the King was thus 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, Ajātaśatru 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 know. 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’ (Ś. X. v. 2. 20).
स होवाच गार्ग्यः:, य एवासौ चन्द्रे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजात्शत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, बृहन्पाण्डरवासाः सोमो राजेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्तेऽहरहर्ह सुतः प्रसुतो भवति, नास्यान्नं क्षीयते ॥ ३ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ:, ya evāsau candre puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, bṛhanpāṇḍaravāsāḥ somo rājeti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste'haraharha sutaḥ prasuto bhavati, nāsyānnaṃ kṣīyate || 3 ||
3. Gārgya said, ‘That being who is in the moon, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as the great, white-robed, radiant Soma.’ He who meditates upon him as such has abundant Soma pressed in his principal and auxiliary sacrifices every day, and his food never gets short.
When Ajātaśatru in the course of the dialogue 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 auxiliray 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 Bfahman as consisting of food.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः:, य एवासौ विद्युति पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, तेजस्वीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते तेजस्वी ह भवति, तेजस्विनी हास्य प्रजा भवति ॥ ४ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ:, ya evāsau vidyuti puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, tejasvīti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste tejasvī ha bhavati, tejasvinī hāsya prajā bhavati || 4 ||
4. Gārgya said, ‘That being who is in lightning, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as powerful.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes powerful, and his progeny too becomes powerful.
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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायमाकाशे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाह्, पूर्णमप्रवर्तीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते पूर्यते प्रजया पशुभिः नास्यास्माल्लोकात्प्रजोद्वर्तते ॥ ५ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyamākāśe puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāh, pūrṇamapravartīti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste pūryate prajayā paśubhiḥ nāsyāsmāllokātprajodvartate || 5 ||
5. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in the otlier, I meditate upon as Brahman. ' Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don't talk about him. I meditate upon him as full and unmoving. ' He who meditates upon him as such is filled with progeny and cattle, and his progeny is never extinct from this world.
Likewise there is one god in the ether, in the ether 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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायं वायौ पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, इन्द्रो वैकुण्थोऽपराजिता सेनेति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते जिष्णुर्हापराजिष्णुर्भवत्यन्यतस्त्यजायी ॥ ६ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyaṃ vāyau puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, indro vaikuṇtho'parājitā seneti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste jiṣṇurhāparājiṣṇurbhavatyanyatastyajāyī || 6 ||
6. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in air, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don't talk about him. I meditate upon him as the Lord, as irresistible, and as the unvanquished army.’ He who meditates upon him as such ever becomes victorious and invincible, and conquers his enemies.
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 victorīous and invincible by enemies, and conquers his enemies.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायमग्नौ पुरुष एतमेवाहम् ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, विषासहिरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते विषासहिर्ह भवति, विषासहिर्हास्य प्रजा भवति ॥ ७ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyamagnau puruṣa etamevāham brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, viṣāsahiriti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste viṣāsahirha bhavati, viṣāsahirhāsya prajā bhavati || 7 ||
7. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in fire, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as forbearing.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes forbearing, and his progeny too becomes forbearing.
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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायमप्सु पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, प्रतिरूप इति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतम् एवमुपास्ते प्रतिरूपं हैवैनमुपगच्छति, नाप्रतिरूपम्, अथो प्रतिरूपोऽस्मज्जायते ॥ ८ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyamapsu puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, pratirūpa iti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etam evamupāste pratirūpaṃ haivainamupagacchati, nāpratirūpam, atho pratirūpo'smajjāyate || 8 ||
8. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in a looking-glass, I meditate up as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as shining.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes shining, and his progeny too becomes shining. He also outshines all those with whom he comes in contact.
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).
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायमादर्शे पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, रोचिष्णुरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते रोचिष्णुर्ह भवति रोचिष्णुर्हास्य प्रजा भवति, अथो यैः संनिगच्छति, सर्वांस्तानतिरोचते ॥ ९ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyamādarśe puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, rociṣṇuriti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste rociṣṇurha bhavati rociṣṇurhāsya prajā bhavati, atho yaiḥ saṃnigacchati, sarvāṃstānatirocate || 9 ||
9. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in a looking-glass and m 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.
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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः; य एवायं यन्तं पश्चात्शब्दोऽनूदेत्येतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, असुरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते सर्वं हैवास्मिंल्लोक आयुरेति, नैनं पुरा कालात्प्राणो जहाति ॥ १० ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ; ya evāyaṃ yantaṃ paścātśabdo'nūdetyetamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, asuriti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste sarvaṃ haivāsmiṃlloka āyureti, nainaṃ purā kālātprāṇo jahāti || 10 ||
10. Gārgya said, ‘This sound that issues behind a man as he walks, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don't talk about him. I meditate upon him as life.’ He who meditates upon him as such attains his full term of life in this world, and life does not depart from him before the completion of that term.
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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायं दिक्षु पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजात्शत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, द्वितीयोऽनपग इति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते द्वितीयवान् ह भवति, नास्माद्गणश्छिद्यते ॥ ११ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyaṃ dikṣu puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, dvitīyo'napaga iti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste dvitīyavān ha bhavati, nāsmādgaṇaśchidyate || 11 ||
11. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in the quarters, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him, I meditate upon him as second and as non-separating. He who meditates upon him as such gets companions, and his followers never depart from him.
There is one god in the quarters, the ears and the heart, viz. the Aśvins, 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 Aśvins 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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायं छायामयः पुरुष एतम् एवहां ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, मृत्युरिति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्ते सर्वं हैवस्मिंल्लोक आयुरेति, नैवं पुरा कालान्मृत्युरागच्छति ॥ १२ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyaṃ chāyāmayaḥ puruṣa etam evahāṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, mṛtyuriti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāste sarvaṃ haivasmiṃlloka āyureti, naivaṃ purā kālānmṛtyurāgacchati || 12 ||
12. Gārgya said, ‘This being who identifies himself with the shadow, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don't talk about him. I meditate upon him as death.’ He who meditates upon him as such attains his full term of life in this world, and death does not overtake him before the completion of that term.
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.
स होवाच गार्ग्यः, य एवायमात्मनि पुरुष एतमेवाहं ब्रह्मोपास इति; स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, मा मैतस्मिन्संवदिष्ठाः, आत्मन्वीति वा अहमेतमुपास इति; स य एतमेवमुपास्त आत्मन्वी ह ब्रवति, आत्मन्वीनी हास्य प्रजा भवति; स ह तूष्णीमास गार्ग्यः ॥ १३ ॥
sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, ya evāyamātmani puruṣa etamevāhaṃ brahmopāsa iti; sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, mā maitasminsaṃvadiṣṭhāḥ, ātmanvīti vā ahametamupāsa iti; sa ya etamevamupāsta ātmanvī ha bravati, ātmanvīnī hāsya prajā bhavati; sa ha tūṣṇīmāsa gārgyaḥ || 13 ||
13. Gārgya said, ‘This being who is in the self, I meditate upon as Brahman.’ Ajātaśatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him, I meditate upon him as self-possessed.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes self-possessed, and his progeny too becomes self-possessed. Gārgya remained silent.
There is one god in the self or Hiraṇyagarbha, 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.
स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, एतावन्नु इति; एतावद्धीति; नैतावता विदितं भवतिति; स होवाच गार्ग्यः, उप त्वा यानीति ॥ १४ ॥
sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, etāvannu iti; etāvaddhīti; naitāvatā viditaṃ bhavatiti; sa hovāca gārgyaḥ, upa tvā yānīti || 14 ||
Seeing Gārgya in that state Ajātaśatru said, ‘Is this all the knowledge of Brahman that you have? Or is there anything else?’ The other said, ‘This is all.’ Ajātaśatru 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-surpass: ing, (the head) of all beings’ (II. i. 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 Ajātaśatru, 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 all 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.’
स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, प्रतिलोमं चैतद्यद्ब्राह्मनः क्षत्रियमुपेयात्, ब्रह्म मे वक्ष्यतीति, व्येव त्वा ज्ञपयिष्यामीति; तं पानावादयोत्तस्थौ, तौ ह पुरुषं सुप्तमाजग्मतुः, तमेतैर्नामभिरामन्त्रयांचक्रे, बृहन् पाण्डरवासः सोम राजन्निति; स नोत्तस्थौ, तं पाणिनाऽऽपेषम् बोधयांचकार, स होत्तस्थौ ॥ १५ ॥
sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, pratilomaṃ caitadyadbrāhmanaḥ kṣatriyamupeyāt, brahma me vakṣyatīti, vyeva tvā jñapayiṣyāmīti; taṃ pānāvādayottasthau, tau ha puruṣaṃ suptamājagmatuḥ, tametairnāmabhirāmantrayāṃcakre, bṛhan pāṇḍaravāsaḥ soma rājanniti; sa nottasthau, taṃ pāṇinā''peṣam bodhayāṃcakāra, sa hottasthau || 15 ||
15. Ajātaśatru said, ‘It is contrary to usage that a Brāhmaṇa should approach a Kṣatriya thinking, “He will teach me about Brahman.” However I will instruct you.’ Taking Gārgya by the hand he rose. They came to a sleeping man. (Ajātaśatru) addressed him by these names, ‘Great, White-robed, Radiant, Soma.’ The man did not get up. (The King) pushed him with the hand till he awoke. Then he got up.
Ajātaśatru 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 Ajātaśatru, 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 whorrf Gārgya put forward as Brahman, the agent and experiencer, is in touch with the organs, so is the being put forward by Ajātaśatru— 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 Ajātaṣatru, 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, ñre, 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 with it. 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 mav 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 intercourse 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 (seif) 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 îast asleep, he does not sometimes hear even when called by his conventional name, say Devadatta. 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. By 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’ (I. vi. 3), and ‘The vital force is the immortal entity’ (Ibid.), no other experiencer besides the vital force is admitted. Also, in the passages, ‘This indeed is all the gods’ (I. iv. 6), and ‘Which is that one god? The vital force' (III. ix. 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 mere (momentary) consciousness 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 Ajātaśatru 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 felloe 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, T will tell you about Brahman’ (II. i. 1), and ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman)’ (II. i. 14) aṇḍ concludes with, ‘This much indeed is (the means of) immortality, my dear’ (IV. v. 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 dealing 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. (III. ix. 26; IV. ii. 4; IV. iv. 22; IV. v. 15). Therefore it is proved that there is a conscious Brahman other than and different from these types of unconscious Brahman.
स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, यत्रैष एतत्सुप्तोऽभूद्य एष विज्ञानमयः पुरुषः, क्वैष तदाभूत्, कुत एतदागादिति; तदु ह न मेने गार्ग्यः ॥ १६ ॥
sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, yatraiṣa etatsupto'bhūdya eṣa vijñānamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, kvaiṣa tadābhūt, kuta etadāgāditi; tadu ha na mene gārgyaḥ || 16 ||
Having thus proved the existence of the self other than the body, Ajātaśatru said to Gārgya, ‘When this being full of consciousness was thus asleep, before being roused by pushing,’ etc. ‘Conciousness’ 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 perceived through it, and which perceives through it.
Objection: When the suffix ‘mayaṭ’ 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’ (IV. iv. 5), we see the suffix used in the sense of fulness. 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 fulness 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, Ajātaśatru 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, Ajātaśatru 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.
स होवाचाजातशत्रुः, यत्रैष एतत्सुप्तोऽभूद्य एष विज्ञानमयः पुरुषः, तदेषां प्राणानां विज्ञानेन विज्ञानमादाय य एसोऽन्तर्हृदय आकाषस्तस्मिञ्छेते; तानि यदा गृह्णात्यथ हैतत्पुरुषः स्वपिति नाम; तद्गृहीत एव प्राणो भवति, गृहीता वाक्, गृहीतं चक्षुः, गृहीतं श्रोत्रम्, गृहीतं मनः ॥ १७ ॥
sa hovācājātaśatruḥ, yatraiṣa etatsupto'bhūdya eṣa vijñānamayaḥ puruṣaḥ, tadeṣāṃ prāṇānāṃ vijñānena vijñānamādāya ya eso'ntarhṛdaya ākāṣastasmiñchete; tāni yadā gṛhṇātyatha haitatpuruṣaḥ svapiti nāma; tadgṛhīta eva prāṇo bhavati, gṛhītā vāk, gṛhītaṃ cakṣuḥ, gṛhītaṃ śrotram, gṛhītaṃ manaḥ || 17 ||
17. Ajātaśatru said, 'When this being full of consciousness is thus asleep, it absorbs at the time the functions of the organs through its own consciousness, and lies in the Ākāśa (Supreme Self) that is in the heart. When this being absorbs them, it is called Svapiti. Then the nose is absorbed, the organ of speech is absorbed, the eye is absorbed, the ear is absorbed, and the mind is absorbed.'
Ajātaśatru, 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 ethei. for there is another Śruti in its support: ‘With Existence, my dear, it is then united’ (Ch. VI. viii. 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 undifferentiated, 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 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 favour 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.
स यत्रैतत्स्वप्नाया चरति ते हास्य लोकाः:; तदुतेव महाराजो भवति, उतेव महाब्राह्मणः, उतेवोच्चावचं निगच्छति; स यथा माहारजो जानपदान् गृहीत्वा स्वे जनपदे यथाकामं परिवर्तेत, एवमेवैष एतत्प्राणान् गृहीत्वा स्वे शरीरे यथाकामं परिवर्तते ॥ १७ ॥
sa yatraitatsvapnāyā carati te hāsya lokāḥ; taduteva mahārājo bhavati, uteva mahābrāhmaṇaḥ, utevoccāvacaṃ nigacchati; sa yathā māhārajo jānapadān gṛhītvā sve janapade yathākāmaṃ parivarteta, evamevaiṣa etatprāṇān gṛhītvā sve śarīre yathākāmaṃ parivartate || 17 ||
18. When it thus remains in the dream state, these are its achievements: It then becomes an emperor, as it were, or a noble Brāhmaṇa, as it were, or attains states high or low, as it were. As an emperor, taking his citizens, moves about as he pleases in his own territory, so does it, thus taking the organs, move about as it pleases in its own body.
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, bereaved 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 werè. 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 finds 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 visualise in sleep. Besides, one whose senses are withdrawn can never see objects having colour etc. Nor can there be in that body another like it, and one sees dreams remaining only in the body.
Objection: But one lyiṇg 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:
अथ यदा सुषुप्तो भवति, यदा न कस्यचन वेद, हिता नाम नाड्यो द्वासप्ततिः सहस्राणि हृदयात्पुरीततमभिप्रतिष्ठन्ते, ताभिः प्रत्यवसृप्य पुरीतति शेते; स यथा कुमारो वा महाराजो वा महाब्राह्मणो वातिघ्नीमानन्दस्य गत्वा शयीत, एवमेवैष एतच्छेते || 16 ||
atha yadā suṣupto bhavati, yadā na kasyacana veda, hitā nāma nāḍyo dvāsaptatiḥ sahasrāṇi hṛdayātpurītatamabhipratiṣṭhante, tābhiḥ pratyavasṛpya purītati śete; sa yathā kumāro vā mahārājo vā mahābrāhmaṇo vātighnīmānandasya gatvā śayīta, evamevaiṣa etacchete || 16 ||
19. Again when it becomes fast asleep— when it does not know anything—it comes back along the seventy-two thousand nerves called Hitā, which extend from the heart to the pericardium (the whole body), and remains in the body. As a baby, or an emperor, or a noble Brāhmaṇa lives, having attained the acme of bliss, so does it remain.
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, 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 profuond 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, uniformly 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’ (IV. iii. 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 acṛne 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. ‘Eat’ 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?’ (II. i. 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 come?’ (Ibid.) is being taken up.
Objection If a man living at a particular village 01 town wants to go somewhere else, he starts from that very plaGe, 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.
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’ (I. iv. 7), ‘It knew only Itself’ (I. iv. 10), ‘One should meditate only upon the world of the Self (I. iv. 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 bç 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’ (II. i. 1), and also T will instruct you’ (II. i. 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?’ (II. i. 16).
Now that in which a thing exists is its container, and what is there is the content, 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 Śelf. This is borne out by the Śruti passages, ‘It merges in its own Self’ (Ch. VI. viii. 1), ‘With Existence, my dear, it is then united’ (Ibid.), ‘Fully embraced by the Supreme Self’ (IV. iii. 21), 'Rests on the Supreme Self,’ etc. (Pr. IV. 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:
स यथोर्णनाभिस्तन्तुनोच्चरेत्, यथाग्नेः क्शुद्रा विस्फुलिङ्गा व्युच्चरन्ति, एवमेवास्मादात्मनः सर्वे प्राणः, सर्वे लोकाः, सर्वे देवाः, सर्वानि भूतानि व्युच्चरन्ति; तस्योपनिषत्—सत्यस्य सत्यमिति प्राणा वै सत्यम्, तेषामेष सत्यम् ॥ २० ॥
इति प्रथमं ब्राह्मणम् ॥
sa yathorṇanābhistantunoccaret, yathāgneḥ kśudrā visphuliṅgā vyuccaranti, evamevāsmādātmanaḥ sarve prāṇaḥ, sarve lokāḥ, sarve devāḥ, sarvāni bhūtāni vyuccaranti; tasyopaniṣat—satyasya satyamiti prāṇā vai satyam, teṣāmeṣa satyam || 20 ||
iti prathamaṃ brāhmaṇam ||
20. As a spider moves along the thread (it produces), and as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, so from this Self emanate all organs, all worlds, all gods and all beings. Its secret name (Upaniṣad) is ‘the Truth of truth.’ The vital force is truth, and It is the truth of that.
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 front 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 Hiraṇyagarbha down to a clump of grass. If the reading is, ‘All these souls,’ 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 knowldege 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’ (I. iv. 7) and Tt knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman”’ (I. iv. 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.
Prīnia 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’ (II. i. 15), then mentioning the rousing of the sleeping man by pushing with the hand—thereby showing him to be the per-ceiver 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 ñre and the spider, in the passage, ‘So from this Self.’ etc. And no other cause of the origin of the universe is. mentioned in beUveen, 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 maker of these beings, and whose ‘handiwork this universe is, is indeed to be known’ (IV. 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’ (II. iv. 5; IV. v. 6), the Śruti shows that that self which is familiar to us as being dear is alone to be realised 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’ (I. iv. 7), ‘This (Self) is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth,’ etc. (I. iv. 8), ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman,”’ etc. (I. iv. 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’ (IV. iv. 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 Kauṣītakf Upaniṣad, in the passage, ‘Do not seek to know about speech, know the speaker,’ etc. (III. 8 etc.), it is the agent (the individual self) using speech etc. as in-truments, 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 Sāṃkhyas, 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 elabor ately, 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 favour. 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: 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’ (Mu. I. i. 9 and II. ii. 7), ‘That which transcends hunger and thirst’ (III. v. 1), ‘Unattached, It is not attached to anything’ (III. ix. 26), ‘Under the mighty rule of this Immutable,’ etc. (III. viii. 9), ‘That which living in all beings.... is the internal ruler and immortal’ (III. vii. 15), ‘(That Being) who definitely projects those beings.... and is at the same time transcendent’ (III. ix..26), ‘That great, birthless Self’ (IV. iv. 22 etc.), ‘It is the bank that serves as the boundary to keep the different worlds apart’ (Ibid.), ‘The controller of all, the lord of all' (Ibid.), ‘The Self that is sinless, undecaying, immortal’ (Ch. VIII. vii. 1, 3), ‘It projected fire’ (Ch. VI. ii. 3), ‘In the beginning this universe was only the Self’ (Ai. I. 1), ‘It is not affected by human misery, being beyond it’ (Ka. v. 11). Also the Smṛti passage, ‘I am the origin of all, and from Me everything springs’ (G. X. 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’ (II. i. 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?’ (II. i. 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’ (Ch. VI. viii. 1), ‘Every day they attain this world that is Brahman, but they do not realise this’ (Ch. VIII. iii. 2), ‘Fully embraced by the Supreme Self’ (IV. iii. 21), and ‘Rests on the Supreme Self (Pr. IV. 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’ (Ch. VIII. i. 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’ (I. iv. 7), and ‘It knew only Itself as, “I am Brahman”’ (I. iv. 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, T will tell you about Brahman’ (II. i. 1), and ‘I will teach you about Brahman’ (II. i. 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 harmonise 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. (II. v. 18), the text says, ‘The Supreme Being entered the bodies' (Ibid.), ‘He transformed Himself in accordance with each form; that form of His was for the sake of making Him known' (II. v. 19; R. VI. xlvii. 18); ‘The Wise One, who after projecting all forms, names them, and goes on uttering those names’ (Tai. Ā. III. xii. 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' (Tai. II. vi. 1), ‘Piercing this dividing line (of the head) It entered through that gate’ (Ai. ill. 12), ‘That deity (Existence), penetrating these three gods (fire, water and earth) as this individual self,' etc. (Ch. VI. iii. 3, 4), ‘This Self, being hidden in all beings, is not manifest,’ etc. (Ka. III. 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’ (Mu. II. i. 4), shows the absence of a relative self other than the Supreme Self, as also the Śruti texts, ‘One only without a second' (Ch. VI. ii. 1), ‘This universe is but Brahman' (Mu. II. ii. 11), ‘All this is but the Self' (Ch. VIII. xxv. 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 the 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’ (Śv. VI. 19), ‘The Supreme Being is resplendent, formless, including both within and without, and birthless’ (Mu. II. i. 2), ‘All-pervading like the sky and eternal,’ ‘That great, birthless Self is undecaying, immortal, undying’ (IV. iv. 25), ‘It is never born nor dies’ (Ka. II. 18; G. II. 20), ‘It is undifferentiated,’ etc. (G. II. 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 (p. 299), 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 ñre, 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 in 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 pain as if It had 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 ot knowledge. And one means of knowledge does not contradict another, for it only tells us 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' (G. XV. 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 tire. 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’ (II. iv. 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’ (II. v. 19; III. viii. 8), and This self is Brahman' (II. v. 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 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 and is convinced that it is Brahman. When it is told that it has been separated from the Supreme Brahman like a spark, it is 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, Tt should be realised in one form only’ (IV. iv. 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 realised in one form only/ There is also the censure, ‘He (goes from death to death) who sees difference, as it were, in It/ etc. (IV. iv. 19; Ka. IV. 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 Ì9 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 ether 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’ (Ka. V. ii). We must not imagine the self to be different from Brahman, like a portion of fire, which is ever hot, being cold, or like g. 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’ (II. v. 19), and ‘The Wise One, who after projecting all forms names them, and goes on uttering those names,’ etc. (Tai. Ā. III. xii. 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 colour 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’ (IV. iii. 7), ‘It neither increases nor decreases through work’ (IV. iv. 23), ‘It is not affected by evil work’ (Ibid.), ‘Living the same in all beings’ (G. XIII. 27), ‘(Wise men are even-minded) to a dog as well as a Caṇḍāla, etc.' (G. V. 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 said 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. The ritualistic portion, being authority once, cannot again cease to be authority. 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 a means 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 produces 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 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 the way out.
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, for 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 ñrst 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 sentence has different meanings—one appropriate, and the other contradictory to it. 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 expression, ‘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 united with the clause, 'Fire is cold,’ because its function is exhausted by its 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 establish the unity of Brahman; they do not negate instructions regarding the means to the attainment of 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 lead to valid knowledge regarding their own meaning. If a passage produces valid knowledge regarding its own special meaning, 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 lead to 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 Agnihotra takes the diversity of actions and their factors as they are—although they proceed from error—and enjoins rites such as the Agnihotra, 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 to perform rites. This should also be taken as an answer to the charge that if Brahman be the only reality, there will 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 that 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 the 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 subsisting between the ends and means. In this matter people themselves adopt particular means according to their tastes, and the scriptures simply, remain neutral, 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 borne out also by the eulogistic passages of the Śruti such as, ‘Three classes of Prajāpati’s sons lived a life of continence with their father, Prajāpati,’ etc. (V. ii. i). 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 such as 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' (Tā. XVII. x. 4), ‘One who desires animals must sacrifice’ (Ibid. XVI. xii. 8) and ‘One who desires heaven must sacrifice' (Ibid. XVI. iii. 3), 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 Brāh-maṇa 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 ether? If it does not, then there is no contradiction in our position with 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?’ If 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.' O 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 ether. When the logician finds distinguishing characteristics in the ether, 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’ (Ch. VIII. xiv. 1), and also ‘Let me manifest name and form’ (Ch. VI. iii. 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 will be nobody to receive instruction and profit by it; so instruction about unity will 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, henceì at whom is the objection levelled? (Surely not at us.) (If, however, your ground is that) when the transcendent Brahman is realised 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 realised) instruction is useless, since it depends on many factors, we reply, no, for it will contradict the assumption 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?’ (Ka. II. 21), ‘Even the gods in ancient times were puzzled over this’ (Ka. I. 21), and ‘This understanding is not to be attained through argument’ (Ka. II. 9), as also from those that describe the truth as attainable through special favour 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. (Īś. 5). The Gītā too says, ‘All beings are in Me,’ etc. (IX. 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 Brahamn,”’ (I. iv. 10), 'There is no other witness but This, no other hearer but This,’ etc. (III. viii. 11). Therefore the highest secret name of ‘the Truth of truth’ belongs only to the Supreme Brahman.
Footnotes and references:
The same topic is dealt with in the fourth and last chapter of the Kauṣītakī Upaniṣad also.
The word means the moon as well as a famous creeper of ancient India which together with its juice was indispensable to sacrifices.
In the position taken by Gārgya.
Without an abiding substratum: the view of the Yogācāra school of Buddhism.
The word ‘Puruṣa’ in the text is explained as standing for the genitive case.
See commentary, p. 274.
Samprasāda: a synonym of profound sleep.
As the Mādhyandina recension has it.
By the believers in Īśvara only as the efficient, not material cause of the universe.
The reference is to Draviḍācārya.
Those for a son, for wealth and for heaven. See IV. iv. 22.
Since many passages clearly have a dualistic import.
Having relation to human experience, as opposed to Vedic.
That instruction is necessary before realisation.