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: