स वा एष एतस्मिन्बुद्धान्ते रत्वा चरित्वा, दृष्ट्वैव पुण्यं च पापं च, पुनः प्रतिन्यायं प्रतियोन्याद्रवति स्वप्नान्तायैव ॥ १७ ॥
sa vā eṣa etasminbuddhānte ratvā caritvā, dṛṣṭvaiva puṇyaṃ ca pāpaṃ ca, punaḥ pratinyāyaṃ pratiyonyādravati svapnāntāyaiva || 17 ||
17. After enjoying himself and roaming in the waking state, and merely seeing (the results of) good and evil, he comes back in the inverse order to his former condition, the dream state (or that of profound sleep).
After enjoying himself and roaming in the waking state, etc.—to be explained as before. ‘He is untouched by whatever he sees in that—waking—state,, for this infinite being is unattached.’
Objection: How is the assertion made about his ‘merely seeing’? As a matter of fact, he does good and evil in the waking state, and sees their results too.
Reply: Not so, for his agency is attributable to his merely revealing the different factors of an action.. Such texts as, ‘It is through the light of the self that he sits,’ etc. (IV. iii. 6), show that the body and organs work, being revealed by the light of the self. For this reason agency is figuratively attributed to the self, which naturally has none. So it has been said, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (IV. iii. 7). The agency is simply due to its limiting adjuncts, the intellect etc., and is not natural to it. Here, however, the self is described from the standpoint of reality independently of the limiting adjuncts: ‘Merely seeing (the results of) good and evil,’ not actually doing them. Hence there is no fear of contradiction between this and the previous text, because the self, freed from its limiting adjuncts, really neither does anything nor is affected by the results of any action. As the Lord has said, ‘The immutable Supreme Self, O Arjuna, being without beginning and without attributes, neither does anything nor is affected by its results although It is in the body’ (G. XIII. 31). And the gift of a thousand cows is made because Yājñavalkya has shown the self to be free from desire. Similarly this and the preceding paragraph prove the non-attachment of the self. Because, passing into the dream state and that of profound sleep, it is not affected by what it did in the waking state—for we do not then find actions such as theft—therefore in all the three states the self is naturally unattached. Hence it is immortal, or distinct from the attributes of the three states.
He comes back to his former condition, the state of profound sleep (Svapnānta). Since the dream state, with its function of seeing visions, has already been mentioned by the word ‘Svapna,’ the addition of the word ‘Anta’ (end) will be appropriate if we take the word ‘Svapnānta’ in the sense of dreamless sleep, which state will also be referred to in the passage, ‘He runs for this state’ (IV. iii. 19). If, however, it is argued by a reference to the following passages, ‘After enjoying himself and roaming in the dream state’ (IV. iii. 34), and ‘Moves to both these states, the dream and waking states’ (IV. iii. 18), that here also the word ’Svapnānta’ means the dream state, with its function of seeing visions, there is nothing wrong in that interpretation too, tor non-attachment of the self, which is sought to be established, certainly is established thereby. Therefore, on returning to the dream state ‘after enjoying himself and roaming in the waking state, and merely seeing (the results of) good and evil,’ he is not pursued by the evils of the waking state.
Thus the idea that has been established by the last three paragraphs is that this self is itself the light and distinct from the body and organs and their stimulating causes, desire and work, on account of its non-attachment—‘For this infinite being is unattached.’ How do we know that the self is unattached? Because it moves by turn from the waking to the dream state, from this to the state of profound sleep, from that again to the dream state, then to the waking state, from that again to the dream state, and so on, which proves that it is distinct from the three states. This idea has also been previously introduced in the passage, ‘Being identified with dreams, it transcends this world—the forms of death’ (IV. iii. 7). Having treated this at length, the Śruti now proceeds to give an illustration, which is the only thing that remains.