स वा एष महानज आत्मा योऽयं विज्ञानमयः प्राणेषु य एषोऽन्तर्हृदय आकाशस्तस्मिञ्छेते, सर्वस्य वशी सर्वस्येशानः सर्वस्याधिपतिः; स न साधुना कर्मणा भूयान्, नो एवासाधुना कनीयान्; एष सर्वेश्वरः; एष भूताधिपतिः, एष भूतपालः, एष सेतुर्विधरण एषां लोकानामसंभेदाय; तमेतं वेदानुवचनेन ब्राह्मणा विविदिषन्ति यज्ञेन दानेन तपसाऽनाशकेन; एतमेव विदित्वा मुनिर्भवति । एतमेव प्रव्राजिनो लोकमिच्छन्तः प्रव्रजन्ति । एतद्ध स्म वै तत् पूर्वे विद्वांसः प्रजां न कामयन्ते, किं प्रजया करिष्यामो येषां नोऽयमात्मायं लोक इति; ते ह स्म पुत्रैषणायाश्च वित्तैषणायाश्च लोकैषणायाश्च व्युत्थायाथ भिक्शाचर्यं चरन्ति; या ह्येव पुत्रैषणा सा वित्तैषणा, या वित्तैषणा सा लोकैषणा, उभे ह्येते एषणे एव भवतः । स एष नेति नेत्यात्मा, अगृह्यो नहि गृह्यते, अशीर्यो नहि शीर्यते, असङ्गो नहि सज्यते, असितो न व्यथते, न रिष्यति; एतमु हैवैते न तरत इति—अतः पापमकरवमिति, अतः कल्याणमकरवमिति; उभे उ हैवैष एते तरति, नैनं कृताकृते तपतः ॥ २२ ॥
sa vā eṣa mahānaja ātmā yo’yaṃ vijñānamayaḥ prāṇeṣu ya eṣo’ntarhṛdaya ākāśastasmiñchete, sarvasya vaśī sarvasyeśānaḥ sarvasyādhipatiḥ; sa na sādhunā karmaṇā bhūyān, no evāsādhunā kanīyān; eṣa sarveśvaraḥ; eṣa bhūtādhipatiḥ, eṣa bhūtapālaḥ, eṣa seturvidharaṇa eṣāṃ lokānāmasaṃbhedāya; tametaṃ vedānuvacanena brāhmaṇā vividiṣanti yajñena dānena tapasā’nāśakena; etameva viditvā munirbhavati | etameva pravrājino lokamicchantaḥ pravrajanti | etaddha sma vai tat pūrve vidvāṃsaḥ prajāṃ na kāmayante, kiṃ prajayā kariṣyāmo yeṣāṃ no’yamātmāyaṃ loka iti; te ha sma putraiṣaṇāyāśca vittaiṣaṇāyāśca lokaiṣaṇāyāśca vyutthāyātha bhikśācaryaṃ caranti; yā hyeva putraiṣaṇā sā vittaiṣaṇā, yā vittaiṣaṇā sā lokaiṣaṇā, ubhe hyete eṣaṇe eva bhavataḥ | sa eṣa neti netyātmā, agṛhyo nahi gṛhyate, aśīryo nahi śīryate, asaṅgo nahi sajyate, asito na vyathate, na riṣyati; etamu haivaite na tarata iti—ataḥ pāpamakaravamiti, ataḥ kalyāṇamakaravamiti; ubhe u haivaiṣa ete tarati, nainaṃ kṛtākṛte tapataḥ || 22 ||
22. That great, birthless Self which is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs, lies in the ether that is within the heart. It is the controller of all, the lord of all, the ruler of all. It does not become better through good work nor worse through bad work. It is the lord of all, It is the ruler of all beings, It is the protector of all beings. It is the bank that serves as the boundary to keep the different worlds apart. The Brāhmaṇas seek to know It through the study of the Vedas, sacrifices, charity, and austerity consisting in a dispassionate enjoyment of sense-objects. Knowing It alone one becomes a sage. Desiring this world (the Self) alone monks renounce their homes. This is (the reason for it): The ancient sages, it is said, did not desire children (thinking), ‘What shall we achieve through children, we who have attained this Self, this world (result).’ They, it is said, renounced their desire for sons, for wealth and for the worlds, and lived a mendicant life. That which is the desire for sons is the desire for wealth, and that which is the desire for wealth is the desire for the worlds, for both these are but desires. This self is That which has been described as ‘Not this, not this.’ It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered—It never feels pain, and never suffers injury. (It is but proper) that the sage is never overtaken by these two thoughts, ‘I did an evil act for this,’ and ‘I did a good act for this.’ He conquers both of them. Things done or not done do not trouble him.
Bondage and liberation together with their causes have been described by the preceding portion consisting of the Mantras as well as the Brāhmaṇa. The nature of liberation has again been elaborately set forth by the quotation of verses. Now it has to be shown how the whole of the Vedas is applicable to this subject of the Self; hence the present paragraph is introduced. By recapitulating the topic of Self-knowledge with its results in the way it has been dealt with in this chapter, it is sought to show that the entire Vedas, except the portion treating of ceremonies having material ends, are applicable to this. Hence the words, ‘That great,’ etc., recapitulating what has been stated. That refers to something already mentioned. What is it? It is pointed out by the words, ‘Which is identified with the intellect,’ etc., which are intended to preclude any reference to the Self just mentioned (verse 20). Which one is meant then? The answer is: Which is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs. The passage is quoted for settling the doubt, for at the beginning of Janaka’s questions it has been stated, ‘Which is the self?—This (infinite entity) that is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs,’ etc. (IV. iii. 7). The idea is this: By the demonstration of desire, work and ignorance as attributes of the non-Self, the self-effulgent Ātman that has been set forth in the passage in question is here freed from them and transformed into the Supreme Self, and it is emphatically stated, ‘It is the Supreme Self, and nothing else’; it is directly spoken of as the great, birthless Self. The words, ‘Which is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs,’ have been already explained and have the -same meaning here. Lies in the ether that is within the lotus of the heart, the ether (Ākāśa) that is the seat of the intellect. The Ātman lives in that ether containing the intellect. Or the meaning may be that the individual self in the state of profound sleep dwells in that unconditioned Supreme Self, called Ākāśa, which is its very nature. This has been explained in the second chapter by way of answer to the question, ‘Where was it then?’ (II. i. 16).
It is the controller of all, Hiraṇyagarbha, Indra, and the rest, for all live under It. As has been said, ‘Under the mighty rule of this Immutable (O Gārgī),’ etc. (III. viii. 9). Not only the controller, but the lord of all, Hiraṇyagarbha, Indra and others. Lord-ship may sometimes be due to birth, like that of a Prince over his servants, although they are stronger than he. To obviate this the text says, the ruler of all, the supreme protector, i.e. independent, not swayed by ministers and other servants like a Prince. The three attributes of control etc. are interdependent. Because the Self is the ruler of all, therefore It is the lord of all, for it is well known that one who protects another as the highest authority, wields lordship over him; and because It is the lord of all, therefore It is the controller of all. Further It, the infinite entity identified with the intellect, the light within the heart (intellect), being one with the Supreme Self, does not become better, or improve from the previous state by the accession of some attributes, through good work enjoined by the scriptures, nor worse, i.e. does not fall from its previous state, through bad work forbidden by the scriptures. Moreover, everyone doing these functions of presiding, protection, etc. is attended with merit and demerit consequent on bestowing favours and inflicting pains on others; why is the Self alone absolved from them? The answer is: Because ‘It is the lord of all,’ and accustomed to rule over work also, therefore It is not connected with work. Further ‘It is the ruler of all beings,’ from Hiraṇyagarbha down to a clump of grass. The word ‘ruler’ has already been explained. It is the protector of all those beings. It is the bank—what kind of bank?—that serves as the boundary among the divisions of caste and order of life. This is expressed by the words ‘to keep the different worlds,’ beginning with the earth and ending with the world of Hiraṇyagarbha, apart, distinct from one another. If the Lord did not divide them like a bank, their limits would be obliterated. Therefore, in order to keep the worlds apart, the Lord, from whom the self-effulgent Ātman is not different, acts as the embankment.
One who knows it thus becomes ‘the controller of all,’ and so on—this sets forth the results of the knowledge of Brahman. The whole of the ceremonial portion of the Vedas, except that dealing with rites having material ends, is applicable as a means to this knowledge of Brahman as delineated, with the results described above, in the present chapter beginning with, ‘What serves as the light for a man?’ (IV. iii. 2-6). How this can be done is being explained: The Brāhmaṇas—the word ‘Brāhmaṇa’ implies the Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas, for all the three castes are equally entitled to the study of the Vedas—seek to know It, this infinite entity as described above, that can be known only from the Upaniṣads, through the study of the Vedas consisting of the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas—by daily reading them. Or the passage may mean, ‘They seek to know It through the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas relating to the ceremonial portion.’ How do they seek to know It? ‘Through sacrifices,’ etc.
Some, however, explain the passage as follows: ‘They seek to know that which is revealed by the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas.’ According to them the word ‘Vedānuvacana’ would mean only the Āraṇya-kas, since the ceremonial portion does not speak of the Supreme Self; for the Śruti distinctly says, ‘That Being who is to be known only from the Upaniṣads’ (III. ix. 26). Besides, the word ‘Vedānuvacana,’ making no specification, refers to the whole of the Vedas; and it is not proper to exclude one portion of them.
Objection: Your interpretation is also one-sided, since it excludes the Upaniṣads.
Reply: No, the objection does not apply to our first explanation, in which there is no contradiction. When the word ‘Vedānuvacana’ means daily reading, the Upaniṣads too are of course included; hence no part of the meaning of the word is abandoned. Besides it is used along with the words, ‘sacrifices,’ etc. It is to introduce sacrifices and other rites that the word ‘Vedānuvacana’ has been used. Therefore we understand that it means the rites, because the daily reading of the Vedas is also a rite.
Objection: But how can they seek to know the Self through such rites as the daily reading of the Vedas, for they do not reveal the Self as the Upaniṣads do?
Reply: The objection does not hold, for the rites are a means to purification. It is only when the rites have purified them, that people, with their minds pure, can easily know the Self that is revealed by the Upaniṣads. As the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad says, ‘But his mind being purified, he sees through meditation that Self which has no parts’ (III. i. 8). The Smṛti also says, ‘A man attains knowledge only when his evil work has been destroyed,’ etc. (Mbh. XII. ccii. 9).
Objection: How do you know that the regular rites are for purification?
Reply: From such Śruti texts as the following: ‘He indeed sacrifices to the Self who knows that this particular part of his body is being purified by this (rite), and that particular part of his body is being improved by that (rite),’ etc. (Ś. XL 11. vi. 13). All the Smṛtis too speak of rites as being purificatory, as, for instance, the passage, ‘The forty-eight acts of purification,’ etc. (cf. Gau. VIII. 22). The Gītá also says, ‘Sacrifices, charity and austerity are purifying to the intelligent aspirant’ (XVIII. 5), and ‘All these knowers of sacrifices have their sins destroyed by the sacrifices’ (IV. 30).
Through sacrifices, viz. those performed with things and those consisting in knowledge, both of which conduce to purity; and one who, being cleansed, has a pure mind, will spontaneously attain knowledge. Hence it is said, ‘They seek to know through sacrifices.’ Charity, for this too destroys one’s sins and increases one’s merits. And austerity. The word meaning without distinction all forms of austerity including (even extreme forms like) the Kṛcchra, Cāndrāyaṇa, etc., it is qualified by the phrase: consisting in a dispassionate enjoyment of sense-objects. This absence of unrestrained enjoyment is the real meaning of the word ‘Anāśaka,’ not starvation, which will only lead to death, but not to Self-knowledge. The words, ‘study of the Vedas,’ ‘sacrifices,’ ‘charity’ and ‘austerity,’ refer to all regular rites without exception. Thus the entire body of regular rites—not rites that have material ends—serves as a means to liberation through the attainment of Self-knowledge. Hence we see that the section of the Vedas dealing with knowledge has the same import as that dealing with rites.
Similarly, knowing It alone, the Self as described in the preceding portion, in the above-mentioned way, one becomes a sage, a man of reflection, i.e. a Yogin. Knowing It alone, and none other, one becomes a sage. It may be urged that one can become a sage by knowing other things also; so how is it asserted, ‘It alone’? To which we reply: True, one can become a sage by knowing other things too, but not exclusively a sage; he may also become a ritualist. But knowing this Being that is to be known only from the Upaniṣads, one becomes a sage alone, and not a ritualist. Therefore it is to indicate his unique feature of becoming a sage that the text asserts, ‘It alone.’ Since action is impossible when the Self is known, as is expressed in the words, ‘What should one see and through what?’—only reflection can then take place. Further, desirīng, or seeking, this world alone, their own Self, monks renounce their homes, lit. depart in the most effective way, i.e. relinquish all rites.
Because of the assertion, ‘Desiring this world alone,’ we understand that those who seek the three external worlds are not entitled to the monastic life, for an inhabitant of the region of Banaras who wishes to reach Hardwar does not travel eastward. Therer fore, for those who desire the three external worlds, sons, rites and meditation on the conditioned Brahman are the means, since the Śruti says, ‘This world of men is to be won through the son alone, and by no other rite,’ etc. (I. v. 16). Hence those who want them should not reject such means as the son and embrace the monastic life, for it is not a means to them. Therefore the assertion, ‘Desiring this world alone monks renounce their homes,’ is quite in order. The attainment of the world of the Self is but living in one’s own Self after the cessation of ignorance. Therefore, should a person desire that world of the Self, for him the chief and direct means of that would be the withdrawal from all activities, just as the son and the like are the means of the three external worlds; for such acts as would secure the birth of a son, and so on, are not means to the attainment of the Self. And we have already mentioned the contradiction involved in them on the ground of impossibility. Therefore, desiring to attain the world of the Self, they do renounce their homes, that is to say, must abstain from all rites. Just as for a man seeking the three external worlds, a son and so forth are enjoined as the requisite means, so for one who has known about Brahman and desires to realise the world of the Self, the monastic life consisting in the cessation of all desires is undoubtedly enjoined.
Why do those seekers after the world of the Self particularly renounce their homes? The text gives the reason in the form of a laudatory passage. This is the reason for that monastic life: The ancient sages, ancient knowers of the Self, it is said, did not desire children, as also rites and the meditation on the conditioned Brahman.—The word ‘children’ suggests all these three means to the three external worlds.—In other words, they did not try for sons etc. as means to those three worlds. It may be objected that they must practise the meditation on the conditioned Brahman, since they could renounce desires on the strength of that alone. The answer is: No, because it is excluded. To be explicit: In the passages, ‘The Brāhmaṇa ousts one who knows him as different from the Self’ (II. iv. 6; IV. v. 7), and ‘All ousts one,’ etc. (Ibid.), even the meditation on the conditioned Brahman is excluded, for this Brahman too is included in the word ‘all.’ Also, ‘Where one sees nothing else,’ etc. (Ch. VII. xxiv. 1). Also because it has been forbidden to see in Brahman differences about prior or posterior, and interior or exterior, in the passage, ‘Without prior or posterior, without interior or exterior’ (II. v. 19). And, ‘Then what should one see, . . . know, and through what?’ (II. iv. 14; IV. v. 15). Therefore there is no other reason for the renunciation of desires except the realisation of the Self.
What was their intention? They thought: ‘What object or result shall we achieve through the instrumentality of children, for they are definitely known to be the means of attaining an external world, and that world does not exist apart from our own Self, since everything is our own Self, and we are the Self of everything; and just because It is our Self, It cannot be produced, attained, modified or improved by any means. Acts that purify the performer of sacrifices to the Self merely concern his identification with the body and organs, for the Śruti speaks of the relation between the whole and part, etc., regarding them, “This particular part of my body is being purified by this (rite),” etc. (Ś. XI. 11. vi. 13). One who sees the Self as Pure Intelligence, homogeneous and without a break cannot meditate upon purification or improvement based on a relation between the whole and part. Therefore we shall achieve nothing through means such as children. It is only the ignorant man who has to attain results through them. Because a man who sees water in a mirage proceeds to drink from it, another who sees no water there, but a desert, cannot certainly be so inclined. Similarly we who see the Truth, the world of the Self, cannot run after things to be achieved through children etc.—things that are like a mirage and so forth, and are the objects of the defective vision of ignorant people.’ This was their idea.
This is expressed as follows: We beholders of the Truth, who have attained this Self that is free from hunger etc. and is not to be modified by good or bad deeds, this world, this desired result. There are no means to be desired for realising this Self that is free from all such relative attributes as ends and means. It is only with regard to a thing which is attainable that means are looked for. If a search is made for means to secure something that is unattainable, it would be like swimming on land under the impression that it is water, or like looking for the footprints of birds in the sky. Therefore the knowers of Brahman, after realising this Self, should only renounce their homes, and not engage in rites; because the ancient knowers of Brahman, knowing this, did not want children. What they did after condemning this dealing with the world of ends and means as being the concern of the ignorant, is being described: They, it is said, renounced their desire for sons, for wealth and for the worlds, and lived a mendicant life, etc. All this has been explained (III. v. i).
Therefore, desiring the world of the Self monks renounce their homes, i.e. should renounce. Thus it is an injunction, and harmonises with the eulogy (that follows). The sentence, which is provided with a eulogy (immediately after), cannot itself have the force of glorifying the world of the Self, for the verb ‘renounce’ has for its eulogy the succeeding passage, ‘This is (the reason),’ etc. If the previous sentence were a eulogy, it would not require another eulogy; but the verb ‘renounce’ (as interpreted above) does require the eulogy, ‘This is (the reason),’ etc.
Because ancient sages, desisting from rites directed towards obtaining children etc., did renounce their homes, therefore people of to-day also renounce them, i.e. should renounce them. If we thus construe the passage, the verb ‘renounce’ cannot have the force of glorifying the world of the Self. We have explained this (III. v. 1) on the ground that the verb is connected by the Śruti with the same subject as that of ‘knowing.’ Moreover, the verb ‘renounce’ is here used along with ‘the study of the Vedas,’ etc. As the study of the Vedas and other such acts, which have been enjoined as means to the realisation of the Self, are to be taken literally, and not as eulogies, so also the renunciation of home, which has been mentioned along with them as a means to the attainment of the world of the Self, cannot be a eulogy. Besides, a distinction in the results has been made by the Śruti. The words, ‘Knowing It—this world of the Self—alone’ (this text), divide the Self as a result distinct from the other results, the external worlds, as a similar division has been made in the passage, ‘This world is to be won through the son alone, and by no other rite; the world of the Manes through rites’ (I. vi. 16, adapted). Nor is the verb ‘renounce’ eulogistic of the world of the Self, as if this were something already known. Besides, like a principal sacrifice, it itself requires a eulogy. Moreover, were it a eulogy it would occur in the text only once. Therefore it is purely a mistake to consider it as a tribute to the world of the Self.
Nor can renunciation as an act to be performed be regarded as a eulogy. If, in spite of its being such an act, it is considered to be a eulogy, then rites such as the new and full moon sacrifices, which are to be performed, would also become eulogies. Nor is renunciation clearly known to have been enjoined elsewhere outside of the present topic, in which case it might be construed here as being eulogistic. If, however, renunciation be supposed to be enjoined anywhere, it should primarily be here; it is not possible anywhere else. If, again, renunciation is conceded to be enjoined on those who are not qualified for any rite, in that case acts such as the climbing of trees may also be considered as equally appropriate injunctions, for both are alike unknown as obligatory under the circumstances. Therefore there is not the least chance of the passage in question being a eulogy.
It may be asked: If this world of the Self alone is desired, why do they not undertake work as a means to its attainment? What is the good of renunciation? The answer is: Because this world of the Self has no connection with work. That Self, desiring which they should renounce their homes, is not connected, either as a means or as an end, with any of the four kinds of work, viz. those that are produced, etc. (p. 448). Therefore this self is That which has been described as ‘Not this, not this’; It is imperceptible, for it is never perceived, etc.—this is the description of the Self. Since it has been established through scriptural evidence as well as reasoning, specially in this dialogue between Janaka and Yājñavalkya, that the Self as described above is not connected with work, its results and its means, is different from all relative attributes, beyond hunger etc., devoid of grossness and so on, birthless, undecaying, immortal, undying, beyond fear, by nature homogeneous Intelligence like a lump of salt, self-effulgent, one only without a second, without prior or posterior, and without interior or exterior—therefore after this Self is known as one’s own Self work can no more be done. Hence the Self is undifferentiated. One who has eyes surely does nöt fall into a well or on thorns while going along the way. Besides, the entire results of work are included in those of knowledge. And no wise man takes pains for a thing that can be had without any effort. ‘If one gets honey near at hand, why go to a mountain for it? If the desired object is already attained, what sensible man would struggle for it?’ The Gītā too says, ‘All work, O Arjuna, together with its factors is finished with the attainment of knowledge’ (IV. 33). Here also (IV. iii. 32) it has been stated that all other beings live on particles of this very Supreme Bliss that is accessible to the knower of Brahman. Hence the latter cannot undertake work.
Because this sage, desisting from all desires, after realising the Ātman that has been described as ‘Not this, not this’ as his own Self, lives identified with That, therefore it is but proper—these words are to be supplied to complete the sentence—that he who has this knowledge and is identified with that Self is never overtaken by these two thoughts that are just going to be mentioned. Which are they? The following ones: ‘I did an evil act for this reason, for example, the maintenance of the body. Oh, my action was wretched. This sinful act will take me to hell.’ This repentance that comes to one who has done something wrong, does not overtake this sage who has become identified with the Self, described as ‘Not this, not this.’ Similarly ‘I did a good act, such as the performance of a sacrifice or charity, for this reason, owing to the desire for results. So I shall enjoy the happiness that comes of it in another body.’ This joy also does not overtake him. He, this knower of Brahman, conquers both of them, both these actions, good and bad. Thus for a monk who has known Brahman, both kinds of action, whether done in the past or in the present life, are destroyed, and no new ones are undertaken. Also, things done, such as the regular rites, or those very things not done—the omission of them—do not trouble him. It is the man who is ignorant of the Self that is troubled by the actions done, by having to receive their results, and by those not done, by being visited with their adverse consequences. But this knower of Brahman burns all work to ashes with the fire of Self-knowledge. As the Smṛti says, ‘Just as a blazing fire (burns) the fuel (to ashes),’ etc. (G. IV. 37). As to those actions that caused the present body, they are worked out through actual experience. Hence the knower of Brahman has no connection with work.