The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
by Swami Krishnananda

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Chapter IV

First Brahmana: Inadequate Definitions of Brahman

  1. janako ha vaideha āsāṁ cakre. atha ha yājñavalkya āvavrāja. taṁ hovāca: yājñavalkya, kim artham acārīḥ, paśūn icchan, aṇvantān-iti. ubhayam eva, samrāḍ iti hovāca.

It appears, after some time, Yājñavalkya again comes to the court of King Janaka. This is the beginning of the Fourth Chapter. Janako ha vaideha āsāṁ cakre: Janaka was seated in his court, in his assembly, giving audience to people. Atha ha yājñavalkya āvavrāja: Yājñavalkya came there. Yājñavalkya having come, was received with great honour, naturally, by the King. Taṁ hovāca: yājñavalkya, kim artham acārīḥ: "Yājñavalkya, great Master; how is it that you have come now?" This was the question of King Janaka. Emperor Janaka asks: "How is it that you have come? What can I do for you? Do you want more cows or you want more arguments? What is the purpose of your coming?" Paśūn icchan, aṇvantān-iti: "Do you want more cattle, is that for which you have come now, or do you want to argue further?" "For both, my dear friend." Yājñavalkya said: "I have come for both." Yājñavalkya was a very interesting person. Ubhayam eva, samrāḍ iti hovāca: "I have come for both purposes – your cows as well as arguments."

  1. yat te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me jitvā śailiniḥ, vāg vai  brahmeti. yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā. tat śailinir abravīt:  vāg vai brahmeti, avadato hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanaṁ pratiṣṭhām. na me’ bravīd iti. eka-pād vā etat, samrāt, iti. sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya. vāg evāyatanam, ākāśah pratiṣṭhā, prajñety enad upāsīta. kā prajñatā, yājñavalkya. vāg eva, samrāt, iti hovāca. vācā vai, samrāṭ, bandhuḥ prajñāyate; ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ, sāma-vedo’ tharvāṅgirasa, itihāsaḥ, purāṇam, vidyā upaniṣadaḥ, ślokāḥ, sūtrāṇy anuvyākhyānāni, vyākhyānāniṣṭam hutam āśitaṁ pāyitam, ayaṁ ca lokaḥ, paraś ca lokaḥ, sarvāṇi ca bhūtāni vācaiva, samrāṭ, prajñāyante; vāg vai, samrāṭ, paramam brahma; nainaṁ vāg jahāti, sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān āpyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me’ manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Now, Yājñavalkya and Janaka have a discussion. There is a conversation between Janaka and Yājñavalkya. Naturally, Janaka wanted to gather more and more wisdom from Sage Yājñavalkya. So, he said to him: "Tell me something, teach me about Brahman." And Yājñavalkya said: "First of all let me know what you already know. Have you heard anything from anyone up to this time? If anyone has taught you anything already (about Brahman), let me know what it is. Then, further on, if there is a necessity, I will speak to you. Yat te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti: Whatever anyone might have told you, let me hear it." Then Janaka speaks. Abravīn me jitvā śailiniḥ, vāg vai  brahmeti: "I had a Guru, a teacher by the name of Jitvā Śailini. He told me, he instructed me saying that speech is Brahman. This is what I have learnt, and I have been meditating in this manner on the principle of speech as the Supreme Being. Yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā. tat śailinir abravīt: And he taught with great affection. Just as a mother would speak or a father would speak or a respectable teacher would speak, so did this man speak to me with great love, and told me that speech is Brahman." Then Yājñavalkya says: "This is only one-fourth of Brahman. It is not the whole. So your meditation is fractional, incomplete, inadequate, and therefore irrelevant. You have not understood three-fourths of it. You have understood only one-fourth, and therefore you are thinking that speech is Brahman." "O, please tell me the other three-fourths." āyatanam pratiṣṭhām: "Its foundation and its abode and its essential nature was not told to you by your teacher. Has he told you these?" "No; he has not told me," Janaka said, "I do not know the abode of speech; I do not know its support; and I do not know its essence, also. So, its abode, its support and its essence-these are the remaining three-quarters, whereas in its own form as speech, it is only one-fourth of Brahman. I know the one-fourth; the other three-fourths, I do not know. Please tell me what it is."

Vāg evāyatanam, ākāśah pratiṣṭhā, prajñety enad upāsīta. kā prajñatā, yājñavalkya. vāg eva, samrāt, iti hovāca. vācā vai, samrāṭ, bandhuḥ prajñāyate; ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ, sāma-vedo' tharvāṅgirasa, itihāsaḥ, purāṇam, vidyā upaniṣadaḥ, ślokāḥ, sūtrāṇy anuvyākhyānāni, vyākhyānānīṣṭam hutam āśitaṁ pāyitam, ayaṁ ca lokaḥ, paraś ca lokaḥ, sarvāṇi ca bhūtāni vācaiva, samrāṭ, prajñāyante; vāg vai, samrāṭ, paramam brahma; nainaṁ vāg jahāti, sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān āpyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, it hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me' manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti. Janaka having expressed his inability to mention the other three-fourths of the principle of speech, Yājñavalkya says: "Fire is one-fourth; consciousness is one-fourth; and the universal ether is one-fourth." And speech, of course, is one-fourth. All these four put together make one whole. The speech that is referred to here is only a form of expression. It is made possible on account of the operation of the consciousness inside. If the consciousness is not there, there would be no speech. And it is not merely consciousness that is responsible; there is something intermediary between speech and consciousness. Consciousness does not directly act upon the principle of speech. There is a controlling medium which is referred to, here, as the cosmic ether. We do not know what actually it means. Some say it is Hiraṇyagarbha; some say it is Īshvara, or the Causal Prakṛiti. That is, there is a determining factor which individualises speech and makes it possible for any person to express words in a given manner. Consciousness is general force like the power house, for instance. Now, the power house has no particular affiliation to any vehicle of expression. You can express electricity through an electric train, or through a refrigerator, or through a heater, etc. The power house is not concerned with how its power is being used. It is just a generator. Likewise, consciousness is the ultimate support, no doubt, but how it is conducted in a particular form, in a particular instrument of speaking, language, etc., that is determined by the structural pattern of what is here referred to as cosmic ether. That is perhaps Hiraṇyagarbha Himself; it cannot be anything else. And, Akasah Pratistha, ether, is the Pratistha or the support, consciousness is the ultimate essence, and speech is the form which the principle takes in its individual embodiment – vāg evāyatanam, ākāśah pratiṣṭhā, prajñety enad upāsīta: "And Agnī is the deity." This is another principle which cannot be ignored. This deity is controlling and superintending the principle of speech.

Agnī as the deity of speech, consciousness as the ultimate essence, cosmic ether as the determining factor, and speech as the form – these four are to come together in order that speech may be made possible. And it is ultimately consciousness of course, because it is this that is the embodiment of all learning which the speech expresses in the form of sacred lore – the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda, Atharva Veda, Itihāsa, Purāna, and anything that is scriptural, anything that you can call the holy word. The holy word is an expression of sacred speech. And so, all scriptural lore, of any type whatsoever, is an expression of speech. If you can know the essence of speech in this manner, then speech will not desert you at any time, which means to say, your speech will become true. Whatever you utter will become true only if your speech is connected to the causes. If the causes are disconnected from the form of speech, if you utter words without any connection with the causes, the principle of Agnī and further causes, etc., then the words will not materialise. The speech becomes true, the principle of speech does not desert you; what you do, what you speak becomes meaningful, and it immediately expresses itself in the form of a result if this truth about speech is known by you. Such a person is not separated from the worthiness of speech – nainaṁ vāg jahāti.

Sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti: Because of a cosmic affiliation established by the individual of these meditations on the fourfold aspect of speech, he becomes a friend of all creatures, because somehow or the other the cosmic ether and consciousness are present in everyone. So, your meditation in respect of these principles is an indirect meditation on everybody. So every being becomes friendly with you. It is not that speech alone will be materialised and become successful in your case, but in addition everyone becomes friendly with you, everyone takes care of you, and you shall be connected in a friendly manner with all creation. Devo bhūtvā devān āpyeti: He becomes a celestial and is elevated to a resplendent region after the passing away of this body. Ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste: One who knows this. But it is difficult to know this. You cannot easily connect everything like this when you speak, or even when you think.

"Yājñavalkya! You have told me a great truth. I am so happy. I never knew this before." King Janaka is deeply impressed and he says: "Here I give you one bull as big as an elephant, and I give you one thousand cows. Please teach me further." Yājñavalkya says: "I cannot take this bull and these cows until I teach you fully, because my father was of the opinion that one should not accept gifts from disciples unless they are fully taught. I have taught you only a little. So, how will I take these cows and the bull which is as big as an elephant?" "So teach me further," says King Janaka – hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, it hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me' manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.    

  1. yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn ma udaṅkaḥ śaulbāyanaḥ, prāṇo vai brahmeti: yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā tat śaulbāyano'bravīt, prāṇo vai brahmeti, aprāṇato hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanaṁ pratiṣṭhām. na me'bravīd iti. eka-pād vā etat, samrād, iti. sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya, prāṇa evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, priyam ity enad upāsīta, kā priyatā, yājñavalkya, prāṇa eva, samrād, iti hovāca: prāṇasya vai, samrāṭ, kāmāyāyājyam yājayati, apratigṛhyasya pratigṛhṇāti, api tatra vadhāśaṅkam bhavati, yāṁ diśām eti, prāṇasyaivya, samrāt, kāmāya, prāṇo vai, samrāt, paramaṁ brahma, nainaṁ prāṇo jahāti, sarvāṇy enaṁ bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca, janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me'manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Then Yājñavalkya says: "Well, I have told you something about speech. Now you want me to teach you further, but if you know anything else, let me know. If anybody might have told you about anything else, tell me. Then I shall teach you further" – yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn ma udaṅkaḥ śaulbāyanaḥ, prāṇo vai brahmeti: Janaka seemed to have many teachers. "Udanka Saulbayana, another teacher, told me that Prāṇa is the Supreme Being. I am meditating ever since on Prāṇa as Brahman. Is it all right?" "No," says Yājñavalkya. "This is only one foot, one quarter again. The other three-quarters you do not know. Do you know the other three-quarters – the support, the abode, the essence of Prāṇa? Did your teacher tell you about all the things in connection with Prāṇa when he initiated you into the mysteries of Prāṇa?" Janaka says: "I have not been told anything of this sort. I do not know the essence or the deity or the support of Prāṇa. I only know, Prāṇa is Brahman. I meditate like that." "This is not proper," says Yājñavalkya. "It is incomplete, because, prāṇa evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, priyam ity enad upāsīta, when you contemplate Prāṇa as Brahman, you have to connect it with the other factors, also, with which it is associated."

Here, Prāṇa means the principle of life. The essence of life is self-love. Nobody can say what life means. It is something which cannot be explained. If I ask you, what is life, you cannot easily answer. So Yājñavalkya says: "Tentatively I may tell you that life is nothing but love of self." That is life. Everyone loves one's own self. And the love evinced for the preservation of oneself is the principle of life. That is one aspect of Prāṇa. The other aspect is that it is also controlled by the cosmic ether, Hiraṇyagarbha, which is the general controlling principle of every other function. So, that also is to be brought into the picture when you meditate on Prāṇa as Brahman. And, of course, the speciality of Prāṇa is that it is an individual manifestation of this Cosmic Sūtra-ātman. The deity of Prāṇa is Vāyu (air). Prāṇa is the form taken by Vāyu in a particular individual. The cosmic ether is its determining factor. And intense affection, which is identical with one's own being, is its essence. So, what is Prāṇa? The individual is the actual function of Prāṇa, that is technically our personality. That is a form taken by it. Vāyu is the deity; ākāśa, or cosmic ether is its determining factor, support; and love is its essence. Life and love are identical.

So, these four principles have to be brought together in communion when you contemplate Prāṇa. If you can do this, then of course you will have no fear. You know how much love people have for their own Prāṇa or life. They risk even their lives for the sake of the love that they have for themselves. And, if you can contemplate Prāṇa in this manner, Prāṇa will not desert you. You will be a master of it; you will receive energy from it; and you will be supported by it – nainaṁ prāṇo jahāti.

Sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti: For the reason cosmic ether is also a factor in the meditation on Prāṇa, and because it is a uniform feature in any other individual also, every being becomes friendly with you when you meditate on Prāṇa as being determined by the cosmic ether. And then, of course, the same result follows. Devo bhūtvā devān āpyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste: One who knows this attains to brilliant regions after passing away from this body.

Janaka is again highly pleased. "I give you a bull as big as an elephant and one thousand cows," he says. Then Yājñavalkya says: "I cannot accept these cows, cannot take this bull unless I instruct you properly and fully" – hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me' manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.  "Then please instruct me fully."

  1. yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me barkur vārṣṇaḥ cakṣur vai brahmeti: yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā tad vārṣṇo'bravīt. cakṣur vai brahmeti, apaśyato hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanam pratiṣṭhām. na me'bravīd iti. eka-pād vā etat, samrāḍ, iti. sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya. cakṣur evāyatanam, ākāsaḥ pratiṣṭhā; satyam iti etad upāsīta. kā satyatā, yājñavalkya. cakṣur eva, samrāḍ, iti hovāca, cakṣuṣā vai, samrāṭ, paśyantam āhuḥ; adrākṣīr iti, sa āha; adrākṣam iti tat satyam bhavati. cakṣur vai, samrāṭ, paramam brahma. nainaṁ cakṣur jahāti, sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ. pitā me'manyata, nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Yājñavalkya, for a third time, says: "If you know anything else taught by anyone else about the Supreme Being, let me know so that I can speak to you further." Then Janaka says: "I know something which was taught to me by another Master called Barku Vāṛṣṇa – yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me barkur vārṣṇaḥ cakṣur vai brahmeti: I have been told by this Master that the eye is Brahman. So, I meditate on eye as Brahman." "Well; that is very good," says Yājñavalkya, "but do you know its essence, its support, its deity?" "Oh, I do not know its deity; I do not know its support; I do not know its essence." "Then it is only one-fourth knowledge of it. It is not complete. So your meditation is inadequate." "What is the other three-fourths? Please let me know." Caksur evayatanam, akasah pratistha; satyam iti etad upasita. ka satyata, yajñavalkya. caksur eva, samrad, iti hovaca, caksusa vai, samrat, pasyantam ahuh; adraksir iti, sa aha; adraksam iti tat satyam bhavati. caksur vai, samrat, paramam brahma. nainam caksur jahati, sarvany enam bhutany abhiksaranti, devo bhutva devan apyeti, ya evam vidvan etad upaste. hasty-rsabham sahasram dadami, iti hovaca janako vaidehah. sa hovaca yajñavalkyah. pita me'manyata, nananusisya hareteti: "The deity of the eye is the sun. The cosmic determining factor of the eye also is the same ether, and the act of perception is the form taken by the eye. The sun is the deity, and truth is its essence," says Yājñavalkya. Here the word 'truth' is interpreted in two ways. Some say, the ultimate truth of the eye is the Virāt Himself, because our eyes are connected to the sun, it being the presiding deity of the eye, but the sun himself has come from the eye of Virāt. Cakṣuḥ suryo ajāyata, says the Puruṣha-Sūkta. So, the eye of the Virāt-Puruṣha is the ultimate reality of even our own eyes, through the medium of the sun. Thus, Satya, or ultimate truth, is the essence of the eye. That is one meaning. The other meaning given here is that when you perceive a thing directly with the eye, that you regard as the truth. If someone says something, you ask, "Is it true? Have you seen it with your eyes?" If you see it with your eyes, it is felt to be true. If we hear it merely, it is not sometimes considered so true. So, tentatively, the perception of the eye is regarded as sociably acceptable truth, apart from the fact that it is a metaphysical truth, namely, the eye of Virāt.

"One who knows this secret of perception through the eye, connected with the sun and the cosmic ether and the truthfulness, or the truth that is involved in it, is never 'deserted' by the eye." You can act powerfully even by a mere look. And for the same reason as mentioned earlier, all beings become friendly with this person. He, having departed from this body, attains to brilliant regions later on.

"Yājñavalkya, this is wonderful. I am immensely happy," says King Janaka. "I give you a bull as big as an elephant and a thousand cows as a reward for the instruction I have received from you." But Yājñavalkya says: "I have instructed you partially; I will not take the gift." "Then please tell me more," requests Janaka.

  1. yad eva te kaś cid abravīt, tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me gardhabhīvipīto bhāradvājaḥ: śrotraṁ vai brahmeti. yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā tad bhāradvājo’ bravīt. śrotraṁ vai brahmeti, aśṛṇvato hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanam pratiṣṭhām. na me’bravīd iti. eka-pād vā etat, samrāḍ, iti. sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya. śrotram evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, ananta ity enad upāsīta. kā anantatā, yājñavalkya. diśa eva, samraḍ, iti hovāca. tasmād vai, samrāḍ, api yāṁ kāṁ ca diśaṁ gacchati, naivāsyā antaṁ gacchati, anantā hi diśaḥ diśo vai, samrāṭ, śrotram. srotraṁ vai, samrāt, paramam brahma nainam śrotraṁ jahati, sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-ṛṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi iti. hovāca janako vaidehaḥ, sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pita me’manyata, nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Then Yājñavalkya says: "Tell me what you already know." This is a very interesting part of the conversation between Guru and disciple. Yad eva te kaś cid abravīt, tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me gardhabhīvipīto bhāradvājaḥ: śrotraṁ vai brahmeti: "Another Master, another teacher of mine, Gardhabhīvipīto Bhāradvājaḥ, told me that ear is Brahman. So I consider any function of the ear as identical with reality. It is almighty." "Well, that is good," says Yājñavalkya. "Do you know its essence and its support and its deity? Has your teacher told you about it?" "The teacher has not told me anything about it. So please tell me the three-fourths left off." Then Yājñavalkya says: "The quarters, or the Dig-devatas, or the deities of the different directions, are the deity of the ear." Ear itself, or the act of hearing, is the form taken by it. The cosmic ether, or the Akasa mentioned already, is the determining factor. Ananta ity enad upāsīta: "You must contemplate this ear as infinite." This is because the ear is connected with space, from which sounds come and impinge upon the eardrum. And inasmuch as space is the ultimate resort of the principle of hearing, the character of space should also be taken into consideration in meditation. What is the character of space? Unlimitedness. You do not know the end of space – it is Ananta. Ananta means endless. Kā anantatā: "What is the meaning of endlessness? Why do you say like that?" Enad diśa eva, samraḍ, iti hovāca. tasmād vai, samrāḍ, api yāṁ kāṁ ca diśaṁ gacchati, naivāsyā antaṁ gacchati: "If you go on moving in any direction, you will never come to an end of it. So space is endless, infinite in extent. Such infinitude is the ultimate refuge of the very act of hearing." Therefore, contemplate on the act of hearing as presided over by the deities of the quarters, and supported by the cosmic ether and the fact of its being endless. If this could be done, meditation becomes complete. Then your hearing becomes adequate. Whatever you hear will not become indistinct. You can hear even the subtlest sounds and know the meaning of whatever you hear. That means to say, the principle of hearing does not desert you. All beings, for the same reason mentioned, become friendly with you. You become resplendent after passing from this body and attain to the celestial regions.

Wonderful! This is a fourfold meditation on the principle of hearing. Then again Janaka says: "I will give you a gift of a bull and a thousand cows." Again Yājñavalkya refuses to accept the gift, saying the teaching is not complete. "The instruction is still pending. I have given you only some knowledge; whole knowledge, I have not given. So I will not accept the gift till everything is told." "Then please tell me more," says Janaka.

  1. yad eva kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn satyakāmo jābālaḥ, mano vai brahmeti: yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā taj jābālo'bravīt, mano vai brahmeti, amanaso hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanam pratiṣṭhām. na me'bravīd iti. eka-pād vā etat samrāḍ iti. sa vai no bruhi, yājñavalkya. mana evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, ānanda ity enad upāsīta, kā ānandatā, yājñavalkya. mana eva, samrāḍ, iti hovāca, manasā vai, samrāt. striyam abhihāryate, tasyām pratirūpaḥ putro samrāṭ, paraman brahma. nainam mano jahāti, sarvāṇy enam bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty-ṛṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pita me'manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Then again Yājñavalkya asks: "What do you already know? Tell me." "What I already know is something more. I have been told by Satyakāma Jābāla that mind is Brahman." Now this is a more difficult thing to conceive than other things. Yad eva kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn satyakāmo jābālaḥ, mano vai brahmeti: "As a mother speaks or a father speaks, or a guru or a teacher speaks, so affectionately did he teach me that mind is the principle of Brahman." "But that is only a fourth part of it. What is its essence, its support and its deity?" "I do not know," says Janaka. Then Yājñavalkya says: "I shall tell you the other three-fourths left out of this principle on which you are meditating – the deity, the determining factor, and the essence. The deity of the mind is Candra, or Moon. Mana evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, ānanda ity enad upāsīta: It is a source of happiness." It is through the mind that you experience any kind of joy, any satisfaction. Even sensory happiness is a mental happiness ultimately. It is the mind that rejoices over any kind of satisfaction come through the senses or any other avenue. So, if happiness can be associated with mind, together with the deity of the mind, and its support which is the cosmic ether, that would be a complete meditation. It is through the mind that one asks for happiness. And it is the lack of the principle of happiness in meditation that detracts people from proceeding further in meditation. Meditation sometimes becomes unhappy. It becomes a burden and tiring because you do not connect the object of meditation with happiness. Happiness is somewhere else and the meditation that is done is somewhere else. Inasmuch as the mind is the experiencer of all happiness, and it is the reaction of the mind in respect of anything that is the cause of happiness, it is necessary to bring the principle of happiness into the picture of meditation on the mind, especially, together with the contemplation of the deity thereof, and the cosmic principle of which it is a part. If these could be brought together, then your meditation would be complete, and you will be able to control the mind. The mind cannot be controlled if it is regarded as belonging to an isolated individual. If it is 'your' mind or 'my' mind merely, then it cannot be controlled. It can be controlled only when it is visualised in its internal relationship with other minds also, which is the point made out by saying that it is determined by the cosmic ether and the principle of ānanda or bliss which is Brahman itself.

Here, Janaka is again immensely pleased, offers a gift, and Yājñavalkya refuses the gift for the same reason as before. The conversation goes on in a greater and greater intensity of form, until the most astonishing truth of spirituality is taught by Yājñavalkya, to which point the Upaniṣhad proceeds step by step.

  1. yad eva kaś cid abravīt, tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me vidagdhaḥ śākalyaḥ, hṛdayaṁ vai brahmeti, yathā mātṛmān pitṛmān ācāryavān brūyāt, tathā tat śākalyo'bravīt, hṛdayaṁ vai brahmeti, ahṛdayasya hi kiṁ syād iti. abravīt tu te tasyāyatanam pratiṣṭhām. na me'bravīd iti. eka-pād vā, etat, samrād, iti. sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya. hṛdayam evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, sthitir ity enad upāsīta. kā sthititā, yājñavalkya. hṛdayam eva samrāḍ, iti hovāca, hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, sarveṣāṁ bhūtānām āyatanam, hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, sarveṣāṁ bhūtānāṁ pratiṣṭhā, hṛdaye hy eva, samrāṭ, sarvāṇi bhūtāni pratiṣṭhitāni bhavanti. hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, paramam brahma. nainaṁ hṛdayam jahāti, sarvāṇy enaṁ bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty ṛṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me'manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti.

Yad eva kaś cid abravīt, tat śṛṇavāmeti. abravīn me vidagdhaḥ śākalyaḥ, hṛdayaṁ vai brahmeti: Now Janaka says: "The heart is Brahman. This is what I learnt from my teacher Vidagdhaga Śākalya." "But you are making the very same mistake," says Yājñavalkya. "You are regarding this heart as the symbol of Brahman tentatively. Has your teacher described to you the various aspects of this meditation? What is the heart, what is its essence, what is its support, what is its deity?" Janaka as before says: "I do not know anything about these things. I am simply aware that there is such a thing called the heart, and the heart has been told to me as a symbol of Brahman on which I can contemplate."

There are many among us, too, who have been told by certain Gurus, for instance, that the heart can be regarded as the centre of contemplation. It is very difficult to understand what the heart is. It has many meanings. Some regard it as the lotus of psychological imagination. Some consider that it is a centre of radiance of the soul which is supposed to be in the centre of the heart. Some others regard the heart as identical with the fleshy organ of our physical body, and contemplate on the functions of the heart, the beats of the heart, etc. There are others who think that the heart does not mean anything physical but that it is psychological; that it is the centre of thinking, and that where the thought is, there the heart also is. So, to find out where the heart is, you must find out where the mind is. This is an interesting definition, of course, 'where my mind is, there my heart is'. It is true to a large extent. But it has another aspect which has also to be considered. The mind is not always at the same place. It is where its object of desire is. Whatever it asks for and whatever it thinks deeply, whatever it needs, that is the determining factor of the function of the mind. So, where your desire is, there your heart also is. But this is only so far as the waking condition is concerned. The object of desire grossly manifests itself in the waking state, and so the mind of the individual moves towards that gross object. Thus the heart may be said to be 'in' something, in some object e.g., the mother's heart is in the child, the rich man's heart is in the wealth, and so on, which means to say that the mind is there and therefore the feeling also is there. So we identify feeling with the heart and the heart with the feeling. But this is the activity of the heart in the waking state, and the waking state cannot be regarded as our natural state. This is the subject that we are going to study in detail. The waking condition which we regard as the total reality is not the total reality. It is a fractional reality. The so-called world of waking existence which we consider as the only reality possible is the least possible reality. In fact, the reverse is the truth.

Yājñavalkya takes the mind of Janaka gradually from his obsession with the objects of sense in the waking state, to the dream and the deep sleep levels until he takes him to the Absolute, which transcends all these three states. The heart, no doubt, may be in the objects in the waking state, and we may regard the presence of the heart as the presence of the mind. But, we will be told that the mind withdraws itself into its natural abode as and when the influence of objects is diminished, or decreased by various factors. The objects of sense grip us in the waking state. We are under the thumb of the objects of sense in the waking condition. But in dream, the objects of sense do not act upon our mind in such a manner. We do not perceive the objects in the dreaming state; we have only a memory of these objects. The remembrance of objects of sense in the waking state haunts our mind in the dreaming condition, and we begin to psychologically contemplate the very same objects which we either desired or saw in the waking condition. But in sleep, what happens? The belief of the Upaniṣhad and most of the teachers of Yoga is that it is in deep sleep only that the heart absorbs the mind and the mind goes back to its abode which is the heart. It is only in the sleeping condition that the mind finds its true abode. In the other two states of waking and dream, it is in a false atmosphere. It is in a foreign land, as it were, in the waking and the dreaming conditions. Its own native house is not the waking or dreaming state, but the state of sleep. So, in its nativity, which is the sleep state, the mind goes to a location in the personality which has a psychological counterpart connected with the physical heart's location. From the brain, which is the centre of activity in the waking state, the mind descends to the throat in dream, and goes to the heart in deep sleep. In the waking state, our brain is active. But in dream it is not active; only feelings are active, instincts are active, desires are active at that time. The logical will and the argumentative reason do not work in the dreaming condition. So, the personality is withdrawn in the dreaming state. It becomes translucent. But it is totally lost in sleep. In sleep your personality goes completely, and you become impersonal. There is however a seed of personality potentially present even in sleep, on account of which you wake up the next morning. For all practical purposes your personality is wiped off, and so it is that you are very happy in sleep, indicating thereby that impersonality is the source of happiness, that personality is the source of sorrow. The more you are personal, the more you are grief-stricken. The more you become impersonal, the more you become happy.

"In the state of deep sleep, the mind goes to the heart. And the heart, I contemplate as the symbol of Brahman," says Janaka. But he cannot answer the queries of Yājñavalkya as to whether he knows the deity, the abode and the support for the heart as Brahman. He does not know – pratiṣṭhāṁ evāyatanam pratiṣṭhām na me'bravīd iti. Eka-pād vā, etat samrād: "This heart that you are contemplating as Brahman is only one-fourth of Brahman," says Yājñavalkya. "It is not the entire Brahman because there are three other aspects which you have completely ignored." Now what are those? Sa vai no brūhi, yājñavalkya. hṛdayam evāyatanam, ākāśaḥ pratiṣṭhā, sthitir ity enad upāsīta. kā sthititā, yājñavalkya. hṛdayam eva samrāḍ, iti hovāca, hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, sarveṣāṁ bhūtānām āyatanam, hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, sarveṣāṁ bhūtānāṁ pratiṣṭhā, hṛdaye hy eva, samrāṭ, sarvāṇi bhūtāni pratiṣṭhitāni bhavanti. hṛdayaṁ vai, samrāṭ, paramam brahma. nainaṁ hṛdayam jahāti, sarvāṇy enaṁ bhūtāny abhikṣaranti, devo bhūtvā devān apyeti, ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste. hasty ṛṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadāmi, iti hovāca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ, pitā me'manyata nānanuśiṣya hareteti: Yājñavalkya says, "The heart that you are thinking of in your mind as a symbol of meditation is the outer form. The inner essence is different. The heart is controlled by the unmanifested ether. The unmanifested ether, identifiable with Īshvara or Hiraṇyagarbha or, you may even say, Mula-Pṛakriti, the cosmic substance in which everything is woven like warp and woof, in whose bosom you can find the seeds of all later manifestations, that is the abode (āyatanam), and it is the support. This has to be contemplated as Sthiti, or stability. Its deity is Brahma, the Supreme Being Himself. The heart is to be contemplated upon as stability," says Yājñavalkya, "because where the heart is not, stability also is not." Where your feeling is, there your personality is fixed. This is a matter which does not require much explanation, because you know very well that where the heart is present, there your total being is present, because your heart and your being are identical, by which what we mean is that your personality is identical with your deepest feelings. Feeling is deeper than the other faculties of the psychological organ. Inasmuch as its presence is equivalent to the stability of the personality, Yājñavalkya points out that the heart may be contemplated upon as stability. So, Brahma is the deity; Hridaye, or the heart, as we think of it, is the form; ākāśa, or the cosmic ether is the abode; and stability is its support.

Janaka says: "I am very much pleased that you have enlightened me in regard to my contemplation on the heart. I give you a reward in the form of a bull as big as an elephant and one thousands cows." Yājñavalkya refuses to accept the gift, again, saying, "I have not instructed you fully, and my father has told me that nobody should accept gifts from disciples unless they are instructed fully."

The first Brāhmaṇa comes to a conclusion here.