At the end of the first section it has been said that the vital force is truth. Its secret names also have been explained in connection with those of Brahman, implying thereby that this is the same vital force. Of what does it consist, and how is it called truth?—these questions have to be answered. Hence this section is commenced in order to define the nature of the five elements, called truth, which consist of the body and organs. It is by the elimination of these limiting adjuncts that the Śruti wishes to define the nature of Brahman negatively, saying, ‘Not this, not this.’ Now Brahman has two forms: The Brahman that is (respectively) connected with the body and organs, which are the product of the five elements, is designated as gross and subtle, is mortal and immortal, and includes the impressions created by those elements, is the omniscient, omnipotent, conditioned Brahman, consisting of actions, their factors and their results, and admitting of all kinds of association. That same Brahman, again, is devoid of all limiting adjuncts, the object of intuition, birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless, and beyond the reach of even speech and mind, being above duality, and is described as ‘Not this, not this.’ Now these are the two forms by the elimination of which Brahman is so described; hence the text begins:
द्वे वाव ब्रह्मणो रूपे—मूर्तं चैवामूर्तं च, मर्त्यं चामृतं च, स्थितं च यच्च, सच्च, त्यच्च ॥ १ ॥
dve vāva brahmaṇo rūpe—mūrtaṃ caivāmūrtaṃ ca, martyaṃ cāmṛtaṃ ca, sthitaṃ ca yacca, sacca, tyacca || 1 ||
Brahman or the Supreme Self has but two forms, through the superimposition of which by ignorance the formless Supreme Brahman is defined or made conceivable. The word ‘Vāva’ (indeed) is emphatic. Which are those two forms? The gross and subtle. The other phases of the gross and subtle are included in them; so they are counted as two only. What are those phases of the gross and subtle? These are being mentioned: Mortal, subject to destruction, and immortal, its opposite. Limited, which goes a little distance and stops, and unlimited, which goes on, is pervasive, the opposite of ‘limited.’ Defined, having particular characteristics that distinguish it from others, and undefined, the opposite of that, which can only be distantly referred to, as something we know not what.