स वा अयमात्मा सर्वेषाम् भूतानमधिपतिः, सर्वेषां भूतूनां राजा; तद्यथा रथनाभौ च रथनेमौ चाराः सर्वे समर्पिताः, एवमेवास्मिन्नात्मनि सर्वाणि भूतानि, सर्वे देवाः, सर्वे लोकाः, सर्वे प्राणाः, सर्व एत आत्मनः समर्पिताः ॥ १५ ॥
sa vā ayamātmā sarveṣām bhūtānamadhipatiḥ, sarveṣāṃ bhūtūnāṃ rājā; tadyathā rathanābhau ca rathanemau cārāḥ sarve samarpitāḥ, evamevāsminnātmani sarvāṇi bhūtāni, sarve devāḥ, sarve lokāḥ, sarve prāṇāḥ, sarva eta ātmanaḥ samarpitāḥ || 15 ||
15. This Self, already mentioned, is the ruler of all beings, and the king of all beings. Just as all the spokes are fixed in the nave and the felloe of a chariot-wheel, so are all beings, all gods, all worlds, all organs and all these (individual) selves fixed in this Self.
This Self, already mentioned, refers to the Self in which the remaining individual self of the last paragraph was stated to be merged (II. iv. 12). When the latter, which is possessed of the limiting adjunct of the body and organs created by ignorance, has been merged through the knowledge of Brahman in the Jrue Self (or Brahman), it—such a self—becomes devoid of interior or exterior, entire, Pure Intelligence, the Self of all beings, and an object of universal homage —the absolute ruler of all beings, not like a prince or a minister, but the king of all beings. The expression ‘ruler of all’ qualifies the idea of kingship. One may be a king by just living like a king, but he may not be the ruler of all. Hence the text adds the qualifying epithet ‘ruler of all.’ Thus the sage, the knower of Brahman, who is the Self of all beings, becomes free. The question, ‘Men think, “Through the knowledge of Brahman we shall become all.” Well, what did that Brahman know by which It became all?’ (I. iv. 9)—is thus answefed. That is, by hearing of one’s own self as the Self of all from the teacher and the Śrutis, by reflecting on It through reasoning, and by realising It at first hand, as explained in this and the previous section (one becomes all). Even before realisation one has always been Brahman, but through ignorance one considered oneself different from It; one has always been all, but through ignorance one considered oneself otherwise. Therefore, banishing this ignorance through the knowledge of Brahman, the knower of Brahman, having all the while been Brahman, became Brahman, and having throughout been all, became all.
The import of the scripture that was briefly indicated has been completely dealt with. Now illustrations are being given to show that in this knower of Brahman who is the self of all and has realised himself as such, the whole universe is fixed: Just as all the spokes are fixed in the nave and the felloe of a chariot-wheel, so are all beings from Hiraṇyagarbha down to a clump of grass, all gods such as Fire, all worlds such as this earth, all organs such as that of speech, and all these selves, which penetrate every body like a reflection of the moon in water and are conjured up by ignorance—in short, the whole universe, fixed in this Self, i.e. in the knower of Brahman who has realised his identity with the Supreme Self. It has been stated (L iv. io) that Vāmadeva, who was a knower of Brahman, realised that he had been Manu and the sun; this identification with all is thus explained: This man of realisation, this knower of Brahman, identifies himself with all as his limiting adjunct, is the self of all, and becomes all. Again he is without any limiting adjuncts, without name, devoid of interior or exterior, entire, Pure Intelligence, birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless, immovable, to be described as ‘Not this, not this,’ neither gross nor subtle, and so on.
The logicians and certain self-styled scholars versed in the Śrutis (Mīmāṃsakas), not knowing this import of them, think that they are contradictory, and fall into an abyss of confusion by attempting fanciful interpretations. This import of which we speak is borne out by the following Mantras of the scriptures: ‘One and unmoved, but swifter than the mind’ (Iś. 4), and ‘It moves, and does not move’ (Iś. 5). Similarly in the Taittiriya Āraṇyaka, ‘Than which there is nothing higher or lower’ (Śv. III. 9; Mn. X. 4) and ‘He goes on singing this hymn: I am the food, I am the food, I am the food,’ etc. (Tai. III. x. 5). So in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, ‘Laughing (or eating), playing and enjoying’ (VIII. xii. 3), ‘If he desires to attain ibe world of the Manes, (by his mere wish they appear)’ (Ch. VIII. ii. 1), ‘Possessed of all odours and all tastes’ (Ch. III. xiv. 2), and so on. In the Muṇ-ḍaka Upaniṣad too, (That which) knows things in a general and particular way’ (I. i. 9 and II. ii. 7), and ‘It is farther than the farthest, and again It is here, right near’ (Mu. III. i. 7). In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad too, ‘Minuter than an atom and bigger than the biggest’ (II. 20), and ‘Who (but me can know) that Deity who has both joy and the absence of it?’ (Ka. II. 21). Also ‘Staying, It surpasses those that run’ (Īś. 4). Similarly in the Gītā: ‘I am the Vedic sacrifice and that enjoined in the Smṛtis’ (IX. 16), ‘I am the father of this universe’ (IX. 17), ‘(The self) does not take on anybody’s demerits’ (V. 15), ‘(Living) the same in all beings’ (XIII. 27), ‘Undivided among divided (things)’ (XVIII. 20), and ‘The devourer as well as producer’ (XIII. 16). Considering these and similar scriptural texts as apparently contradictory in Lhdr import, they, with a view to arriving at their true meaning on the strength of their own intellect, put forward fanciful interpretations, as for instance, that the self exists or does not exist, that it is or is not the agent, is free or bound, momentary, mere consciousness, or nothing—and never go beyond the domain of ignorance, because everywhere they see only contradictions. Therefore those alone who tread the path shown by the Śrutis and spiritual teachers, transcend ignorance. They alone will succeed in crossing this unfathomable ocean of delusion, and not those others who follow the lead of their own clever intellect.
The knowledge of Brahman leading to immortality has been completely dealt with. It was this that Maitreyī asked of her husband in the words, ‘Tell me, sir, only of that which you know to be leading to immortality’ (II. iv. 3; IV. v. 4). In order to extol this knowledge of Brahman the following story is introduced. The two Mantras are meant to give the purport of the story in brief. Since both Mantra and Brahmaṇa extol it, the capacity of the knowledge of Brahman to confer immortality and the attainment of identity with all becomes obvious as if it were set up on the highway. As the rising sun dispels the gloom of night, so (does the knowledge of Brahman remove ignorance). The knowledge of Brahman is also eulogised in this way, that being in the custody of King lṅdra it is difficult of attainment even by the gods, since this knowledge carefully preserved by Indra was attained after great pains even by the Aśvins, who are doctors to the gods. They had to behead the instructing Brāhmaṇa and fix a horse’s head on him. When this was severed by Indra, they restored the Brāh-maṇa’s head to its place, and heard the entire knowledge of Brahman from his own lips. Therefore there neither has been nor will be—and of course there is not—any better means of realising our life’s ends than this. So this is the highest tribute that can be paid to it.
The knowledge of Brahman is further extolled thus: It is well known in the world that rites are the means to attain all our life’s ends; and their performance depends on wealth, which cannot possibly confer immortality. This can be attained only through Self-knowledge independently of rites. Although it could easily be treated of in the ritualistic portion, under the Pravargya rites, yet, because of its contradiction to rites, this Self-knowledge, coupled only with renunciation of the world, is discussed as the means of immortality, after that portion is passed. This shows that there is no better means of attaining our life’s ends than this. In another way also is the knowledge of Brahman eulogised. Everybody delights in company. The Śruti says, ‘He (Virāj) was not happy (alone). Therefore people (to this day) do not like to be alone’ (I. iv. 3). Yājñavalkya, though just like any other man, gave up through his Self-knowledge his attachment to worldly objects such as wife, children and wealth, became satisfied with knowledge, and took delight only in the Self. The knowledge of Brahman is further eulogised thus: Since Yājñavalkya, on the eve of his departure from the worldly life, instructed his beloved wife about it just to please her. We infer this from the following, ‘You say what is after my heart. Come, take your seat,’ etc. (II. iv. 4).