The relation of the story to the subject has already been dealt with. The emancipation from death in the form of time as well as rites has been explained. Now what is this death, the emancipation from which has been explained? It consists of the Grahas (organs) and Atigrahas (objects), which are centred in the attachment due to our natural ignorance, and are limited by the objects relating to the body and the elements. The forms such as fire and the sun of one who has been freed from that death consisting in limitation have been explained in the section on the Udgītha, and some details about them have been set forth in reply to Aśvala’s questions; all that is the result of rites coupled with meditation. Liberation from this relative existence consisting of ends and means has to be effected; hence the nature of death is being described, for it is the man in bondage who has to be liberated. It is true that the nature of an emancipated man has also been described, but such a man is not yet free from death in the form of the organs and objects. So it has been said with reference to the being who is in the sun, ‘For hunger is death’ (I. ii. i) and ‘This indeed is death’ (Ś. X. v. ii. 2); also, ‘Death, though one, has many forms’ (Ś. X. v. ii. 16). In other words, he alone who has attained identity with the sun is spoken of as escaping from the clutches of death; and the organs and objects, which are but forms of death, are not absent in the sun. It has already been said, ‘Heaven is the body of this mind, and that sun is its luminous organ’ (I. v. 12), and it will be said further on, ‘The mind is also the Graha (organ); it is controlled by the Atigraha (object), desire’ (III. ii. 7), ‘The Prāna (nose) is the Graha; it is controlled by the Atigraha, the Apāna (odour)’ (III. ii. 2), and ‘The organ of speech indeed is the Graha; it is controlled by the Atigraha, name’ (III. ii. 3). We have thus explained it in the passage bearing on the three kinds of food; and we have fully argued the point that what causes the starting of bondage cannot lead to its cessation.
Some, however, consider every rite to be leading to the cessation of bondage. Therefore, they say, he who resorts to the succeeding forms of death (bodies) is freed from the preceding forms of it: he resorts to the former not to cling to them, but to turn away from them; so everything is a form of death until duality is at an end, and when this takes place, he really transcends death. Hence, they say, the intermediate liberation is but a relative and secondary one.
All this, we say, is unwarranted by the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad.
Objection: Does not liberation consist in identity with all, as is borne out by the Śruti text, ‘Therefore It became all’ (I. iv. 10)?
Reply: Yes, it does, but such Śruti texts as, ‘One who desires villages must sacrifice’ (Tā. XVII. x. 4), and ‘One who desires animalś must sacrifice’ (Tā. XVI. xii. 8), do not convey liberation. If they did, they would not signify villages, cattle, heaven, etc., and hence the latter would not be understood as such. But they are considered to be the varied results of our past actions. Moreover, if the Vedic rites conveyed liberation, there would be no relative existence at all.
Objection: We maintain that although identity is the purport of those passages, yet relative existence is the very nature of rites, which follow automatically (from a knowledge of the Vedic injunctions), as when a lamp is lighted to show a particular form, everything in that place is brought to light.
Reply: Not so, for it is unwarranted by any means of knowledge. In other words, if the Vedic rites together with meditation convey only identity, there is nothing to prove that bondage follows automatically (from a knowledge of the Vedic injunctions). There is neither perception, nor for that very reason inference, nor scriptural evidence.
Objection: But both identity and relative exist ence may be conveyed by the same sentence, as light or the digging of a canal, for instance, serves multiple purposes.
Reply: It cannot be, for it would be against the laws of sentences. Nor can you say that the import of a sentence (here, rites) serves both to initiate bondage and to stop it. The examples of light, the digging of a canal, and so forth are in order, because their uses are matters of perception.
You may say that there are Mantras in support of your view; but it is just this view of yours that is untenable. We have to find out whether these Mantras mean this or something else. Therefore we conclude that death in the form of the organs and objects is bondage, and this section is introduced to show a way out of that bondage. We do not know the trick of taking up an intermediate position, as between waking and sleeping states; it would be as absurd as the same woman being one-half old and one-half young. The reason why after the words ‘go beyond death’ (III. i. 3, adapted), the organs and objects are mentioned, is that these latter also really mean death. In other words, the whole range of ends and means constitutes bondage, because it is not free from the organs and objects. Only when the fetters are known, can the fettered man try to get rid of them. Hence the present section is introduced to describe the nature of bondage.
अथ हैनं जारत्कारव आर्तभागः पप्रच्छ; याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, कति ग्रहाः, कत्यतिग्रहा इति । अष्टौ ग्रहाः, अष्टावतिग्रहा इति; ये तेऽष्टौ ग्रहाः, अष्टावतिग्रहाः, कतमे त इति ॥ १ ॥
atha hainaṃ jāratkārava ārtabhāgaḥ papraccha; yājñavalkyeti hovāca, kati grahāḥ, katyatigrahā iti | aṣṭau grahāḥ, aṣṭāvatigrahā iti; ye te’ṣṭau grahāḥ, aṣṭāvatigrahāḥ, katame ta iti || 1 ||
1. Then Ārtabhāga, of the line of Jaratkāru asked him. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘how many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ ‘There are eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas.’ ‘Which are those eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas?’
Then, i.e. when Aśvala stopped, Ārtabhāga, the son of. Ṛtabhāga, of the line of Jaratkāru. asked Yājñavalkya, already introduced. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he —this is to draw his attention. The particle ‘ha’ suggests the narration of a past incident. As before, comes the question, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ The particle ‘iti’ marks the close of the speech.
Objection: The subject-matter of the question, viz. the Grahas and Atigrahas, may be either known or not known. If they are known, then their number, which is an attribute, is also known. In that case, the question regarding it, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ is out of place. If, on the other hand, the Grahas and Atigrahas are not known, then the question should be regarding their nature: ‘What are the Grahas, and what are the Atigrahas?’ and not,’How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Atigrahas?’ Again, questions may be asked regarding the particulars of things about which we have a general knowledge, as for instance: ‘Which of these belong to the Kaṭha recension and which to the Kalāpa?’ But no such things as Grahas and Atigrahas are known in life. It they yere, the question might be regarding the particulars about them.
Reply: It has been asked (III. i. 3) how the sacrificer ‘goes beyond’ death. It is only one who is controlled by a Graha (that which seizes) that can be liberated. It has been mentioned twice—’This is liberation; this is emancipation’ (Ibid.). Therefore the Grahas and Atigrahas are known things.
Objection: Even in that case four Grahas and Atigrahas have been mentioned, viz. the vocal organ, eye, vital force and mind. So the question ‘how many’ is not to the point, for the number is already known.
Reply: Not so, because there the number was indefinite. The passage in question did not seek to fix it at four. Here, however, in the meditation on the Grahas and Atigrahas, the attribute of number is sought to be fixed at eight; so the question is quite in order. Therefore liberation and emancipation have been mentioned twice in the passage. ‘This is liberation; this is emancipation.’ The Grahas and Atigrahas too are settled facts. Hence Ārtabhāga asked, ‘How many are the Grahas, and how many are the Ati-grahas?’ Yājñavalkya replied, ‘There are eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas.’ ‘Which, in particular, are those eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas that you have spoken of?’