स होवाच, एतद्वै तदक्शरः, गार्गि ब्राह्मणा अभिवदन्ति, अस्थूलमनण्वह्रस्वमदीर्घमलोहितमस्नेहमच्छायमतमोऽ-
तेजस्कमप्राणममुखममात्रमनन्तरमबाह्यम्, न तदश्नाति किंचन, न तदश्नाति कश्चन ॥ ८ ॥
sa hovāca, etadvai tadakśaraḥ, gārgi brāhmaṇā abhivadanti, asthūlamanaṇvahrasvamadīrghamalohitamasnehamacchāyamatamo’-vāyvanākāśamasaṅgamacakśuṣkamaśrotramavāgamano’-tejaskamaprāṇamamukhamamātramanantaramabāhyam, na tadaśnāti kiṃcana, na tadaśnāti kaścana || 8 ||
8. He said: O Gārgī, the knowers of Brahman say, this Immutable (Brahman) is that. It is neither gross nor minute, neither short nor long, neither red colour nor oiliness, neither shadow nor darkness, neither air nor ether, unattached, neither savour nor odour, without eyes or ears, without the vocal organ or mind, non-luminous, without the vital force or mouth, not a measure, and without interior or exterior. It does not eat anything, nor is It eaten by anybody.
With a view to evading both the charges, Yājñavalkya said: O Gārgī, the knowers of Brahman say, this is that about which you have asked, ‘By what is the unmanifested ether pervaded?’ What is it? The Immutable, i.e. which does not decay or change. By referring to the opinion of the knowers of Brahman, he evades both the charges by suggesting that he will say nothing objectionable, nor that he has failed to comprehend the question. When he thus answered her question, Gārgī must have rejoined, ‘Tell me, what is that Immutable which the knowers of Brahman speak of?’ Thus addressed, Yājñavalkya said: It is not gross, i.e. is other than gross. Then It must, be minute? No, nor minute. Then is It short? Neither short. Then It must be long? No,nor long. By this fourfold negation of size all the characteristics of a substance are denied of It; in other words, this Immutable is not a substance. Is It then red colour, which is a quality? No, It is different from that too—neither red colour; red colour is a quality of fire. Is It then the oiliness of water? No, nor oiliness. Is It then a shadow, being altogether indescribable? No, It is different from that too—neither shadow. Is It then darkness? No, nor darkness. Let It then be air. No, neither air. May It then be the ether? No, nor ether. Is It then sticky like lac? No, It is unattached. Is It then savour? Neither savour. Let It then be odour. No, nor odour. Has It then eyes? No, It is without eyes, for It has not that instrument of vision; as the Mantra says, ‘He sees without eyes’ (Śv. III. 19). Similarly It is without ears, as the Śruti puts it: ‘He hears without ears’ (Ibid.). Let It then have the vocal organ. No, It is without the vocal organ. Similarly It is without the mind. Likewise It is non-luminous, for It has no lustre like that of fire etc. It is without the vital force; the vital force in the body is denied of It. Has It then a mouth or opening? No, It is without a mouth. Not a measure: It does not measure anything. Is It then porous? No, It is mthout interior. Then may be It has an exterior? No, It has no exterior. Is It then an eater? No, It does not eat anything. Then is It anybody’s food? No, nor is It eaten by anybody. In other words, It is devoid of all attributes, for It is one only without a second; so what is there that can be specified, and through what?