कतम आत्मेति; योऽयं विज्ञानमयः प्राणेषु हृद्यन्तर्ज्योतिः पुरुषः; स समानः सन्नुभौ लोकावनुसंचरति, ध्यायतीव लेलायतीव; स हि स्वप्नो भूत्वेमं लोकमतिक्रामति मृत्यो रूपाणि ॥ ७ ॥
katama ātmeti; yo’yaṃ vijñānamayaḥ prāṇeṣu hṛdyantarjyotiḥ puruṣaḥ; sa samānaḥ sannubhau lokāvanusaṃcarati, dhyāyatīva lelāyatīva; sa hi svapno bhūtvemaṃ lokamatikrāmati mṛtyo rūpāṇi || 7 ||
7. ‘Which is the self?’ ‘This infinite entity (Puruṣa) that is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs, the (self-effulgent) light within the heart (intellect). Assuming the likeness (of the intellect), it moves between the two worlds; it thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were. Being identified with dreams, it transcends this world—the forms of death (ignorance etc.).’
Though the self has been proved to be other than the body and organs, yet, owing to a misconception caused by the observation that things which help others are of the same class as they, Janaka cannot decide whether the self is just one of the organs or something different, and therefore asks: Which is the self?
The misconception is quite natural, for the logic involved is too subtle to grasp easily. Or, although the self has been proved to be other than the body, yet all the organs appear to be intelligent, since the self is not perceived as distinct from them; so I ask you: Which is the self? Among the body, organs,
vital force and mind, which is the self you have spoken of—through which light, you said, a man sits and does other kinds of work? Or, which of these organs is ‘this self identified with the intellect’ that you have meant, for all the organs appear to be intelligent? As when a number of Brāhmaṇas are assembled, one may ask, ‘They are all highly qualified, but which of these is versed in all the six branches of the Vedas?’ In the first explanation, ‘Which is the self?’ is the question, and ‘This infinite entity that is identified with the intellect,’ etc., is the answer; in the second, ‘Which of the organs is the self that is identified with the intellect?’ is the question. Or the whole sentence, ‘Which is this self that is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs, the light within the heart?’ is the question. The words, ‘That is identified with the intellect,’ etc. give the precise description of the self that has been known only in a general way. But the word ‘iti’ in, ‘Which is the self,’ ought to mark the end of the question, without its being connected with a remote word. Hence we conclude that the expression, ‘Which is the self,’ is really the question, and all the rest of the sentence, beginning with, ‘This infinite entity that is identified with the intellect,’ etc., is the answer.
The word ‘this’ has been used wit reference to the self, since it is directly known to us. ‘Vijñāna-maya’ means identified with the intellect: the self is so called because of our failure to discriminate its association with its limiting adjunct, the intellect, for it is perceived as associated with the intellect, as the planet Rāhu is with the sun and the moon. The intellect is the instrument that helps us in everything, like a lamp set in front amidst darkness. It has been said, ‘It is through the mind that one sees and hears’ (I. v. 3). Every object is perceived only as associated with the light of the intellect, as objects in the dark are lighted up by a lamp placed in front; the other organs are but the channels for the intellect. Therefore the self is described in terms of that, as ‘identified with the intellect.’ Those who explain the word ‘Vijñānamaya’ as a modification of the consciousness that is the Supreme Self, evidently go against the import of the Śrutis, since in the words ‘Vijñānamaya,’ ‘Manomaya,’ etc., the suffix ‘mayaṭ’ denotes something else than modification; and where the meaning of a word is doubtful, it can be ascertained by a reference to a definite use of the word elsewhere, or from a supplementary statement; or else on the strength of irrefutable logic. From the use of the expression, ‘Through its association with the intellect,’ a little further on, and from the words ‘within the heart (intellect),’ the word ‘Vijñānamaya’ ought to mean ‘identified with the intellect.’
The locative case in the term ‘in the midst of the organs ‘ indicates that the self is different from the organs, as ‘a rock in the midst of the trees’ indicates only nearness; for there is a doubt about the identity or difference of the self from the organs. ‘In the midst of the organs’ means ‘different from the organs,’ for that which is in the midst of certain other things is of course different from them, as ‘a tree in the midst of the rocks.’ Within the heart: One may think that the intellect, which is of the same class as the organs, is meant, as being in the midst of the organs. This is refuted by the phrase ‘within the heart.’ ‘Heart’ is primarily the lotus-shaped lump of flesh; here it means the intellect, which has its seat in the heart. The expression therefore means ‘within the intellect.’ The word ‘within’ indicates that the self is different from the modifications of the intellect. The self is called light, because it is self-effulgent, for through this light, the self-effulgent Ātman, this aggregate of body and organs sits, goes out and works, as if it were sentient, as a jar placed in the sun (shines). Or as an emerald or any other gem, dropped for testing into milk etc., imparts its lustre to them, so does this luminous self, being finer than even the heart or intellect, unify and impart its lustre to the body and organs, including the intellect etc., although it is within the intellect; for these have varying degrees of fineness or grossness in a certain order, and the self is the innermost of them all.
The intellect, being transparent and next to the self, easily catches the reflection of the intelligence of the self. Therefore even wise men happen to identify themselves with it first; next comes the Manas, which catches the reflection of the self through the intellect; then the organs, through contact with the Manas; and lastly the body, through the organs. Thus the self successively illumines with its own intelligence the entire aggregate of body and organs. It is therefore that all people identify themselves with the body and organs and their modifications indefinitely according to their discrimination. The Lord also has said in the Gītā, ‘As the one sun, O Arjuna, illumines the whole world, so the self, the owner of the field of this body, illumines the whole body’ (G. XIII. 33); also, ‘(Know) the light of the sun (which illumines the entire world, to be Mine),’ etc. (G. XV. 12). The Kaṭha Upaniṣad also has it, ‘Eternal in the midst of transitory things, the intelligent One among all intelligent beings’ (Ka. V. 13); also, ‘It shining, everything else shines; this universe shines through Its light’ (Ka. V. 15). The Mantra also says, ‘Kindled by which light, the sun shines’ (Tai. B. III. xii. 9. 7). Therefore the self is the ‘light within the intellect,’ ‘Puruṣa,’ i.e. infinite entity, being all-pervading like the ether. Its self-effulgence is infinite, because it is the illuminer of everything, but is itself not illumined by anything else. This infinite entity of which you ask, ‘Which is the self?’ is self-effulgent.
It has been said that when the external lights that help the different organs have ceased to work, the self, the infinite entity that is the light within the intellect, helps the organs through the mind. Even when the external aids of the organs, viz. the sun and other lights, exist, since these latter (being compounds) subr serve the purpose of some other agency, and the body and organs, being insentient, cannot exist for them-selves, this aggregate of body and organs cannot function without the help of the self, the light that lives for itself. It is always through the help of the light of the self that all our activities take place. ‘This intellect and Manas are consciousness…. (all these are but names of Intelligence or the Ātman)’ (Ai, V. 2), says another Śruti, for every act of people is attended with the ego, and the reason for this ego we have already stated through the illustration of the emerald.
Though it is so, yet during the waking state that light called the self, being beyond the organs and being particularly mixed up in the diversity of functions of the body and the organs, internal and external, such as the intellect, cannot be shown extricated from them, like a stalk of grass from its sheath; hence, in order to show it in the dream state. Yājñavalkya begins: Assuming the likeness… it moves between the two worlds. The infinite entity that is the self-effulgent Ātman, assuming the likeness—of what?—of the intellect, which is the topic, and is also contiguous. In the phrase, ‘within the heart’ there occurs the word ‘heart,’ meaning the intellect, and it is quite close; therefore that is meant. And what is meant by ‘likeness’? The failure to distinguish (between the intellect and the self) as between a horse and a buffalo. The intellect is that which is illumined, and the light of the self is that which illumines, like light; and it is well known that we cannot distinguish the two. It is because light is pure that it assumes the likeness of that which it illumines. When it illumines something coloured, it assumes the likeness of that colour. When, for instance, it illumines something green, blue or red, it is coloured like them. Similarly the self, illumining the intellect, illumines through it the entire body and organs, as we have already stated through the illustration of the emerald. Therefore through the similarity of the intellect, the self assumes the likeness of everything. Hence it will be described later on as ‘Identified with everything’ (IV. iv. 5).
Therefore it cannot be taken apart from anything else, like a stalk of grass from its sheath, and shown in its self-effulgent form. It is for this reason that the whole world, to its utter delusion, superimposes all activities peculiar to name and form on the self, and all attributes of this self-effulgent light on name and form, and also superimposes name and form on the light of the self, and thinks, ‘This is the self, or is not the self; it has such and such attributes, or has not such and such attributes; it is the agent, or is not the agent; it is pure, or impure; it is bound, or free; it is fixed, or gone, or come; it exists, or does not exist,’ and so on. Therefore ‘assuming the likeness (of the intellect) it moves’ alternately ‘between the two worlds’—this one and the next, the one that has been attained and the one that is to be attained—by successively discarding the body and organs already possessed, and taking new ones, hundreds of them, in an unbroken series. This movement between the two worlds is merely due to its resembling the intellect—not natural to it. That it is attributable to its resembling the limiting adjuncts of name and form created by a confusion, and is not natural to it, is being stated: Because, assuming the likeness (of the intellect), it moves alternately between the two worlds. The text goes on to show that this is a fact of experience. It thinks, as it were: By illumining the intellect, which does the thinking, through its own self-effulgent light that pervades the intellect, the self assumes the likeness of the latter and seems to think, just as light (looks coloured). Hence people mistake that the self thinks; but really it does not. Likewise it shakes, as it were: When the intellect and other organs as well as the Pranas move, the self, which illumines them, becomes like them, and therefore seems to move rapidly; but really the light of the self has no motion.
How are we to know that it is owing to the delusive likeness of the intellect that the self moves between the two worlds and does other activities, and not by itself? This is being answered by a statement of reason: Being identified with dreams, etc. The self seems to become whatever the intellect, which it zesembles, becomes. Therefore when the intellect turns into a dream, i.e. takes on the modification called a dream, the self also assumes that form; when the intellect wants to wake up, it too does that. Hence the text says: Being identified with dreams, revealing the modification known as dreams assumed by the intellect, and thereby resembling them, it transcends this world, i.e. the body and organs, functioning in the waking state, round which our secular and scriptural activities are centred Because the self stands revealing by its own distinct light the modification known as dreams assumed by the intellect, therefore it must really be self-effulgent, pure and devoid of agent and action with its factors and results. It is only the likeness of the intellect that gives rise to the delusion tḥat the self moves between the two worlds and has other such activities. The forms of death, i.e. work, ignorance, etc. Death has no other forms of its own; the body and organs are its forms. Hence the self transcends those forms of death, on which actions and their results depend.
Buddhist objection: We say there is no such thing as the light of the self similar to the intellect and revealing it, for we experience nothing but the intellect either through perception or through inference, just as we do not experience a second intellect at the same time. You say that since the light that reveals and the jar, for instance, that is revealed are not distinguishable in spite of their difference, they resemble each other. We reply that in that particular case, the light being perceived as different from the jar, there may well be similarity between them, because they are merely joined together, remaining all the while different. But in this case we do not similarly experience either through perception or through inference any other light revealing the intellect, just as the light reveals the jar. It is the intellect which, as the consciousness that reveals, assumes its own form as well as those of the objects. Therefore neither through perception nor through inference is it possible to establish a separate light which reveals the intellect.
What has been said above by way of example, viz. that there may be similarity between the light that reveals and the jar, for instance, that is revealed, because they are merely joined together, remaining all the while different, has been said only tentatively; it is not that the jar that is revealed is different from the light that reveals it. In reality it iś the self-luminous jar that reveals itself; for (each moment) a new jar is produced, and it is consciousness that takes the form of the self-luminous jar or any other object. Such being the case, there is no instance of an external object, for everything is mere consciousness.
Thus the Buddhists, after conceiving the intellect as tainted by assuming a double form, the revealer and the revealed (subject and object), desire to purify it. Some of them, for instance, maintain that consciousness is untrammelled by the dualism of subject and object, is pure and momentary; others want to deny that even. For instance, the Mādhyamikas hold that consciousness is free from the dual aspect of subject and object, hidden and simply void, like the external objects such as a jar.
All these assumptions are contradictory to this Vedic path of well-being that we are discussing, since they deny the light of the self as distinct from the body and illumining the consciousness of the intellect. Now to those who believe in an objective world we reply: Objects such as a jar are not self-luminous; a jar in darkness never reveals itself, but is noticed as being regularly revealed by coming in contact with the light of a lamp etc. Then we say that the jar is in contact with light. Even though the jar and the light are in contact, they are distinct from each other, for we see their difference, as between a rope and a jar, when they repeatedly come in contact and are disjoined. This distinction means that the jar is revealed by something else; it certainly does not reveal itself.
Objection: But do we not see that a lamp reveals itself? People do not use another light to see a lamp, as they do in the case of a jar etc. Therefore a lamp reveals itself.
Reply: No, for there is no difference as regards its being revealed by something else (the self). Although a lamp, being luminous, reveals other things, yet it is, just like a jar etc., invariably revealed by an intelligence other than itself. Since this is so, the lamp cannot but be revealed by something other than itself.
Objection: But there is a difference. A jar, even though revealed by an intelligence, requires a light different from itself (to manifest it), while the lamp does not require another lamp. Therefore the lamp, although revealed by something else, reveals itself as well as the jar.
Reply: Not so, for there is no difference, directly or indirectly (between a jar and a lamp). As the jar is revealed by an intelligence, so is equally the lamp. Your statement that the lamp reveals both itself and the jar is wrong. Why? Because what can its condition be when it does not reveal itself? As a matter of fact, we notice no difference in it, either directly or indirectly. A thing is said to be revealed only when we notice some difference in it through the presence oi absence of the revealing agent. But there can be no question of a lamp being present before or absent from itself; and when no difference is caused by the presence or absence, it is idle to say that the lamp reveals itself.
But as regards being revealed by an intelligence the lamp is on a par with the jar etc. Therefore the lamp is not an illustration in point to show that consciousness (of the intellect) reveals itself; it is revealed by an intelligence just as much as the external objects are. Now, if consciousness is revealed by an intelligence, which consciousness is it?—the one that is revealed (the consciousness of the intellect), or the one that reveals (i.e. the consciousness of the self)? Since there is a doubt on the point, we should infer on the analogy of observed facts, not contrary to them. Such being the case, just as we see that external objects such as a lamp are revealed by something different from them (the self), so also should consciousness— although it reveals other things like a lamp—be inferred, on the ground of its being revealed by an intelligence, to be revealed not by itself, but by an intelligence different from it. And that other entity which reveals consciousness is the self—the intelligence which is different from that consciousness.
Objection: But that would lead to a regressus in infinitum.
Reply: No; it has only been stated on logical grounds that because consciousness is an object revealed by something, the latter must be distinct from that consciousness. Obviously there cannot be any infallible ground for inferring that the self literally reveals the consciousness in question, or that, as the witness, it requires another agency to reveal it. Therefore there is no question of a regressus in infinitum.
Objection: If consciousness is revealed by something else, some means of revelation is required, and this would again lead to a regressus in infinitum.
Reply: No, for there is no such restriction; it is not a universal rule. We cannot lay down an absolute condition that whenever something is revealed by another, there must be some means of revelation besides the two—that which reveals and that which is revealed, for we observe diversity of conditions. For instance, a jar is perceived by something different from itself, viz. the self; here light such as ihai of a lamp, which is other than the perceiving subject and the perceived object, is a means. The light of the lamp etc. is neither a part of the jar nor of the eye, But though the lamp, like the jar, is perceived by the eye, the latter does not require any external means corresponding to the light, over and above the lamp (which is the object). Hence we can never lay down the rule that wherever a thing is perceived by something else, there must be some means besides the two. Therefore, if consciousness is admitted to be revealed by a subject different from it, the charge of a regressus in infinitum, either through the means or through the perceiving subject (the self), is altogether untenable. Hence it is proved that there is another light, viz. the light of the self, which is different from consciousness.
Objection (by the idealist): We say there is no external object like the jar etc., or the lamp, apart from consciousness; and it is commonly observed that a thing which is not perceived apart from something else is nothing but the latter; as for instance things such as the jar and cloth seen in dream consciousness. Because we do not perceive the jar, lamp and so forth seen in a dream, apart from the dream consciousness, we take it for granted that they are nothing but the latter. Similarly in the waking state, the jar, lamp and so forth, not being perceived apart from the consciousness of that state, should be taken merely as that consciousness and nothing more. Therefore there is no external object such as the jar or lamp, and everything is but consciousness. Hence your statement that since consciousness is revealed, like the jar etc., by something else, there is another light besides consciousness, is groundless: for everything being but consciousness, there is no illustration to support you.
Objection: We deny it absolutely.
Reply: No. Since the words ‘consciousness/ ‘jar’ and ‘lamp’ are different and have different meanings, you cannot help admitting to a certain extent the existence of external objects. If you do not admit the existence of objects different from consciousness, words such as ‘consciousness/ ‘jar’ and ‘doth/ having the same meaning, would be synonymous. Similarly, the means being identical with the result, your scriptures inculcating a difference between them would be useless, and their author (Buddha) would be charged with ignorance.
Moreover, you yourself admit that a debate between rivals as well as its defects are different from consciousness. You certainly do not consider the debate and its defects to be identical with one’s consciousness, for the opponent, for instance, has to be refuted. Nobody admits that it is either his own consciousness or his own self that is meant to be refuted; were it so, all human activities would stop. Nor do you assume that the opponent perceives himself; rather you take it for granted that he is perceived by others. Therefore we conclude that the whole objective world is perceived by something other than itself, because it is an object of our perception in the waking state, just like other objects perceived in that state, such as the opponent—which is an easy enough illustration; or as one series of (momentary) consciousness , or any single one of them, is perceived by another of the same kind. Therefore not even the idealist can deny the existence of another light different from consciousness.
Objection: You are wrong to say that there is an external world, since in dreams we perceive nothing but consciousness.
Reply: No, for even from this absence of external objects we can demonstrate their difference from consciousness. You yourself have admitted that in dreams the consciousness of a jar or the like is real; but in the same breath you say that there is no jar apart from that consciousness! The point is, whether the jar which forms the object of that consciousness is unreal or real, in either case you have admitted that the consciousness of the jar is real, and it cannot be denied, for there is no reason to support the denial. By this the theory of the voidness of everything is also refuted; as also the Mīmāṃsaka view that the Self is perceived by the individual self as the ‘I’.
Your statement that every moment a different jar in contact with light is produced, is wrong, for even at a subsequent moment we recognise it to be the same jar.
Reply: No, for even in that case the momentariness is disproved. Besides, the recognition is due merely to an identity of species. When the hair, nails, etc. have been cut and have grown again, there being an identity of species as hair, nails, etc., their recognition as such due to that identity is unquestionable. But when we see the hair, nails, etc. that have grown again after being cut, we never have the idea that they are, individually, those identical hairs or nails. When after a great lapse of time we see on a person hair, nails, etc. of the same size as before, we perceive that the hair, nails, etc. we see at that particular moment are like those seen on the previous occasion, but never that they are the same ones. But in the case of a jar etc. we perceive that they are identical. Therefore the two cases are not parallel.
When a thing is directly recognised as identical, it is improper to infer that it is something else, for when an inference contradicts perception, the ground of such inference becomes fallacious. Moreover, the perception of similarity is impossible because of the momentariness of knowledge (held by you). The perception of similarity takes place when one and the same person sees two things at different times. But accoṛding to you the person who sees a thing does not exist till the next moment to see another thing, for consciousness, being momentary, ceases to be as soon as it has seçn some one thing. To explain: The perception of similarity takes the form of ‘This is like that.’ ‘That’ refers to the remembrance of something seen; ‘this’ to the perception of something present. If after remembering the past experience denoted by ‘that,’ consciousness should linger till the present moment referred to by ‘this,’ then the doctrine of momentariness would be gone. If, however, the remembrance terminates with the notion of ‘that,’ and a different perception relating to the present (arises and) dies with the notion of ‘this,’ then no perception of similarity expressed by, ‘This is like that,’ will result, as there will be no single consciousness perceiving more than one thing (so as to draw the comparison). Moreover, it will be impossible to describe our experiences. Since consciousness ceases to be just after seeing what was to be seen, we cannot use such expressions as, ‘I see this,’ or ‘I saw that,’ for the person who has seen them will not exist till the moment of making these utterances. Or, if he does, the doctrine of momentariness will be contradicted. If, on the other hand, the person who makes these utterances and perceives the similarity is other than the one who saw those things, then, like the remarks of a man born blind about particular colours and his perception of their similarity, the writing of scriptural books by the omniscient Buddha and other such things will all become an instance of the blind following the blind. But this is contrary to your views. Moreover, the charges of obtaining results of actions not done and not obtaining those of actions already done, are quite patent in the doctrine of momentariness.
Objection: It is possible to describe a past experience by means of a single chain-like perception that takes place so as to include both the preceding and the succeeding perception, and this also accounts for the comparison, ‘This is like that.’
Reply: Not so, for the past and the present perceptions belong to different times. The present perception is one link of the chain and the past perception another, and these two perceptions belong to different times. If the chain-like perception touches the objects of both these perceptions, then the same consciousness extending over two moments, the doctrine of momentariness again falls to the ground. And such distinctions as ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ being impossible, all our dealings in the world will come to naught.
Moreover, since you hold everything to be but consciousness perceptible only to itself, and at the same time say that consciousness is by nature but the reflection of pellucid knowledge, and since there is no other witness to it, it is impossible to regard it as various such as transitory, painful, void and unreal. Nor can consciousness be treated as having many contradictory parts, like a pomegranate etc., for according to you it is of the nature of pellucid knowledge. Moreover, if the transitoriness, painfulness, etc. are parts of consciousness, the very fact that they are perceived will throw them into the category of objects, different from the subject. If, on the other hand, consciousness is essentially transitory, painful and so on, then it is impossible to conceive that it will become pure by getting rid of those characteristics j for a thing becomes pure by getting rid of the impurities that are connected with it, as in the case of á mirror etc., but it can never divest itself of its natural property. Fire, for instance, is never seen to part with its natural light or heat. Although the redness and other qualities of a flower are seen to be removed by the addition of other substances, yet even there we infer that those features were the result of previous combinations, for we observe that by subjecting the seeds to a particular process, a different quality iś imparted to flowers, fruits, etc. Hence consciousness cannot be conceived to be purified.
Besides you conceive consciousness to be impure when it appears in the dual character of subject and object. That too is impossible, since it does not come in contact with anything else. A thing cannot surely come in contact with something that does not exist; and when there is no contact with anything else, the properties that are observed in a thing belong naturally to it, and cannot be separated from it, as the heat of fire, or the light of the sun. Therefore we conclude that your assumption that consciousness becomes impure by coming temporarily in contact with something else, and is again free from this impurity, is merely an instance of the blind following the blind, and is unsupported by any evidence.
Lastly, the Buddhistic assumption that the extinction of that consciousness is the highest end of human life, is untenable, for there is no recipient of results. For a person who has got a thorn stuck into him, the relief of the pain caused by it is the result (he seeks); but if he dies, we do not find any recipient of the resulting cessation of pain. Similarly, if consciousness is altogether extinct and there is nobody to reap that benefit, to talk of it as the highest end of human life is meaningless. If that very entity or self, designated by the word ‘person’—consciousness, according to you—whose well-being is meant, is extinct, for whose sake will the highest end be? But those who (with US’) believe in a self different from consciousness and witnessing many objects, will find it easy to explain all phenomena such as the remembrance of things previously seen and the contact and cessation of pain—the impurity, for instance, being ascribed to contact with extraneous things, and the purification to dissociation from them. As for the view of the nihilist, since it is contradicted by all the evidences of knowledge, no attempt is being made to refute it.