एकीभवति, न पश्यतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न जिघ्रतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न रसयतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न वदतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न शृणोतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न मनुत इत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न स्पृशतीत्याहुः; एकीभवति, न विजानातीत्याहुः; तस्य हैतस्य हृदयस्याग्रं प्रद्योतते; तेन प्रद्योतेनैष आत्मा निष्क्रामति—चक्शुष्टो वा, मूर्ध्नो वा, अन्येभ्यो वा शरीरदेशेभ्यः; तमुत्क्रामन्तं प्राणोऽनूत्क्रामति; प्राणमनूत्क्रामन्तं सर्वे प्राणा अनूत्क्रामन्ति; सविज्ञानो भवति, सविज्ञानमेवान्ववक्रामति । तं विद्याकर्मणी समन्वारभेते पूर्वप्रज्ञा च ॥ २ ॥
ekībhavati, na paśyatītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na jighratītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na rasayatītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na vadatītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na śṛṇotītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na manuta ityāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na spṛśatītyāhuḥ; ekībhavati, na vijānātītyāhuḥ; tasya haitasya hṛdayasyāgraṃ pradyotate; tena pradyotenaiṣa ātmā niṣkrāmati—cakśuṣṭo vā, mūrdhno vā, anyebhyo vā śarīradeśebhyaḥ; tamutkrāmantaṃ prāṇo’nūtkrāmati; prāṇamanūtkrāmantaṃ sarve prāṇā anūtkrāmanti; savijñāno bhavati, savijñānamevānvavakrāmati । taṃ vidyākarmaṇī samanvārabhete pūrvaprajñā ca || 2 ||
2. (The eye) becomes united (with the subtle body); then people say, ‘He does not see.’ (The nose) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not smell.’ (The tongue) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not taste.’ (The vocal organ) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not speak.’ (The ear) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not hear.’ (The Manas) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not think.’ (The skin) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not touch.’ (The intellect) becomes united; then they say, ‘He does not know.’ The top of the heart brightens. Through that brightened top the self departs,‘either through the eye, or through the head, or through any other part of the body. When it departs, the vital force follows; when the vital force departs, all the organs follow. Then the self has particular consciousness, and goes to the body which is related to that con-scioṇsness. It is followed by knowledge, work and past experience.
Every organ becomes united with the subtle body of the dying man; then people at ḥis side say of him, ‘He does not see.’ Similarly, when on the withdrawal of its presiding deity the nose becomes united with the subtle body, they say, ‘He does not smell.’ The rest is to be similarly explained. The moon or Varuṇa is the deity of the tongue; when he stops functioning, they say, ‘He does not taste.’ Similarly they say that he does not speak, hear, think, touch and know. This means that at that time the presiding deities cease to work, and the organs are united in the heart. What takes place in the body after the organs have been united in the heart is now being stated: The top of the heart mentioned above, i.e. of the orifice of the heart—its ‘top’ here means the nerve-end, which is the exit for the self—brightens, as in the dream state, its own lustre due to the drawing in of the organs being revealed by its own light as the Ātman. Through that top brīghtened by the light of the Ātman, the individual self, with the subtle body as its limiting adjunct, departs. As the Praśna Upaniṣad puts it: ‘On whose departure must I depart, and on whose stay, must I stay?—He projected the vital force’ (VI. 3).
In the subtle body the self-effulgent intelligence of the Ātman is always particularly manifest. It is because of this limiting adjunct that the self comes under relative existence involving all such changes as birth and death, and going and coming. The twelve organs, including the intellect, consist of it; it is the Sūtra, the life, and the inmost self of the movable and immovable universe. As the self departs with the help of the light at the top of the heart, by which way does it leave the body? Through the eye, if it has a store of work or relative knowledge that would take it to the sun, or through the head, if they are such as would entitle it to go to the world of Hiraṇyagarbha, or through any other part of the body, according to its past work and knowledge. When it, the individual self, departs for the next world, i.e. when it has the intention to go there, the vital force follows, like the Prime Minister of a king; and when the vital force departs, all the organs such as that of speech follow. This simply denotes conformity to their respective leaders, not that the vital force and the organs go one after the other, as it happens in a party.
Then the self has particular consciousness, as in dreams, in consequence of its past work, not independently. If it had this consciousness independently, everybody would achieve the end of his life; but it never has that. Hence Vyāsa says, ‘(A man attains whatever he thinks of at the moment of death) if he has always been imbued with that idea’ (G. VIII. 6). As a matter of fact, everybody has at that moment a consciousness which consists of impressions in the form of particular modifications of his mind (regarding the next life) that are induced by his past work. And goes to the body which is related to that consciousness, i.e. is revealed by that particular consciousness. Therefore, in order to have freedom of action at the time of death, those aspirants after the future life who have faith should be alert in the practice of the system of Yoga and right knowledge, and in the acquisition of particular merit (by doing good deeds). All the sacred books also carefully seek to dissuade men from doing evil; for nothing can be done at the dying moment, as there is no independence for the man, who is carried away by his past work. It has been said, ‘One indeed becomes good through good work and evil through evil work’ (III. ii. 13). The aim of the Upaniṣads in all the recensions is to prescribe remedies for this evil. There is no other way to eradicate this evil completely except by following the course laid down by them. Therefore all should try to practise the remedies prescribed by the Upaniṣads; this is the gist of the whole passage.
It has been stated that the departing self, loaded with materials, goes making noises like a cart. Now, as it starts for the next world, what is its food on the way or for consumption on reaching that world, corresponding to the carter’s load, and what are the materials for building its new body and organs? The answer is being given: It, this self journeying to the next world, is followed by knowledge of all sorts, those that are enjoined or forbidden as well as those that are neither enjoined nor forbidden; also work, enjoined or forbidden, and neither enjoined nor forbidden, and past experīence, i.e. the impressions of experiences regarding the results of past actions. These impressions take part in initiating fresh actions as well as in bringing past actions to fruition; hence they too accompany. Without these impressions no action can be done, nor any results of past actions achieved, for the organs are not skilful in unpractised work. But when the organs are prompted to work by the impressions of past experience, they can easily attain skill even without practice in this life. It is frequently observed that some are clever in certain kinds of work such as painting from their very birth, even without practice in this life, while others are unskilful even in some very easy tasks. Similarly in the enjoyment of sense-objects also some are observed to be naturally skilful or dull. All this is due to the revival or non-revival of past experience. Therefore without past experience we cannot understand how anybody can proceed to do any work or to enjoy the results of past work. Hence these three—knowledge, work and past experience—are the food on the way to the next world, corresponding to the load of the carter. Since these three are the means of attaining another body and enjoying (the results of one’s past work), therefore one should cultivate only the good forms of them, so that one may have a desirable body and desirable enjoyments. This is the purport of the whole passage.
Now the question is, when the self loaded with knowledge etc., is about to go to another body, does it leave the old body and go to another like a bird going to another tree? Or is it carried by another body serving as a vehicle to the place where, according to its past work, it is to be born? Or does it stay.here, while its organs become all-pervading and function as such? Or is it that so long as it remains in the body, its organs are contracted to the limits of that, but when it dies they become all-pervading—like the light of a lamp when the (enclosing) jar is broken—and’ contract again when a new body is made? Or, as in the Vaiáeṣika system, does only the mind go to the place where the new body is to be made? Or is there any other theory in the Vedānta? This is being answered: We know from the Śruti text, ‘These are all equal, and all infinite’ (I. v. 13), that the organs are all-comprising. Another reason for this is their resting on the vital force, which is all-comprising. Their limitation in the sphere of the body and the elements (as colour etc.) is due to the work, knowledge and past impressions of men. Therefore, although the organs are naturally all-pervading and infinite, since the new body is made in accordance with the person’s work, knowledge and past impressions, the functions of the organs also contract or expand accordingly. As it has been said, ‘Equal to a white ant, equal to a mosquito, equal to an elephant, equal to these three worlds, equal to this universe’ (I. iii. 22). It is also supported by the following: ‘He who meditates upon these as infinite,’ etc. (I. v. 13), and ‘(One becomes) exactly as one meditates upon Him,’ etc. (Ś. X. v. ii. 20). Therefore the impressions called past experience, under the control of the person’s knowledge and work, stretch out, like a leech, from the body, retaining their seat in the heart, as in the dream state, and build another body in accordance with his past work; they leave their seat, the old body, when a new body is made. An illustration on this point is being given: