स वा अयमात्मा ब्रह्म विज्ञानमयो मनोमयः प्राणमयश्चक्शुर्मयः श्रोत्रमयः पृथिवीमय आपोमयो वायुमय आकाशमयस्तेजोमयोऽतेजोमयः काममयोऽकाममयः क्रोधमयोऽक्रोधमयो धर्ममयोऽधर्ममयः सर्वमयस्तद्यदेतदिदंमयोऽदोमय इति; यथाकारी यथाचारी तथा भवति—साधुकारी साधुर्भवति, पापकारी पापो भवति; पुण्यः पुण्येन कर्मणा भवति, पापः पापेन । अथो खल्वाहुः काममय एवायं पुरुष इति; स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रतुर्भवति, यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुते, यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसंपद्यते ॥ ५ ॥
sa vā ayamātmā brahma vijñānamayo manomayaḥ prāṇamayaścakśurmayaḥ śrotramayaḥ pṛthivīmaya āpomayo vāyumaya ākāśamayastejomayo’tejomayaḥ kāmamayo’kāmamayaḥ krodhamayo’krodhamayo dharmamayo’dharmamayaḥ sarvamayastadyadetadidaṃmayo’domaya iti; yathākārī yathācārī tathā bhavati—sādhukārī sādhurbhavati, pāpakārī pāpo bhavati; puṇyaḥ puṇyena karmaṇā bhavati, pāpaḥ pāpena | atho khalvāhuḥ kāmamaya evāyaṃ puruṣa iti; sa yathākāmo bhavati tatkraturbhavati, yatkraturbhavati tatkarma kurute, yatkarma kurute tadabhisaṃpadyate || 5 ||
5. That self is indeed Brahman, as well as identified with the intellect, the Manas and the vital force, with the eyes and ears, with earth, water, air and the ether, with fire, and what is other than fire, with desire and the absence of desire, with anger and the absence of anger, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with everything—identified, as is well known, with this (what is perceived) and with that (what is inferred). As it does and acts, so it becomes; by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil—it becomes virtious through good acts and vicious through evil acts. Others, however, say, ‘The self is identified with desire alone. What it desires, it resolves; what it resolves, it works out; and what it works out, it attains.’
That self which thus transmigrates is indeed Brahman, the Supreme Self that is beyond hunger etc., as well as identified with the intellect (Vijñānamaya), being noticed through it; for it has been said, ‘Which is the self? This infinite entity (Puruṣa) that is identified with the intellect and is in the midst of the organs,’ etc. (IV. iii. 7). The self is called Vijñānamaya, resembling the intellect, because it is conceived as possessing the attributes of the intellect, as in the passage, ‘It thinks, as it were, and shakes, as it were’ (Ibid.). Likewise identified with the Manas, because of its proximity to that. Also identified with the vital force that has the fivefold function; for which reason the individual self is observed as moving, as it were. Similarly identified with the eyes, when it sees forms. Likewise identified with the ears, when it hears sounds. Thus as each particular organ functions, the self becomes identified with that.
Similarly, being identified with the eyes and other organs through the intellect and vital force, the self becomes identified with the elements such as earth. When a body preponderating in elements of earth has to be made, it becomes identified with earth. Similarly, when creating a watery body in the world of Varuṇa and so forth, it becomes identified with water. Likewise, when an aerial body has to be made, it becomes identified with air. Similarly, when making an ethereal body, it is identified with the ether. Thus when it makes bodies for the gods, which preponderate in elements of fire, it becomes identified with fire. As opposed to these, the bodies of animals, of denizens of hell, of ghosts, and so forth, are composed of materials other than fire; with regard to them the text says, identified with what is other than fire. Similarly, being identified with the body and organs, the self, on seeing something to be attained, forms the false notion that it has got this one, and has to get that one, and setting its heart on that, becomes identified with desire. When on seeing evil in that thing its longing for it ceases, and the mind becomes serene, pure and calm, then it becomes identified with the absence of desire. Likewise, when that desire is somehow frustrated, it takes the form of anger, and the self becomes identified with anger. When that anger is appeased by some means, and the mind becomes serene and peaceful, it is called the absence of anger; the self becomes identified with that. Thus the self, becoming identified with desire and anger as well as with the absence of them, becomes identified with righteousness and unrighteousness, for without desire, anger, etc. the tendency to righteousness and so forth cannot arise. Witness the Smṛti: ‘Whatever action a man does, is the outcome of desire’ (M. II. 4).
Being identified with righteousness and unrighteousness it becomes identified with everything. Everything is the effect of righteousness and unrighteousness: whatever is differentiated is the result of these two. The self, on attaining it, becomes identified with that. In short, identified, as is well known, with this, i.e. with objects that are perceived, and therefore with that. ‘That’ refers to imperceptible objects that are indicated only by their perceptible effects. The mind has an infinite number of thoughts, which cannot be definitely specified; they are known at particular moments through their effects, which lead us to infer that this or that particular thought is in one’s mind. Through that perceptible effect—which marks the identification of the self with ‘this’ or the perceptible—its remote or internal activity is indicated, and it is therefore designated as identified at present with ‘that’ or the imperceptible. To put it briefly, as it habitually does and acts, so it becomes. ‘Doing’ refers to prescribed conduct as indicated, for instance, by injunctions and prohibitions, while ‘action’ is not so prescribed; this is the distinction between them. By doing good it becomes good: This amplifies the idea of ‘As it does,’ and by doing evil it becomes evil, the idea of ‘As it acts.’
The use of a suffix denoting habit (in four words of the text) may lead to a notion that the identification with good and evil actions consists in intense association with them, not in merely doing them. To remove this it is said, it becomes virtuous through good acts and vicious through evil acts. The identification comes of merely doing good and evil acts, and does not require habitual performance. This last only intensifies the identification; this is the difference. The long and short of it is, that doing good and bad deeds under the impulse of desire, anger, etc., is the cause of the Ātman’s identification with everything, its undergoing transmigration and passing from one body to another; for, impelled by this, the self takes one body after another. Therefore good and bad deeds are the cause of its transmigratory existence. Scriptural injunctions and prohibitions are directed to this. Herein lies the utility of the scriptures.
Others, other authorities on bondage and liberation, however, say: It is true that good and bad deeds prompted by desire etc. are the cause of a man’s taking a body; still it is under the influence of desire that he accumulates these deeds. When desire is gone, work, although present, does not lead to the accumulation of merit or demerit. Even if he goes on doing good and bad deeds, these, bereft of the desire, produce no results; therefore desire is the root of transmigratory existence. As the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad says, ‘He who longs for objects of desire, making much of them, is born along with those desires in places where he will realise them’ (III. ii. 2). Therefore the self is identified with desire alone. Its identification with other things, although it may be present, does not produce any results; hence the text emphatically says, ‘Identified with desire alone.’ Being identified with desire, what it desires, it resolves. That desire manifests itself as the slightest longing for a particular object, and, if unchecked, takes a more definite shape and becomes resolve. Resolve is determination, which is followed by action. What it resolves as a result of the desire, it works out by doing the kind of work that is calculated to procure the objects resolved upon. And what it works out, it attains, i.e. its results. Therefore desire is the only cause of its identification with everything as well as of undergoing transmigration.