आकाशस्तल्लिङ्गात् ॥ २२ ॥
ākāśastalliṅgāt || 22 ||
ākāśaḥ—(The word) Akasa; talliṅgāt—on account of the characteristic marks of that (Brahman).
22. (The word) Akasa (ether) (is. Brahman) on account of the characteristic marks of That (i.e. Brahman) (beingf mentioned).
“‘What is the goal of this world?’ ‘Akasa,’ he replied. For all these beings take their rise from Akasa only and dissolve in it. Akasa is greater than these. It is their ultimate goal. It indeed is the Supreme Udgitha …. He who knowing this as such meditates on the Supreme Udgitha . . .” (Chh. 1. 9. 1-2).
Here ‘Akasa’ refers to Brahman and not to the elemental Akasa (ether), as the characteristics of Brahman, namely, the rise of the entire creation from it and its return to it at dissolution are mentioned. No doubt these marks may also refer to the ether, as the scriptures say that from the ether is produced air, from air fire, etc., and they return to the ether at the end of a cycle. But then the force of the words ‘all these’ and ‘only’ in the text quoted would be lost. To preserve it the text should be taken to refer to the fundamental cause of all, including the ether, which can be Brahman alone. The word ‘Akasa’ is also used for Brahman in other texts: “That which is called Akasa is the revealer of all forms and names.” (Chh. 8. 14. 1). Again Brahman alone can be ‘greater than all’ and ‘their ultimate goal’ as mentioned in the text. In other scriptural passages like, “He is greater than the earth, He is greater than the heavens” (Chh. 3. 14. 3), “Brahman is knowledge and Bliss. It is the ultimate goal of him who makes gifts” (Brih. 3. 9. 28)—these qualities of being greater and the ultimate goal of everything are mentioned, and therefore this interpretation is justified. Hence the Udgitha in the text cited is to be meditated upon not as a symbol of the ether but of Brahman.