Invocation

Om. May no harm be done here, may the vessels of the great Seers continue in salvation, may these movements be in accord with Divine Will, may this desire be motivated by Love, may what is not beneficent wither to obscurity.
I prostrate.

 

Download EBook copy of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Commentary here.

Revised 26th April 2014

 

Chapter Three

... he, O Gargi, who departs from this world without knowing this immutable, is miserable.
But he, O Gargi, who departs from this world after knowing this immutable, is a knower of Brahman.

Section 1.

3.1.1   Om. Janaka,   Emperor of Videha,   performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed.   Vedic scholars from Kuru and Paficala were assembled there.   Emperor Janaka of Videha had a desire to know,   'Which is the most erudite of these Vedic scholars?'   He had a thousand cows confined in a pen,   and on the horns of each cow were fixed ten Padas of gold.

At the time of Janaka, society was settled and affluent. Wisdom and knowledge was much admired in those enlightened times and philosophical discussion was popular, rewards were given to enhance the cultural status of the giver and encourage and praise the learned.

 

3.1.2  He said to them,  'Revered Brahmanas,  let him who is the best Vedic scholar among you drive these cows  (home)'.  None of the Brahmanas dared.  Then Yajnavalkya said to a pupil of his,  'Dear Samasravas,  please drive these cows  (home)'.  He drove them.  The Brahmanas were enraged.  'How does he dare to call himself the best Vedic scholar among us'?  There was a   Hotr   of Emperor Janaka of Videha named Asvala.  He now asked Yajnavalkya, 'Yajnavalkya, are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us'?  Yajnavalkya replied,  'I bow to the best Vedic scholar,  I just want the cows'.  Thereupon the Hotr Asvala determined to interrogate him.

"Yajnavalkya,  are you indeed the best Vedic scholar among us".

"I bow to the best Vedic scholar,  I just want the cows"

This answer from Yajnavalkya comes directly from his higher understanding and exposes the quandary of the priests.
The priests,   who are supposedly above worldly concerns have a gracious admittance from Yajnavalkya that he does not challenge their wisdom but   "just wants the cows".
After all,   what would priests want with gold or other material wealth?

Some would say considering the manner in which Yajnavalkya took control of the cows and the priests through words alone he demonstrated his superior wisdom right there and then.

"None of the Brahmanas dared,"

Yajnavalkya's   act was of a man who knows the minds of men.   To this Realised man others who suffer the ignorance of duality can be predictable.   Yajnavalkya's act resulted from the fearless and original thinking of the non dual mind.  The proud priests on the other hand were frozen through fear and indecision,   caught between their natural desire for such a prize and their fear of loss of face due to their attachment to their reputations and worldly status.
It is through suffering from the delusion of duality and attachment that the priests have lost control of the gold and cows.
Yajnavalkya's actions have exposed the wounds of fear,   anger,   desire   and loss within the priests which means the priests have now become very aware and attentive of Yajnavalkya,   the natural teacher.
It is through those wounds that Yajnavalkya,   the teacher,   can offer higher truth as a balm.  This truth will help them understand the cause of their discomfort and give them protection from further evils arising from duality.

The highest intention of the Sruti in telling this story is to prove that Yajnavalkya is the wisest of the wise.
Towards the end of this story,   having established Yajnavalkya as the highest authority,   the Sruti will have Yajnavalkya explain the now indisputable reality of the Non-Dual Absolute Brahman or Self,   because once the truth of That is realised,   the plain scriptural or ritualistic knowledge to be meticulously argued over here by the priests becomes irrelevant.

For now the priests have been placed in the lower position of pupils having to queue before Yajnavalkya in order to ask their questions of him.
See a further comment on Yajnavalkya's action.

 

This first set of questions put by Asvala deal with attachment or identification through ones actions or work within material creation,  that is resulting from rituals.
This attachment causes identification with the form of the body as being who we truly are.   Ultimately attachments within material creation are due to the ignorance of the one true Being which is the Non-Dual Absolute.
This section on attachment is further to the section on the   Udgitha Chapter 1.3.7   which also concerned attachment through identification with ones work or duties.
There,   in chapter one,   through the example of the Udgitha,   liberation from attachment was achieved by referring ones actions to the vital force.
Just so here,   it will be by assuming ones actions to be through a deity or god that he surrenders any personal claim to the results of that action   (all of man's deities and gods are merely a projection of his desire or vital force).

3.1.3   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'since all this is overtaken by death,  and swayed by it,  by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of death?' 'Through the organ of speech through fire,  which is the (real) priest called Hotr.   This organ of speech is fire; this fire is the Hotr this (fire) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation'.

"all this is overtaken by death, and swayed by it"

"All this"   is the performance of the sacrifice ritual. If the officiator were to come to believe that who he was,   was rooted in his powers to perform his task,   then his true identity with The Non-Dual Absolute would be forgotten.
In that case his true identity would have been   "overtaken"   by his attachment to his role in life.
To become attached to ones false identity would mean the   "death"   of his true identity as eternal non-dual being.
To be attached to a transient delusional worldly identity is to be   "swayed"   moved or bent from ones true purpose of seeking the way home to The Absolute.

"by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of death?"

Asvala,   speaking in terms of the sacrifice ritual   is asking how a performer of such actions for results can avoid the attachment to one's actions that leads to death.   By   "death"   Asvala means the duality of attachment or identification which causes the forgetting of ones true Non-Dual identity.

"Through the organ of speech through fire".

Yajnavalkya's answer has the meaning that the priest should perform his actions purely as a sacrifice of himself,   that means perform his duty without personal claim of benefit.

"the organ of speech...which is the (real) priest called   Hotr   ...this (fire) is liberation;"

The organ of speech is the means of detachment for the priest.   By considering his speech as belonging to its deity   "Fire"   the deity becomes the performer of actions,   as it were,   this way he will escape the duality of attachment thereby gaining or maintaining his   "liberation".

 

3.1.4   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'since all this is overtaken by day and night, and swayed by them, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of day and night?'   'Through the eye through the sun,   which is the (real) priest called   Adhvaryu   The eye of the sacrificer is the Adhvaryu.   This eye is the sun; this sun is the Adhvaryu this (sun) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation'.

"since all this is overtaken by day and night, and swayed by them"

Day and night indicate time and all of this (creation) comes under its effects and is changed by it.   The priest will have the considerations of   "his"   time spent in connection with his duties.

"by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the clutches of day and night"

As before the consideration is attachment.   Here the attachment comes through time.   Time and change is of the material universe.   So the priest is again asking how he avoids identification with worldly considerations through time during his performing rituals.

"Through the eye through the sun, which is the (real) priest"

As before,   the sacrificer is to remain in himself and detached from the consideration of time and his form.

"the (real) priest called   Adhvaryu   The eye of the sacrificer is the Adhvaryu.   This eye is the sun."

The Method of detachment here is to consider all time spent in the performance of his duties as being for the deity of the eye,   or,   "the sun"

  Adhvaryu   this (sun) is liberation".

As before by considering or dedicating all time involved with the practice of rites to its deity,   that is dedicate the title   "Priest"   to the deity one maintains ones liberation from their results.

 

3.1.5   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'since all this is overtaken by the bright and dark fortnights, and swayed by them, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the bright and dark fortnights'?'Through the vital force through air, which is the (real) priest called   Udgatr   The vital force of the sacrificer is the Udgatr. This vital force is air, and it is the Udgatr this (air) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation'.

" since all this is overtaken by the bright and dark fortnights, and swayed by them, by what means does the sacrificer go beyond the bright and dark fortnights?"

We consider the effects of time as before but here measured in months instead of days,   meaning the changes time brings to ones fortunes.
The higher meaning of the Sruti is still detachment from desiring,   claiming or identifying with the results of one's actions.

" Through the vital force through air, which is the (real) priest called   Udgatr.

Again, using the example of the priest as the performer of actions for results the priest needs to maintain his detachment.   Here he is to regard passing time as a property of the Vital Force.

" The vital force of the sacrificer is the Udgatr."

So if the priest were to consider his gifts or abilities,   both given or taken away,   but always available for the deity   Udgatr   the priest will claim no time for a personal identity.

"the Udgatr this (air) is liberation;"

The priest,   by sacrificing his title   "priest"   and dedicating his time to the deity maintains or gains his liberation from the evil of attachment.

 

3.1.6   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'since the sky is, as it were, without a support, through what support does the sacrificer go to heaven'?  'Through the mind through the moon, which is the (real) priest called Brahman. The mind of the sacrificer is the Brahman. This mind is the moon; the moon is the Brahman; this (moon) is liberation; this (liberation) is emancipation'. So far about the ways of emancipation; now about the meditation based on resemblance.

" since the sky is, as it were, without a support, through what support does the sacrificer go to heaven?"

The term "heaven" describes an attainment, which although seen as desirable, is still within the limited consciousness of the birth and death cycle.  Asvala,   symbolising the sky as heaven asks what it is that supports ones attainment of that heaven.   That is,   through what practice does one reach this heaven?

" Through the mind through the moon, which is the (real) priest called Brahman"

Yajnavalkya answers that it is by keeping ones mind on the divinity or the deity of the moon as being Brahman   (we are talking of the conditioned Brahman or vital force).  

" The mind of the sacrificer is the Brahman. This mind is the moon "

The meaning is that by considering oneself to be performing the will of this deity of the moon,   (the conditioned Brahman or vital force)   one surrenders ones action to that   (vital force, the Brahman of the ignorant)   thereby escaping all attachment to action for results.

" the moon is the Brahman; this (moon) is liberation"

Surrendering ones actions to Brahman   (vital force)   Allows Brahman to become the priest therefore the deity of the moon,   Brahman   (vital force)   is the means of attaining liberation   (heaven).

The above four verses were to reiterate the practical need for all actions to be completed with detachment and without claim of benefit for oneself.

Next we consider the results of rites with meditation.   The practice of meditation will lead to a higher world   (Consciousness).

 

3.1.7   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'with how many kinds of Re will the Hotr do his part in this sacrifice to-day'? 'With three kinds'. 'Which are those three'?'The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third'. 'What does he win through them'?'All this that is living'.

" with how many kinds of Re will the Hotr do his part in this sacrifice to-day?"

Yajnavalkya is asked how many kinds of hymns will be used in the sacrifice which is planned for that day.

" With three kinds... The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third"

Yajnavalkya names the hymns,   their use will have the merit of meditation.

"What does he win through them?"

"All this that is living" is the answer.
The meaning corresponds with the traditional teaching of the Vedas that there are three worlds attainable through merit,   rites alone,   and rites with meditation,   these are correspondingly the world of men,   the world of the Manes   and the world of the gods.   This was explained in   Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.5.16.
The hymns are meditations for results,   therefore the result will gain the three worlds of the living,   "All this that is living",   which still means this creation, that is,   all that will be gained is material transience.
Such rites and meditations are practiced only with an understanding of duality,   that is,   in ignorance of the Non-Dual Self.

 

3.1.8   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'how many kinds of oblations will the Adhvaryu priest offer in this sacrifice to-day'?'Three'.   'Which are those three'?   'Those that blaze up on being offered, those that make a great noise, and those that sink'.   'What does he win through them'?   'Through those that blaze up on being offered he wins the world of the gods,   for this world shines,   as it were.   Through those that make a great noise he wins the world of the Manes,   for this world is full of uproar.   And through those that sink he wins the human world,   for this world is lower'.

" how many kinds of oblations will the Adhvaryu offer in this sacrifice to-day'?"

Yajnavalkya is asked details of the offerings that will be made in that day's ceremony,   he answers   :-
" Three... Those that blaze up on being offered, those that make a great noise, and those that sink "

" What does he win through them?"

Yajnavalkya is again asked what the rewards will be for these offerings.   With the descriptive aid of symbols the answer is given,   :-
the   "worlds of the gods...the world of the manes...the world of men".

"Through those that blaze up on being offered he wins the world of the gods, for this world shines, as it were".
"Through those that make a great noise he wins the world of the Manes, for this world is full of uproar."
"And through those that sink he wins the human world, for this world is lower".

These three worlds   (Consciousness),   are still the same   "worlds"   or forms of creation,   this is because we are still talking of the practice of various rites for results or gain.
Cause,  effect,  win, or gain are considerations of duality and are all part of the Maya of material creation through which one will not transcend the material realm.

 

3.1.9   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'through how many gods does this Brahman from the right protect the sacrifice to-day'?'Through one'. 'Which is that one'? 'The mind. The mind is indeed infinite, and infinite are the   Visvadevas   Through this meditation the aspirant wins an infinite world'.

"Brahman from the right"

This Brahman refers to the priest seated to the right of the officiator of the ceremony.

"through how many gods does this Brahman...protect the sacrifice"

Yajnavalkya answers   :-

"Through one'. 'Which is that one'? 'The mind. The mind is indeed infinite"

All of mans gods are merely a projection of his desires   :-
(these are all his projection, for he is all the gods.   Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.6.)
This is the mind of the desiring man   (vital force).

"and infinite are the Visvadevas".

The "Visvadevas" are all the gods of the Vedas,   which are further forms of a vital force.   Yajnavalkya declares the deity mind   (vital force)   as the one god to protect the sacrifice.   This is because the desiring mind is the vital force that projects all of man's gods.   Mans gods are a projection of his desires.   Mans desires are infinite.

"Through this meditation the aspirant wins an infinite world".

But,  as in the previous verses it should be known that all worlds are of the material realm,   as are the   "Visvadevas"   or vital force.

 

3.1.11   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'how many classes of hymns will the Udgatr chant in this sacrifice to-day?' 'Three classes' Which are those three?' 'The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third'. 'Which are those that have reference to the body'? 'The Prana is the preliminary hymn, the Apana is the sacrificial hymn, and the Vyana is the eulogistic hymn'.'What does he win through them'?'Through the preliminary hymns he wins the earth, through the sacrificial hymns he wins the sky, and through the eulogistic hymns he wins heaven'. Thereupon the Hotr Asvala kept silent.

" how many classes of hymns will the Udgatr chant in this sacrifice to-day?"

Yajnavalkya answers three classes and names them   :-
" Three classes... The preliminary, the sacrificial, and the eulogistic hymns as the third"

" Which are those that have reference to the body?"

Yajnavalkya describes how the three classes relate to the body   :-

"The Prana is the preliminary hymn,   the Apana is the sacrificial hymn,   and the Vyana is the eulogistic hymn"

The Prana is the inward breath,   the Apana is the outward breath,   and the Vyana is the turning breath.
These three also symbolise a vital force of material desire.

" What does he win through them?"

Yajnavalkya proceeds to describe what is won through each hymn  :-

"Through the preliminary hymns he wins the earth, through the sacrificial hymns he wins the sky, and through the eulogistic hymns he wins heaven".

As explained,   these three worlds   (Consciousness)   are of the material realm.

These hymns are forms of meditation that are associated with the sacrificial rites.   As before the performer of rites with meditation   "wins"   the three corresponding worlds of the material realm.   Yajnavalkya has explained the relevance of each.
Exhausted of further questions with which to test Yajnavalkya,   Asvala kept silent.

 

Section 2.

The previous section explained the need and the means to avoid becoming attached to the phenomenon of creation whilst carrying out ones duties.   Here we speak of that attachment and bondage to sense objects   Grahas   as a form of bondage or death.

3.2.1   Then Artabhaga, of the line of Jaratkaru asked him. 'Yajnavalkya' said he, 'how many are the Grahas and how many are the Atigrahas?'   'There are eight Grahas   and eight Atigrahas '   'Which are those eight Grahas and eight   Atigrahas?'

Facing a new questioner Yajnavalkya is asked to list the   Grahas   (sense organs)   and Atigrahas (sense objects).

With that first desire for mind and body   (Creation)   through which the ultimate desire to experience worldly knowledge could be realised came the faculties of sense,   (taste and so forth).
Particular forms of worldly knowledge are made manifest as particular sense objects,   called here   "Atigrahas".

The means of gaining the conscious experience of each particular manifestation of worldly knowledge   (sense objects)   is through corresponding particular organs of sense,   called here   "Grahas".
It follows that worldly experience,   in Consciousness,   occurs on the coming together,   as it were,   of sense and sense object.   This coming together is described here as the bond of means and purpose between the  "Atigrahas"   and the   "Grahas".

Considering that material existence was brought about by the very desire for material experience then the unsupervised mind naturally assumes it is it's job to seek these experiences.
Due to the mind assuming the role of seeking life experience through the senses,   the mind endows an importance and reality to material objects.   The deluded mind becomes attached to material values and standards.

The mind properly supervised by an intellect refined through   Buddhi   becomes the servant of the intellect through which the ultimate unreality of material sense existence can become known.
But,   until mind is brought under proper supervision the attraction and bonding of   "Grahas"   and   "Atigrahas"   lead the mind into assuming ones identity is limited to this material world existence,   which is the death of ones true identity with the Divine Absolute,   which transcends this material experience and the range of the   "Atigrahas"   and the   "Grahas".

The highest existence is Being itself.   That is,   to the Consciousness that is detached from desires and the senses the highest experience of existence is one of pure observation.
Events rise up and come to pass in Consciousness.   To the extent that one is detached from these events is the extent to which the witness is experienced.   This witnessing is the nearest to True Bliss that one can experience in Creation.   But this bliss is subtle.
The pleasures derived through the misuse of the senses are gross material "pleasures" or experiences and quickly become desires needing to be repeated.   These desires become needs because the passive subtle bliss of the witness is numbed and lost under the driving desires of sense pleasures.
The subtle being and bliss of the witnessing Consciousness is closest to our true Selves.   This closeness is lost or forgotten when the desires of the senses are assumed to be our true selves and purpose.

Most lives are experienced entirely within the narrow cage of the senses.   The unbounded reality of Existence itself is beyond the senses so if the unreality of material sense existence remains unseen then there will be no movement in Consciousness towards the higher realisation of the eternal reality of the non-dual Divine.

The attachment to our senses,   the acceptance of our purpose as being the satisfaction of these senses is as said a form of death of our true selves and true purpose.
This is a meaning of this section.

 

3.2.2   The Prana (nose) indeed is the Graha, it is controlled by the Atigraha, the Apana (odour), for one smells odours through the Apana (the air breathed in).

Yajnavalkya names odour carried on the air breathed in as the controller of the sense of smell.
As an experience in Consciousness of material life the sense of smell is designed for its matching sense object "odour".
These two,   sense of smell and odour together form a bond of purpose or experience which can become a form of bondage itself because it is mistaken to be part of one's true purpose.
This natural "linking" or "bond" between the   "Grahas"   and it's   "Atigrahas"   as a form of misleading attachment within the unreal material realm is true of all the following senses.

 

3.2.3   The organ of speech indeed is the   Grahas   it is controlled by the   Atigrahas,   name, for one utters names through the organ of speech.

Yajnavalkya names the desire to speak as the controller of speech.
Speech sounds the   "name"   of ones desire.   Desire leads one deeper into the material realm.

 

4. The tongue indeed is the Graha it is controlled by the Atigrahas, taste, for one knows tastes through the tongue.

Yajnavalkya names taste as the controller of the tongue.
The desire for the food of the material realm symbolises the vital force of desire for material gain.

 

3.2.5   The eye indeed is the Graha it is controlled by the Atigrahas, colour, for one sees colours through the eye.

Yajnavalkya names colour as the controller of the sense of sight.   Colour represents material form.   Material form represents the object of desire.

 

3.2.6   The ear indeed is the Graha it is controlled by the Atigrahas, sound, for one hears sounds through the ear.

Yajnavalkya names sound as the controller of the sense of hearing.
The sense of hearing represents the dimensions of the material universe.   Attachment to hearing is attachment or desire for creation.   AUM (desire) is the sound of Creation.

 

3.2.7   The mind indeed is the   Grahas   it is controlled by the Atigrahas, desire, for one wishes desires through the mind.

Yajnavalkya names desire as the controller of the mind.
It is through the mind that desire arises for the material of creation,   this is the mind of a vital force.
The vital force is the material desire which keeps one trapped in the creation cycle.
The mind as the controller of all the senses is the mind that feeds a vital force of desire through those senses.

 

3.2.8   The hands indeed are the Graha they are controlled by the Atigrahas, work, for one does work through the hands.

Yajnavalkya names work as the controller of the hands.
Work is the means of gaining ones desires through further creation.   This is the delusion of the vital force and ignorance.

 

3.2.9   The skin indeed is the Graha it is controlled by the Atigrahas, touch, for one feels touch through the skin. These are the eight   Grahas   and eight   Atigrahas.

Yajnavalkya names touch as the controller of the skin.
Sense awareness of physical being for pleasure is the meaning here.

"These are the eight Grahas and eight Atigrahas"

So Yajnavalkya has explained the eight forms of sense bondage.

 

3.2.10   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'since all this is the food of death, who is that god whose food is death?' 'Fire is death; it is the food of water. (One who knows thus) conquers further death.'

"... all this is the food of death"

The senses search for their corresponding material objects that provide the information of their existence relative to that range of sense.   Because the particular sense is designed for a particular material object there is a form of pleasure to be had at the time of that sensual event.
This fulfilment of purpose and the pleasure sense interaction gives can lead to the mind becoming attached to these events,   which leads the mind to assume its own identity and purpose in seeking further material pleasure.
This attachment through the mind gives a reality to the material world and an unreal identity for the mind.   This false way is the way of death for ones true purpose of discriminating the real from the unreal to find the way back home to The Absolute.
Also all of the material forms of creation known through the senses are mortal,   including the sense organs themselves,   and are subject to decay and death,   which means   "all this"   will be "eaten",   as it were,   by death is the meaning.

"who is that god whose food is death?"

There is no such god of death even within the delusion of duality and vital force.
Artabhaga wishes to know where the dead person goes to,   or what god looks after the dead,   or is there an end to death?
Artabhaga is trying to seek a reality or an immortality within the material realm of the universe.
Artabhaga imagines reality as a duality.

"Fire is death."

This part of Yajnavalkya's   answer means that fire symbolises the creation of material form.   Material form is itself transient,   mortal   and therefore represents inevitable death (of that form).

"it is the food of water."

"Water" here means the unformed   (liquid)   but manifest material of the universe   (creation).
It is to this pool of material that all forms return to on the "death"   (decay)   of those forms.
It is from this pool of material   (energy),   supported from The Knowledge of the Absolute,   that vital force or desire for ongoing creation takes up new forms,   as a new pot is formed from clay.
Such material is replenished or "fed" by the death of forms and it is from this pool or "water" of material that the "fire" of creation creates the objects or forms of ongoing desire.

"One who knows thus conquers further death."

In fact of course ultimately death is merely the coming to rest,   in Consciousness,   as that immortal unmanifest Absolute Knowledge along with all the   Maya   of Creation.

But the subject here is the form of death due to sense bondage   (Grahas and Atigrahas).   One who understands this form of death seeks the means to control the senses and   "conquers further death"   (from sense bondage).

Regarding the above question from Artabhaga,   he specifically asked   "who is that god whose food is death?"
Yajnavalkya's   answer did not name such a god   (because such a god does not exist)   but described water as the eater of death,   the meaning of which has been described above.

 

3.2.11   'Yajnavalkya,' said he, 'when this (liberated) man dies, do his organs go up from him, or do they not?' 'No', replied Yajnavalkya, '(they) merge in him only. The body swells, is inflated, and in that state lies dead'.

The man in question has been described as   "liberated"   from sense bondage only,   liberated from material desire.
Liberation from the ignorance of the forgetting of one's true identity with the Non-Dual Absolute,   that arose through Consciousness experiencing birth into the world following that original desire for worldly knowledge,   has not been explained.
Freedom from desire enables renunciation.   Through renunciation and meditation one may come to realise the Absolute Self,   but as said this has not been explained.
We feel it would be unrealistic of the Sruti to have Artabhaga talk of Self Realisation following liberation from the senses only.

"when this (liberated) man dies, do his organs go up from him, or do they not?"

Considering our above view we need to be aware of what is being discussed here   :-
"his organs"   only truly exist in Consciousness as the functioning principle that is the Absolute Self,   which is the Eternal Organ of the projected material organ of the man.
The man exists eternally as   "name"   which means as Absolute Knowledge ("name").   Therefore   "his organs"   only truly exist within the Absolute Self Consciousness as name or knowledge.   The projected material form of the man is mortal and decays accordingly.

With regards to what is being discussed here   :-
The man described as liberated from sense bondage only,   remains unaware of his true non-dual identity with the Absolute Self.
This man in question still needs to realise the truth of the Non-Dual Absolute in order to recognise,   in Consciousness,   his way to return home to Absolute Consciousness.   Therefore such a man will need to once again take up another body,   in Consciousness,   to experience the higher Consciousness of renunciation leading to Self Realisation.
The man who is truly liberated is the man who has realised,   in the conscious experience of this life,   the reality of the Non-Dual Absolute Self.   This Realised man,   after the death of his form his   "his organs"   will remain   ("merge")   with the unmanifest (Absolute) knowledge ("name") of his being.   That is another form will not be taken up and he will not return to the creation cycle.

Once more let us consider Artabhaga's question in the light of the above description of events.   :-

this (liberated) man dies, do his organs go up from him, or do they not?"

The words forming Artabhaga's question do not have the sound of a knower of Brahman.
Artabhaga's assumption of events in his question have no support in the teachings of the realised Sage.
Artabhaga's question seems flawed due to its lack of authentic understanding.
Artabhaga's question displays no knowledge of the true liberation of Self Realisation.
Artabhaga's question assumes a duality of existence in which the "man",   on gaining liberation,   goes   "up".
This lack of understanding by Artabhaga,   or need for tuition,   will be recognised by Yajnavalkya who will finally take Artabhaga aside to discuss this with him.

"No", replied Yajnavalkya, "(they) merge in him only. The body...lies dead"

Yajnavalkya answers no,   the organs,   as part of the material body lie dead and decays   (swells).   That is the form of the organs   "they merge in him only"   as the one body and decays as the one form.
The reality of Existence being Consciousness and knowledge as a singularity means that The Self,   the true existence,   remains unmoved when the unreal material form of the body returns as unmanifest knowledge.

 

3.2.12   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'when this man dies, what is it that does not leave him?' 'Name. The name indeed is infinite, and infinite are the Visvadevas He (who knows thus) wins thereby verily an infinite world'.

" when this man dies,   what is it that does not leave him?"

The statement in the previous verse that the complete form including the organs of a dead man merge and decay,   leads to Artabhaga's   next question.
Artabhaga asks Yajnavalkya what it is of the dead man that does not die?   What is it that is infinite?
Yajnavalkya replies.   :-

"The name indeed is infinite"

This does not literally mean the individuals name in the worldly sense.   The Eternal infinite name that is the knowledge in Consciousness that projects the form into being is meant here.   The projected knowledge that is the form of the man conforms to the laws of Creation and "dies."   But the Absolute knowledge that projected that form,   and all it represented in Consciousness,   Exists Eternally.

But Yajnavalkya adds the next statement.   :-
"and infinite are the Visvadevas".
The man who associates himself with the Visvadevas   (vital force)   is still only conscious of the material world and the gods of his infinite desires,   even after becoming liberated from the form of death that results from the bondage of the senses.

"He (who knows thus) wins thereby verily an infinite world"

He who only knows or meditates on the deities of his desires may gain rebirth into an infinite world (higher Consciousness),   but he will not transcend the world.

 

3.2.13   'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'when the vocal organ of a man who dies is merged in fire, the nose in air, the eye in the sun, the mind in the moon, the ear in the quarters, the body in the earth, the ether of the heart in the external ether, the hair on the body in the herbs, that on the head in the trees, and the blood and the seed are deposited in water, where is then the man?' 'Give me your hand, dear Artabhaga, we will decide this between ourselves, we cannot do it in a crowd.' They went out and talked it over. What they mentioned there was only work, and what they praised there was also only work. (Therefore) one indeed becomes good through good work and evil through evil work. Thereupon Artabhaga, of the line of Jaratkaru, kept silent.

Artabhaga, with this last question shows his understanding is still one of reality in the material universe and the duality of desire to flourish as an individual.
Essentially, as with the sacrificial horse that was a horse in name and form only,   so was the man name and form only.
Dust to dust,   ashes to ashes is the meaning because in reality the material of the man is the same material or energy that forms the Universe.   The form of the man was raised up from the earth through the fire of Creation and returns to the earth   (or water,   or unmanifest material form)   after death,   ("it is the food of water")   ready to be used again variously as trees,   herbs,   water and so forth.

Importantly,   Artabhaga with this last question has innocently succumbed to the greater wisdom of Yajnavalkya,   the teacher.

"Where is then the man"?

Artabhaga has asked Yajnavalkya a question the answer to which he himself desires to know.   Artabhaga has changed his stance in front of Yajnavalkya from an interrogator to that of a pupil.   Artabhaga has asked the question that is in most people's   hearts and is basically what will happen to "me" after I die?
The kind and wise teacher Yajnavalkya realised this saying   :-

"Give me your hand,   dear Artabhaga,   we will decide this between ourselves"
"What they mentioned there was only work"

The subject here is Karma.  They discussed this liberated man in question.   He was described as liberated from sense bondage only.   Being bound to desire through his senses led to this man working to satisfy his senses,  such work results in the karma that keeps one experiencing birth.
This liberated man still works to flourish in the material world.   We know that this man,   in Consciousness,   is still limited to a worldly understanding because he has not been explained to us as Self Realised which is the ultimate liberation from duality and ignorance.   Consequently his real work remains unfinished in this life.   That is,   work in terms of study,   contemplation and meditation to Realise The Absolute Self.
All of this   (ignorance of the non-dual Absolute and working to materially flourish)   will require and lead to a further life experience,   (rebirth due to his working with desire),   of fulfilling his duty through right action and meditation to retain the karma to realise the Self.   A further life experience of higher Consciousness gained through liberation from sense bondage in this life is the means of attaining to the Absolute Self through understanding the limitations of work and its karma.

"what they praised there was also only work. (Therefore) one indeed becomes good through good work and evil through evil work."

The only work,  or karma,  worthy of praise from Yajnavalkya is the work required of a pupil to find his way back home to the Divine Absolute.   This is the work or yoga of purification   (from the evils of duality and the forgetting of the Absolute)   leading to Self Realisation.
Yajnavalkya the teacher,   having taken Artabhaga aside will have discussed   ("praised")   the importance of "good" karma with Artabhaga,   who has shown himself,   through his question,   to be open to the wisdom of Yajnavalkya.
Having been instructed,   in private,   by Yajnavalkya on the nature of the right work required in order for him to understand the answer to his own question Artabhaga kept silent.

 

 

Section 3.

This section demonstrates that the results of ritualistic practices,   such as the horse sacrifice,   are limited by duality to within relative existence and do not lead to Self realisation.

3.3.1   Then Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, asked him. 'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'we travelled in Madra as students, and we came to the house of Pataiicala, of the line of Kapi. His daughter was possessed by a Gandharva We asked him, 'Who are you?'He said, 'l am Sudhanvan, of the line of Angiras'. When we asked him about the limits of the world, we said to him, 'Where were the descendants of Pariksit?' And I ask you, Yajnavalkya, where were the descendants of Pariksit? (Tell me) where were the descendants of Pariksit?'

A Gandharva is an other than human Male nature spirit that can act as messengers between the gods and humans.   The limits of the world mean the limits of the universe.

 

3.3.2   Yajnavalkya said, 'The Gandharva evidently told you that they went where the performers of the horse sacrifice go.' 'And where do the performers of the horse sacrifice go?''Thirty-two times the space covered by the sun's chariot in a day makes this world; around it, covering twice the area, is the earth; around the earth, covering twice the area, is the ocean. Now, as is the edge of a razor, or the wing of a fly, so is there just that much opening at the junction (of the two halves of the cosmic shell). (Through that they go out). Fire, in the form of a falcon, delivered them to the air; the air, putting them in itself, took them where the (previous) performers of the horse sacrifice were. 'Thus did the Gandharva praise the air. Therefore the air is the diversity of individuals, and the air is the aggregate. He who knows it as such conquers further death'. Thereupon Bhujyu, the grandson of Lahya, kept silent.

"we asked him about the limits of the world"

The "world" refered to here means the realm of a vital force or Hiranyagarbha. Yajnavalkya first describes the universe in terms of the scriptural   "Cosmic Egg"   "just that much opening at the junction of the two halves of the cosmic shell"   to give an answer to the limits of the universe.

"Tell me where were the descendants of Pariksit?"

The Pariksit were performers of rites and rituals such as the AsVamedha,   horse sacrifice.   Yajnavalkya explains   :-

"Fire, in the form of a falcon, delivered them to the air"

This means they have been reborn   "fire"   into material form   "delivered them to the air".

"the air, putting them in itself, took them where the (previous) performers of the horse sacrifice were"

The association with air describes the performers of rituals and rites in terms of a vital force.
The meaning is the   "performers of the horse sacrifice",   and any rites and rituals,  due to their continuing desire for the world have been reborn into the world with a material form   "the air, putting them in itself",
Through this rebirth the performers of rites and so forth follow the same path as all those with material desires   "took them where the (previous) performers of the horse sacrifice were"

"Thus did the Gandharva praise the air. Therefore the air is the diversity of individuals, and the air is the aggregate"

The vital force,  or Hiranyagarbha,  is entwined with the duality and ignorance of rites and rituals and is referred to here as air and Prana,   meaning vital force,   (the breath   "praise the air"   of life as the desire for worldly life).
this vital force means the material of the universe or Hiranyagarbha as the product of desire.
Therefore this material is the same material of all forms   "is the aggregate."
And this same material is that from which all individual forms arise   "is the diversity of individuals"
Thus describing the vital force as resulting from worldly desire and the delusion of duality.

"He who knows it as such conquers further death"

To maintain ones desire for the world is to maintain the desire for rebirth into the cycle of death and rebirth.
One's true home is unity with the unmanifest Absolute Consciousness.
When Absolute Self Consciousness is realised one allows   "death"   to overtake worldly manifestation.
Surrendering ones form to death without further desire means remaining at rest with Absolute Consciousness.   Surrendering to the Absolute is the true way he   "conquers further death".

The purpose of this section is to show that meditation with rites and rituals do not lead to the Realisation and reunification with The Self.   Rites and Rituals lead only to a rebirth within creation.
Even the performers of the highest ritual of the horse sacrifice can be found still within the limits of the universe or material creation or Hiranyagarbha,  not Moksha is the meaning here.

 

Section 4.

3.4.1   Then Usasta, the son of Cakra, asked him. 'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct, the self that is within all'. 'This is your self that is within all'. 'Which is within all, Yajnavalkya?' 'That which breathes through the Prana is your self that is within all. That which moves downwards through the Apana is your self that is within all. That which pervades through the Vyana is your self that is within all. That which goes out through the Udana is your self that is within all. This is your self that is within all'.

"explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct, the self that is within all".

Yajnavalkya is asked to explain the self that is within all.   Quite literally,   All This is the Absolute Brahman,   The Self,   so Yajnavalkya is being asked to describe unity in dualistic terms,   that is,   individuals manifesting as the one Self,   or,   the Absolute Self manifesting as the self of all.  Usasta is asking Yajnavalkya to objectify the Absolute.

"This is your self that is within all."

Yajnavalkya's   answer is enigmatic but accurate.   Yajnavalkya knows that Usasta has more work to do before he will understand.   But the simple truth remains.   In order to convey this simple truth Yajnavalkya's first answer to all such questions will be   "This is your self that is within all".   because the reality of the Self will not become any clearer simply through the use of more words alone.

"Which is within all, Yajnavalkya?"

"That which breaths"

Means The One Self which is the existence of breathing itself,   is your self

"That which moves downwards"

Means The One Self which is this moving downwards itself,   is your self

"That which pervades through the Vyana"

Means The One Self which is enabling pervading through the Vyana to exist,   is your self.

"That which goes out through the Udana"

Means The One Self which is enabling going out through the Udana to exist,   is your self.

"This is your self that is within all. "

Means that All This is the Self

 

3.4.2   Usasta, the son of Cakra, said, 'You have indicated it as one may say that a cow is such and such, or a horse is such and such. Explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct-the self that is within all'. 'This is your self that is within all'. 'Which is within all, Yajnavalkya?' 'You cannot see that which is the witness of vision; you cannot hear that which is the hearer of hearing; you cannot think that which is the thinker of thought; you cannot know that which is the knower of knowledge. This is your self that is within all; everything else but this is perishable'. Thereupon Usasta, the son of Cakra, kept silent.

Yajnavalkya's answers are plain considering the duality of words describing non duality.

When told that   "this is yourself that is within all"   Usasta displayed the common problem of duality.   Instead of seeking within for That immediate Self Usasta still askes for it to be explained to him objectively.

Here Yajnavalkya answers   :-

"You cannot see that which is the witness of vision"

Because not only is The Self the witness of vision,   it is the seeing principle.

"you cannot hear that which is the hearer of hearing"

Because not only is the Self the witness of hearing,   it is the hearing principle

"you cannot think that which is the thinker of thought"

Because not only is The Self the witness of thoughts and thinking, it is the thinking principle.

"you cannot know that which is the knower of knowledge"

Because not only is The Self the Being of knowledge,   Absolute knowledge is the Self.

It is well known that an eyeball cannot see itself.   All that can be achieved is for the eyelids to close and to meditate using inner vision to gain the light of understanding.

 

Section 5.

3.5.1   Then Kahola, the son of Kusitaka, asked him. 'Yajnavalkya', said he, 'explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct the self that is within all'.'This is your self that is within all'.'Which is within all, Yajnavalkya?''That which transcends hunger and thirst, grief, delusion, decay and death. Knowing this very Self the Brahmanas renounce the desire for sons, for wealth and for the worlds, and lead a mendicant life. That which is the desire for sons is the desire for wealth, and that which is the desire for wealth is the desire for the worlds, for both these are but desires. Therefore the knower of Brahman, having known all about scholarship, should try to live upon that strength which comes of knowledge; having known all about this strength as well as scholarship, he becomes meditative; having known all about both meditativeness and its opposite, he becomes a knower of Brahman. How does that knower of Brahman behave? Howsoever he may behave, he is just such. Except this everything is perishable.' Thereupon Kahola, the son of Kusitaka, kept silent.

The priests repeatedly press Yajnavalkya for another answer to the same question because they have not yet understood his first answer and they do not realise or accept that full understanding cannot be given in words alone.

"This is your self that is within all."

The Sruti has Yajnavalkya repeat this same sentence three times for three questions in succession.   This repetition has a meditative quality.   This sentence is a complete answer to the question but due to its simplicity it is not heard by the priests.   Through its repetition the Sruti has planted the truth for its audience and the understanding and recognition of this truth will come to fruition.

"This is your self that is within all".

"This is..."

"This",   this very awareness,   this immediate entity,   this Consciousness,   this I am,   this very existence that Is.

...(is)"your self"
Is "yourself",   You are the Self,   your being,   This that only "I" can confirm,   this is your self,   there is nothing else of you other than your conscious awareness of "your self".

"that is..."

The Self Is,   it is,   this truth stands alone

...(is)   "within all"

This awareness,   this Consciousness,   is what meets its identity in all.   This that exists here,   this self is the same Consciousness and knowledge that exists as All.   This "self" is the Self of All.   This Self is this immediate Existence.

Statements of truth repeated regularly,   reliably,   predictably   will be recognised meditatively.   This is a result of the Sruti's   presentation here.

"(but) Which is within all, Yajnavalkya"?

"That which transcends hunger and thirst,   grief,   delusion,   decay and death".

This Consciousness as Self is what transcends material creation is Yajnavalkya's   meaning.   Hunger and thirst,   grief,   delusion,   decay   and death are of the Conscious experience of creation,   all within creation is transient therefore mortal.   All that is mortal is subject to loss illness and death.

"Knowing this very Self the Brahmanas renounce the desire for sons, for wealth and for the worlds, and lead a mendicant life."

Why do the realised renounce desires?   Because for the realised there is nothing desirous within Creation,   The Eternal Self is known to be all that has true existence,   The realised have no further needs due to being free from the desires of the senses.

"That which is the desire for sons is the desire for wealth, and that which is the desire for wealth is the desire for the worlds, for both these are but desires."

Before Self Realisation,   creation the universe and this earth were seen as the reality.   Producing sons was seen as ones purpose in extending ones line and claiming ones share of the earth,   living on through Sons and grandsons and preserving family wealth.   What the realised now understand is the implication of the transience of Creation.   Working to achieve higher worldly status is seen to be the delusion of desire and the extending of such ignorance through further Creation,   there is nothing of true worth here.   Transience makes things valueless which makes desires valueless.   Truth and immortality,   the reality of our true self,   lies with the Absolute Self,   the Realised man knows this and rests in that knowledge.

"Therefore the knower of Brahman, having known all about scholarship, should try to live upon that strength which comes of knowledge"

One needs strength to rest in the face of the actions of the deluded and to not be moved by them.   Those with an understanding of life that is seen through learned worldly knowledge assume that knowledge elevates themselves to positions of worldly authority,   but this authority rests on the transience and decay of duality,   this authority can only preserve ignorance.   In fact they are those that are as yet ignorant of the Absolute Non-Dual Self, God, Brahman.   This society of deluded people,   the greater majority,   seek self preservation through gain over others,   due to the delusion of perceived duality they fear others.   This delusion measures worth and respects status.   This delusion insists on possessions and judges the actions of others accordingly.

"having known all about this strength as well as scholarship, he becomes meditative"

The Realised man is supported in his apparent difference from society by his knowledge of the Absolute.   This absolute understanding is his strength and his Truth.   The Realised naturally move closer to the source or being of Truth through meditation.

"having known all about both meditativeness and its opposite, he becomes a knower of Brahman".

The opposite to meditativeness is to be enslaved through the outward looking senses and their desires.   Desires include all the   "needs"   of deluded society such as status,   power   and fame.   Through meditation and inner journeying the wise uncover the Truth of The Absolute Brahman,   the Non-Dual Self.

"How does that knower of Brahman behave?   Howsoever he may behave,   he is just such."

Yajnavalkya indicates that the knower of Brahman will be guided by this knowledge of the Absolute alone.   As stated above the Realised man will not be moved by the conventions of a deluded society.   The Realised man will take a thousand cows if he thinks he will.   The Realised man will give away ten thousand cows and his life if he thinks he will.
Only the Self Realised will understand the meaning of this.

A general understanding of this section is that the Self or the Absolute will only be revealed with the renouncing of all worldly concerns or desires.

 

 

Section 6.

3.6.1   Then Gargi, the daughter of Vacaknu, asked him. 'Yajnavalkya she said, 'if all this is pervaded by water, by what is water pervaded?''By air, O Gargi'.'By what is air pervaded?' 'By the sky, O Gargi'. 'By what is the sky pervaded?''By the world of the Gandharva O Gargi'. 'By what is the world of the Gandharva pervaded?''By the sun, O Gargi'. 'By what is the sun pervaded?''By the moon, O Gargi'. 'By what is the moon pervaded?' 'By the stars, O Gargi'.'By what are the stars pervaded?' 'By the world of the gods, O Gargi'.'By what is the world of the gods pervaded?' 'By the world of Indra, O Gargi'. 'By what is the world of Indra pervaded?''By the world of Viraj, O Gargi'. 'By what is the world of Viraj pervaded?' 'By the world of Hiranyagarbha, O Gargi'. 'By what is the world of Hiranyagarbha pervaded?' He said, 'Do not, O Gargi, push your inquiry too far, lest your head should fall off. You are questioning about a deity that should not be reasoned about. Do not, 0 Gargi; push your inquiry too far'. Thereupon Gargi, the daughter of Vacaknu, kept silent.

"By what is the world of Indra pervaded?...By the world of Viraj...by what is the world of Hiranyagarbha pervaded?.."

Gargi's   line of questions tests Yajnavalkya's   knowledge of the deities representing the cause and maintenance of the universe up to the highest deity.   Gargi's idea is to arrive at cause and responsibility for Creation whom she understands from her teaching to be Brahman.
All of man's deities are a projection of his own desires.
Man's desires within material creation are described as vital force.
Therefore the concept of all deities are dependent on a vital force.
Therefore the vital force of desire pervades all deities.
The highest deity here is Hiranyagarbha.
That first desire for worldly experience that moved Absolute Knowledge into manifestation became a vital force of material desire in the realm of material creation.
That vital force was named Hiranyagarbha.

"Do not, O Gargi, push your inquiry too far, lest your head should fall off."

Yajnavalkya's warning means   :-
Creation itself is proof of the Existence of the Non-Dual Absolute Brahman,   but the Absolute Brahman Itself is unknowable.
This Creation is attributed to desire but the Absolute Brahman,   being the entirety of Existence,   transcends desire.   This is all that can be known.
For Gargi to   "push"   her   "inquiry too far"   into this area would risk her going beyond what could   "reasonably"   be discussed   ("should not be reasoned about").   This would risk her losing her learned reputation   "lest your head should fall off".
Yajnavalkya's warning saved Gargi from her own enthusiasm.
The need for Yajnavalkya to stop Gargi indicated that although Gargi had learned the scriptures she had not yet gained their full wisdom or she would have felt the rising risk of what she was about to run into,   but at the same time she was wise enough to heed Yajnavalkya.

This event shortened Gargi's questioning.   Gargi will resume her questioning of Yajnavalkya in section 3.8.1 where she will reveal her intelligence and knowledge of Brahman.

 

Section 7.

This section explains the vital force as the material continuity of forms.
Through describing the vital force as recurring material desire the Absolute Self is explained as the Divine "self" that is the immortal knowledge that is the inner controller of all mere mortal material form.

3.7.1   Then Uddalaka, the son of Aruna, asked him. 'Yajnavalkya', he said, 'in Madra we lived in the house of Pataficala Kapya (descendant of Kapi), studying the scriptures on sacrifices. His wife was possessed by a Gandharva. We asked him who he was. He said, 'Kaban-dha, the son of Atharvan'. He said to Pataficala Kapya and those who studied the scriptures on sacrifices, 'Kapya, do you know that Sutra by which this life, the next life, and all beings are held together?' Patancala Kapya said, 'I do not know it, sir'. The Gandharva said to him and the students, 'Kapya, do you know that Internal Ruler who controls this and the next life and all beings from within?' Patancala Kapya said, 'I do not know Him, sir'. The Gandharva said to him and the students, 'He who knows that Sutra and that Internal Ruler as above indeed knows Brahman, knows the worlds, knows the gods, knows the Vedas, knows the beings, knows the self, and knows everything'. He explained it all to them. I know it. If you, Yajnavalkya, do not know that Sutra and that Internal Ruler, and still take away the cows that belong only to the knowers of Brahman, your head shall fall off'. 'I know, O Gautama, that Sutra and that Internal Ruler'. 'Any one can say, 'I know, I know'. Tell us what you know'.

The Absolute Brahman or Absolute Self has previously been properly explained as the   (apparent)   individual   "self"   that is within all.
Now with this section a vital force as the thread or Sutra that materially enables the continuity of form is also considered but this time the   "self"   is described as the internal ruler of that vital force   (thread, Sutra)   and the vital force is the material form.
The meaning is,   the form of material creation is intelligently arranged or responsive   (being the projection of Absolute Knowledge).   The manifest material form is a material vital force of desire   (for that form).   The material vital force is being described here as the thread (Sutra) that holds (stitches) together all material forms;   But,   it is being explained that the Absolute Brahman or Self is in reality the intelligence or Consciousness or internal ruler as the Self of the material form manifesting as   "self".
The last verse of this section   (3.7.23)   defines this   "self"   as   "There is no other witness but Him...your own immortal self".   thereby defining this "self" under discussion as the Absolute "Self" and at the same time showing that the vital force the ignorant assume is a divine self existing within them is false.

 

3.7.2   He said, 'Vayu, O Gautama, is that Sutra. Through this Sutra or Vayu this and the next life and all beings are held together. Therefore, O Gautama, when a man dies, they say that his limbs have been loosened, for they are held together, O Gautama, by the Sutra or Vayu'.'Quite so, Yajnavalkya. Now describe the Internal Ruler'.

"Vayu, O Gautama, is that Sutra"

"Vayu"   or breath of life or vital force is as described above what maintains or holds together the chain or cycle of material existence.

"Through this Sutra or Vayu this and the next life and all beings are held together"

The vital force has been properly explained as material desire,   it is Hiranyagarbha,  Hiranyagarbha is the Sutra.  This Sutra or vital force of material desire resulted from that first desire to experience worldly knowledge.
It has also been explained that the ongoing conscious desire   (vital force)   to work and flourish in the world is what leads to the experience of rebirth into the world for the   "next life"   experience to continue with ones work and desires.
The vital force of material desire holds all beings together through procreation and rebirth.

"Therefore, O Gautama, when a man dies, they say that his limbs have been loosened, for they are held together, O Gautama, by the Sutra or Vayu"

When the material form of a man dies the material decays and falls apart.   But one can say that this material form has only been   "loosened"   because the ongoing desire,   in Consciousness,   for material existence is the Sutra or stitch that will bring together another material form with rebirth.

 

"Quite so, Yajnavalkya. Now describe the Internal Ruler"

3.7.3   He who inhabits the earth but is within it,   whom the earth does not know,   whose body is the earth,   and who controls the earth from within,   is the Internal Ruler,   your own immortal self.

There is not the form of an earth   (or anything rising from the earth)   and a separate ruler,   neither internal nor external.
This is said here for the purpose of understanding,   it is the reality the following verses have to be based on.
The Self alone exists as The Singularity,   The Self is Absolute Knowledge and Consciousness alone.
This is simply to state that the reality is that this earth,   this form,   is in fact the so called internal ruler   "Itself."   There is no inside and no outside due to the reality of the non-dual Self.

That The Self through love becomes the forms of Creation is central to the understanding of these verses.
Through love,  it seems,  the Absolute Self submits to a forgetting or Maya through which the forms of desire,   the forms of Creation are manifested in consciousnes.
The love named here is the True Divine Love that knows and trusts that all will be remembered and returned home to as The Absolute Alone.
The forgetting is the forgetting of an actor who when playing the role of a beggar too well,   forgets that he is really an actor or even a king.
The forms of creation behave according to the script or Knowledge of the play of creation,   this can be called their nature.

Considering the forms that are the subject of these verses,   the earth or the nose and so forth,   they are in reality the knowledge,   or the script that is the Absolute Self being or acting out the role of Earth or Nose as it were.
In this play of creation these forms know themselves   (as it were)   as the earth or nose and so forth.   These are their roles,   their nature in accordance with the will or knowledge of the Self.
This earth,   or this nose has no true individual Existence.   What does not truly exist cannot truly be a knower.   The Self Alone is the only True Knower,   The Absolute Self is the Eternal Witness.
Even though in reality the form is the Self It does not know The Self because   it   is The Self being the self of the form.

When we come to consider sentient beings,   humans,   then through discrimination,   reason,   divine grace,   a teacher,   yoga   and meditation one can become aware of the transience of forms and thus the Existence of The Eternal Self,   one can become   "Self Realised."   But even the Self Realised Sage can only know   of   the Self,   he cannot know the Self Itself.   The Sage is still a form in the play,   He is the projection or creation of the Self that will proceed according to the play,   or script,   or nature,   or internal ruler,   or the knowledge that is the Absolute Self.
The Realised Sages know this.   We are given this Sruti to explain the nature of Existence.

 

3.7.4   He who inhabits water but is within it, whom water does not know, whose body is water, and who controls water from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) or submitted itself to being, as water.   Being the projected knowledge that is water this water will have the nature of water.   Until the time comes for return to The Absolute This water,   Being only a form of knowledge,   cannot be that which knows .   Water does not truly know because water does not have true existence.   The Absolute Alone is true Existence.
The following verses continue with the same meaning.

 

3.7.5   He who inhabits fire but is within it, whom fire does not know, whose body is fire, and who controls fire from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all   (here the internal ruler)   has projected itself   (Knowledge)   as fire.   Being the projected knowledge that is fire this fire will have the nature of fire.   Until the time comes for return as The Absolute this fire is Knowledge only.   As form it has no true existence therefore cannot truly   "Know"   The Self Alone is the Knower.

 

3.7.6   He who inhabits the sky but is within it, whom the sky does not know, whose body is the sky, and who controls the sky from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all   (here the internal ruler)   has projected itself   (Knowledge)   as the sky.   Being the projected knowledge that is the sky this sky will have the nature of the sky.
This sky is name and form only.   It is the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know .   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the Knower of All.

 

3.7.7   He who inhabits the air but is within it, whom the air does not know, whose body is the air, and who controls the air from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the air.   Being the projected knowledge that is the air this air will have the nature of the air.
This air is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the Knower of All.

 

3.7.8   He who inhabits heaven but is within it, whom heaven does not know, whose body is heaven, and who controls heaven from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as heaven,   Being the projected knowledge that is heaven this heaven will have the nature of heaven.
This heaven is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.9   He who inhabits the sun but is within it, whom the sun does not know, whose body is the sun, and who controls the sun from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the sun,   Being the projected knowledge that is the sun this sun will have the nature of the sun.
This sun is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.10   He who inhabits the quarters but is within them, whom the quarters do not know, whose body is the quarters, and who controls the quarters from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the quarters   (all the dimensions of the universe),   Being the projected knowledge that is the quarters these quarters will have the nature of the quarters.
These quarters are name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.11   He who inhabits the moon and stars but is within them, whom the moon and stars do not know, whose body is the moon and stars, and who controls the moon and stars from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the moon and stars,   Being the projected knowledge that is the moon and stars these moon and stars will have the nature of the moon and stars.
These moon and stars are name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of these forms.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.12   He who inhabits the ether but is within it, whom the ether does not know, whose body is the ether, and who controls the ether from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the ether,   Being the projected knowledge that is the ether this ether will have the nature of the ether.
This ether is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.13   He who inhabits darkness but is within it, whom darkness does not know, whose body is darkness, and who controls darkness from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as darkness,   Being the projected knowledge that is darkness this darkness will have the nature of darkness.
This darkness is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

 

3.7.14   He who inhabits light but is within it, whom light does not know, whose body is light, and who controls light from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the gods. Now with reference to the beings.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as light,   Being the projected knowledge that is light this light will have the nature of light.
This light is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

"This much with reference to the gods."

 

"Now with reference to the beings."

3.7.15   He who inhabits all beings but is within them, whom no being knows,   whose body is all beings,   and who controls all beings from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. This much with reference to the beings. Now with reference to the body.

All beings are name and form only.   They are in reality the Self being the self of all forms.   These forms cannot know   "theirSelf".   because their forms have no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.

"This much with reference to the beings."

 

"Now with reference to the body."

3.7.16   He who inhabits the nose but is within it, whom the nose does not know, whose body is the nose, and who controls the nose from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the nose,   Being the projected knowledge that is the nose,   the nose will have the nature of being a nose.
This nose is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of smelling.   The Absolute is the Nose of the nose.

 

3.7.17   He who inhabits the organ of speech but is within it, whom the organ of speech does not know, whose body is the organ of speech, and who controls the organ of speech from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the organ of speech,   Being the projected knowledge that is an organ of speech,   this organ of speech will have the nature of an organ of speech.
This organ of speech is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of speech.   The Absolute is the Speech of speech.

 

3.7.18   He who inhabits the eye but is within it, whom the eye does not know, whose body is the eye, and who controls the eye from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the eye,   Being the projected knowledge that is the eye this eye will have the nature of an eye.
This eye is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of seeing.   The Absolute Self is the Eye of the eye.

 

3.7.19   He who inhabits the ear but is within it, whom the ear does not know, whose body is the ear, and who controls the ear from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the ear,   Being the projected knowledge that is the ear this ear will have the nature of an ear.
This ear is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of hearing.   The Absolute Self is the Ear of the ear.

 

3.7.20   He who inhabits the mind   (Manas)   but is within it, whom the mind does not know, whose body is the mind, and who controls the mind from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as mind,   Being the projected knowledge that is the mind this mind will have the nature of mind.
This mind is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of thinking.   The Absolute Self is the Mind of the mind.

 

3.7.21   He who inhabits the skin but is within it, whom the skin does not know, whose body is the skin, and who controls the skin from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the skin,   Being the projected knowledge that is the skin this skin will have the nature of skin.
This skin is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of sense.   The Absolute Self is the Sense of sense.

 

3.7.22   He who inhabits the intellect but is within it, whom the intellect does not know, whose body is the intellect, and who controls the intellect from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the intellect,   Being the projected knowledge that is the intellect this intellect will have the nature of intellect.
This intellect is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of intellect.   The Absolute Self is the Intellect of the intellect.

 

3.7.23   He who inhabits the organ of generation but is within it, whom the organ does not know, whose body is the organ, and who controls the organ from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. He is never seen, but is the Witness; He is never heard, but is the Hearer; He is never thought, but is the Thinker; He is never known, but is the Knower. There is no other witness but Him, no other hearer but Him, no other thinker but Him, no other knower but Him. He is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self. Everything else but Him is mortal. Thereupon Uddalaka, the son of Aruna, kept silent.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) has projected itself (Knowledge) as the organ of generation,   Being the projected knowledge that is the organ of generation this organ of generation will have the nature of the organ of generation.
This organ of generation is name and form only.   It is in reality the Self being the self of this form.   This form cannot know   "itSelf".   because this form has no true individual existence.   The Absolute Self Alone is the only true Knower.
The Absolute Self is the principle of procreation.   The Absolute Self is the Procurator of procreated.

The Self has no form but all forms are the Self.   To look at another form living and acting he would seem complete,   that form imagines itself to be complete because it imagines it knows itself because the empirical evidence supports this limited understanding that leads to duality.
All forms,   all within creation,   although in reality are of the Absolute Self and in themselves are empty of true existence could be said to be "Strung on the Self" and supported by the Self like beads on a string.

The Self of all (here the internal ruler) is never known or witnessed because The Self is the One Existence,   The Eternal Knowledge.

 

Section 8.

3.8.1   Then the daughter of Vacaknu said, 'Revered Brahmanas, I shall ask him two questions. Should he answer me those, none of you can ever beat him in describing Brahman'.'Ask, O Gargi'.

Previously,   in paragraph 3.6.1   above,   Yajnavalkya had cause to halt Gargi's questioning because she had risked asking direct questions of the unknowable Absolute Brahman or God (by seeking to reason on Hiranyagarbha or the cause of creation).   Now,   Gargi is respectfully warning Yajnavalkya that she has carefully rethought her question.

 

3.8.2   She said, 'I (shall ask) you (two questions). As a man of Benares or the King of Videha, scion of a warlike dynasty, might string his unstrung bow and appear close by, carrying in his hand two bamboo-tipped arrows highly painful to the enemy, even so, O Yajnavalkya, do I confront you with two questions. Answer me those'.'Ask, O Gargi'.

Gargi is warning Yajnavalkya that her two questions will be calculated,  unmerciful and to the point.  They are designed to pierce the enemy (any imposter) to expose his knowledge.
The intention of the Shruti here,  through Gargi's elaborate warning ,  is to highlight this important point in the questioning of Yajnavalkya.  Gargi's question will be refined to the point that it will both allow Yajnavalkya to speak directly of the Absolute and it will also clearly demonstrate,  through Yajnavalkya's answer,  that he is the wisest amongst the wise.  Therefore,  the meaning is,  we should accept Yajnavalkya as our teacher within this Shruti.

 

3.8.3   She said, 'By what, O Yajnavalkya, is that pervaded which is above heaven and below the earth, which is this heaven and earth as well as between them, and which they say was, is and will be?'

Gargi is asking what is above this creation and below this creation (All else that is not creation).   That is also this creation,   is common to all,   supports all and is eternal.

 

3.8.4   He said, 'That, 0 Gargi, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is this heaven and earth as well as between them, and which they say was, is and will be, is pervaded by the unmanifested ether'.

Yajnavalkya's meaning is that the heaven, earth and so forth which have been mentioned are formed from the unformed ether.
Further,   all else that exists but is formless,   including what   "was, is and will be"   exists as That same but as yet unmanifest   (unformed)   eternal   "ether" (Absolute eternal knowledge).

 

3.8.5   She said, 'I bow to you, Yajnavalkya, who have fully answered this question of mine. Now be ready for the other question'.'Ask, O Gargi'.

"Now be ready for the other question"

Gargi wants Yajnavalkya to hear her question properly.   Gargi has carefully thought through these questions.

 

3.8.6   She said, 'By what, O Yajnavalkya, is that pervaded which is above heaven and below the earth, which is this heaven and earth as well as between them, and which they say was, is and will be?'

Gargi repeats the same question.   Having got Yajnavalkya committed to a statement she intends to hold him down to the detail without allowing any room for prevarication.   Gargi is clearly also mindful of her earlier failed first attempt at this line of questioning of Yajnavalkya.

 

3.8.7   He said, 'That, O Gargi, which is above heaven and below the earth, which is this heaven and earth as well as between them, and which they say was, is and will be, is pervaded by the unmanifested ether'.'By what is the unmanifested ether pervaded?'

Yajnavalkya repeated his first answer to Gargi's repeated question,   she then asked   :-

"By what is the unmanifested ether pervaded?"

Gargi has very astutely arrived at the same point she intended during her original questioning of Yajnavalkya in   section 3.6.1   Vis   :-   "By what is the world of Hiranyagarbha pervaded?".
There,   Gargi had her mind set on the Absolute Brahman but tried to get Yajnavalkya to describe the Absolute through Hiranyagarbha which is a vital force or a material desire.   To limit the Absolute Brahman through material desire   (Hiranyagarbha)   would have been an untenable assumption therefore unreasonable.
As said,   there Gargi asked after Hiranyagarbha who is the manifestation of material desire.
Here Gargi asks after   "the unmanifested ether".   It is from the umnanifested ether that all that is unmanifest becomes manifest.  That is,  Absolute knowledge alone supports all forms of existence.
Although unknowable itself the Absolute Brahman clearly is all that is both manifest and unmanifest.
Yajnavalkya accepts this approach and proceeds to explain.

 

3.8.8   He said: O Gargi, the knowers of Brahman say, this Inimitable (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.

"this Inimitable (Brahman) is that"

"That"   existence,   for all of eternity,   is Brahman.

"It is neither gross nor minute, neither short nor long"

Without beginning or end it is without dimensions.

"neither red colour nor oiliness, neither shadow nor darkness"

Without qualities,   attributes or form It is not an object of the senses.   It cannot be sensed.

"neither air nor ether"

It is neither the presence of the air nor the emptiness of space.

"unattached, neither savour nor odour"

It is free from the attributes of smell or taste.

"without eyes or ears, without the vocal organ or mind"

The Absolute does not have the appendages of organs.

"non-luminous, without the vital force or mouth"

Being the entirety of knowledge The Absolute does not think. Being the entirety of knowledge The Absolute has no material desires of a vital force. Being the entirety of knowledge The Absolute does not sound desire.

"not a measure, and without interior or exterior"

Being the entirety of Existence The Absolute is beyond measure.

"It does not eat anything, nor is It eaten by anybody"

Being the Singularity that is greater than this entire material existence The Absolute is "full" of all existence itself, there exists no other to consume,   nor is there another by which it could be eaten.

Yajnavalkya is describing the formless Absolute Brahman in terms of   "not this, not this".   ("Not this" manifest universe nor this desire of material vital force)   we have been told previously in this Upanishad no words can hold the Absolute, The absolute can only be indicated by what it is not.

 

9. Under the mighty rule of this Immutable, 0 Gargi, the sun and moon are held in their positions; under the mighty rule of this Immutable, O Gargi, heaven and earth maintain their positions; under the mighty rule of this immutable, O Gargi, moments, Muhurtas, days and nights, fortnights, months, seasons and years are held in their respective places; under the mighty rule of this Immutable, O Gargi, some rivers flow eastward from the White Mountains, others flowing westward continue in that direction, and still others keep to their respective courses 'under the mighty rule of this immutable, O Gargi', men praise those that give, the gods depend on the sacrificer, and the Manes on independent offerings (Darvihoma).

the teacher in Yajnavalkya takes the initiative and can give a full answer to Gargi's well put question.

"the mighty rule of this immutable"

This "rule"   is pure absolute knowledge therefore it is the absolute law that enables all of Creation and will naturally govern all of Existence.
Because this Absolute singularity is Existence itself it is knowledge Absolute,   that is its knowledge encompasses all infinite but defined   (by its knowledge)   possibilities.
It is this knowledge that is called here the   "mighty rule".

"under the mighty rule of this Immutable, O Gargiheaven and earth...moments, Muhurtas, days and nights, fortnights, months, seasons and years...some rivers flow eastward from the White Mountains, others flowing westward continue in that direction"

heaven,   earth and all the phenomena of creation exist because the knowledge of them existed previously with the Absolute.
All rivers that flow exist because the knowledge of them existed previously with the Absolute.
East and West and the relevance of these exist because the knowledge of them existed previously with the Absolute.
Mountains have been projected or created because the knowledge of these mountains existed previously with The Absolute.

"under the mighty rule of this immutable, O Gargi', men praise those that give, the gods depend on the sacrificer, and the Manes on independent offerings"

The ignorant whose very being is subject to the knowledge of this Absolute do not know of the dependency of their existence on this Absolute.
These men in their ignorance have created gods that they endow with powers to which they then give offerings assuming that these gods will grant these men the objects of their desires.
In truth all this fact and delusion is nonetheless supported by The Non-Dual Absolute.
This is what Yajnavalkya is saying.

 

10.   He. 0 Gargi, who in this world, without knowing this Immutable, offers oblations in the fire, performs sacrifices and undergoes austerities even for many thousand years, finds all such acts but perishable; he, O Gargi, who departs from this world without knowing this immutable, is miserable. But he, O Gargi, who departs from this world after knowing this immutable, is a knower of Brahman.

"He. 0 Gargi, who in this world, without knowing this Immutable..."

The meaning here is that one can live an entire lifetime in ignorance.
One can go from birth to death without knowing the truth of the Eternal Immutable Non-Dual Absolute, Self, Brahman, God.
The natural desire for this life   (vital force)   will maintain the form of the body through to its death regardless of one's ignorance.

(He...who)..."offers oblations in the fire, performs sacrifices and undergoes austerities... finds all such acts but perishable"

This one who is ignorant of the Non-Dual Divine may perform all proper duties to his gods,   such as accepting the austerities of his cast or duties,   making offerings and so forth but   "such acts" are   "perishable".   This means that the many gods of a vital force do not exist in reality,   they die in the end along with the form of the man and its desires.

"he, O Gargi, who departs from this world without knowing this immutable, is miserable"

This means that the ignorant man,   ignorant because he has not remembered and realised the   "immutable"   Absolute is left bereft   "miserable"   of the only knowledge that can guide him home.
To "Realise" or Know the Absolute Self means to have achieved full conscious awareness of this Singularity of Existence.   without this Consciousness one is left with the Consciousness of duality after the death of the form.

"But he, O Gargi, who departs from this world after knowing this immutable, is a knower of Brahman"

To Realise in Consciousness,   which is the single achievement of the Sage,   the eternal primal singularity of Existence is to be fully aware of one's true home which is to know all things.
The meaning is that after the death of the form   "departs from this world"   the one who had realised the   "immutable"   is the ultimate   "knower of Brahman"   because he achieves That Conscious unity.
This is what Yajnavalkya is saying.

 

3.8.11   This immutable, O Gargi, is never seen but is the Witness; It is never heard, but is the Hearer; It is never thought, but is the Thinker; It is never known, but is the Knower. There is no other witness but This, no other hearer but This, no other thinker but This, no other knower but This. By this Immutable, O Gargi, is the (unmanifested) ether pervaded.

"This immutable, O Gargi, is never seen but is the Witness"

The senses themselves are a projection of the Absolute.
What is sensed is also a projection of the Absolute.
The seen and the seer are both a projection of the   "immutable"   Absolute.
The   "immutable"   Absolute is never itself a part of the interaction and play of creation,   but as the knowledge that enables its very existence it is the eternal witness or   "knower."

"It is never heard, but is the Hearer"

The   "immutable"   Absolute is the witness to all hearing.   It enables hearing and is the hearing principle.

"It is never thought, but is the Thinker"

The   "immutable"   Absolute has no thought,   It does not think   (being all knowledge).   But The Absolute enables all thinking,   It is the thinking principle.

"It is never known, but is the Knower"

The   "immutable"   Absolute can never be known because the Absolute is the totality of Existence itself.   Being a Singularity there cannot be the duality of knower and a known.
Although the   "immutable"   Absolute is unknowable it is the principle of knowing and the witness of knowing.

"There is no other witness but This, no other hearer but This, no other thinker but This, no other knower but This"

Again,   because the   "immutable"   Absolute is the Singularity of Existence the Absolute is all things and all events.   Apart from the Absolute no other exists.

"By this Immutable, O Gargi, is the (unmanifested) ether pervaded"

The   "immutable"   Absolute is also   "the (unmanifested) ether".

It follows from being Knowledge Absolute that there are no decisions,   choices,   reactions, or judgements needed from the Absolute,   because with The Absolute all is Known.   Unmoving The Self remains as Witness to all this.   Being Eternal it is of necessity immutable.   Being Existence Absolute there is no other.   All that is,   including the   "unmanifested ether"   Is The Absolute Brahman.

 

3.8.12   She said, 'Revered Brahmanas, you should consider yourselves fortunate if you can get off from him through salutations. Never shall any of you beat him in describing Brahman'.   Then the daughter of Vacaknu kept silent.

An important intention of the Sruti in this section is to demonstrate that Yajnavalkya reveals to us the highest truth.

Gargi has demonstrated her own considerable knowledge of Brahman,   and her above statement confirms that in her opinion Yajnavalkya is the greatest knower of The Absolute Brahman,   of all those present,   he is the wisest.
Further,   Gargi warns,   unless Yajnavalkya's superiority is finally bowed to   "through salutations"   then further questions will cause humiliation for the questioner.
Such will be the fate of Sakalya in the next section who insists on questioning Yajnavalkya on the gods of desire ignorance and a vital force.

 

Section 9.

3.9.1   Then Vidagdha, the son of Sakala, asked him. 'How many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' Yajnavalkya decided it through this (group of Mantras known as) Nivid (saying), 'As many as are indicated in the Nivid of the Visvadevas,   three hundred and three, and three thousand and three'.'Very well', said Sakalya, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?''Thirty-three'.'Very well', said the other, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'Six'.'Very well' said Sakalya, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'Three'. 'Very well', said the other, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'Two'. 'Very well', said Sakalya, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'One and a half'.'Very well', said the other, 'how many gods are there, Yajnavalkya?' 'One'. 'Very well', said Sakalya, 'which are those three hundred and three and three thousand and three?'

With this last section of this chapter the many gods of man's desire which all emanate from the one vital force of material desire are dealt with.
It should be realised that to revere a vital force is to revere desire.
A vital force is itself merely the desire of the ignorant to remain in the world seeking to flourish with an individual reality within creation.
The seeing,   in Consciousness,   of a reality in duality in the world leads to the conscious experience of rebirth back into the world,   thus maintaining further creation.
It has been said that it is desire that caused Creation,   and Creation is maintained by this ongoing ignorance resulting from that original desire.
This is the meaning of the Sruti which will be confirmed here by our wisest of the wise teacher,   Yajnavalkya.

 

3.9.2   Yajnavalkya said, 'These are but the manifestations of them, but there are only thirty-three gods'. 'Which are those thirty-three?''The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras and the twelve Adityas these are thirty-one, and Indra and Prajapati make up the thirty-three'.

Here Yajnavalkya has brought all   "three hundred and three and three thousand and three"   manifestation of gods under their thirty three groups.
All that materially exists is energy.
All material forms are formed from the same fundamental energy.
All of phenomenal existence is energy in various states of balance and change and so forth.
All of the different manifestations of energy or forms that accord with different conscious desires in material existence are seen by the ignorant to be a divine vital force.
Consequently all of the phenomenal universe,   which consists of various objects of desire is seen by the ignorant to be enabled by various corresponding gods of a vital force which grant their desires.

 

3.9.3   'Which are the Vasus?''Fire, the earth, air, the sky, the sun, heaven, the moon and the stars these are the Vasus, for in these all this is placed; Therefore they are called Vasus.

"Fire,   the earth,   air,   the sky,   the sun,   heaven,   the moon and the stars are The Vasus"

These Vasus or energies are said to enable the desire that manifests the forms of all that live as well as all the objects of the universe.

 

3.9.4   'Which are the Rudras?''The ten organs in the human body, with the mind as the eleventh. When they depart from this mortal body, they make (one's relatives) weep. Because they then make them weep, therefore they are called Rudras',

These Rudras as the organs represent the essence or energies of desire for the material form of a sentient being.   Therefore their departure means the death of the being,   hence the grief of the relatives.

 

3.9.5   'Which are the Adityas?''The twelve months (are parts) of a year; these are the Adityas, for they go taking all this with them. Because they go taking all this with them, therefore they are called Adityas'.

"for they go taking all this with them"

Within creation all is subject to change and transience,   this mutability we call time and mortality.   Time came into being with Creation.   The Adityas represent entropy   (energy balance)   as the twelve months that represent the time effect with mortality.

 

3.9.6   'Which is Indra, and which is Prajapati?' 'The cloud is Indra, and the sacrifice is Prajapati'. 'Which is the cloud?' 'Thunder (strength)'. 'Which is the sacrifice?' 'Animals'.

"The cloud is Indra... the cloud...(is)...Thunder (strength)"

" the sacrifice is Prajapati... the sacrifice...(is)...Animals"

Strength and sacrifice are the means of rites and rituals.   These are included because rites and rituals are regarded as a part of the desire for further creation,   so the cause and maintenance of Creation (which is the purpose here to reveal) must be shown to encompass such ritual   (desire).

 

3.9.7   'Which are the six (gods)?''Fire, the earth, the air the sky, the sun and heaven these are the six. Because all those (gods) are (comprised in) these six'.

Here the previous gods,   the Vasus and the others have now been included in these six.   This is because it is said that those gods (desires, energies) previously described can be said to be incorporated within these six   (energies).   (the intention is to name or explain the original cause of these gods.)

 

3.9.8   'Which are the three gods?' 'These three worlds, because in these all those gods are comprised'. 'Which are the two gods?' 'Matter and the vital force'. 'Which are the one and a half?''This (air) that blows'.

All of the gods previously named are said to be comprised within the two gods   "matter and the vital force".   The consolidation of the symbolical gods into one entity is our expectation.
This verse so far has arrived at   "one and a half..."   (gods)   This god   (material energy)   is the vital force   (material desire)   represented by   "This (air) that blows"   (the breath of life,   symbolising the desire that maintains the life experience itself).

 

3.9.9   'Regarding this some say, 'Since the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half?' It is one and a half because through its presence all this attains surpassing glory'. 'Which is the one god?' 'The vital force (Hiranyagarbha); it is Brahman, which is called Tyat (that)'.

"the air blows as one substance, how can it be one and a half? It is one and a half because through its presence all this attains surpassing glory"

This means that   "the air",   or prana or the breath of life symbolises the very desire that maintains life.
To maintain life is to maintain Creation.
To maintain Creation is to maintain the delusional reality of   "all this".
"All this"   means this delusional material creation which has a   "surpassing glory"   that by its very   "presence"   covers   ("surpasses", due to its appearance to the senses)   the truth of non-duality.
The seeing or remembering which leads to Realisation of the truth of the Non-Dual Absolute Self would bring to an end   "all this"   material creation of desire.

Hiranyagarbha referred to here as the Vital Force   also as air or prana has been explained to be the initial energy or movement from original desire from which all of these gods,   deities   or energies followed.
The vital force named in this verse as Brahman does not mean the Absolute Brahman,   The Non-Dual Self.
This Brahman is the conditioned Brahman of material creation.   This Brahman is endowed with attributes by the ignorant who seek reality in Creation.

This vital force is assumed by the ignorant   (Ignorant of The Non-Dual Self)   to be their individual access to divinity and the support of their righteousness.   It is through the assumption of this divinity that individuals feel the power,   right   or need to create further objects of their desires.

 

3.9.10   'He who knows that being whose abode is the earth, whose instrument of vision is fire, whose light is the Manas and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'. 'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is identified with the body. Go on, Sakalya'.'Who is his deity (cause)?' 'Nectar (chyle)', said he.

"He who knows that being whose abode is the earth"

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force.   Symbolising the desire to Create and maintain worldly existence the abode or support or material for a vital force will naturally be the earth.   As a symbol of desire the vital force, mans desire, is also the one cause of all man's gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its attributes and eight abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs."

The vital force is of the gross material creation and it is from this material that the body is made and it will return again to the various material elements when it is exhausted.

"whose instrument of vision is fire"

The vital force,   by definition,   is the seeing of the need for further creation (symbolised by fire). This also means he sees reality in Creation because seeing is through Created sense organs.   The meaning is this understanding is of the desire to flourish materially within the world because the created material world is seen as the ultimate reality and is desired as such.

"his deity (cause)...(is)...Nectar (chyle)"

Food   (chyle)   is the support of the material body therefore it is also the support of the vital force.

"whose light is the Manas"

The vital force itself is the very product of the mind ego and Manas. It is due to being lead by Manas that delusion and ignorance cause the seeing of duality as reality.   Mind and Manas needs to be supervised,   not allowed to be a guiding light.

 

3.9.11   'He who knows that being whose abode is lust, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the   Manas   and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'.'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is identified with lust.' Go on, Sakalya' 'Who is his deity?' 'Women,' said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs."

The vital force is the material of creation.   Creation arose from the desire for mind   (body)   therefore the vital force is the support and ultimate resort of the body and organs.
The material universe will eventually return to rest when creation is subsumed as the Absolute Knowledge alone.   At this time the desire for material life which is the vital force will also come to rest and stillness.

"that being whose abode is lust"

This is the vital force in the form of sexual desire.   The highest drive or desire for the worldly is for pleasure and to procreate.   the vital force symbolises the desire to flourish through offspring.

"whose instrument of vision is the intellect"

The intellect as mind and reason alone would be rationalised by the needs of a vital force for its material good.   Higher Divine Truth is seen through mind controlled by Buddhi,   the intellect of the heart.   Unless the Buddhi,   intellect,   has had divine knowledge revealed through the purification of teaching and meditation it can mistake itself for the divine,   in such a case it becomes the vital force.   This is reinforced by the following statement   :-

"whose light is the Manas"

The intellect led by Manas leads to delusion and ignorance.   The danger of allowing Manas to act as a guide for the intellect instead of being limited to its proper role as a servant is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"his deity   (is)   Women"

Women are the epitome of all worldly desire.  After the first born had gained his desires for the means of experiencing worldly knowledge,  (mind and body),  his first desire was for a wife through whom to experience the beauty of this knowledge.  Women represent the means and the motivation to flourish in life.
Without women there would be no lasting desire or vital force.  Without women the empires of mankind would become non-existent,   because worldly existence would be exposed as pointless and worldly desire would quickly become exhausted.

 

3.9.12   'He who knows that being whose abode is colours, whose instrument of vision is the eye, whose light is the Manas,   and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'.'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is in the sun. Go on, Sakalya.' 'Who is his deity?''Truth (the eye)', said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

The vital force,   as desire maintains this material creation.   This material creation of the earth and its elements are the source of the material for the body and its organs.   The earth and the Vital force that maintains it will be the final place of return for all the elements of the decomposed body.

"that being whose abode is colours"

"colours"   symbolise the appearance of duality through the various forms of creation.   The vital force is supported by the delusion of duality.

"whose instrument of vision is the eye"

This means it is literally the eye but also the senses in general that are believed to reveal the truth to the material person.   The ignorant see this existence of imperial duality to be their highest attainment.   A vital force is the desire to maintain this existence.

"whose light is the Manas"

The danger of allowing Manas to act as guide instead of being just a servant is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"It is the being who is in the sun"

Sunlight enables the seeing of colours form and duality.   That described as residing in the sun also has the status of deity or god.

"his deity   (is)   Truth (the eye)"

This Truth is the description of the material forms of creation as seen by the eye.   That eye sees the sun lighting the forms of creation.

 

3.9.13   'He who knows that being whose abode is the ether, whose instrument of vision is the ear, whose light is the   Manas, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'. 'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is identified with the ear and with the time of hearing. Go on, Sakalya. ''Who is his deity?''The quarters', said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

This has been explained.   The body rises from the dust of the earth and returns to earth as that same dust.   The earth is the abode of the vital force.

"that being whose abode is the ether"

This is the vital force in its realm of the universe but as unmanifest form.

"whose instrument of vision is the ear"

Again although the meaning is that the sense of hearing provides information it is due to all the senses confirming the world of duality that a vital force is assumed in order to flourish within that dual world.   The senses need to be negated to see higher Truth.

"whose light is the Manas"

The danger of allowing Manas to be a guide instead of just a servant is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"It is the being who is identified with the ear and with the time of hearing"

This deity represents distance in all the directions of the universe.   The material world of duality operates through time and distance   "the time of hearing"   and distance.   That is hearing taking place at a certain time is a material event.   A vital force is involved in all material events.

"his deity   (is)   The quarters".

This deity symbolises distance in all the directions   (The quarters),   Which are manifest only within material creation.

 

3.9.14   'He who knows that being whose abode is darkness, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the Manas, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'.'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is identified with shadow (ignorance). Go on, Sakalya'.'Who is his deity?' 'Death', said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

The original desire for mind and body caused Creation and a vital force of desire to maintain it.   The body and all its organs will eventually return with the vital force to the source of all Creation.

"that being whose abode is the darkness"

This is the vital force representing ignorance which is the darkness of the forgetting of the light of knowledge of the Non-Dual Absolute.   It is this forgetting of our true identity as the Absolute Self that causes one to imagine the need for a vital force to maintain ones individuality.

"whose instrument of vision is the intellect"

The need for awareness with the intellect is described in   :-
verse 3.9.11 above

"whose light is the Manas"

The danger of using Manas as a guide instead of a servant is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"It is the being who is identified with shadow (ignorance)"

As already described,   Ignorance is the forgetting of our Unity with the Absolute.   This creation is merely a projection of that Absolute.   This creation is a mere shadow of the Truth of that absolute.   Within this shadow the ignorance of duality resides.

"his deity   (is)   Death"

Death is the material Creation itself that is supported by the ignorance of the vital force.   All within Creation is transient and mortal,   therefore all of creation is destined to meet death.

 

3.9.15   'He who knows that being whose abode is (particular) colours, whose instrument of vision is the eye, whose light is the Manas and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'. 'I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is in a looking glass. Go on, Sakalya'.'Who is his deity?''The vital force', said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

Material creation supported by a vital force will be the eventual place of return for the entire body.

"that being whose abode is (particular) colours".

Our understanding is that this represents the forms of individual egos and vanity,   (particular colours refers to particular forms of individuals),   The vital force itself will be the one deity for many egos.

"whose instrument of vision is the eye"

The eye again represents vision limited by the senses to the gross forms of material Creation.

"Its light is Manas (mind)"

The misuse of Manas is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"It is the being who is in a looking glass"

This represents the sense of the body as being the person.   What is seen by the eye in the mirror is seen as the totality of ones being,   It is this misunderstanding that assumes a vital force to maintain that body.

"The deity associated with this abode is The vital force".

This abode is the individual forms   (colours).   The vital force is the very support of the individual ego.

 

3.9.16   'He who knows that being whose abode is water, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the Manas, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya. I know that being of whom you speak who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is in water. Go on, Sakalya'.   'Who is his deity' ?   'Varuna (rain)',   said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   Verses ten to seventeen are to describe Its further attributes and abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

The vital force or Hiranyagarbha through the manifestation of Creation will be the eventual place of return for the entire body.   This also confirms the ultimate unreality of material creation due to its transience.

"Who knows that being whose abode is water".

Water here represents the organs of the body.   Vital force sustains the desire for physical manifestation.

"whose instrument of vision is the intellect".

The need for proper understanding of the meaning of intellect is described in   :-
verse 3.9.11 above

"whose light is the Manas"

The misuse of Manas is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"It is the being who is in water".

The vital force is the use of water to support life but also it means the vital force as the very bodies that are composed of water.

"'Who is his deity'?   'Varuna (rain)',   said he".

Rain provides Water,   water sustains the body,   the body is the abode of the vital force.

 

3.9.17   'He who knows that being whose abode is the seed, whose instrument of vision is the intellect, whose light is the Manas, and who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs, knows truly, O Yajnavalkya'.   'I know that being of whom you speak, who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs. It is the being who is identified with the son. Go on, Sakalya'.'Who is his deity?''Prajapati (the father)', said he.

We heard in verse 3.9.9. above how this being under discussion is the Vital force,   the one cause of all the worldly gods.   this verse and the previous seven verses are describing Its attributes and eight abodes.

"who is the ultimate resort of the entire body and organs"

The vital force or Hiranyagarbha or the breath of life is this very material creation.   The material form of the body was created from this world and will again decompose back to the earth   "the ultimate resort"   the eventual place of return for the entire body.

"He who knows that being whose abode is the seed"

This is the seed of the father representing the man that was the first born as being the cause of Creation due to his desire for mind and so forth.   The seed of the father symbolises the desire to flourish in material Creation,   The vital force or the breath of life is that desire to maintain the life of this creation of desire.

"and it is identified with the Son".

The abode of The vital force or Hiranyagarbha is the seed.   As described above from the seed comes the son and through the son Creation is maintained.   It has been stated with regard to   (creation)   that   :-
all this is held aloft by the vital force.   1.3.23.

"Its instrument of vision is the intellect".

The need for awareness regarding the intellect is described in   :-
verse 3.9.11 above

"whose light is the Manas"

The misunderstanding of Manas is described in   :-
verse 3.9.10 above

"Who is his deity?'.   'Prajapati (the father)'

Prajapati   (the father)   Represents the renewal or continuation of creation through the desire for wife,   Son,   wealth and fame.   This is due to the symbolic father being ignorant of the Non-Dual Self.   This ignorance leads to the duality of understanding that imagines a divine vital force through which one realises desires and pleases one's gods.

 

3.9.18   'Sakalya', said Yajnavalkya, 'have these Vedic scholars made you their instrument for burning charcoals'?

Charcoal burning is both dirty work and involves some sacrifice of materials as the means to an end.

Yajnavalkya,   referring to Sakalya being urged on by the priests in his questioning,   teases Sakalya that the priests are using him to do their dirty work.

 

3.9.19   'Yajnavalkya', said Sakalya, 'is it because you know Brahman that you have thus flouted these Vedic scholars of Kuru and Pancala?' 'I know the quarters with their deities and supports'. 'If you know the quarters with their deities and supports :-

Sakalya,   indignantly defending himself counters that Yajnavalkya has only won the debate thus far on his knowledge of Brahman alone.   In reply Yajnavalkya declares   :-

"I know the quarters with their deities and supports".

What Yajnavalkya is saying is that he also knows of the delusions that do not encompass knowledge of the Absolute Brahman.

The quarters represent this material Creation with its dimension of space and distance   (as per the arrangement of the sacrificial horse).
The horse sacrifice was a symbol of ritual and desire.   Desire led to the rebirth of the performer of rites and so forth into the universe of his conscious desire.
The birth of this desire into the universe of desire was accompanied by the formation of material into corresponding objects of desire,   the sun and moon and so forth.
This universe created through a vital force of material desire and resulting ignorance consists of direction or "quarters".
The desire and ignorance that seeks to maintain material existence is the desire and ignorance that endows deities with the qualities to maintain and further this material desire.

Sakalya questions Yajnavalkya on this aspect of the universe and deities.

3.9.20   'What deity are you identified with in the east?''With the deity, sun'. 'On what does the sun rest?' 'On the eye.' 'On what does the eye rest?' 'On colours, for one sees colours with the eye.' 'On what do colours rest?' 'On the heart (mind)', said Yajnavalkya, 'for one knows colours through the heart; it is on the heart that colours rest'.'It is just so, Yajnavalkya'.

"What deity are you identified with in the east"

Referring,   as stated,   to this world and universe as the quarters   Sakalya asks his questions of its support and its deities.
The term   "are you identified with"   in Sakalya's question of Yajnavalkya does not intimate that Yajnavalkya   "believes in"   these deities,   as it were,   but refers to Yajnavalkya's statement   "I know the quarters with their deities and supports".
This means that Yajnavalkya knows of the desires   (and all deities are but desires)   that maintain the created universe.

"With the deity, sun"

Here Yajnavalkya associates the aspect of Created space and direction of the term East with the form of the universe named sun.   The sun is elevated to a deity by those seeing reality in Creation.

"On what does the sun rest?"   " On the eye".

That the sun exists is supported or is known through the senses.   Here the sense of sight and the eye represents the proof of the suns existence.

"On what does the eye rest?"   "On colours, for one sees colours with the eye"

That the eye has existence is supported by the knowledge of colours because it is only through the principle of sight that colours can be known.

"On what do colours rest?"   "On the heart (mind)"

That the principle of sight exists can only be known by the material mind or intellect   (heart)   as the knower of sense information.

 

3.9.21   'What deity are you identified with in the south?' 'With the deity, Yama (the god of justice)'.'On what does Yama rest?''On the sacrifice'. 'On what does the sacrifice rest'? 'On the remuneration (of the priests).'.'On what does the remuneration rest'?'On faith, because whenever a man has faith, he gives remuneration to the priests; therefore it is on faith that the remuneration rests'. 'On what does faith rest'? 'On the heart', said Yajnavalkya, 'for one knows faith through the heart; therefore it is on the heart that faith rests.' 'It is just so, Yajnavalkya'.

"What deity are you identified with in the south?"   "With the deity, Yama (the god of justice)"

Within this universe of duality there exists the duality of justice and injustice,   in accord with this ignorance there also exists a deity of this duality.

"On what does Yama rest?"   "On the sacrifice"

The sacrifice ritual is conducted within the realm of Dharma and righteousness through which justice is obtained.

"On what does the sacrifice rest"   "On the remuneration (of the priests)"

It is the priest that officiates and gives validity and authority to a sacrifice ritual and the correct remuneration of the priest completes the correct procedure.

"On what does the remuneration rest"   "On faith, because whenever a man has faith, he gives remuneration to the priests"

This faith is the very belief of the ignorant in a deity vital force that supports their individual rites and desire for reward from a divinity of duality.

"On what does faith rest"   "On the heart....for one knows faith through the heart;"

As stated this faith is supported by the very belief in the duality of a vital force that enables their desire.   This belief is further supported by the intellect   (heart)   that is guided by Manas.

 

3.9.22   'What deity are you identified with in the west'? 'With the deity, Varuna (the god of rain).' 'On what does Varuna rest'? 'On water'. 'On what does water rest'? 'On the seed'.'On what does the seed rest?' 'On the heart. Therefore do they say of a new-born child who closely resembles (his father), that he has sprung from (his father's) heart, as it were, that he has been made out of (his father's) heart, as it were. Therefore it is on the heart that the seed rests'.'It is just so, Yajnavalkya'.

"What deity are you identified with in the west"  With the deity, Varuna (the god of rain)"

From the aspect of the material universe called west the senses report the existence of rain,   and through the cognition of a vital force and deity the rain supports their life through supporting the body that the ignorant believe is their true being.

"On what does Varuna rest"   "On water"

To support life rain becomes water and it is from water that rain is produced.

"On what does water rest"   "On the seed"

Water comes with Creation.   Creation arises from the seed.   In the language of the sacrifice ritual water or soma contains the seed of that which is desired.

"On what does the seed rest?"   "On the heart....a new-born child....has sprung from (his father's) heart"

The heart or intellect consisting of mind and senses is the source of desire and it is the ignorant that desire to thrive through offspring to enhance their being within and through continual Creation.   The child that resembles the father will continue desire and the resultant Creation.

 

3.9.23   'What deity are you identified with in the north'?'With the deity, Soma (the moon and the creeper)' 'On what does Soma rest?' 'On initiation'.'On what does initiation rest?' 'On truth. Therefore do they say to one initiated, 'Speak the truth'; for it is on truth that initiation rests'. 'On what does truth rest'?'On the heart', said Yajnavalkya, 'for one knows truth through the heart; therefore it is on the heart that truth rests'.'It is just so, Yajnavalkya'.

"What deity are you identified with in the north"   "With the deity, Soma (the moon and the creeper)"

Within the dimension of the material universe called north the material man seeks his objects of desire through his mind and rites which are symbolised by the liquid soma.

"On what does Soma rest?"   "On initiation"

The ritual and the priest produce soma or liquid to enable the fruits of the ritual.

"On what does initiation rest?"   "On truth. Therefore do they say to one initiated, 'Speak the truth"

This truth is the truth as reported by the senses.   This truth speaks of the forms of creation,   beings and so forth as having true existence.

"On what does truth rest"   "On the heart', said Yajnavalkya, 'for one knows truth through the heart;"

Again it is the heart or intellect that is guided by Manas that wrongly confirms the material senses as reporting truth.

 

3.9.24   'What deity are you identified with in the fixed direction (above)'?'With the deity, fire. 'On what does fire rest'? 'On speech'. 'On what does speech rest'? 'On the heart'. 'On what does the heart rest'?

"What deity are you identified with in the fixed direction (above)"   With the deity, fire"

The fixed direction above is ever the same from whatever direction one considers it within this universe and Creation.
The constant of Creation is Creation itself,   meaning the very act of the ongoing Creating of forms.   The act of Creation is symbolised by fire.

"On what does fire rest"   "On speech"

Speech as sound sounds the act of Creation by speaking the objects of desire.

"On what does speech rest"   "On the heart"

Again heart as intellect guided by Manas sees duality with its needs and desires as real. Speech sounds those needs and causes Creation.

"On what does the heart rest"?

Yajnavalkya has answered Sakalya's line of questions until this last question to which Yajnavalkya retorts   :-

 

3.9.25   'You ghost', said Yajnavalkya, 'when you think the heart is elsewhere than in us, (then the body is dead). Should it be elsewhere than in us, dogs would eat this body, or birds tear it to pieces'.

"You ghost, said Yajnavalkya"

Yajnavalkya disdainfully accuses Sakalya of insignificance,   of being empty of substance and understanding by calling him a ghost for making a mistake of this type.

"Should it be elsewhere than in us, dogs would eat this body, or birds tear it to pieces"

This means without the heart and mind as representing the organs of a living body then the body would be just a dead carcass to be eaten by the animals.

Gargi,   in section six verse one was warned by Yajnavalkya against making a similar mistake with her questioning:-
(Yajnavalkya warned)   "... 'lest your head should fall off. You are questioning about a deity that should not be reasoned about. Do not, 0 Gargi; push your inquiry too far. ' Thereupon Gargi, the daughter of Vacaknu, kept silent."

It is interesting in the above example that although Gargi kept respectful silence after realising that Yajnavalkya had saved her from embarrassing error,   she later sought permission from the assembly to ask two further questions.   After Yajnavalkya had answered her questions   (She said)..... "Revered Brahmanas, you should consider yourselves fortunate if you can get off from him through salutations.   Never shall any of you beat him in describing Brahman.... "

Here the Shruti has Sakalya ignore the fact that he has fallen down in his questioning to the extent that he has given cause for Yajnavalkya to insult him through his lack of understanding,   it seems instead of respectfully falling silent Sakalya insists on trying to continue his questioning of Yajnavalkya in spite of Gargi's warning.

 

Sakalya, as said,   disrespectfully attempts to continue with the very same question in the form corrected by Yajnavalkya himself,

26. 'On what do the body and the heart rest?' 'On the Apana'. 'On what does the Apana rest?''On the Vyana'.'On what does the Vyana rest'? 'On the Udana'.'On what does the Udana rest'?'On the Samana'. This self is That which has been described as 'Not this, not this' It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered, It never feels pain, and never suffers injury. 'These are the eight abodes, the eight instruments of vision, the eight deities and the eight beings. I ask you of that Being who is to be known only from the Upanishads, who definitely projects those beings and (again) withdraws them into Himself, and who is at the same time transcendent. If you cannot clearly tell me of Him, your head shall fall off'. Sakalya did not know Him; his head fell off; and robbers snatched away his bones, mistaking them for something else.

"On what do the body and the heart rest"?   "On the Apana'"

Here Sakalya's questions bring us to the vital force on which rests this entire Creation of ignorance.

"On what does the Apana rest"?   "On the Vyana"

These terms describe the path of the breath within the body representing the breath of life or vital force.

"On what does the Vyana rest"?   "On the Udana"

Again these terms describe the path of the breath within the body representing the breath of life or vital force.

"On what does the Udana rest"?  "On the Samana"

At this point in Sakalya's questioning of Yajnavalkya,   Yajnavalkya,   now ignoring any further questions from Sakalya,   begins his discourse on the Truth of the "Absolute Self"   as the   "self"   within creation.   which is really the import of this chapter of the Sruti.
This is because with Sakalya's last question concerning the "udana"   (vital breath/force)   Yajnavalkya considers the realm of ignorance with its deities and vital force,   which has been the subject of Sakalya's questions has been fully enough explained.

Yajnavalkya's explanation has the meaning that the "self" is not this breath not this perceptable material or vital force (Hiranyagarbha) which has been the subject of Sakalya's questioning.

"This self is That which has been described as 'Not this, not this"

"It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived"

the Self being not the material of creation cannot be perceived through the material senses.

"undecaying, for It never decays"

The material of creation maintained by desire and vital force is transient and subject to decay and entropy.   But the Absolute or Self is unborn and eternal.

"unattached, for It is never attached"

The Absolute is without form or attributes,   being the knowledge that projects all this it is the witness only.

"unfettered, It never feels pain, and never suffers injury."

The Absolute being immortal is immutable.   Being without birth the Absolute alone exists therefore cannot suffer injury or pain.

"These are the eight abodes, the eight instruments of vision, the eight deities and the eight beings"

"These"   regarding the abodes deities and so forth are the attributes of the vital force which has been the subject of Yajnavalkya and Sakalya's discourse here.

Yajnavalkya has already declared the Self to be not this vital force or material attributes.

Yajnavalkya now questions Sakalya,   he wants to know of that being who cannot be known through attributes because the Absolute is without attributes.

"I ask you of that Being who is to be known only from the Upanishads"

Meaning "that Being"   who is not one of the above eight beings with an abode.

already described as "Not this not this"   the Self or "self"   cannot be known from within Creation.   This means the "Self" can only be known through the Upanishads.

"who definitely projects those beings and (again) withdraws them into Himself, and who is at the same time transcendent."

Yajnavalkya speaks of the Absolute who Alone exists and is the projector of the Universe with its diverse forms and will be the place of rest of the knowledge that is the universe when the universe is wound down.   Being the source of all the Absolute transcends all.

"If you cannot clearly tell me of Him, your head shall fall off'."

The meaning of ones head falling off in this debate is that to lose in such a way Sakalya's credibility will be lost,   he will no longer stand so tall as an academic,   he will lose his head in an undignified way.

"Sakalya did not know Him; his head fell off; and robbers snatched away his bones,   mistaking them for something else"

The meaning of   "his head fell off"   is that Sakalya, after having conducted such a high profile attempt to discredit Yajnavalkya has himself been seen to fail with notable discredit.   As a result he has lost status and respect   "his head fell off".   As a Consequence Sakalya is now open to attack from those of lesser academic standing than himself but who seek to gain by chance   "robbers snatched away his bones".   The bones of the academic are all that is left after the loss of his status.   The   "robbers"   will seek to raise their status by further deriding the weakened Sakalya imagining themselves to be genuinely improved by such an act   "mistaking them for something else".   This is the fate Gargi warned of.

The highest meaning of this chapter with its questioning of Yajnavalkya has not been to simply teach us of the line of deities and vital force and so forth,   but it is to demonstrate that Yajnavalkya   (the sage of this Upanishad)   is the most knowledgeable of all the priests concerning the scriptures and Vedas,   and this has been proved beyond a doubt,   :-
(Janaka said :- "Revered Brahmanas, let him who is the best Vedic scholar among you...")

Having been proved the wisest of the wise,   concerning the meaning of the Vedas,   Yajnavalkya can now proceed to explain the Non-Duality of Existence.
The meaning is,   with now proven undisputable authority the wise Yajnavalkya can now tell us of the Absolute God Brahman or Self as being the One true reality that supports the desire which causes all apparent individual births.   This will be further emphasised in the following verses.

 

3.9.27   Then he said, 'Revered Brahmanas, whichsoever amongst you wishes may ask me questions, or all of you may. Or I shall ask questions of whichsoever amongst you wishes, or ask all of you'. The Brahmanas did not dare.

"The Brahmanas did not dare"

This was after witnessing the fate of Sakalya.   At this point Yajnavalkya's status as the Wisest of the Wise must be conceded.

 

3.9.28   He asked them through these verses:
(1)   As a large tree,   so indeed is a man.   (This is)   true.   His hair is its leaves,   his skin its outer bark.

Yajnavalkya Likens a tree to a man for the purpose of his questions that will reveal The Absolute,   this is self explanatory

 

(2)   It is from his skin that blood flows,   and from the bark sap.   Therefore when a man is wounded,   blood flows,   as sap from a tree that is injured.

Further setting up the analogy between a tree and a man.   Again the meaning is plain.

 

(3)   His flesh is its inner bark,   and his sinews its innermost layer of bark; it is tough.   His bones lie under,   as does its wood; his marrow is comparable to its pith.

Yajnavalkya is helping all of the Brahmanas to consider a tree as a man for the sake of his coming lesson and question.

 

(4)   If a tree,   after it is felled,   springs again from its root in a newer form,   from what root does man spring forth after he is cut off by death?

"a tree,   after it is felled,   springs again from its root in a newer form"

the roots that once supported the felled tree remain in the ground.   From these roots,   the same tree,   but in a newer form,   will grow.

"from what root does man spring forth after he is cut off by death"?

What is it that causes this man,   after death,   to take up a new form?
Yajnavalkya continues with this question in the next verse.

 

(5)   Do not say,   'From the seed',   (for) it is produced in a living man.   A tree springs also from the seed;   after it is dead it certainly springs again   (from the seed as well).

Yajnavalkya is refining his question.   This man cannot spring forth from his seed because he is now dead.

Both the man and the tree were capable of producing seed while living.   Indeed,   it is likely that both the tree and the man had offspring from their seed while living.
But,   the felled tree,   as said,   grows again in a newer form from it's own roots.
Therefore to say both man and tree   "spring forth"   from a seed after death is not the answer here.

 

(6)   If a tree is pulled out with its root,   it no more sprouts,   From what root does a mortal spring forth after he is cut off by death?

The roots of the felled tree were the cause for a new tree,   but when the roots are also pulled out no new tree grows.

"From what root does a mortal spring forth after he is cut off by death"?

Yajnavalkya again asks his question concerning the rebirth of a man.

 

(7) If you think he is ever born,   I say,   no,   he is again born.   Now who should again bring him forth?   Knowledge,   Bliss,   Brahman,   the supreme goal of the distributor of wealth as well as of him who has realised Brahman and lives in It.

"If you think he is ever born, I say, no, he is again born".

Yajnavalkya does not want the answer that   "In reality there is no birth and no death",   because although this is true in a higher sense,   Yajnavalkya is after an answer showing a specific understanding.

"Now who should again bring him forth"?

Yajnavalkya once again asks his specific question.
Because none of the Brahmanas can answer him Yajnavalkya provides the answer.   :-

"Knowledge,   Bliss,   Brahman"

Yajnavalkya describes the true being of The Absolute and of the man.   The Absolute Alone is the projector of the phenomena of Creation.
The desire in   (Absolute)   Consciousness that still clings to the world once again brings itself forth.

"the supreme goal of the distributor of wealth"

The difference between the felled tree and the tree pulled out by the roots has been explained.   One dies but grows again due to its support still clinging to the earth.   The other dies and without remaining roots as support does not grow again.
This man by comparison,   described as a   "distributor of wealth",   meaning the performer of rites is likened to the tree that was felled but its roots still clung to the earth.   Likewise,   the performer of rites still clings to the world through his Consciousness of rites and desires so he is once again   "brought forth"   By his Absolute SelfConsciousness described as   "Knowledge,   Bliss,   Brahman".

"as well as of him who has realised Brahman and lives in It".

Once again through comparison to the tree,   but this time considering the tree pulled out by the roots.   By letting go of the earth,   not clinging to a vital force and no more seeking support there,   the tree withers and does not grow again.

"him who has realised Brahman and lives in It"

Is the man who has surrendered the world,   this Realised man sees the true support for Existence,   as it were,   as the Absolute or God and does not cling to the earth through a vital force and so returns home after death and is not reborn.

"the supreme goal of the distributor of wealth as well as of him who has realised Brahman".

The Supreme goal,  the one goal,  the ultimate purpose of both men is the return home to the Absolute,   because it is the one reality,   but only the latter,   "him who has realised Brahman" had realised Brahman in Consciousness and so attained that Consciousness.
The former,   The   "distributer of wealth",   was seeking gain through a vital force and rites etc. within creation so will return to the world to continue seeking until the time inevitably comes when his seeking uncovers the knowledge of the Absolute and through Self realisation avoids rebirth and so returns as the Absolute.

 

Shankara in his Bhashya at this point spoke of what was understood by Bliss in terms of the Absolute.
In our understanding he felt Absolute Bliss to be other than that usually claimed by individuals.
The bliss that is The Absolute is not the bliss that can be experienced in creation as perfect happiness.
However profound the experience of bliss in creation it is transient by definition.
The Bliss that is the Absolute is the bliss of harmony,   equilibrium and unchanging perfection   (Truth).
When students and seekers claim bliss during their activities they are displaying delusion and ignorance.
This needs to be seen because to imagine that one has attained to the Absolute Bliss is be lost right there.
To imagine that Absolute Bliss can manifest as part of the imperfection that is creation is to be deluded and devoid of discrimination.
It will be more true and safer to imagine such Bliss as being attainable only after attaining the Absolute.

 

 

Ohm   peace,   peace,   peace.

 

Continue to Chapter Four