3) Then Maitreyi replied: "What should I do with that which would not make me
immortal? Tell me, venerable Sir, of that alone which you know to be the only
means of attaining Immortality."
"Then, what is the good of all this? If one day, death is to swallow me up, if
all that you regard as worthwhile is after all going to be a phantom, a dream;
if this is the uncertainty of all existence, what good can accrue to me from
this that you are bestowing upon me, as if it is of a great value? What am I to
do with that thing which is not going to make me perpetually happy, immortal,
"Whatever you know in this context, O Lord, tell me that. Let me be cured of
this nagging doubt in my mind, so that I may know what it is that I have to
engage myself in if I am to be eternally happy; so that there can be no fear
from any source. Is it possible? If so, what is the method that I have to adopt
for the acquisition of this Supreme final satisfaction – the way to immortality
(kevalam amrutatva sadhanam)?"
Very wonderful question! Yajnavalkya was highly pleased with this query. "I
never expected that you will put this question to me when I am leaving you
immense property and bestowing upon you a lot of wealth."
4) Yajnavalkya replied: "My dear, you have been my beloved even before and
now you speak what is dear to my heart. Come, sit down; I will explain it to
you. As I explain it, meditate on what I say."
“So, I shall speak to you, the secret of all these things. Listen to me
with rapt attention. I shall uncover the mystery of this great predicament that
you have expressed to me”.
Now, the whole subject is a discourse on the relationship that obtains between
eternal and transient. What we call immortality, is the life eternal; and that
which is temporal, is what we see with our eyes. Wealth is a general term which
signifies any kind of value, any possession. It may be a physical possession; it
may be a psychological condition; or it may be a social status - all these come
under wealth, because anything that gives you comfort, physical and social, can
be regarded as a property. This is what is known as temporal value. It is
temporal because it is bound by the limitations imposed by time. That which is
temporal is that which is conditioned by time. Time has a say in the matter of
our possessions. We cannot completely defy the law of time and take hold of
possessions that we regard as ours for ever. Time is an inscrutable force which
is a peculiar arrangement of things in the world. That arrangement is known as
The arrangement of things is such, in the temporal realm, that things cannot be
possessed by anyone. The idea of possession is a peculiar notion in the mind.
You know very well, how false the idea of possession is. You cannot possess
anything except in thought. So, what we call ownership of property is a
condition of the mind.
For example: There is a piece of land.. Today you say, it is owned by 'A', and
tomorrow it is owned by 'B', by a legal transfer of property.
Now, what do you mean by this transfer of property? The land as such has never
been transferred. It is there in its own place. It has been transferred in the
ideas of people in their minds. One person called 'A' imagined that it was his,
yesterday, and today, another called 'B' thinks in his mind that it is his. Now
both ideas, whether it is the idea of 'A' or the idea of 'B', are peculiar,
inscrutable conditions which have no bearing on the physical existence of the
property known as land. Thus the whole question of ownership is a condition of
This being the case, how can that bring you permanent satisfaction? If a thing
can be permanently possessed, you cannot be dispossessed of it. The very fact
that one can be dispossessed of a property shows that permanent acquisition is
not possible. It is conditionally connected with you in a psychological manner
up to a certain point of time. And, what you call permanent happiness is
unconditional existence independent of temporal relationship. That unconditional
existence is not possible, if it is an effect of a conditional arrangement.
So, eternity or what we know as immortality, is something not conditioned by the
process of time, and it has nothing to do with the ownership of property. You
may possess or you may not possess, it is absolutely immaterial as far as the
question of immortality is concerned. Because immortality is not dependent upon
connection of values external. It is a state of being as such.
In order to hammer the meaning of this great passage in us, Yajnavalkya tells
Maitreyi to meditate upon what he is going to say. This passage is explained by
scholars by comparing those who recite the Vedas without understanding their
meaning to the lifeless pillars which bear the weight of a roof. Or, just as a
donkey bearing a bundle of sandalwood knows its weight but not its fragrance or
like a Brahmana who knows the texts of the scriptures but not their
significance. The hand carries food to the mouth but only the tongue knows the
flavors. Hence meditation on this subject has been insisted upon by Yajnavalkya.
5) Then Yajnavalkya said: "Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear,
is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its
true nature, is one with the Supreme Self.”Verily, not for the sake of the wife,
my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self. "Verily,
not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved
for the sake of the self.”Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth
loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self. "Verily, not for the sake of
the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the
self.”Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya
loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self. "Verily, not for the sake of
the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of
the self.”Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but
they are loved for the sake of the self. "Verily, not for the sake of the
beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the
self.”Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is
loved for the sake of the self. "Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that
should be realized—should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. By the
realization of the Self, my dear—through hearing, reflection and meditation—all
this is known.