It may be noted that both Balaki and Ajatasatru discussed the matter among themselves, the former keeping a lower concept and the latter keeping a higher concept of Brahman. Ajatasatru contemplates on a more generalized form of objects than their particular ones which is the focal point of Balaki.

In this way the mantras 3 to 13 that follow in this section take different objects as Brahman with higher and higher attributes for debate. This conversation is tabulated as under.


What Balaki Gargya considered as Brahman

What Ajatasatru considered as Brahman


Moon as a form

Considers the moon as an embodiment of the cosmic vitality and energy which beams forth through the form, as if it is dressed in white robes. Meditation is upon the coolness of the moon, its watery aspect, its rays and its light or luminosity - all as nothing but the expression of Prana.


Lightning as Brahman because it flashes forth indicating as if the spiritual light itself is flashing.

Meditation on the general background of all luminosity, contemplating on the luster of lightning.


Akasa or Space as Brahman.

Meditation is on completeness of perception, and its immobility. Everything moves, but space does not move. It is fullness. Contemplation is on fullness or infinitude which includes space in it. Instead of going for the manifested form of space, contemplation is on that which is prior to the manifestation of space, the Supreme Bhuma, the fullness of Being, the immobile Reality.


Air or Vayu

Meditation upon the quality of Vayu as an indomitable entity before whom nobody can stand, an invincible force of every kind of power, or capacity and not on the tangible form of Vayu.


Fire or  Agni

Contemplate on fire as supreme tolerance. Nobody can tolerate things as fire does. It accepts whatever is thrown into it without any objection. Fire is a consumer, acceptor and absorber of anything and everything. Fire is tolerance incarnate. So, meditation is on fire as universal tolerance, a capacity to absorb anything into oneself and not on fire as luminosity.


Meditates on the water because it is liquid and it is formless.

Meditates upon water as that which is agreeable because water has the character of agreeability. Everyone is fond of water. Water is agreeable to everyone, human, subhuman or superhuman. So contemplation is on the general character of goodness, amiability and agreeability which is reflected in the principle of water.


What Balaki Gargya considered as Brahman

What Ajatasatru considered as Brahman


Meditates upon that which is seen in the mirror.
Note: There is a kind of meditation called Darpana-Yoga. It is said that nothing is more attractive than one's own face. It is liked by people more than anything else. If you look at your face in the mirror, you would not like to withdraw your attention from it. You would go on looking because you are somehow the most beautiful person in the world according to you. Others are secondary. No one can be as beautiful as 'I'. Everyone thinks like this. The mind is drawn to the face in the mirror. If you wish to concentrate upon an object, concentrate on your own face first. Then the mind will not wander away. Your difficulty of the drifting mind will not be there afterwards

Does not contemplate on the form that is reflected in the mirror but the capacity of reflection itself. That is what is regarded as superior to what is reflected. How is reflection possible is more important than, what is reflected. Meditation is on the reflecting capacity in the mirror which is something different from the form of the mirror or the shape of the reflected form. The capacity to reflect is prior to the object that is reflected. This method of meditation goes to the prior, the antecedent, rather than the subsequent or the posterior; because the posterior is the effect. There is something in the mirror which enables it to reflect the object in itself. That something is superior to the object that is reflected; that is Brahman, the object of meditation.


Gargya said “when you walk, especially in the dark, alone, you hear sound coming from behind, as if somebody else is walking behind you. Some people fear to walk in darkness, alone, because they hear some sound from behind, as if somebody was walking behind them, or pursuing them. What is this sound from behind? I contemplate on that because it is a peculiar aspect of Reality, from my point of view."

The King said “I contemplate on the reason behind hearing that sound. It is not that someone is walking behind you. It is the peculiar vibration of the Prana emanated by the soles of the feet. It is a thud created by the Prana-Sakti that is ejected through the feet when you walk. You cannot hear it when you walk in the midst of people or when you are in a crowd or when you are otherwise engaged, etc. When you are alone, in darkness especially, then only you silently hear this sound made by the Prana in your own body. I consider Prana, the life principle, as the object of meditation rather than the sound that it makes because of walking. I contemplate on Prana as Brahman, because this sound comes from Prana only”.


What Balaki Gargya considered as Brahman

What Ajatasatru considered as Brahman


Contemplates on the quarters of the heaven, the directions, as the symbol of Brahman, because of there being a resemblance between the quarters of space and the nature of Brahman, the resemblance being that both point to an endless existence

Contemplates on the presiding deities of these directions, Asvins, rather than on  the directions themselves which are only their outer expressions


Contemplates on the shadow of one’s own body.

Meditation is on shadow as death. The shadow of an object is the appearance of the object. This relationship between the reflection and its original is the same relationship that obtains between appearance and Reality. Appearance is death (mrtyu) from one angle of vision. Reality is life. Inasmuch as all those who are caught up in appearances are subject to transiency, death comes upon everyone. We may regard the shadow as a symbol of death.


Meditates on the selfhood of his personality as Brahman.

The king considers the self mentioned by Balaki as ‘individual self’ while what he contemplates upon is Brahman, the higher Self, the Cosmic Mind. A consciousness of' the lower self is merely an expression of the consciousness of higher Self.

When Balaki’s conceptions of Brahman were thus rejected one by one by Ajatasatru, he had nothing further to say and hence fell silent with his head down.

14. When Balaki did not speak further and kept quiet Ajatasatru queried: "Is this all, or is there anything further for you to tell me; is everything over?"  “That is all," he replied. "I have nothing else to tell." Then Ajatasatru spoke: "With this little learning that you have you cannot be said to have known Brahman." Gargya understood where actually he stands. "Yes; I appreciate what you say. I, now, approach you as your disciple. There is no other alternative for me. I came with the idea of teaching you. Now I have to stand before you as your student."

Gargya knew only the conditioned Brahman and not the Absolute Brahman, which is the ultimate cause of all things, yet he had attempted to teach Ajatasatru about the Supreme Brahman. It is not that the knowledge of conditioned Brahman is futile; it is only with that knowledge the aspirant acquires the knowledge of Supreme Brahman. The understanding of the relative character of Brahman cannot be discarded so long as one is attached to the world.

Balaki knows that the profound knowledge of Brahman can only be transmitted by a teacher to his disciple. Hence he, though a Brahmana, asked Ajatasatru, a Kshatriya, to accept him as his disciple.

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