One is very happy; Like an innocent child one sleeps. Like a great king one sleeps. Like a lofty genius one sleeps. Everyone sleeps in the same way. Whether you are a genius, an emperor, or a child, it makes no difference to you. When you are fast asleep, you cannot know what you are. Who knows what one is when one is asleep? One does not know whether one is a rich person or a poor person, a saint or a sinner. It does not mean that the rich person's sleep is more pleasant than the poor ones. Both sleep equally well. The child's sleep and the adult's sleep are the same. The king's sleep and the beggar's sleep are alike. The man's sleep and the woman's sleep do not differ. What happens to all these differences in sleep? Where do they go? They were really not there. Differences are artificially constructed for reasons which are quite apart, not at all connected with the true nature of oneself.

When one goes to one's own essential nature, there is a uniformity established, so that the whole universe becomes one mass of being. The sleep of everyone is uniformly structured. There is no up and down or a difference in intensity or degree in the sleeps of different people or different things, whether of an ant or of an elephant. This is so because the Self is one. We all go to a single ocean of consciousness when we are asleep, but when we wake up we become little ripples, small waves with all the idiosyncrasies and differences, with a vehemence that asserts itself as independent in its own pattern of individuality, or body-consciousness.

All this happens because the Self of the emperor is the same as the Self of the baby. There is no such distinction as the Self of one and the Self of another. There are not many infinites possible. The Self is a Universal Being which manifests itself as individuals in dream and waking. But in sleep these distinctions get abolished, or obliterated, on account of the return of all particularity into the Universal being which is the true Self of all.

Unlimited is the bliss that we experience in sleep. No pleasure of the world can be compared with the pleasure of sleep. Whatever possessions we might have, even if the possession be of the whole earth itself, cannot bring that satisfaction which one has in the state of sleep, where one becomes one's own Self. The realization of the Self is, therefore, the highest pinnacle of happiness. It is not the possession of things that brings true joy. While the possession of objects of sense and the suzerainty that one wields over others may bring about an apparent satisfaction as a reflected one through the mental being of oneself, that is not true happiness, because it comes and goes, it has a beginning and an end, it is a medium that works and not the true Self that reigns. When the true Self works, there is incomparable bliss.

"This was the sleep in which condition this person was, whom I woke up just now. Why should he wake up if I call him? He was very happy there. He had to be shaken up violently, and then he woke up. When he wakes up, he does not become conscious of what he was experiencing in sleep. Immediately he gets switched on to the old routine of mental activity." While the self withdraws itself from all manifestations when it is in sleep, it projects itself in waking through the very channels through which it withdrew itself into sleep. That means to say, the same mind begins to work, and the same senses, the same Prana and the same relationship with objects also obtains. Thus when we wake up we are the same old individuals, with the same memories and desires and frustrations, the same body-consciousness, same limitations, etc., absolutely oblivious of what happened in sleep. "This is an indication to you, O Balaki," says Ajatasatru "as to what the Ultimate Reality is. This is the state into which one enters in sleep, and it is not any particular form or a shape. It is Universal Existence. This is the Atman; this is Brahman."

This is the doctrine of King Ajatasatru in respect of the source of sleep, and the cause of sleep. This Mantra replies the questions raised in Mantra 16. The final reply was that the self did not exist somewhere else; so there is no question of its coming back; the self is always all-pervading. Are there no entities, such as the organs, gods, etc., besides the self? No, they too emanate from Atman. This is explained in the next concluding Mantra of this section.

20. sa yathornanabhis tantunoccaret, yathagneh ksudra visphulinga vyuccaranti, evam evasmad atmanah sarve pranah, sarve lokah, sarve devah. sarvani bhutani vyuccaranti: tasyopanisat, satyasya satyam iti prana vai satyam, tesam esa satyam.

20. As the spider moves along the thread it produces, or as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, even so from this Atman come forth all organs, all worlds, all gods, all beings. Its secret name (Upanishad) is "the Truth of truth." The vital breaths are the truth and their truth is Atman.

“This is a famous utterance often quoted in the various Vedantic writings”-Swami Ranganathananda.

Just as a spider puts out web from its own mouth and then moves about through the very structure it has projected out of its mouth, just as sparks of fire jet forth from a flaming conflagration, something like this is the analogy of creation. The universe is manifested in this manner, as it were, if at all a comparison is required. The example that the creative process is something like the spider ejecting web is to point out that the material of the universe comes from the cause itself. The cause is not merely an instrumental one, but it is also the material cause. The substance of the world is of the nature of its cause, just as the substance of the thread that comes from the mouth of the spider is the substance of the spider itself. It does not come from somewhere else. The spider does not manufacture the threads as a potter manufactures pots out of clay which comes from somewhere, or as a carpenter makes a table, or a chair, out of wood that comes from outside. Not so.

It is from the very Being which is the cause that the substance of the universe comes. This point is apparently made out by the analogy of the creative process being something like the spider manufacturing threads out of its own body. The other analogy that it is something like sparks of fire coming out of flames is to show the similarity in essence of the effect with the cause. The effect is not essentially dissimilar, in character, to the cause, just as the spark is not dissimilar in essence, from its cause, which is fire.

Ultimately, everything, even the meanest and the lowest of creation, is qualitatively identical with the Supreme Cause. In this way, creation is effected by the Absolute, which is the Supreme Reality. From the Supreme Self everything proceeds. All the energies and all the senses (Prana), everything that we call mentation, understanding, or intellection; all these worlds (Loka), the various realms of being; all the celestials (Deva), the angels in paradise; all the planes of existence, everything created, whatever is called a created being (bhutani); - all these are emanations from the Absolute Self. That appears as all this multiplicity.

Tasyopanisat satyasya satyam iti: The secret is that it is the Reality of reality. The whole of creation may be a kind of reality, no doubt, so far as it is being experienced by us, but the Absolute is the Reality behind this reality. Prana vai satyam, tesam esa satyam: Individual souls are realities, no doubt, but the Supreme Being is the Reality behind these souls, also. The individual structure, the soul, the Jiva constituted of the senses and the mind, etc., is a relative reality, but this Ultimate cause is the Absolute Reality. It is absolutely real because it does not change itself, and is not subject to transcendence. It is not limited by the processes of time; it is not conditioned by space; it is not finitised by objects, and, therefore, it is absolutely real. In all the three periods of time, it is the same, and every point of space contains it entirely. Therefore, it is absolutely real (satyasya satyam), while everything else is empirically real. All things have a utilitarian value, a practical or temporary significance, not an absolute meaning.

“The world is not to be repudiated as false, but it is true only derivatively. It is sustained by the Ultimate Truth”. – Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.

If this world has come from Brahman, it is Brahman. There is no second thing. We separate ourselves from Brahman and manage to live in this world as separate beings but the truth is that the world itself is one with Brahman. brahmaivedam visvamidam varishtham – “This universe is that supreme Brahman alone”. – Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.11) – Swami Ranganathananda.

This is what Purushottama Yoga (Chapter 15) of the Bhagavad Gita also tells us.

Thus, Ajatasatru gives a comprehensive answer to the questions he posed before Balaki, the learned person, by a refutation of all the notions of reality held by the latter; and with the declaration that the Self is the Ultimate Reality, from which everything proceeds in various ways. The conversation between these two is concluded here, but the subject of the discussion is continued by the Upanishad in various other ways though without a direct connection with this conversation.


[To be continued]


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