4) Now with reference to the body: The gross form is that which is other than the air and the akasa that is in the body. It is mortal, it is limited and it is definite. The essence of that which is gross, which is mortal, which is limited and which is definite is the eye; for it (the eye) is the essence of the three elements.

Now, the microcosmic aspect of the very same truth is being described, as Adhyatma. In the same way as the five elements are present in the outer world, they are also present in the inner world, this individual body. The five elements constitute our own being. We have earth, water, fire and also air and space inside our body and the body is made up of these five elements only. Even as the three elements are mortal and two are not comparatively in the outer world, so is the case with these elements in the inner world also.

Now the same truth is described in respect of the individual. This is the perishable aspect of this individual. What is that? That which is other than the vital-principle and other than the space-principle in us. The concrete and solid parts of our bodies are the perishable aspects.

The subtle part of the physical body is supposed to be the eye. It is also believed that when the embryo develops into a physical formation, the first manifestation the form of a limb is the eye. The eye protrudes itself first; every other organ comes afterwards. It is the subtlest and the most sensitive part of our body. It is therefore regarded as the quintessential part or the physical essences of the entire system. So, of all these perishable aspects in this body, which are constituted of earth, water and fire, the quintessence is the eye. Everything that is in the eye is the subtlest aspect of these three elements.

5) Now the subtle: It is the air and the akasa that is in the body. It is immortal, it is unlimited and it is indefinite. The essence of that which is subtle, which is immortal, which is unlimited and which is indefinite is the person (purusha) that is in the right eye, for that person is the essence of the two elements.

Likewise, there is the subtle aspect of the other two elements which are compared to the immortal, namely, air and space. Now the immortal side which is formless. The ether in the heart, the space within us and the air that is inside, form the immortal aspect in us which cannot be destroyed even if the body is destroyed. The subtle body inside us is the quintessence of these two elements.

However, the point made out is that there is some aspect of subtlety comparable with the subtlety of our own subtle body in these two subtle elements, namely, space and air. The subtle essence, immortal, is the Purusa within the eye, Consciousness beaming forth in perception, comparable to the divinity in the sun, above. There is, therefore, a correspondence between the outer universe and the inner world, the macrocosm, or the Brahmanda and the inner world or the Pindanda.

6) The form of that person is like a cloth dyed with turmeric, or like grey sheep's wool, or like the scarlet insect called Indragopa, or like a tongue of fire, or like a white lotus, or like a flash of lightning. He who knows this—his splendor is like a flash of lightning. Now, therefore, the description of Brahman: "Not this, not this" (Neti, Neti); for there is no other and more appropriate description than this "Not this." Now the designation of Brahman: "The Truth of truth." The vital breath is truth and It (Brahman) is the Truth of that.

This Purusha within us manifests himself in the subtle body as various colors. Now, these colors mentioned here actually represent the various types of impressions out of which the subtle body is made. It is difficult to distinguish between the impressions of the mind and the constitution of the subtle body. Well, something like the threads and the cloth which are related to each other, the mental impressions and the subtle body are related. The whole range of activity of the mind is what is called the subtle body, like the magnet field of an electro-magnetic installation. It is not a substance in the ordinary sense; it is a limitation set upon the mind by its own activities in the form of impressions of experience.

They are compared to colors because they are constituted of the three Gunas of Prakrti - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva is generally said to be white, Rajas reddish, and Tamas is black. And by mutual permutation and combination of these three properties, we can have other colors also. So, the subtle body is a mixture of these three Gunas in various intensities or degrees, on account of the difference in the intensity of the thoughts of the mind, the feelings of the mind and the impressions created by mental activity.

Of this internal Purusha which is the subtle body, there are various colors as if it is turmeric. What is the color of cloth dipped in turmeric water? Sometimes it looks as if it is yellowish. Sometimes it looks grayish like grey wool cut from sheep's body. Sometimes it looks reddish like an insect. Indragopa is a peculiar kind of insect which has a reddish body. Sometimes it is like luminous flame of fire. Sometimes it is apparently very tender looking and whitish like the lotus flower. Sometimes it flashes forth like lightening.

One who meditates on the inner constitution of the subtle body, internally in one's own self and externally in the cosmos in this manner as constituted of the five elements outwardly and presided over by a divinity internally; one who practices this Upasana, or meditation in this manner by bringing about a harmony between the outer and the inner, to such a person his glory becomes lustrous like the flash lightning. The magnificence of this meditator becomes glorious and luminous, lustrous, shining like lightning itself.

What can we say about this glory? What can we speak of in respect of this great Reality which appears outwardly as that and inwardly this, which manifests itself as the five elements grossly as well as subtly, except that it is not anything that is conceivable to the mind or visible to the senses - neti, neti. It is not anything that is graspable either by the understanding or by the sense apparatus. Therefore, it is 'not this', 'not anything' that one can think of. It has no other definition except in this manner as has been put forth in this passage of the Upanishad.

Its name is a secret. What is its name? It is the Truth of truth, Reality of reality, Being of being. It is the Soul of soul; satyasya satyam. It is the Self transcendent to the self.

Prana vai satyam, tesam esa satyam: The individual self, of course, is real; anything connected with the individual self also is real. But, this is more real than the individual selves, more real than the mind and the understanding and the Pranas and the senses. It is the ultimate Reality; it is the Supreme Being; it is absolutely Real, while others are only tentatively real, workably real and real only from a utilitarian point of view. So, this is a meditation, a means of spiritual atonement.


The proposition enunciated by the Upanishad in these two sections is that “Self is pure awareness – one and non-dual”. The veracity of this statement is understandable by studying the relative world of manifestation and calling it truth, provisionally. We will then find that in none of the things of this universe there is consciousness and on the basis of the principle of elimination (neti, neti), we finally conclude that self within us is alone of the nature of pure consciousness. The Cosmic Self energizes all these apparently conscious entities here in the body and the cosmos outside. That is Brahman. That is Brahman’s secret name – The Truth of truth, satyasya satyam. The prana is truth and Brahman is the Truth of that. Hence Brahman is called the Truth of all truths, satyasya satyam.



[To be continued]

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