7—9) "As the various particular kinds of notes of a drum, when it is beaten, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the drum or the general sound produced by different kinds of strokes is grasped; "And as the various particular notes of a conch, when it is blown, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped only when the general note of the conch or the general sound produced by different kinds of blowing is grasped; "And as the various particular notes of a vina, when it is played, cannot be grasped by themselves, but are grasped Only when the general note of the vina or the general sound produced by different kinds of playing is grasped; Similarly, no particular objects are perceived in the waking and dream states apart from Pure Intelligence.

By these three illustrations, sage Yajnavalkya tells us that the effect cannot be known unless the cause is known, because the effect is a manifestation of the cause in some proportion. We cannot understand the nature of any object in this world unless we know wherefrom it has come. Unless the cause behind the form that is visible is perceived, the form cannot be really known or understood.

If we are intent upon knowing the nature of any object, we must know its relation to something else. And that something else is connected to another thing, and so on and so on, until we will be surprised to realize that everything is connected to everything else in such a way that nothing can be known unless everything is known. So, it is not possible to have complete knowledge of any finite object unless the Infinite itself is known.

To understand this, the great Master Yajnavalkya gives us three illustrations. Just as the sound that is made by a percussion instrument cannot be properly identified if the instrument itself is far away and not visible to the eyes, but whose sound is heard by us from a distance, unless we catch the source thereof; just as we cannot identify the rhythm produced by the blowing of a conch unless we have the capacity to grasp the totality of the sound by actually perceiving the conch that is being blown at any particular time; just as we cannot understand the symphony produced by a Veena or a stringed instrument, for instance, merely by hearing one note unless we are able to connect all the notes in a harmonious symphony, so is the case with all these things in this world. The particular notes or tunes from a musical instrument are modifications of the general note emanating from it; they cannot be perceived because they have no existence apart from the general note.

All things in the universe are each like one note in the symphony. How can we know the beauty of the music by merely hearing one note? That note is connected to many other notes. And when every note is harmoniously related to all other notes to which it is related, and all the notes are grasped at one stroke in one single harmonious symphony, that becomes music; it is melodious. But if only a twang is heard or one tick is heard, it makes no sense; it is not music.

So is the case with any object in this world. It is one twang, one tick, one sound which is really connected to a vast arena of a symphony that is universally expansive. Unless that total expanse or continuity is grasped by the mind at one stroke, which means that unless the infinite Being behind the finite objects is grasped by the consciousness, no finite object can be known fully, nothing can be understood perfectly. Therefore, nothing can give us satisfaction. During the continuance of the universe, all diverse entities are unified in Brahman or Pure Intelligence, because the varieties or diversities are not different from It. Thus there is no hope of immortality through any possession in this world, is the conclusion of Sage Yajnavalkya.

What Yajnavalkya says is that the nature of effects cannot be known unless their cause is known. It is futile on our part to investigate into the nature of any finite object without correlating its form and context with the causes which gave rise to its present form.

But, the incapacity of the senses to perceive the causes behind the visible forms creates a false impression in the mind that the causes are completely isolated from the existence of the effect. This is why we make independent notional judgments about things, distancing them from the conditions from which they are evolved, which are ultimately cosmic conditions. The point made out in the Upanishad, in this passage, is that without the knowledge of the Absolute, not even the smallest of things can be understood and that nothing exists apart from Brahman, Pure Intelligence.

10) "As from a fire kindled with wet fuel various kinds of smoke issue forth, even so, my dear, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, the Atharvangirasa, history (itihasa), mythology (purana), the arts (vidya), the Upanishads, verses (slokas), aphorisms (sutras), elucidations (anuvyakhyanas) and explanations (vyakhyanas) are like the breath of this infinite Reality. From this Supreme Self are all these, indeed, breathed forth.

Now, this passage tells us that everything proceeds from that Pure Intelligence, the Absolute. How does it come?

We cannot understand how anything can come from the Absolute. We can only give some illustrations, and the Upanishad employs here the comparison of smoke arising from fire. Just as when wet fuel is burnt smoke may arise from its burning process, everything may be said to proceed in this manner, as it were, from the Supreme Being - a continuous emanation. As before the separation of the sparks, embers, and flames, all these are nothing but fire and therefore there is but one substance, fire, so too, this universe before it differentiated itself into names and forms, is nothing but Pure Intelligence.

Evam va are asya mahato bhutasya nihsvasitam: From the breathing, as it were, of this eternal, infinite Reality, all the knowledge of this world has come. Just as when you breathe out there is a breath coming from your nostrils, the Absolute breathes, as it were, this wisdom of all His creation. And, all this wisdom of the world put together cannot be equated with a fraction of It.

The wisdom of the Vedas and everything that is capable of being connected with Vedic knowledge, such as the Itihasas, Puranas, Vidya, all arts and all branches of learning, secret teachings, verses and poetic compositions, aphorisms, commentaries, anything that can be called knowledge, in whatever way, whatever manner, whatever form, everything has come out from Brahman as a man’s breath comes out without any effort.

11) "As the ocean is the one goal of all waters (i.e. the place where they merge), so the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch, the nostrils are the one goal of all smells, the tongue is the one goal of all tastes, the ear is the one goal of all sounds, the mind is the one goal of all deliberations, the intellect is the one goal of all forms of knowledge, the hands are the one goal of all actions, the organ of generation is the one goal of all kinds of enjoyment, the excretory organ is the one goal of all excretions, the feet are the one goal of all kinds of walking, the organ of speech is the one goal of all the Vedas.

The ocean is the repository of all waters on the earth. The touch-sense and everything that we regard as meaningful from the point of view of tangibility is located in the skin. Every kind of taste can be located ultimately in the structural pattern of the tongue, or the palate. Every smell, every odor, every type of fragrance is located in the structure of the nostrils. Every color, every form, everything that is visible, is located in the structure of the eyes. Every sound, whatever it is, is located in the structure of the ears. Every thought, every feeling, anything that is cogitated is ultimately located in the mind. Every feeling, every kind of intimation, connected with the knowledge of things, is in the heart of a person. Every action, the capacity to grasp things, is located in the energy of the hands of a person.

Other organs also are mentioned in this manner, making out that all activities of the senses are capable of being traced back to the structure of the senses, so that if we know the nature of the sense-organs concerned in any particular action, whether it is the action of knowledge or merely of locomotion, enjoyment etc., we can know everything connected with that particular organ. Likewise, we can know all things if we can locate their origin, from where they proceed.

All these different examples signify the idea of one common goal, one common centre where all merge. Similarly the whole universe is ultimately centered in this one Reality which is the source of all.

12) "As a lump of salt dropped into water becomes dissolved in water and cannot be taken out again, but wherever we taste the water it tastes salt, even so, my dear, this great, endless, infinite Reality is Pure Intelligence alone. This self comes out as a separate entity from these elements and with their destruction this separate existence also is destroyed. After attaining oneness it has no more consciousness. This is what I say, my dear." So said Yajnavalkya.

Another illustration is given here to make out the nature of the Supreme Being from whom all knowledge proceeds. If we dissolve a little piece of salt in water, what happens? The salt becomes one with the water. We may take any part of that water, it will taste salty, and we cannot find out where the salt is. It has become one with the water; it is everywhere in the water.

Just as any part of that water in which salt is dissolved will taste of salt only, because of the pervasive character of the salt that has got dissolved into the water, so is the Infinite Being. How? It is a mass of knowledge; it is a treasure house of wisdom; it is a substantiality of what we regard as the highest Consciousness; that is this ultimate Reality. Wherever we touch, it is that which is touched, and wherever we taste we are tasting that only, and anything that is seen anywhere is naturally that only. Whatever be the corresponding object of a particular sense-organ, it is the form of That which is seen. And the mind thinks nothing but That, not knowing it is so doing.

This consciousness which is solid Reality ultimately, the substantiality of the whole universe, appears to localize itself in the body of individuals by entering into the process of permutation and combination of the elements like ­ earth, water, fire, air, ether, etc. A particular combination in some percentage of these five elements becomes a body, an embodiment. When consciousness enters this particular formation of the elements, it is what we call the individual, the Jiva, or a particular finite body. It arises in this form and dissolves itself in this form, as it were, as long as it is connected to this formation of the elements.

The birth of the individual and the death of the individual are described here, as being the consequence of the association and dissolution of consciousness within the formation of the five elements in a certain proportion. It is the five elements which combine in certain ways and conditions that are responsible for the objects of sense, as we call them.

Animate or inanimate, whatever may be - all the objects, all the bodies are really the elements in some shape, color and tangibility. They appear to have a value, a worth, and meaning, because of the entry of consciousness into them. And when the formations change, when there is a different type of formation of the elements that is called the death of the individual.

It is not a death really; it is a transformation, a reformation of the particular form into which these elements have been cast by the need of that unit of consciousness which is called the Jiva. When this consciousness gets entangled in the forms of the elements, it is called birth. When it is freed from them, it is called death. When it is freed from the elements, it will not be conscious of any particular thing.

Yajnavalkya tells Maitreyi that when there is total isolation of consciousness from all its associations in the form of these permutations and combinations of elements called the body, there would be no particular consciousness. There would be no feeling, hearing, touching, smelling, - nothing particular whatsoever, no consciousness at all. So says Yajnavalkya, "after dissolution, there is no awareness". This is what is meant by this pithy statement - na pretya samjnasti. "Maitreyi; this I tell you. Try to understand it."

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