by Swami Krishnananda
It appears, after some time, Yāj˝avalkya again comes to the court of King Janaka. This is the beginning of the Fourth Chapter. Janako ha vaideha ᾱsᾱṁ cakre: Janaka was seated in his court, in his assembly, giving audience to people. Atha ha yᾱj˝avalkya ᾱvavrᾱja: Yāj˝avalkya came there. Yāj˝avalkya having come, was received with great honour, naturally, by the King. Taṁ hovᾱca: yᾱj˝avalkya, kim artham acᾱrīḥ: "Yāj˝avalkya, great Master; how is it that you have come now?" This was the question of King Janaka. Emperor Janaka asks: "How is it that you have come? What can I do for you? Do you want more cows or you want more arguments? What is the purpose of your coming?" Paśῡn icchan, aṇvantᾱn-iti: "Do you want more cattle, is that for which you have come now, or do you want to argue further?" "For both, my dear friend." Yāj˝avalkya said: "I have come for both." Yāj˝avalkya was a very interesting person. Ubhayam eva, samrᾱḍ iti hovᾱca: "I have come for both purposes – your cows as well as arguments."
Now, Yāj˝avalkya and Janaka have a discussion. There is a conversation between Janaka and Yāj˝avalkya. Naturally, Janaka wanted to gather more and more wisdom from Sage Yāj˝avalkya. So, he said to him: "Tell me something, teach me about Brahman." And Yāj˝avalkya said: "First of all let me know what you already know. Have you heard anything from anyone up to this time? If anyone has taught you anything already (about Brahman), let me know what it is. Then, further on, if there is a necessity, I will speak to you. Yat te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavᾱmeti: Whatever anyone might have told you, let me hear it." Then Janaka speaks. Abravīn me jitvᾱ śailiniḥ, vᾱg vaiá brahmeti: "I had a Guru, a teacher by the name of Jitvā Śailini. He told me, he instructed me saying that speech is Brahman. This is what I have learnt, and I have been meditating in this manner on the principle of speech as the Supreme Being. Yathᾱ mᾱtṛmᾱn pitṛmᾱn ᾱcᾱryavᾱn brῡyᾱt, tathᾱ. tat śailinir abravīt: And he taught with great affection. Just as a mother would speak or a father would speak or a respectable teacher would speak, so did this man speak to me with great love, and told me that speech is Brahman." Then Yāj˝avalkya says: "This is only one-fourth of Brahman. It is not the whole. So your meditation is fractional, incomplete, inadequate, and therefore irrelevant. You have not understood three-fourths of it. You have understood only one-fourth, and therefore you are thinking that speech is Brahman." "O, please tell me the other three-fourths." Āyatanam pratiṣṭhām: "Its foundation and its abode and its essential nature was not told to you by your teacher. Has he told you these?" "No; he has not told me," Janaka said, "I do not know the abode of speech; I do not know its support; and I do not know its essence, also. So, its abode, its support and its essence-these are the remaining three-quarters, whereas in its own form as speech, it is only one-fourth of Brahman. I know the one-fourth; the other three-fourths, I do not know. Please tell me what it is."
Vᾱg evᾱyatanam, ᾱkᾱśah pratiṣṭhᾱ, praj˝ety enad upᾱsīta. kᾱ praj˝atᾱ, yᾱj˝avalkya. vᾱg eva, samrᾱt, iti hovᾱca. vᾱcᾱ vai, samrᾱṭ, bandhuḥ praj˝ᾱyate; ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ, sᾱma-vedo' tharvᾱṅgirasa, itihᾱsaḥ, purᾱṇam, vidyᾱ upaniṣadaḥ, ślokᾱḥ, sῡtrᾱṇy anuvyᾱkhyᾱnᾱni, vyᾱkhyᾱnᾱnīṣṭam hutam ᾱśitaṁ pᾱyitam, ayaṁ ca lokaḥ, paraś ca lokaḥ, sarvᾱṇi ca bhῡtᾱni vᾱcaiva, samrᾱṭ, praj˝ᾱyante; vᾱg vai, samrᾱṭ, paramam brahma; nainaṁ vᾱg jahᾱti, sarvᾱṇy enam bhῡtᾱny abhikṣaranti, devo bhῡtvᾱ devᾱn ᾱpyeti, ya evaṁ vidvᾱn etad upᾱste. hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadᾱmi, it hovᾱca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovᾱca yᾱj˝avalkyaḥ, pitᾱ me' manyata nᾱnanuśiṣya hareteti. Janaka having expressed his inability to mention the other three-fourths of the principle of speech, Yāj˝avalkya says: "Fire is one-fourth; consciousness is one-fourth; and the universal ether is one-fourth." And speech, of course, is one-fourth. All these four put together make one whole. The speech that is referred to here is only a form of expression. It is made possible on account of the operation of the consciousness inside. If the consciousness is not there, there would be no speech. And it is not merely consciousness that is responsible; there is something intermediary between speech and consciousness. Consciousness does not directly act upon the principle of speech. There is a controlling medium which is referred to, here, as the cosmic ether. We do not know what actually it means. Some say it is Hiraṇyagarbha; some say it is Īshvara, or the Causal Prakṛiti. That is, there is a determining factor which individualises speech and makes it possible for any person to express words in a given manner. Consciousness is general force like the power house, for instance. Now, the power house has no particular affiliation to any vehicle of expression. You can express electricity through an electric train, or through a refrigerator, or through a heater, etc. The power house is not concerned with how its power is being used. It is just a generator. Likewise, consciousness is the ultimate support, no doubt, but how it is conducted in a particular form, in a particular instrument of speaking, language, etc., that is determined by the structural pattern of what is here referred to as cosmic ether. That is perhaps Hiraṇyagarbha Himself; it cannot be anything else. And, Akasah Pratistha, ether, is the Pratistha or the support, consciousness is the ultimate essence, and speech is the form which the principle takes in its individual embodiment – vᾱg evᾱyatanam, ᾱkᾱśah pratiṣṭhᾱ, praj˝ety enad upᾱsīta: "And Agnī is the deity." This is another principle which cannot be ignored. This deity is controlling and superintending the principle of speech.
Agnī as the deity of speech, consciousness as the ultimate essence, cosmic ether as the determining factor, and speech as the form – these four are to come together in order that speech may be made possible. And it is ultimately consciousness of course, because it is this that is the embodiment of all learning which the speech expresses in the form of sacred lore – the Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda, Atharva Veda, Itihāsa, Purāna, and anything that is scriptural, anything that you can call the holy word. The holy word is an expression of sacred speech. And so, all scriptural lore, of any type whatsoever, is an expression of speech. If you can know the essence of speech in this manner, then speech will not desert you at any time, which means to say, your speech will become true. Whatever you utter will become true only if your speech is connected to the causes. If the causes are disconnected from the form of speech, if you utter words without any connection with the causes, the principle of Agnī and further causes, etc., then the words will not materialise. The speech becomes true, the principle of speech does not desert you; what you do, what you speak becomes meaningful, and it immediately expresses itself in the form of a result if this truth about speech is known by you. Such a person is not separated from the worthiness of speech – nainaṁ vᾱg jahᾱti.
Sarvᾱṇy enam bhῡtᾱny abhikṣaranti: Because of a cosmic affiliation established by the individual of these meditations on the fourfold aspect of speech, he becomes a friend of all creatures, because somehow or the other the cosmic ether and consciousness are present in everyone. So, your meditation in respect of these principles is an indirect meditation on everybody. So every being becomes friendly with you. It is not that speech alone will be materialised and become successful in your case, but in addition everyone becomes friendly with you, everyone takes care of you, and you shall be connected in a friendly manner with all creation. Devo bhūtvā devān āpyeti: He becomes a celestial and is elevated to a resplendent region after the passing away of this body. Ya evaṁ vidvān etad upāste: One who knows this. But it is difficult to know this. You cannot easily connect everything like this when you speak, or even when you think.
"Yāj˝avalkya! You have told me a great truth. I am so happy. I never knew this before." King Janaka is deeply impressed and he says: "Here I give you one bull as big as an elephant, and I give you one thousand cows. Please teach me further." Yāj˝avalkya says: "I cannot take this bull and these cows until I teach you fully, because my father was of the opinion that one should not accept gifts from disciples unless they are fully taught. I have taught you only a little. So, how will I take these cows and the bull which is as big as an elephant?" "So teach me further," says King Janaka – hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadᾱmi, it hovᾱca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovᾱca yᾱj˝avalkyaḥ, pitᾱ me' manyata nᾱnanuśiṣya hareteti. ááá
Then Yāj˝avalkya says: "Well, I have told you something about speech. Now you want me to teach you further, but if you know anything else, let me know. If anybody might have told you about anything else, tell me. Then I shall teach you further" – yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavᾱmeti. abravīn ma udaṅkaḥ śaulbᾱyanaḥ, prᾱṇo vai brahmeti: Janaka seemed to have many teachers. "Udanka Saulbayana, another teacher, told me that Prāṇa is the Supreme Being. I am meditating ever since on Prāṇa as Brahman. Is it all right?" "No," says Yāj˝avalkya. "This is only one foot, one quarter again. The other three-quarters you do not know. Do you know the other three-quarters – the support, the abode, the essence of Prāṇa? Did your teacher tell you about all the things in connection with Prāṇa when he initiated you into the mysteries of Prāṇa?" Janaka says: "I have not been told anything of this sort. I do not know the essence or the deity or the support of Prāṇa. I only know, Prāṇa is Brahman. I meditate like that." "This is not proper," says Yāj˝avalkya. "It is incomplete, because, prᾱṇa evᾱyatanam, ᾱkᾱśaḥ pratiṣṭhᾱ, priyam ity enad upᾱsīta, when you contemplate Prāṇa as Brahman, you have to connect it with the other factors, also, with which it is associated."
Here, Prāṇa means the principle of life. The essence of life is self-love. Nobody can say what life means. It is something which cannot be explained. If I ask you, what is life, you cannot easily answer. So Yāj˝avalkya says: "Tentatively I may tell you that life is nothing but love of self." That is life. Everyone loves one's own self. And the love evinced for the preservation of oneself is the principle of life. That is one aspect of Prāṇa. The other aspect is that it is also controlled by the cosmic ether, Hiraṇyagarbha, which is the general controlling principle of every other function. So, that also is to be brought into the picture when you meditate on Prāṇa as Brahman. And, of course, the speciality of Prāṇa is that it is an individual manifestation of this Cosmic Sūtra-Ātman. The deity of Prāṇa is Vāyu (air). Prāṇa is the form taken by Vāyu in a particular individual. The cosmic ether is its determining factor. And intense affection, which is identical with one's own being, is its essence. So, what is Prāṇa? The individual is the actual function of Prāṇa, that is technically our personality. That is a form taken by it. Vāyu is the deity; Ākāśa, or cosmic ether is its determining factor, support; and love is its essence. Life and love are identical.
So, these four principles have to be brought together in communion when you contemplate Prāṇa. If you can do this, then of course you will have no fear. You know how much love people have for their own Prāṇa or life. They risk even their lives for the sake of the love that they have for themselves. And, if you can contemplate Prāṇa in this manner, Prāṇa will not desert you. You will be a master of it; you will receive energy from it; and you will be supported by it – nainaṁ prāṇo jahāti.
Sarvᾱṇy enam bhῡtᾱny abhikṣaranti: For the reason cosmic ether is also a factor in the meditation on Prāṇa, and because it is a uniform feature in any other individual also, every being becomes friendly with you when you meditate on Prāṇa as being determined by the cosmic ether. And then, of course, the same result follows. Devo bhῡtvᾱ devᾱn ᾱpyeti, ya evaṁ vidvᾱn etad upᾱste: One who knows this attains to brilliant regions after passing away from this body.
Janaka is again highly pleased. "I give you a bull as big as an elephant and one thousand cows," he says. Then Yāj˝avalkya says: "I cannot accept these cows, cannot take this bull unless I instruct you properly and fully" – hasty-rṣabhaṁ sahasraṁ dadᾱmi, iti hovᾱca janako vaidehaḥ. sa hovᾱca yᾱj˝avalkyaḥ, pitᾱ me' manyata nᾱnanuśiṣya hareteti. á"Then please instruct me fully."
Yāj˝avalkya, for a third time, says: "If you know anything else taught by anyone else about the Supreme Being, let me know so that I can speak to you further." Then Janaka says: "I know something which was taught to me by another Master called Barku Vāṛṣṇa – yad eva te kaś cid abravīt tat śṛṇavᾱmeti. abravīn me barkur vᾱrṣṇaḥ cakṣur vai brahmeti: I have been told by this Master that the eye is Brahman. So, I meditate on eye as Brahman." "Well; that is very good," says Yāj˝avalkya, "but do you know its essence, its support, its deity?" "Oh, I do not know its deity; I do not know its support; I do not know its essence." "Then it is only one-fourth knowledge of it. It is not complete. So your meditation is inadequate." "What is the other three-fourths? Please let me know." Caksur evayatanam, akasah pratistha; satyam iti etad upasita. ka satyata, yaj˝avalkya. caksur eva, samrad, iti hovaca, caksusa vai, samrat, pasyantam ahuh; adraksir iti, sa aha; adraksam iti tat satyam bhavati. caksur vai, samrat, paramam brahma. nainam caksur jahati, sarvany enam bhutany abhiksaranti, devo bhutva devan apyeti, ya evam vidvan etad upaste. hasty-rsabham sahasram dadami, iti hovaca janako vaidehah. sa hovaca yaj˝avalkyah. pita me'manyata, nananusisya hareteti: "The deity of the eye is the sun. The cosmic determining factor of the eye also is the same ether, and the act of perception is the form taken by the eye. The sun is the deity, and truth is its essence," says Yāj˝avalkya. Here the word 'truth' is interpreted in two ways. Some say, the ultimate truth of the eye is the Virāt Himself, because our eyes are connected to the sun, it being the presiding deity of the eye, but the sun himself has come from the eye of Virāt. Cakṣuḥ suryo ajāyata, says the Puruṣha-Sūkta. So, the eye of the Virāt-Puruṣha is the ultimate reality of even our own eyes, through the medium of the sun. Thus, Satya, or ultimate truth, is the essence of the eye. That is one meaning. The other meaning given here is that when you perceive a thing directly with the eye, that you regard as the truth. If someone says something, you ask, "Is it true? Have you seen it with your eyes?" If you see it with your eyes, it is felt to be true. If we hear it merely, it is not sometimes considered so true. So, tentatively, the perception of the eye is regarded as sociably acceptable truth, apart from the fact that it is a metaphysical truth, namely, the eye of Virāt.
"One who knows this secret of perception through the eye, connected with the sun and the cosmic ether and the truthfulness, or the truth that is involved in it, is never 'deserted' by the eye." You can act powerfully even by a mere look. And for the same reason as mentioned earlier, all beings become friendly with this person. He, having departed from this body, attains to brilliant regions later on.
"Yāj˝avalkya, this is wonderful. I am immensely happy," says King Janaka. "I give you a bull as big as an elephant and a thousand cows as a reward for the instruction I have received from you." But Yāj˝avalkya says: "I have instructed you partially; I will not take the gift." "Then please tell me more," requests Janaka.