Chapter 53 — Uddalaka’s Reasoning and Bliss

Uddalaka continued:—

Consciousness is an unthinkable substance. It extends to the limits of endless space and is more minute than the smallest atom. It is quite aloof from all things and inaccessible to the reach of desires. It is inaccessible to the mind, understanding, egoism and the gross senses. But our empty desires are extended as wide as the shadowy forms of huge and formidable demons.

From all my reasoning and repeated reflections, I perceive a consciousness within myself. I feel it to be the stainless intellect. My body, which is of this world and the depository of my false and evil thoughts, may last or be lost without any gain or loss to me because I am untainted consciousness. Consciousness is free from birth and death, because there is nothing perishable in the nature of all pervasive consciousness. Then what does the death of a living being mean? How and by whom can it be put to death? What does the life and death of consciousness mean? It is the soul and life of all existence. What else can we expect of consciousness when it is extends through and gives life to all? Life and death belong to the operative and imaginative powers of the mind and not to the pure soul. The mind has the sense of its ego and the knowledge of its existence and nonexistence. But the soul is devoid of its ego and can have no sense of its birth or death.

Individual ego is a fallacy, the product of ignorance. The mind is nothing but an appearance, like water in a mirage. Visible objects are all gross bodies. Then what is this thing to which we apply the term ego? 10 The body is composed of flesh and blood and the mind is considered a nothingness of itself. The heart and other body parts are all dull objects. Then what contains the ego? 11 The sense organs are all employed in their respective functions to support the body. All external bodies remain as mere bodies. So to what do you apply the term ego?

12 The properties of things continue as properties, and substances always remain substances. The entity of Brahman is quite calm and quiet. So what among them is the ego? 13 There is only one Being which is all pervading and existing in all bodies. It exists at all times and is immensity in itself. It is only the Supreme Spirit that is the intelligent soul of all. 14 Now tell me which of these is the ego? What is it and what is its form? What is its genus and what are its attributes? What is its appearance and of what ingredients it is composed? What am I and what shall I take “I” to be and what to reject as not “I”?

15 Therefore there is nothing here which may be called individual ego, whether an entity or nonentity. There is nothing anywhere to which the ego may bear any relation or any resemblance whatever. 16 Therefore egoism is a perfect nonentity. It has no relation to anything at all. This non-relation of ego with all things being proved, the fiction of duality goes to nothing. 17 Everything in the world being full of the spirit of God, I am nothing other than that reality, and it is in vain that I think myself as otherwise and sorrow for it.

18 All things being situated in one pure and omnipresent spirit, from where could this meaningless word ego arise? 19 There is no reality of any object whatever except that of the supreme and all-pervading spirit of God. Therefore it is useless for us to inquire about our relation with anything that has no reality in itself.

20 The senses are connected with the sense organs and the mind is familiar with mental operations, but the intellect is unconnected with the body and bears no relation with anybody in any manner. 21 As there is no relation between stones and iron nails, so the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect bear no relationship with one another, though they are found to reside together in the same person.

22 Once the great error of the unreal ego has obtained its footing among mankind, it has put the world to an uproar with the expressions of “mine” and “yours” and this is mine and that is yours, and that other is another’s and the like. 23 Lack of the light of reason has given rise to meaningless and marvelous expressions of ego which are made to vanish under the light of reason, just as ice dissolves under the heat of sunlight. 24 It is my firm belief that there is nothing in existence except the spirit of God. This makes me believe the whole universe is a manifestation of the great Brahman himself.

25 The error of personal ego presents itself before us as vividly and colorfully as the various colors that paint the sky. It is better to obliterate it from the mind rather than retain any trace of it. 26 I have completely rid myself of the error of my ego and now rest my tranquil soul in the Universal Spirit of God, like an autumn cloud resting in the infinite vacuum of the sky.

27 The idea of egoism produces the great variety of our selfish acts which create only misconduct and misery. 28 Egoism has taken a deep root in the moist soil of our hearts and sprouts forth in the field of our bodies with the germs of innumerable evils. 29 Here is death closely following the course of life. There is a new life hereafter waiting upon our death. Now there is a non-being state of being distinct from its deprivation. And again there is the opposite in our reincarnation, only to our great annoyance. 30 “This I have gained” and “this I will gain” are the thoughts that constantly employ the minds of men. The desire of a new gain is constantly lit in the minds of the senseless, like the ceaseless flame of the sun-stone is increased in summer heat. 31 That “this I want” and “this I must have” are thoughts ever attendant on egoism. The dull-headed pursue dull material objects with as much ardor as heavy clouds hastening to halt on high-headed hills.

32 Decay of egoism withers away the tree of worldliness, which then ceases to germinate, like a plant on sterile rocks. 33 Your desires are like black serpents creeping in the hole of your heart, but hiding their heads at the sight of the snake-eater garuda bird of reason. 34 The unreal world gives rise to the error of appearances. The unreal “I” and “you” seem to be realities, though they are caused by mere pulsations of the unreal mind.

35 This world rises at first without a cause and to no cause. How then do we call a reality that which is sprung from and to no cause at all? 36 As a pot made of earth long before continues in the same state at all times, so the body which has long ago come into existence still continues and will continue the same. 37 The beginning and end of waves is mere water and moisture, and the intermediate part only presents a figure to view. So the beginning and end of bodies are mere earth and water, and the intermediate state is one of bustle and commotion. 38 Only the ignorant trust this temporary and fluctuating state of the body which, like a wave, is hastening to subside in its original liquid and quiet state. 39 What reliance is there on anything that makes a figure in the middle and is an unreality both in its prior and latter states? 40 So the heart also is as quiet as consciousness, both at first and in the end. It remains immersed in itself, both when it exists in the body or not. What then if it heaves for a little while in between?

41 Marvelous things pass in our dreams and in our deluded sights, just as it happens in the giddiness of inebriation, journeying in boats, 42 in cases of weakened humors and delusion of senses, in cases of extreme joy and grief, and under some defect of the mind or body. 43 Some objects come to sight and others disappear. Some appear to be smaller or larger than they are, and others to be moving. So do all these objects of our vision appear and disappear from our sight in the course of time.

44 O my heart! All your conduct is of the same nature at the different times of your joy and grief. It makes the long of short and the short of long, just as the short space of a single night for separated lovers becomes as tedious as an age, and an age of joyful wealth as short as a moment. 45 My long habit of thinking makes untruth appear as truth to me. Like the mirage of the desert, our mirage of life presents its falsehoods as realities to us. 46 All things that we see in the phenomenal world are unrealities in their nature. As the mind comes to know the nothingness of things, it feels in itself its nothingness also.

47 As the mind becomes impressed with the certainty of the unsubstantially of external objects, its desire for worldly enjoyments fades away like the fading green of autumn. 48 When the mind comes to see the pure soul by means of its intellectual light, it rids itself of its temporal exertions. Being thereby freed from its passions and affections, it rests in itself with calm composure. 49 The heart attains its perfect purity when, by withdrawing attention from the sense organs, it casts itself into the flame of the Supreme Soul where all its impurity is burnt away.

50 As a hero boldly faces his death, fighting bravely in battle with the thought of ascending to heaven, so the mind conquers all impediments by casting off all worldly desires and attachments. 51 The mind is the enemy of the body and the body is the enemy of the mind, but each dies away without the other and both pass away without desire which supports them both. 52 Owing to the hostility between mind and body and their passions and affections towards each other, it is better to destroy both for our attainment of supreme bliss. 53 The existence of either of these after death is as incapable of heavenly joy as it is for an aerial fairy to live on earth.

54 When things that are naturally repugnant and opposed to one another meet together in any place or person, there is a continuous clashing of mutual mischief, like the crashing of conflicting arms. 55 The base man who has a liking for this world of conflicts is like one left to burn in a conflagration of showering flames. 56 The mind stout with its greedy desires loads the body with labor and feeds upon its precious life, like a yaksha ghost seizing the body of a boy. 57 The body being harassed and oppressed with toil attempts to stop and stay the mind like an impious son intends to kill his father who openly abuses him. 58 There is no one who in his nature is a foe or friend to another. One becomes a friend to the person who is friendly to him and a foe to he who harms him.

59 The body attempts to kill the mind and the mind is ever intent to make the body the receptacle of its afflictions. 60 What good can possibly accrue from the union of the body and mind? They are repugnant to one another. They are irreconcilable in their own natures. 61 The mind being weakened, the body has no pain to undergo, so the body is always striving to weaken the mind. 62 The body, whether alive or dead, is subject to all sorts of evils by its hostile mind unless it is brought under the subjugation of reason.

63 When both body and mind become resolute and strong, they join together to break all bonds, like a lake and rainwater join to overflow banks. 64 Though both are troublesome to us in their different natures, yet their union to one end is beneficial to us, just as the cooperation of fire and water for the purpose of cooking. 65 When the weak mind is wasted and worn out, the body also becomes weakened and weak. But the mind being full, the body is flushed like a flourishing tree shooting forth with verdure.

66 The body pines away with weakened desires and weakened mind. But the mind never grows weak at the weakness of the body. Therefore the mind must be curbed and weakened by all means. 67 Therefore I must cut down the woody weed of my mind with its trees of my desires and plants of my thirst and, having reclaimed a large tract of land, wander about at my pleasure. 68 After my egoism is lost and the net of my desires removed, my mind will regain its calm and clarity like the sky after clouds disperse at the end of rainy weather.

69 It is of no matter to me whether my body, which is a collection of my humors and a great enemy to me, should waste away or last after the dissolution of my mind. 70 The enjoyments my body craves are not mine, nor do I belong to them. Therefore, what is the good of bodily pleasure to me? 71 It is certain that I am not the body, nor is this body mine in any way, just as a corpse with all its parts intact is nobody at all. 72 Therefore I am something other than my body, and that is everlasting and never setting in its glory. It is by means of this that I have the light in me with which I perceive the bright sun in the sky. 73 I am not ignorant of myself or subject to misery, nor am I the dull unintelligent body which is subject to misery. My body may last or not, I am beyond all bodily accidents.

74 Where there is the soul or self, there is no mind, no senses, and no desire of any kind, just as vile commoners and idiots never associate with kings. 75 I have attained that state in which I have surpassed all things. It is the state of my singleness, my extinction, my indivisibility, and my want of desires. 76 Now I am loosened from the bonds of my mind, body and senses, like oil extracted from sesame is separated from sediments. 77 I walk about freely in this state of transcendence. My mind disconnected from the bonds of the body considers its body parts to be its dependent instruments and accompaniments. 78 Now I find myself situated in a state of transparency and buoyancy, of self-contentment and intelligence, and of true reality. I feel my full joy and calmness and preserve my reserve in speech. 79 I find my fullness and magnanimity in my pleasantness and even temper. I see the unity of all things and feel my fearlessness and want of duality, choice and option.

80 I find these qualities to be ever attendant on me. They are constant and faithful, easy and graceful and always propitious to me. My unshaken attachment to them has made them like my heartily beloved consorts. 81 I find I am all and in all at all times and in every manner. Yet I am devoid of all desire or dislike for anyone. I am equally unconcerned with whatever is pleasant or unpleasant, agreeable or disagreeable to me. 82 Removed from the cloud of error and melancholy, and released from doubt and duplicity in my thoughts, I traverse like a flimsy cloud in the cooling atmosphere of the autumn sky.