Nachiketa: O Lord, If you are pleased and I am deserving, kindly tell me about what you perceive as distinct from Dharma (virtuous way of life that should be upheld even in situation of conflict) and different from adharma (which is not Dharma) too…… tell me about what is beyond the mechanism of cause and effect….tell about what transcends time defined by past and future.
Yama: (explaining the attributes of the Reality)
- ॐ (Aum) is posited as Absolute by the Veda.
- ॐ (Aum) is the final destination of practitioners of all methods of penance and austerities.
- ॐ (Aum) is the ultimate achievement for all those who lead pious life after life in quest of knowledge.
The Word ॐ depicts All Encompassing Truth. Knower of this Word gains everything she/he wishes for.
ॐ is the Ultimate Reality and also the substratum of material Universe.
Achiever of this Position becomes one with Atman and is universally acknowledged and worshipped as the Enlightened One.
(Leaving description of commensurate rewards in this world for lowly and average worshippers of Onkar to other scriptures, Yama proceeds to describe the method to perceive Atman who resides in Onkar.)
Atman, the ever-intelligent consciousness, is neither born nor does it die. It does not come into being from other constituents or through conversion of its former self. It is unborn, eternal, ever present and never ending. It is not destroyed with the death of body.
If the assassin thinks that he has destroyed the Atmn with the body or the victim thinks that his Atmn has died too, both have no clue about Atman. The Atman neither kills nor gets killed.
Nachiketa: Then how can a seeker of Truth know the Atman?
Yama: Even smaller than the fundamental particle and still massive than cosmic proportions, Atman resides in the deepest alcove of our heart. The disciplined one who tames one’s organs of perceptions and turns them inward, perceives It clearly and moves beyond sufferings.
Someone, whose perceptions and points of reference lie in the material world, is unable to even imagine about Atmn. For them it is difficult to conceive something that is stationery and moves to the farthest places at the same time, something that is dormant, still pervades everywhere.
Who else but I can know the Divinity that is abound in bliss but is still alert and aware.
(Now Yama elucidates how the knowledge of Atman can end sufferings)
The knowledge of Omnipresent and All pervading Atman, who resides in physical bodies but still not limited by them, who moves in transient material but is still eternal and permanent, leads the beholder to freedom from the grief.
Even though the Atman is singularly unyielding to common perception, persistent effort can lead to its knowledge.
This knowledge can neither be achieved through study of Veda, listening to scripture nor through contemplation.
Atman graciously reveals itself on its own volition to one who surrenders/ pledges oneself to It.
Besides, this knowledge cannot be glimpsed by one who causes injury to others, whose faculties are governed by attachments and whose mind is not quiet and equipoised.
The Disciplined one who doesn’t fit in aforesaid description can establish oneself in the Atman where all distinctions merge and where the death becomes a plaything.
( to continue)