(Bṛih. Up. II. iv.) the wise Yājnavalkya, about to renounce the world and retire to the forest, replies to the question of his wife, Maitreyī, with the words: "As a lump of salt thrown into the water would dissolve and could not be taken out again, while the water, wherever tasted, would be salt, so is this great being endless, unlimited, simply compacted of cognition. A rising out of these elements, it disappears again in them. After death there is no consciousness;" for, as he further explains, when the duality on which consciousness is based disappears, consciousness must necessarily cease.
In another passage of the same Upanishad (II. i. 20) we read: "Just as the spider goes out of itself by means of its thread, as tiny sparks leap out of the fire, so from the Ātman issue all vital airs, all worlds, all gods, all beings."
Here, again, is a stanza from the Muṇḍaka (III. ii. 8):—
- As rivers flow and disappear at last
- In ocean's waters, name and form renouncing,
- So, too, the sage, released from name and form,
- Is merged in the divine and highest spirit.
In a passage of the Bṛihadāraṇyaka (III. vii.) Yājnavalkya describes the Ātman as the "inner guide" (antaryāmin): "Who is in all beings, different from all beings, who guides all beings within, that is thy Self, the inward guide, immortal."
The same Upanishad contains an interesting conversation, in which King Ajātaçatru of Kāçi (Benares) instructs the Brahman, Bālāki Gārgya, that Brahma is not the spirit (purusha) which is in sun, moon, wind, and other natural phenomena, or even in the (waking) soul (ātman), but is either the dreaming soul, which is creative, assuming any form at pleasure, or, in the highest stage, the