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Brahma Knowledge, by L. D. Barnett, [1911], at

VII. The Soul in Sleep 1

"What is the Self?"

"It is the Spirit 2 made of understanding among the Breaths, the inward light within the heart, that walks abroad, abiding the same, through both worlds. 3 He meditates, as it were; He hovers about, as it were. Turned to sleep, He passes beyond this world, the shapes of death.

This Spirit at birth enters into the body, and is

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blent with evils; at death He passes out, and leaves evils.

Two seats has this Spirit, this and the seat in the world beyond 1; and midway is a third, the seat of dreams. Standing in this midway seat, He looks upon these two seats, this and the seat in the world beyond. Now as this is a step toward the seat in the world beyond, He makes this step and beholds both evils and delights.

When He sleeps, He takes matter from this all-containing world, Himself hews it down, Himself builds it up, and sleeps in His own brightness, His own light. Here the Spirit has Self for light.

Therein are no cars, no car-teams, no roads; but He creates cars, car-teams, roads. Therein are no joys, mirths, merriments; but He creates joys, mirths, merriments. Therein are no pools, lakes, streams; but He creates pools, lakes, streams. For He is the maker…

When in this dreaming He has wantoned and wandered, and seen good and evil, He hastens back according to His entrance and His place to the bound of waking. He is followed by naught of all that He has seen there; for to this Spirit nothing clings…

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When in this waking He has wantoned and wandered, and seen good and evil, He hastens back according to His entrance and His place to the bound of dreams. Even as a great fish passes along both banks, on this side and on yonder side, so this Spirit passes along both bounds, the bound of dreaming and the bound of waking.

But as a falcon or an eagle, when it is wearied with flying about in yonder sky, folds its wings and sets itself to couch down, so this Spirit hastens toward that bound wherein He sleeps desiring no desire, beholding no dream… Whatever waking terror He sees [in dreams], when men seem to smite Him or to oppress Him, when an elephant seems to crush Him, or He seems to fall into a ditch, this in His ignorance He deems true. But when like a god, like a king, He thinks "I am this All, universal," this is the highest world for Him.

This is His shape wherein He is beyond desire, free from ill, fearless. As when a man embraced by his beloved knows naught of whatsoever is without or within, so this Spirit embraced by the Self of Intelligence knows naught of what is without or within. 1 This is His shape wherein desire is won, desire is of Self, desire is not, grief is gone. Herein the father is no father, the mother no mother, the worlds no worlds, the Gods no

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[paragraph continues] Gods, the Vedas no Vedas; herein the thief is no thief, the murderer no murderer, the Chāṇḍāla no Chāṇḍāla, the Paulkasa no Paulkasa, 1 the beggar-monk no beggar-monk, the ascetic no ascetic. Good attaches not, evil attaches not; for then has He overpast all griefs of the heart.

While He sees not, yet without seeing He sees; the sight of the seer is not to be broken, for it is imperishable. But there is naught beside Him, naught apart from Him, that He should see… When He understands not, yet without understanding He understands; the understanding of the understander is not to be broken, for it is imperishable. But there is naught beside Him, naught apart from Him, that He should understand.

If there should be as it were another, one would see another, smell another, taste another, speak to another, hear another, think of another, feel another, understand another.

The Seer is the Waters, 2 one with naught beside. He is the Brahma-world, O king." Thus did Yājnavalkya teach him. "This is the highest way for Him, this the highest fortune for Him,

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this the highest world for Him, this the highest bliss for Him; of this bliss other creatures live on but a morsel."


68:1 Bṛihad-āraṇyaka Upanishad, IV. iii. 7-33.

68:2 Purusha; see above p. 56.

68:3 Namely, this world in waking and dreaming, and the world of Brahma in deep sleep or death.

69:1 The soul's seats are (1) that in this world, and (2) that in the transcendental "Brahma-world," which it visits on death. The former is the site of sorrows, the latter of pure joy. Between these is the condition of sleep; for dreaming sleep is still in touch with waking experience, and dreamless sleep is a temporary approach towards the "Brahma-world."

70:1 In dreamless sleep the individual consciousness is merged into universal consciousness, prājna ātmā or "Self of Intelligence," and thus arises absolute unconsciousness.

71:1 Two of the basest castes.

71:2 This may refer to an Indian theory according to which water is essentially tasteless, but derives its special flavour from its surroundings, as in a cocoanut or a lemon (see Sānkhya-kārikā, xvi.); or perhaps it is based upon the Vedic theory that made water the first principle of cosmic being, as in the doctrine of Thales of Miletus.

Next: VII: Gargi and Yajnavalkya