A King named Bṛhadratha, thinking this body to be impermanent and having acquired indifference (to objects), retired to the forest, leaving his eldest son to rule over (his) kingdom. With hands uplifted and eyes fixed on the sun, he performed a severe Tapas (or religious austerity). At the end of a thousand days, the Lord Śākāyanya Muni, a knower of Ātmā, who was like fire without smoke, and who was as a scorching fire with his Tejas (spiritual lustre) approached (him) and addressed the King thus: “Rise, rise and choose a boon.” The King prostrated before him and said: “O Lord, I am not an Ātmavit (or knower of Ātmā). Thou art a Tattwavit, we hear. Please enlighten me about Sattva (the state of Sat or Brahman).” (To which) the Muni replied thus: “O thou that art born of the race of Ikshwāku: To begin with, your question is difficult (of explanation): do not question me. Ask for any other thing you desire.” Thereupon the King touched the feet of Śākāyanya and recited the (following) verse:
“What is the use of these to me or any other? Oceans dry up. Mountains sink down. The positions of Dhruva (the Polar Star) and of trees change. Earth is drowned. The Suras (angels) run away, leaving their (respective) places. (While such is the case), I am He in reality. Therefore of what avail to me is the gratification of desires, since one who clings to the gratification of desires is found to return again and again to this Samsāra (mundane existence)? Thou art able to extricate me (out of this Samsāra). I am drowned like a frog in a dry well. Thou art my refuge.
“O Lord! this body was the result of sexual intercourse. It is without wisdom; it is hell (itself). It came out through the urinary orifice. It is linked together by bones. It is coated over with flesh. It is bound by skin. It is replete with fæces, urine, Vāyu (air), bile, phlegm, marrow, fat, serum and many other impurities. O Lord! to me in such a foul body (as this), thou art my refuge.”
Thereupon Lord Śākāyanya was pleased and addressed the King thus: “O Mahārāja, Bṛhadratha, the flag of the Ikshwāku race, thou art an Ātmajñānī. Thou art one that has done his duty. Thou art famous by the name of Marut.” At which the King asked: “O Lord! in what way, can you describe Ātmā?” To which he replied thus: “Sound, touch, and others which seem to be Artha (wealth) are in fact Anartha (evil). The Bhūtātmā (the lower Self) clinging to these, never remembers the Supreme Seat. Through Tapas, Sattwa (quality) is acquired; through Sattwa, a (pure) mind is acquired; and through mind, (Parama-) Ātmā, (the higher Self) is reached. Through attaining Ātmā, one gets liberation. Just as fire without fuel is absorbed into its own womb, so Chitta (thought) through the destruction of its modifications is absorbed into its own womb (source). To a mind that has attained quiescence and truth, and which is not affected by sense-objects, the events that occur to it through the bondage of Karma are merely unreal. It is Chitta alone that is Samsāra. It should be cleansed with effort. Whatever his Chitta (thinks), of that nature he becomes. This is an archaic mystery. With the purifying of Chitta, one makes both good and bad Karmas to perish. One whose mind is thus cleansed attains the indestructible Bliss (through his own Self). Just as Chitta becomes united with an object that comes across it, so why should not one (be released) from bondage, when one is united with Brahman. One should meditate in the middle of the lotus of the heart, Parameśwara (the highest Lord) who is the witness to the play of Buddhi, who is the object of supreme love, who is beyond the reach of mind and speech, who has no beginning or end, who is Sat alone being of the nature of light only, who is beyond meditation, who can neither be given up nor grasped (by the mind), who is without equal or superior, who is the permanent, who is of unshaken depth, who is without light or darkness, who is all-pervading, changeless and vehicleless, and who is wisdom of the nature of Moksha (salvation). I am He—that Paramātmā who is the eternal, the pure, the liberated, of the nature of wisdom, the true, the subtle, the all-pervading, the secondless, the ocean of bliss, and one that is superior to Pratyagātmā (the lower Self). There is no doubt about it. How will calamity (or bondage) approach me who am depending upon my own bliss in my heart, who have put to shame the ghost of desires, who look upon this universe as (but) a jugglery and who am not associated with anything. The ignorant with their observance of the castes and orders of life obtain their fruits according to their Karmas. Men who have given up all duties of castes, etc., rest content in the bliss of their own Self. The distinctions of caste and orders of life have divisions among them, have beginning and end, and are very painful. Therefore having given up all identification with sons and as well as body, one should dwell in that endless and most supreme Bliss.”
Then Lord Maitreya went to Kailas and having reached it asked Him thus: “O Lord! please initiate me into the mysteries of the highest Tattwa.” To which Mahādeva replied: “The body is said to be a temple. The Jīva in it is Śiva alone. Having given up all the cast-off offerings of Ajñāna, one should worship Him with So’ham (I am He). The cognition of everything as non-different from oneself is Jñāna (wisdom). Abstracting the mind from sensual objects is Dhyāna (meditation). Purifying the mind of its impurities is Snāna (bathing). The subjugation of the Indriyas (sensual organs) is Śaucha (purification). One should drink the nectar of Brahman and beg food for maintaining the body. Having one (thought) alone, he should live in a solitary place without a second. The wise man should observe thus: then be obtains Absolution.
“This body is subject to birth and death. It is of the nature of the secretion of the father and mother. It is impure, being the seat of happiness and misery. (Therefore) bathing is prescribed for touching it. It is bound by the Dhātus (skin, blood, etc.), is liable to severe diseases, is a house of sins, is impermanent and is of changing appearance and size. (Therefore) bathing is prescribed for touching it. Foul matter is naturally oozing out always from the nine holes. It (body) contains bad odour and foul excrement. (Therefore) bathing is prescribed for touching it. It is connected (or tainted) with the child-birth impurity of the mother and is born with it. It is also tainted with death impurity. (Therefore) bathing is prescribed for touching it. (The conception of) “I and mine” is the odour arising from the besmeared dung and urine. The release from it is spoken of as the perfect purification. The (external) purification by means of water and earth is on account of the worldly. The destruction of the threefold affinities (of Śāstras, world and body) generates the purity for cleansing Chitta. That is called the (real) purification which is done by means of the earth and water of Jñāna (wisdom) and Vairāgya (indifference to objects).
“The conception of Adwaita (non-dualism) should be taken in as the Bhiksha (alms-food); (but) the conception of Dwaita (dualism) should not be taken in. To a Sannyāsī (ascetic), Bhiksha is ordained as dictated by the Śāstra and the Guru. After becoming a Sannyāsī, a learned man should himself abandon his native place and live at a distance, like a thief released from prison. When a person gives up Ahaṅkāra (I-am-ness) the son, wealth the brother, delusion the house, and desire the wife, there is no doubt that he is an emancipated person. Delusion, the mother is dead. Wisdom, the son is born. In this manner while two kinds of pollution have occurred, how shall we (the ascetics) observe the Sandhyās (conjunction periods)? The Chit (consciousness) of the sun is ever shining in the resplendent Ākāś of the heart. He neither sets nor rises; while so, how shall we perform the Sandhyās? Ekānta (solitude) is that state of one without second as determined by the words of a Guru. Monasteries or forests are not solitudes. Emancipation is only for those who do not doubt. To those who doubt, there is no salvation even after many births. Therefore one should attain faith. (Mere) abandoning of the Karmas or of the Mantras uttered at the initiation of a Sannyāsī (ascetic) will not constitute Sannyāsa. The union of Jīva (-Ātmā) (the lower Self) and Parama (-Ātmā) (the higher Self) at the two Sandhis (morning and evening) is termed Sannyāsa. Whoever has a nausea for all Īshana (desires) and the rest as for vomited food, and is devoid of all affection for the body, is qualified for Sannyāsa. At the moment when indifference towards all objects arises in the mind, a learned person may take up Sannyāsa. Otherwise, he is a fallen person. Whoever becomes a Sannyāsī on account of wealth, food, clothes and fame, becomes fallen in both (as a Sannyāsī and as householder); (then) he is not worthy of salvation.
“The thought of (contemplation upon) Tattwas is the transcendental one; that of the Śāstras, the middling, and that of Mantras, the lowest. The delusion of pilgrimages is the lowest of the lowest. Like one, who, having seen in water the reflection of fruits in the branches of trees, tastes and enjoys them, the ignorant without self-cognition are in vain overjoyed with (as if they reached) Brahman. That ascetic is an emancipated person who does not abandon the internal alms-taking (viz., the meditation upon the non-dual), generating Vairāgya as well as faith the wife, and wisdom the son. Those men (termed) great through wealth, age, and knowledge, are only servants to those that are great through their wisdom as also to their disciples. Those whose minds are deluded by My Māyā, however learned they may be, do not attain Me, the all-full Ātmā, and roam about like crows, simply for the purpose of filling up their belly, well burnt up (by hunger, etc.). For one that longs after salvation, the worship of images made of stone, metals, gem, or earth, is productive of rebirth and enjoyment. Therefore the ascetic should perform his own heart-worship alone, and relinquish external worship in order that he may not be born again. Then like a vessel full to its brim in an ocean, he is full within and full without. Like a vessel void in the ether, he is void within and void without. Do not become (or differentiate between) the Ātmā that knows or the Ātmā that is known. Do become of the form of that which remains, after having given up all thoughts. Relinquishing with their Vāsanās the seer, the seen and the visual, worship Ātmā alone, the resplendent supreme presence. That is the real supreme State wherein all Saṅkalpas (thoughts) are at rest, which resembles the state of a stone, and which is neither waking nor sleeping.”
“I am “I” (the Self). I am also another (the not-Self). I am Brahman. I am the Source (of all things). I am also the Guru of all worlds. I am of all the worlds. I am He. I am Myself alone. I am Siddha. I am the Pure. I am the Supreme. I am. I am always He. I am the Eternal. I am stainless. I am Vijñāna. I am the Excellent. I am Soma. I am the All. I am without honour or dishonour. I am without Gunas (qualities). I am Śiva (the auspicious). I am neither dual or non-dual. I am without the dualities (of heat or cold, etc.) I am He. I am neither existence nor non-existence. I am without language. I am the Shining. I am the Glory of void and non-void. I am the good and the bad. I am Happiness. I am without grief. I am Chaitanya. I am equal (in all). I am the like and the non-like. I am the eternal, the pure, and the ever felicitous. I am without all and without not all. I am Sāttwika. I am always existing. I am without the number one. I am without the number two. I am without the difference of Sat and Asat. I am without Saṅkalpa. I am without the difference of manyness. I am the form of immeasurable Bliss. I am one that exists not. I am the one that is not another. I am without body, etc. I am with asylum. I am without asylum. I am without support. I am without bondage or emancipation. I am the pure Brahman. I am He. I am without Chitta, etc. I am the supreme and the Supreme of the supreme. I am ever of the form of deliberation and yet am without deliberation. I am He. I am of the nature of the Akāra and Ukāra as also of Makāra. I am the earliest. The contemplator and contemplation I am without. I am One that cannot be contemplated upon. I am He. I have full form in all. I have the characteristics of Sachchidānanda. I am of the form of places of pilgrimages. I am the higher Self and Śiva. I am neither the thing defined nor non-defined. I am the non-absorbed Essence. I am not the measurer, the measure or the measured. I am Śiva. I am not the universe. I am the Seer of all. I am without the eyes, etc. I am the full grown. I am the Wise. I am the Quiescent. I am the Destroyer. I am without any sensual organs. I am the doer of all actions. I am One that is content with all Vedāntas (either books or Ātmic Wisdom). I am the easily attainable. I have the name of one that is pleased as well as one that is not. I am the fruits of all silence. I am always of the form of Chinmātra (Absolute Consciousness). I am always Sat (Be-ness) and Chit (Consciousness). I am one that has not anything in the least. I am not one that has not anything in the least. I am without the heart-Granthi (knot). I am the Being in the middle of the lotus. I am without the six changes. I am without the six sheaths and without the six enemies. I am within the within. I am without place and time. I am of the form of happiness having the quarters as My garment. I am the emancipated One, without bondage. I am without the “no”. I am of the form of the part-less. I am the partless. I have Chitta, though released from the universe. I am without the universe. I am of the form of all light. I am the Light (Jyotis) in Chinmātra (Absolute Consciousness). I am free from the three periods (of time past, present, and future). I am without desires. I am without body. I am One that has no body. I am Gunaless. I am alone. I am without emancipation. I am the emancipated One. I am ever without emancipation. I am without truth or untruth. I am always One that is not different from Sat (Be-ness). I have no place to travel. I have no going, etc. I am always of the same form. I am the Quiescent. I am Purushottama (the Lord of Souls). There is no doubt that he who has realised himself thus, is Myself. Whoever hears (this) once becomes himself Brahman, yea, he becomes himself Brahman. Thus is the Upanishad.”