On Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: Is anything, anybody so important?

Acharya Prashant
9 min readDec 5, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

“स यथा सैन्धवघनोऽनन्तरोऽबाह्यः कृत्स्नो रसघन एव, एवं वा अरेऽयमात्मानन्तरोऽबाह्यः कृत्स्नः प्रज्ञानघन एव; एतेभ्यो भूतेभ्यः समुत्थाय तान्येवानुविनयष्यतिति,

न प्रेत्य संज्ञास्तीत्यरे ब्रवीमीति होवाच याज्ञवल्क्यः ॥ 4.5.13 ॥

sa yathā saindhavaghano’nantaro’bāhyaḥ kṛtsno rasaghana eva, evaṃ vā are’yamātmānantaro’bāhyaḥ kṛtsnaḥ prajñānaghana eva; etebhyo bhūtebhyaḥ samutthāya tānyevānuvinayaṣyatiti,

na pretya saṃjñāstītyare bravīmīti hovāca yājñavalkyaḥ || 4.5.13 ||

“As a lump of salt has neither inside nor outside

And is altogether a homogeneous mass of taste

even so this Self my dear has neither inside nor outside

And is altogether homogeneous mass of intelligence.

This Self comes out as a separate entity from the elements

And with their destruction this separate existence is also destroyed

After attaining this Oneness, it has no more Consciousness

This is what I say, my dear, So, said Yajnavalkya”

~ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Verse 4.5.13

Acharya Prashant (AP): The Self is neither inside nor outside, it is free of all distinctions. Inside and outside appear only when there is duality, only when there is you who is perceiving, and something that is being perceived.

You take this skin bag as real, and then you say that which lies to this side of this skin bag is inside and…

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