The light of man is the self

Yajnavalkya come to Janaka (King) of Videha. He thought (to himself) ‘I will not talk.’ But when (once) Janaka (King) of Videha and Yajnavalkya discussed together at an agnihotra ceremony, Yajnavalkya granted the former a boon. He chose to ask any question he wished. He granted it to him. So (now) King Janaka first asked him:

1. What light does a person here have? (What serves as the light for man?)’ He has the light of the sun, Your Majesty,’ he said, ‘for with the sun indeed as the light, one sits, moves about, does one’s work and returns.’ ‘Just so, Yajnavalkya.

2. When the sun has set, Yajnavalkya, what light does a person here have ?’ ‘The moon, indeed, is his light, for with the moon indeed as the light, one sits, moves about does one’s work and returns.’ ‘Just so, Yajnavalkya.’

3. When the sun has set, Yajnavalkya, and the moon has set, what light does a person here have?’ The fire, indeed, is his light, for with the fire, indeed as the light, one sits, moves about, does one’s work and returns.’ ‘Just so, Yajnavalkya.’

4. ‘When the sun has set, Yajnavalkya, and the moon has set and the fire has gone out, what light does a person here have?’ ‘Speech indeed, is his light for with speech, indeed, as the light, one sits, moves about, does one’s work and returns.
Therefore, Your Majesty, even where one’s own hand is not discerned there when speech is uttered one goes towards it.’ ‘Just so, Yajnavalkya.’

5. ‘When the sun has set, Yajnavalkya, and the moon has set, and the fire has gone out and speech has stopped, what light does a person here have?’ ‘The self, indeed, is his light,’ said he, ‘for with the self, indeed, as the light, one sits moves about, does one’s work and returns.’

This self is present in all the states of waking, dream and sleep. It is the light different from one’s body and organs and illumines them though it is itself not illumined by anything else.

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