In the cavity of the heart, which is situated within the body, an unborn eternal lives.
Earth is its body, it dwells within the earth but the earth does not know it.
Water is its body, it dwells within the water but the water does not know it.
Light is its body, it dwells within the light but the light does not know it.
Air is its body, it dwells within the air but the air does not know it.
Sky is its body, it dwells within the sky but the sky does not know it.
Mind is its body, it dwells within the mind but the mind does not know it.
Intellect is its body, it dwells within the intellect but the intellect does not know it.
Ego is its body, it dwells within the ego but the ego does not know it.
Reasoning mind is its body, it dwells within the reasoning mind but the reasoning mind does not know it.
The unmanifest is its body, it dwells within the unmanifest but the unmanifest does not know it.
The indestructible is its body, it dwells within the indestructible but the indestructible does not know it.
Death is its body, it dwells within death but death does not know it.
It is the innermost self of all these elements, its sins are all destroyed, and it is the one divine god Narayana – the sustainer of all human beings.
The body, the senses, etcetera, are non-soul matter, and the feeling of “I-myness” over them is adhyas – illusion.
Therefore, an intelligent person should drop this illusion through allegiance to Brahman – the absolute reality.
A fish in the sea remains as a stranger to the sea, not because the sea is far away from the fish but because the sea is too close. Whatsoever is at a distance is seen but what is very near becomes invisible to the eye. It is not difficult to know the distant, it is difficult to know what is close. And it is impossible to know that which is the closest of the close. Let this be understood properly, because it is something that must be known for the inner journey.
People ask where to seek God. They ask, “How did we forget that which is hidden within? How has that been separated which is nearer to us than our heartbeats, which is nearer to us than our breathing? How has that been forgotten which I myself am?” And their question seems to be logical. It appears that what they are asking has validity and that it should not have happened like this.
If I am unable to know even that which is hidden within me, if even what I am remains unknown, then who else will we know, who else will we recognize? When even the near slips out of the hand, how could we achieve that which is far? And it is not that it has only come close to us today; it has always been close to us, since endless time. Not even for a single moment have we been separated or away from it. Wherever we run, it runs with us; wherever we go, it goes with us. It travels with us to hell as well as to heaven; it stands by us in sin as well as in virtue. It is not right to say that it stands by us, because even in “standing by” there is some distance. Actually our being and its being are one and the same thing.
If this is true, then it is a great miracle in the world that we have lost our own selves – which sounds impossible. How can one lose one’s own self? It is not possible even to lose our shadow, and we have lost our souls. How it is possible? But this has happened. How this losing of the self takes place, that is the essence of this sutra. Before we enter into the sutra let us understand its basic foundations.
Eyes have a limit of vision, a range. If an object is beyond that range the eyes cannot see it. If an object is within that range but too far to either side, then too the eyes cannot see it. Eyes have a range of vision. A thing brought too close to the eyes cannot be seen and taken too far away also it cannot be seen. Beyond either side of a certain range of vision the eyes cannot see, they are then blind. Now, you are so near yourself that you are not only near the eyes but you are behind them – and that is the problem.