You Alone Are the Supreme Brilliance
What is the source of light for you? To me, during the day, it is the lofty sun; at night, it is the lamp and the like. Let it be so. Tell me, in seeing the sun and the lamp, what is the source illumination? O, that is the eye! What then, when the eyes are closed? O, it is the intelligence! All right. What reveals the intelligence - its functions? Ah, coming to that, it is my own Self, the ‘I’! Well, your own Self is then the supreme brilliance, the ultimate light, the first and the last source of illumination! Is it not? Yes, O Lord, it is so – “I am That”.
Points for Introspection:
Essentially we are the eternal, changeless, imperishable Soul; but, we mistakenly identify ourselves with the body, and considers the perishable body as the ‘I’. The Soul is ever-brilliant and revealer of all illumination. Because of the Soul’s illuminating power alone everything, including one’s body, is revealed and illumined.
Ignorance about the true nature of the Self makes us think that we are able to see objects merely by the power of the eyes of the eyes. Also, we think that the sun or the lamps alone illumine the objects to be seen. Truly speaking, what is the Supreme brilliance that perceives and witnesses all objects including one’s own body, mind and intelligence?
Who feels the body with all its sense organs? Also, who senses the internal mind, intelligence and ego? If we stop for a while and look within, we understand that there is something different from the body, which is the witness and revealer of the body and its actions. Similarly it witnesses the changes in the mind – its thought processes, emotions and sentiments. As an onlooker, one can detachedly go on witnessing how the mind works and reacts. Something also reveals and observes the intelligence – how the intelligence takes decisions, becomes confident and gains clarity. What is that which reveals all this? What is the source of this illumination?
In this shloka the Guru explains to the śiṣya that the source of all illumination is our inmost Self, the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is ever-brilliant and self-effulgent. Because of its own brilliance it illumines and reveals everything including mind and intelligence.
The Guru imparts this knowledge to the disciple through a few questions which the disciple replies. The Guru asks the disciple: what is the source of light. The disciple replies in the beginning that during the day it is the sun. The light of the sun illumines everything. He also says that at night, light from lamps reveal all objects. The Guru then asks the next question: “Tell me what reveals the sun as well as the lamps.” Quickly replied the student: “The eyes. Only when the eyes are there, can we see.” The next question the Guru asks: “O.K. Suppose the eyes are closed then who reveals everything?” The student replies: “O Lord, when the eyes are closed, it is the intelligence which is the source of revelation.” The Guru asks further: “Well, who reveals the intelligence?”
True, the intelligence cannot be the Supreme illumination, because there is something different from it that reveals the intelligence, its action, its changes. “Who is the one who reveals the intelligence?”
The disciple understands. He replies: “It is the ‘I’, the Self, who alone reveals the intelligence too.” The teacher confirms and imparts to the student the doubtless Truth: “O my child, do you understand now, ‘You’ alone are the Supreme brilliance.”
The student replies: “Yes, O Master, I am That.”
This is a beautiful shloka. As one chants, one becomes that disciple to whom the Guru is imparting the ultimate Truth that the Self indeed is the supreme brilliance, the source of all light and knowledge.
किं (kiṃ) = what; ज्योतिः (jyōti:) = light; तव (tava) = for you; भानुमान् (bhānumān) = sun; अहनि (ahani) = during the day; मे (me) = for me; रात्रौ (rātrau) = at night; प्रदीपादिकम् (pradīpa-ādikam) = lamp and other such things; स्यात् एवं (syāt evaṃ) = let it be so; रविदीपदर्शनविधौ (ravi-dīpa-darśana-vidhau) = in seeing the sun and the lamp; किं (kiṃ) = what; ज्योतिः (jyoti:) = light; आख्याहि (ākhyāhi) = tell; मे (me) = to me; चक्षुः (cakṣu:) = eye; तस्य निमीलनादिसमये ( (tasya nimīlanādi-samaye) = at the time of its (the eyes) closing; किं (kiṃ) = what; धीः (dhī:) = intelligence; धियः दर्शने (dhiya: darśane) = in seeing the intelligence; किं (kiṃ) = what; तत्र (tatra) = there; अहम् (aham) = I; अतः (ata:) = thus; भवान् (bhavān) = you; परमकमं (paramakaṃ) = (are the) ultimate; ज्योतिः (jyoti:) = light; तत् (tat) = that; अस्मि (asmi) = I am; प्रभो (prabho) = O Lord;
किं तव ज्योतिः । मे अहनि भानुमान् रात्रौ (च) प्रदीपादिकम् । स्यात् एवं । रविदीपदर्शनविधौ किं ज्योतिः मे आख्याहि । चक्षुः । तस्य निमीलनादिसमये किं (ज्योतिः) । धीः । धियः दर्शने किं (ज्योतिः) । तत्र अहम् । अतः भवान् परमकं ज्योतिः । तत् अस्मि प्रभो ।
kiṃ tava jyōti: . me ahani bhānumān rātrau (ca) pradīpādikam . syāt evaṃ . ravi-dīpa-darśana-vidhau kiṃ jyoti: me ākhyāhi . cakṣu: . tasya nimīlanādi-samaye kiṃ (jyoti:) . dhī: . dhiya: darśane kiṃ (jyoti:) . tatra aham . ata: bhavān paramakaṃ jyoti: . tat asmi prabho.