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Chapter 11: None Can Transcend It

“The human body is a pur, a city. It is a city of the divine with eleven gates. The divine is simple. It is never born, it is pure consciousness. It is because of the existence of the body that man can accomplish spiritual disciplines, such as meditation; he will thereby transcend grief and become a jivanmukta, one who is liberated while living in the body. He will be eternally bodiless after death.”

“This, is that.”

“The self-illumined One lives in the pure and ultimate abode: it is the god Vasu of the sky; it is the guest in every house; it is the sacred fire that receives the offerings at the yagnas, the fire rituals, and it is also the blessed offerer; it is the dweller in all human beings; it is the dweller in all the gods beyond man; it is the dweller within the truth; it is the dweller of the sky; it is the One who lives within the myriad life forms of the water; it is the One who appears in the myriad life forms of the Earth; it is the One who is manifested in deeds of goodness; it is the One who lives in the many life forms of the mountains. This omnipresent One, is the ultimate reality.”

“All gods honor this One. It lives in the middle of the body; it raises the prana upwards and pushes the apana downwards.”

“When the embodied soul leaves the body on its journey to a new body, what is left behind?”

“This, is that.”

“No mortal, living being lives either through the prana vayu, the upward current of life energy, or through the apana vayu, the downward current: they both live through something else which sustains these two.”

“Nachiketa, of the lineage of the sage Gautama, I will tell you what the mysterious and eternal brahman is; I will tell you once again what happens to the embodied soul after death.”

“According to their actions, according to the inclinations developed from all they have heard and learned, many disembodied souls find other wombs; many others enter the realm of the inanimate - trees, creepers, mountains..”

“The One - which is the creator of all situations that living beings will experience according to their past actions, which remains awake when all else has gone to sleep in pralaya, the end of creation - is the purest essence; it is the brahman. It is immortal and all the worlds dwell in it. None can transcend it.”

“This, is that.” In the minds of the sages of the Upanishads, there is no condemnation of the human body. They have a great reverence, a feeling of trust for the human body because it is actually a temple. How can the body be condemned when it is the dwelling place of the supreme self? The body becomes sacred simply because of the fact that the supreme reality dwells within it.”

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