Just as waves, foam and bubbles are not other than water, so this individual soul is not other than the universal soul.
“Just as waves arise in water, bubbles form, foam appears – and they are not separate from the water. They arise from it, they disappear back into it. In the same way there is nothing here that is separate from the divine. All are his bubbles, all are his foam, all are his waves. They arise in him, they dissolve back into him…Just as waves, foam and bubbles are not other than water…we are just like this. I start to see this, lord.”
Janak is saying to Ashtavakra that he is seeing it directly. This is not a statement of a philosopher. This is an experience, an expression arising from a deep experience that he is having.
You also take a look! It is just a matter of a small change of vision, what in the West is called a change of gestalt. The word gestalt is very meaningful. Sometime you must have seen a picture published in children’s books…a single picture in which, if you look carefully, sometimes you will see an old woman, sometimes you will see a young woman. As you go on watching it begins alternating: sometimes the old woman appears, sometimes the young woman appears. They are made from the same lines. But one thing – you will be surprised, it is something you might never have thought about – you cannot see both of them at the same time.
Even though you have seen them both – in that picture you have seen the old woman, and you have seen the young woman; you know now that both are in that picture – still you cannot see them simultaneously. When you see the young woman, the old woman disappears. When you see the old woman, the young woman disappears…because the same lines are being used for both. In German this is called gestalt. The meaning of gestalt is: by looking in one way it has one appearance, by looking in another way it has another appearance. It is the same thing, but the way you look changes the whole meaning.
The world is the same. When the ignorant looks at it he sees an infinite variety of things: one gestalt, one way to see. And when a wise man looks at it the infinite variety disappears – the myriad forms disappear. A single vast expanse is seen.
Janak says,…I see only the divine. “I see the ultimate reality.” These green trees are its greenery. In these flowers it is it flowering in color. In the fragrance of the flowers it is it frolicking with the wind. It is it in the gathering clouds in the sky. Inside you it is it who is asleep, and inside Ashtavakra and Buddha it is it who is awake.
It is it who is in the denseness of the stone in a deep sleep. In man it is it who is a little alert, a little awakening has begun: but it is it.