It is hammers and chisels with which the idols are made and it is also hammers and chisels with which the idols are broken. There is not much difference between the belief of the two – both believe that there is some importance in the idol. The idol-worshipper believes it to be of importance, the iconoclast believes it to be of importance. Sometimes the iconoclast attaches more importance, because while the idol-worshipper never risks his life in the making of the idol, the iconoclast risks his life for breaking it. The iconoclast puts his life at stake in breaking an idol when the Koran says, “There can be no idol of ‘that’.” Whose idol are you breaking then?
The Upanishads are neither idol-worshippers nor iconoclasts. The vision of the Upanishads has gone far beyond form, shape and idol. This is why they said, tat, “that.” What idol can be made of “that”? No, no idol can be made of “that.” “That” is not a form. Is there any form or shape of “that”? “That” is not a form, “that” is formless. Even the word that is formless. If anybody wants to give a form to “that,” it cannot be done. What is tat, “that”? It is only an indication, as if somebody points a finger and says “that”!
Wittgenstein is an amazing modern thinker. He is one of those who gave birth to this century’s greatest logic. Wittgenstein, in his important book Tractatus Logicus, which is one of the three or four most important books written in this century, writes that there are things which cannot be said but still they can be shown. Nothing can be said about them but they can be indicated.
The Upanishads only indicate towards God, they say nothing. ‘That’ is just an indication. There are many things implied in this indication, take note of this fact. One implication is that no relationship can be established with ‘that’. This is why the Upanishads do not call it ‘thou’, because with thou it is possible to establish the relationship of “I.”
Wherever there is thou there will be “I” also. Thou cannot exist without “I.” As soon as I call somebody thou, “I” has entered in, “I” has made its presence there. It is in reference to “I” that somebody is thou, and it is in reference to thou that I am “I.” I and thou exist simultaneously. ‘That’ is alone. There is no necessity of the other to exist with ‘that’. ‘That’ does not produce any indication of the presence of someone else.
Whenever we say thou, then whosoever has been addressed comes on the same level as we are. “I” and thou stand side by side. When we say ‘that’, no relationship is being formed on our level. Where is ‘that’? Whether it is above, below or within us, nothing of that sort is revealed. With deep insight the Upanishads have called God ‘that’.
Let us understand this sutra now.
The one who has the attribute of being the embodiment of maya, illusion, who is the source of the universe, who has the characteristics of omniscience, etcetera, and is the embodiment of indirectness, multiplicity and truth, etcetera, is known by the word tat – “that.”
The one who seems to be in support of the “I” as an experience as well as a word and who is experienced as separate from the conscience, is called by the word tvam – “thou.”