Aphorism: But that Brahman (is known) from the Upanishads (it) being the object of their fullest import.
Brahman, which is omniscient and omnipotent, which is the cause for the origin, existence, and dissolution of the universe, and which is known as such from the Upanishads. How? Because of being the object of their fullest import; for in all Upanishads the texts become fully reconciled when they are accepted as establishing the mentioned fact as their fullest import. For instance: “O amiable one, this universe, before its creation, was but existence one without a second” (Chandogya Upanishad VI.ii.1) “Before creation this universe was but the Self that is one” (Aiteraya Upanishad I.i.1) “That Brahman is without prior or posterior, without interior or exterior (i.e. homogenous and non-dual) “This Self - the perceiver of everything is Brahman” (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad II.V.19) etc..
Even in a simple statement about an entity as in such sentences “This is not a snake, it is a rope”, it is seen to serve some purpose by removing the fear occasioned by the error. Similarly, here the Upanishadic statements will serve the purpose of removing the error of thinking oneself as the transmigrating soul. This unity of the self and Brahman is not a kind of imagination or thinking and not dependent on human action, on what does it depend on? It is dependent on Brahman itself, as in the case of the Knowledge of a thing got through such valid means as direct perception. By no stretch of imagination can Brahman or its Knowledge be brought into contact with work.
By presenting Brahman as not an object on account of its being the inmost self (of the knower) they remove the differences of the knower, known and knowledge that is fancied through Ignorance. In support of this are the texts “Brahman is known to whom it is unknown, it is unknown to whom it is known, It is unknown to those who know and known to those who do not know” (Kenopanishad II.3) “You cannot see that which is the witness of vision… you cannot know that which is the knower of knowledge” (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad III.iv)
Is knowledge of Brahman a kind of mental action? Not so. Because action is in evidence where the injunction about it occurs independently of the nature of the thing concerned and where it is subjected to activities of human mind, as for instance to contemplate upon an object is a mental action, yet it can be done, not done or done otherwise, for it depend on man. But knowledge arises from valid means (eg: perception, inference etc) and the valid means apprehend the thing just as they are. Hence (valid) knowledge is not something to be done, not done or done otherwise. For instance, thinking of man or woman as fire – “O Gautama, a man is surely a fire” “O Gautama, a woman is surely a fire” (Chandogya Upanishad) is certainly an act since it arises from injunction alone and is dependent on the man. But the idea of fire with regard to familiar fire is neither dependent on injunction or on man. Since it is determined by a thing coming with the range of perception, it is surely knowledge and not action. That being so, the realization of the unity of Brahman and the self is also a kind of knowledge and it is not determined by injunction nor is it an action.
For a man hankering after the highest human goal and engaging in outward objects under the idea, “May good come to me, May not evil befall me”, there are such texts as, “The self, my dear Maitreyi, should be realized”, These turn him back from the objects naturally attracting his body and senses etc towards them, and then they lead him along the current of the indwelling self – It is not an injunction but a eulogy, the apparent injunction being meant for inducing the hearer to the knowledge of Brahman. By producing in his mind a current of thoughts directed towards the indwelling self, this inspires the man to “hear, reflect and meditate” about the self, these processes being the means of generating the knowledge of Brahman.
Thus it has been said that Upanishads are meant for imparting the knowledge of Brahman, that when their meaning is ascertained, have the self, which is Brahman as their fullest import and they culminate (in the knowledge of) Brahman even without any connection with an action.