16. For that very reason that (ether) is Brahman.
Because the clause 'What is Ka the same is Kha' speaks of ether as characterised by pleasure, the ether which is denoted by 'Kha' is no other than the highest Brahman. To explain. On the Fires declaring 'Breath is Brahman, Ka is Brahman, Kha is Brahman,' Upakosala says, 'I understand that breath is Brahman, but I do not understand Ka and Kha.' The meaning of this is as follows. The Fires cannot speak of meditation on Brahman under the form of breath and so on, because they are engaged in giving instruction to me, who am afraid of birth, old age, death, &c., and desirous of final Release. What they declare to me therefore is meditation on Brahman itself. Now here Brahman is exhibited in co-ordination with certain well-known things, breath and so on. That Brahman should be qualified by co-ordination with breath is suitable, either from the point of view of Brahman having the attribute of supporting the world, or on account of Brahman being the ruler of breath, which stands to it in the relation of a body. Hence Upakosala says, 'I understand that
breath is Brahman.' With regard to pleasure and ether, on the other hand, there arises the question whether they are exhibited in the relation of qualifying attributes of Brahman on the ground of their forming the body of Brahman, and hence being ruled by it, or whether the two terms are meant to determine each other, and thus to convey a notion of the true nature of Brahman being constituted by supreme delight. On the former alternative the declaration of the Fires would only state that Brahman is the ruler of the elemental ether and of all delight depending on the sense-organs, and this would give no notion of Brahman's true nature; on the latter alternative the Fires would declare that unlimited delight constitutes Brahman's true nature. In order to ascertain which of the two meanings has to be taken, Upakosala therefore says, 'I do not understand Ka and Kha.' The Fires, comprehending what is in his mind, thereupon reply, 'What is Ka the same is Kha, what is Kha the same is Ka,' which means that the bliss which constitutes Brahman's nature is unlimited. The same Brahman therefore which has breath for its attribute because breath constitutes its body, is of the nature of unlimited bliss; the text therefore adds, 'They taught him that (viz. Brahman) as breath and as ether.' What the text, 'Ka is Brahman, Kha is Brahman,' teaches thus is Brahman as consisting of unlimited bliss, and this Brahman is resumed in the subsequent text about the Person seen within the eye. That Person therefore is the highest Self.