On just hearing from the master that he is none other than the true self, the student Janaka, a rishi among kings, says, “I did not all this time know that I am blemishless, peaceful and beyond this material universe. All this time I was confused due to delusion about my true self.
“I am the self that illumines this body and the whole universe. So either this whole world belongs to me or nothing indeed is mine.” When he says ‘I illumine this world’, it is not any arrogant statement, but a simple truth that in each one of us there is the principle of consciousness that reveals to us this body and this whole world and all that we can know. When this association of consciousness is activated in us at the time of birth, unto death, we see everything around us.
With this knowledge, Janaka says that he has realised that he has shed his conscious attachment to his body and with that the whole world which is nothing but the extension of the body. The five elements that make up this world is contained in our body too.
Just as water, waves and the foam are not different from each other, this whole universe is not different from the supreme self. You take a piece of cloth and analyse it in detail. It is nothing but thread. In the same way, this whole universe, when it is thoroughly analysed, it is nothing but consciousness.
Just as the whole sugarcane is pervaded by sugar, in the same way the whole universe is pervaded by my true self, which is consciousness.
The example of the snake and the rope is repeated in many a Vedantic verse. Janaka says this whole world appears to our vision because of our ignorance about the real true self. With true knowledge about the self, the world no longer appears as it is. When you see a rope lying across a dark path in the night, in your mind there is a thought that it is a snake. With that thought in your mind, your fear for that rope will never go. Shine a light on it and the rope reveals itself and the ignorance of a snake is dispelled.
My true nature is to shine. I do not appear in this world in any other manner. Here to shine means there is no specific light. In awareness, there is a thought or in the world there is an object. Something reveals to you that the thought and object exist. That revelation is called Prakasha or illumination.
Again there are three common examples of how this world exists in our mind as an illusion. You watch a shell on the beach and when the sun shines on it, it looks like silver. You see the rope in the dark and it appears like a snake and you see sunray in a desert and it seems like water. In the same manner the world is nothing but thoughts in your mind.