We have tradition of Brahmavadini. It is one of strong and strong and major aspect of our tradition. Here is a dialogue between Gargi And Yajnavalkya.
The country of Videha was ruled by the great King Janaka. Once he performed a sacrifice in which plenty of gifts were given away to scholars and pious men. Erudite Brahmins from Kuru and Panchala, the famous seats of learning, were assembled there either on invitation or as spectators.
At the sight of that large gathering of Vedic scholars, a desire arose in the mind of King Janaka to know who was the most erudite among them. He had a thousand young cows with horns adorned with gold brought near the place where the sacrifice was being conducted. Then, addressing the assembly, he declared, 'Respected sires, let him, the greatest Vedic scholar among you, take away these cows home.' Silence prevailed for a time, for none dared to claim that supreme honour for himself.
Then Yajnavalkya rose and ordered his disciple to drive the cows to his home. But then a number of Brahmins sprang to their feet and challenged Yajnavalkya's tacit declaration of his own supremacy in scholarship. Volleys of questions were shot at him, to all of which he gave convincing replies. When one by one the scholars were silenced, there rose Gargi, the daughter of Vachaknu, to engage Yajnavalkya in a scholarly dispute. What followed is one of the most famous of upanishadic dialogues.
Gargi: 'If all that is composed of earth is pervaded within and without by water, what pervades water?'
Yajnavalkya: 'Air pervades water.'
Gargi: 'What pervades air?'
Yajnavalkya: 'Sky pervades air.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the sky?'
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of the Gandharvas (celestial minstrels) pervade the sky'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of the Gandharvas?
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of the sun pervade the worlds of the Gandharvas.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of the sun?'
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of the moon pervade those of the sun.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of the moon.'
Yajnavalkya The worlds of the stars pervade those of the moon.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of the stars?'
Yajnavalkya 'The worlds of the Gods pervade those of the stars,'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of the Gods?'
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of Indra pervade those of the Gods.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of Indra?'
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of Virat pervade those of Indra.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of Virat?'
Yajnavalkya: 'The worlds of Hiranyagarbha pervade those of Virat.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the worlds of Hiranyagarbha?'
At this stage Yajnavalkya realized that his illustrious inter locutor was going too far.
The Reality which is beyond Hiranyagarbha or the Cosmic Mind cannot be known by the ordinary mind, much less described in words. Mind and speech turn backwards unable to reach the Supreme Reality which can be known only through direct intuitive experience.
Therefore, Yajnavalkya told Gargi, 'Do not, O Gargi, endeavour to go further in your attempt to know the Supreme Reality that pervades Hiranyagarbha and, for that matter, pervades all the worlds previously mentioned.If you persist, your head may fall off!' Thus admonished Gargi desisted from further questioning.
Then Uddalaka, the son of Aruna, rose and put a series of brilliant questions to which Yajnavalkya gave luminous answers. When Uddalaka sat down, Gargi again got up, this time with two more questions which she wanted to shoot, like arrows, at Yajnavalkya. But before asking those questions she asked for the permission of the erudite assembly. The consent was given and Gargi straightway held forth: Gargi: 'As water pervades the elemental earth, so what pervades the Sutra which is above heaven and below the earth, which embraces heaven and earth as well as the region between them and which according to the scriptures is timeless?' Yaj: 'O Gargi, it is the unmanifested ether that pervades the Sutra thus and which is timeless.'
Gargi: 'Salutation to you, Yajnavalkya. I am satisfied with your answer. But now, my second question.' Yajnavalkya: 'Ask, O Gargi.'
Gargi: 'What pervades the unmanifested ether?
Yajnavalkya: 'O Gargi, the knowers of Brahman describe It as undecaying and unchanging.They say Brahman has no dimensions nor has it any colour. It is utterly unlike earth, water, air, fire or ether.It is partless, is neither internal nor external. Unlike the body and mind It has no organs.' Thus indicating the attributeless nature of Brahman, Yajnavalkya proceeded to say how it nevertheless is the support and substratum of the entire manifested universe.
Said he, 'By the supreme command of this imperishable Being the sun and the moon keep their courses, the earth and sky remain apart, the illusion of time in all its subtle divisions is experienced, the rivers maintain their courses and the mountains tower over everything else. All beings, O Gargi, even the departed souls, depend on Brahman for their sustenance.'
Yajnavalkya then exhorted Gargi to know the truth of Brahman by praising it: 'O Gargi, all the merits derived by the performance of sacrifice are evanescent, Brahman alone is imperishable. One who leaves this world after gaining the knowledge of Brahman, he alone is a blessed soul, all the others are all miserable slaves.'
But the knowledge of Brahman cannot be gained for the asking. It is extremely subtle. To impress this fact on Gargi's mind, Yajnavalkya says next, 'O Gargi, this Immutable One is not the object of sight, of hearing, of the mind or of the intellect, It Itself is the Seer, the Hearer, the Thinker and the Knower. It is Consciousness itself. It is all-pervading and sees through all eyes, hears through all ears, thinks through all minds, knows through all intellects. Indeed, It pervades all elements from the earth to the unmanifested ether'. The above words so authoritatively spoken by the great sage had silenced all her doubts. And with that magnanimity that characterises great minds, she concluded her debate with the following words: 'Venerable Brahmanas, you should consider it a great thing if you can get away by saluting Yajnavalkya. I am convinced that he stands supreme amongst you all in the knowledge of Brahman.' So saying the daughter of Vacaknu ceased talking.
Source: Chapter III, sections 6 and 8 of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad with translation.
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