Having underlined the importance of a guru, Yama himself takes the role of a Guru and begins his preachings to Naciketa. This explanation of Yama is considered as one of the best explanations of the Brahman. Yama says that atma is very difficult to realize. It is in a cave in the centre of heart. It is not our physical heart. Since its location is described as cave, it means two things. One, it is difficult to find out and second it is dark. Because of the darkness that prevails in a cave, it is difficult to recognize things inside a cave. This is more fully described in Narayana Suktam. The one difference is that Narayana Suktam compares this cave to that of an inverted lotus bud. It specifies the exact location of this bud. When all the fingers in a hand are kept open, the distance between the tip of the little finger and the tip of the thumb is called finger span (approximately 7 to 8 inches). Measure one finger span (between 7 and 8 inches) from your Adam’s apple towards your naval. Measure up one finger span from your naval. This point is where is this lotus is situated. In other words, the distance between the Adam’s apple and the naval will be two finger spans. The middle point of this is where the lotus bud is said to be situated. This is the exact location of the heart chakra in the spine. It is to be noted this does not refer to our physical heart, as our biological heart is towards our left side and not in the centre. This suktam talks about three indicators for this place. One, the centre point between naval and Adam’s apple. Two, it is an inverted position as opposed to our physical heart. Three, there is a golden flame of fire, burning in the centre of this lotus. This is said to be the atma of the self.
Yama further emphasizes the importance of realizing this self illuminating fire within. When we develop non-attachment towards external aspects, naturally our mind will begin its search for this internal fire. The more we move away from our desires and attachments, we tend to concentrate more within. Our continued concentration within makes us to realize, that our physical body is different from the atma or the Brahman within. This atma or internal self illuminating fire is situated in every living being in this universe. This fire keeps our physical body at a constant temperature and makes our life possible. Naciketa was not only a dedicated student, but also was intelligent. He knew well that atma or Brahman cannot be described as he already possesses the knowledge about Brahman. So he modified his question and asked Yama to explain to him about that which is beyond dharma and adharama (opposite of dharma), beyond cause and action, beyond the sense of time -present, past and future. Yama then discusses about OM. Since Brahman is without form, Yama identifies the sound of OM as the Brahman. We have already discussed about shabdha Brahman, the Brahman in the form of sound. Though Brahman does not have form or qualities, scriptures are trying their best to show the Brahman to the world, in some form or other, so that everybody can benefit. That is why Yama has chosen OM, the ultimate sound, to identify the Brahman. But Yama quickly adds that Brahman when referred as OM is with attributes. Out of all the paths leading to the Brahman, it is said that meditating on OM is the best to realize the Brahman. After all, a life is formed out of the union of gross body, soul and the Brahman. Gross body goes away with this birth and we do not know about our future births. The soul is embedded with karmas. Brahman is pure.