The "SELF" in Early Vedism
(The "Unproducing", the "Unmaking", the "Uncreating")

To be related to jāti (birth) in the Pali (Buddhism)


I ask, unknowing, those who know, the sages, as one all ignorant for sake of knowledge,
What was that ONE who in the Unborn's image hath stablished and fixed firm these worlds' six regions.
acikitvāñ cikituṣaś cid atra kavīn pṛcchāmi vidmane na vidvān
vi yas tastambha ṣaḻ imā rajāṁsy ajasya rūpe kim api svid ekam
RV. 1.164.06


He, like the Unborn, holds the broad earth up; and with effective utterance fixed the sky.
ajo na kṣāṁ dādhāra pṛthivīṁ tastambha dyām mantrebhiḥ satyaiḥ
RV. 1.067.05


By holy Law they kept supporting Order, by help of sacrifice, in loftiest heaven,-
They who attained with born men to the unborn, men seated on that stay, heaven's firm sustainer.
ṛtena ṛtaṁ dharuṇaṁ dhārayanta yajñasya śāke parame vyoman
divo dharman dharuṇe seduṣo nṝñ jātair ajātām̐ abhi ye nanakṣuḥ
RV. 5.015.02


Who, after his decree, o'erspread the Dark Ones with a robe of light;
Who measured out the ancient seat, who pillared both the worlds apart as the Unborn supported heaven. Let all the others die away.
yaḥ śvetām̐ adhinirṇijaś cakre kṛṣṇām̐ anu vratā |
sa dhāma pūrvyam mame yaḥ skambhena vi rodasī ajo na dyām adhārayan nabhantām anyake same
RV. 8.041.10


ajasya rūpé kím ápi svid ékam
What was that ONE who in the Unborn's image

ज ja [√ jan]
√ जन् jan var. jā
√ जन् jan
- to become , be RV. AV.
- to generate , beget , produce , create , cause RV. AV.
- to be born or produced , come into existence RV. AV.




“There is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned,” - (atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ) - If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore you do know an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned.”
(Ud 8.3)

Ajo (RV.) [unborn] and jati (Sutta) [birth] - Both from janati (same declination in Sanskrit & Pali) - both coming from the same root √ jan.


अत् at - √ मन् man - somewhat meaning a "continuous, unremitting  thinking" (Atma)
बृह् bṛh - √ मन् man - somewhat meaning an "expanding & pervasive thinking" (Brahma)
धृ dhṛ- √ मन् man 

√ धृ dhṛ:

- to begin , resolve upon , undertake (AV. ŚBr. ChUp.)

- continue living , exist  (Br. MBh.)

- to hold , bear (also bring forth) , carry , maintain , undergo (RV.) 

- to be borne ; so be firm , keep steady (RV.)


[धर्मन् dharmán]

Paṭiccasamupāda is somewhat a dharmán - but the real (actualized) धर्म dharma/dhamma,) is the dhamma that is procuced by the "saṅkhārization"/co-action of the khandhas in the nāmarūpa nidāna (and "served" to the saḷāyatana nidāna). 


√ मन् Man
- to think , believe , imagine , suppose , conjecture (RV.)
- to think of (RV. - AV.)


The proof is not just in the fact that the "धर्मन् dharmán" (see above,) that is paṭiccasamupāda, is void of atta (sabbe dhamma anatta). As when the Buddha went against the Upaniṣadic view of the in the Chandogya Upaniṣad, for instance. 
The Buddha did not believe that there was an Atta (Atman) in that Dhamma, that is paṭiccasamupāda. But that does not mean that He excluded the existence of an Atta, outside of this Dhamma. Far from it.

The Buddha did act as a conservative against the view of the Upaniṣadic Brahmins; when He expounded a Dhamma (paṭiccasamupāda) with no Atta/atta. And His Dhamma was quite revolutionary, for that matter.
But not "that" revolutionary; if we consider that the early Vedic creed (before the Upaniṣadic era,) had an Atma that was quite severalized from the "creation". There was in early Vedism the "Unborn" and the "One".

HOWEVER, He did act as a revolutionary, towards the still orthodox view of the non-Upaniṣadic Brahminhood; of which he was a part, by questioning the nature of the "One" in RV. 1.164.06. (see above).

Atta (Atma) was a riddle for the early Vedic creed.

Who hath beheld him as he sprang to being, seen how the boneless One supports the bony?
Where is the blood of earth, the life, the spirit? Who may approach the man who knows, to ask it?
ko dadarśa prathamaṁ jāyamānam asthanvantaṁ yad anasthā bibharti
bhūmyā asur asṛg ātmā kva svit ko vidvāṁsam upa gāt praṣṭum etat
RV. 1.164.04

is what the early Vedic "orthodox" Brahminic crowd believed, before the advent of the Upaniṣadic Brahmā/Prajāpati (Ka) "I put you everywhere" & "I am you" shebang.

However, the notion of the "Unborn" (Ajo), was the root from which all the speculation did start with. Atma was the "Unborn" in the early Vedic creed.
The "Unborn", which, by the way, finds its counterpart in the Buddha's notion of Jāti (Birth). [√ जन् jan]

So where did the Buddha come as a revolutionary in that matter?
It sounds like He did not quite agree with the nature of the demiurge called the "One" in RV. 1.164.06
And He certainly did not believe in the equivalence between the image of the "Unborn" and this demiurge, (which later on, we've seen in the upaniṣadic creed, becomes like man, and is man, and through which man becomes He).

Yet the Unborn/Born(birth) notion seems quite prevalent in the Buddha's mind.
An "Unborn," as a non-maker of धर्मन् dharmán.
A Dharma (Dhamma) in Buddhism, born of Ignorance (avijja), leading to birth (jāti) - A birth that arises through & because of this paṭiccasamupāda's Dhamma (dharmán).
In other words, no Dharma, no birth.

Therefore, reaching back to this "Unborn" (through the One,) is the path of the Echt Buddhist. Although worrying about the true nature of this Self is useless and even harmful for one's sanity, said the Buddha.
The goal of the Holy life is just to do away with Ignorance (avijja).

What is the nature of this "Unborn" - of this "Self," for the Buddha?
Buddha says (clearly this time - e.g. Snp 5.6 or 7-Upasiva,) that we cannot put a name on It, in the context of the Dhamma, that is paṭiccasamupāda' s Dhamma.
It is therefore a reach back to the undeclared (Avyakata), through the unfashioned (Asankhata). But it is the unconditioning endeavor of  the latter that counts. The riddance of all saṅkhāras (synergies).

When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well.
Sabbesu dhammesu samohatesu, samūhatā vādapathāpi sabbeti. 
(As in "cannot be classified/named" = "na upeti saṅkhaṃ")

And also:

Anattakatāni kammāni kathamattānaṃ phusissantī”ti?
What self, then, will deeds done by what is nonself affect?”
SN 22.82

No-Self/self in paṭiccasamupāda (dharmán), answers the Buddha.
Implying that the (paradoxical) satta/atta is the only responsible of the deeds - but not the Atta/atta.


Make a refuge for yourself;
kareyya saraṇattano
Yearning for the unmovable (imperishable) state.
patthayaṃ accutaṃ padan”ti.
SN 22.95

accuta = Sk. acyuta
च्युत cyuta
- moved (AV.)
√ च्यु cyu
- to bring about , create , make RV.
- to cause to move RV.


Pali jāti
from janati (Sk.janati { pr. [1] ac. sg. 3 } √ जन् jan (see above).
√ जन्  jan
- to become , be RV. AV. 
- to generate , beget , produce , create , cause RV. AV. 
- to be born or produced , come into existence RV. AV.