The Mahabharata Home
"Manu said, 'As in a dream this manifest (body) lies (inactive) and the enlivening spirit in its subtile form, detaching itself from the former, walks forth after the same manner, in the state called deep slumber (or death), the subtile form with all the senses becomes inactive and the Understanding, detached from it remains awake. The same is the case with Existence and Non-Existence. 2 As when quantity of water is clear, images reflected in it can be
seen by the eye, after the same manner, if the senses be unperturbed, the Soul is capable of being viewed by the understanding. If, however, the quantity of water gets stirred, the person standing by it can no longer see those images. Similarly, if the senses become perturbed, the Soul can no longer be seen by the understanding. Ignorance begets Delusion. Delusion affects the mind. When the mind becomes vitiated, the five senses which have the mind for their refuge become vitiated also. Surcharged with Ignorance, and sunk in the mire of worldly objects, one cannot enjoy the sweets of contentment or tranquillity. The Soul (thus circumstanced), undetached from its good and evil acts, returns repeatedly unto the objects of the world, in consequence of sin one's thirst is never slaked. One's thirst is slaked only when one's sin is destroyed. In consequence of attachment to worldly objects, which has a tendency to perpetuate itself, one wishes for things other than those for which one should wish, and accordingly fails to attain to the Supreme. 1 From the destruction of all sinful deeds, knowledge arises in men. Upon the appearance of Knowledge, one beholds one's Soul in one's understanding even as one sees one's own reflection in a polished mirror. One obtains misery in consequence of one's senses being unrestrained. One obtains happiness in consequence of one's senses being restrained. Therefore, one should restrain one's mind by self-effort from objects apprehended by the senses. 2 Above the senses is the mind; above the mind is the understanding; above the understanding is the Soul; above the Soul is the Supreme or Great. From the Unmanifest hath sprung the Soul; from the Soul hath sprung the Understanding; from the Understanding hath sprung the Mind. When the Mind becomes associated with the senses, then it apprehends sound and the other objects of the senses. He who casts off those objects, as also all that are manifest, he who liberates himself from all things that arise from primordial matter, being so freed, enjoys immortality. 3 The Sun rising diffuses his rays. When he sets, he withdraws unto himself those very rays that were diffused by him. After the same manner, the Soul, entering the body, obtains the fivefold objects of the senses by diffusing over them his rays represented by the senses. When, however, he turns back, he is said to set by withdrawing those rays unto himself. 4 Repeatedly led along the path that is created by acts, he obtains the fruits of his acts in consequence of his having followed the practice of acts. 5 Desire for the objects of the senses keeps away from a person who does not indulge in such desire. The very principle of desire, however, leaves him who has
beheld his soul, which, of course, is entirely free from desire. 1 When the Understanding, freed from attachment to the objects of the senses, becomes fixed in the mind, then does one succeed in attaining to Brahma, for it is there that the mind with the understanding withdrawn into it can possibly be extinguished. Brahma is not an object of touch, or of hearing, or of taste, or of sight, or of smell, or of any deductive inference from the Known. Only the Understanding (when withdrawn from everything else) can attain to it. All objects that the mind apprehends through 'the senses are capable of being withdrawn into the mind; the mind can be withdrawn into the understanding; the Understanding can be withdrawn into the Soul, and the Soul into the Supreme. 2 The senses cannot contribute to the success of the mind. The mind cannot apprehend the Understanding. The Understanding cannot apprehend the manifested Soul. The Soul, however, which is subtile, beholds those all.'"
74:2 This is a very difficult verse and the distinction involved in it are difficult to catch. Of course, I follow the commentator in rendering it. What is said here is that in a dream, Vyakta (manifest body) lies inactive, while the Chetanam (the subtile form) walks forth. In the state called Sushupti (deep slumber which is like death) the indriyasamyuktam (the subtile form) is abandoned, and Jnanam (the Understanding), detached from the former, remains. After this manner, abhava (non-existence, i.e., Emancipation) results from destruction of bhavah or existence as subject to its known conditions of dependence on time, manner of apprehension, etc., for Emancipation is absorption into the Supreme Soul which is independent of all the said conditions. The commentator explains that these observations become necessary to show that Emancipation is possible. In the previous section the speaker drew repeated illustrations for showing that the soul, to be manifest, depended on the body. The hearer is, therefore, cautioned against the impression that the soul's dependence on the body is of such an indissoluble kind that it is incapable of detachment from the body, which of course, is necessary for Emancipation or absorption into the Supreme Soul.
75:1 Caswasasya is an instance of Bhavapradhananirdesa, i.e., of a reference to the principal attribute connected by it.
75:2 Indriaih rupyante or nirupyante, hence Indriyarupani.
75:3 The objects to be abandoned are those which the senses apprehend and those which belong to primordial matter. Those last, as distinguished from the former, are, of course, all the linga or subtile forms or existents which are made up of the tanmatras of the grosser elements.
75:4 Or, regains his real nature.
75:5 I adopt the Bombay reading aptavan instead of the Bengal reading atmavit. Pravrittam Dharmam, as explained previously, is that Dharma or practice in which there is pravritti and not nivritti or abstention.
76:1 The sense is this: by abstaining from the objects of the senses one may conquer one's desire for them. But one does not succeed by that method alone in totally freeing oneself from the very principle of desire. It is not till one succeeds in beholding one's soul that one's principle of desire itself becomes suppressed.
76:2 The separate existence of an objective world is denied in the first clause here. All objects of the senses are said here to have only a subjective existence; hence the possibility of their being withdrawn into the mind. The latest definition of matter, in European philosophy, is that it is a permanent possibility of sensations.
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