The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'Of what behaviour must a man be, of what acts, of what kind of knowledge, and to what must he be devoted, for attaining to Brahma's place which transcends Prakriti and which is unchangeable?'
"Bhishma said, 'One that is devoted to the religion of Emancipation, frugal in fare, and the master of one's senses, attains to that high place which transcends Prakriti and is unchangeable. 4 Retiring from one's home, regarding gain and loss in the same light, restraining the senses, and disregarding all objects of desire even when they are ready (for enjoyment), one should adopt a life of Renunciation. 5 Neither with eye, nor with word, nor in
thought, should one disparage another. Nor should one speak evil of any person either in or out of his hearing. One should abstain from injuring any creature, and conduct oneself observing the course of the Sun. 1 Having come into this life, one should not behave with unfriendliness towards any creature. One should disregard opprobrious speeches, and never in arrogance deem oneself as superior to another. When sought to be angered by another, one should still utter agreeable speeches. Even when calumniated, one should not calumniate in return. One should not behave in a friendly or an unfriendly way in the midst of human beings. One should not go about visiting many houses in one's round of mendicancy. Nor should one go to any house having received a previous invitation (to dinner). 2 Even when bespattered with filth (by others), one should, resting firmly in the observance of one's duties, refrain from addressing such bespatterers in disagreeable speeches. One should be compassionate. One should abstain from returning an injury. One should be fearless; one should refrain from self-laudation. The man of restrained senses should seek his dole of charity in a householder's abode when the smoke has ceased to rise from it, when the sound of the husking rod is hushed, when the hearth-fire is extinguished, when all the inmates have finished their meals, or when the hour is over for setting the dishes. 3 He should content himself with only as much as is barely necessary for keeping body and soul together. Even that much of food which produces gratification should not be coveted by him. When he fails to obtain what he wants, he should not suffer himself to cherish discontent. Success, again, in obtaining what he wants, should not make him glad. 4 He should never wish for such things as are coveted by ordinary men. He should never eat at anybody's
house when respectfully invited thereto. One like him should reprobate such gains as are obtained with honour. 1 He should never find fault (on account of staleness, etc.) with the food placed before him, nor should he applaud its merits. He should covet a bed and a seat that are removed from the haunts of men. The places he should seek are such as a deserted house, the foot of a tree, a forest, or a cave. Without allowing his practices to be known by others, or concealing their real nature by appearing to adopt others (that are hateful or repulsive), he should enter his own Self. 2 By association with Yoga and dissociation from company, he should be perfectly equable, steadily fixed, and uniform. He should not earn either merit or demerit by means of acts. 3 He should be always gratified, well-contented, of cheerful face and cheerful senses, fearless, always engaged in mental recitation of sacred mantras, silent, and wedded to a life of Renunciation. Beholding the repeated formation and dissolution of his own body with the senses that result from and resolve into the elemental essences, and seeing also the advent and departure of (other) creatures, he should become free from desire and learn to cast equal eyes upon all, subsisting upon both cooked and uncooked food. Frugal in respect of his fare, and subjugating his senses, he achieves tranquillity of Self by Self. 4 One should control the (rising) impulses of words, of the mind, of wrath, of envy, of hunger, and of lust. Devoted to penances for cleansing his heart, he should never allow the censures (of others) to afflict his heart. One should live, having assumed a status of neutrality with respect to all creatures, and regard praise and blame as equal. This, indeed, is the holiest and the highest path of the Sannyasa mode of life. Possessed of high soul, the Sannyasin should restrain his senses from all things and keep himself aloof from all attachments. He should never repair to the places visited by him and the men known to him while leading the prior modes of life. Agreeable to all creatures, and without a fixed home, he should be devoted to the contemplation of Self. He should never mingle with house-holders and forest-recluses. He should eat such food as he may obtain without effort (and without having thought of it beforehand). 5 He should never suffer joy to possess
his heart. To those that are wise such a life of Renunciation is the means for the attainment of Emancipation. To those, however, that are fools the practice of these duties is exceedingly burthensome. The sage Harita declared all this to be the path by which Emancipation is to be achieved. He who sets forth from his home, having assured all creatures of his perfect harmlessness, attains to many bright regions of felicity which prove unending or eternal.'"
289:4 By Prakriti, as explained in previous Sections, is meant primal nature consisting of the five great essences of earth, water, etc.
289:5 Samupodeshu is explained as upasthiteshu api, i.e., even when such objects are present and ready for enjoyment.
290:1 Maitrayangatah, as explained by the commentator, is Suryavat-pratyaha-vibhinna-margah, i.e., roving like the Sun every day in a different path. The object of the speaker is to lay it down that one solicitous of Emancipation should never confine oneself to one spot, but rove or wander over the world without owning a fixed habitation or home. K.P. Singha translates the word wrongly.
290:2 In the first line, the Bengal reading madhya na chacharet is better than madhya cha nacharet. Pradakshinam is ankulam, and savyam is pratikulam. The grammar of the second line is not difficult. Besides, the commentator explains it clearly. The Burdwan translator, leaving out the words bhaikshacharyam and taking anapannah as equivalent to vipadapannah, gives a thoroughly ridiculous version. K.P. Singha, also, is not correct. The commentator explains that charyam means anekagrihatanam; anapannam is akurvan. The second foot is unconnected with the first.
290:3 Muni, here, is one who has restrained his senses, or who has betaken himself to the path of Renunciation. Patrasamchara, I think, is the act of setting the dishes for those who are to dine off them. The commentator explains that it means 'the motion of those who are to distribute the food.' Of course, their motions from the kitchen to the dining hall and back are implied if the word is taken for 'setting of dishes.' The sense remains unaltered. The Muni must be abstemious and hence he should select an hour like this for begging his dole, when there would be very little in the house to give.
290:4 Matra is a technical word signifying the taking of food to the extent of only gratification of hunger, or, as explained by Chakrapani Datta in his commentary on Charaka, triptimatram. When matra is to be disregarded, clothes, etc., need not be mentioned. Vihanyeta is equivalent to hinsito na syat.
291:1 The second line is passed over by K.P. Singha. What is meant by it is that when such a man is respectfully presented with anything, he should hold it in reprobation. Vide the Sanatsujatiya Sections in Udyoga Parva, particularly the verses beginning with Yatra akathayamanasya, etc.
291:2 The second line is skipped over by K.P. Singha. The Burdwan translator gives a wrong version. The commentator explains that anyam refers to paisachim, and anyatra to atmani. In the Sanatsujatiya Sections also, a Brahmana's practices are directed to be concealed. 'To enter his own Self' is to turn self on Self, i.e., to withdraw oneself from everything for understanding and contemplating the Soul.
291:3 By totally abstaining from acts he should avoid both merit and demerit.
291:4 This is a triplet. The Burdwan translator misses the meaning of the first half of the first line. The commentator explains that abhayastam is continuous; bhautikam is tattwajatam, atmanodehendriyadi. Hence, bhutanam means anyesham bhutanam.
291:5 To think beforehand of the food one is to take is to convert oneself into gourmand. The Sannyasin, without thinking of the food he would take, and without mentally indulging in a foretaste thereof should take what he gets without exertion.
Next: Section CCLXXIX