The Mahabharata Home
'Brahma said,--'Listen, O son, as to how that Purusha is indicated. He is eternal and immutable. He is undeteriorating and immeasurable. He pervades all things. 1 O best of all creatures, that Purusha cannot be seen by thee, or me, or others. Those that are endued with the understanding and the senses but destitute of self-restraint and tranquility of soul cannot obtain a sight of him. The Supreme Purusha is said to be one that can be seen with the aid of knowledge alone. Though divested of body, He dwells in every body. Though dwelling, again, in bodies, He is never touched by the acts accomplished by those bodies. He is my Antaratma (inner soul). He is thy inner soul. He is the all-seeing Witness dwelling within all embodied creatures and engaged in marking their acts. No one can grasp or comprehend him at any time. The universe is the crown of his head. The universe is his arms. The universe is his feet. The universe is
his eyes. The universe is his nose. Alone and single, he roves through all Kshetras (Bodies) unrestrained by any limitations on his will and as he likes. Kshetra is another name for body. And because he knows all Kshetras as also all good and bad deeds, therefore he, who is the soul of Yoga, is called by the name of Kshetrajna. 1 No one succeeds in perceiving how he enters into embodied creatures and how he goes out of them. Agreeably to the Sankhya mode, as also with the aid of Yoga and the due observance of the ordinances prescribed by it, I am engaged in thinking of the cause of that Purusha, but alas, I am unable to comprehend that cause, excellent as it is. I shall, however, according to the measure of my knowledge, discourse to thee upon that eternal Purusha and his Oneness and supreme greatness. The learned speak of him as the one Purusha. That one eternal Being deserves the appellation of Mahapurusha (the great supreme Purusha). Fire is an element, but it may be seen to blaze up in a thousand places under thousand different circumstances. The Sun is one and single, but his rays extend over the wide universe. Penances are of diverse kinds, but they have one common origin whence they have flowed. The Wind is one, but it blows in diverse forms in the world. The great Ocean is the one parent of all the waters in the world seen under diverse circumstances. Divested of attributes, that one Purusha is the universe displayed in infinitude. Flowing from him, the infinite universe enters into that one Purusha again who transcends all attributes, when the time of its destruction comes. By casting off the consciousness of body and the senses, by casting off all acts good and bad, by casting off both truth and falsehood, one succeeds in divesting oneself of attributes. The person who realises that inconceivable Purusha and comprehends his subtile existence in the quadruple form of Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva, and who, in consequence of such comprehension, attains to perfect tranquillity of heart, succeeds in entering into and identifying himself with that one auspicious Purusha. Some persons possessed of learning speak of him as the supreme soul. Others regarded him as the one soul. A third class of learned men describe him as the soul. 2 The truth is that he who is the Supreme Soul is always divested of attributes. He is Narayana. He is the universal soul, and he is the one Purusha. He is never affected by the fruits of acts even as the leaf of the lotus is never drenched by the water one may throw upon it. The Karamta (acting Soul) is different. That Soul is sometimes engaged in acts and when it succeeds in casting off acts attains to Emancipation or
identity with the Supreme Soul. The acting Soul is endued with the seven and ten possessions. 1 Thus it is said that there are innumerable kinds of Purushas in due order. In reality, however, there is but one Purusha. He is the abode of all the ordinances in respect of the universe. He is the highest object of knowledge. He is at once the knower and the object to be known. He is at once the thinker and the object of thought. He is the eater and the food that is eaten. He is the smeller and the scent that is smelled. He is at once he that touches and the object that is touched. He is the agent that sees and the object that is seen. He is the hearer and the object that is heard. He is the conceiver and the object that is conceived. He is possessed of attributes and is free from them. What has previously, O son, been named Pradhana, and is the mother of the Mahat tattwa is no other than the Effulgence of the Supreme Soul; because He it is who is eternal, without destruction and any end and ever immutable. He it is who creates the prime ordinance in respect of Dhatri himself. Learned Brahmanas call Him by the name of Aniruddha. Whatever acts, possessed of excellent merits and fraught with blessings, flow in the world from the Vedas, have been caused by Him. 2 All the deities and all the Rishis, possessed of tranquil souls, occupying their places on the altar, dedicate to him the first share of their sacrificial offerings. 3 I, that am Brahma, the primeval master of all creatures, have started into birth from Him, and thou hast taken thy birth from me. From me have flowed the universe with all its mobile and immobile creatures, and all the Vedas, O son, with their mysteries. Divided into four portions (viz., Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana, and Vasudeva), He sports as He pleases. That illustrious and divine Lord is even such, awakened by His own knowledge. I have thus answered thee, O son, according to thy questions, and according to the way in which the matter is expounded in the Sankha system and the Yoga philosophy."
200:1 The commentator explains the meanings of the words used in this verse in this way--He is called Purusha, because of the attribute of fulness eternal, because he has neither beginning nor end; immutable, because there is no change in him: undeteriorating, because he has no body that may be subject to decay; immeasurable, because the mind cannot conceive of him in his fulness.
201:1 Acts are called seeds. Seeds produce tree. Acts lead to the attainment of bodies. For the production of bodies, therefore, acts operate like seeds.
201:2 The sense seems to be this; in the Yoga system He is called the Supreme Soul, for Yogins affirm the existence of two souls, the Jivatman and the Supreme Soul, and assert the superiority of the latter over the former. The Sankhyas regard the Jiva-soul and the Supreme Soul to be one and the same. A third class of men think everything as Soul, there being no difference between the one Soul and the universe displayed in infinitude.
202:1 The acting Soul is ensconced in the Linga-sarira with which it becomes now a human being, now a deity, now an animal, etc. given and ten possessions are five pranas, mind, intelligence and ten organs of senses.
202:2 Dhaturadyam Vidhanam is supposed by the commentator to imply what is known as Mahat i.e., the existence of Jiva before the consciousness of Ego arises.
202:3 Pragvansa is a certain part of the altar. Both the vernacular translators omit the word in their renderings.
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