The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Excellent, O Sanat-sujata, as this thy discourse is, treating of the attainment of Brahman and the origin of the universe. I
pray thee, O celebrated Rishi, to go on telling me words such as these, that are unconnected with objects of worldly desire and are, therefore, rare among men.'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'That Brahman about which thou askest me with such joy is not to be attained soon. After (the senses have been restrained and) the will hath been merged in the pure intellect, the state that succeeds in one of utter absence of worldly thought. Even that is knowledge (leading to the attainment of Brahman). It is attainable only by practising Brahmacharya.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'Thou sayest that the knowledge of Brahman dwelleth of itself in the mind, being only discovered by Brahmacharya; that is dwelling in the mind, it requires for its manifestation no efforts (such as are necessary for work) being manifested (of itself) during the seeking (by means of Brahmacharya). How then is the immortality associated with the attainment of Brahman?'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'Though residing in and inherent to the mind, the knowledge of Brahman is still unmanifest. It is by the aid of the pure intellect and Brahmacharya that, that knowledge is made manifest. Indeed, having attained to that knowledge, Yogins forsake this world. It is always to be found among eminent preceptors. I shall now discourse to thee on that knowledge.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'What should be the nature of that Brahmacharya by which the knowledge of Brahman might be attained without much difficulty? O regenerate one, tell me this.'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'They, who, residing in the abodes of their preceptors and winning their good will and friendship, practise Brahmacharya austerities, become even in this world the embodiments of Brahman and casting off their bodies are united with the Supreme Soul. They that in this world desirous of obtaining the state of Brahman, subdue all desires, and endued as they are with righteousness, they succeed in dissociating the Soul from the body like a blade projected from a clump of heath. The body, O Bharata, is created by these, viz., the father and the mother; the (new) birth, however, that is due to the preceptor's instructions is sacred, free from decrepitude, and immortal. Discoursing upon Brahman and granting immortality, he who wraps all persons with (the mantle of) truth, should be regarded as father and mother; and bearing in mind the good he does, one should never do him any injury. A disciple must habitually salute his preceptor with respect, and with purity (of body and mind) and well-directed attention, he must betake to study. He must not consider any service as mean, and must not harbour anger. Even this is the first step of Brahmacharya. The practices of that disciple who acquires knowledge by observing the duties ordained for one of his class are regarded also as the first step of Brahmacharya. A disciple should, with his very life and all his possessions, in thought, word and deed, do all that is agreeable to the preceptor. This is regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. He should behave towards his
preceptor's wife and son also in the same way as towards his preceptor himself. This also is regarded as the second step of Brahmacharya. Bearing well in mind what has been done to him by the preceptor, and understanding also its object, the disciple should, with a delighted heart think,--I have been taught and made great by him. This is the third step of Brahmacharya. Without requiring the preceptor by payment of the final gift, a wise disciple must not betake to another mode of life; nor should he say or even think of in his mind,--I make this gift. This is the fourth step of Brahmacharya. He attaineth the first step of (knowledge of Brahman which is) the object of Brahmacharya by aid of time; the second step, through the preceptor's prelections; the third, by the power of his own understanding; and finally, the fourth, by discussion. The learned have said that Brahmacharya is constituted by the twelve virtues, the Yoga-practices are called its Angas, and perseverance in Yoga-meditation called is its Valam and one is crowned with success in this in consequence of the preceptor's aid and the understanding of the sense of the Vedas. Whatever wealth a disciple, thus engaged, may earn, should all be given to the preceptor. It is thus that the preceptor obtaineth his highly praise-worthy livelihood. And thus also should the disciple behave towards the preceptor's son. Thus stationed (in Brahmacharya), the disciple thriveth by all means in this world and obtaineth numerous progeny and fame. Men also from all directions shower wealth upon him; and many people come to his abode for practising Brahmacharya. It is through Brahmacharya of this kind that the celestials attained to their divinity, and sages, highly blessed and of great wisdom, have obtained the region of Brahman. It is by this that the Gandharvas and the Apsaras acquired such personal beauty, and it is through Brahmacharya that Surya riseth to make the day. As the seekers of the philosopher's stone derive great happiness when they obtain the object of their search those mentioned above (the celestials and others), on completing their Brahmacharya, derive great happiness in consequence of being able to have whatever they desire. He, O king, who devoted to the practice of ascetic austerities, betaketh himself to Brahmacharya in its entirety and thereby purifieth his body, is truly wise, for by this he becometh like a child (free from all evil passions) and triumpheth over death at last. Men, O Kshatriya, by work, however, pure, obtain only worlds that are perishable; he, however, that is blessed with Knowledge, attaineth, by the aid of that Knowledge, to Brahman which is everlasting. There is no other path (than Knowledge or the attainment of Brahman) leading to emancipation.
"Dhritarashtra said, 'The existence of Brahman, thou sayest, a wise man perceiveth in his own soul. Now, is Brahman white, or red, or black or blue, or purple? Tell me what is the true form and colour of the Omnipresent and Eternal Brahman?'
"Sanat-sujata said, 'Indeed, Brahman as (perceived) may appear as white, red, black, brown, or bright. But neither on the earth, nor in the
sky, nor in the water of the ocean, is there anything like it, Neither in the stars, nor in lightning, nor in the clouds, is its form to be seen, nor is it visible in the atmosphere, nor in the deities, nor in the moon, nor in the sun. Neither in the Riks, nor among the Yajus, nor among the Atharvans, nor in the pure Samans, it is to be found. Verily, O king, it is not to be found in Rathantara or Varhadratha, nor in great sacrifices. Incapable of being compassed and lying beyond the reach of the limited intellect, even the universal Destroyer, after the Dissolution, is himself lost in it. Incapable of being gazed at, it is subtle as the edge of the razor, and grosser than mountains. It is the basis upon which everything is founded; it is unchangeable; it is this visible universe (omnipresent); it is vast; it is delightful; creatures have all sprung from it and are to return to it. Free from all kinds of duality, it is manifest as the universe and all-pervading. Men of learning say that it is without any change, except in the language used to describe it. They are emancipated that are acquainted with That in which this universe is established.'"
Next: Section XLV