The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, Alas, great was the distress of that person and very painful his mode of life! Tell me, O first of speakers, whence was his attachment to life and whence his happiness? Where is that region, so unfavourable to the practice of virtue, in which that person resides? Oh, tell me how will that man be freed from all those great terrors? Tell me all this! We shall then exert ourselves properly for him. My compassion has been greatly moved by the difficulties that lie in the way of his rescue!
"Vidura said, They that are conversant, O monarch, with the religion of moksha cite this as a simile. Understanding this properly, a person may attain to bliss in the regions hereafter. That which is described as the wilderness is the great world. The inaccessible forest within it is the limited sphere of ones own life. Those that have been mentioned as beasts of prey are the diseases (to which we are subject). That woman of gigantic proportions residing in the forest is identified by the wise with Decrepitude which destroys complexion and beauty. That which has been spoken of as the pit is the body or physical frame of embodied creatures. The huge snake dwelling in the bottom of that pit is time, the destroyer of all embodied creatures. It is, indeed, the universal destroyer. The cluster of creepers growing in that pit and attached to whose spreading stems the man hangeth down is the desire for life which is cherished by every creature. The six-faced elephant, O king, which proceeds towards the tree standing at the mouth of the pit is spoken of as the year. Its six faces are the seasons and its twelve feet are the twelve months. The rats and the snakes that are cutting off the tree are said to be days and nights that are continually lessening the periods of life of all creatures. Those that have been described as bees are our desires. The numerous jets that are dropping honey are the pleasures derived from the gratification of our desires and to which men are seen to be strongly addicted. The wise know lifes course to be even such. Through that knowledge they succeed in tearing off its bonds."
Next: Section 7