The Mahabharata Home
"Sahadeva said, 'By casting off all external objects only, O Bharata, one does not attain to success. By casting off even mental attachments, the attainment of success is doubtful. 1 Let that religious merit and that happiness which are his who has cast off external objects but whose mind still internally covets them, be the portion of our foes! On the other hand, let that religious merit and that happiness which are his who governs the earth, having cast off all internal attachments also, be the portion of our friends. The word mama (mine), consisting of two letters, is Death's self; white the opposite word na-mama (not mine), consisting of three letters, is eternal Brahma. 2 Brahma and death, O king, entering invisibly into every soul, without doubt, cause all creatures to act. If this being, O Bharata, that is called Soul, be not ever subject to destruction, then by destroying the bodies of creatures one cannot be guilty of slaughter. If, on the other hand, the soul and the body of a being are born or destroyed together, so that when the body is destroyed the soul also is destroyed, then the way (prescribed in the scriptures) of rites and acts would be futile. Therefore, driving away all doubts about the immortality of the soul, the man of intelligence should adopt that path which has been trodden by the righteous of old and older times. The life of that king is certainly fruitless who having acquired the entire earth with her mobile and immobile creatures, does not enjoy her. As regards the man again who lives in the forest upon wild fruits and roots, but whose attachment to things of the earth has not ceased, such a one, O king, lives within the jaws of Death. Behold, O Bharata, the hearts and the outward forms of all creatures to be but manifestations of thy own. They that look upon all creatures as their own selves escape from the great fear (of destruction). 3 Thou art my sire, thou art my protector, thou art my brother, and thou art my senior and preceptor. It behoveth thee, therefore, to forgive these incoherent utterances in sorrow of a woe-stricken person. True or false, this that has been uttered by are, O lord of earth, has been uttered from a due regard for thee, O best of Bharatas, that I entertain!"
22:1 Sariram is contra-distinguished from Vahyam. The first is explained as appertaining to or encased in Sarira, i.e., the mind.
22:2 What Sahadeva wishes to say is that everything proceeds from selfishness is productive of death, while everything proceeding from an opposite frame of mind leads to Brahma or immortality.
22:3 The meaning entirely depends upon the word Swabhavam, manifestation of self. In the second line, if Vrittam be read for Bhutam the sense would remain unaltered.
Next: Section XIV