The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'How wonderful is this, O thou of immeasurable prowess, that thou art rapt in meditation! O great refuge of the universe, is it all right with the three worlds? When thou hast, O God, withdrawn thyself (from the world), having, O bull among men, adopted the fourth, state, my mind has been filled with wonder. 2 The five life-breaths that act within the body have been controlled by thee into stillness. Thy delighted senses thou hast concentrated within thy mind. Both speech and mind, O Govinda, have been concentrated within thy understanding. All thy senses, indeed, have been withdrawn into thy soul. 3 The hair on thy body stands erect. Thy mind and understanding are both still. Thou art as immobile now, O Madhava, as a wooden post or a stone. O illustrious God, thou art as still as the flame of a lamp burning in a place where there is no wind. Thou art as immobile as a mass of rock. If I am fit to hear the cause, if it is no secret of thine, dispel, O god, my doubt for I beg of thee and solicit it as a favour. Thou art the Creator and thou art the Destroyer. Thou art destructible and thou art indestructible. Thou art without beginning and thou art without end. Thou art the first and the foremost of Beings. O foremost of righteous persons, tell me the cause of this (Yoga) abstraction. I solicit thy favour, and am thy devoted worshipper, and bow to thee, bending my head.' Thus addressed, the illustrious younger brother of Vasava, recalling his mind, understanding, and the senses to their usual sphere, said these words with a soft smile.'
"Vasudeva said, 'That tiger among men, Bhishma, who is now lying on a bed of arrows, and who is now like unto a fire that is about to go out, is thinking of me. Hence my mind also was concentrated on him. My mind
was concentrated upon him, the twang of whose bowstring and the sound of whose palms Indra himself was unable to bear. I was thinking of him who having vanquished in a trice all the assembled kings (at the Self-choice of the daughters of the king of Kasi) abducted the three princesses for the marriage of his brother Vichitravirya. I was thinking of him who fought continually for three and twenty days with Rama himself of Bhrigu's race and whom Rama was unable to overcome. Collecting all his senses and concentrating his mind by the aid of his understanding, he sought my refuge (by thinking of me). It was for this that I had centered my mind upon him. I was thinking of him whom Ganga conceived and brought forth according to ordinary human laws and whom Vasishtha took as a pupil. I was thinking of that hero of mighty energy and great intelligence who possesses a knowledge of all the celestial weapons as also of the four Vedas with all their branches. I was thinking of him, O son of Pandu, who is the favourite disciple of Rama, the son of Jamadagni, and who is the receptacle of the sciences. I was thinking of that foremost of all persons conversant with morality and duty, of him, O bull of Bharata's race, who knows the Past, the Future, and the Present. After that tiger among kings shall have, in consequences of his own achievements, ascended to heaven, the earth, O son of Pritha, will look like a moonless night. Therefore, O Yudhishthira, submissively approaching Ganga's son, viz., Bhishma of terrible prowess, question him about what thou mayst desire to learn. O lord of the earth, enquire of him about the four branches of knowledge (in respect of morality, profit., pleasure and salvation), about the sacrifices and the rites laid down for the four orders, about the four modes of life, and about the kingly duties in full. When Bhishma, that foremost one of Kuru's race, will disappear from the world, every kind of knowledge will disappear with him. It is for this that I urge thee (to go to him now).' Hearing these beneficial words of high import from Vasudeva, the righteous Yudhishthira, with voice choked in tears, answered Janardana, saying, 'What thou hast said, O Madhava, about the eminence of Bhishma, is perfectly true. I have not the slightest doubt regarding it. Indeed, I had heard of the high blessedness, as also the greatness, of the illustrious Bhishma from high-souled Brahmanas discoursing upon it. Thou, O slayer of foes, art the Creator of all the worlds. There cannot, therefore, O delighter of the Yadavas, be the slightest doubt in what thou sayest. If thy heart be inclined to show grace, O Madhava, then we shall go unto Bhishma with thyself at our head. When the divine Surya shall have turned towards the north, Bhishma will leave (this world), for those regions of bliss that he has won. That descendant of Kuru's race, therefore, O mighty-armed one, deserves to have a sight of thee. (If thou grantest my prayer), Bhishma will then obtain a sight of thee that art the first of Gods, of thee that art destructible and indestructible. Indeed, O lord, thou it is that art the vast receptacle of Brahma.'"
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of king Yudhishthira the just, the slayer of Madhu addressed Satyaki who was sitting beside him, saying, 'Let my car be yoked.' At this, Satyaki quickly left Kesava's presence and going out, commanded Daruka, saying, 'Let Krishna's car be made
ready.' Hearing the words of Satyaki, Daruka speedily yoked Krishna's car. That foremost of vehicles, adorned with gold, decked with a profusion of emeralds, and moon-gems and sun-gems, furnished with wheels covered with gold, possessed of effulgence, fleet as the wind, set in the middle with diverse other kinds of jewels, beautiful as the morning sun, equipped with a beautiful standard topped by Garuda, and gay with numerous banners, had those foremost of steeds, fleet as thought, viz., Sugriva and Saivya and the other two, in trappings of gold, yoked unto it. Having yoked it, O tiger, among kings, Daruka, with joined hands, informed Krishna of the fact.'
90:1 This is an allusion to Krishna's having covered the three worlds with three of his steps for deluding the Asura Vali and depriving him of universal sovereignty.
90:2 There are three states of consciousness in the case of ordinary men, viz., waking, dream, and sound sleep. The fourth state, realisable by Yogins alone, is called Turiya. It is the state of perfect unconsciousness of this world, when the soul, abstracted within itself, is said to be fixed upon the Supreme Being or some single object.
90:3 Mind, as used generally in Hindu philosophy, is the seat of the senses and the feelings. Buddhi is the Understanding or the cognitive faculties of the Kantian school. The Bombay reading of the second line is correct. It is Gunadevah Kshetrajne etc. Nilakantha correctly explains it as Savdadiguna-bhajodevah, i.e., the senses.
Next: Section XLVIII