The Mahabharata Home
"Manu said, 'From that eternal and undeteriorating One first sprang Space; from space came Wind; from wind came Light; from light came Water; from water sprang the Universe; and from the universe, all things that occur in it. The bodies of all (earthly) things, (after dissolution), first enter into water, thence to light or heat, thence to the wind, and thence to space. They that seek Emancipation have not to return from space. On the other hand, they attain to Brahma. The refuge of Emancipation, viz., Brahma, is neither hot, nor cold, neither mild nor fierce, neither sour nor astringent, neither sweet nor bitter. He is not endued with sound, or scent, or form. He transcends all these and everything, and is without dimensions. 3 The skin perceives touch; the tongue, taste; the nose, scent; the ears, sounds; and the eyes, forms. Men not conversant with Adhyatma succeed not in beholding what is above these. Having withdrawn the tongue from tastes, the nose from scents, the ears from touch, and the eyes from forms, one succeeds in beholding one's own self (as independent of the senses and the mind and, therefore, of attributes). 4 It hath been said that that which is the Cause of the actor, the act, the material with which the act is done, the place and the time of the act, and the inclinations and propensities in respect of happiness and misery, is called the Self (or Soul). That which pervades everything, which does everything (assuming the forms of living creatures), that which exists in
the universe even as the mantras declare, 1 that which is the cause of all, that which is the highest of the high, and that which is One without a second and does all things, is the Cause. Everything else is effect. It is seen that a person, in consequence of the acts performed by him, obtains results both good and evil, which (though apparently incompatible with each other, still) dwell together in harmony. Indeed, as the good and evil fruits born of their own acts dwell together in the bodies of creatures which are their refuge, even so Knowledge dwells in the body. 2 As a lighted lamp, while burning, discovers other objects before it, even so the five senses which are like lamps set on high trees, find out their respective objects when lighted by Knowledge. 3 As the various ministers of a king, uniting together, give him counsel, even so the five senses that are in the body are all subservient to Knowledge. The latter is superior to all of them. As the flames of fire, the current of the wind, the rays of the sun, and the waters of rivers, go and come repeatedly, even so the bodies of embodied creatures are going and coming repeatedly. 4 As a person by taking up an axe cannot, by cutting open a piece of wood, find either smoke or fire in it, even so one cannot, by cutting open the arms and feet and stomach of a person, see the principle of knowledge, which, of course, has nothing in common with the stomach, the arms and the feet. As again, one beholds both smoke and fire in wood by rubbing it against another piece, so a person of well-directed intelligence and wisdom, by uniting (by means of yoga) the senses and the soul, may view the Supreme Soul which, of course, exists in its own nature. 5 As in the midst of a dream one beholds one's own body lying on the ground as something distinct from one's own self, even so a person, endued with the five senses, the mind, and the understanding, beholds (after death) his own body and then goes from one into another form 6. The Soul is not subject to birth, growth, decay, and destruction. In consequence of the acts of life being endued with effects, the Soul, clothed in body, passes
from this body (when deprived of animation) into another, unseen by others. 1 No one can behold with the eye the form of the Soul. The Soul cannot, again, form the subject of any one's touch. With those (i.e., the senses), the Soul accomplishes no act. The senses do not approach the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them all. As anything, placed in a blazing fire before a spectator, assumes a certain colour in consequence of the light and heat that operates upon it, without taking any other hue or attribute, even so the Soul's form is seen to take its colour from the body. After the same manner, man, casting off one body, enters another, unseen by all. Indeed, casting off his body to the (five) great primal elements, he assumes a form that is similarly made of the same (five) elements. The embodied creature (upon the destruction of his body) enters space, wind, fire, water, and earth in such a way that each particular element in his body mingles with the particular element (out of his body) with whose nature it is consonant. The senses also, which are engaged in diverse occupations and dependent on the five elements (for the exercise of their functions), enter these five elements that call forth their functions. The ear derives its capacity from space; and the sense of scent from the earth. Form, which is the property of the eye, is the consequence of light or fire. Fire or heat has been said to be the dependent cause of water. The tongue which has for its property taste becomes merged into water. The skin which has touch for its property becomes lost in the wind whose nature it partakes. The fivefold attributes, (viz., sound, etc.) dwell in the (five) great creatures (viz., the five primal elements). Those fivefold objects of the senses (viz., space, etc.) dwell in the (five) senses. All these again (viz., the fivefold attributes, the fivefold elements, and the five senses) follow the lead of the mind. The mind follows the lead of the Understanding, and the Understanding follows the lead of That which exists in its true and undefiled nature (viz., the Supreme Soul). 2 The doer in his new body receives all the good and bad acts done by him as also all acts done by him in his past existence. All these acts done in this life and the next ones to come follow the mind even as aquatic animals pass along a genial current. As a quickly-moving and restless thing becomes an object of sight, as a minute object appears to be possessed of large dimensions (when seen through spectacles), as a mirror shows a person his own face (which cannot otherwise be seen), even so the Soul (though subtile and invisible) become an object of the Understanding's apprehension.'" 3
69:3 Aswabhavam is explained by the commentator as Pramatri-twadi vihinam.
69:4 i.e., one sees one's own soul.
70:1 i.e., which, though one, divides itself into a thousand form like the image of the moon in a quantity of agitated water.
70:2 The analogy consists in this: good and evil fruits, though incompatible, dwell together; similarly, knowledge, though not material, resides in the material body. Of course, knowledge is used here in the sense of the mind or the understanding.
70:3 It is difficult to understand why the idea of lamps set on trees is introduced here.
70:4 The analogy is thus explained. Fire, when fed, bursts into flames. When not fed, it dies out, but is not destroyed, for with new fuel the flames may be brought back. The current of the wind ceases, but does not suffer extinction; for if it did, there would be no current again. The same is the case with the rays of the Sun. They die in the night, to reappear in the morning. The rivers are dried up in summer and refilled during the rains. The body, once dissolved, appears in another form. It will be seen that the weakness of the reasoning is due only to incorrect notions about the objects referred to.
70:5 Exists in its own nature, i.e., unaffected by attributes and qualities and accidents.
70:6 Some of the Bengal texts read sumahan and subuddhih in the second line. Of course, this is incorrect. The true reading is samanah and sabuddhih, meaning 'with mind and with understanding.' In the Bombay edition occurs a misprint, viz., sumanah for samanah. Nilakantha cites the correct readings.
71:1 The Burdwan translator misunderstands the word Linga as used in both 14 and 15. K.P. Singha also wrongly renders that word as it occurs in 15. The commentator rightly explains that Linga has no reference to Linga-sarira or the invisible body composed of the tanmatra of the primal elements, but simply means the gross body. In 14, he says, Lingat sthuladehat, Lingam tadeva dehantaram. In 15, anena Lingena Savibhutena. Adristhah means alakshitah. A little care would have removed such blunders.
71:2 The commentator cites the Gita which furnishes a parallel passage, viz., Indriyani paranyahurindriyebhyah param manah, etc.
71:3 This verse seems to show that the Rishis had knowledge of spectacles, and probably also, of microscopes. The instrument that shewed minute objects must have been well known, otherwise some mention would have been made of it by name. The commentator calls it upanetra.
Next: Section CCIII