The Mahabharata Home
"Manu said, 'Upon the appearance of the physical and mental sorrow, one does not become able to practise yoga. It is advisable, therefore, for one not to brood over such sorrow. The remedy for sorrow is abstention from brooding over it. When sorrow is brooded over, it comes aggressively and increases in violence. One should relieve mental sorrow by wisdom, while physical sorrow should be cured by medicaments. Wisdom teaches this. One should not, while under sorrow, behave like a child. The man of wisdom should never cherish a desire for youth, beauty, length of life, accumulation of wealth, health, and the companionship of those that are dear, all of which are transitory. One should not grieve singly for a sorrow that affects a whole community. Without grieving, one should, if one sees an opportunity, seek to apply a remedy. Without doubt, the measure of sorrow is much greater than that of happiness in life. To one who is content with the objects of the senses, death that is disagreeable comes in consequence of his stupefaction. That man who avoids both sorrow and happiness succeeds verily in attaining to Brahma. Such persons, who are possessed of wisdom, have never to grieve. 3
[paragraph continues] Worldly possessions bring about sorrow. In protecting them thou canst not have any happiness. They are again earned with misery. One should not therefore, regard their loss. 1 Pure Knowledge (or Brahma) is regarded (by ignorance) as existing in the diverse forms that are objects of Knowledge. Know that mind is only an attribute of Knowledge. When the mind becomes united with the faculties of knowledge, then the Understanding (which bodies forth the forms of things) sets in. 2 When the Understanding, freed from the attributes of action, becomes directed towards the mind (after being withdrawn from outward objects), then does it succeed in knowing Brahma by meditation or Yoga ending in complete absorption (samadhi)? The Understanding flowing from Ignorance, and possessed of the senses and attributes, runs towards external objects, like a river issuing from a mountain summit and flowing towards other regions. When the Understanding, withdrawn into the mind, succeeds in absorbing itself into contemplation that is free from attributes, it attains to a knowledge of Brahma like the touch of gold on a touchstone. The mind is the apprehender of the objects of the senses. It must first be extinguished (before Brahma can be attained). Dependent upon the attributes of objects that are before it, the mind can never show that which is without attributes. Shutting up all the doors constituted by the senses, the Understanding should be withdrawn into the mind. In this state, when absorbed in contemplation, it attains to the knowledge of Brahma. As the fivefold great creatures (in their gross form) upon the destruction of the attributes by which they are known, become withdrawn (into their subtile form called Tanmatra), after the same manner the Understanding may dwell in the mind alone, with the senses all withdrawn from their objects. When the Understanding, though possessed of the attribute of certainty, dwells in the mind, busied with the internal, even then it is nothing but the mind (without being anything superior to it). When the mind or consciousness, which attains to excellence through contemplation, succeeds in identifying attributes with what are considered as their possessors, then can it cast off all attributes and attain to Brahma which is without attributes. 3 There is no indication that is fit enough for yielding a knowledge of what is Unmanifest (Brahma). That which cannot form the subject of language, cannot be acquired by any one. With cleansed soul, one should seek to approach the Supreme Brahma, through the aid afforded by penances, by inferences, by self-restraint, by the practices and observances as laid down for one's own order, and by the Vedas. Persons of clear vision (besides seeing the Supreme
within themselves), seek him in even external forms by freeing themselves from attributes. The Supreme, which is called by the name of Jneya (i.e., that which should be known), in consequence of the absence of all attributes or of its own nature, can never be apprehended by argument. When the Understanding becomes freed from attributes, then only it can attain to Brahma. When unemancipated from attributes, it falls back from the Supreme. Indeed, such is the nature of the understanding that it rushes towards attributes and moves among them like fire among fuel. As in the state called Sushupti (deep and dreamless slumber) the five senses exist freed from their respective functions, after the same manner the Supreme Brahma exists high above Prakriti, freed from all its attributes. Embodied creatures thus betake themselves to action in consequence of attributes. When they abstain therefrom, they attain to Emancipation. Some again (by action) go to heaven. The living creature, primordial nature, the understanding, the objects of the senses, the senses, consciousness, conviction of personal identity, are called creatures (for they are subjected to destruction). The original creation of all these flowed from the Supreme. Their second or succeeding creation is due to the action of couples or pairs (of opposite sexes) and is confined to all things save the primal five, and is restrained by laws in consequence of which the same species produce the same species. From righteousness (living) creatures obtain a high end, and from sinfulness they earn an end that is low. He who is unemancipated from attachments, encounters rebirth; while he who is emancipated therefrom, attains to Knowledge (or Brahma).'"
76:3 Te is explained by the commentator as Brahmabhigatah. K.P. Singha wrongly renders the last foot of the second line. The Burdwan version is correct.
77:1 Te in the first line is equal to tava.
77:2 I follow the commentator in so far as he is intelligible. It is evident that the words Jnanam and Jneyam are used in the original not consistently throughout.
77:3 The meaning seems to be this: ordinary men regard all external objects as possessing an independent existence, and their attributes also as things different from the substances which own them. The first step to attain to is the conviction that attributes and substances are the same, or that the attributes are the substances. This accords with the European Idealism. The next stage, of course, is to annihilate the attributes themselves by contemplation. The result of this is the attainment of Brahma.
Next: Section CCVI