The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'All immobile and mobile beings, distributed into four classes, have been said to be of unmanifest birth and unmanifest death. Existing only in the unmanifest Soul, the Mind is said to possess the attributes of the unmanifest. 2 As a vast tree is ensconced within a small unblown Aswattha flower and becomes observable only when it comes out, even so birth takes place from what is unmanifest. A piece of iron, which is inanimate, runs towards a piece of loadstone. Similarly, inclinations and propensities due to natural instincts, and all else, run towards the Soul in a new life. 3 Indeed, even as those propensities and possessions born of Ignorance and Delusion, and inanimate in respect of their nature, are united with Soul when reborn,
after the same manner, those other propensities and aspirations of the Soul that have their gaze directed towards Brahma become united with it, coming to it directly from Brahma itself. 1 Neither earth, nor sky, nor heaven, nor things, nor the vital breaths, nor virtue and vice, nor anything else, existed before, save the Chit-Soul. Nor have they any necessary connection with even the Chit-Soul defiled by Ignorance. 2 The Soul is eternal. It is indestructible. It occurs in every creature. It is the cause of the Mind. It is without attributes, This universe that we perceive hath been declared (in the Vedas) to be due to Ignorance or Delusion. The Soul's apprehensions of form, etc., are due to past desires. 3 The Soul, when it becomes endued with those causes (viz., desire), is led to the state of its being engaged in acts. In consequence of that condition (for those acts again produce desires to end in acts anew and so on),--this vast wheel to existence revolves, without beginning and without
end. 1 The Unmanifest, viz., the Understanding (with the desires), is the nave of that wheel. The Manifest (i.e., the body with the senses) constitutes its assemblage of spokes, the perceptions and acts from its circumference. Propelled by the quality of Rajas (Passion), the Soul presides over it (witnessing its revolutions). Like oilmen pressing oilseeds in their machine, the consequences born of Ignorance, assailing the universe (of creatures) which is moistened by Rajas, press or grind it in that wheel. In that succession of existences, the living creature, seized by the idea of Self in consequence of desire, engages itself in acts. In the union of cause and effect, those acts again become (new causes). 2 Effects do not enter into causes. Nor do causes enter into effects. In the production of effects, Time is the Cause. The primordial essences (eight in number as mentioned before), and their modifications six-(teen in number), fraught with causes, exists in a state of union, in consequence of their being always presided over by the Soul. Like dust following the wind that moves it, the creature-Soul, divested of body, but endued still with inclinations born of Passion and Darkness and with principles of causes constituted by the acts of the life that is over, moves on, following the direction that the Supreme Soul gives it. The Soul, however, is never touched by those inclinations and propensities. Nor are these touched by the Soul that is superior to them. The wind, which is naturally pure, is never stained by the dust it bears away. 3 As the wind is truly separate from the dust it bears away, even so, the man of wisdom should know, is the connection between that which is called existence or life and the Soul. No one should take it that the Soul, in consequence of its apparent union with the body and the senses and the other propensities and beliefs and unbeliefs, is really endued therewith as its necessary and absolute qualities. On the other hand, the Soul should be taken as existing in its own nature. Thus did the divine Rishi solve the doubt that had taken possession of his disciple's mind. Notwithstanding all this, people depend upon means consisting of acts and scriptural rites for casting off misery and winning happiness. Seeds that are scorched by fire do not put forth sprouts. After the same manner, if everything that contributes to misery be consumed by the fire of true knowledge, the Soul escapes the obligation of rebirth in the world.'
91:2 The mind his no existence except as it exists in the Soul. The commentator uses the illustration of the second moon seen by the eye in water, etc., for explaining the nature of the Mind. It has no real existence as dissociated from the Soul.
91:3 Swabhavahetuja bhavah is explained by the commentator as the virtuous and vicious propensities. (Swabhava purvasamskara; sa eva heturyesham karmanam layah bhavah). 'All else,' of course, means Avidya or Maya, which flows directly from Brahma without being dependent on past acts. The meaning, then, is this: as soon as the Soul takes a new form or body, all the propensities and inclinations, as dependent on its past acts, take possession of it, Avidya or Maya also takes possession of it.
92:1 Both the vernacular translators have wrongly rendered this verse, notwithstanding the help they have derived from Nilakantha's gloss. The fact is, the gloss itself sometimes requires a gloss. Verses 3 and 4 and connected with each other. In verse, 3, the speaker mentions two analogies viz., first, that of iron, which is inanimate, following the loadstone, and, second, of Swabhavahetuja bhavah (meaning, as already explained, all such consequences as are born of the acts of previous lives), as also anyadapi, i.e., all else of a similar nature, meaning, of course, the consequences of 'Avidya' or 'Maya' which flow directly from Brahma instead of former acts. In verse 4, reference is again made to avyaktajabhavah, meaning propensities and possessions born of 'Avidya' or 'Maya'. This is only a repetition, in another form, of what has already been stated in the second line of verse 3. The commentator explains this very clearly in the opening words of his gloss. After this comes the reference to the higher propensities and aspirations that are in the Soul. The grammar of the line is this: Tadvat Kartuh karanalakshanah (bhavah) karanat abhisanghathah. The plain meaning, of course, is that like all the darker and indifferent propensities and possessions that come to the Soul in its new life, born of the acts of past lives, all the higher aspirations also of the Soul come to it from Brahma direct. The word karana is used in both instances for Brahma as the Supreme Cause of everything.
92:2 The sense is this: In the beginning there was nothing save the Chit-Soul. Existent objects exist only because of Ignorance having defiled the Soul. Their connection again with the Soul is not absolute and necessary, That connection may be destroyed without the Soul losing anything. What is intended to be conveyed by this verse is that at first, i.e., before the creation, there was nothing, except jiva or the Soul with Knowledge alone for its indicating attribute. The things mentioned, viz., earth, etc., were not. Nor do they inhere to jiva with even Ignorance or Delusion for its indicating attribute, i.e., to the born, Soul. The born Soul may seem to manifest all those attributes, but it is really independent of or separate from them. Their connection with the Soul, as already said, is neither absolute nor eternal. In the next verse, the speaker explains the nature of those manifestations.
92:3 The connection between earth, etc., with the Soul has before been said to be neither absolute nor eternal. Whence then that connection? In 6, it is said that all the apprehensions of the Soul with regard to earth, etc., are due to Ignorance or Delusion flowing directly from Brahma and assailing it thereafter. The apprehension of the Soul that it is a man or an animal, that it has a body, that it is acting, etc., are to borrow the commentator's illustration, just like that of one's being a king in a dream who is not, however, really a king, or of one's being a child who is not, however, really a child. Being eternal or without beginning its first existence under the influence of Delusion is untraceable. As long, again, as it has Knowledge alone for its attribute, it remains indestructible, i.e., free from the mutations of existence. It occurs in every creature, i.e., in man and beast.
93:1 The sense seems to be this: In consequence of desires the Soul manifests itself in some form of existence. In that state it acts. Those acts again lead to desires anew, which, in their turn, bring on new forms or states of existence. The circle of existence or life thus goes on, without beginning and without end.
93:2 The Cause is ignorance. The Effect is the body and the senses of a particular form of existence. When the creature, in consequence of this union, engages in acts, these latter become causes for new states of existence.
93:3 The object of this verse is to reiterate the doctrine that the possession of the body and the senses, etc., does not after the state of the Soul. The Soul is really unattached to these though it may apparently exist in a state of union with them, like the wind, which existing in a state of apparent union with the dust it bears away is even at such times pure by itself and as a substance, exists separately.
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