The Mahabharata Home
"Vyasa said, 'The Jiva-soul is endued with all those entities that are modifications of Prakriti. These do not know the Soul but the Soul knows them all. Like a good driver proceeding with the aid of strong, well-broken, and high-mettled steeds along the paths he selects, the Soul acts with the aid of these, called the senses, having the mind for their sixth. The objects of the senses are superior to the senses themselves. The mind is superior to those objects. The understanding is superior to the mind. The Soul, also called Mahat, is superior to the understanding. Superior to Mahat is the Unmanifest (or Prakriti). Superior to the Unmanifest is Brahma. There is nothing Superior to Brahma. That is the highest limit of excellence and the highest goal. The Supreme Soul is concealed in every creature. It is not displayed for ordinary men to behold. Only Yogins with subtile vision behold the Supreme Soul with the aid of their keen and subtile understanding. Merging the senses having the mind for their sixth and all the objects of the senses into the inner Soul by the aid of the Understanding, and reflecting upon the three states of consciousness, viz., the object thought, the act of thinking, and the thinker, and abstaining by contemplation from every kind of enjoyment, equipping his mind with the knowledge that he is Brahma's self, laying aside at the same time all consciousness of puissance, and thereby making his soul perfectly tranquil, the Yogin obtains that to which immortality inheres. That person, however, who happens to be the slave of all his senses and whose ideas of right and wrong have been confounded, already liable as he is to death, actually meets with death by such surrender of self to (the passions). 1 Destroying
all desires, one should merge the gross Understanding into one's subtile Understanding. Having thus merged the gross into the subtile Understanding, one is sure to become a second Kalanjara mountain. 1 By purifying his heart, the Yogin transcends both righteousness and its reverse. By purifying his heart and by living in his own true nature, he attains to the highest happiness. 2 The indication of that purity of heart (of which I speak) is that one who has attained to experiences that state of unconsciousness (with respect of all one's surroundings) which one experiences in dreamless slumber. The Yogin who has attained to that state lives like the steady flame of a lamp that burns in a place where the atmosphere is perfectly still. Becoming abstemious in diet, and having cleansed his heart, that Yogin who applies his Soul to the Soul succeeds in beholding the Soul in the Soul. 3 This discourse, O son, intended for thy instruction, is the essence of all the Vedas. The truths herein disclosed are incapable of being understood by the aid of inference alone or by that of mere study of the scriptures. One must understand it oneself by the aid of faith. By churning the wealth that is contained in all religious works and in all discourses based on truth, as also the ten thousand Richs, this nectar hath been raised. As butter from curds and fire from wood, even hath this been raised for the sake of my son,--this that constituteth the knowledge of all truly wise men. This discourse, O son, fraught with solid instruction, is intended for delivery unto Snatakas. 4 It should never be imparted to one that is not of tranquil soul, or one that is not self-restrained, or one that hath not undergone penances. It should not be communicated to one that is not conversant with the Vedas, or one that doth not humbly wait upon one's preceptor, or one that is not free from malice, or one that is not possessed of sincerity and candour, or one that is of reckless behaviour. It should never be communicated to one whose intellect hath been consumed by the science of disputation, or one that is vile or low. Unto that person, however, who is possessed of fame, or who deserveth applause (for his virtues), or who is of tranquil soul, or possessed of ascetic merit, unto a Brahmana who is such, unto one's son or dutiful disciple, this discourse containing the
very essence of duties should be communicated, but on no account should it be communicated to others. If any person makes a gift of the whole earth with all her treasures, unto one conversant with truth, the latter would still regard the gift of this knowledge to be very much superior to that gift. I shall now discourse to thee on a subject that is a greater mystery than this, a subject that is connected with the Soul, that transcends the ordinary understandings of human beings, that has been beheld by the foremost of Rishis, that has been treated in the Upanishads, and that forms the topic of thy inquiry. Tell me what, after this is in thy mind? Tell me in what thou has still any doubt? Listen, for here I am, O son, faces turned towards all directions. The Sun and the Moon are thy two seated before thee! Upon what indeed, shall I once more speak to thee?'"
200:1 Smriti is memory. One whose smriti, is lost means one whose conceptions of right and wrong are confounded. Atmanah sampradanena is 'by the surrender of oneself' to one's own passions or Kamadibhyah as the commentator explains.
201:1 Chittam is explained by the commentator as the gross understanding, and Sattwa as the subtile understanding.. The understanding that is concerned with the images brought by the mind or the senses is called gross; while that which is concerned with ideas about Brahma is called subtile. Kalanjara is explained by the commentator either as standing for the mountain of that name, i.e., irremovable as the mountain so called; or, as one who destroys the effect of Time, i.e., one who subdues Time instead of being subdued by that universal conqueror.
201:2 The purification here referred to consists in transcending the consciousness of duality. Righteousness should be avoided because of its incapacity to lead to Emancipation which is much higher than heaven. Atmani sthitwa means living in one's real or true nature, i.e., merging everything into the Soul. This is attained when the consciousness of duality is transcended.
201:3 Atmanam in the first line is the Jiva-soul, and atmani is the Supreme Soul. In the second line also, the same distinction is observed between the two words.
201:4 Brahmanas, who having completed the study of the Vedas have betaken themselves to the domestic mode of life, are so called. Here, probably, the reference is to persons having faith in the Vedas and of pure conduct.
Next: Section CCXLVII