The Mahabharata Home
"Vyasa said, 'The objects by which one is surrounded are created by the understanding. The Soul, without being connected with them, stands aloof, presiding over them. It is the understanding that creates all objects. The three primary qualities are continually being transformed (for the production of objects). The Kshetrajna or Soul, endued with puissance, presides, over them all, without, however, mingling with them. 1 The objects which the understanding creates partake of its own nature. Indeed, as the spider creates threads (which partakes of its own material substance), the objects created by the understanding partake of the nature of the understanding. Some maintain that the qualities, when driven away by Yoga or knowledge, do not cease to exist. They say this because when once gone, the indications only of their return are not perceptible. (But that is no evidence of their actual destruction). Others say that when dispelled by knowledge, they are at once destroyed never to return. 2 Reflecting upon these two opinions properly, one should strive one's best according to the way one thinks proper. It is by this way that one should attain to eminence and take refuge in one's own Soul alone. 3 The Soul is without beginning and without end. Comprehending his Soul properly man should move and act, without giving way to wrath, without indulging in joy, and always free from envy. Cutting by this means the knot that is in one's heart, the knot whose existence is due to the operation of the faculties of the understanding, which is hard (to open or cut), but which nevertheless is capable of being destroyed by knowledge, one should live happily, without giving way to grief (for anything that happens), and with one's doubts dispelled. Know that they who mingle in the affairs of this world are as distressed in body and mind as persons ignorant of the art of swimming
when they slip from the land and fall into a large and deep river. The man of learning, however, being conversant with the truth, is never distressed, for he feels like one walking over solid land. Indeed, he who apprehends his Soul to be such, viz., as presenting only the character of Chit which has knowledge alone for its indication, is never distressed. Indeed, a person, by thus comprehending the origin and end of all creatures, and by thus apprehending their inequalities or distinctions, succeeds in attaining to high felicity. This knowledge is the possession of a Brahmana in especial by virtue of his birth. Knowledge of the Soul, and felicity like that which has been adverted to, are each fully sufficient to lead to emancipation. 1 By acquiring such knowledge one really becomes learned. What else is the indication of a person of knowledge? Having acquired such knowledge, they that are wise among men regard themselves crowned with success and become emancipated. 2 Those things that become sources of fear unto men destitute of knowledge do not become sources of fear unto those that are endued with knowledge. There is no end higher than the eternal end which is obtained by a person possessed of knowledge. One beholds with aversion all earthly objects of enjoyment which are, of course, fraught with faults of every kind. Another, beholding others betake themselves with pleasure to such objects, is filled with sorrow. As regards this matter, however, they that are conversant with both objects, behold, viz., that which is fictitious and that which is not so, never indulge in sorrow and are truly happy. 3 That which a man does without expectation of fruits destroys his acts of a former life. The acts, however, of such a person both of this and his previous life cannot lead to Emancipation. On the other hand, such destruction of former acts and such acts of this life cannot lead to what is disagreeable (viz., hell), even if the man of wisdom engages in acts.'" 4
207:1 Gunan in the first line means Vishayan, in the second line it means Sattivadin, Vikriyatah is vikram bhajamanan. How the understanding creates objects has been explained in previous sections.
207:2 Na nivartante is explained by the commentator as na ghatadivat nasyanti kintu rajjuragadiva badha eva, etc., and he concludes by saying that according to this theory niranvayanasa eva gunanam, or, in other words, that the Gunas are not so destroyed by knowledge that they do not return.
207:3 According to the speaker then, there is not much practical difference between the two opinions here adverted to, and one's course of conduct will not be much affected by either of the theories that one may, after reflection, adopt.
208:1 Janmasamartham is explained as certain to be acquired by virtue of birth or of the practice of the duties laid down for one's own order. Parayanam is moksha-prapakam.
208:2 The Bengal reading buddhah is preferable to the Bombay reading Suddhah which would be pleonastic in view of what follows in the second line.
208:3 Lokam is explained as lokyate iti lokah, i.e., objects of enjoyment such as wife, etc., aturam, is afflicted with faults or defects. Ubhayam kritakritam is as the commentator explains, sokasokarupam or aropitam and anaropitam.
208:4 Many of the verses of this and the previous section correspond with those of section 194 ante. Many verbal changes, however, are noticeable. In consequences of those changes, the meaning sometimes becomes lightly and sometimes materially different.
Next: Section CCL