The Mahabharata Home
"Vyasa said, 'One should not show any affection for scents and tastes and
other kinds of enjoyment. Nor should one accept ornaments and other articles contributing to the enjoyment of the senses of scent and taste. One should not covet honour and achievements and fame. Even this is the behaviour of a Brahmana possessed of vision. 1 He that hath studied all the Vedas, having waited dutifully on his preceptor and observed the vow of Brahmacharya, he that knows all the Richs, Yajuses, and Samans, is not a regenerate person. 2 One that behaves towards all creatures as if one is their kinsman, and one that is acquainted with Brahma, is said to be conversant with all the Vedas. One that is divested of desire (being contented with knowledge of the Soul), never dies. It is by such a behaviour and such a frame of mind that one becomes a truly regenerate person. 3 Having performed only various kinds of religious rites and diverse sacrifices completed with gift of Dakshina, one does not acquire the status of a Brahmana if he is devoid of compassion and hath not given up desire. 4 When one ceases to fear all creatures and when all creatures cease to fear one, when one never desires for anything nor cherishes aversion for anything, then he is said to attain to the status of Brahma. When one abstains from injuring all creatures in thought, speech, and act, then he is said to acquire the status of Brahma. There is only one kind of bondage in this world, viz., the bondage of desire, and no other. One that is freed from the bondage of desire attains to the status of Brahma. Freed from desire like the Moon emerged from murky clouds, the man of wisdom, purged of all stains, lives in patient expectation of his time. That person into whose mind all sorts of desire enter like diverse streams falling into the ocean without being able to enhance its limits by their discharge, succeeds in obtaining tranquillity, but not he who cherishes desire for all earthly objects. Such a person becomes happy in consequence of the fruition of all his wishes, and not he who cherishes desire for earthly objects. The latter, even if he attains to heaven, has to fall away from it. 5 The Vedas have truth for their recondite object. Truth hath the subjugation of the senses for its recondite object. The subjugation of the senses hath charity for its recondite object. Charity hath penance for its recondite object. Penance hath renunciation for its recondite object. Renunciation hath happiness for its recondite object. Happiness hath heaven for its recondite object. Heaven hath tranquillity for its recondite object. 6 For the sake of contentment
thou shouldst wish to obtain a serene understanding which is a precious possession, being indicative of Emancipation, and which, scorching grief and all purposes or doubts together with thirst, destroys them completely in the end. 1 One possessed of those six attributes, viz., contentment, grieflessness, freedom from attachment, peacefulness, cheerfulness, and freedom from envy, is sure to become full or complete. 2 They that, transcending all consciousness of body, know the Soul which resides within the body and which is understood by only persons of wisdom with the aid of the six entities (already mentioned, viz., the Vedas and truth, etc.) when endowed with only the attribute of Sattwa, and with the aid also of the other three (viz., instruction, meditation and Yoga), succeed in attaining to Emancipation. 3 The man of wisdom, by understanding the Soul which presides within the body, which is divested of the attributes of birth and death, which exists in its own nature, which being uninvested with attributes requires no act of purification, and which is identical with Brahma, enjoys beatitude that knows no termination. The gratification that the man of wisdom obtains by restraining his mind from wandering in all directions and fixing it wholly on the Soul is such that its like cannot be attained by one through any other means. He is said to be truly conversant with the Vedas who is conversant with that which gratifies one whose stomach is empty, which pleases one who is indigent, and which invigorates one whose limbs are dry. Suspending his senses that have been duly restrained from unworthy indulgence, he who lives engaged in Yoga meditation, is said to be a Brahmana. Such a person is said to be distinguished above others. Such a person is said to derive his joys from the Soul. With reference to one who lives after having weakened desire and devoting himself to the highest topic of existence, it should be said that his happiness is continuously enhanced like the lunar disc (in the lighted fortnight). 4 Like the
[paragraph continues] Sun dispelling darkness, felicity dispels the sorrows of that Yogin who transcends both the gross and the subtile elements, as also Mahat and the Unmanifest. 1 Decrepitude and death cannot assail that Brahmana who has got beyond the sphere of acts, who has transcended the destruction of the Gunas themselves, and who is no longer attached to worldly objects. 2 Indeed, when the Yogin, freed from everything, lives in a state transcending both attachment and aversion, he is said to transcend even in this life his senses and all their objects. That Yogin, who having transcended Prakriti attains to the Highest Cause, becomes freed from the obligation of a return to the world in consequence of his having attained to that which is the highest.'" 3
211:1 The commentator explains that tasya tasya has reference to gandhadeh. Pracharah means vyavahara. Pasyatah is Vidushah.
211:2 i.e., one that only knows the Vedas and has observed the vow of Brahmacharya is not a superior Brahmana. To become so requires something more.
211:3 I follow the commentator closely in rendering this verse. Sarvavit is taken in the sense of Brahmavit. Akamah is one contented with knowledge of Self. Such a man, the Srutis declare, never dies or perishes. The two negatives in the last clause nullify each other. The Burdwan translator, with the gloss before him, for he cites copiously from it, misunderstands the negatives. K.P. Singha is correct.
211:4 Avidhanat is explained as dayanaishkainyayorananusaranat.
211:5 Kamakantah is explained as kamaih kantah, i.e., manoharah.
211:6 Heaven is Brahma invested with attributes. Tranquillity of soul is Brahma uninvested with attributes. Upanishat is explained as rahasyam. This 'render 'recondite object'. p. 212 The sense of the verse is that each of the things mentioned is useless without that which comes next; and as tranquillity or Brahma uninvested with attributes is the ultimate end, the Vedas and truth, etc., are valuable only because they lead to tranquillity.
212:1 Both the Vernacular translators have rendered this verse wrongly. In the first place, ichcchasi is equivalent to ichccheta. Santoshat is 'for the sake of santosha. Sattwam is buddhiprasadam. Manas is explained as sankalpa or samsaya. The grammatical order is sokamanasoh santapya kledanam. The commentator adds santapamiti namulantam, i.e., formed by the suffix namul.
212:2 Samagrah is literally 'full or complete,' implying that such a man becomes jnana-triptah. Only five attributes are mentioned in this verse but santosha mentioned in verse 13 should be taken to make up six.
212:3 Both the vernacular translators have rendered this verse incorrectly. In the first place shadbhih has reference to the six things mentioned in verse 11 and 12 above. These six again should be satwagunopetaih, i.e., destitute of the attributes of Rajas and Tamas. Unless freed from those two, even the six, of themselves, will not lead to knowledge of the Soul. Tribhih has reference to Sravana, manana, and nididhyasana. Ihastham is 'residing within the body.' Pretya implies transcending consciousness of body or jivati eva dehe dehabhimanadutthaya. Tam gunam is muktalakshanam. The sense, in simple words, is this: transcending all consciousness of body they that succeed in knowing the Soul which resides within the body become emancipated. The first line of the verse simply points out how the Soul may be known.
212:4 Anweti is explained as vardhate.
213:1 The reading I adopt is saviseshani, and not aviseshani although the latter is not incorrect. In treatises on yoga, viseshah imply the gross elements and the eleven senses including the mind. Aviseshah imply the five subtile elements (tanmatrani) and buddhi. By Gunan is meant Mahat and Avyakta or Prakriti. If aviseshani be taken, the reference to the subtile elements would imply that the grosser once have already been transcended.
213:2 Atikrantaguna-kshayam, i.e., one who has transcended disregards the very puissance that the destruction of the gunas is said to bring about.
213:3 Karyyatam is Prakriti which alone is active, Purusha being inactive. Paramam karanam is, of course, Brahma uninvested with attributes.
Next: Section CCLII