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The Mahabharata
of Krishna - Dwaipayana Vyasa
translated by
Kisari Mohan Ganguli

[pub. between 1883 and 1896]

01 - Adi Parva
02 - Sabha Parva
03 - Vana Parva
04 - Virata Parva

05 - Udyoga Parva
06 - Bhishma Parva
07 - Drona Parva
08 - Karna Parva
09 - Shalya Parva
10 - Sauptika Parva
11 - Stri Parva
12 - Santi Parva
13 - Anusasana Parva
14 - Aswamedha Parva
15 - Asramavasika Parva
16 - Mausala Parva
17 - Mahaprasthanika Parva
18 - Svargarohanika Parva

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"Vyasa said, 'Unto a disciple that wishes to enquire after Emancipation after having transcended all pairs of opposites and accomplished the concerns of both profit and religion, an accomplished preceptor should first recount all that has been said in the foregoing section, which is elaborate, on the topic of Adhyatma4 Space, wind, light, water and earth counted as the fifth, and bhava and abhava and time, exist in all living creatures having the five for their constituent ingredients. 5 Space is unoccupied interval. The organs of hearing consist of space. One conversant with the science of entities endued with form should know that space has sound for its attribute. The feet (that assist at locomotion) have wind for their essence. The vital breaths are made of wind. The sense of touch (skin) has wind for its essence, and touch is the attribute of wind. Heat, the digestive fire in the stomach, light that discovers all things, the warmth that is in the body, and eye counted as the fifth, are all of light which has form of diverse colours for its attribute. Liquefied discharges,

p. 214

solubility, and all kinds of liquid matter are of water. Blood, marrow, and all else (in the body) that is cool, should be known to have water for their essence. The tongue is the sense of taste, and taste is regarded as the attribute of water. All solid substances are of earth, as also bones, teeth, nails, beard, the bristles on the body, hair, nerves, sinews, and skin. The nose is called the sense of scent. The object of that sense, viz., scent, should be known as the attribute of earth. Each subsequent element possesses the attribute or attributes of the preceding one besides its own.  1 In all living creatures again are the (three) supplementary entities (viz., avidya, kama, and karma). 2 The Rishis thus declared the five elements and the effects and attributes flowing from or belonging to them. The mind forms the ninth in the calculation, and the understanding is regarded as the tenth. The Soul, which is infinite, is called the eleventh. It is regarded as this all and as the highest. The mind has doubt for its essence. The understanding discriminates and causes certainty. The Soul (which, as already said, is infinite), becomes known as Jiva invested with body (or jivatman) through consequences derived from acts. 3 That man who looketh upon the entire assemblage of living creatures to be unstained, though endued with all these entities having time for their essence, has never to recur to acts affected by error.'" 4


213:4 Dwandwani is governed by anushthitah. Mahat here is elaborate. The speaker, having first discussed the subject elaborately, intends to speak of it in brief in this Section.

213:5 Panchasu is explained by the commentator as Panchatmakeshu. Hence, he properly points out that bhava and abhava and kala are included by the speaker within bhutas or primary elements. Bhava implies the four entities called karma, samanya, visesha and samavaya. By abhava is meant a negative state with respect to attributes not possessed by a thing. We cannot think of a thing without thinking of it as uninvested with certain attributes whatever other attributes it may possess.

214:1 Enlarged, the constructions of the original becomes thus: 'uttareshu (bhuteshu) (purvabhuta) gunah (santi).'

214:2 Uttarah imply the three entities known by the names of Avidya (Ignorance), Kama (desire), and Karma (acts). This part of the verse is skipped over by the vernacular translators.

214:3 i.e., the soul when invested with Avidya and desire becomes a living creature and engages in acts. It is through consequences then that are derived from acts that the infinite Soul (or Chit) becomes Jivatman.

214:4 This is a very difficult verse and no wonder that both the vernacular versions are defective. K.P. Singha gives the substance, skipping over many of the words. The Burdwan translator, though citing largely from the gloss, misunderstands both verse and gloss completely. The grammatical construction is this: Ebhih sarvaih kalatmakaih bhavaih anwitam sarvam yah akalushiam pasyati (sah) samoham karma nanuvartate. Sarvam here refers to pranijatam or the entire assemblage of living creatures. Kalatmakaih bhavaih is punyapapadi samskaratmabhih. Bhavaih is taken by the commentator as equivalent to bhavanabhih. I prefer to take it in the sense of entity. He who looks upon these as akalusham, i.e., as unstained Chit (that is, he who has a knowledge of the Soul), becomes freed from samoham karma, i.e., succeeds in becoming nishkamah in consequence of his acquaintance with atmatattwa.

Next: Section CCLIII