The Mahabharata Home
'Yajnavalkya said, Listen now to me, with attention, O king, as to what the places are to which those who die have to go. If the Jiva-soul escapes through the feet, it is said that the man goes to the region of the Vishnu. If through the calves, it has been heard by us, that the man repairs to the regions of the Vasus. if through the knees, he attains to the companionship of those deities that are called Sadhyas. If through the lower duct, the man attains to the regions of Mitra. If through the posteriors, the man returns to the Earth, and if through the thighs to the region of Prajapati. If through the flanks, the man attains to the regions of the Maruts, and if through the nostrils, to the region of Chandramas. If through arms, the man goes to the region of Indra, and if through the chest, to that of Rudra. If through the neck, the man repairs to the excellent region of that foremost of ascetics known by the name of Nara. If through the mouth, the man attains to the region of the Viswadevas and if through the ears, to the region of the deities of the several points of the horizon. If through the nose, the man attains to the region of the Windgod; and if through the eyes, to the region of Agni. If through the brows, the man goes to the region of the Aswins; and if through the forehead, to that of Pitris. If through the crown of the head, the man attains to the region of the puissant Brahman, that foremost of the gods. I have thus told thee, O ruler of Mithila, the several places to which men repair according to the manner in which their Jiva-souls escape from their bodies. I shall now tell thee the premonitory indication, as laid down by the wise of those who have but one year to live. One, who having previously seen the fixed star called Arandhati, fails to see it, or that other star called Dhruva, 1 or one that sees the full Moon or the flame of a burning lamp to be broken towards the south, has but one year to live. Those men, O king, who can no longer see images of themselves reflected in the eyes of others, have but one year to live. One, who, being endued with lustre loses it, or being endued with wisdom loses it,--indeed, one whose inward and outward nature is thus changed,--has but six months more to live. He, who disregards the deities, or quarrels with the Brahmanas, or one, who, being naturally of a dark complexion becomes pale of hue, has but six months more to live. One, who sees the lunar disc to have many holes like a spider's web, or one, who sees the solar disc to have similar holes has but one week more to live. One, who, when smelling fragrant scents in place of worship, perceives them to be as offensive as the scent of corpses, has but one week more to live. The depression of the nose or of the ears, the discolour of the teeth or of the eye, the loss of all consciousness, and the loss also of all animal heat, are symptoms indicating death that very day. If, without any perceptible cause a stream of tears suddenly flows from
one's left eye, and if vapours be seen to issue from one's head, that is a sure indication that the man will die before that day expires. Knowing all these premonitory symptoms, the man of cleansed soul should day and night unite his soul with the Supreme Soul (in Samadhi). Thus should he go on till the day-comes for his dissolution. If, however, instead of wishing to die he desires to live in this world, he casts off all enjoyments,--all scents and tastes,--O king, and lives on in abstinence. He thus conquers death by fixing his soul on the Supreme Soul. Indeed, the man, who is blessed with knowledge of the Soul, O monarch, practises the course of life recommended by the Sankhyas and conquers death by uniting his soul with the Supreme Soul. At last, he attains to what is entirely indestructible, which is without birth, which is auspicious, and immutable, and eternal, and stable, and which is incapable of being attained to by men of uncleansed souls.'"
46:1 The pole-star.
Next: Section CCCXIX