The Mahabharata Home
"Vasudeva said, "O scion of Bharata's race, salvation is not attained by foregoing the external things (like kingdom, etc), it is only attained by giving up things which pander to the flesh (body). The virtue and happiness which are attainable by the person who has renounced only the external objects, but who is at the same time engrossed by passions and weakness of the flesh, let these be the portion of our enemies. The word with two letters is Mrit-yu (death of the soul or perdition), and the word with three letters is Sas-wa-ta (Brahman) or the eternal spirit. The consciousness that this or that thing is mine, or the state of being addicted to worldly objects is Mrityu and the absence of that feeling is Saswatam. And these two, Brahman and Mrityu, O king, have their seats in the souls of all creatures, and remaining unseen, they, without doubt, wage war with each other. And if, O Bharata, it be true that no creature is ever destroyed, then one doth not make oneself guilty of the death of a creature by piercing (destroying) its body. What matters the world to a man, if having acquired the sovereignty of the whole earth with its mobile and immobile creation, he does not become attached to it, or engrossed in its enjoyment. But the man who having renounced the world, has taken to the life of the recluse in the forest, living on wild roots and edibles, if such a man, O son of Pritha, has a craving for the good things of the world, and is addicted to them, he may be said to bear Mrityu (death) in his mouth. Do thou, O Bharata, watch and observe the character of thy external and internal enemies, (by means of thy spiritual vision), And the man who is able to perceive the nature of the eternal reality is able to overreach the influence of the great fear (perdition). Men do not look with approbation upon the conduct of those who are engrossed in worldly desires and there is no act without having a desire (at its root) and all (Kama) desires are, as it were, the limbs (offshoots) of the mind. Therefore, wise men knowing this subjugate their desires. The Yogi who holds communion with the Supreme Spirit, knows Yoga to be the perfect way (to salvation) by reason of the practices of his many former births. And remembering that, what the soul desires, is not conducive to piety and virtue, but that the suppression of the desires is at the root of all true virtue, such men
do not engage in the practice of charity, Vedic learning, asceticism and Vedic rites whose object is attainment of worldly prosperity, ceremonies, sacrifices, religious rules and meditation, with the motive of securing any advantage thereby. By way of illustration of this truth, the sages versed in ancient lore, recite these Gathas called by the name of Kamagita, do thou O Yudhishthira, listen to the recital of them in detail. (Kama says) No creature is able to destroy me without resorting to the proper methods (viz., subjugating of all desires and practice of Yoga etc.) If a man knowing my power, strive to destroy me by muttering prayers etc., I prevail over him by deluding him with the belief that I am the subjective ego within him. If he wish to destroy me by means of sacrifices with many presents, I deceive him by appearing in his mind as a most virtuous creature amongst the mobile creation, and if he wish to annihilate me by mastering the Vedas and Vedangas, I over reach him by seeming to his mind to be the soul of virtue amongst the immobile creation. And if the man whose strength lies in truth, desire to overcome me by patience, I appear to him as his mind, and thus he does not perceive my existence, and if the man of austere religious practices, desire to destroy me by means of asceticism, I appear in the guise of asceticism in his mind, and thus he is prevented from knowing me, and the man of learning, who with the object of attaining salvation desires to destroy me, I frolic and laugh in the face of such a man intent on salvation. I am the everlasting one without a compeer, whom no creature can kill or destroy. For this reason thou too, O prince, divert thy desires (Kama) to Virtue, so that, by this means, thou mayst attain what is well for thee. Do thou therefore make preparations for the due performance of the horse sacrifice with presents, and various other sacrifices of great splendour, and accompanied with presents. Let not therefore grief overpower thee again, on beholding thy friends lying slain on the battlefield. Thou canst not see the men slain in this battle alive again. Therefore shouldst thou perform magnificent sacrifices with presents, so that thou mayst attain fame in this world, and reach the perfect way (hereafter)."
Next: Section XIV