The Mahabharata Home
"Janamejaya said, "When the high-souled Kesava and Arjuna after slaying their enemies repaired to the assembly rooms, what conversation, O regenerate one, took place between them?'
Vaisampayana said, "The son of Pritha (Arjuna), having recovered his own kingdom, joyously spent his time, without doing anything else, in the company of Krishna, his heart filled with delight, in that palace of celestial beauty. One day, those two listlessly proceeded to a particular part of the palace that looked, O king, like a veritable portion of Heaven. Themselves filled with delight, they were then surrounded by their relatives and attendents. Pandu's son, Arjuna, filled with joy in the company of Krishna, surveyed that delightful mansion, and then addressed his companion, saying, 'O--mighty-armed one, thy greatness became known to me upon the approach of the battle. O son of Devaki, thy form also, as the Lord of the universe, then became known to me! What thy holy self said unto me at that time, O Kesava, through affection, has all been forgotten by me, O chief of men, in consequence of the fickleness of my mind. Repeatedly, however, have I been curious on the subject of those truths. Thou again, O Madhava, wilt repair to Dwaraka soon.'
Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by him, Krishna of mighty
energy, that foremost of speakers, embraced Phalguna and replied unto him as follows.
'Vasudeva said, 'I made thee listen to truths that are regarded as mysteries. I imparted to thee truths that are eternal. Verily, I discoursed to thee on Religion in its true form and on all the eternal regions. It is exceedingly disagreeable to me to learn that thou didst not, from folly, receive what I imparted. The recollection of all that I told thee on that occasion will not come to me now. Without doubt, O son of Pandu, thou art destitute of faith and thy understanding is not good. It is impossible for me, O Dhananjaya, to repeat, in detail, all that I said on that occasion. That religion (about which I discoursed to thee then) is more than sufficient for understanding Brahma. I cannot discourse on it again in detail. I discoursed to thee on Supreme Brahma, having concentrated myself in Yoga. I shalt now, however, recite to thee an old history upon the same topic. O foremost of all persons, observant of duty, listen to everything I now say, so that, with an understanding adapted to my teaching, thou mayst succeed in attaining to the highest end. O chastiser of foes, on one occasion, a Brahmana came to us from the regions of Heaven. Of irresistible energy, he came from the regions of the Grandsire. He was duly reverenced by us. Listen. O son of Pritha, without yielding to scruples of any kind, to what he, O chief of Bharata's race, said, in answer to our enquiries, agreeably to heavenly forms.'
The Brahmana said, That which thou askest me, O Krishna, connected with the religion of Moksha (Emancipation), led by thy compassion for all creatures (and not for thy own good),--that, indeed, which destroys all delusion, O thou that art possessed of supreme puissance 1 I shall now tell thee duly, O slayer of Madhu. Do thou listen with concentrated attention as I discourse to thee, O Madhava. A Brahmana of the name of Kasyapa, possessed of penances and the foremost of all persons conversant with duties, came to a certain other Brahmana who had become conversant with all the mysteries of religion. 2 Indeed, the latter had mastered all the knowledge which the scriptures teach respecting the departure and reappearance of beings and possessed that direct knowledge of all things which Yoga gives. He was well skilled in the truths of all topics relating to the world. He had mastered the truth about pleasure and pain. He knew the truth about birth and death, and understood the distinctions between merit and demerit. He was a beholder of the ends attained to by embodied creatures high and low in consequence of their acts. He lived like one emancipated from the world. Crowned with ascetic success and possessed of perfect tranquillity of soul, he had all his senses under complete control. He seemed to blaze with the resplendence of Brahma and was capable of going everywhere at will. He knew the science of disappearing at will from before the eyes of all. He used to rove in the company of invisible Siddhas and celestial musicians. He used to sit and converse with them on some
spot retired from the bustle of humanity. He was as unattached to all things as the wind. Kasyapa having heard of him truly, desired to see him. Possessed of intelligence, that foremost of all Brahmanas, approached the sage. Himself possessed of penances, Kasyapa, moved by the desire of acquiring merit, fell, with a rapt heart, at the feet of the sage when he had seen all those wonderful attributes. Filled with wonder at the sight of those extraordinary accomplishments, Kasyapa began to wait upon that foremost of all Brahmanas, with the dutiful reverence of a disciple waiting upon his preceptor and succeeded in propitiating him. By his devotion, O scorcher of foes, rendering to hint the obedience due from a disciple to a preceptor, Kasyapa gratified that Brahmana who possessed all these accomplishments and was endued, besides, with scriptural learning and excellent conduct. Gratified with Kasyapa, that Brahmana one day addressed him cheerfully and spoke as follows, with an eye to the highest success. Listen to those words, O Janarddana, as I repeat them.
"--'The ascetic crowned with success said,'--By diverse acts, O son, as also by the aid of merit, mortal creatures attain to diverse ends here and residence in Heaven. Nowhere is the highest happiness; nowhere can residence be eternal. There are repeated falls from the highest regions acquired with such sorrow. In consequence of my indulgence in sin, I had to attain to diverse miserable and inauspicious ends, filled as I was with lust and wrath, and deluded by cupidity. I have repeatedly undergone death and rebirth. I have eaten diverse kinds of food, I have sucked at diverse breasts. I have seen diverse kinds of mothers, and diverse fathers dissimilar to one another. Diverse kinds of happiness have been mine and diverse kinds of misery, O sinless one. On diverse occasions have I been separated from what was agreeable and united with what was disagreeable. Having earned wealth with great toil I have had to put up with its loss. Insults and excessive misery I have received from king and relatives. Mental and physical pain, of great severity, have been mine. Humiliations I have undergone, and death and immurement under circumstances of great severity. Falls into Hell have been mine, and great tortures in the domains of Yama. Decrepitude and diseases have repeatedly assailed me, and calamities, as frequent, in copious measure. In this world I have repeatedly undergone all those afflictions that flow from a perception of all pairs of opposites. After all this, one day, overwhelmed with sorrow, blank despair came upon me. I took refuge in the Formless. Afflicted as I was with great distress, I gave up the world with all its joys and sorrows. 1 Understanding then this path, I exercised myself in it in this world. Afterwards, through tranquillity of soul, I attained to this success that thou seest. I shall not have to come to this world again (after my departure hence). Verily, till I attain to absorption into eternal Brahman, till, in fact, the final dissolution of the universe, I shall look on those happy ends that will be mine, and on those beings that
constitute this universe. 1 Having acquired this excellent success, I shall, after departing from this world, proceed, to what is above it (i.e., Satyaloka) and thence to what is higher (i.e., absorption into Brahman). Verily, I shall attain to the condition, which is unmanifest aspect of Brahman. Let no doubt be thine as regards this. O scorcher of foes, I shall not return to this world of mortal creatures. O thou of great wisdom, I have become gratified with thee. Tell me what I shall do for thee. The time has come for the accomplishment of that purpose for which thou hast come hither. Verily, I know that object for which thou hast sought me. I shall soon depart from this world. Hence it is that I have given thee this hint. O thou of great wisdom and experience, I have been highly gratified with thee for thy behaviour. Do thou question me. I shall discourse on what is beneficial to thee, agreeably to thy desire. I think thy intelligence is great. Indeed, I applaud it much, for it was with the aid of that intelligence that thou wert able to recognise me. Surely, O Kasyapa, thou art possessed of great intelligence.'
24:1 Bhutanam etc. is explained by Nilakantha as no swasya, and the vocative vibho is taken as Paramatman.
24:2 Agatagamam implies, as explained by the commentator, praptasastrarahasyam.
25:1 Nirakarasritena is explained by Nilakantha as Asamprajnatas-samadhi-samadhigamya Brhamabhavasritena, implying reliance on Brahman by having recourse to Samadhi or a suspension of all functions of both body and mind (through Yoga) and arrival at that state which is one of perfect unconsciousness.'
26:1 The dissolution here spoken of is the Mahapralaya and not the Khanda or Avantara Pralayas. Till then, the sage will look upon all beings, i.e., their repeated migrations.
Next: Section XVII