The Mahabharata Home
"--The Brahmana said, 'He who becomes absorbed in the one receptacle (of all things), freeing himself from even the thought of his own identity with all things,--indeed, ceasing to think of even his own existence,--gradually casting off one after another, will succeed in crossing his bonds. 2 That man who is the friend of all, who endures all, who is attached to tranquillity, who has conquered all his senses, who is divested of fear and wrath, and who is of restrained soul. succeeds in emancipating himself. He who behaves towards all creatures as towards himself, who is restrained, pure, free from vanity and divested of egoism is regarded as emancipated from everything. He also is
emancipated who looks with an equal eye upon life and death, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, agreeable and disagreeable. He is in every way emancipated who does not covet what belongs to others, who never disregards any body, who transcends all pairs of opposites, and whose soul is free from attachment. He is emancipated who has no enemy, no kinsman, and no child, who has cast off religion, wealth, and pleasure, and who is freed from desire or cupidity. He becomes emancipated who acquires neither merit nor demerit, who casts off the merits and demerits accumulated in previous births, who wastes the elements of his body for attaining to a tranquillised soul, and who transcends all pairs of opposites. He who abstains from all acts, who is free from desire or cupidity, who looks upon the universe as unenduring or as like an Aswattha tree, ever endued with birth, death and decrepitude, whose understanding is fixed on renunciation, and whose eyes are always directed towards his own faults, soon succeeds in emancipating himself from the bonds that bind him. 1 He that sees his soul void of smell, of taste and touch, of sound, of belongings, of vision, and unknowable, becomes emancipated. 2 He who sees his soul devoid of the attributes of the five elements to be without form and cause, to be really destitute of attributes though enjoying them, becomes emancipated. 3 Abandoning, with the aid of the understanding, all purposes relating to body and mind, one gradually attains to cessation of separate existence, like a fire unfed with fuel. 4 One who is freed from all impressions, who transcends all pairs of opposites, who is destitute of all belongings, and who uses all his senses under the guidance of penances, becomes emancipated. 5 Having become freed from all impressions, one then attains to Brahma which is Eternal and supreme, and tranquil, and stable, and enduring, and indestructible. After this I shall declare the science of Yoga to which there is nothing superior, and how Yogins, by concentration, behold the perfect soul. 6 I shall declare the instructions regarding it duly. Do thou learn from me those doors by which directing the soul within the body one beholds that which is without beginning and end. 7 Withdrawing the senses from their objects, one should fix the mind upon the soul; having previously undergone the severest austerities, one should practise that concentration of mind which leads to
[paragraph continues] Emancipation. 1 Observant of penances and always practising concentration of mind, the learned Brahmana, endued with intelligence, should observe the precepts of the science of Yoga, beholding the soul in the body. If the good man succeeds in concentrating the mind on the soul, he then, habituated to exclusive meditation, beholds the Supreme soul in his own soul. Self-restrained, and always concentrated, and with all his senses completely conquered, the man of cleansed soul, in consequence of such complete concentration of mind, succeeds in beholding the soul by the soul. As a person beholding some unseen individual in a dream recognises him, saying,--This is he,--when he sees him after waking, after the same manner the good man having seen the Supreme Soul in the deep contemplation of Samadhi recognises it upon waking from Samadhi. 2 As one beholds the fibrous pith after extracting it from a blade of the Saccharum Munja, even so the Yogin beholds the soul, extracting it from the body. The body has been called the Saccharum Munja, and the fibrous pith is said to stand for the soul. This is the excellent illustration propounded by persons conversant with Yoga. When the bearer of a body adequately beholds the soul in Yoga, he then has no one that is master over him, for he then becomes the lord of the three worlds. 3 He succeeds in assuming diverse bodies according as he wishes. Turning away decrepitude and death, he neither grieves nor exults. The self-restrained man, concentrated in Yoga, can create (for himself) the godship of the very gods. Casting off his transient body he attains to immutable Brahma. 4 No fear springs up in him at even the sight of all creatures falling victims to destruction (before his eyes). When all creatures are afflicted,--he can never be afflicted by any one. Devoid of desire and possessed of a tranquil mind, the person in Yoga is never shaken by pain and sorrow and fear, the terrible effects that flow from attachment and affection. Weapons never pierce him; death does not exist for him. Nowhere in the world can be seen any one that is happier than he. Having adequately concentrated his soul, he lives steadily on himself. Turning off decrepitude and pain and pleasure, he sleeps in comfort. Casting off this human body he attains to (other) forms according to his pleasure. While one is enjoying the sovereignty that Yoga bestows, one should never fall away from devotion to Yoga. 5 When one, after adequate devotion to Yoga, beholds the Soul in
oneself, one then ceases to have any regard for even him of a hundred sacrifices (Indra). 1 Hear now how one, habituating oneself to exclusive meditation, succeeds in attaining to Yoga. Thinking of that point of the compass which has the Sun behind it, the mind should be fixed, not outside, but in the interior of that mansion in which one may happen to live. Residing within that mansion, the mind should then, with all its outward and inward (operations), behold in that particular room in which one may stay. At that time when, having deeply meditated, one beholds the All (viz., Brahman, the Soul of the universe), there is then nothing external to Brahman where the mind may dwell. Restraining all the senses in a forest that is free from noise and that is uninhabited, with mind fixed thereon, one should meditate on the All (or universal Brahman) both outside and inside one's body. One should meditate on the teeth, the palate, the tongue, the throat, the neck likewise; one should also meditate on the heart and the ligatures of the heart! 2
"The Brahmana continued, 'Thus addressed by me, that intelligent disciple, O slayer of Madhu, once more asked me about this religion of Emancipation that is so difficult to explain. How does this food that is eaten from time to time become digested in the stomach? How does it become transformed into juice? How, again, into blood? How does it nourish the flesh, the marrow, the sinews, the bones? How do all these limbs of embodied creatures grow? How does the strength grow of the growing man? How occurs the escape of all such elements as are not nutritive, and of all impurities separately? How does this one inhale and again, exhale? Staying upon what particular part does the Soul dwell in the body? How does Jiva, exerting himself, bear the body? Of what colour and of what kind is the body in which he dwells again (leaving a particular body)? O holy one, it behoveth thee to tell me all this accurately, O sinless one,--even thus was I interrogated by that learned Brahmana, O Madhava. I replied unto him, O thou of mighty arms, after the manner I myself had heard, O chastiser of all foes. As one placing some
precious object in one's store-room should keep one's mind on it, so, placing the mind within one's own body, one should then, restraining all the senses, seek after the Soul, avoiding all heedlessness. One would, becoming always assiduous in this way and gratified with one's own self, within a very short time attain to that Brahma by beholding which one would become conversant with Pradhana. 1 He is not capable of being seized by the eye; nor even by all the senses. 2 It is only with the lamp of the mind that great Soul can be seen. He has hands and feet on all sides; he has ears on all sides; he dwells, pervading all things in the world. 3 Jiva beholds the Soul as extracted from the body (like the stalk from a blade of Saccharum Munja, when knowledge comes). Then casting off Brahma as invested with form, by holding the mind in the body, he beholds Brahma as freed from all attributes. 4 He sees the Soul with his mind, smiling as it were at the time. Depending upon that Brahma, he then attains to Emancipation in me. 5 O foremost of regenerate ones, all this mystery has now been declared by me. I ask thy permission, for I shall leave this spot. Do thou (also) go withersoever thou pleasest. Thus addressed by me, O Krishna, on that occasion, that disciple of mine, endued with austere penances, that Brahmana of rigid vows, went away according to his pleasure.
"Vasudeva continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, O son of Pritha, having said these words unto me, on that occasion, properly relating to the religion of Emancipation, disappeared then and there. Has this discourse been heard by thee, O son of Pritha, with mind directed solely towards it? Even this was what thou didst hear on that occasion while thou wert on thy car. It is my opinion, O son of Pritha, that this is difficult of being comprehended by one whose understanding is confused, or who has acquired no wisdom by study, or who eats food incompatible with his body, or whose Soul is not purified. 6 O chief of Bharata's race, this is a great mystery among the deities that has been declared (to thee). At no time or place, O son of Pritha, has this been heard by man in this world. O sinless one, no other man than thyself is deserving of hearing it. It is not, at this time, capable of being easily understood by one whose inner soul is confused. The world of the deities is filled, O son of Kunti, with those who follow the religion of actions. The cessation of the mortal
form (by practising the religion of inaction) is not agreeable to the deities. 1 That goal, O son of Pritha, is the highest which is constituted by eternal Brahman where one, casting off the body, attains to immortality and becomes always happy. By adhering to this religion, even they who axe of sinful birth, such as women and Vaisyas and Sudras, attain to the highest goal. What need be said then, O son of Pritha, of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas possessed of great learning, always devoted to the duties of their own orders and who are intent on (the acquisition of) the region of Brahma? This has been laid down with the reasons (on which it rests); and also the means for its acquisition; and its complete attainment and fruit, viz., Emancipation and the ascertainment of the truth regarding pain. O chief of Bharata's race, there is nothing else that is fraught with happiness greater than this. That mortal, O son of Pandu, who, endued with intelligence, and faith, and prowess, renounces as unsubstantial what is regarded as substantial by the world, succeeds within a short time in obtaining the Supreme by these means. This is all that is to be said,--there is nothing else that is higher than this. Yoga takes place in his case, O son of Pritha, who devotes himself to its constant practice for a period of six months.'"
31:2 Ekayana is the one receptacle of all things, viz., Brahman. Tushni implies ahamevedam sarvamasmityabhimanamapyakurvan i.e., 'without even retaining the consciousness of his own identity with everything.' Kinchikachintayan--i.e., not even thinking that he is existing. Purvam purvam parityajya implies the gradual merging of the grosser in the subtler. i.e., the successive stages of Yoga before absorption into Brahman. I follow Nilakantha.
32:1 The first half of the second line of 8 is read differently in the Bengal texts. Aswasthamavasam mudham implies 'without ease or happiness, endued with slavery and ignorance.'
32:2 The Soul being destitute of these becomes Chinmatra, i.e., a pure Chit without the attributes superinduced upon it by Ne-science or ignorance.
32:3 Formlessness implies subtlety. 'Without cause' implies increate or as identical with eternal Brahman. Dissociation from attributes while enjoying them implies an emancipate condition.
32:4 Nirvana, according to orthodox commentators, implies the annihilation or cessation of separate or individual existence by absorption into universal and eternal Brahman.
32:5 The impressions caused by objects outside self are destroyed by those belonging to contemplation. The latter, again, should be destroyed before absorption into Brahman can occur.
32:6 Siddham is explained as 'destitute of the errors due to Ne-science.'
32:7 Attnanam is Chittam; atmani is dehe; charayan is antarmukham kritwa; nityam is adyantasunyam. So Nilakantha.
33:1 'Fixing the mind upon the soul' is that concentration which leads to Emancipation. This becomes possible in consequence of severe austerities undergone previously.
33:2 I expand the verse a little to make it intelligible. The sense is this: having seen the supreme Soul in Samadhi, upon awaking from it, he recognises it in the universe, i.e., regards the universe to be nothing else than the Supreme Soul.
33:3 This may also mean 'he has none superior to him; not even he that is the Lord of the universe.'
33:4 The first line seems to be doubtful. The sense, as I understand it, is,--such a person becomes the god of the very gods. The causal verb karayate may be taken as equivalent to karoti.
33:5 I follow Nilakantha in rendering the second line. The sense is clear, viz., that one should not fall away from the practice of Yoga, tempted by the puissance that Yoga brings. Telang renders the line 'one practising concentration should never become despondent.' I think, Nilakantha is right.
34:1 Nilakantha notes that this indicates that only that Yogin who has not advanced much may be tempted by the desire of enjoyment. He, however, who has adequately devoted himself to Yoga feels no regard for Indra himself but can turn him away like Diogenes dismissing Alexander the Great.
34:2 I have endeavoured to render verses 33 to 37 as literally as possible, under the guide of Nilakantha, omitting his inferences. The passage relates to the mysteries of Yoga. In the second line of 33, drishtapurvam disam, which has been rendered 'that point of the compass which has the Sun behind it,' means the instructions laid down in the Vedanta as based upon Srutis. Drishtam implies 'Sruti', for it is as authoritative as anything seen. 'Pura' implies a city, a citadel, or a mansion. Here it refers to the body. The avasatha within the pura refers to the chakra or nervous centres beginning with what is called the muladhara. At the time when Brahman is realised, the whole universe appears as Brahman and so nothing exists, besides Brahman, upon which the mind can then dwell. Telang, I think, is not correct in rendering manaschasya ... vahyatah as 'his mind should not any way wander outside'. The correct version would 'the mind is then nowhere,' implying that at that time the mind has nothing else to dwell upon. Kayamabhyantaram is kayamabhi and antaram, i.e., both within and without the body. The several parts of the body named, beginning with teeth, etc, refer to eating and other operations, all of which influence the mind and dispose it for purity and otherwise.
35:1 i.e., that from which the entire universe has been created.
35:2 Probably, 'by any of the senses'. The plural form occurs in the original.
35:3 This answers the questions respecting the form of the Soul, says Nilakantha.
35:4 I render this verse, following Nilakantha's gloss. The second line of 50, according to that commentator, refers to the ascension of the Yogin from Brahma vested with attributes to Brahma divested of all attributes. The tam does not refer to body, as Telang takes it, but to Brahma as endued with hands and feet on all sides, etc. Deheswam dharayan means 'restraining the mind within the body'. Kevalam Brahma is Brahma without attributes.
35:5 The speaker here is the regenerate visitor of Krishna. The latter is repeating the words of that visitor. In this verse, Krishna, forgetting that he is merely reciting the words of another, refers to himself as the Supreme Brahman in whom one must merge for attaining to Emancipation.
35:6 The second line of 56 is read variously.
36:1 Heaven is the reward of those who follow the religion of Pravritti or acts, such as sacrifices, religious observances, etc. The followers, however, of the religion of Nivritti or inaction, i.e., they who betake themselves to the path of knowledge, become emancipated. The deities derive their sustenance from the former and become even jealous of the latter, for the emancipate state is higher than that of the deities themselves.
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