The Mahabharata Home
"Vasudeva said, 'In this connection is cited the ancient narrative, O son of Pritha, of the discourse that took place between a married couple. A certain Brahmana's spouse, beholding the Brahmana, her husband who was a complete master of every kind of knowledge and wisdom, seated in seclusion, said unto him,--Into what region shall I go, depending on thee as my husband,--thee that art seated, having cast off all (religious) acts, that art harsh in thy conduct towards me, and that art so undiscerning? 2 It has been heard by us that a wife attains to those regions which are acquired by her husband. What, indeed, is the goal that I shall attain, having obtained thee for my husband?--Thus questioned, that Brahmana of tranquil soul then said unto her, smilingly,--O blessed dame, I am not offended with these words of thine, O sinless one. Whatever acts exist that are adopted with the aid of others, that are seen (in consequence of their grossness), and that are true, are done as acts by men
devoted to acts. 1 Those persons that are destitute of knowledge, only store delusion by acts. Freedom from acts, again, is incapable of being attained in this world for even a moment. From birth to the attainment of a different form, action good or bad, and accomplished by acts, mind, or speech, exists in all beings. Those paths (of action) which are characterised by visible objects (such as Soma-juice and ghee for libations) being destroyed by Rakshasas, turning away from them I have perceived the seat (of the soul) that is in the body, without the aid of the soul. 2 There dwells Brahma transcending all pairs of opposites; there Soma with Agni: and there the urger of the understanding (viz., Vayu) always moves, upholding all creatures. 3 It is for that seat that the Grandsire Brahman and others, concentrated in Yoga, worship the Indestructible. It is for that seat that men of learning and excellent vows, of tranquil souls, and of senses completely vanquished, strive. 4 That is not capable of being smelt by the sense of smell; nor tasted by the tongue; or touched by the organs of touch. It is by the mind that that is attained. It is incapable of being conquered by the eye. It transcends the sense of hearing. It is destitute of scent, taste, touch, and form as attributes. It is that from which proceeds the well-ordained universe, and it is that upon which it rests. The life-breaths called Prana and Apana and Samana and Vyana and Udana flow from it, and it is that into which they again enter. The breaths Prana and Apana move between Samana and Vyana. When the soul sleeps, both Samana and Vyana are absorbed. 5 Between Apana and Prana, Udana dwells, pervading all. Hence, Prana and Apana do not desert a sleeping person. In consequence of its controlling all the life-winds, the controlling breath is called Udana. Hence, utterers of Brahman undergo penances which have myself for their goal. 6 In the midst of all those life-breaths that swallow up one another and move within the body, blazes forth the fire called Vaiswanara made up of seven flames. The nose, the tongue, the eye, the skin, the ear which numbers the fifth, the mind, and the understanding,--these are the seven tongues of that Vaiswanara's flame. That which is smelt, that which is seen, that which is drunk, that which is touched, as also that which is heard, that
which is thought of, and that which is understood,--these are the seven sorts of fuel for me. That which smells, that which eats, that which sees, that which touches, that which hears numbering the fifth; that which thinks, and that which understands,--these are the seven great officiating priests. Behold, O blessed one, learned sacrificers duly casting seven libations in seven ways in the seven fires, viz., that which is smelt, that which is drunk, that which is seen, that which is touched, as also that which is heard, that which is thought of, and that which is understood, create them in their own wombs. 1 Earth, Wind, Ether, Water, and Light numbering as the fifth, Mind, and Understanding--these seven are called wombs (of all things). All the attributes which constitute the sacrificial offerings, enter into the attribute that is born of the fire, and having dwelt within that dwelling became reborn in their respective wombs. Thither also, viz., in that which generates all beings, they remain absorbed during the period for which dissolution lasts. From that is produced smell, from that is produced taste, from that is produced colour, and from that is produced touch; from that is produced sound; from that arises doubt; and from that is produced resolution. This is what is known as the sevenfold creation. It is in this very way that all this was comprehended by the ancients. By the three full and final libations, the full become full with light.'"
36:2 Avichakshanam is undiscerning, in the sense of the husband's not knowing that the interrogatrix as wife, has no other refuge than her lord with all his defects.
37:1 I follow Nilakantha. Telang adopts the views or Arjuna Misra and renders the first line as 'whatever acts are seized (by the touch, or seen, or heard, etc.') Grahyam, according to Nilakantha, implies those acts, like Diksha, etc, which are adopted with the aid of others.
37:2 This seat, says Nilakantha, is called Avimukta and lies between the eyebrows and the nose.
37:3 Nilakantha interprets this mystically. By Soma he understands the artery or duct called Ida, and by Agni the duct called Pingala. Dhira is Buddipreraka; vyavayam is sancharam. Dhirobhutani dharayan nityam vyavayam kurute is the order of the words. The sense is this: in this spot is seated Brahman; there Ida and Pingala meet; and there also is Vayu which urges the understanding and upholds all living creatures.
37:4 Yatra is not to be taken as a locative here. It is equivalent to yatah or for which.
37:5 Tasmin is taken, by Nilakantha as Apana sahite Prane.
37:6 Utkarshena anayati, hence Udana, says Nilakantha. The sense of the whole passage seems to be this. Worldly life is regulated by the life-breaths. These are attached to the Soul and lead to its individual manifestations. Udana controls all the breaths. Udana is controlled by penance. It is penance then that destroys the round of rebirths and leads to absorption into Brahman.
Next: Section XXI